dark wood stair gate baby gate

For those who can’t abide a glaring big white metal stair gate in their home (perhaps you’re a mid century modern enthusiast like myself, or just prefer warmer hues and dark woods in your interiors), I have the answer: the BabyDan Avantgarde in Cherry Wood and Black. This gate is so smart. It looks brilliant at the top of our wooden stairs, which, incidentally have to be the most child-unfriendly stairs ever to have been designed in the history of architecture. They may as well have spikes coming out of the treads and one of those haunted house levers that you pull to make it all go flat so that people slide helplessly to the bottom. (Usually the basement where the coffins are. Hello Dracula!)

The BabyDan gate comes in seven different widths, all of those adjustable, so the total range that this stair gate can cover is from 71-117cm. I have to say that the catch at the top isn’t the easiest latch to open, it takes a bit of practice and I still can only do it with my right hand, but – you know – when carefully designed interiors are at stake! Ha. Who cares about the practicalities.

cherry wood stair gate

We bought our gate at Amazon here – £46.99, though the cost depends which width you plump for. I’ll stress that this is purely a style choice for those who want something unobtrusive and good-looking – there are gates out there with far more functions and that are easier to open, but if you have a darker colour scheme then this is definitely worth a look. It also comes in silver and beech.

(Note: the gaping big holes at the top of our stairs are actually not gaping big holes, they are covered but in a tinted safety material. Just in case you were having palpitations…)


ruth crilly baby announcement

I think that many of you might have guessed at this news already; trying to keep something like this a secret when you write about yourself on a regular basis (and appear in videos, in other people’s videos and on Instagram!) is nearly impossible.

Let’s not beat around the bush – baby TWO is on its way. Yes, my friends, another delivery from the stork is expected in early February and nobody – nobody – was more surprised to find this out than me. Obviously I know how it happened, but the fact that it took six-ish years to have Angelica meant that conceiving again on what must have been the third go (“Go”! Ha) was something of a shock. I sort of thought, naively, that I’d be exempt from that whole “ooh, you’re so fertile after having a baby” thing.

Anyway, we are delighted – I wanted two babies reasonably close together, in an ideal world, and with lots of wine and meditation and sound-cancelling headphones I’m sure that a 20 month age gap will be perfectly manageable!

I have so many posts coming up talking about my early pregnancy – it was something I felt I really should have talked about last time, but life took over and it seemed weird to go back and retrace steps after Angelica had been born. This time, I tentatively took notes – symptoms, feelings, anxieties – so that I could document the pregnancy here on The Uphill. I also sporadically recorded some diary-style videos for my brand new Youtube channel


 – a Youtube channel, for The Uphill! You can go there immediately and press on the subscribe button, if you like. At the time of writing it has 0 subscribers, I haven’t even subscribed to it myself, so it looks rather lonely.

The Uphill Youtube Channel

So, lots of early pregnancy posts coming up, including my fears about another miscarriage and other things that I’ve wanted to write about but never found the right time. I hope that many find it useful – it’s such a weird, unsettling time in the first few months. I’ve always felt very lonely and paranoid and it’s only when the first trimester has passed that I feel able to open up and talk about it.

But here I am, twenty weeks in – feeling good, I have to say, apart from the general tiredness. And the fact that I look about twenty-thousand months pregnant and not twenty weeks. (If one more person says “you’re carrying large! Is it twins?”) Above all, I feel so incredibly, incredibly lucky. Just over two years ago I had quite honestly started to give up hope with regards to having a baby of my own – it seemed as though my body simply did not want to play ball. To have a healthy, beautiful daughter and now another baby on the way; it’s more than I could ever have wished for.



15 month old baby diary

Every time I log in to write one of these updates I think to myself please let me have uploaded something since the LAST update post! Time just goes so fast. All my working hours seem to get sucked into A Model Recommends. But change is afoot, dear readers, for I am planning a big re-shuffle and will be dedicating a proper proportion of my time to writing for The Uphill. And not just writing, but….well. It involves a video camera, that’s all I’m saying. Stay tuned, more news in the next 24-48 hours!

Anyway, enough blathering on.


Angelica is very nearly walking. Nearly. I’ve been trying not to get all worked up about the fact she’s not there yet, because some people’s babies I know who are the same age have been walking since they were one and it’s easy to start feeling paranoid and comparing development rates. But I’ve been assured that all is normal. Selfishly, it’s easier for me that she’s not walking (or running!) and so I’m taking friends’ advice and enjoying the relative peace while I can.

15 month old baby diary

Pictured above: me getting accidentally belted around the face as I try to take a Selfie. That’ll teach me! Injuries have been something of a theme this month, mainly because the baby likes to clamber on me and she has really sharp elbows, but also because she seems to really enjoy throwing heavy things from the table of her high chair. And they always land on my bare feet. Always.

Now you might say: why give her heavy things to hold? Which brings me onto my next theme. Meal times. Good God, I don’t mean to be on a downer (and I must do a full post on this) but are meal times at this age not the most toe-curlingly arse-clenchingly frustrating times of the day? Gone are the days when I could just sit in front of her and shovel down the slop – now she wants to hold everything and splatter spaghetti sauce up the white walls and throw half-eaten bits of orange at me and feed crusts of toast to the dog, who hangs around hopefully waiting for any morsels that land at his feet…

It’s like a mental endurance test. Please tell me it gets easier? Anything remotely solid now gets chewed and spat out, re-eaten at a later moment and, just when I think something may make it into the mini-stomach, appears as a grey pile of mush right at the end of mealtime. For this reason I am still forking down the chunkier Ella’s Kitchen pouches (year plus) in an attempt to get some kind of food eaten. I time each spoonful so that it will slip down unnoticed, but to do this I have to distract the baby with an untiring conveyor belt of amusements.

“Look at this toilet roll! MOOOOOOOO! See the funny noise it makes?!”

[Spoonful of Lamb Stew]

“Look at Mummy in the paper hat!! LOOK AT MUMMY! WAHAHAHAHA!”

[Spoonful of Lamb Stew]

The entire process is akin to trying to get a drunk person to walk in a straight line to the night bus. Lots of coaxing, distracting and firm guidance.

15 month old baby diary

Anyway, enough of that. If anyone designs an easier way of feeding headstrong babies then please do let me know – I’d buy a Feeding Robot if such a thing existed. In fact, if robots did become de rigueur in the domestic world then I’d buy one JUST to feed the baby. And peel garlic.

Angelica weighs 9.2kg (had her weighed yesterday) and is approximately thirty-three feet tall. I jest only mildly. She’s so tall. On the slight side, weight-wise, but then so am I. I think I was as a baby, too. She’s all arms and legs and just so brilliantly funny – it’s amazing to see a little personality come out. Her favourite thing at the moment is to mimic her Dad on the phone – she takes my iPhone and does his exact intonation, though not the words. Unless his conversations usually go “Dadada! Bababa! Mooooooooo-wah-wha-wha! Yeah?”

Thinking about it, that’s not too far from the reality…

Angelica still has two daytime naps (thank the absolute Lord); one from 10 for about an hour or an hour and a half (depending on when she woke up) and then another from 2ish until 4ish. I’ve tried to shorten these naps so that she goes to bed earlier but she’s not having any of it. She won’t go before 8pm – but then she doesn’t get up until about 7.30am. Sometimes 8am. And I’m not messing with that – it suits me down to the ground! In total, she gets around 14 hours of sleep a day, which is fine, apparently, so I’m leaving the routine well alone until something changes naturally!

I think that things are certainly getting more challenging as the months go by, but that’s no surprise when a baby is forming its own little character, I suppose. They start to get their own agenda which is a shock after having this little pliable bundle that just does what you need it to. But what a joy to see the personality emerge! (She says, opening gin.) (Haha, that’s a joke.) We went on a little mini-trip to the Isle of Wight last week and having the baby with us was brilliant – she was a total treat, very well-behaved in her pushchair and loved the beach and the sea and pointing at every single dog that walked past us, which was about twelve billion.

Read more Baby and Body Update posts…

For “Body”, please read the post that’s (hopefully) up on Monday or Tuesday next week, depending on how much time I have to finish it. It seems silly to shorten it to rush it out in this update, so stay tuned! As usual I’ve left this until the last minute and I’m trying to roast some vegetables at the same time, so to avoid a possible kitchen fire, I’m signing off to concentrate on my culinary adventures!