21|52

May 23, 2017

 

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa Baby mix!

Two things, I don’t like using iPhone photos for my weekly portraits but sometimes the phone is what’s handy to quickly capture these moments. And two, this knit on repeat, everyday.

Previous portraits here.

20|52

May 16, 2017

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa His hair, a constant debate in our home. To trim or not to trim. He’s already had three hair cuts!

Previous portraits here.

On Thriving In Motherhood

May 12, 2017

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Initially I was going to title this “On Surviving Motherhood” but I don’t want to survive motherhood. It’s not something that you painstakingly endure, or rather it shouldn’t be. No. I want to thrive in this mysterious, all-consuming, endless journey of motherhood. After talking to friends online and offline about thriving in motherhood, I’ve tried to articulate a few things that have helped me. You may, or may not, gleam something that interests or helps you continue to be that thriving mother that I’m sure you already are.

Just say no. No explanation needed. No to extra work. No to social engagements you really don’t want to go to. Say no thank you and leave it at that. It is extremely liberating.

Baby needs friends. I’m not sure he or she does, well not really at 13 months. And certainly not every. single.day. From the beginning I tried to ensure there was enough balance in our schedule – time with other children for Rafa, home time, mumma and Rafa time, daddy and Rafa time. But as groups grow (in terms of members) naturally activities and engagement increase. I’m scaling back. Not because I don’t like our friends (on the contrary, I love our friends) but I also miss the alone time with Rafa. So, the lesson here is just to keep an eye on how much friend time and group time you end you having. There’s a sweet spot. Too little or too much and you’ll go crazy!

Mumma needs friends. Like baby. Not every. single.day. But I really miss my friends. And I miss spending time with them without children. I also miss conversations about things other than children. Judge if you like – but I talk about and think about my child and how to be a better mother every moment of every day. I need a moment, once a week even, just to talk about work, social issues, what book everyone is reading. A friend mentioned enjoying a book in the sun a month ago – I still haven’t had a moment to ask her what book it was. I’m also aware that you can’t get everyone together and say “okay no talk about children.” We’re making a little more effort to spend time with our friends who don’t have children. Even if we have Rafa with us, it’s natural to talk about him for a while, but then we talk about what everyone else is doing and what we’re doing apart from parenting (and we are doing a lot else, like I’m sure you are too). I feel so much better after having meaningful conversations about life.  I’ve also shared this post on keeping good company.

Don’t forget the other parents/ Don’t forget dads. Involving Patrick in everything has made parenting so much easier. It is almost instinctive to want to do everything for Rafa. Or thinking, I do it better, so I may as well do it myself. Or, I can deal with Rafa quicker, so I should do it. Luckily Patrick has been quite adamant that even if things take longer or don’t get done the way I would do it, he is still going to do them. It has made my life as a mother so enjoyable. I can leave during the middle of the day to go shopping or to a cafe. I can go to dinners and drinks. Or just to a yoga class without worrying about Rafa. He is with his father after all.

Don’t listen to anyone else. Oh the irony. Sharing my opinion is in no way prescriptive. I share because often I’ve looked for information and suggestions and been unable to find it. Often just to get an insight and a glimpse of how everyone else is managing these uncharted waters. Ultimately, you listen to yourself. Your moods, your body, your child and of course the impact your decisions are having on your family dynamics.

These are just a few things that I’ve realised over time that have made me calmer and happier amidst the chaos of my everyday reality.

19|52

May 9, 2017

 

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa We’ve started letting Rafa watch a few educational videos for a few minutes a day. This was his initial reaction to it.

Previous portraits here.

Keeping Good Company

May 3, 2017

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This year has been game changing on the relationship front. I have let go of so many relationships that just weren’t bringing happiness or value to my life. So many relationships that I hung on to, to avoid hurting people and to keep the peace. All this did was take away precious time that I could better spend with people whose presence in my life I truly valued. Maintaining relationships I didn’t want to also took so much mental effort on my part – convincing myself to get in touch, invite these people around, organising get-togethers. Looking at myself to see what else I could do to help the relationship along. It was a chore that greatly distracted from the positivity and joy I felt when surrounded by closer friends and family.

It had to stop. Instead of trying one more time to see if things were different and instead of hoping others would at least attempt to invest in the relationship I simply stopped. I stopped calling, messaging and inviting. There was no big fallout with any of these people. No quarrel. I see a few now and again, and I acknowledge them, say hello. Have a conversation but no longer add “we should catch up”. I don’t mean it. I don’t particularly want to. And the curious thing is, none of these people actually tried to bridge the silence. Perhaps my friendship was no longer bringing them happiness or value. And that is absolutely fine.

I’m a firm believer that people enter our lives for a variety of reasons. Some stay in your lives forever. Others are there for shorter periods of time. To teach you a lesson, to learn from you, to help you through a phase, to give you an opportunity to help them on their feet and so on. Perhaps there’s a season for different people in your life. There certainly is no malice, no ill-feeling. Our relationships have just run their course. Instead of holding on and feeling taken for granted and feeling resentful over the nature of what the relationship has become, just let go.

Have a conversation with the person if you need to. I tried this with a few people and as much as I tried the conversations never moved beyond the surface. I just created distance. If they messaged (which they didn’t) I would have replied. But simply stopping the “we should catch up” and feeling like you needed to invite everyone to everything you put together had to stop. Especially with the inviting people to our home (which I’ve written about here).

And what remains? Very little. Little frustration. Little stress. And lots of time to nurture and foster relationships. Just this past weekend we had new friends come home for dinner. We had hilarious and serious conversations (different conversations). We saw what we had in common and respected the inevitable differences. On Sunday we had old friends come home. Friends we hadn’t seen in 10 months even though they live 10 minutes away. So distracted was I with other relationships that I hadn’t had the time to continue to nurture the ones that always brought us so much joy. So distracted was I that I failed to realise the wonderful people right there who wanted the opportunity to gather and grow, together. So distracted was I with what I could and should do better, or what I might be doing wrong that I didn’t stop for a moment to think…hey…it might not be me.

 

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May 2, 2017

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a portrait of my son, once a week 

Rafa Is becoming so much more affectionate, with everyone.

Previous portraits here.

Start Small

May 1, 2017

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I’ve received a lot of questions about developing a skincare routine. If you follow me on Instagram you would have noticed that I really don’t talk about too many brands anymore. This is in large due to having truly honed in on what is working for me. There are so many products available and I don’t think it’s about finding the absolute best product on the market. Instead, I think about it as finding what’s best for you. Best for you in relation to your budget, your ethics, your skin needs and how your skin reacts to ingredients and products.

The best advice I can offer is to start small. Starting small might mean starting with one type of product or starting small might mean not investing too much money to begin with. It might entail asking the brand for samples and trialing these over a few weeks. I have absolutely no hesitation in emailing a brand to ask about ingredients, if there are special offers, or emailing to explain my skin issues and asking for their suggestions and often from the outset outlining what I’m willing to try or how much I’m willing to spend.

Ultimately, it is an investment. But you can still start small. And for those who persist and ask exactly what product I would ‘start small’ with, the one product I must have… Surprisingly this isn’t difficult for me to answer. After using a variety of products, I know for certain that my one must have is the Savar Natural Rosehip Ultra Brightening Serum. I’ve been using this product for two years now (there’s even a review I wrote, time stamped on the Savar website from 2015).

It has worked throughout seasons, through pregnancy and beyond. And in various countries and climates. The serum is a nutrient packed gel-like substance that I use at least twice a day. Sometimes more. Never less. I’ve also layered it with other skincare products. Applied make-up over it. And left the house with a clean face and just this serum. It’s one product I haven’t felt the need to replace or swap out for another. Instead, there’s also a bottle in my wardrobe (I never want to run out), and usually a spare because I love handing them over to the special women in my life.

If you’re struggling with your skincare and finding your skincare rhythm – take it slow. Start somewhere. And start small. Give yourself and your skin a chance to tell you and show you what’s working and what isn’t.

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