Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Year Five

My blog, this month, is five years old. FIVE years. It doesn't seem that long ago to me but according to Google it really has been five years. I think five years is a long time! I'm not sure how I've managed to keep it up but I hope there will be many more!

This year, however, hasn't been a really productive one blogging wise. Fear not - I have plans to change this - let me know if you'd like to collaborate or get involved!

So it may not have been a very productive blogging year but it was productive otherwise. I feel like I've been on a ginormous learning curve that hasn't ended ... not sure when it will to be honest. It wasn't a year like last year where we had wedding after wedding, but we did have a baby! The journey to get to that stage was a long and steady one and our bundle of joy arrived in April - we have been trying to keep up with her ever since.

A few thoughts:
  • Take a break: I took a break from blogging, not one that I planned but one that just happened. What I've learnt from this is that it is important to take breaks. Take a step back. I know that if I had carried on my posts would have been scattered, inconsistent and I would have been writing for the sake of it with no feeling or motivation. 
  • Talk: It's important to talk to people, keeping things in your head can sometimes drive you crazy. Remember you aren't alone no matter how lonely you may feel!
  • Listen: Listen to what people have to say as sometimes you come across genuine people who will give good advice. They'll tell good stories and make you think twice. Don't take everything to heart, just listen. Sometimes listening means letting it go in through one ear and out the other because lets face it, people talk a lot of rubbish. Sometimes it means really listening to what is being said, especially when it comes from the heart.  
  • Make your own decisions: This is something I personally really really struggle with. I am one of the worst decision makers you'll ever meet. My manager used to send me the menu to wherever we were going a few weeks before everyone else just so I had that extra time to decide. It's not a bad thing, it just means I'm overwhelmed by choices. But sometimes we need to make decisions for ourselves because then, at the end of the day, they are your own. I'm trying to be less indecisive! 
  • Stop looking back: Stop looking back at things that could have happened, and even things that have happened. When I say looking back, I mean living in the past and constantly thinking 'what if'. The truth is that it's too late. We can't turn the clocks back and we can't repeat history. I'm pretty sure that's not possible, no matter how much we may want it to be. We have to live in the now.
I hope you've had a great year and that the next one is even better!! 

What has been the highlight of your year? Any advice that you'd give? Do you have any plans for next year?
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Friday, 7 December 2018

Finding My Mojo

It's been a long time since I blogged properly and regularly. Mostly it was because I was busy but also because I was lacking inspiration and motivation. I just haven't been able to find things that I thought were good enough to blog about. It became a chore. It never used to be a chore.

I used to blog because I wanted to, because I enjoyed it. Thankfully, now I have the urge to blog again! I have my mojo back!! Oh yes.

Things I've been doing/an explanation for my absence:
I've been busy trying to be a mum, a wife, a daughter, a daughter-in-law, a granddaughter, a friend, a cousin and an aunt. I've been busy trying, trying again and then some more, sometimes failing and sometimes succeeding. I guess you can only do what you can do - to come to this thinking however took some time.

I've not had much time to myself - I haven't sat down with my laptop or notebook in such a long time that the concept almost feels alien to me. I have spent many outings and moments trying to find something to blog about. I've racked my brains for inspiration without luck. It's crazy because there are actually so many things I could blog about staring at me in the face! SO MANY!

I could have written about life with a baby, the rewards, the challenges and the milestones. I could write about days out or places I've eaten in. I mean it's not like I had nothing to blog about... I just hadn't been able to find it in myself.

But I think I'm ready, I think I'm back and I sure do have a lot more to say this time. :)

What have you been up to? Have you caught up with my blog posts so far? Do! I had a baby!

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Friday, 10 August 2018

Trimester Four - The Deep End

So turns out trimester three is not the last hurdle ... there is actually something called trimester 4. Trimester 4 is the first three months after your baby is born. The same amount of time a baby is classed as a newborn! 

Baby B arrived exactly on the day the midwife told us she would. The due date. Her due date. Our little girl seemed to have no interest in coming out and waited patiently the whole time. Finally when she did arrive, it was surreal. I remember looking at her during the night and thinking 'she's mine, oh my!' She slept so quietly the first few days, waking up to feed and then slipping straight back into a deep sleep. That's how the first week has was, and for a very short while she stayed like that, eating and sleeping. 

Having a newborn is exhausting. The lack of sleep and time to oneself is draining and I had so many questions! Why could I not stop my baby when she cried? Why was she crying? Am I supposed to recognise her cry? Is she too hot? Too cold? Why won't she sleep? Why is she sleeping for so long? Is she hungry? Is this supposed to happen?! So many! Google can help but I wouldn't advise too much time on Google as you'll terminally diagnosing yourself or your baby. 

I also felt a sense of insecurity where I doubted myself and my abilities but then you look at your beautiful baby and those feelings of exhaustion and insecurity just disappear. 

Let me tell you something, it's hard. I doubted myself so many times and as Baby B got older, she developed colic. That meant she cried and cried and cried and because of this, I was too afraid to take her out. I'd think that what happens if she cries when we go out and I can't comfort her enough to calm down? But it did get better. I went to a few baby massage classes and the first few weren't good. Having to rock your baby in an effort to calm them down in front of a group of mums whose babies aren't screaming is hard. In fact, it almost shattered my confidence, but we carried on and eventually we had a full session with no crying! 

One thing I can tell you is that nobody has all the answers as each baby is different. There are guidelines but no one can tell you exactly why a baby is crying if you haven't figured it out yourself.  There are so many new things to learn. You'll learn new things about yourself too! 

Find a good support group - online or otherwise. I'm lucky that I have family close by and friends who keep in touch. 

It took me a while but I’ve finally decided to try my best and we’ll deal with anything that comes up as it does.

Have you had a baby? Are you expecting or know anyone who is? 

Update: It get's better! Baby B doesn't cry as much anymore and we have so much more confidence now. I've even been out and about on my own with Baby B and we've even started socialising! 

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Monday, 28 May 2018

Trimester Three: The Last Hurdle

Trimester Two passed by nearly as quickly as trimester one and I was busy at work and getting to grips with my growing bump. In set trimester three. Trimester three was the last trimester before we met baby - one I spent growing even more, feeling stronger kicks and nudges and pokes and prods.

In the third trimester, the thing I heard the most was how big I was getting - I was well aware of my bump but for some reason, people felt it necessary to mention this to me. This included random people, STRANGERS, asking me how far along I was. After hearing my answer they'd respond with "are you sure it's not twins?! You're HUGE". I was almost certain that I was not having twins but still kept having to remind others that I wasn't.

Another reminder that I was getting bigger was the fact that most of my clothes didn't fit me. Things stopped fitting me in the space of weeks and I found myself wearing the same few tops over and over as I was reluctant to buy new ones. I decided not to buy too many new clothes - I wouldn’t be wearing them for that long anyway and so I kept on going with the few things that I did have. It worked for me. It wasn't too bad, not as bad as I make it sound anyway. 

I waddled already but my cankles teamed with my growing bump made my waddling walk more prominent, much more noticeable. One may have compared it to that of a penguin.

This aside, I didn’t mind it so much. The third trimester was one where I felt bigger, stronger movements, I watched my baby grow through my bump growth and listened to the heart beat at every appointment. The arrival of Baby B was drawing closer and I kept thinking of what it would be like once baby did arrive. It was actually quite exciting!! 
My lovely friends even threw me a surprise baby shower and I felt very loved!  

I looked more at baby clothes and things for the baby but we decided to buy as we needed when the time came, and therefore bought only the essentials. We’d buy other stuff when the time came and we knew if baby was a boy or a girl. I found that the gender neutral clothes weren't that exciting so that didn't really help.

There were times I wanted to speed things up but I knew that baby would come when baby was ready, and so I carried on going. The worries I had initially were slowly pushed back, still there but now they were mixed with feeings of excitement and job, and tiredness! 

A few weeks into my third trimester, I met a lovely lady who gave me an eye opening reminder. It’s one I’d like to share with you all. I mentioned to her that I thought I was unprepared, scared of the immense responsibility this baby would bring and she said it’s completely normal to feel that way. That’s why we have nine months to get used to the idea. Nine months. Nine. It could have been weeks or a few months but it wasn’t, it was nine months. And that’s the perfect amount of time to process the information and prepare for baby. This made so much sense and really did make me feel better. 

And just like trimester one and two, trimester three flew by!! And soon enough we would be able to meet our baby! That made everything worth it.

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Thursday, 29 March 2018

Trimester Two: The Bump

Trimester one quickly merged in with trimester two as once I had gotten my head round everything, time had passed. We were also super busy with things at home and work.

So in came trimester two of three. In this trimester bump grew - pretty fast and baby continued to develop. At the beginning of our second twelve weeks we had our first scan and slowly, very slowly, we began to tell people. We started off with close (as in immediate) family and very close friends and stopped there. Well I stopped there but I think Mr B  told a few more people - such as his whole office! There are still people to this day that don't know I'm expecting! You see, I didn't hide it, but I didn't actually tell people either. I figured it'd be obvious when my bump grew big enough anyway. And it did grow quite fast during this short time. It became more and more obvious that I hadn't over-eaten and wasn't suffering from a severe case of wind, I was indeed pregnant. 

This trimester went slightly better than the first (the first was a blur)- although it was just as fast. My sickness began to ease off and I started to accept the idea of being pregnant a bit more. We began talking about the baby a little more and slowly slowly, the baby began to become a part of our lives. 
I felt little flutters - and at first I was uncertain about what it was - was it butterflies of the baby?! How do I know?! Eventually I realised that it was indeed the baby as the movements got stronger and the baby grew. 

The whole idea started to become more and more real. It really kicked in when we went to a family get together where I saw family members I hadn't seen in a while - and the fact that I was pregnant became known to pretty much everyone in the room on that day - there were a lot of people. At least I didn't have to announce! It went round the room like Chinese whispers and that was that, the word was officially out. 

Another big hint that I was pregnant, according to one of my best friends who also happened to be working in the same office as me at that time, were my eating habits. I've always liked food and eating but apparently my snacking little and very often was big indicator of the fact that I was pregnant. I should have known really but I couldn't help but eating little and often - I was hungry and my stomach was squished! It was, however what the midwife had recommended and therefore I didn't even try to stop. Luckily for me I began to tell people not long after this anyway! 

This trimester was one of acceptance, learning to deal with being pregnant but also watching my bump as it grew and feeling movements become stronger. I began to change my work outs in the gym to make sure bump was ok and that my body could handle the changes, and also grew out of clothes very fast. I could buy a new, bigger top and it would no longer button up two weeks later! Baby was growing fast!
My growing bump
One more important thing I'd like to share with you all is some advice I got towards the end of my second trimester. This advice came from a complete stranger at the gym after I'd been for a swim one morning. She told me that everyone would be full of advice, of stories and telling me how it happened for them, or didn't happen for them. But the truth is, everyone is different. You have to do things in your own way. Maybe the end result will be the same but the process of getting there isn't. Our bodies are all unique and therefore so our are experiences. And this, she told me, was nothing to be afraid of. Don't worry if it doesn't work the way people say it should.

I wish someone had told me that earlier in my life - about life - as this would have helped a lot for any different things!

How do you feel about it? Have you had a baby, is pregnant or know someone who has/is?

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Trimester One - Finding Out

We were so busy when I fell pregnant that I didn’t actually notice at first. We had a family wedding, a funeral, Eid - as well as other things and I’d just started working for a different department at work. In fact, when I did realise I was in denial – I was so sure that I was just feeling under the weather that my other half went out and bought a pregnancy test. Yes he did. I guess he was convinced that my ‘bug’ should have disappeared – and right he was.
I still wasn’t so sure, even after taking a test. A test didn't prove anything to me. I insisted that he took a test just to prove that the test was right. I figured that if it read positive for him then there was definitely a mistake and I really was just recovering from a bug. He wouldn’t do it, no matter how much I insisted, and I really did insist.

So yep, that was that. The test came out positive and I didn't take another one because I thought I'd wait to see how I felt first - not much changed. I kept feeling nauseous all day long for what felt like eons, and was occasionally sick. I then fell into a routine of being sick and then feeling like I was going to be sick every other minute of the day. It was not pleasant at all having a lingering sick feeling.

I sat on the news for a while, told no one and said nothing and my other half patiently waited whilst I got my head round it. I think it was more real for him right from the minute the result came out positive - where as I take time to process things and think them through. And boy did I think - good thoughts and then worries about the immense responsibility a child is. I needed to get my pregnancy confirmed so I booked an appointment and tada - we were told we were expecting a baby child! Baby B was officially official. (Baby 'B' because of our surname.)

It was slightly surreal because when I had my first appointment with the midwife I didn't have to do any tests - no blood test or anything so when I came home I was still in that 'I'm not so sure' stage - going to the doctors didn't make me believe it any more! But then soon after I did have blood tests, and after that a scan and very quickly things in my mind adjusted themselves. We became more used to the idea - there really was a tiny human growing inside me that would need to come out at some point.

This thought scared me silly. Not that it'd have to come out, that was far away and I wasn't thinking too much about it, but that it would depend on us. That tiny human would be our responsibility, to clothe, feed, help to provide opportunities and do the best we can and that was it - there was no turning back. No refunds or exchanges. Although I'm sure we'd never want to do that but still, the idea is perfectly feasible. It wasn't only about us anymore - we had another human to consider. A whole other human.

It's ok to be happy and scared all at the same time right?!  But as scary as it may seem, we were over the moon! A baby!!!!

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Monday, 29 January 2018

Rome 2017 - The Sights

In Rome, as mentioned here, there is a lot to explore. Here are but a few places we visited:

Trevi Fountains
That view :)
If you're going to Rome you must, absolutely must, visit this hidden gem - you'd be crazy not to. we found the fountains at the end of a long day - the way we had planned to. We spent the day walking and exploring Rome and the fountains were our last stop for the day. That was day two of or stay in Rome and from that day on, we somehow ended up by the steps of the fountains every night after.

I'm not sure why but I expected the fountains to be in a park, or a garden or some huge courtyard (somewhere spacious),  much like fountains in the UK but  this was quite the opposite. The Trevi Fountains are situated in a small side street, surrounded by hotels, shops, a basilica and people, lots of people. We took a turn from the main street into a side street and bam - there they were, hidden within the business of Rome. It's so obvious that the area grew around the fountains and that's what added to the splendour of them. Definitely go and see them!!

Spanish Steps
This, as the name implies, is a set of steps leading up to a Church. If you go down the steps, you'll come to a small yet beautiful fountain and lots of shops, a few street sellers and a few horse drawn carriages. The steps were really lovely to look at and walk down and the view from the top was quite something. As is the view from the bottom when you see the full extent of the Spanish Steps.

The Spanish Steps
Vatican City
Look Up!!
Right, so on the last Sunday of every month Vatican City opens for a few hours and entry is free - that's right, free. We were, conveniently there, in Rome, on the last Sunday of the month and we had planned to go then, but we asked around and were told that if we wanted to go, we'd have to be there for 8am in order to get in around 12pm when they opened....that was so not happening. Also, the Pope was going to visit so as a bonus, we could have seen the Pope. But apparently it gets so so so busy that we decided to pay the entry fee and take a look another day.  We took a bus to Vatican City - one of the few times we actually took public transport. We walked everywhere else!  As soon as we got there we were mildly accosted by tour guides, claiming that but going with them we could skip the hour long line to get in and see things much faster. But we decided to stand in line - experience it all! It was about an hours wait, maybe less but the line of people behind us didn't reduce at any time - there were times where it got longer but never shorter than where we started!
Was it worth the wait - yes.
St Peters Square is beautiful, the amount of time and work that must have gone into making it - one thing I'd tell you to do is to look up when you are there. Look up at the buildings and how they're made, the detail and their finishing, the angels on the ends, standing and watching.

Inside, it's beautiful - as one would expect. The walls are decorated from top to bottom and there is so much to see - so much to soak up. This goes for everything there - the paintings, the sculptures, all the artwork is phenomenal and worth seeing, from the works of Michelangelo to Raphael.

The Sistine Chapel was in the Vatican City Museum at the end and there I found the atmosphere to be serene, peaceful and we spent a lot of time looking at the walls and ceiling. They also must pay someone to 'shhhhh' very loudly because that persons ever so slightly annoying.
If you're in Rome - go.

Coliseum and the Roman Forum
Inside the Coliseum
One of last things we did was to visit the Coliseum. We could see glimpses of the Coliseum from our hotel and the side streets - it's a view I'll never forget. The Coliseum lit up at night is beautiful - and I think it's beautiful in the day time too. My personal opinion - I didn't find it as jaw dropping as I had expected - I had gone in with images from the Gladiator film expecting it to be huge on the inside  and it wasn't as big as I had thought - in reality it's much smaller. It was worth a look because not seeing it would have been silly, but I wasn't that impressed. I think maybe next time I'd take a tour which takes us underneath the Coliseum - where the Gladiators and animals actually lived.
We had walked past the Forum every day since our arrival and so we knew what to expect before we visited it properly - ruins, a lot of ruins and Palatine Hill which overlooked the Coliseum and the Forum.

These are but a few places we visited in Rome - I haven't even mentioned the Pantheon, the numerous Basilicas and monuments we came across. There was just so much to see. And the food. Oh the food - delicious!

Have you been to Rome? Is it somewhere you'd like to go?

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