One of the best parts of being in a relationship is snaring yourself a whole bunch of new friends. We might not always get on with our partner's friends, but for the most part you suddenly get to hang out with new, awesome people - a ready-made friendship group who can dish the dirt on your significant other and all of the misadventures they've gotten up to together.
I'm especially lucky in this respect, because Paul has a large group of friends from school who have all remained close; together with their now significant others they make up a sizeable and sociable group that I'm happy to be a part of - especially when it comes to celebrations. Have you ever seen a bunch of Sheffield-ers dancing to The Arctic Monkeys? It's a thing of joy.
All of this is really just a lengthy preamble to explain that we went to go and see two of these lovely friends last weekend. It was pretty ace - we drank champagne from fancy flutes, ate perfectly cooked steaks and talked about weddings (Ashley is going to be our Best Man) and generally had a grand old time. Plus, we got to hang out with their daughter - the little cutie you see in these photos. Paul took some snaps in the morning and I just couldn't not share them; isn't she just adorable?
I'll admit that I have never been much of a kid person, but Martha is enough to change anyone's mind. She's my new best friend. As well as all those grown-up things I just described, Martha and I went to the park to play on the slide, ran amok in PC World (Paul was offering vital laptop-buying advice at the time), had an early morning dance in the garden, read lots of books and laughed a lot. I'm sure that you don't need to be told this, but there really is something so infectious about baby giggles. Apparently children laugh ten times more than adults; I don't know if that is true but they certainly laugh with less inhibitions and more abandon.
It's so fun to watch her grow; because we only see them every few months she changes so much in between. From this little pudding last summer to the walking, talking (sort of), dancing girl that she is now. Hearing her say 'shampoo' will make your heart melt, and that very same heart will almost break when she plonks herself down, waiting for someone to put her shoes on so she can leave with you.
Plus, I've been told that I'm her favourite - which makes me feel very pleased and smug. For now, I like being able to hand her back to her loving parents but I think one of my own wouldn't be the worst thing in the long run. Does this mean I'm a proper grown up?