Tuesday, 20 March 2012

just a minute in march...2012

It's been a fairly mixed bag of a month so far with a few rough patches- primarily Lila Curt and I coming down with a horrendous sickness virus...urgh...enough said about that. We've had some beautiful weather though, supposedly it's now officially autumn but we're still getting balmy, sunshine days. We enjoyed a lovely long weekend with a trip to our new favourite beach Half Moon Bay, just a 20 minute drive down the coast and complete with an actual shipwreck. Curt spend the weekend at the Melbourne Grand Prix, getting his fix of fast cars and free food and drinks thanks to all-access tickets from a kind friend while I got my hair cut, hung out with my sister, went to a friends BBQ and pottered about in the garden with the kids.

Reading...Home Love by Megan Morton which I picked up from the library. Definitely a winning source of inspiration on the interior decor front and it's given me more ideas for a few little projects around here.

Dreaming.... Of books, books and more books! There is a beautiful bookshop just a short walk away from our house and I often find my self wandering in for a browse if I'm taking Rose for an afternoon walk. I have to physically restrain myself from walking way with armfuls of beautiful, expensive coffee table tomes and novels with enticing titles. Needless to say, my amazon wish list is getting a bit out of control now (am all for supporting independent booksellers, and do wherever I can, I just wish books weren't so insanely expensive here in Aus.)

Inspired...By looking back over all my pinterest boards. I've been pinning for about six months now (thankfully slightly less obsessively these days, as frankly it was getting ridiculous) and have amassed an embarrassingly large amount of images I love of everything from style inspiration to DIY project ideas which is probably one of the reasons I haven't embraced the TV now it has finally arrived. Nothing better in the evenings than settling down on the sofa with a glass of wine and the iPad for a spot of escapism and visual eye candy.

Buying...A few necessary items I was lacking ready for autumn/winter (when it arrives... there's no rush though, d'you hear me weather!) I picked up a casual canvas parka jacket and a cream, chunky Aran knit sweater from asos for day-to-day wear out and about with the kids. Now I just need a couple of new pair of jeans (got my eye on this burgundy pair from my wish list).

Planning...A little trip. We have some domestic flight credits to use up before the end of the year so we are thinking of a city break to Sydney in the next few months.

Sleeping...for a blissful 8 hours interrupted. Rose finally slept straight through the night last night. It's only taken nine months!! Hoping it's not just a one off but we'll have to wait and see. We definitely didn't appreciate how lucky we were when Lila was sleeping through at 4 months.

Saving...very hard for a trip back to the UK in the Autumn for a very good friends wedding and to see the family. Debating if we could possibly financially manage to fit in a visit to South Africa on the way back to Australia to catch up with Curt's family and all our friends there. Lila and Rose have four cousins in SA, Lila has only ever met the eldest two and Rose hasn't met any of them!

Images: // the shipwreck at Half Moon Bay // our bountiful herb patch// Blair and Curt at the Grand Prix // track side // clear water at Half Moon Bay // air display at Grand Prix //Rose practising her wave // our olive and lime trees // Lila strikes a pose // South Bank in the city- and Curt's office // a stroll down the promenade in Port Melbourne

Friday, 9 March 2012

seven truths of motherhood

1/ It's impossible to do it all, all the time.

Let's smash the complete myth that it's a reasonable expectation to stay on top of absolutely everything and excel in every area of life 24/7. Without of course burning out or losing your mind. If I've managed to write a blog post, do the laundry and take the kids on a fun afternoon out then you can pretty much guarantee the house is a complete mess and we're probably having pizza for dinner.

If you attend a playgroup or coffee group where every mother sits around with their perfect hair do and fresh manicure, casually dropping into the conversation how terribly advanced their picture perfect child is and the whole scene makes you feel like Worzel Gummidge - not to mention a complete failure- you are not a bad parent if you a beeline for the exit, never to return again. They seriously exist, I've encountered a couple. It took me a while to realise (some, but by no means all) other mothers do shall we say 'take liberties with the truth' concerning matters of their children and their lives to save face or make themselves feel better.

I've now found a playgroup to which I take the girls where everyone is a bit haphazard, usually turns up late but more importantly they are all really lovely, supportive, can have a laugh at themselves and the kids often rock up with mismatched socks or in superhero outfit/ pajama combos and no one bats an eyelid.

2/ You are not alone.

Sometimes you feel like the only parent in the entire world whose nine month old baby still isn't sleeping through the night (yes Rose I'm talking about you!) Whatever parenting issue is troubling you at any given time I can guarantee that thousands of other parents are battling exactly the same thing and usually having a much worse time of it than you. Not met any of them yet? See the above point about other mothers who sometimes widely exaggerate or choose to omit the reality of certain situations. You only need to log onto the forums on mumsnet to see that you are not alone, you might even find some good advice to try while you're there.

3/ Some days you will feel like throwing your child out the window or willingly handing them over to a complete stranger.

Every now and then they will push you to your upper limits and you really just.need.a.break. Even twenty minutes in a dark room alone would do. They always seem choose the day to turn into the worst, most whiny, disagreeable, overtired or just plain horrific versions of themselves when you have something really urgent to do.

It's difficult to do anything at all when you have a tantrumming toddler clinging to your leg, refusing to let go and who inevitably ends up getting dragged around the kitchen floor while you try do whatever it is that requires urgent attention. Somehow though, usually at the very end of the day they do a complete u-turn and morph into a sweet, polite and loving little angel. You subsequently feel really guilty for thinking unmotherly, bad thoughts about them and spend a good half an hour internally beating yourself up over it. A large glass of wine in the evening usually helps.

4/ Smugness comes before a fall.

There's the odd occasion, typically at a childrens party or maybe in the supermarket, where you might encounter a poor mother with an out of control child lying on the floor screaming- the child that is, not the mother, though it can be tempting. However instead of sympathising (despite the fact at some time or another, we've all been there too), you have a superior moment where you bask in the smug parenting glow of, "Isn't my child so beautifully behaved". Or you start congratulating yourself along the lines of "I must be doing something right!". In my experience, this type of pride usually comes before an almighty fall. The next shop you go into, chances are you'll be the one dealing with an epic showdown.

5/ It's all a big cycle- you just have to keep on pedalling.

There are really small windows of time when as a parent, you feel really on top of things. Maybe you just convinced your child that green vegetables are infact edible or sucessfully potty trained your toddler. Fully enjoy every small victory and mentally high five yourself but realise this state of bliss will not last. Next week comes a new phase, a new set of challenges to embrace. That's all part of the joy of being a parent.

I've found a similar situation with their clothing. I always have an ongoing list of what I need to get them to 'complete' the ultimate well rounded, fully stocked wardrobe, maybe a new winter coat for Lila or a few more pairs of socks for Rose. Whenever I feel like I've finally got there, what do you know. Lila has grown out of all her pajamas and Rose no longer fits any of her vests. Here we go again...

6/ Children see, hear and imitate EVERYTHING.

If you've been wondering where your little one picked up that hysterical concentrating face or really annoying catchphrase, it's not always the case that they learnt it at nursery. Consider the fact that they may have actually picked it up closer to home. From you. Umm, yes, you actually do that all the time but just never realised until the correlation was helpfully pointed out to you by your beloved. While parenting books are always droning on about setting an example, they undoubtedly do have a point here.

Young children are like sponges, and while of course they also absorb all the good things too, it really only hits home when they come out with something shocking. I visibly recoiled in horror the other week when my three year old addressed me as "Silly old cow!", and wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry or reprimand her first (I think I did all three at once). Now I'm sure she hasn't heard it at home- well here's hoping it's not something her father has ever referred to me as, though maybe I need to investigate this further!!- so it got me thinking where on earth she could have picked it up. Hmmm, maybe I need to start paying more attention to those episodes of Charlie and Lola...

7/ If you are at home caring for your child, your other half will always secretly believe that you are living a life of leisure.

I practically guarantee that any mother (even one with a really high powered, important job) will tell you that staying at home and taking care of their child or children full-time is a lot harder than going to work every day. It is doubtful than anyone else other than another stay at home parent will ever fully believe them. Their husband or partner (even if they appear to or pretend to) definitely will not. Even when you patiently try to explain that this is a job which is requires you to be on call 24 hours a day, every single day. Which involves dealing with excrement and other bodily fluids and small, obstinate people it is often impossible to reason with. For which you get no monetary compensation, praise or thanks for that matter. Don't get me wrong, on many days it is beyond rewarding, fun and many more wonderful things but the way they see it, it's morning coffees, leisurely lunches, fluffy bunnies and walks in the park all day every day.

As the saying goes...No one ever said it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it :)

Print above from the love shop on etsy.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

two months later

It's been over two months that we've been in Australia now. It's been a brilliant but utterly exhausting, sometimes trying time. Picking up your entire life and moving to two different countries within two years is hard work. Crazy hard work and even more complicated with two little people in tow. We've probably taken about ten years off our lives with the sheer stress involved but I'd always rather be glad that we did it, made our dream happen rather than sitting on our sofa back in London just wishing we were elsewhere, thinking "What if...." Thank goodness very young children are so adaptable and take it all in their stride. When I think that in her short life Lila has already lived in three countries and holidayed in another three it blows my mind. I hope these experiences will help them realise that the world is their oyster, they can travel wherever they want to in their lives and that anything is possible if you work hard enough to make it happen.

We've spent the past week surrounded by about eighty boxes full of all our possessions, trying to find a place for them all in our little cottage (which seemed quite a lot larger when it was empty), trying to make a house into a home. We got rid of the last box yesterday and breathed a collective sigh of relief. So how is the reality of the big dream shaping up? Well it's still very early days but life here is good so far, though not without some challenges. I love the vibrancy of the city, the short stroll to the beach and our beautiful, leafy neighborhood with its pretty wooden cottages and verandahs and quiet streets. Living down the road from my sister, and having family and a support system close by has changed my world. Knowing there is someone there to look after the girls in an emergency, to meet for breakfast on a Saturday morning, to babysit every once in a while, and someone to call just because you can. The unexpected bonus that one of my best friends from the UK moved over here at the same time has also meant chats and a cup of tea are only a ten minute drive away. Befriending other mothers at the park has been surprisingly painless and Lila has found plenty of play mates. The weather has been blue skies and sunshine- sometimes a little too ridiculously hot- up until the past week, and since then hello rain. On the plus side at least we haven't had to water the garden.

Childcare is prohibitively expensive if you're not a permanent resident and means that Lila can only go to kindergarten once a week at the moment, when she would love to go for an extra day or two. There's still much to be done though we are finally now with internet connected! I look forward to the day our landlord eventually fixes our dishwasher and I don't know how much longer Curt will be able to survive without our TV aerial working. These are all minor blips in the grand scheme of things though. I'm excited about seeing what the next few months bring and weirdly looking forward to a proper Autumn and Winter. An Auckland winter never gets cold but just means rain, rain and more rain and we didn't even get a chance to don a scarf or a woolly hat last year. Maybe we'll even make it to the mountains for a snowboarding trip! Still trying to get my head around the fact that there is actually snow in a couple of places over here...

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