Sunday, 30 April 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Search for the hero inside yourself.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

The Saturday Update

It's been a funny old week here. Dad left on Monday after a lovely christening celebration on Sunday.

I started cycling Isabella to nursery - it was good to be back on the bike, tiring too though.

Then the kids were both struck with heavy colds so Isabella has had two days at home which has left me even more exhausted.

This week she has discovered Barbie and Lego which has brought back memories for me and Nico.

Other than that it's been a pretty regular week - cleaning, washing, knitting, crochet, Project Life, paperwork...

We're enjoying a long bank holiday weekend and hoping for nicer weather.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Links!

A beautiful print.

So funny!

I do work out better with a friend!

Maternity leave is my secret but these tips are good too.

What a sweet thing to do.

So these are cute.

Exciting sewing news!

Got mine ordered!

Thursday, 27 April 2017

April Goals Review

Here's how I got on this month:
  • Start fitness course - done!
  • 2 new recipes - 1
  • Put away old clothes - done!
  • Write two letters - 1
  • Try oil painting!! - done!

I've lost a bit of momentum this month but I am really tired between my birthday, Joshua's christening, new exercise, horrible weather and two poorly kids... It hasn't been a complete washout but I am looking forward to a fresh month!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Reading Review

Citadel - Kate Mosse

This was a re-read from my collection and I actually mistook it for the first of the trilogy rather than the third but it still works well as a stand alone book.

It follows a group of friends who join the resistance during World War Two in Carasonne. It's packed with action and strong characters as well as a dose of European history.

A really enjoyable read and I'll be reading the first of the trilogy again soon.

The Unmumsy Mum Diary - Sarah Turner

Just like the first book, I devoured this in under two days. In the emotional and hormonal turmoil that is motherhood, Turner's writing is a real beacon of light. An excellent reminder that all mothers have it hard at times but with a real comedy twist. I found myself laughing out loud more than I have in a long time.

Dissolution - C.J.Sansom

Nico bought this one for my birthday having read and enjoyed it himself. Previously I had read and loved Winter in Madrid by this author but didn't realise he did Tudor fiction too.

This is the first in a series of novels following a character called Shardlake. Here he is sent by Cromwell to investigate a murder at a monastary. It's full of interesting twists and characters. The end was a real surprise and as usual I loved learning something new of history.

Looking forward to following this series.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Recipe: Red fruit buns

I did some more baking with Isabella last week and updated an old gluten free recipe to make these fruity treats.

Combine 50g margarine and 150g sugar. Add two eggs.  Add 200g rice flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 175ml sour cream. Finally, stir in 150g frozen red berries, a packet of vanilla sugar and a pinch of salt.

Spoon the mixture into bun cases (I managed 24) and bake for twenty minutes on 220℃.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Make it Monday - April birthday cards

Nice and simple and seasonal this month with some pink butterfly stamps for my aunt.

Meanwhile, I'm still making birthday presents but resorting to tried and tested ones so nothing new to share at the moment.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Kid, you'll move mountains.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

The Saturday Update

We've had a good, though fast, second week of holidays.

Monday was a quiet pyjama day as it was a bank holiday.

Tuesday to Thursday, were regular days, getting bits and bobs done and relaxing. Isabella had nursery. Dad arrived on Thursday evening, ready for Joshua's christening tomorrow.

On Friday, we kept Isabella off nursery and took her swimming with her friend. It was the first time for Joshua and he loved it.

Today we are heading to Nico's family for Joshua's christening tomorrow. Can't wait!

After that it's back to the reality of work and cycling Isabella to nursery!

Friday, 21 April 2017

Links!

Another struggle with chronic illness.

I don't see the point of going away to feel at home...but if I had to travel for work, this would be good.

Fantastic detail.

Cute!

Ever wondered where all the things go?

So funny.

A new recipe to try.

More to make your mouth water.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Notes on baby #1 vs baby #2

Having a second baby has obviously changed our lives. Joshua completes our family and we are really blessed with both of our children but there are two things I still struggle with on a daily basis which I would tell anyone contemplating expanding their family:

1. You will love both children equally even though your heart feels full with your firstborn BUT you will never be able to give both children 100% of yourself.

This kind of hit me when I went into labour and Nico took Isabella to our friends' house. I cried when I realised Isabella didn't know what was about to happen and she'd always have to share us from now on.

I still find it hard on a day to day basis to be fair to both children, especially since Joshua is still so small and needy. While I'm sure it will get easier and the benefit of co-parenting is that we can 'divide and conquer', I think this is something I'll always struggle with.

2. Success with one baby does not ensure you the same experience with another, even when it shares the same genes, home and parenting as the first.

We were spoiled by Isabella. She was such an easy baby. I still can't believe we moved house,  and decorated the house and flat with Isabella at six months!

Joshua is not difficult but he is very different. He's clingy, he will only nap in my arms, he slept in our bed for almost three months, he won't take a dummy... The list goes on.

We're learning with him but it is very different than we expected.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Post-natal fitness course

Last night was my first post-natal fitness session. I wasn't really sure what to expect. After Isabella was born, I did a one off session which was a bit like aerobics and strength training. Since it's paid for by the health insurance and there was a course available locally, I decided to try it.

It's at a kindergarten and there were nine of us. We started with an introductory round and then started the exercises. It wasn't as strenuous as the other session. There's a lot of focus on the tummy and pelvic floor. Despite not feeling like I put in much effort, I am feeling my tummy and leg muscles today!

It was nice to go out and do something for myself. It was also nice to mix with other mums. I actually knew one of them as her daughter is at nursery with Isabella - something else I love about small town life.

I'm really looking forward to the next weeks.

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Grand Designs

Recently Netflix brought me a blast from the past in the form of 'Grand Designs'. I love our house and could never deal with the stress of building but watching people bring these dreams to life is so interesting!

The first thing we learned from watching it is how crazy the building regulations (or sometimes the lack thereof) is in Great Britain. Nico has family in the building business and there's no way some of those practices would be allowed here.

What always surprises me is how rich some of these people are. They nearly always end up over budget and it's hard to imagine where the extra comes from.

I'm nearly always impressed with the finished buildings but there are quite few I would actually like to live in. It just shows you how much it comes down to personal taste.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Make it Monday - Oil Painting

Last week we finally got around to trying oil painting after Nico bought me the supplies for my birthday.

I read the book and was keen to get going on something small and simple. I did this still life of one of the tulips our friends brought last week.

I'm pleased with it as a first attempt. It was much harder than I thought. The book said to do the highlights last but because the paint takes an age to dry (literally months), the colours start to blend on the canvas.

Patience is a key factor. I'm looking forward to trying this again though and Isabella joined in with her mini easel and children's pants. It was good fun. Thank you Nico!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Don't ever think that your love was wasted.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Saturday Update

It's been a real week of two halves here. We've had a busy start to the school holidays getting jobs done around the house, keeping up to the kids' routines and indulging our hobbies. We even found the time to try a little oil painting!

The second half of the week was a bit more relaxed, spending time with Nico's family and indulging Isabella over the long Easter weekend.

I took Isabella to brunch with the other yoga mums this week, which was a nice catch up as always.

Next week we'll be getting caught up around the house again and preparing for Joshua's christening at the weekend.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Links!

Funny moment.

Advice we'll be needing soon...

...including this toy.

How to succeed.

Amazing flea market find.

Brilliant!

So true.

What a fab idea for family holidays at home.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Easter!

 I'm so excited about this holiday weekend. Like Christmas, this is the first Easter where Isabella really 'gets' it and that makes it all the more special for me too.
 She's already excited about all the decorations around the house. Wait until she finds the chocolate and gifts!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Ulcerative Colitis

Two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis.  It was a shock and I said at the time that I would write about it when I had gotten to grips with things and now seems like a good time.

It's not a pleasant topic but it's important to raise awareness of this illness.

After Isabella was born, I suffered with diarrhoea for weeks.  In the hospital they weren't concerned and my gynaecologist at my five week check up just told me to eat more bananas.  Because of their lack of concern, it took two months of rushing to the toilet all day and nagging from my husband before I finally went to see my GP.

Luckily, he took me seriously.  He immediately ran tests and set up various appointments.  We were in the middle of August by this point, which meant that many doctors were on holiday, but he went out of his way to make sure that I would be seen quickly by specialists.  I'm so grateful to that doctor and for the German health system.

After an endoscopy, a doctor at the hospital gave us the diagnosis.  I sat in his office with my husband by my side and two month old baby in the pram on the other side as he described this illness I'd never heard of before - ulcerative colitis.  An inflammatory bowel disease.

I'd suffered with my bowels for a while - it had been diagnosed as IBS while I was at university but medication had never helped.  We'd suspected a gluten allergy for a while and cutting it out helped.  It turns out, this is probably a related problem.

The doctor explained that there was no cure.  It is like Crohn's Disease but only affects the large intestine.  Basically, my large intestine becomes irritated at times causing pain, bleeding and diarrhoea.  There is treatment and I have to watch what I eat to a certain extent but otherwise, many people live normal lives with this disease.  I'd have to have regular check ups going forward but there was no reason to think I couldn't lead a normal life too.

The scariest part was the higher risk of colon cancer but the positive side of this is that, now we know that it's a risk and has to be checked regularly.

I remember driving up to stay with Nico's parents, from this appointment with Isabella in the back of the car, crying because we'd brought this baby into the world and both of us now had illnesses which gave her a higher risk of cancer if she inherited one of them, and worrying that we hadn't made a will if these illnesses took us early.

The doctor gave me a course of strong medication which cleared up the problem immediately.  It was such a huge relief.  Since then I have only had one outbreak which was treated with steroids.  The rest of the time, I've been on a weaker medication which (touch wood) is keeping things in check.  I have to have regular blood tests and hopefully will be able to come off this medication in a few years.

I also take algae and resin supplements daily and follow a gluten free diet and live a normal lifestyle.  Though I'm not very good at sticking with it, I do feel that following a Paleo diet helps too. We have even been able to have a second baby and despite my fears following his birth, symptoms have been kept at bay.

Since the diagnosis, I've read a lot about this illness and actually discovered that a few people I know suffer from it too.  It's just not something that is talked about.  Maybe if it were more well known, people would be diagnosed earlier.

If you're interested in finding out more you can read about it here.




Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Decor!

When we moved into the new house, the living room was already decorated with blue carpet and some blue tiles.

As for furniture, we have quite a mish mash while we save up.

At the weekend Nico found this gorgeous table topped with blue marble on the classified ads. It looks great, if a little big and so far we are all enjoying it.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Make it Monday - Weaving

This week I tried something new - weaving! There was a free kit with this month's Mollie Makes.

As my first ever weaving, I'm pretty happy with it. I love the colours and found the weaving quite relaxing.

I found the instructions a little unclear when it came to finishing the piece so I'm not 100% happy with it but I plan to watch some videos and try again.

I love learning new skills!

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Weekly Wisdom

Inhale calm, exhale chaos.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

The Saturday Update

We had a lovely, sunny weekend celebrating my birthday. I'm a very lucky lady.

On Dad's last day we took Isabella for ice cream and to the playground. We treated ourselves to takeaway for dinner.

We saw Dad off on Tuesday and the rest of the week has been a blur of getting back into a routine, getting jobs done and preparing for Joshua's christening.

On Wednesday I took Isabella swimming for the first time since last Summer. It was amazing to see how confident she is in the water now. It was really fun.

A friend came over for coffee on Thursday which was really nice. It's always a relief to have adult company over the day and I've missed her during maternity leave.

Yesterday was quiet. I got several jobs done and it was the last day of term so Nico is home for two weeks now!

Friday, 7 April 2017

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Spring cleaning

As part of our Spring clean, I've spent some hours sorting out all the clothes (well, mine, Isabella's and Joshua's). I went to Ikea last week with Dad, who patiently and kindly lugged around these awkward boxes and we now have six to go in the loft and two to fill as we go along.

It feels so good to have them sorted and I love this storage system. I added some labels and it should be quick and easy to grab a box as Joshua grows before we go out and buy things double.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Recipe: Apple Muffins

Last week I adapted this paleo recipe to make some apple muffins. In fact, there was so much mixture, I made a cake too. The consistency was a bit eggy but the taste is nice. Here's how I did it.

Ingredients:

  • Four green apples.
  • Nine eggs.
  • 3 tbsp honey.
  • 3 tbsp coconut milk.
  • 2 tbsp rice flour.
  • Baking powder.
  • 2 tbsp butter.
  • 50g ground almonds.
  • Cinnamon.
  • Salt.
Instructions:
1. Brown the apples with a bit of water and 2tsp cinnamon.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients together and combine with the apple.
3. Spoon into muffin cases and bake at 180℃ for forty minutes.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

April Goals

Here's what I'd like to do this month:

  • Start fitness course.
  • 2 new recipes.
  • Put away old clothes.
  • Write two letters.
  • Try oil painting!!

Monday, 3 April 2017

Make it Monday: Quilling!

For my birthday, my Mum bought me a quilling kit. I saw it at a craft fair a while ago and it looked like fun.

Today I started small with a gift tag. Once I got going it was really easy and I love the result.

I'm looking forward to doing more quilling - it's so versatile and looks so complex.

Sunday, 2 April 2017

Weekly Wisdom

It's not the years in your life that count but the life in your years!

Saturday, 1 April 2017

The Saturday Update

We had a productive weekend around here last week, getting various bits and bobs done.

On Monday I did my knitting and Dad arrived.

Tuesday was gloriously sunny. We got out in the garden. Even Joshua enjoyed it. We actually had to crack out the sun cream.

Unfortunately Wednesday was dull and rainy. Joshua had his jabs, which made him a little cranky but otherwise he coped well. We had lunch out and picked Isabella up from nursery. We walked all the way home too.

We did a bit more gardening on Thursday and Isabella had a friend over to play.

The sun made another appearance yesterday and we got a lot more done in the garden as well as some baking. We also went to Ikea in the afternoon.

All in all a really productive week! It's wonderful as always having Dad here.