Misc

Britmums Live 2013 – A Belated Musing

It’s been a few weeks now, since the Britmums conference, which Hillary’s Blinds kindly sponsored me to attend.

I arrived in London on Friday, brewing a major headache and feeling positively hung over for reasons totally beyond my understanding, so I checked in to my hotel, the gorgeous Montecalm, right on the steps of the conference. I had a shower and lay on the bed for a while, before heading into the conference.

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Worth it, just for the night at the Montcalm

Still feeling a little fragile – I didn’t have anything to drink the night before, just felt like it! – I had a wander around the sponsors lounge, to see if there was anything I was particularly interested in, or any brands I was specifically interested in working with. One that immediately caught my eye was Parragon Books, who were starting up a ‘book club’, so you’ll be seeing more on that soon, and Butlins, but every time I went over to them to sign up for their Ambassador program, they’d run out of application forms, so I guess that wasn’t meant to be, this year.

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Excited to be part of the Parragon Book Buddies

While I really enjoy the Britmums conferences, and have made an effort to go every year, I rarely walk away from the sessions feeling like I’ve learned much – I’ve been blogging for more than 6 years, and journalling online for about 4 more, so I think I have a pretty good idea of what I’m doing, most of the time, but every now and then you pick up a tip, or a speaker says something that helps you refocus where you’re going or what you want from your blog, and for that it’s well worth attending.

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Travel Blogging with Jaume Marin

Another thing I enjoy about Britmums is seeing some of the same faces year in and year out. I think the first conference I went to with 8 month old, just walking Ameli, had about 80 or so attendees? This year there were many, many more and each year it grows and grows. It’s pretty amazing, actually. Seeing people I’ve met on this journey is always nice and seeing others go from strength to strength is great too. It was, as always, lovely to see Uju from Babes About Town (best blog to read if you’re a mum in London), Amanda from The Family Patch (Amanda’s writing a book on Hyperemesis Gravidarum. Hats off to her!) and Chelle from Social Sparkle (who you definitely want to look up if you’re a small business owner!). I saw loads of people but spent most of my time with these three.

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Uju from Babes About Town

On Friday evening I was still struggling with feeling unwell, so I went to a local restaurant and had a lovely plate of food, on my own, without sharing food off my plate, or helping anyone else eat, or cutting anyone’s food for them or any of the other things that normally summarise dinner time. It was just me, peacefully eating, before returning to the hotel and lying in bed on my own, undisturbed. It was pretty heavenly.

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Dinner alone, and a browse through the Parragon books

The following morning I was up bright and early, and after a leisurely phone call to my babies, I returned to Britmums Live, feeling much better and more than ready for a day of engaging, networking, and being part of the UK blogging community.

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Hello Hedwig!

My favourite session for the day was the Food Blogging session, partly because as a new food blogger – check out Keeper of the Kitchen, if you’re interested in healthier foods! – I think I have a lot to learn still and was hoping to come away with inspiration and motivation. I can say I did, and have started implementing a lot of it in the way I post there.

As always, Britmums 2013 was moving, inspirational, exciting, and fun. I go in with the expectation of those things, and have never come away disappointed. I do realise that while I’m in the UK and on the UK parent blogger charts, I don’t really socialise with UK parent bloggers much beyond events, and I’m really not sure where I should try to fit the network into my days, but one thing I know for sure is that I need to spend a bit more time with the Britmums network, because there are amazing mothers, women and bloggers in it, and our yearly get together is a great way to spend a weekend.

*Now I just need to find a sponsor for the Food conference in November. Let me know if you know anyone who’d like to sponsor me!

If you’re after a new look for your house, check out Hillary’s Carpets and Hillary’s Curtains!

Farnham Natural Birth And Beyond Breastfeeding Picnic

Today, Natural Birth and Beyond hosted a breastfeeding awareness week picnic in Farnham’s Gostrey Meadows. The event was arranged by Wendy Wood from Relax For Birth, and saw a group of around 50 mothers and nurslings join together to celebrate the beauty of breastfeeding in honour of the UK’s National Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

The best thing about a breastfeeding meetup is that by it’s very nature, it’s a peaceful event, filled with smiley, happy mamas and babies.

At the Breast Debate I went to last week, one of the things that was mentioned was that we don’t see enough breastfeeding in public. I mentioned that it’s more likely that we don’t know when we’re seeing a mother feed her child. Here’s what I meant:

Would you have known this mama was nursing if I didn’t tell you?

One of the things I really love about breastfeeding is that it is as unique to each nursing dyad as the people in it. Looking around the picnic today, I saw some mums really nicely covered up:

I saw mamas comfortable with their company and their bodies:

I saw mamas comfortable in their layers,

And mamas comfortable without:

I saw mamas getting comfy:

And relaxed and smiling:

There were people chatting:

And tending their babies,

Celebrating the freedom, and the right, that we have to feed our nurselings wherever we have a legal right to be.

Mothers, being mothers, relaxing on a glorious sunny day, 

Doing our bit to normalise breastfeeding for the people that walked by, smiling at all the babies, and for the next generation

All the while, just being mamas, sharing a picnic lunch.

*if you see a picture of yourself here you’d like removed, please let me know!

See more pictures:

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For more from Keep Britain Breastfeeding read these blog posts:

The Mummy Adventure 
Smiling Like Sunshine 
Simply Hayley Hayley
The Secret Life of Kate
Respectable Breast Spectable

and support these businesses

Feed Me Mummy 
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Thrupenny Bits 
Ardo Claire 
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and don’t forget to visit this post to enter to win:

  • Breastmilk Keepsake
  • £15 Boobie Milk Voucher
  • Breastfeeding Pillow from Theraline
  • Breastpads from Theraline
  • Adjustable Drop Cup Feeding Bras  from Cantaloop
  • Baby-Proof Jewellery and Teething Necklace from Mama Jewels
  • Electric breastpump and accessories
  • Maternity Raspberry or Black Feeding Tops from Melba London
  • And over £1000 in prizes from Keep Britain Breastfeeding

Ballet For Kids

I’ve been toying with putting Ameli in dance classes for a while now. She’s always asking for it, and she loved dancing around the living room.  I did ballet for a while myself, as a child, and I think it’s a great form of exercise, perfect for little girls (and boys). A few days ago Amanda from Show & Stay offered to write a post for me on the benefits of ballet for children, and it seemed like great timing, so here, for both our benefits, are some of the benefits of dance for kidlets:

Children can benefit from ballet lessons in many different ways, and it goes much further than just improving their physical health. Learning ballet serves as a very good foundation for other styles of dance that they may wish to focus on later, and it improves their understanding of music. Ballet is a great starting point if your child strives to be the next Billy Elliot.

Beginning ballet

Many pupils will be nervous ahead of their first lesson, but this is completely normal. Pushing them a little out of their comfort zone is one thing that ballet is great for, and it will ultimately improve their confidence as they realize that they can cope with difficult situations. Younger children may also find it initially tough to listen carefully and follow all of the instructions, but it won’t take long for them to get used to it, and having to pay such close attention will further their brain development massively.

Physical Benefits of Ballet

Ballet can teach even the clumsiest and ungainly child balance, coordination, agility and flexibility. Achieving ballet positions takes concentration and perseverance, and also provides an excellent workout for the whole body. It works most muscles and also helps heart health, increases endurance and overall stamina. Ballet will push the body to its limits and this will increase a child’s all-over physical fitness, and with it, their mental wellbeing. Dancers are often in better shape than sports stars.

Other Benefits of Ballet

One of the key attributes of ballet is strength in posture. Have you ever noticed how women who do ballet are always the most elegant? Kids with a better posture will have reduced risk of injury and backache in later life because they know how to sit and stand correctly. Good posture also enhances attention span*, so a ballet pupil is more likely not to be the pupil squirming in his/her school chair or slouching over his/her desk.

Parents who haven’t considered ballet as an excellent activity for their children because they think there are other sports that will accomplish the same and/or more, might like to consider the other benefits ballet affords.

It doesn’t have to be a team sport to deliver team sport benefits. When pupils go beyond the basics and begin to learn lifts and hold positions, ballet is teaching them trust and teamwork. It teaches them how to work together to achieve a goal and in a performance situation, shows them the importance of timing, communication and individual contribution in a team effort. This will increase confidence and promote ease in social situations and in later life, their work and career.

Having a fit and healthy body also means ballet pupils are likely to have a positive body image, which is especially important at a time where young people are under a lot of pressure from the media and society to have the ‘perfect’ body. Ballet will teach both boys and girls that strength and fitness are what to strive for, not thinness.

Getting inspired

Children are more likely to take their ballet lessons seriously if they are inspired by the professionals. Take them to ballet recitals, West End shows and a range of performances as often as possible, so they know what they could achieve if they work at it. You should also choose a ballet school that has regular (at least yearly) recitals, so your children can perform for friends and family, giving them a confidence boost and allowing them to feel the thrill of performing for an audience.

There are so many benefits of ballet that it’s definitely worth your children trying, especially if they’ve always wanted a go. Just remember that boys can do it too, and that all children regardless of gender, race, age, ability or even special needs will enjoy the benefits of ballet.

Well, I’m about convinced. Are you?

 

* according to this rather interesting study

 

Mamatography Week 19: Sickness Galore

I don’t know what’s hit our home, but we’ve become the house of the diseased, quite frankly! It’s been a nightmare, with us all passing runny noses, coughing, physical aches and pains and general death-warmed-up around between us. It started with Aviya, who was fine and playing all Thursday morning, and by Thursday afternoon had a fever and wouldn’t move off of me. By Friday we were all man down. What fun. We did manage to keep to some of our commitments though, fortunately.

Day 121/365 – Foraging

It’s amazing really. Teach a child in the way he should go and he will not depart from it? Pretty true. I’ve taken Aviya foraging a hand full of times, and now she can’t see a dandelion without picking it and bringing it to me for lunch! We make dandelion fritters regularly enough, but the season -around here at least – hasn’t produced enough for jam or pesto which is rather sad!

Day 122/365 – Who Am I?

After a fantastic morning of playing outside, Aviya suddenly developed a mean cough and temperature. It was so quick! But never so sick that there’s no time for fancy dress – she’s either a jazz singer, or a (pink) firefighter! I think she’s awesome, and changing and growing so much.

Day 123/365 – Sickness Befalls Us

Oh dear! things have gone downhill around here. Look at that little poorly face.

Day 124/365 – Long Weekend Of Blergh

I know she doesn’t look sick here, but heavens above, how much gunk can come out of a nose that cute? The last bank holiday was Easter and we spent that sick too. Long weekend of blergh!

Day 125/365 – Nana Checks In

I’m so grateful for the technology we have available to us. Here’s Nana doing a tele-diagnosis on Aviya to make sure she doesn’t have anything serious.

Day 126/365 – Land of Kids

I dragged my sick family out to London for the day. It was good, but set our getting better back by at least a week! Land of Kids was good though. We enjoyed it!

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Day 127/365 – Little Girl

I’m always so surprised by how she’s grown. I see her every day, yet, some days it just jumps out at me, like I’m seeing her for the first time.

 

Talking To Children About Death

Six months ago, my mother was diagnosed with Peritoneal Mesothelioma and told that without treatment she would have four weeks to live. Our visas were taking longer than that to be granted – my mother lives in Australia, I live in England, and the Australian government had no sympathy or compassion and made it as hard as was legally possible for us to get the visas for reasons I’ll never understand. My mother decided to have chemotherapy so that we’d make it to her, to say goodbye, and we arrived in Australia the day before her second round of chemotherapy, a treatment that nearly killed her.

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Between my mothers diagnosis and our leaving, I wasn’t very emotional about it.

That’s what I do. I go into ‘how can we solve this’ mode, and I need time to process what I’m feeling. People who know me well know that the things I’m talking about I’ve normally dealt with. It’s when I go quiet that I’m not really coping. When I don’t know what to say I haven’t processed it yet. Really, it’s when I go quiet on a topic that those closest to me know to start worrying about it.

So, between those two dates, I was given a copy of the Mother Magazine, which had the article A sacred transition: children and the death of a loved one by Starr Meneely, of Gentle Mothering. Her mother had recently succumbed to cancer, and she had flown half way across the world with her children to be by her side.

Her words wrenched at my heart, and my emotions broke. I sat in the corner of the room at our mother’s circle and sobbed. It was the release I needed, and it provided the gateway to being able to talk about it.

I guess, then, the first lesson I learned about talking to children about death – specifically a long, protracted, pending death, rather than an accidental or sudden passing, is having at least in part dealt with some of the emotions yourself.

If I had broken down that way in front of Ameli, I fear that she would have looked at death as something to fear, something painful. (Of course, it is these things, but it also isn’t, and I think the best thing under the circumstances is to introduce death as something not to be feared.)

Telling Ameli that Nana is dying was interesting in itself. How do you convey meaning in a word that has no context? Hot you can explain by providing low heat. Run you can explain by demonstrating. How do you explain ‘say goodbye, because we are going away for a while?’ And how do you explain going away for ever? How long is for ever?

These are vague concepts, mere words, to a child.

I told her Nana was going to die and we wouldn’t see her here on earth again. She said she didn’t want Nana to die. I said none of us want Nana to die, but we all die eventually, and it’s okay.

She tried to rationalise it in her mind.

“I have a good idea! Maybe we can go visit Nana when she’s died.”

“I’m afraid we can’t visit where Nana is going. We’ll miss her sometimes though, and that’s why Mama’s a little sad.”

“It’s okay. We can just look at photos of her. That will make us feel better.”

“That’s a very good idea, I think.”

“Can I have some juice now?”

While she hasn’t been able to experience the finality of it, and doesn’t have the apprehension of the longing, it’s impossible to explain.

In fact, I’m 30 years older than her, and I find myself trying to imagine what life without my mother will be like, and I can’t really imagine it. It’s the closest I’ve come to imagining what life with a child will be like, versus what life with a child is really like. It’s oddly the same process. Simliar to our five stages of grief, Ameli seems to have traversed the stages too, but without the sense of fear or loss. She’s faced:

  1. Denial – “no, she’s not dying” – I’m afraid she is, darling, even though we don’t want her to. 
  2. Anger – “I don’t want her to die!” – None of us do, but sometimes things happen, even if we don’t want them to. 
  3. Bargaining – “I know! We can just take her to the hospital. Then she’ll get better” – Not this time. This isn’t something the doctors can fix.
  4. Depression – “I don’t want Nana to die {with tears this time}”. I know darling. Neither do I. It’s okay to be sad. 
  5. Acceptance – “When Nana dies, we won’t be able to see her anymore, but that’s okay, because one day we will be with her again and till then, we can just watch our videos of her.” – That’s a good idea girlie. Do you want to watch one now?

Something that has been helpful has been allowing her to ask questions, make {crazy} suggestions, and at times be almost hurtful in her throwaway comments – I wont miss Nana. I don’t mind if Nana dies. I don’t want to see Nana.

Separating her child behavior from my loss has been essential in gently explaining death to her. You can’t fear loss if you’ve never felt loss, so expecting an adult level of saying the right thing at the right time from a child only sets you up for pain.

I remember when my dad’s grandmother died. I didn’t really know her, and I didn’t have a relationship with her. I was really upset that I had to cancel my 13th birthday party. I saw it only in light of it’s impact on me, but having never known the loss of a loved one, I didn’t understand.

I asked a group of friends one day how you deal with this type of death, and how you explain it to a child. Most of them agreed that the children tend to accept death as another part of life. It’s just something that happens, and while they may have vague fond memories of the person, and might even ask for them, for the most part, life goes on. (Assuming it’s not a direct care giver, I think!)

Of course, in our situation, despite the terminal diagnosis my mother is still going strong, making the concept even harder to explain, but when we arrived in Australia, and the chemotherapy was eeking the life out of her faster than the cancer was, it was simply a matter of reinforcing, explaining, reminding what was going on.

Now that she is on so-called alternative therapies and thriving, getting stronger and even thinking of returning to work, it all seems a bit confusing, but, with the true resilience of childhood, Ameli carries on.

How to talk to children about death:

  • Talk to them when you are calm and relatively controlled in your grief
  • Talk to them at a good time, when there aren’t distractions and they aren’t tired or hungry
  • Explain in age appropriate terms, and according to your beliefs. We believe in heaven, so we were able to explain that we will see her in heaven again one day, once we’ve died too. 
  • Allow for questions generally based on the stages of grief – this is a good measure of their understanding too
  • Don’t take hurtful or insensitive comments personally. 
  • Be led by your child. Don’t put your feelings and emotions on them, and don’t expect them to have an adult understanding or response to your grief.

How do you talk to children about difficult situations? Do you remember when you first lost someone? How was it dealt with and how do you think it could have been handled differently?

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • Real Talk — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama explains why there are no conversation topics that are off limits with her daughter, and how she ensures that tough conversations are approached in a developmentally appropriate manner.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • How Does Your Family Explain Differences and Approach Diversity? — How do you and your family approach diversity? Gretchen of That Mama Gretchen shares her thoughts at Natural Parents Network and would like to hear from readers.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

 

Planning For The 'What If'

I’ve been thinking a lot about the future, recently, and in particular about how I should or could be looking after my children. I guess there’s something about having children that puts your mortality into perspective in the starkest way.

One of my favourite movies is A Little Princess, a story about a girl, Sara Crew, whose Dad puts her in the best boarding school while he goes off to war, and makes sure her every need is catered for. He goes missing, presumed dead in the war, and the British government lays claims to his assets, leaving his child a pauper. The headmistress of the boarding school has obvious Daddy-issues and has hated her from the day she arrived, so she takes massive pleasure out of offering to keep this ‘Daddy’s Princess’ on as a servant girl. Of course, being a story, she rises above it and it turns out that her dad is in the house next door, with memory loss.  During a particularly dramatic scene where Sara discovers her dad just as the headmistress wants to have her arrested for stealing – she didn’t – Sara yells “Papa! Papa! It’s me!” … and without fail I break down in tears. E.V.E.R.Y  time.

In a chat with friends, recently, it came to light that while most of us have something in place, none of us really know what exactly we need. So, here’s a composite of our thoughts – I think I need to turn it into a checklist and get on it, really!

1. Final Will And Testament

I guess the first thing you have to think of ‘in the event of’ is where your children will go. It’s a horrible thought, but it must be discussed. In our group it seems to be one of the most wrestled with topics. Many of us live far from our families, and it could be a good few days or weeks before they even knew something had happened! What happens to our children?

I can’t find any actual guidance on this, but I have been told that if you are incapacitated and have been identified, your GP will be notified. You can have next of kin for your children listed with your GP and ‘they’ will be able to notify your family that way.

Deciding who to leave in charge of our children has been one of the most difficult decisions for us, but this should be listed in a will, following discussions. You can leave your children with someone and leave their financial concerns with a different person, or both with the same person.

Most banks will help you set up a will, and it’s well recommended to do so.

2. Money, money,  it’s so funny in a rich man’s world

Most people have a life insurance policy which you can pay in to every month, and then your family receive a lump sum pay out when you die – look at something like Comparethemarket.com to see what the best available options are for you.  This will help toward funeral expenses, certainly, but will also go to the executor of your estate – preferably someone mentioned in your will as someone you trust – so that it can be used to keep your children, look after their education and so on. You can also decide to put the money in a trust for them so that they can access it when they are 18 or 21, but that might put a huge burden of financial responsibility on the legal guardians! (It seems so hard to know the right thing to do, doesn’t it!?

3. Mothers! Plan for your CHILDREN!

Something that I think is really important for mothers especially is making sure your money reaches your children.  A few years back, I had a friend who told me her story, and I learned a really important lesson from it: don’t leave your money to your spouse, leave it to your children!

My friend’s mother died when she was 15, leaving all her payouts to her husband. He remarried 2 years later, when my friend was 17 to someone with three children of her own.  Three years after that, when my friend was 20, her father had a sudden heart attack, leaving his pay out and assets to his wife – his children’s stepmother.  She gave my friend and her two older siblings nothing, investing it all for her own children.  Bonus for her, sure, but his children were left out in the cold. They had no family home to return to and there wasn’t even money to help her for her final two years in university, which her dad had been paying.

I am pretty certain that that had not been her father’s intention and as a mother I’d be turning in my grave knowing that everything I’d saved for my girls never reached them.

So… wills and life insurance, legal guardians and money – what else is there to think of? What other things do you have in place should the worst happen and someone else has to take care of your little ones? 

Forging A Village In The Absence Of One

I loved packing my bags and boarding the plane for England. My family weren’t there to see me off, since they were living in Malaysia. When they left Malaysia and eventually immigrated to Australia, via a few years back in South Africa, I was already married and living in England. (more…)

Maternity Photo Shoot With Urbanvox

*This is NOT a sponsored post

If you’re a regular reader, you’ll have seen a few of these pictures already, and if you’re a follower on Facebook they’ve surfaced there a few times already, but now, as my little Aviya uncurls and loses her new born look, I’m finally ready to share some pictures with you from our maternity shoot.  I hope you enjoy them. (more…)

How Do You Name Your Baby?

I’m 23 weeks pregnant today, and in the back of my mind I’m starting to think of baby names. I must admit that it’s not something I enjoy thinking about. I should, but I don’t. With Ameli, we didn’t know her gender until she was born and as a result we found it really difficult to choose a name. She stayed ˜Button’ for five days after birth. We don’t know Squidgy’s gender either, and rather than put myself through the stress of it all again, I’ve decided to not even think about it until I’m holding my bundle of Squidge in my arms. Yeah right. The thought does cross my mind, and every now and then I catch myself paying close attention to the credits at the end of a movie to see what other people are called.

It was such a nightmare finding one name we liked, now we have to do it all again?!
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Money On My Mind

I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing in my head on the subject of money lately. It’s just such a hard topic to discuss really, without people becoming uncomfortable, or the subject actually causing rifts in friendships. But a few things have happened in my life recently that I thought I could share with you and while in effect there are three different thought processes, they’re what’s been milling about my mind, so here goes.

1) Soon after Ameli was born, I started thinking about money and about how having it or not having it affects my parenting – or at least the things around my parenting. If I had limitless means, or even enough means to justify it, my daughter would have only wooden toys. She’d eat only organic food, and wear only organic clothing. She’d probably go to the best school just so that contacts with the “right people” could set her up for life.
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