Monday, 31 May 2010

may, 31st - far-flung finds.......

day 111:

one of my favourite things about travelling has always been about finding gorgeous, indigenous treasures to bring home....there's nothing that makes me fizz more with joy than using a bowl, spoon, quilt, glass, napkin.....that brings back the memory of a certain time and far-flung place....A. has always been extremely patient about my NEED to seek out a specific shop that sells something special.....usually with a strong artisanal element...give me something original, local, hand-crafted and i'm there wondering how to stretch that luggage allowance.....but even some of our simpler everyday things have been purchased in foreign supermarkets (always a good place to visit!) and give us happy little memories.

some of our more memorable purchases......

- a vintage white, fragile, silk-quilt...handmade in vietnam...that i begrudgingly use because in my mind, it's irreplaceable but there's no point in hiding it in a cupboard.

- a VERY LARGE ironwork mirror frame from marrakesh that we compulsively bought on our first evening and then spent the rest of the trip trying to squeeze into taxis and planes

- a LARGE and HEAVY mortar and pestle from chaing mai...probably the worst long-distance purchase least it stretched my arms a bit when trying to make it look as light as a feather in the carry-on

- a beautiful leather-bound album from india...that remains empty as the pics really need to justify themselves in such a lovely setting

- stone placemats from Hong Kong....which i'm still hoping to turn into a table in the future

one day....i'm hoping that Limi will love and use some of these finds...and especially enjoy the history that surrounds them. Greece....although i had a severe longing for a flat, ancient, 18 carat gold Greek signet ring (see pic above)....the Archaeological Museum wouldn't sell me one. but we did buy some gorgeous, rustic, handmade bowls and a jug from a family of potters on the island of Kithira! hopefully these pieces from her very first family holiday, will last long enough for Limi to toss together her own Greek salad and serve to a big table of friends!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

may, 29th - rooftops....

day 110:

so...the very first family holiday comes to an end.....

Limi appears to have got the hang of it!

Friday, 28 May 2010

may, 28th - history lesson.....

day 109:

It is not living that matters, but living rightly. Socrates 

travelling for us, is not just about ticking off a list of sights but also about hours spent at cafes soaking up the local atmosphere and often....a traipse down small, crooked alleys looking for a specific shop or cafe that i've read about...but given that this was the very first trip to Greece for all 3 of us, there was so much mainstream history to absorb...that we were real tourists. after a hike up to the Acropolis we visited the new Acropolis Museum....definitely one of my new favourite museums of the world.....and of course with the interesting debate still surrounding the 'missing' pieces that reside in London it was interesting to look at artefacts from a jigsaw perspective...head in London, body in Athens!!

[no photography is permitted in the new museum. the below pics are from the Acropolis, the Archaeological Museum and the British Museum that we visited the day that we got back!]

Thursday, 27 May 2010

may, 27th - bad parents...

day 108:

throw out some sunshine and it's about getting bare toes out and enjoying some heat on bare skin...of course with limi it's about finding the shade, throwing on a hat or spreading on the sunscreen...but definitely still bare toes!! so we were surprised when Katerina, who owns the apartment that we've rented, said that Limi was completely underdressed by Greek standards: bare shoulders, feet, arms. 

that explains some of the intense looks that we've been getting from the older Greek generation.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

may, 26th - finding the balance....

day 107:

finding the balance....i guess this is the obvious statement that every parent and couple debates...share of chores (baby & house) vs fun-filled hours spending quality time with the baby vs work to bring in the coins vs personal time vs couple time. 

we haven't managed to work it out yet....throw tiredness, lack of time and a steep learning curve into the mix and it can get very messy. i have had my moments......after a night of getting up with limi every 3 hours and then having 12 straight day hours of doing chores and entertaining her....i get hugely jealous of A breezing off to work in the morning and managing to have a shower, make a coffee, read a newspaper...all without an audience and a time limit. it's hard to explain to someone just how tiring the endless round of feed, burp, change, bounce, change position, feed, burp, change, bounce, change position......can be.

on the other hand...i'm sure that there are days where he sees limi and i snuggled up in the bed in the morning when he wishes that he didn't have to drag himself off to earn the coins...and could spend the day playing peek-a-boo...and deciding whether to have a stroll in the park, along the river or to the shops.

we have managed to find some rhythm...i try to get limi into bed by 7-ish and A. gets home, cooks dinner and pours me a glass of wine...weekends are often spent playing sleep-tag.... but we're still some way off feeling like we're both getting the balance right both personally and together!

so.........having holiday time together is amazing from a number of gave A. a better appreciation of how unrelenting it can be to care for limi from 7 (well...more like 6am) to 7...and it gave me a better understanding of how much he is missing out on and how lucky i am to spend this time with her......

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

may, 25th - heaped teaspoon of sweetness....

day 107:

a traditional Greek custom is to offer spoon sweets to guests as a symbol of hospitality. they are called "spoon sweets" as they are generally served on a Kithira, every lazy, sunny day so far......has definitely felt like a heaped teaspoon of something sweet....

[lunch at Avlemenos]

[swim at Limni beach.....we were hoping for a sign for Limi]


Monday, 24 May 2010

may, 24th - greek honey.....

day 106:

well...we're into day 5 of our visit to Greece and our first family holiday. after years of feeling like we could be spontaneous and adventurous, I was concerned that travelling with a baby would mean that those feelings would be replaced with frustration and restrictions but in just means that we are delayed by the many people...young and old, who stop to coo and show genuine delight in the fact that we have added to the population!

rather than feeling like foreigners and Limi alienating people....we have found that (well in Greece at least) a baby means that you can get under the skin of a place...conversing with locals...

Local: [says something in Greek that you don't understand]
Us: [smile...look clueless]
Local: [points to Limi] How old?
Us: trion minon [three months old! the tiny bit of Greek that we have learnt and use as much as Hello! Thank You! Please!]

given that we love seeing a place from the inside rather than an outside....we should have had a baby years ago!!

thanks Limi for introducing us to the locals!

Sunday, 23 May 2010

may, 23rd - alfresco living...

day 105:

Definitely one of the sad things that I miss from home is alfesco once we had settled ourselves in the apartment on Kithira....we gave limi her very first outdoor bath!!

Saturday, 22 May 2010

may, 22nd - by sea....

day 104:

i love travelling by of my favourite trips is splurging on a 1st class Eurostar  trip between London and Paris (see day 81) reminds me of a romantic time where the pace was slower and people appreciated the distances and differences between places.

my next best way to by water. big boats, small boats, ferries....water has factored into some of my best travelling times. years ago, i spent two days travelling down the coast of turkey by ferry and loved sitting on the deck watching the coast go by, fascinated by the collection of passengers who ranged from crumpled looking stylish grans in gold-rimmed glasses and blue trim blazers.

so....with no flight to Kithira till Monday and our friend, Stav, waiting for us on the island....we decided to catch the weekly ferry that travels between Athens and Kithira.....the ferry takes 6.5 hours.....and arrives at 1am!!!

Limi took the trip in her stride and stayed up waaay past her bedtime....probably due to the sugar-enhanced kids on the ferry who were tearing around with wild and loud abandon.....but at about 11pm, when limi was merrily dreaming away...the same kids were coming down from their sugar high and having meltdowns all over the ferry with parents scooping up the puddles!

Friday, 21 May 2010

may, 21st - 24hrs in athens....

day 103:

limi with her crayons out in Athens

Thursday, 20 May 2010

may, 20th - 1st family holiday....

day 102:

against the odds....with new threats of volcanic ash.....British Airways strikes.....economic meltdown in Greece.....we still managed to make it to Athens for our very first family holiday!!!

.....only to find....
 that the connecting flight to the tiny island of Kithira was cancelled due to transport strikes in Greece....


the strike is only expected to last a day but the next flight with availability is Monday….so we’ve decided to spend a night in Athens and figure out our options from there…..

before I had Limi…I used to have a recurring nightmare where I had given birth to a baby and either, kept forgetting their ‘unique’ name that I’d chosen (I would continually end up writing it on my hand) or kept leaving them in a shop/restaurant/ the car…..I would wake up in a sweat thinking that I was obviously not responsible enough to have a child and should start with a pot-plant instead….well, trying to keep track of all our bags and Limi through the airport, taxi queue and safely into our hotel room….i broke out in the same sweat!

but....3 hours later and we were sitting on the roof terrace of our hotel drinking in this view....

although Lissom was more interested in her much for showing her the world....

ps. just before i fell asleep, British Airways texted to say that our flight home next week has been cancelled!

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

may, 19th - advice......

day 101: 

it seems that having a baby, opens you up to everyone’s opinions on how to feed, clothe, care for and raise this new person. some advice is not helpful and seems to be a criticism...especially when you are taking tentative steps into this new, crazy world…but I have also received some really amazing, welcome advice over the last 100 days….so here’s a thanks to:

-       a midwife at Chelsea and Westminster who explained the art of feeding to me on day 3

-       Alexa, who reminded me not to rock Lissom to sleep and start a pattern of rocking-sleep association…Limi can now put herself to sleep without any help….a truly wonderous skill!

-       my sister, who not only gave me the confidence to trust my instincts but also revealed the secret that blue around her mouth means wind

-       Bonnie, who said to try and start each day at the same time...definitely helped with understanding Lissom's patterns

-       Colwyn, who encouraged me to go to Hong Kong even though I was nervous about Limi’s routine  becoming topsy-turvy. she made me realise that even though we had managed to create a good routine….many things can, and will, disrupt it (her vaccinations, teething, illness, growth) so, amazing opportunities should not be missed because of fear of disrupting her routine…

-       my mum, who told me to feed Limi on take-off and landing…but who has also reminded me to enjoy every second       

and Finally, one of my favourite .....from Melissa, who has a fantastic baby blog....:

"People have their opinions on sleep schedules, on vaccinations, on weaning, on discipline - but remind yourself that your baby is one of a kind and no one else on this entire planet will intensely research, pray about, lose sleep over or debate what is the best option for your family more than you will."

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

may, 18th - 100 day report-card....

day 100:

In 100 days, Barack Obama’s report card showed that he had delivered on some of his climate change promises, started to achieve progress on economy and reassessed the US priorities in Iraq. David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s report will be just as closely scrutinised. These powerful men may be tackling 1st world issues....but one Limi has achieved the following in 100 days:

-       Breathed air (day 0)
-       Held her head up without assistance (day 4)
-       Become an official person (day 12)
-       Produced her first big gummy smile (day 22)
-       Started cooing 
-       Discovered her hands 
-       Discovered her feet (day 52)
-       Learnt to sing …ish (day 61)
-       Managed to suck her toes….a skill that doesn’t seem to carry into adulthood
-       Realised the joy of pulling hair….let’s hope that the release reflex kicks in soon 

We have achieved the following:

-       100 days without breaking her or each other
-       an average of 5 hours sleep a night...and even a bit of a routine (day 38)
-       a sense of humour (even on days like 78)
-       pram knowledge (not just the handling, also the assembly and dissembly)
-       a collection of nursery rhymes (day 51)
-       a number of songs containing the word limi [My Girl Limi-pop...anyone?]
-       one-handedness skills

Monday, 17 May 2010

may, 17th - introducing otis

day 99:

before we left London, we managed a quick visit to meet otis, limi's brand new playmate. there is a 10 week difference between them which seems vast now (we couldn't stop ourselves from, remember when limi was so small)....but soon it mean nothing! 

otis and limi...sizing each other up!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

may, 16th - jet-lagged....

day 98: 

[video to follow....stuck in the editing room]

struggling to keep Limi awake at 4pm UK time…..

Saturday, 15 May 2010

may, 15th - home......

day 97:

Arrivals. Reunion between A. and Lissom....

2 hours earlier…….

Limi in her sky-cot. Big plus…..the new design means that you can strap a baby in and you don’t have to keep hoisting them out during turbulence.

6 hours earlier…….

Limi sleeping happily in her sky-cot. Alas, the baby next to her was not enjoying the flight quite as much and kept waking up with a YELL….startling Lissom into wide-eyed wonder at the racket in her ear…..

Friday, 14 May 2010

may, 14th - time to head home...

day 96:

aaaah, if only it was that easy....


final glimpses of Hong Kong....

one of Nix's favourite daipaidongs.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

may, 13th - birthplace.....

day 95:

we took zozo back to his place of birth....

don't tell limi....he's convinced her that he's from the wild plains of africa.....

Tuesday, 11 May 2010

may, 11th - iconic hong kong....

day 93:

the whole feeding-in-public debate is my opinion it's such an individual thing and really depends on what you are most comfortable with....although i respect some people's desire to normalise it (with controversial slogans like: if feeding offends you why don't you put a blanket over YOUR head), my own view is less confronting and i'm happy to try and be as discreet as possible. 

of course, in trying to be discreet, you sometimes feel like you're wrestling with a squirming sleeping bag and that you may at any point do a janet-jackson-at-the-superbowl but any issues that i may have had with feeding in public had to be quickly squished in Hong Kong because not only did the time difference make it difficult to predict limi's routine but also, the heat brought on fears of dehydration.

 so, here i am feeding limi at a beautiful restaurant in the sky (the iconic HSBC building behind me) while people sip cocktails around me......

limi and i had gate-crashed nix and douglas' anniversary dinner at the beautiful Sevva in the iconic Prince's building. after cocktail hour and limi becoming fixated with douglas' bracelet-beads, she slept through the entire meal...think that she's getting the hang of this time difference thing!

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