Category Archives: Uncategorized

Italia, one of my favourite places in the world

Standard

Ok, I haven’t been to many countries and maybe this is why Italy is always in my Top 5. Or maybe it is because it’s a fantastic place. The food, the climate, the lamdscape, the language, the History… It is all so familiar, it’s like being at home, but in a new place.

We went to Naples this time, the cheapest option for a last minute trip. We stayed in Hotel Marad in Torre del Greco. The hotel had a lovely terrace with views to the Vesuvio and the sea. 

It was warm, sunny and lovely. Here are some photos we took on the terrace at the end of a lovely day.

Getting ready for tomorrow

Standard

I didn’t realise it is Friday 13th until almost the end of the day. I was trying to justify why things weren’t going as smoothly as they should. Just excuses, it’s easier than say I’m exhausted, lost my focus, ran out of patience and can’t do a lot of things I am trying to do.

The girls’ party is tomorrow. It’s all sorted in my head, but truth is, I don’t know if I can put it all together in an hour. It’s how long we have in the hall before kids start arriving. And this is the UK, people do arrive on time. 

I’ve been working on everything individually, not thinking how things will look good together. I do have a rough sketch of how the main table should look like, just to help on the day. 

It will all be good, it will all be great, but I can’t wait for it to be over.

Living the Disney dream

Standard

And we have finally made it as a family! We are in Orlando for our first Disney holidays. It’s my second, but first time I was here was 25 years ago, a LOT has changed (for good and bad).

It’s early days to give any in depth review of our experience and the best is still to come. So far, things worth mentioning are:

1. The weather is amazing here. But my kids are too British now and they can’t cope with 30 degrees. They are melting!! I’m as happy as Larry and I couldn’t ask for more. The sun is quite strong though and hard to spend 8 hours under it, so cloudy (but warm, hear that UK?) is welcome and good.

2. Everything is big as it was and as it will always be. Big cars, big fridges, big houses, big packages of everything in the supermarket. Some are good things, some unnecessary. 

3. The kids… Oh, kids… Goodness, kids!!! Where have I gone so wrong??? Are they broken???? For crying out loud, we are on holidays, destination chosen for them and yet, it’s 70% complain, 15% indifference and 15% hapinness. 0% gratitude. Nothing is good, unless you shove ice cream and crisps. Nothing against treats during holidays, but the thing I’ve noticed is that they are not happy because of the experience, but because of the crisps and ice cream. Basically, if we stay at home eatingg ice cream or go to Disney without ice cream, the house wins. By far.

4. On the other hand, when they like something, they REALLY like it. And that’s why water parks are a winner for us. They love them and we live them! They also loved some of the rides at Universal Studios and Sea World and the meet and greet with characters (but can’t stand the queues).

5. Staying in self catering house has lots of pros and cons. I think it was a good choice for us, given the price we are paying, the duration of the trip and the location. If we were staying just a week and only going to Disney, I would probably have trying to stay at one of their resorts. 

6. We are struggling to find the best way to handle our days… They are far too long for the girls and by the end of it, they are ready to kill each other and exploding for no reason. It is very stressful for them and we even tried to cut a day short once, only to get stuck in traffic and end up at home at the same time as we would if we waited another hour or so. Maybe they will get used to it (she hopes).

7. I have problems with the military planning for Disney/Orlando trips I’ve read on blogs; the  lack of spontaneity of these trips drive me crazy, but you know what? It’s needed. This is not your usual holidays, this is a boot camp! It is an military operation to have fun. You have to know, plan, book, reserve, arrange, write down, download, learn, read, call, act upon… Want a relaxing holidays to wind down from a stressful period at work? This is NOT your destination, unless you go every year and are not bother about seeing much. We decided to take the approach of seeing one of two things and whatever comes extra is a bonus.

8. If you are not used to eating the food, don’t over eat it. I think I did (or maybe it was something I ate) and was in really bad shape: a whole night awake putting a week’s worth of meals out. And the next day had to find strength to go to Universal Studios. Not fun. I learned my lesson the hard way (unless it was something specific I ate).

9. So far, prices are very comparable to the UK. Some few stuff might be cheaper, but we haven’t seen that many items worth our dollars.

10. Being online in a trip like this is proving very hard to me. Wifi in all the park, but I need to look after the kids, enjoy the shows, etc. And now it’s 11pm, I’m dead and having a hard time to write this post. 

(Photos in a strange order)

 

Our car: the average size here

  

Our house in Kissimmee

  

our bedroom (very messy!) with a closet – live that all have this mini closet

  

My very first trip to a Whole Food Market

  

Our private pool, by night

  

our private pool, by day

  

It only hurts when I breath

Standard

I decided, together with another 2 billion of the population, that I would start exercising in the New Year. This is what you do after the binge eating and drinking of the festive season, right?

I didn’t start on the 1st as planned, because, let’s face it, the year starts on a Monday. Even though I was on holidays (back to work today, peeps, wish me luck) – or maybe just because of that – I started it. At home, but quite tough nonetheless. I found one of those 90-day-kill-yourself-exercising-and-pretend-you-will-have-that-great-body-on-the-cover DVDs that I bought years ago and never used it and decided to give it a go.

After four days of exercising, I can say it proudly: I SURVIVED! Just about. Every bit of my body hurts, even my soul. I was looking at the plan and the thing has limited resting period. One day every 6 or 9 days. I know I am rusty and with time (I hope) I’ll get better and fitter and will follow the classes without stopping so much, but at the moment, the feeling is that I want to quit.

I’ll try my best to go through the program, at least the 90 days it requires, especially with classes being between 30 and 45 minutes. I’m not sure about what is my goal here (lose weight? have a firm body? have more energy? improve my mood and my sleep? finally give up exercising for good?), but I’m hoping that if I carry on for a couple of weeks and see results, I’ll be motivated. I’m also eating slightly better (since Monday, that is), so surely something should happen in two weeks, right? RIGHT?

   

Perspectives

Standard

When it’s sunny, life is amazing

When it’s cold-dark-and-wet, it sucks

When it’s sunny all the time, life is boring

When there’s a thunderstorm, life is exciting again.

*****

It’s sunny. Most of the days start extremely cold (for me) and gets pleasant (or less cold) throughout the day. It’s good. Life is back to being great.

Or not. If your life is great, but life of others is not, it sucks. What’s the point in being happy on your own?

*****

I’ve been having some awful nightmares lately. I’m easily influenced about news in general and news in the last weeks haven’t been great.

A lovely person, hard working, mother of one, pregnant of another, was recently diagnosed with cancer, late stages, no chances of cure. How do you live with this news? People with high doses of hope and optimisms would say that this is the time to live life until there’s no more, enjoy your family, tick all the bucket list items. I tend to (partially) agree. I also tend to feel miserable and cry. It can happen to anyone, but it is hard to accept it. One day you have it, the other day is too late.

It was easier for me to accept my dad’s cancer and death because he lived his life, had his kids and grandkids. Of course I would rather have him living until his great grandkids were around, but I feel sad, but not angry-shocked-confused.

When you are in your late 30’s, early 40’s, with young kids and a new life on its way… it is just wrong. When you are healthy, exercise, only eat organic food, it’s unacceptable.

******

Then there are the bad news involving people that have their whole life ahead. Kids with cancer. Unfair. Wrong. Children shouldn’t suffer. That’s the rule. They suffer from colics, they are scared of the boogie man, they don’t like the dark. And they learn to overcome these fears. But that’s all.

And then there are the people that suffer so hard that they just decide not to suffer anymore. I find it shocking to hear cases of young parents taking their lives – both parents, leaving a 3 year old behind – or school girls that don’t think life is worth living. How bad can life be for you to give it up? Depression is a beast. Modern life is killing us. You would think that in this day and age, medicine is more advanced and it’s easier to help people with severe depression (or even diagnose it). You would think that in this global world, it is easier to leave problems behind and seek happiness elsewhere. Talk to people. Make friends.

******

Or does the fact that information is so easily accessible these days making problems more apparent and therefore giving us the false impression that there are way more cases of depression and cancer now than 30 years ago? Or is the medicine so advanced that what we thought was period pain 30 years ago, we now know is the early symptoms of cancer?

I admit I don’t look for answers. I know that increasing our life expectation without improving our way of life is not a right formula for a better overall life, but I know nothing more than this. I admit that I try not to think too much about it; I’m not the type of person who wakes up after a bad day and say “now, let’s start a new – better – life” and start exercising, eating better, meditating. I wish I was this person, but I don’t wish hard enough to justify being this person. So I choose to dig my head in a whole and pretend that nothing is happening. Until it happens a bit too close to me and I panic; until I get scared and sad and feel like something needs to be done.

******

I don’t know how to finish this post. It was just to get it out of my chest, in the hopes it would make me feel better, but it hasn’t worked. Let’s see if tomorrow’s sunshine will lift up the spirits.

February has come and has gone

Standard

Such a short month; I haven’t even noticed it happened and it’s March already. 

The theory of the 21 days is rubbish. At least for me. My theory is:

Bad habits might take 21 days to sink in. Bad habits normally involved things that have some sort of addictive substance in it, like eating too much sugar, smoking, drinking alcohol. To create a habit within 21 days, this habit has to bring some sort of addictive benefit with it.

I do believe that it is possible to create a habit of exercising daily, if one is strong enough to start and maintain it for 21 days. I do not believe that putting body lotion every night can become a habit. I tried and I am lucky if I do it 4 days a week. Not to worry, I’m now back to the strongest moisturiser I ever found and if I skip a day, my legs aren’t dry the following day as with the previous (crap) body lotion I had.

Interestly, I’m more strict with the face cream routine. Maybe it’s easier to remember and having a mirror in front of me helps, maybe there’s less area to cover, maybe because the face is always exposed, I don’t know. But since I started this routine, I might have missed a day or two. I have been even adventurous and added a few extra steps (especial soap to clean, sometimes even a toner, which I don’t know what’s for but, hey, it was a 2-4-1 promotion).

Bedtime with the girls has also been a fiasco. We would put them in their beds, they would come back, and every day for the 21 days (and more) went on like this. Beatrice being the worst of the two. It got ugly, so ugly, I moved to the guest room. It’s been 4 nights and guess what?! I’m totally used to it, it can easily become a habit and I don’t even need to do it for 21 days.

So my theory of these 21 days is that, as long as it’s comvenient to you, as long as bring you some sort of immediate physical and mental reward, it works. Otherwise it’s just a torture. It’s like stop smoking… 21 days is nothing to a smoker. 21 months is more like it. 21 years without smoking to make it a habit.

P.S.: I’m sleeping better in the guest room but am sleepier than ever. How come?

The hippie mother

Standard

I tried to be a hippie mother but I failed big time.

I tried to have natural births. Twice. Ended up begging – and getting – for epidural. The second time so unnecessary that the effect only started after Beatrice was born.

I breastfed both as much as I could take, not as much as they wanted. Laura stopped breastfeeding when she 20 month old, partially because she wanted, partially because she was having cow’s milk on a bottle and I never tried to stop it or reduce it. Beatrice is 22 months old and is still breastfeeding, but for the last two months, there’s not a single evening that I wished she would quit.

I tried to be a good mother and don’t give them sugar before two. I tried but the rest of the world didn’t. So I gave up trying. At least I replaced refine sugar with demerara, muscovado and honey. Better than nothing.

I try to cook vegetables and encourange them to eat their greens. Beatrice is still doing good; Laura hates almost everything (she would eat some at the nursery though). It’s hard to give good examples when I’m not a fan myself and have to force myself to eat them. At least they eat lots of fruits.

I thought about using reusable nappies, but just thought about it. I still suffer with the amount of clothes I have to wash; I can’t imagine if I had to wash nappies too.

I tried eco friendly washing powder, conditioner, detergents, but I forget about them. I’m not very good with recycling either.

I don’t like leaving the girls on ipads and smart phones unattended. Not that I would veto these completely (how could I?) but I wanted to always be near them watching whatever they are watching and encouraging them to talk about it etc. Truth is: sometimes I use these things as an electronic nanny, so i have have time to do other stuff – or even, do nothing and have some quiet time.

They don’t go to MacDonalds and they don’t drink fizzy drinks (they tried lemonade though). They accept when I say that Coca Cola is not good for them and is only for adults (like beer). But what they do behind my back is something else.

I spend way too much time working. More time working than with them. Which is the opposite of my concept of hippie mother. And if I was more present, more patience, more dedicated, certainly my kids wouldn’t have had sugar before two, wouldn’t eat chips, watch weird videos on YouTube and would have their mother literally 24 hours a day.

I wanted to be a hippie mother, but maybe I just don’t it enough.