Thursday, July 31
last week, we were on holiday in the same beautiful place where we were two years ago. i was already long cured of the conception that holiday with small children means extra lazy time: instead, it actually means harder work. but it was lovely nonetheless. i did get some time to think things over. the way we choose to raise our children is a very time-intensive one. especially for me as the breastfeeding, bedsharing mother of a young baby plus a toddler who is discovering the world while fighting his own little demons. add to that a quite demanding job and there really is not much time left for anything else except keeping the house more or less clean and making sure there is some kind of dinner on the table every evening. in an ideal world, i would stop working for a few years, honestly. but there is no such thing as an ideal world, is there? so i have to make choices to make things work. there is simply not enough time in most of my days to do all the things i have to do. so my dear blog is going to have to be on hold once again. and once again, i will hopefully be back when the time is right. ♥
Sunday, July 27
this is my little basket with everyday make up. it used to be full of stuff i never actually used and i was always rummaging through it like crazy in the morning to find what i needed. i took everything that i don't use out and now i'm left with only the things that i really do use every single day (plus a cute pair of tweezers): bb cream, a concealer, a brow brush, eye shadow, mascara, eye pencil, blush, tinted lip balm and a brush. i can't help it - futile things like these make me very happy.
Friday, July 25
little bee and me are trying out cloth diapers. so far, i see almost only advantages. we are reducing waste, there are no nasty materials close to her skin and we have an utterly cute baby bum. yes, there's a little more laundry, but the piles were already huge so there's not that much of a difference.
Tuesday, July 22
yes, i managed to scrape together a new bunch of small empties. my favourites:
~ biotherm aquasource nuit high density hydrating jelly ~ i can't help but keep loving the scent and texture of biotherm products. so fresh and luxurious.
~ biotherm lait solaire melting milk with citrus fragrance spf 30 ~ i kept this one in my bag throughout the previous autumn, which has resulted in the scent of it now reminding me instantly of the feeling of those months. i love how smells can do that so powerfully.
~ rituals ginkgo's secret ginseng & ginkgo biloba extra rich hand balm ~ another very luxurious texture and lovely scent.
Saturday, July 12
so as i mentioned before, i am working towards a more natural skin care routine. this, for example, is what i use for my face in the evenings: coconut oil to remove make up (this works really well), followed by an organic skin toner and pure argan oil. it's an extremely simple routine that works great for my skin. now i don't think i will ever go completely natural, simply because i can't resist certain mainstream products and they simply make me happy. but all in all, this is the best way to go. the more i look into it, the more i realise that.
Tuesday, July 8
little leg warmers are ideal for babies who are carried in slings or wraps a lot. i found the cutest ones online for not so cute prices, so the solution was easy: make them myself. these were very easy to make and they took me no time at all.
Sunday, July 6
ok, just one more book about attachment parenting. but i promise this will be the last one. (and please ignore the sugar sweet cover: you know the truth does not look like a new mother with perfect hair and make up and holding the most contented baby ever...)
our society doesn't tell parents that the most important gift that they can give their children is not a good education, elaborate educational toys, or summer camps, but time - regular, substantial chunks of it - spent together doing things that are emotionally and developmentally meaningful for the child.
dr. stanley greenspan, as quoted in: attached at the heart ~ barbara nicholson and lysa parker
Thursday, July 3
and in case you are wondering: this is what the closet of little bee looks like. (the poor thing has a storage box on wheels that is underneath our bed functioning as a closet, since she doesn't have a room of her own.) she owns even less clothes than little imp, yet still actually too many in my opinion. but it turns out to be quite impossible to discourage people from buying tiny girls' clothes. and i admit it is incredible fun to choose outfits for her from this box.
Tuesday, July 1
one of the simple lessons that i learned from simplicity parenting: make sure that the closet of your child only contains clothes that fit him and that he actually wears. it does make things easier. so this is what little imp is left with: two small piles of onesies (one with long sleeves and one with short sleeves), a few shirts with short sleeves and a box with socks on one shelf. and then a pile of long trousers, a few short trousers and a pile of shirts and sweaters with long sleeves. the closet, that looks a bit gloomy in this picture but is actually quite cute, is a few generations old. it stood in my bedroom when i was a child and it stood in my parents' living room when they first moved in together. i love the fact that it inhabits the bedroom of my son now.
Sunday, June 29
Thursday, June 26
the osteopath that treated little bee advised me to stop eating sugar for a while to see if it would have any effect on the silent reflux. i have done short periods of no sugar before, but i've never kept it up this long and this seriously. and let me tell you: while i'm not sure if it makes any difference for little bee, it sure makes a world of difference for me. i feel so energized and so much healthier without the stuff. i already knew sugar is a bad thing (i've seen lists of all the terrible things it does to your body that make you feel like eating sugar is like downing a bottle of liquor or taking a shot of heroin), but now i also truly feel what it does to the body. i am craving sweet things less every day. not eating the bad stuff also makes it much more fun to hunt for good stuff and try out new things. like this little fruit pie that i made from scratch.
Saturday, June 21
yes, it feels just like it did two years ago. it is difficult and beautiful at the same time to see my child grow so quickly (even quicker than little imp did in those first months, it seems). little bee already doesn't look and feel like a newborn anymore. i started working again this week. and i will be walking her to daycare two days a week soon now, where she will not fall asleep while i carry her and where she will manage just fine without me (or so i do hope). we are not one anymore.
Saturday, June 14
in the same vein, i believe it's important to be honest about the fact that no mother is a perfect mother. so here we go:
little bee seems to be allergic to the princess. i brought her to an osteopath because i suspected silent reflux (i recognized the syptoms because little imp was diagnosed with it when he was a tiny imp).the osteopath noticed that her breathing seemed constricted and that she was probably a bit short of breath, which might be caused by an allergy. he advised me to visit our gp about this, who verified it. and all the time, i hadn't noticed a thing. so the princess now has a new (and very good) home, and i am noticing changes in little bee. i wonder if i had ever suspected anything if the osteopath hadn't pointed it out to me.
there you go: i am not a perfect parent. and this is only one of many examples. (i did seem to be right about the silent reflux though...)
Wednesday, June 11
look at how seriously i am taking this whole colour-thing: i made a little collage of the right colours in my blue book and i went on a small hunt to purchase the first item in one of the right colours. it's a colour i don't think i've ever worn before, but i can see that it works.
this also means that some other things will now leave my closet in exchange for the new things, since i am still a fervent declutterer. so long to some of all that black. a small yet good start.
Sunday, June 8
yesterday, my friend and i had a colour analysis: something i have been wanting to do for ages and now finally asked as a birthday present from my dad. after my first three hours away from little bee and a very interesting session of skin tone colour matching, i came home with this little card that shows all the colours i should wear. it basically means i will have to spend a fortune to change pretty much all of my wardrobe, because apparently i was doing it all wrong (no more black for me, for instance, when half my clothes are black, and lots of blue whereas i now own exactly one blue dress...). but after all that, i am going to look absolutely smashing.
Thursday, June 5
i hardly ever buy magazines, but when i do i always find it hard to throw it away after reading if there are beautiful pictures in it. so i came up with the blue book: a book in which i save all the pretty pictures i find. and every now and then i leaf through it just for the fun of it.
Monday, June 2
they do still exist: the small moments in which i have time to do something just for myself. i finished this nice and easy novel during those moments. it was a case of reading two pages or so at a time but it was good.
Sunday, June 1
Tuesday, May 27
it is only a small step from attachment parenting to gentle discipline, something i found out about when i picked up my reading about parenting when i was pregnant with little bee. and although this book did not teach me many new things, it definitely resonated with me. it sounded right, it made a lot of sense. i don't think i could ever practice attachment parenting or gentle discipline for the full one hundred percent (whatever that is), but i have learned a lot and am definitely trying to use the techniques and advices in everyday life with my two little people.
consciously, intentionally, and consistently living out how you want your children to turn out is the most powerful and effective character training there is.
the bottom line is, your children are always watching and learning, so make sure what they see in you is what you want to see in them!
l.r. knost ~ two thousand kisses a day
Sunday, May 25
i don't buy many commercial beauty products anymore so i don't get many samples either these days, but of course i've been saving the ones i did get diligently. my favourites out of this bunch:
~ the body shop nutriganics smoothing day cream ~ this has a lovely natural scent to it, and it doesn't contain as many nasty ingredients as many other products of this brand. a good alternative if you want to go a little more natural than mainstream.
~ ginvera green tea nude cover bb cream ~ i started using bb cream a while back as an alternative to liquid foundation, and this was one of the nicer once i have tried so far.
~ lush flutter cuticle butter ~ i don't use as many lush products as i used to, but i still love many of them. like this one, which holds almost a cult status among beauty bloggers. quite deservedly so i think.
Wednesday, May 21
Thursday, May 15
i have talked about it before. how new mothers try to keep up appearances, both in real life and in the digital world. making all the other new mothers feel bad about themselves. and creating a vicious circle. why is it such a big deal to pretend raising young children is all sunshine and roses? why is it so hard to be honest? here is just a snippet of something i often feel but hardly ever hear anyone else express:
i feel that the bond between me and little bee is not very strong yet. it simply has to grow with time and attention, which is completely normal and natural i'm sure. and i find it hard to make any progress with this when i am on my own taking care of two small children. those times feel more like surviving, basically. and i definitely don't believe it's any different for other new mothers who are also raising an older child. you do the best you can and sometimes you catch yourself enjoying a small moment, but you also catch yourself losing your temper and glancing at the clock ten times an hour. and realising at the end of the day, standing in the middle of your toy-strewn house, that you have hardly taken the time to actively love your newborn.
now if we could only find the nerve to be honest about things like these, that would already make it so much easier.
Monday, May 12
so, what does the form of attachment parenting that we practice with little bee look like exactly? apart from the breastfeeding, it mainly means that she is with us (well, mostly with me) always while she is sleeping. i carry her in a wrap for every daytime nap, and she sleeps in our bed at night - a controversial thing, i know. we set up a co-sleeper before she was born but so far we have not used it after the first week. our pram is still in storage and i have not felt the need for it at all yet.
i always imagined the houses of mothers practicing attachment parenting would look like one big mess and the mothers themselves would be completely sleep-deprived with no time to put on make up or do their hair. but the reality turns out to be quite the opposite: i can do almost anything while little bee sleeps during the day, because i have both my hands free after helping her fall asleep (this usually involves walking around with a pinky in her mouth and the other hand cradling her head). and i'm pretty sure i get more sleep at night than most new parents even though little bee nurses two or three times. having her right beside me means i never have to get out of bed to take care of her.
of course it is hard sometimes but isn't everything hard at times? and besides, i did not choose to do things this way because i thought it would be easy. yes, i feel like i have to make sacrifices sometimes. but then i think of this quote. and yes, i feel frustrated sometimes (pretty much at least once every day). parenting a newborn can be hard after all, no matter how you choose to do things.
Wednesday, May 7
Sunday, May 4
rereading the book that i first read two years ago. something to remember during the hard times:
parenting is a lot of work. my advice: don't shy away from it. instead, attach yourselves. wrap your lives around your newborns' lives and rhythms and realize that, rather than returning to "normalcy", this is the new normal.
jay gordon ~ introduction to beyond the sling
Friday, May 2
the change from having one child to having two children: many other parents warned us about the exhaustion, the lack of time for anything but those children, the tremendous difference. i guess these are still the easy days since little bee is asleep most of the time, and some things are definitely hard to navigate. how do you put a toddler to bed for his nap when you're on your own and the baby wants to nurse at exactly the same time? what do you do when that toddler needs his lunch but it's impossible to prepare it with one finger stuck in the mouth of the baby who would otherwise be crying her eyes out?
basically, you sometimes can't do what is best for both of them. for me, that's difficult, given the perfectionist that i am. and yet, so far i have to say we are doing more than ok. i'm also enjoying these early weeks so much more than the first time. the secrets to that: i'm feeling more confident that i know how to take care of this tiny baby because i've done it all before. i follow my instincts when it comes to where she sleeps (always close to me, more on that in a later post) and we are seriously limiting the amount of visitors, leaving us with so much more time to simply be together.
Thursday, May 1
there she is: our little bee was born on march 22, a few days before the due date. i remember wondering before she was born whether i would love her as much as i love little imp. yes, i do. it's a very new sort of love, i am still getting to know her every day (and every night). another special thing is how i seem to feel even more love for little imp now that little bee is here. how precious this all is.
Thursday, February 20
Tuesday, February 18
this book strikes all sorts of chords with me. just reading about the benefits of all the possible small changes we can make gives me a sense of calm and satisfaction. and actually acting upon what i'm reading feels even better.
when you simplify a child's "world", you prepare the way for positive change and growth. this preparatory work is especially important now because our world is characterized by too much stuff. we are building our daily lives, and our families, on the four pillars of too much: too much stuff, too many choices, too much information, and too much speed. with this level of busyness, distractions, time pressure, and clutter (mental and physical), children are robbed of the time and ease they need to explore their worlds and their emerging selves. and since the pressures of "too much" are so universal, we are "adjusting" at a commensurately fast pace. the weirdness of "too much" begins to seem normal.
kim john payne ~ simplicity parenting
Sunday, February 16
interesting figures... i belong to the thirteen percent of mothers who are satisfied with the amount of sleep they get (well, most days i am: today happens to be one of the rare days on which i'm not). i also belong to the three percent that get more than eight hours of sleep a night (the secret to that: no television to keep you up at night despite feeling tired). and then i also belong to the thirty three percent that get out of bed for their children at night. but only to bring little imp into our bed when he wakes up after a few hours in his own, after which he pretty much always falls asleep again immediately. and yes, i also belong to those fourty percent who lie awake for twenty to sixty minutes after having gotten out of bed for their children at night. that has mostly to do with these last stages of pregnancy though, which are downright uncomfortable. and yet i hardly ever bother about being awake at night, probably because i know i will get enough hours of sleep anyway. which is one of the things that will undoubtedly change soon...
Saturday, February 15
sometimes small boys need girly things to play with. little imp loves to carry things around in a bag over his shoulder. so i made him this one with bits of wool that were left over from previous projects.
Thursday, February 13
Wednesday, February 12
yesterday was the last day at work for me. how weird. during my first pregnancy, i was on bedrest from quite early on and there was nothing like counting down the days until the start of maternity leave. so this is all new for me. work has been busy for the last weeks, and it will be so weird to not check e-mail in the early mornings at the kitchen table, in the evenings on the couch in my pyamas and during weekends (yes, i am used to doing all that). now i can sit on the couch and look at the upcycled whisky bottle instead, feeling empty and overwhelmed and exhausted all at the same time. of course i have a list of things to do for the coming weeks, but first i have to get used to taking things slow.
Monday, February 10
there has been much, much more decluttering since this post. yesterday boyfriend and i said to each other: it's a bit of a miracle we still have anything, considering how many bags of full of things have been brought to charity, to the garbage bin and to friends.
it just goes to show that we have so much more stuff than we think we do. and so much unnecessary stuff as well. and you know, i feel a little lighter and a little calmer with everything that is going out. and with everything that is not coming in. which in itself is a really interesting thing. and even the book i'm currently reading has something to say about it:
the idea has sprung up very recently that the newest way must be the best. advertising has taken charge of fostering the novelty race. there is no rest, no respite. nothing is ever allowed to be good enough, nothing ever satisfactory. our underlying discontent is channelled into desire for the latest things.
jean liedloff ~ the continuum concept
Sunday, February 9
so while i was at it, i decided to reread some more of my attachment parenting books. back in 2012, i found this a difficult read. parts of it still bother me, but i have to say it's a more comfortable read this time around. probably mostly because we ended up adopting some of the ideas, which inevitably made me feel like i was doing the right thing.
Monday, February 3
it won't be long now until my bedside table has to make room for a little co-sleeper. so i figured i would need somewhere to put the things that are usually on the table. then i saw this cute little knitted bag to hang from the back railings of the bed. for a moment i considered buying it, but it cost a small fortune (because apparently the company that makes these is cooler than cool at the moment) and i decided to try making one myself. at a fraction of the cost and in a few hours of the time that i spent on the couch anyway. and with a much more proud and satisfied feeling.
Sunday, February 2
i am rereading this book and it fascinates me even more now than it did the first time, when it was one of the first books i read about attachment parenting. the only thing i find hard sometimes, is that i wish we had adopted these principles sooner and more often with little imp. i knew so little then compared to now... although the good thing is that all is definitely not lost: he still asks to nurse every now and then and i always let him, even though i'm quite sure there's nothing there at the moment. and when he wakes up during the night, which happens quite often these days, he is always allowed to continue in our bed (you should see the smile on his half-sleeping face when he is settling next to me). i sincerely believe these things are benefiting him in so many ways.
Tuesday, January 28
i wanted to read this book because the title appealed to me, even though i normally don't really like collections of short stories (i prefer a good long novel). all these stories come back to the same, very interesting, themes though: loneliness and the life of the working class in nottingham just before the second world war. there's something very gripping about most of them. in an interview, alan sillitoe said: i realised that the quality of telling the story was the important thing. there are only ten or twelve plots in the world; it's how they're handled that matters. he surely handled them well.
Saturday, January 25
the same decade as my previous read and a main character of the same age, but that's where the similarities end. i started out with a bit of an aversion to josie and prepared myself for a long hard read, since i make a point of finishing the books i start (my most notorious exception to this rule is james joyce's ulysses. after a few hundred pages, i just couldn't stand the idea of having to go through hundreds more without understanding a word. but i'm very sure i'm not the only one who left that one unfinished). eventually, this became such a wonderful read. it might even already be one of my favourites of this year. very powerful and not even depressing in spite of the tragic subject.
but she understood, even lies could be true, if you knew how to listen.
janet fitch ~ paint it black
Tuesday, January 21
a long time ago, i wrote about la chambre rose. a while back, i wanted to repurchase that lovely cream because i was longing for the scent and the memories of it. i should have known it was not availabe anymore. yes, something new and improved had come in its place. with a completely different scent and even a differently shaped jar that didn't do anything for me. perhaps i'm getting old, maybe i'm old-fashioned. but is this really what everybody wants? new and improved stuff to replace the old stuff all the time? so we can keep buying more and wanting more and believing this time things will be even better? when so many things are just fine the way they are.
Saturday, January 18
so after finding out about this, i decided to investigate some more. let's take a random product that was in my closet: schwarzkopf gliss kur ultimate oil elixir conditioner. it has thirty ingredients (isn't that, in itself, fact enough...). it boasts about containing oil elixir. oils are generally healthy, i do know that much. the ingredient supplying named oil is argania spinosa kernel oil. that's good: it means that there's pure argan oil in this (but not much: it's the eighth ingredient on the list).
what about the other twenty-nine ingredients? i went through all of them (using mostly the information on this and this website). nine are classified as irritants or worse (or are usually tested on animals - equally bad). and then quite a few lack enough research data to say much about them, have harmful effects on the environment or can only be classified when more information about the source is available. sigh.
so, what's the alternative? it's too simple for most multinational commercial companies to do anything with, i guess. oil. coconut oil, argan oil, you name it. the best hair conditioner you can find.
Monday, January 13
i read middlesex and i watched the virgin suicides and i loved both, so i was curious what jeffrey eugenides' the marriage plot would be like. the first pages reminded me very much of david nicholls' starter for ten (in a good way - i loved that novel too, and i also saw the film some time ago by the way: wonderful). but it soon became something to work for. i had to get used to that, but all in all this was a lovely, touching read.
Sunday, January 12
i never know where to put postcards: i want them in a nice place but i don't want them cluttering up empty surfaces (i love my house to be without stuff, as you may have noticed. it leaves much more room in my head). so this is what i came up with.
Thursday, January 9
professor, is this all real? or is it just happening inside my head?
of course it's happening inside your head, harry. why should that mean that it's not real?
professor dumbledore in harry potter and the deathly hallows part 2
Saturday, January 4
this is a bit of a weird combination of an all natural product and a commercial, not quite so natural product. more on that in a later post. at the moment, i really like combining these two: in the mornings, i first use the oil all over (except on the face and belly) and then i spray the body splash on my arms and legs for a nice vanilla scent (since the oil is scent-free).
~ jojoba oil ~ an all-purpose, all natural oil that i am using for the first time and really like. it keeps my dry pregnancy skin very soft
~ the body shop madagascan vanilla flower fragrance mist ~ i love everything vanilla...