The Waiting Game

Finally September is here. I have been waiting for this month for weeks now. Not only does it (hopefully) bring about a change in weather from the humid heat to cool breezes, but I’m hoping (and praying, and praying) that this is the month our baby will arrive.

The final months are not glamorous. Not at all. There is nothing glamorous about being at your biggest weight ever, having what looks like the worlds-greatest cankles ever, a painful back to accompany you day and night, and if you live in the Maltese islands, you top everything up with the heavy weather which makes you seem and feel a hundred kilos heavier.

I am now fed up of my maternity clothes. There are only a few ways on how you can make a simple black maternity dress look special and different each time. There are no proper maternity shops here on the Rock, and any shopping I did during this pregnancy were online.  I have a couple of websites which I browse regularly  (Asos, Gap and New Look amongst others) but in all honesty I am now fed up of seeing elasticated waistlines, baby-doll styled tops, high-waisted dresses and flat shoes. So what I have now is what I will wear for the rest of this pregnancy. And after that, I’m organizing a huge bonfire.

It was quite a pregnancy. I had low lows but definite high highs. And now, hopefully by the end of this month, I will have a baby in my arms. I’m so looking forward to meeting the little kicker I have inside me, who starts dancing the minute I lay down on the bed and who has stretched my belly to unbelievable proportions.

We have so many changes in our life coming up this month. A new baby, Cesca starting school, we will be starting building our home soon, the winter season coming up – it’s all about changing and adapting our lifestyles. I have hopes that we will all turn out okay, especially Cesca. The only thing I’m fearing where she’s concerned is her first couple of days of school. But I’m praying to the higher powers that all will be smooth and fine.

In the meantime, this is what we’ve been up to…

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Bump is now 35 weeks old. This photo was taken at 34+1 weeks when I was off for what was supposed to be a girly dinner. My friends had other plans…

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..In actual fact I was dressing up for my baby shower! It was quite the surprise seeing all my family and friends gathered up. Best feeling ever 🙂

We have avoided playgrounds because of the total lack of shade. However I took advantage of the shady weather and took her for an hour to run around. Her facial expression was priceless :)

We have avoided playgrounds because of the total lack of shade. However I took advantage of the cloudy weather and took her for an hour to run around. Her facial expression was priceless 🙂

August was a tough month where the weather was concerned. When not plastered underneath the a/c unit, I am normally lying down on the floor trying to catch a cool (or otherwise) breeze.

August was a tough month where the weather was concerned. When not plastered underneath the a/c unit, I am normally found lying down on the floor trying to catch a cool (or otherwise) breeze.

As in Cesca's pregnancy, I am gorging on fruits this time round. I can eat fruits all day long and be happy. Better than sweets and chocolates I guess. Though I'm not exactly abstaining on those either...

As in Cesca’s pregnancy, I am gorging on fruits this time round. I can eat fruits all day long and be happy. Better than sweets and chocolates I guess. Though I’m not exactly abstaining on those either…

I have started unwrapping and washing the baby's clothes, linen and blankets in preparation for the little one. I absolutely love these Webbs products - their smell is purely baby-in-a-bottle!!

I have started unwrapping and washing the baby’s clothes, linen and blankets in preparation for the little one. I absolutely love these Webbs products – their smell is purely baby-in-a-bottle!!

 

Blessing

This past week has been infernal temperature-wise. When not at home we can be found racing our way to the coast, trying to catch a breeze and cool down. Most times we manage, others we quasi-despair. I haven’t had my hair done in a fortnight and I’m washing it every other day and immediately pulling it back into a bun. Necklaces are giving me rashes and no powder can hide my facial shine. At this point I have started believing that too much heat can kill you.

Just because I need to see cold images and remind myself that there are other feelings besides feeling hot, humid and sticky!

Just because I need to see cold images and remind myself that there are other feelings besides feeling hot, humid and sticky!

Okay, this is more like it...

Okay, this is more like it…

The good point in all this is that C’s cast has been on for over a week now and she has not yet complained once. She has grown used to it, she never tugs or plays with it and is handling it all surprisingly well. She does miss swimming and splashing around in water and bath-times are now a two-person deal, but we’re managing.

For all my complaints at time – about her screaming, her stubbornness and her boundless energy, I have to say that C is our blessing. She is now at the wonderful age where we can properly communicate and she is learning new words and phrases everyday. She is not one to complain or moan around (thankfully) but she does get angry at times and of course that’s when the screaming tends to start! But I look at her young self with a cast as big as half her arm and I realize that she is just two, she’s still a little baby and she’s not any trouble, not really and I can’t possibly get angry with her, not at this moment.

Put my arm in a cast in the middle of summer and I wouldn’t stop moaning about it, that’s for sure!

Stuck in a Rut

Good afternoon!

If you live in Malta, how is this scorching weather treating you? It’s very easy to forget about the humidity, the frizzy hair, the useless blowdries and the three-times-a-day showers when you’re away for a while. This weekend I was given a stark reality check and  I remembered the reasons I loved England at this time of the year. Let’s just say that in last July’s England photos, I was wearing a cardigan. Can you imagine that here?

This weekend our celebrations as a family came to an end so to say. We celebrated my in-laws wedding anniversary, C’s birthday, our anniversary and my lovely sister-in-law’s birthday in one week. We ate (gulp) and we drank (gulp, gulp). Even I have to admit that we overdid it on both fronts and for that reason I’m trying to have a ‘light’ week. Knowing me, those are useless words and intentions, but I might surprise myself one of these days.

Then again they always say hope is the last thing to die.

This week I found myself trying to unstick myself from the rut I have come to find comfort in. Small things really, but I needed to push myself to do tiny things I haven’t done in what seems like ages go. I wanted to feel like myself a bit more.

So I went crazy and silly. No, not really. Nothing outrageous happened. But I looked back at what the old me loved doing and I set myself keen on going back to familiar and happy grounds.

– During a free hour, I grabbed a towel, book and a bottle of water and went sunbathing out on the roof. I wore a mismatched bikini, did not need to worry about any stubble and stayed there for as long as I could muster the terrible sun. My original intended hour lasted only thirty minutes, but I like to think I did get some extra colour on my limbs. And the best part was enjoying the silence and solitude of it all.

– I am enjoying the sea more than I have in a long while. Whenever I have a free morning I take C to the beach for an hour or two. It is a hassle preparing a toddler for the beach, but she loves it so and I get to enjoy it too, so I preset beach mornings and stick with the plan. So far, so good.

– A and myself went to the bigger island for a date night on our anniversary last week. We planned nothing and did not do anything in particular. We walked along Sliema by ourselves, hand in hand, without pushing a stroller or tending to a toddler, we were able to go up stairs and were not on the constant lookout for the death-traps local pavements are. We had a tasty pizza with some wine, we enjoyed an amazing view and we talked. We talked without being interrupted and without having to silence a loud toddler. It was simple but it was just what we needed.

– I rummaged through my bags of make-up and resolved to change my make-up routine. I used to have different make-up plans for different days and times. I used to play around different shades of make-up – the browns, pinks, violets, greys, nude – I was always trying out a new shade. Nowadays I always use the same palette for every day and every night, weekday and weekends. Always the same. So I spruced up my collection a bit with some new purchases, and I’m using shades I haven’t put on in years. I’m liking it!

– I have promised myself that this summer I will read more. I used to be the girl who’d finish a book in three days, and now I’m lucky if I finish a book in a month! I was angry at myself about this, because reading is my favourite past-time and to have abandoned it for so long was shocking to me.  So I’ve started taking my books around with me again, and whenever I find a spare five minutes, I read. It feels good to be a geek again.

– I’m trying to get out of my flats, at least on weekends. My heeled-sandals need to get out more, so I’ve resolved getting out of the comfort zone a pair of flat shoes offer, and put on a proper high-heeled pair of shoes! I feel a million times better, but I need more training in heels. Three years in flats does that to you. So if you see me wobbling around in heels, you now know why. Thankfully C’s stroller helps, for I’m able to hold on to it when the heels and uneven roads become too much.

– I am trying to start feeling hungry again. Yes, you read right. I have forgotten how it feels to feel hungry and I need to rediscover that. My body has become too used to eating for every simple reason that I am now sick of it. I am aware that this is probably just a very, very short phase I’m going through but I’ll make the most of my weak will while it seems to be co-operating for the time being.

What do you do when you find yourself stuck in a comfortable rut? Do you act upon a wake-up call or do you prefer ignoring it and sticking to familiar grounds? I have to say my will-power is as strong as a bird’s feather so I’m not too optimistic about keeping all the promises I have made to myself, but I do want to try. It feels good challenging yourself every once in a while.

Have a great week and don’t forget the SPF cream! That sun is a bitch!! 

One of our morning beach-dates ;)

One of our morning beach-dates 😉

 

We enjoyed our anniversary pizza with this lovely back-drop. Not too shabby, hmm?

We enjoyed our anniversary pizza with this lovely back-drop. Not too shabby, hmm?

 

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you - I stated a cake-decoration course! I love baking so this really was the next step! Three hours into it, I'm really enjoying myself!

Oh, I almost forgot to tell you – I stated a cake-decoration course! I love baking so this really was the next step! Three hours into it, I’m really enjoying myself! (My apologies for the crap quality of the picture!)

 

The Hot One!

It was quite a relief last night waking up to the sound of the wind blowing through our bedroom blinds. The past couple of days were exhaustingly hot and utterly draining. My energy levels were rock-bottom and every chore required that bit extra effort to do. Thankfully it’s cooler today but the sun is no less hotter.

This weekend I baked a pistachio and ricotta cake which came out really, really good! I made some strawberry ice-cream and today I made Cesca’s birthday cake. The decoration of the latter will be left to more capable hands than my own. As you may know by now, I’m good when it comes to flavour, not so much when it comes to decoration…

The cake which took a whole afternoon to make was gobbled up in record time! Good sign ;)

The cake which took a whole afternoon to make was gobbled up in record time! (Recipe coming in following post!)

 

Almond cakes!

Almond cakes!

Cesca’s been spending all afternoons in her inflatable pool. She throws in all of her toys and spends hours at end playing and splashing around!

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Lethargy is hitting her hard poor thing – she has to get used to this heat! In the meantime, her naps have extended to three-hour ones!

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I hope your weekend was a great one and that you’re coping much better than I am with these temperatures. I need my body to start readjusting to the severe weather-change going on!

Have a great week 😉

Easy Tiger

It’s crazy isn’t it. One evening last week I met up with a good friend and it was so windy, I was dressed up in a denim jacket and was still feeling a bit chilly. Cue forward a couple of days and The Rock is in official summer-mode. The long, hot days are here and I think it’s safe to say that I can finally store my light cardigans away for now. All of a sudden we NEED air-conditioning, and it seems that  now not even a fan will do! To think that only a couple of days ago I was still making use of a light duvet…

There is no middle way for Maltese weather. It is either windy, cold and wet or else hot, humid and dry. We only have two officially seasons – winter and summer, there is no spring or fall for us, bar a couple of days which can not really classify themselves as proper seasons. Remember the dates when the seasons officially start? That does not apply to Malta. Summer does not last three months here, more like six months and counting. By October we are all officially baked, cooked and burnt.

So with this heat comes survival mechanisms.

Drink lots and lots of chilled water. Add some pieces of lemon and mint to vary it a bit.

Avoid the sun during the lethal morning and afternoon hours.

Slap on sunscreen like there’s no tomorrow. My laissez-faire attitude last year has caused me pigmentation spots and so now I’m always putting on sunscreen. I don’t mind if my face is that bit shinier, that’s what light powder is for!

Stop straight blow-dries. There is no real purpose in blow-drying your hair in a cool salon, step outside and end up with your pulled up in a bun or a pony-tail. In the past I used to really try to take care of my blow-dries. I would be the one with my hair loose down my back in the sweltering heat, trying to stop myself from sweating.  I now have two options this summer – I can either blow-dry my hair in a loose-curl manner which allows me to gather it up, or else I can rely on my cherished oil-spray to let it run loose (and wild) in its natural state. Either way I won’t have any hairs sticking to my back and that works just fine with me!

There is no middle-ground for us Maltese when it comes to weather. No there isn’t. As much as lots is said about English weather, I have to say it never really bothered me. Yes, there would be long, grey days at end when I would have killed to spend a day or two in sunny Malta just to properly realize that it was June or July after all. But there was no real humidity problem, no sweating, no mosquitoes and their irritating bites. And sometimes on a freakishly chilly day, even the heating would go on!

We are now learning to deal with this hot weather. Cesca’s appetite is practically non-existent but thankfully she still loves her milk. She has had some rash patches come up due to this heat and sweating. She’s learnt the drill of putting on sunscreen and knows that after putting on the cream, an outing ensues. She runs around in her nappy all day and sleeps longer during the night. Her normally light wavy-hair becomes a bird’s nest of curls whenever she sweats. Keeping her light and wet seems the way to do things. So I’m envisaging early morning swimming dips and lots and lots of water.

And sunscreen. And insect-repellant cream. And anti-irritation cream.

Summer. Bliss.

Oh, and did you hear the new version of numbers that’s going around? Here’s Cesca reciting it. You know the one – it finishes with ‘…8,9, face!’

Normal Grounds…

Forty-seven days later we’re back home. On cooler land, non-sticky weather and beautiful breezes.

How was our holiday? A bit too long (when A was not there), but overall great fun.

  • Cesca grew up so much these past seven weeks. The little girl who did not crawl and move about still does not crawl, but she walks (sometimes runs) just by holding my one finger. She’s become more assertive and is not afraid of letting her voice being heard. She’s a charmer and an entertainer. Her hair is growing all over the place, so much so that we had to give her her first hair-cut and styled it into a mini-bob. I can’t wait for it to be a bit longer – I’m already practicing pony-tails 🙂
  • The grand-parents bonded really well with C. She still does not miss me or cry for me or A, so we did not hesitate leaving her with our parents whenever they offered. Fortunately she has an easy-going character and no one minded the babysitting duties. By the second week we were there her face would light up whenever she saw them, and would sometimes cry for them rather than for me!
  • I stuck to my plan of enjoying summer and the sea. I’m not a swimming-lover but I do love getting baked in the sun. I know, I know, it’s not healthy. So I put on loads of sun-cream and spent as much time as the awful heat would let me, giving my limbs some colour, and I managed! For the first time since 2009, I have a proper, Mediterranean-style, slightly browish, tan. And I also know that by this weekend, I’ll be as white as a sheet again.
  • C loved, loved, loved swimming! She would stay in the water for hours if we let her. She never made a noise or pulled a face if the temperature was slightly low. She splashed, laughed and paddled away. That’s something she’s taken after A 🙂
  • Hubby and myself snuck in four days in Sicily which were absolutely perfect! We didn’t take C with us mainly because we really needed some time together as a couple and not as parents. Plus, it would have been torture taking her with us since the heat was as strong if not stronger than Malta. That way we enjoyed a wine-tasting session at a local winery, we walked down narrow rubble-tiled streets, drove for hours covering nearly half of Sicily, we had the most romantic dinner I can think of in the ten years we’ve been together, we snuck in the drinking of bottles of wine in village squares whenever we felt like it, we showered and were ready to leave in half an hour and I did not need to worry about feeds and milk because I was reassured C was in great hands. We’re already planning next summer’s trip!
  • We ate, ate, drank and drank. So much so that we’re definitely going to start detoxing and dieting. How much that will be a success we’ll just have to wait and see.
  • I managed to meet all of my dear friends, either for coffee, a chat or dinner (bar R with whom I’ve a date coming up this autumn!) We shared news, we laughed like old times and I even managed to meet their new babies! C met and interacted with babies her own age, lots of pictures were taken, and some baby tears were even shed!
  • We made some important decisions, although like I told you last time, right now everything is back up in the air. So now we’re thinking and evaluating and hopefully, we’ll soon be able to make a final decision.

And now we’re in a cool England, something I was wishing for these past couple of days. The clothes are back in their place, the washing machine hasn’t stopped all morning and I’m slowly setting up our home again. It feels good to be back. I feel better in this cooler weather. C’s hair is no longer flicked outwards and her heat rash has miraculously disappeared. I won’t be missing the Maltese heat any time soon. But I have some lovely memories which make up for all that!

Little Miss C couldn’t wait to share her new bob. And by the looks of it, she loved it 😉

At her happiest!

Introducing herself to her friend Jean x

They eventually managed to let go of each other for a quick picture!

Even the simple coffee and croissant taste better in Sicily

Gole Alcantara, so beautiful.

Our hotel-room view, Ibla

Happy me 🙂