Bigger. Heavier. Bulkier.

Notwithstanding the promises we set out to keep and the limits we try to keep ourselves within, we always end up with the same problem when packing for our Christmas holidays – the amount of space available is by no means sufficient for the number of things we have to bring down to The Rock with us. Somewhere along the line we inadvertently throw caution to the wind, overbuy gifts and somehow think that the problem won’t exist this year round. And of course, it always presents its’ ugly head this time of the year. And so my headaches start, and I try to think about what we can live without for the coming month. Suddenly nothing seems indispensable.

We have gotten better at packing. After so many visits to and fro The Rock, I can pack a miniscule hand-luggage for my things and those of C’s in no time. Weekend visits are not that hard to pack for especially when you’re visiting family, because you always know that if you forget a jacket, socks or a scarf you can always borrow one from them. Longer visits are harder to think for, especially winter ones where the clothes are bulkier and space becomes so limited too quickly. And Christmas visits are a nightmare – the additional headaches of bringing down all the Christmas gifts in one piece is a tense affair. Winter, Christmas visits with a baby? I won’t even try to explain that one!

At the moment our living room is starting to resemble Zara during the sales period – items of clothing everywhere – on the floor, on the chairs, dining table – every small space is taken up by things we have to bring down with us. I have lists of things I must not forget  – most notably the dress I intend to wear for my sis-in-law’s wedding, and C’s flower-girl shoes. Forgetting those would cause a small issue. I’m also looking at weather reports because one thing I always get wrong is the weather. Last October we visited The Rock and I took winter clothes for C because we already had winter weather here. Poor baby spent a weekend in tights and long-sleeved tops when everyone else was running around bare-legged and in summer dresses. I’m sure  (and hoping) we won’t have this problem this time round.

If and when we pack there always comes the next hurdle – going through airport security. From the Maltese end, I do not think about it one bit. Sad to say but they have the most lax airport security I’ve ever encountered. I have passed baby milk without being asked to taste it and I’ve had on boots and belts and not removed them. Sad and scary as well. English airports are different – although I have to admit that having a push-chair and a baby gives you that bit more leniency. But the security checks are a nightmare. I clearly remember the instance when female officer told me that she would have to check Cesca when we crossed over last year – she was only three months at the time! I was furious but you can’t really argue with them can you? Nowadays they take off her shoes and jackets and search her just as they do me whenever the damned bleeper goes off. Which it does quite frequently, because I always forget some bibs and bobs in my pockets. And even though it’s normally change or baby hair-clips, the look on the officer’s face goes from a friendly one to a suddenly suspicious one.

The next five days will be hectic and I already have a headache just from thinking about it. My wish is to blink and have it all done and ready. I need to hire my own personal genie this time of the year.

Our situation every December...

Our situation every December…

Retail Therapy

I’ve not been feeling particularly well these past couple of days. And to top it all off, I woke up to excruciating pain in my lower back and side, meaning I can’t carry C, I can’t bend over and can barely get up off a chair.

So I did some online retail therapy. Anything to make me feel better.

As always, I had to hold myself back. Were it up to me, I’d have swept clean all my bank cards and touched my overdraft. But the nagging voice in the back of my head (I think it’s called my conscience) got the better of me, and I managed to control myself.

That’s not to say tomorrow will be the same.

First shop I visited was Dorothy Perkins. Last weekend I managed to pop by our local one, and saw the Kardashians collection first hand.  I have to say that my personal feelings about the three eldest sisters aside, it’s quite a good collection. It was a bit hard getting through their clothes, because the shop was full of teenagers grabbing this and that, and when I see that chaos going on, my shopping curb shrivels up. So I did some online browsing and I have to say that I found some items which took my fancy. Of course I don’t know how much the girls were actually involved in the designing of the things, but you do get to see the girls’ distinct styles in each and every item. The prices are quite low, so I’m guessing it’ll be a hit.

I love the colour of this dress and the style, which helps hides away any sins I have on my hips. It was one of the few dresses from the KK collecton which didn’t expose the cleavage area, so if like me you’re on the smaller side, this is a good dress. With the other dresses, you’d need massive honkers. And I don’t mean horns.

The KK blouses are really pretty. This particular one really took my fancy – and at £35, it’s a good deal!

Yes, I love leopard print, yes A hates it, yes I’d love to own this blazer, and NO I probably wouldn’t have the guts to wear it. Though I can imagine a black outfit with this on top…

Then there’s Zara. Zara can do no wrong, not ever. Their winter collection is so beautiful, I visit their shop every time I’m in the centre. The salesgirls must know me by now – the woman with the loud baby in the push-chair…

I love cable-knit sweaters. You get so much wear out of them in winter and they’re so warm. Plus this red one has an original side-zip detail! Classy as always from Zara.

It’s not the skirt which I love (shocking right?!), but this beautiful blazer from Zara. In fact, if you’re feeling extra-generous, please send me all of Zara’s blazers! They’re all so beautiful I want them all! This one is at the front of the line though 🙂

Quirky and funky, I love them!

Of course C wasn’t forgotten. I won’t bother putting up individual pictures of the things I would choose for her if I could. Just visit this page and click on every ‘Young Girl’ item you see.

The road to hell is paved with beautiful clothes on beautiful hangers screaming ‘Wear Me!’

Days with Heels…

I tend to forget that I have been officially unemployed for only two years. In some ways, it seems as if I’ve been a housewife for a much longer time. Please don’t take that to mean that I crazily love being a housewife – I take the most neutral stand possible on that one. Things needs to be done, I do them, not always with the same enthusiasm. But the upside of being a full-time housewife is also being a full-time mummy, and I have to say that nothing is as satisfactory as being able to spend my time with C and enjoying her childhood day by day.

My life as an employed differed a great deal than today’s days. Apart from the routine and working hours, everything else was different. The one thing that stands out from the rest is my wardrobe. Working Josepha never bought printed t-shirts or casual trousers. She rarely wore flat shoes, except for days at the beach. My feet were used to heels and I could wear them everyday from 9 to 7. I used to walk across Victoria running errands for hours, nearly everyday, all day in heels and I never complained. My profession is quite casually-dressed in Gozo but I always dressed up as well as I could. Of course everything was matching, from the colours of the outfit to the make-up to the shoes.

Image courtesy of thecinnamonspell.blogspot.com

And today? Let me just say that I’ve discovered and learnt to love Zara’s t-shirts with their quirky prints. Six months after I quit working I became pregnant, and that started my intense love-affair with flats. I have more flat shoes than ever and the last four pairs of boots I bought are all flat. I truly make an effort to wear heels nowadays, and it is not because I don’t like them as a style, it’s simply because I don’t know how to properly walk in them anymore. I feel and probably look like a penguin with a limp. It saddens me when I look at my uber-high heels in Gozo, no longer worn and left to gather dust. I need to get rid of them, but I can’t bring myself to throw them away. It’s silly to say this about an inanimate object, but each pair of shoes holds a memory, and for that reason they will stay there for the time being.

My days are different, my style is different, but fragments of the ‘old’ me are still there. And on certain days I do indulge that aspect of myself. Whenever I can, I make that extra bit of effort. I put on smart pair of trousers, a ‘tailored’ top and put unhurried make-up on. I unearth my old accessories and change my handbag and feel like my old self again. And even if it’s just a visit to the local supermarket, it’s a good feeling looking fresh and feeling decent.

Image courtesy of wonderfulljessie.blogspot.com

Living in England doesn’t help at all because you can wear whatever you like here and no one will bat an eyelid. Everything is more relaxed here. Whereas in Malta my wardrobe used to be divided into working clothes, casual home clothes and Saturday night outfits, over here I have my casual clothes and less casual clothes. I always have to remind myself when in Malta, that the style is that bit more polished and ‘rigid’ so to say. I can get away with a lot more here than in Malta!

I do miss my ‘old’ style. I miss the time I had in getting ready to go out and having reason to look smart for the day. And there it is. The magic word – time. If I had more of it, I’d be that more efficient. I wouldn’t find excuses not to dress up or put make-up on.

Now it’s time to get off this thing and move myself to the bathroom. That day-cream won’t be applied by itself.

Has this happened to you as well? Did having children and staying at home change your style radically? And how do you rid yourself of the comfortable and relaxed routine you’ve suddenly adopted?