Tuesday, September 16, 2014

cornwall


I went to Cornwall aged 33, and came back aged 70 34. (Sebastian didn't sleep in Cornwall. He decided sleep just wouldn't do.)

What a wonderful 5 days though. We went there with two other couples, also with babies, so it was our first foray into full on family vacay affairs.
 You know, with little things around. Little wellies.
 Little people's stuff.
 And little feet.

It was great. I didn't need to profusely apologise if Sebby decided to kick off in the middle of the night (which he did), and we understood when any other the other children had a meltdown. My boobs were out, we went out en masse as a big old buggy brigade, and there were toys strewn all over the floor. We'd all talk about our babies bowel movements (and our own by the end).


It was fantastic.

And we ate ourselves rampant. As did my son.

Cornwall is beautiful. Well, St Ives at least. We spent days roaming the streets, eating pasties (everyday. It was Pasty O' Clock every single day), devouring Cornish ice cream, soaking up the salty sea air. It was warmer down there too, so we were wondering around in shirts and sandals.




It was my birthday, and the Brit had booked an amazing seafood restaurant for lunch, where I had a few champagne cocktails to celebrate being completely middle-aged.
On our last day, we visited Hayle, a village not far from St Ives, where all my English ancestors come from.

My great grandmother and other family members got married in the local church (above), and apparently she made a mean pasty.
We also larked about in the old cemetery trying to find some Clemence headstones, but turned out we were in the wrong one.

My Dad's second name is St Elwyn, named after this very church.

Either way, Cornwall is fabulous - definitely worth a trip back there sometime soon. Perhaps when my child can walk and appreciate the sand between his toes.


 One of our friend's with us took these beautiful black and white photos of Sebby, playing on the carpet. Just ten days shy of being 6 months old.








Tuesday, September 09, 2014

sam & finn

I am battling a bit today and last night.

I don't cry everyday anymore, but a cry does build up. I can feel it. Then one little thing will set it off - a conversation, seeing twins, or something I read.

I saw a set of boy/girl twins on Sunday, hugging and playing with each other. They were so close and shared such a special bond. Then I go to the Dark Place and start thinking about the days leading up to her death. How she was breech, how I fell, where I fell, the scan following, how she then turned and then that fateful day. 18 March.

I am sitting here, tears streaming down my cheeks as I saw the most beautiful little book created by a twin mum as a tribute to one of her twin boys that died.
She lives in Cape Town, and posted on the Twinless Twins forum.

It's so touching, and so apt. Finn, her survivor, was always active and kicking, while her other boy, Sam, was more restful.
It was exactly like that with Sebby and Molly. Sebby was constantly kicking me and moving, while Molly kicked softly and at different times.

Here it is.

We are going to Cornwall for a few days on Thursday. This break has been planned for a while, as we are going with other couples and their babies. Our first baby holiday.

I can't wait to see Cornwall. It's where my English ancestors come from, and my dad says there is a cemetery in one of the towns near to where we are staying, filled with Clemence's.

Monday, September 08, 2014

super juice

Wanted to share my Super Juice recipe with y'all. Someone asked for it the other day, so thought I'd share.

It's actually a smoothie, but for the purposes of looking trendy, let's called it a juice. Everyone's juicing. Even poor old Joan Rivers is juicing still.

Every morning, I make this juice, by hook or by crook. It's more a smoothie, to be fair. It has the skins and piths and all other bits in it.
It keeps me:
1) awake
2) regular
3) not ill ever.

I can't afford to be sick, er, constipated or sleep walking at the moment, so I drink one first thing every morning. It also conveniently packs in my 5 a day in one fell swoop. I eat a lot of vegetables and fruit ordinarily, but this ensures no matter what, I get it all.

You can mix and match the fruits to your liking, but I tend to mostly use this combination - it's not too sweet and not too tart.
It's best taken first thing before any cereal or breakfast so that it blasts your system awake and all the nutrients are absorbed on impact.

I also tend to choose fruit and veg that are alkaline and high in anti-oxidants, to stave off things like cancer and ageing.
Fruits are high in sugar, but pear is great for fibre and banana is brilliant for energy.

I also use organic produce - especially the ones without hard skins, so that less pesticides and rubbish are absorbed.

To make one pint glass:

1) To start, grab a fistful of fresh baby spinach leaves; grab a fistful of curly kale leaves.
2) Cut up a ripe pear.


3) Chop up a banana
4) Grab a fistful of fresh blueberries

5) Chop up three slices of ginger (very important! Also helps for milk production if you're breastfeeding...)



Your concoction should look something like this now:

This will make about a pint of smoothie.

6) Add about 100-150 mls of filtered water
7) Whack a hand blender in there. (Or stick it in the blender/food processor). Hand blenders are the business, FYI.

You will want to put soft fruit at the top if you're hand blending, and the leaves at the bottom with the harder stuff in the middle.

Give it a sippable consistency.
You should end up with something looking like this:
Doesn't look helluva appetising, sure - sort of looks like dish water, but it tastes yummy. The ginger gives it a bit of a kick too.
If you have any, add ground up flax/linseeds, in the oil form. Good for the old brain, they say.

Otherwise like me, use the smoothie as a chaser for all the supplements you take.
(Viz fenugreek for breastmilk, vitamin d, flaxseed, multi-vitamin.)


You should be ready to do cartwheels after this.
Or just about.

Friday, September 05, 2014

borrowed time

My child has started to not sleep at all at night.

A few weeks ago, he was sleeping through. The Brit and I were waking up somewhat refreshed.
Slowly but surely the little scamp has started to wake at 3am. Then it was 1am and 3am.
When he didn't wake up at those unforgivable times, I fucking started waking up then, expecting  him to wake up.

Fast forward to three days ago, when the Brit went to Germany for work. That's when Sebastian decided to open a can of I'm About To Ruin Your Shit and now he wakes up every hour on the hour.

Other mums are all, 'It's teething!' 'It's a growth spurt! 'It's the famous Four Month Regression!'(Famous? How come I don't know about that? And my son is 5.5 months, so does that still make it the Four Month Regression?)

Either way, I'm beyond catatonic. Beyond, because I've almost done a 360. I'm so tired, I'm hyperactive.
I know if I sit down and chill for one second, I'm going to fall asleep for eight months.

So I got up, put on my granny jersey woollen dressing gown (it's a phase), and sleepwalked my way around Clapham. I was proud of myself for managing to dress, brush my teeth and feed myself and him in a somnambulistic state.

I did, however, spread Marmite over my peanut-butter sandwich thinking it was jam.

I took Seb to the library for Rhyme & Story Time. While he listened intently to the songs, stories and general child chaos around him, I sat sleeping with my eyes open. Like all the other mummies in there.


I started to feel panicked and very sad last night. Even amongst the sleep deprivation, there's a blip that's surfaced on my horizon.

January. The cold, dark, hands-down worst month of the year is on my radar. It's coming. It's when I go back to work, and it's when I leave Seb.

It means I'll see my son from then on out maybe two or three hours, if I'm lucky, a day. It means I won't be able to go to Story Time or swimming with him anymore. I won't be able to take him for walks in the middle of the day, except on weekends. I'm hiring someone else to do this for me.

And already my heart is starting to break.

(Also, will I even be able to do my job anymore?)

I have little time left with him. Three and a half months. So even though he is perpetually driving me insane by keeping me awake, I am trying to savour every, single minute I have with him.

I will drag my body to every class or walk or appointment I have with him, despite how much we slept the night before, and I will enjoy it. Because I have only one chance to do these things with him. And I am now running on limited time.

PS: This time last year I was riddled with morning sickness. I was smashing fish fingers every supper time for seven weeks. It's the only thing I could stomach. It was also around this time that I found out that I was carrying twins....

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

24 hours

One thing new mother's find simply infuriating (besides the constant swathe of unsolicited advice), is the fact that people think that they basically sit around all day.

Hell, maybe they do. Maybe if they have maids/nannies/au pairs/grannies/siblings on hand, they do get a few hours a day, just to themselves.
Certainly in South Africa, this is more the case. Some of my motherly friends might as well live in a completely different world to me, nevermind country. Hired help and proximity of family members is easy to come by there, and don't think for a second that I don't think about this all the time.

I'm fully aware that my life would be a lot easier if I was living in South Africa now. It would be sunnier, I'd have more support emotionally and otherwise, and my son would probably have a large garden to crawl around in.

But that's not the purpose of this post, actually. I live in the UK (and to remind myself why: it's safe, the politics are somewhat orderly, it's cosmopolitan, it has real seasons, first world, close to the continent and therefore travel, beautiful, cultured, and we live in a lovely period Victorian conversion on the foot of one of London's best commons.)

The intention here is to describe exactly, in excruciating detail - as much as my sleep-deprived brain may allow - what an average day is like. As a mum, on maternity leave, in London. Today was an average day, perhaps Sebastian was grumpier then usual- now crescendoing his usual cry to a further louder rasping effect, which I believe is teething.

So without further ado.

6:15am - The first mewlings, fast escalating to yelling. He wants milk this very second.
Leap out of bed, stumble around bashing things on the way to his room.

Feeds for half an hour.
Gulp a pint of water to wake up and help my milk flow.

7:00am - The Brit wakes up, Sebastian turns to him and plays with his face. By 'play' I mean grab his nose and try to rip it off his face.

Play with him.
Leave them there to go and pump the remainder of milk into a bottle.

7:30am - Brit showers and gets ready for work, I make a super juice.

Put Seb in his bouncer.
Seb is moaning. His toy fell off the bouncer.
Hand it back to him.
Attend to juice and vitamin supplements.
Prepare his breakfast, by mixing pear, cereal and some of my milk in a bowl.
Shit. He's seen the bowl. Starts to moan for breakfast.

8:15am - Feed him breakfast.

Clean his face, hands and surrounding area where splat-a-thon has occurred.
Finish my juice.
Put All Bran in a bowl.
See that he has done a pooh.
Take him to changing mat and wipe his bottom, affix new nappy.
Change him out of pyjamas, wipe his face, brush his hair.
Find dreadlocks in his hair.
Appears he is picking up lint and getting it entangled in hair.
Cut the dreads out. Leave gaping holes in his hair.
Starts crying.
Is overtired, was already meant to be down for his nap, like half an hour ago.

9:00am - Rock him to sleep, put on white noise app.
9:10am - Exit room on tippee-toes, trip over the belt of my dressing gown that is trailing behind me.

It's now a race against the clock. I have about 40 minutes, maybe an hour if I'm lucky.

Attend to All Bran.
Add up WeightWatchers points.
Finish breakfast.
Go back to kitchen, can't put dirty bowl in dishwasher as it's full.
Unload dishwasher.
Make cup of tea.
He cries.
Go to his room to put his dummy back in.
Make mental note of figuring out how to lose dummy for good.
Forget about tea, is now cold.
Reboil kettle.
Answer three emails that have been needing a reply for four days.
Reply to a text.
Forget about tea, is now cold.
Go and wash face.
Put on clothes.

10:00am - He wakes up
Check nappy.
He's done another pooh.
Oh look, the consistency and colour of this one reflects the avocado he had, how interesting.
Answer Skype call from mother
Chat to mother
Put him on blanket on floor on his stomach so he gets Tummy Time
He cries because he has managed to push all his toys away from his body
Rearrange toys close to his hands and face
Go back to couch to continue conversation
He cries because he has vomited on himself
Get up to wipe his face
Where's the fucking muslin?
Who took the last muslin out of the fucking lounge?
Oh. It was me.
Go to his room to get a new muslin.
Wipe his face.

10:45am  - set about breastfeeding.
Start on the boob he prefers (the left, which is therefore a much larger breast as it stands, now that's embarrassing. Especially for those who see both of them at once and can actually compare.)
Move him to the right breast while he is half asleep, hoping he won't notice.
He doesn't notice. For three minutes.
He notices. Puts his head back and screams in disapproval.
Move him back to the right breast.
He is distracted by the Bauhaus print behind us on the wall. He is always distracted by it.
Gets upset and starts to roar.
Sit him up to burp him.
Burp him.
Try the left breast again.
Screams and thrashes, legs go round like a bicycle.
Give up. Hope that 13 minutes of breastfeeding will be enough.
Fetch milk pump spout from kitchen.
Arrange Seb on couch in sitting position, using cushions.
Put toys around him.
With one eye on him, attach boob to breast pump.
Pump.
Watch him. While pumping.

11:30am - Starts to niggle.
Go to his room to prepare him for his long lunchtime nap.

Race against the clock. An hour and a half (always interrupted). If lucky, two hours. But this has only happened twice.

The tablet on which the white noise app sits, has low battery.
As I turn on the soothing sound of waves, the only thing that helps him get to sleep, it stops.
He gets annoyed.
Take tablet and place it on charge.
Find the Brit's tablet and turn on white noise app. Battery is also low.
Go to kitchen to prepare some food
Switch on baby monitor
Peel three sweet potatoes and two courgettes
He starts crying.
Head to his room.
Give him a jiggle.
Go back to kitchen.
Put peeled vegetables in the steamer.
Prepare to make a sandwich.
Butter bread.
He's mewling.
Go to his room.
Give him a jiggle.
Return to kitchen, put ham on sandwich.
Starts crying.
Grit teeth and try to ignore for an additional 2 minutes while I chop a tomato.
I WILL finish making this fucking sandwich.
Crying gets too loud.
Head to his room, give him a jiggle.
Head back to kitchen. Place the chopped tomato on the sandwich.
Cut it up. Finish making sandwich.
Eat sandwich.
Mash up courgettes and potatoes, dispense into ice cube tray and put in freezer
He's finally asleep.
Make a cup of tea.
Realise I have to pay for his swimming lessons.
Head to computer and log onto internet banking.
Forget about tea, is now cold.

12:45pm - The Brit phones. Pick up call.
End call abruptly, as realise I haven't brushed my teeth yet.
Head to bathroom.
Brush my teeth.
Start to prepare to put some makeup on
Start brushing on some foundation.
He wakes up.
Is talking to himself, not crying, so continue
Do I have time to put on some blush, or should I skip that and brush my hair?
Fuck the blush.
Brush my hair.
He's chortling to himself.
I have time therefore to do a wee.
I do a wee.
He's starting to get impatient.
I wash hands
Apply hand cream
Put on wedding rings. Been forgetting to put those on when I leave house, which isn't good.

1:15pm  - Pick him up
Put him on changing table
Change his nappy
Put a cardigan on him
And his shoes
Realise I haven't drunk enough water
Fill up water bottle
Down a pint
Refill bottle
Set about breastfeeding.
Start on the left boob
Move him to the right breast while he is half asleep, hoping he won't notice.
He doesn't notice. For three minutes.
He notices. Puts his head back and screams in disapproval.
Move him back to the right breast.
He is distracted by the Bauhaus print behind us on the wall.
Gets upset and starts to roar.
Sit him up to burp him.
Burp him.
Try the left breast again.
Screams and thrashes, legs go round like a bicycle.
Give up. Hope that 13 minutes of breastfeeding will be enough.
Fetch milk pump spout from kitchen.
Arrange him on couch in sitting position, using cushions.
Put toys around him.
With one eye on him, attach boob to breast pump.
Pump.
Watch him. While pumping.

1:48pm  - Realise him I'm super late
Bring buggy from his room to the door
Load him in the buggy
Find keys. mobile phone
Exit door
See postman has delivered package
Reopen door
Drop package
Exit
Realise I've left water bottle
Swear loudly
Apologise for being such a bad example
Race down the street
Stop to put his dummy in
Stop to find sunglasses floating around the depths of his nappy bag
Cross main street
Enter building where a class is being held (we sing and do baby activities in a big circle)
See other mums, make some polite small talk about Bugaboo buggies and weaning
Wipe drool from his face
Realise the class instructor is still on fucking holiday
Leave building exasperated

2:15pm - find a coffee shop after walking to the high street
Order a massive Americano with milk
Find a table where there is  space to slide a buggy in next to it
He starts to whinge, it's nap time
Coffee shop is quiet, save two important-looking novelists tapping away on laptops

2:30pm - He starts roaring
Panicked, I shush and jiggle him to sleep
Finally he drops off
Drink coffee
Order a slice of cake. Fuck it.
Read a few blogs, message a friend who thinks I'm dead, respond to a WhatsApp
Take a picture of my coffee
Put a filter on it
Add some hashtags
Upload it to Instagram
Pay for coffee

3:30pm - Exit coffee shop
Walk home
Find keys

4:00pm - Enter house
Lie him on his activity play gym
He lies there and swats the toys
Down a pint of water
Give him a breastfeed, this time just one breast

4:30pm - Entertain him. It's now officially Witching Hour, anything can set him off
Stand him up, swing him around, wave toys in front of him, sing to him, get out the nursery rhyme book
Realise haven't checked nappy in a while
Change nappy

5:00pm - Get potato cube and carrot cube out of freezer
Put in bowl
Heat in microwave.
Add some breast milk.
Put him in bouncer chair, put bib on
Feed him his supper
Clean his hands and face
Put dummy in, as hates having hands and face wiped
Put him back under play gym

5:30pm - Prepare his bath
Run the water, check it's the right temperature
Fetch bath support seat, put it in the bath
Get towel and sponge, baby shampoo out and ready

5:45pm - Put him bath
Wash his hair, extremities, play with him

6:00pm - Get him out of bath, dry him, take him to his room
Get out baby oil and give him a baby massage
Brit is home early, comes in to give him a kiss and cuddle
Dress him in his pyjamas

6:15pm - Draw the curtains
Take tablet off charge, get his bed ready
Take him to our bed, open up a book
Read him a short story
Short, as he is properly niggly now
Attach him to preferred breast
Change him to other breast when he is half asleep. He stays there.
Breathe a sigh of relief.

6:45pm - Take his comatose little body through to his room
Tuck him in
Switch on white noise app

Eat supper with the Brit.
Hope he doesn't wake up, but if he does, it will be just as we are about to tuck into a giant bowl of something delicious.
The Brit will go and attend to him.

7:30pm - Have a bath.
Close the door
Put on a candle
Put on my iPod and speaker
Sit and think. Often about Molly.

8:00pm - Write a blog post.
Watch something on TV with Brit.
Drink a cup of [warm] tea.

9:15pm - Pump milk into his bottle

9:30pm - Brit gives him his dreamfeed, either the bottle if its full or as recently, formula.

10:00pm - Go to bed.

Somewhere around 3:00am
He might wake up. Often he does. Brit or myself puts him back to sleep.

This took me three hours to do. It's pretty much taken up all my spare time, so I do hope you read every. single. word.

In conclusion. If there's one thing I have realised it's this: No office job is as difficult as being a full-time mum.
Mark my words. NO OFFICE JOB.
There are lull periods in any given office day. You can drink a hot cup of coffee. You can stare out of a window for more than 12 seconds. You probably had at least 8 hours sleep.

* I had to dedicate time to write this. Once the Brit was home so that I could really concentrate. And not have to write it with my teeth whilst doing 109 other things with my fingers. And toes. At the same time. 
* Haven't included cuddle time in here. Assume I cuddle him pretty much every twenty minutes of the waking day.
* Make no mistake. I love being a mum. I wouldn't have it any other way.

slippery nipple

It's ironic really. A Slippery Nipple cocktail would've gone down nicely on our returning flight from Portugal.

Now, boarding a flight with an infant garners a number of things.
1) people who like babies and coo and point;
2) people who are scared of babies and look visibly relieved when you pass their seat; and in a mixture of horror and revulsion when you arrive at theirs because you're sitting right next to them.
3) the parent(s) walking on 8 million eggshells as they tentatively make sure their little bundle is going to not lose his shit.

We were the last to board the plane, now having mastered the art of colapsing and putting back together our 'tarvel system.' The Travel System is our buggy, which has been pimped especially for this trip. It consists of a basic buggy bracket, wheels and the car seat.

On the flight in, we kept an entire busload of passengers waiting while we tried to desperately put together the fucking Travel System on the runway. The car seat would not - so God help us - click onto the bracket. We pushed, we shoved, we sweated, we tried everything, only to throw everything, in pieces, one by one, onto the heaving, crowded bus because they were going to leave us there.

It was at that moment, I also remembered that I had forgotten to put on deodorant, perhaps as we had left at 4am, but by now, my odiferous pits were the last of my worries.

Anyway, where the fuck was I.

On the plane, leaving to fly back to the UK. Sebastian had been brilliant on the way here. Lying sprawled across our laps, sleeping with his doudou over his face like an Arab as usual (got more than a few raised eyebrows on the flight, let me tell you), I even managed to leaf through the Duty Free magazine with the Brit. No crying or loud baby noises to cause anyone any alarm.

Exhibit A:

We were particularly proud of the fact we managed to stick to basic airline standards as well. Via the channel between our seats, we cunningly (while he was asleep, mind), ran his seatbelt through and over. And there he lay, quite blissful and Syrian-like, for a good hour and a bit.

We tried the same tack for the return journey. Parents do this. If a method works once, you try it again and again - but most of the time you realise it just worked once, even though you keep banging away at the one method.

He was finicky and started wingeing and moaning. I was sitting, this time, next to a very hairy young woman. She had Amy Winehouse eye makeup and was sleeping sitting up. Which makes me believe she was just trying to sleep. I can sleep sitting up anywhere these days - seriously, try me - but that's because I am 8 years in lieu of real sleep and counting.

Planes make me tired too. It must be the cabin pressure or altitude or something, but all I deperately, desperately, wanted to do was get Sebastian to sleep so that I could sit back for even TEN MINUTES and catch some flies. My husband had already started, and was catching an assortment of flying objects with his wide open mouth rather nicely.

A ha! I put him on my boob. It wasn't feeding time, but the nipple worked as a lovely little plug and stopped his niggling and wingeing. And after about 3 minutes he was beautifully sound asleep. Latched onto my nipple.

Great. I was sleepy too. Ah look at the little bugger. All curled up against my bosom, just like when he was a newborn. Eyes closed, mouth on my nipple, snuggled into me.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.

A few minutes later, he slid off the nipple, just enough so that it now rested firmly in his eyeball hole.

The nipple fitted cosily and quite firmly in what was his eyeball socket, so I thought, the same.
I'm sure it's fine if I just leave him there.

Fast forward, I dunno, ten, twenty minutes?
 Husband and wife, now both with heads thrown back, mouths agape, possibly with a trickle of drool descending down the jowls.
Hang on, what is this?
Mother has infant in her arms. Infant's head has appeared to have slipped off nipple entirely, meaning mother's bear breast is just sort of hanging there. In mid-air, at 33 000 feet, while mother and child and husband slumber.

Make note that we were positioned near the back of the plane near the toilets, so the foot traffic in that area consisted of frequent loo-goers and air hostesses. And my boob, was exposed to all, throughout that time.

Now. Here's the thing. I couldn't give more of a fuck. 

When you become a mother, your boobs are no longer objects of sexual and private nature. Your boobs are public property. They're feeding machines. Milk outlets. Udders.

From the moment he was born, I've had midwives, nurses, doulas, doctors, neonatologists, hospital staff squeeze, touch and see my boobs. Helping me to breastfeed.
I've whipped them out in front of my father-in-law, brother-in-law, his wife, the Brit's entire family. My step-dad, the Brit;s best friend, my friends.

Everyone I care even slightly about, has seen my tits. Performing the rudimentary function of procuring milk.

I remember my 28th birthday - surprisingly, rather vividly. I was in Johannesburg, at a Greek restaurant, and we were all dancing around, absolutely steaming.
At one point, my boob fell out of my dress, right in sight of Poen's [now] husband.

I was mortified. As I didn't realise it had fallen out, so I was happily continuing my conversation with my boob poking everyone's eye out.
("You might want to pop that back in, Peas.")

Now? So a bunch of people I don't know saw my boob. My naked, nipply breast.

If my vagine was out, then I'd have something to be embarrassed about. But having my boob out on a plane where a throng of strangers could look really doesn't bother me at all.

Must've looked pretty funny though.

Monday, September 01, 2014

lishbon

It's been a long time since my dormant travel bug tickled my toes.

And Lisbon, what a lovely city! You don't hear much about Lisbon in the grand spectrum of European cities. Most people go to Barcelona or Rome or Paris for long weekend breaks. But the Portuguese capital started to make its way onto the pages of travel magazines a year or two ago.

It is the most underrated city I've been to. I think. It's not completely overrun with tourists, the avenues and streets are wide and walkable (all covered in white cobbles - not a street or pavement is without the smooth cobbles. I did trip and fall on face, sure, but whatever), and the people love children.

Women, men and children would swoop in and touch Sebastian wherever we went, and were so accommodating in restaurants and while we travelled. We walked with him everywhere, up and down streets, all over town basically. My little boy was a (mostly) lovely traveller - very relaxed, even stretching across our laps during the flight there,to sleep.
(Beginner's luck?)

The flight back deserves its own post.

Anyway. The weather was perfect. About 28 degrees, stark and sunny - about the average temperature I enjoy most. Sebby could wear his summer clothes a bit longer, while me and the Brit ran around scantily-cladded.

I managed to reverse all the work I have done on my diet, via the medium of 'pasteis de nata', those criminally-good custard tart thingies the Portuguese make so well. We went to the original cafe where the initial recipe was sown by nuns. Seriously.

We slotted them like biscuits, fresh and crispy from the oven. I can't really describe how tasty these were, so I won't.
But I will say this: never in my life has I tasted something so crispy and crunchy, and yet so buttery and smooth all at once. Dusted in cinnamon, warm from the oven's embrace..... No wonder Cafe de Belem sells 20 000 of those bad boys a day. (And at 1 euro a tart, they're dong OK....)

We ordered Portuguese food in, loitered by the pool on top of our apartment, meandered through gardens and tiny streets.

We took Seb on buses, on the metro, everywhere. The little lad's mind must have been blown a few times.

Anyway, enough talking, more pictures. Lisbon is hands down a wonderful city, well worth a visit. It's small enough to walk around over a few days, the weather is amazing, there are beaches nearby and I believe it has a cracking nightlife.
(One area we couldn't partake in, was the night vibe in Bairro Alto where I was told that the streets become awash with bucket-sized mojitos. Next time.)



 Many buildings are covered top to bottom in tiles.
 Arco de Augusta

 The secret-recipe pasteis de Belem in process.
 Look at this thing.

 Oh ja. I bought a new set of 'fun' shades. They're red velvet Ray Ban reflectors, cue right. I haven't been in a duty free for a while. It shows, doesn't it.
 The Cafe de Belem hall - filled with snacking tourists!
 My heart melts.
 No trip to Portugal would be complete without a dish of grilled sardines.




 Portuguese windows
 My sunglasses can reflect everything within a 20 mile radius.
 Standard pavement view.
Mother and boy child statue.
 Our pool with Lisbonic [sic] views
 Cocks.

 Seb's bath time in the sink. Not overly impressed.
 Husband and views


 Ifound an old friend - at a 'museu de cerveja', a 'beer emporium' basically. Mozambique in a sip.


 Them tiles.
 It's not quite Mediterranean...it's more sort Atlanticanean.




 Bougainvillea eeverywhere....
 Dried fish. Not keen.
 Warm in Portugal. Keen.
Our first family trip.

It was lovely to spend four glorious days, just me and my little family. So good for all of us.