The End

This blog is now closed. The story continues over on Flip Flops and Flying Carpets.

Thank you for reading.

Welcome to the Hood

Motherhood hits like a tonne of bricks. In baby form. As I painted my nails last night my mind drifted back seven months. "They" are right when they say nobody can prepare you for motherhood. Words do not capture the emotional nature of the change. They can not capture the enormity of it, no matter how much you try. But the little daily changes to my life, I can try to describe.

Seven months ago, painting my nails was a memory of part of a life that no longer existed. A life where, in most recent memory, I sat on the sofa all day, with a huge belly, surrounded by all the things I might need (to ensure I didn't have to climb the stairs more than necessary), thinking I've had it hard because I was sick for almost seven months of the pregnancy, yet there I was, relaxed and chilled and my only worry was whether I might be snowed in when the time came to have the baby.

Then she arrived. I still spent my days on the sofa. But I no longer painted my nails. Or dried my hair. Or put on make-up. Or wore fresh clothes every day. Or had a leisurely bath. I speed-showered. I wore the same pair of shoes every day. A manicure was a splash of soap and water (just the one hand because the other was holding a baby), and I'm not even going to mention my feet. A sexy bra felt like a thing of the past. Along with sleep.

Desperation developed a taste, a smell in the air. And alongside that, everything smelt of "baby" (which is not, for the record, that Johnsons' smell that everyone associates with babies, it's a MILK smell... and usually regurgitated milk at that).

Then slowly and mostly without my noticing it, things began to change. As Emily and I got to know each other better, I learnt to do things at lightning speed while she slept. So the laundry was always under control. The dishes were mostly always done.

So seven months on, it may be encouraging for some new mummies out there to know that I sit here typing this with not-just-dried-but-also-straightened hair; trimmed, buffed and painted nails; a subtle amount of make-up on my face and dangly earrings adorning my earlobes (which Emily will later try to tear off, no doubt).

There are still some things that I suppose you lose, after all we are shaped by our experiences. My love for high heels, as much as it is still present, no longer translates to wearing them any chance I get. My perfumes sit mostly unused - I just haven't gotten into the habit of wearing them again.

In time I've begun to re-establish my identity. I've only mentioned superficial things here because as I said earlier, the emotional side has to be experienced to be understood. So yes, motherhood has changed me. But I'm a better person for it.

Happy 7 months to my beautiful baby: seven of the most challenging - yet happiest - months of my life x


The House That Jack Built

He didn't really (Jack), or if he did, I don't know about it. But yesterday, the house I grew up in was in the Maltese news. Very exciting to see a picture of your old house in the news. (Not so great to read that the adjoining bridge is falling apart, but let's not go there).

This is the house I spoke of in my post Lines of Light and Dark. I loved that house. It holds so many beloved childhood memories.

Afternoons spent playing dress-up with my sister (sometimes by candle light if there'd been an electricity cut - all the more authentic as our games were inspired by Road to Avonlea where there was no electricity anyway).

Hours spent sulking at the dinner table in a battle of wits with my parents when I refused to finish my dinner (I was a very fussy eater).

Fantastic birthday parties, girly sleepovers and boy crushes. Evenings spent moaning over my French (or Italian or Maths or...) homework.

Our first computer. Our pet cats. All hundred of them. My grandparents living upstairs. Treasure hunts in the garden. Hose pipe fights in the summer. Throwing shredded paper onto the banda from the balcony during the festa. Bulging stockings hanging off the fireplace on Christmas Day.


The house is the one behind the bridge. Well, the only house you can see - with jade green windows. My fancy arrow points at mine and my sister's bedroom window. I am convinced that the reason I am such a deep sleeper and can literally sleep through anything (can be confirmed by David at 3am on certain nights...) is the amount of noise we regularly slept through that was amplified by that bridge.

The bridge that is now falling down.

Little Lessons

She's only gone and done it again! :-)


The amazing Nataliya (SuburbanMummy / Akira Photography)
took some "6 month" pictures of Emily a few weeks ago.
(Needless to say, they are all stunning.)
She then wrote a touching post thanking Emily for inspiring her.
To keep going, not to give up.

Claire over at BeakTweets wrote a similar post about her daughter the other day,
observing her sheer determination to learn things.

We forget, as we grow older, how easy things were when they were simple.
When there were no masks, no pride, no complications.
These little ones just get on with things, at their own individual pace.
And even when they fall, they get up and (perhaps a few tears later),
they smile a brilliant smile, light up our worlds, and carry on.

We could do worse than to learn a few things from these amazing little people!

In Memoriam

We received some bad news this week. Uncle Alan passed away. If you've read my History page, he is the uncle I refer to. Although he wasn't really my uncle, we called him that because him and his wife and daughter have been family friends of ours since I was 5 and therefore, they were our Uncle and Aunt.

They were the first people we ever visited on holiday as a family. They were the people I stayed with the first time I ever travelled alone. They visited us every summer. Sometimes even in winter. They are in almost every childhood memory. We moved to England and live 10 minutes away from them. But I haven't seen him in a few years. 10 years ago he suffered a series of strokes and lost his boisterous, chatty qualities. Conversation became limited and I guess it became slightly awkward.

I cannot put into words how saddened I am that I never made more of an effort to see him, to talk to him. To say he deserved it is an understatement. But such is life. You're left with your thoughts and regrets and memories, and those memories are good ones and they are plentiful. Throughout my teenage years, he was like a second father to me, and he knew that.

It is with a very heavy heart that I say farewell. And I'm sorry.

Simple Things

Every now and again, Emily and I have a picnic, just the two of us. Last week we had a picnic in our garden at home, it was lovely. We had far more toys to play with than when we go to a park and Emily played away, covering everything in remnants of the biscuit she was nibbling on, and generally had a blast.


The other day my sister sent me a link to an article called 60 Ways To Make Life Simple Again. Having picnics with Emily feels like one of those simple pleasures and therefore reminded me of that link, which made me go back and read it again.

Here are a few of my favourite suggestions, but do have a read of them all. It's worth the click :)

1. Don’t try to read other people’s minds. Don’t make other people try to read yours. Communicate.

7. Get off your high horse, talk it out, shake hands or hug, and move on.

8. Don’t waste your time on jealously. The only person you’re competing against is yourself.

11. Get rid of stuff you don’t use.

14. Don’t try to please everyone. Just do what you know is right.

15. Don’t drink alcohol or consume recreational drugs when you’re mad or sad. Take a jog instead.

21. Don’t steal.

32. Stay out of other people’s drama. And don’t needlessly create your own.

35. Smile often, even to complete strangers.

36. If you hate doing it, stop it.

47. Don’t eat when you’re bored. Eat when you’re hungry.

54. Take it slow and add up all your small victories.

Note: Emily's amber teething necklace is from DinoDaisy!

Weaning: How It's Going

It's been a few weeks now since we began weaning on a daily basis and it's going very well - if I'm honest, far better than I ever expected it to go this early on.

And it's benefiting not just Emily, but David and myself too. We were aware that our diet wasn't the healthiest, but the extent only became clear when I realised that there was not one meal or snack that I could have shared with Emily. Something needed to be done. With the help of The Baby-led Weaning Cookbook (hugely recommended!), I've put a rolling two-week menu together. This makes things easier in two ways: it's easier to shop for groceries as I actually have specific dishes in mind that I need to prepare for (our shopping list has changed dramatically since we started weaning), and secondly it ensures that we don't turn to the toxic ready meals in the freezer as snacks because there's always something good available.

From Day 1, when I placed food on Emily's highchair tray (and expected it to get no more than a glance or a prod), she picked it up, explored it with her fingers and then popped it straight into her mouth, sucking and gumming it.

She loves food, she is genuinely excited to get her hands on it when we sit down at table for lunch, and gives me the biggest grins when she (eventually) takes the food/spoon out of her mouth. She is crazy about chicken and beef (click for video), hates bacon, quite likes her veggies and gets frustrated at pasta (because it slips out of her fingers).

However, I have also begun giving her some purées. There was just something so perfectly "Mummy" about sitting down with a spoon in my hand and her looking at it excitedly, I couldn't resist. And she is really enjoying it too. So we are now mixed weaning - purées and finger food.

And as long as I am armed with her twenty thousand bibs and a big packet of wipes, even the mess doesn't bother me! I cannot for the life of me describe how much I am loving this.

Look Again

I have to face up to something that's hard for me to accept. Since having Emily, my body is different. Sometimes, it feels like it's not my body at all, but some other woman's body that I've been thrown into. I have marks that weren't there a year ago, and clothes I always knew I could fall back on no longer fit well (if they fit at all). I have never been good with exercise, but that's not all of it. Pregnancy changes a body, and it feels like beyond recognition.

For months now I've fought it. I've worn baggy and loose-fitting clothes because I can't bear to look at my new shape in the mirror, a shape that isn't me. I've spent whole days going back up to the bedroom to change my clothes yet again because I'm just not comfortable with how I look.

This is not to mention the fact that there are some clothes I've had to accept I'll never wear again. Some tops and dresses have my boobs making a run for it (if they weren't big enough to begin with, they're even bigger now). Some trousers just won't close any longer... and if they do, there's that awful extra skin that was a once much-loved bump hanging over the waistline.

Shopping isn't easy with a baby, either. I have never had much patience with changing rooms and now with Emily around, it's all too easy to avoid trying things on entirely. But I also know I can't quite get away with not trying things on any longer. Therefore, I just don't shop. (Instead, I shop for her.)

But the other day I had a slight revelation. Why not just embrace it as the new (temporary??!) me? I still hope, and keep hoping, to get to a point where I won't look at myself in the mirror and cringe (or be reduced to tears and/or a foul mood for the rest of the day). But until that day comes, perhaps I'm just making life more miserable for myself by hating the way I look.

The time has come, perhaps, to simply get on with it and carry myself with pride. Hold my head up, push my shoulders back - I am a mum. I've done it, I'm where I've always dreamt of being (just not as the second Elle Macpherson I somehow always pictured myself as...). I have a great life, a husband who loves me and an amazing daughter who obviously thinks the world of me whether my clothes fit me well or not. The rest can come later.

And strangely, since that day, when I started wearing more shapely clothes, not going out of my way to cover up every extra curve, I've felt better. I like myself more in photos and I've had comments about looking like I've lost weight. Go figure.

While on the topic, a friend and fellow mum has begun blogging about a challenge she's set herself: creating a capsule wardrobe. It's beginning to sound like a really good idea, I'm very eager to watch her "journey" unfold. It's not easy, so do pop by and offer her some encouragement!


Spag Bol Adventures

The other day, I made Spaghetti Bolognese. You know what's coming, right?

I stripped Emily down to her vest and leggings, put on a bib (fat load of good that did) and sat her in her high chair. Things will never be the same again, especially for that vest and those leggings, although if I'm honest I expected worse. Much, much worse.





She had a bath early that day.