Celebrating Tom’s birthday with our McFamily…

This week I’ve been spending a lot of time in the kitchen. Once Tom had got back from a trip to Ibiza for Danny’s stag, I decided to make the most of the extra pair of hands to occupy Buzz and start bashing around some pots and pans. Pecan granola, almond milk, hazelnut milk, Nutella, pesto, hummus, amazing meat-free burgers – I’ve been cooking up a total storm. Turns out I’m a much better cook as a vegetarian than carnivore. I’ve no idea why. I’ve already mentioned that I have a slight obsession with Deliciously Ella, but now I’m stalking Honestly Healthy recipes too… Food is brilliant, especially when it’s good for you. I’m really enjoying trying out new recipes and eating all these new flavours and textures. It’s like I’ve got a new appreciation for eating! I love it.

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This weekend we had both our families and all the McBusted boys & girls over to celebrate Tom’s 29th birthday. I can’t believe we’re now both in the last year of our twenties!!! How did that happen? It seriously feels like we’re not long out of school… I think we’re in total denial about the whole growing up thing!

For this group gathering we decided to ask everyone to ‘bring a dish’ – simply to make everything a little easier for us with Buzz, but it turned out to be really fun seeing what people decided to make too. There were all sorts of delicious salads, tasty chilli pots, my uncle’s amazing parmigiana, Tom’s sister Carrie’s divine millionaire shortbread and my mum’s (now legendary) profiteroles… It was a total feast.

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No birthday party is complete without a birthday cake, and this year (thanks to our new way of eating) I decided to enlist the help of Camden’s Cookies and Scream – a vegan bakery that sells the most amazing goodies. McBusted’s Matt bought Tom a brownie/cookie from there before their Hyde Park gig and Tom’s been banging on about it ever since – to the point where he’s been regularly drooling over their Instagram pictures. So, his birthday cake was their Chico Pie – basically a giant peanut butter cookie. His face was like a dribbling child’s when he saw it. As well as that, I also got an array of brownies, cookies and treats. We were all in food heaven.

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Although we were forecast to have rain and a few storms, we had mostly blue skies – meaning we could enjoy sitting in the sunshine with a few guitars being passed around, enjoying life. Glorious!

Hope you all have fabulous weeks planned – let’s hope the sun keeps its cheery little hat on.

Love,

Gi. Xx

P.S. A huge thanks to everyone who tweeted me about last week’s breastfeeding post. As with everything mummy related, it’s not easy to share your struggles, but you’ll feel so much better when you do!

The trials and tribulations of breastfeeding

Before having Buzz I knew that I’d like to make a good attempt at the whole breastfeeding malarkey. After all, it’s rammed down our throats that ‘Breast is best’, so in my quest to be the bestest-ever-mummy-in-the-stratosphere I went for a breastfeeding class (previously talked about and no, I didn’t need to show the teacher everything – this was my main concern). It all sounded so easy – get the baby into the right position, tease him so that he opens his mouth nice and wide and then, with your boob shaped like a burger (sounds weird, but makes sense when you see it), wait for the optimum moment and draw the baby in with maximum breast in his mouth. Easy peasey! What’s so difficult about all of that?! Well… A lot! What the books don’t tell you is that neither of you know what you’re actually doing, or that there’s no way for either of you to communicate what you’d like the other one to do. Seriously, you’d think those little bubbas could be given a crash course on the topic before coming out of utero – it would make everything so much easier! One of you cries in the face of the other with starvation, while the other cries with frustration – leaving you to wonder where the magical bond that breastfeeding supposedly brings is hiding out. And that was another pre-Buzz-selling-point to me! The connection I was told it would bring between my child and I. If someone had reminded me of this enchanting promise a few weeks in I’d have laughed in their face. It’s hard to associate something that makes you yelp in pain, curl your toes in apprehension and cry with despair as something that’ll generate an overwhelming sense of love and unity.

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And, of course, you’re shattered. In those early days you’re so knackered that you find yourself delirious on multiple occasions. I can’t tell you how many times I woke up with my hands frantically searching for Buzz, thinking I’d fallen asleep mid-feed – only to eventually spot him peacefully asleep in his crib where I’d placed him a short while earlier. Sleep deprivation is so disorientating.

When you’re feeding a newborn baby every two to three hours (counted from the start of one feed to the beginning of the next) you can’t help but feel like a walking milk machine (or a human cow), especially when feeding can take a couple of hours in itself – meaning you have an hour off before the whole saga starts again. It’s relentless. It took more patience than I was aware I possessed to get through the first couple of months. And then, as if by magic, it just clicked into place one day. It was as if we both suddenly knew what we were doing – the feeds became super quick and a sense of teamwork fell upon us. Hurrah.

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I can’t tell you how many times I almost gave up. I didn’t have a smooth ride with breastfeeding – I wore nipple shields (never felt so attractive) and got a lovely lactation consultant over to try and help me and Buzz on our merry-breast-way. I was determined and stubborn about the whole thing – I hoped we’d get it right eventually. And we did.

The kindest thing a midwife said to me about breastfeeding was that it took a good two weeks to establish… I was told this when I was a week in and feeling pants about the whole thing. It took more than that little week for me (in fact it was more like eight weeks), but her admission that it wasn’t something that everyone took to instantly gave me some hope. Remember, I’ve already blogged about my woes in the first month of motherhood, and breastfeeding was certainly one of the things I’d started beating myself up over, so her words offered me such relief. I needed to blast away my expectations and remind myself that Buzz and I were on our own little journey of discovery – with no right and wrongs.

Now Buzz has started sleeping through the night from 7pm-6am (heavenly) he’s cut out his night feeds altogether (for ages I still expressed his 10pm feed each night and now have a freezer fully stocked of emergency milk – I guess I went a little overboard! Ha!). His daytime feeds are down to 25 minutes long and are something that happens so quickly and effortlessly that it’s usually over before I’ve had a chance to check my twitter, revel in the latest gossip online or caught up on the latest episodes of Big Brother or Real Desperate Housewives of New Jersey. We both know what we’re doing now – we’re a little tag team in a milk relay…

There is obviously another fear-inducing-scenario within this whole topic though, and that is feeding in public… I’m sad to say I just don’t feel comfortable doing it. Yep, I certainly won’t be taking a breastfeeding selfie anytime soon. I feel paranoid, sweat profusely and become a nervous wreck. It’s not good. In fact, there was one day early on when I told myself I was going to give Buzz his next feed in a coffee shop – I was feeling adventurous. Moments later I got recognised. Needless to say my boobies stayed hidden away in my bra when I got to the coffee shop and ordered a takeaway.

But let’s not forget my Eurostar achievement I blogged about on the way to Disneyland Paris. A disgruntled Buzz wouldn’t take his bottle of expressed milk (he spat it in my face while screaming his head off), so I had no choice but to feed him from source. I felt extremely proud of myself afterwards, though I stand in awe of women who are confident enough to do it wherever they please. Obviously, there are also loads of clothes out there with quick boobie access for discreet feeding – www.mamaslittlesecret.co.uk, for instance, has some great tops that don’t leave you feeling exposed. Maybe one day I’ll get over my fears, but my little set up works for us, and that’s all that matters.

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Like last time, I hope my confession gives comfort to mums who are struggling out there. As with everything in life there’s not a one-size-fits all with regards to breastfeeding and what works for some won’t work for others. Likewise, you’ll find your own fears and trials are different to those around you. I know I persevered – but it’s down to the individual to choose what they want to do. I know how exhausted, vulnerable and unhappy the whole debacle can make a new mum… but NOTHING can compare to the love and joy a HAPPY mum can bring to her baby. Yep, go for happiness. Let’s not underestimate feeding your baby love instead of losing yourself under a cloud of resentment and frustration. So go forth with your breast or bottle with pride. You’re taking on the greatest task of your life – nurturing a human. Let’s not let a little spilt milk overshadow the epicness of that achievement.

On a separate note, I just want to say that I love my endlessly supportive family. Tom’s been away for a few days so Buzz and I took a little trip to Essex for the weekend. Sea air, vegetarian food (yep, still going strong) and lots of laughter… BLISS!

Have a great week you lovely lot.

Gi. Xx

The Wood Wedding and McBusted at Hyde Park…

This week brought with it two massive summer events – the wedding of Fearne Cotton and Jesse Wood and then McBusted headlining at Hyde Park… what an exciting week!

I had a little fashion dilemma before leaving the house for the wedding as the dress I was planning on wearing got stuck in the machine at the dry cleaners and badly ruined. I found out an hour before I was due to leave. Major buzzkill! Needless to say, I cried. Well, I have just had a baby – planning outfits isn’t as easy as chucking on something from a plethora of gorgeously fitting clothes and picking what you liked the most – no, instead it’s trying on pieces and seeing what hides the lingering lumps and bumps the best while still making you feel a little bit beautiful. A frantic search through my wardrobe ensued. Luckily I’d bought a cream and coral dress from ASOS a few weeks ago that I was thinking about wearing for my interview on Lorraine before opting for something else. It was perfect for a summer wedding… Thank goodness!!!

 

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The McFamily were out in force to join Fearne and Jesse’s beautiful celebrations and party the night away. I’m sure you’ve all seen the photos from the wedding online so I really don’t need to tell you how stunning Fearne looked. We were trying to guess what sort of dress she’d be in before she arrived. We were all wrong. Elegant, feminine and floaty – she looked like an enchanting princess. The evening was filled with romance and LOVE! It’s wonderful to see two people so engrossed with one another declaring their love so unabashedly. Weddings are awesome.

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McBusted playing Hyde Park was always going to be a spectacular event. It was a flipping huge gig for them! Seeing as it was so important we decided to make it Buzz’s first ever show. I’m not going to lie, I was blooming nervous at how he’d react to the whole thing, but he was extremely chilled thanks to his Banz ear protectors and me carrying him around in our BabyBjörn carrier. He barely slept during the whole thing, preferring instead to giggle and smile at my best friend Katy, but he was content and happy, so I couldn’t really ask for more. The boys were all kinds of epic! I was a very proud wife.

 

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Also this week, I continued to juice for a further five days. Can’t tell you how great I felt at the end of it – although it feels weird to be eating again. I sort of liked the ease of taking my juices out the freezer and knowing my nutrition was sorted for the day! Now I need to think about what I’m putting into my body. I’ve continued to watch food documentaries – including Food Inc, Vegucated and Earthlings. Well… They were enough to make me never want to eat meat ever again. And that’s coming from someone whose favourite meal is steak and chips! As a result I’m going to try life as a vegetarian for a while… Possibly even a vegan as I can’t see myself wanting milk for a little while either. The upshot to this is that it’s got me back in the kitchen surrounded by cookbooks and experimenting with different recipes. Also, on the milk front – I’ve started making us homemade almond milk… It’s flipping amazing!

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Big love to you all this week!

Gi. Xx

Time to get JUICY!

I did a few interviews while I was pregnant in which the topic of ‘baby weight’ reared its ugly head – with the interviewers wanting to know if I was going to be in a hurry to shed the pounds and get down to the gym. My answer was always ‘no’. My baby hadn’t even arrived and I’d been waiting months and months to meet the little dude. There was no way I’d be booking in personal trainer sessions down the gym when I could be at home snuggling up to my newborn – who I’d spent nine months growing. I do understand the pressures of mummies in the public eye to shrink back down to their former weight (or less) ASAP, but I had no desire to conform. In the past, whenever I’ve struggled with my figure, the thought of losing weight made me miserable – an emotion I knew I’d rather avoid at that special time.

However, I was left bemused last week when rooting through my wardrobe, trying to find something that fitted me and looked pretty. NOTHING did. My maternity clothes were all too big and didn’t fit correctly now that I am no longer wearing a bump, and my pre-bump-wearing garments were all too diddy. I suddenly realised I was ready to do something great so that I could step out of the PJs and baggies. And, I’m thrilled to say, that my desire to get healthy has come from me and not any external pressures of what I should look like.

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My lovely friends Izzy and Emma have both recently detoxed with the help of juicing, and looked flipping amazing from it – so I contacted The Juice Master, Jason Vale, and asked for a little help. I decided that a diet wouldn’t do the trick – I didn’t want to spend a week feeling deprived, instead I wanted to spend some time putting goodness into my body. So, for the last week, fruit and vegetable juice has become my best friend – oh, and so that I’d have a little moral support (it’s never easy to step away from cake), Tom decided to do it with me. Yep, this week our fridge has been filled with nothing but juice and breastmilk… lovely.

To make life easier for ourselves with a baby around, we had all the juices for the week sent over beforehand. They were kept in the freezer and then taken out the night before they were needed. So easy. Also, to get us in the mood for our detox, we watched Super Juice Me the night before we started – each night after that we watched a different documentary focusing on the health benefits of nutrition and plant-based foods. They were all amazing and really spurred us on. Watch Super Juice Me if you get a chance – it might just give you the kick up the butt you need to do something wonderful.

Each night of my 5-day detox I wrote down my thoughts on the day passed. Here’s an insight into my juice-filled-mind:

DAY ONE (21:38) – I’ll be honest, I was a little apprehensive when I woke up this morning. I’ll openly admit that I’ve been eating more food than normal for the past six months or so – and yes, I know you need more calories when you’re preggers or breastfeeding, but I don’t think they’re all meant to come in the form of cake, chocolate and biscuits.

I was extremely aware of food today. It was everywhere. I went for a walk at our local lido after my second juice of the day, and the smell of roast dinners smacked me in the face as soon as I got out the car. BOOM. Surprisingly I walked past without crying and wailing for a Yorkshire pud. I could appreciate the delicious smell, but I didn’t want it. Weird.

Several times today I’ve thought to myself, ‘Oh, I’m peckish – perhaps I’ll have a little snack’, before remembering that I’m on a juicing mission and realising that I’m not actually hungry. I swear sometimes I just feel the need to have something in my mouth (Ooh-er). The day ended with us watching Hungry For Change – drumming in the importance of healthy living. The message is certainly going in. I thought I’d get to this point on my first day and be famished. Instead… I feel fine. Roll on tomorrow.

DAY TWO (22:20) – We’ve spoken a lot about food today – mostly because we went to visit my family, and food is always a top topic of conversation. We’re Italian and we love our food. It didn’t make me feel like I wanted to stuff my face though, so that’s good. A lot of Jason’s detox concentrates on reminding yourself that you COULD have those foods if you wanted, but for those five detox days you’re CHOOSING not to – you’re giving your body a week off and filling it with goodness. It’s all about changing your perspective and not getting into ‘diet’ mode. I think it’s working…

Tonight’s film was Food Matters, which, like the other films, talks about how choosing the right food can be your medicine against all sorts of ills. Very thought-provoking.

 

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DAY THREE (21:54) – I woke up today feeling lighter… How lovely! I’ve been warned that day two and three can be quite tough on a detox, but I’ve found the last two no different to the first… although, saying that, today I’ve felt hungry. Not starving though, so I haven’t tucked into my emergency SOS bar. Today’s juices were extra tasty, which helped. The seeds in the Berry Banana Crunch meant I had to chew slightly before swallowing – making me feel like I was eating solid food. HA!

Tonight we watched Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead. I think I find the documentaries that focus on the journey of discovery for different individuals far more moving than the ones that are just science based. This film follows Joe Cross, an Aussie who is on a mission to reclaim his health through a 60-day juicing plan while he travels across America. Joe’s story is brilliant, but when he meets Phil Staples (a morbidly obese truck driver who asks for help to get out of the rut he has found himself in) the documentary really comes alive in an incredibly inspiring way.

DAY FOUR (22:21) – I’ve felt much more energetic. Still hungry, but really awake! Hilariously, I bit my lip the day before we started juicing and it’s turned into an ulcer. No, I’m not suggesting my sore lip is funny, but the fact that it’s annoying me more than any sort of hunger is! Seriously – it blooming kills!

Today I went on a lovely walk with my buddy Kara Tointon – we had a lot to catch up on. Aside of our usual girlie natter, I told her all about my juicing detox and she told me about Deliciously Ella – a website she’s become obsessed with. I had a quick look tonight and it looks awesome. Ella has the most amazing diet ever – but best of all, she makes healthy food fun and interesting.

Tonight’s film was Supersize Me. Not going to lie, when I first started watching this it made me want a McDonalds… Slightly ironic when the whole thing is about how awful it is for you. I think I have hungry eyes that make me want to devour food when I see it… naughty! Still going strong though! One day to go!

DAY FIVE (21:56) – I’ve just completed the final day of the programme! Hurrah. Feels strange to know that I’m allowed breakfast when I wake up in the morning.

I went back on the Deliciously Ella website tonight and looked at every single recipe and picture…. So it’s not too surprisingly that I’m going to bed starving – I don’t think you’re meant to torture yourself by looking at pictures of food while you’re detoxing. (Actually, I was with Emma tonight and her and the kids had a curry – so that could also be contributing to my hunger.) I’m so excited to get trying her recipes. I’ve even been on Amazon and bought a spiralizer so that I can make her courgette pasta!! What a geek!

DAY SIX: IT’S OVER! I made it through five days of juicing, I’ve lost half a stone and I feel fabulous. In fact, I feel so great that I’ve decided to have one day off and then start again for another bout of goodness in the morning. I might be crazy, but at least my insides will be healthy!

Lots of juicy love flying your way!

Gi. Xx

A Little Touch of Disney Magic…

We’d always planned for Buzz’s first Disney trip to be when he was old enough to take it all in and really enjoy the magic. However, when team Disneyland Paris got in touch and invited us along to experience their newest attraction (the same weekend Tom was in Paris with McBusted as One Direction’s special guests) we could hardly refuse.

As Tom was travelling up with the McBusted boys the day before, me and Buzz kicked off our adventure with a trip for two on the Eurostar. I’ll be honest, I was a little worried how I’d cope, but thankfully we managed to pack fairly light as Tom took the main bulk of our stuff with him. All I was left with was the car seat, pram frame (handy adaptors meant Buzz could be transported around the parks in this too), and a changing bag. Easy!

 

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The staff on the Eurostar were incredibly helpful and helped me get on and off – not as easy as it sounds with a three-month-old. And, on the whole, Buzz was a delight and slept the majority of the way. He did have a meltdown at the beginning when he decided he was no longer willing to be fed from a bottle (he actually blew a massive raspberry and spat a mouthful over my face. Lovely!). Instead he wanted milk from the source. Wonderful. So…along came my first public breastfeeding experience. Something I’ve always dreaded. To be honest, if I was on my own I’d have persevered with the bottle, but I figured a loose boob in the carriage was better than a wailing baby! To my surprise, I felt fine doing it and no-one batted an eyelid. That being said, I would like Buzz to get friendly with the bottle once again… I know breastfeeding is natural and something to be proud of, but I’m just uncomfortable doing it out and about. Sad, I know. I’ll ramble more about my thoughts on boobies in a few weeks time.

Anyway, shall we talk about magically wonderful and enchanting Disney? You probably are aware that we fricking love all things Disney (must repeat here though that we did NOT name Buzz after Buzz Lightyear) – it’s brilliant. I could walk down Main Street soaking up the atmosphere all day long. There’s just something dreamlike about the place with an underlying feeling of endless possibilities.

 

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Not only were me, Tom and Buzz there to experience the magic, but so were the Willis gang and Danny and Georgia. It turned into a mini group holiday! As a massive treat, we were kindly given time with Mickey in front of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. Well, he’s a sweetheart. He kept kissing my hand like a true gent… On reflection I think he was flirting with me. Ha! We did try and get him to do a McBusted jump to form the ultimate, ULTIMATE supergroup – MickBusted – but I think Minnie may have warned him against being silly with those naughty boys, let’s not forget he is a role model to millions…of mice.

On to the reason we were there and Ratatouille L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Remy – a brand new area of the park dedicated to a rather special little rat with exceptionally good culinary skills. This ride is so different to any other ride I’ve been on in a Disney Park, so I’m not surprised there’s such a big fuss being made of its opening. I’ve been trying to think up a way of describing it… all I can say is that I’ve no idea how it actually works, but with the use of some Disney magic you become a rat, running around Gusteau’s kitchen. It’s brilliant. A huge thanks to the Disney team for the great weekend!

 

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This week I’m juicing! Yep, being a new mummy has led me to eat far too much cake – it’s time for a detox! I’ll let you know how I get on next week. In fact, I’ll write a little diary each day and put it all together for the next blog post. Should be an interesting read!

Love to all!

Gi. Xx

Buzz Goes Swimming…

You may remember that whilst pregnant I loved swimming. Well, now that our little Crumb has arrived in the shape of Buzz, it was time to go back to our local Virgin Active for a little more time in the pool – only this time it was the baby pool, and Buzz, not me, going for a splash.

We’ve always known that we’d want to take Buzz swimming as soon as it was possible to do so. I had problems with my ears as a child and therefore couldn’t put my head under water until I was around ten years old – as a result I was a fairly poor swimmer (still am) and until recently panicked if I got too much water splashed in my face. I want Buzz to be comfortable in the water like his dad, so what better way to start than at three months old with his daddy by his side.

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Buzz loves bath time – he floats around and visibly relaxes once he feels the hot liquid surrounding him (after panic crosses his face for the first two seconds as he works the situation out), so I couldn’t wait to see what he’d be like in the (in his mind) vast and never-ending water of the pool. It was a lot for him to take in, but he seemed to enjoy his first swimming experience. Only towards the end of the session did he start getting tearful, but two minutes later he was fast asleep… in Tom’s arms in the pool. Cute.

We also started Baby Sign classes this week, which will hopefully calm the frustrations Buzz could feel before he’s able to talk. Baby sign gives babies another form of communication. Rather impressively another baby in the class had already picked up TEN different signs – a baby in the older group knew over a hundred! Wow!

Buzz totally loved the class. He was engrossed with the teacher Louisa, and his eyes were glued to her for the majority of the hour – the rest of the time his attention swayed towards his fellow baby peers. I’m sure a huge part of his development will come from watching other babies in the classes we’ve been attending. He’s like a little sponge at the moment – his eyes wide, absorbing as much of the world as he can. I often wonder what he’s thinking as he looks around at his surrounding. He always looks so deep in thought.

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Also this week…

· Tom won the Marvel Celebrity Dad of the year award! Hurrah! I think he is blooming awesome (as does Buzz), so it’s rather nice to know that others think highly of him too.

· Buzz had his 12week immunisation jabs… They weren’t as bad as I feared they were going to be – he’s a little tough nut.

· We’ve had THREE BBQs – talk about making the most of the weather while it’s here. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like a burnt sausage and a nice juicy burger. Ha! BBQs are the nicest way to relax with family and friends – luckily I got to see all my family and a few of my lovely friends this week. It’s been a sociable one… for once.

I’d like to wish a belated Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there. My dad is the wisest man I know – he’s always there to lend an ear and to offer support, whether I ask for it or not. I’m a very lucky daughter. Obviously, it was also Tom’s first Father’s Day as a dad. I’ve no doubt that Buzz knows just how lucky he is too to have such a fun, silly, caring, talented and loving daddy.

Right, have a fantabulous week you wonderful lot!

Love Gi. Xx

Two baby classes and one fabulous wedding!

At the end of last week’s blog I was rushing off to take Buzz to his first ever baby class at Daisy Baby. Regular readers might remember that I took Lazy Daisy classes when pregnant. This is an extension of those but with the addition of all our gorgeous babies there to join in the fun. I’ll be honest, I was incredibly nervous before I went along. I was sure Buzz was going to scream the place down and be the only baby not sticking to the lesson plan… Well he did grumble a fair bit at the end but he was hot and tired and fell asleep fairly swiftly when I picked him up and gave him a pat on the bottom – amazingly, babies like this because it reminds them of being in the womb and having their mum’s heartbeat thumping against them. Fascinating.

Back to the lesson – it seems there are many nursery rhymes that I simply don’t know or have forgotten the tune to. As the other mums delightfully sang to their bundles I mumbled at Buzz cluelessly (but with a massive smile on my face). It seems I have a bit of homework to do in that department… mummy must work harder. Regardless of my flawed performance, Buzz loved the new experience. Having never seen other babies before he had a good gawp at the ones in his class, although he was particularly taken with our teacher Beth. He wouldn’t stop staring at her – even when we were meant to be bonding and having mother/son eye contact. Little monkey.

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After that successful trip we went along to a baby sensory class on Wednesday – and this time Daddy came along too! Yep, Tom was the only dad to attend the lesson, but I don’t think that bothered him. This time it was his turn to sing the majority of nursery rhymes to Buzz – needless to say, he did a better job than I did. The great thing about baby sensory classes is that they give you ideas on what you can do with your baby at home. I never realised a blue pompom and green piece of silky material could bring Buzz such delight.

This weekend Tom and I attended the wedding of our friends Tom Hopper and Laura Higgins. It was the first time we’d taken a trip together without Buzz in tow since his arrival. It felt weird to be belting along to tunes on the radio as we made our way up the motorway (instead of keeping things hushed to protect Buzz’s ears… and sanity), but we knew he was having a whale of a time at home with my mum and brother Mario. He even had a visit from my dad and his partner – everyone making the most of a day with Buzz without us around.

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Whilst he was being spoilt with love, we were catching up with friends in Misterton and witnessing another kind of love being declared. And the fun didn’t stop there because Tom was also part of the wedding band. I know I’m biased, but even after only one rehearsal (busy people with manic lives), they sounded awesome and the dance floor was packed with people busting out their best moves – although dancer of the night has to go to the groom. I’ve never seen Hopper get his groove on so enthusiastically before. He was clearly having the best day. Thankfully the sun decided to make an appearance for the newly weds – blasting away the soggy day we were promised and making the gorgeous English setting even more glorious. Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Hopper!

And the week ended with the Fletcher family in one of my favourite places – The Doll’s House, which is perched at the top of Harrow-on-the-Hill and is the inspirational spot behind Tea-on-the-Hill in my debut novel Billy and Me. I love it in there and the cakes are delicious!

Also this week, Buzz developed his giggle – it seems his favourite time to practice it is when he’s meant to be having a nap. I’ve found him laughing to himself a few times, leading me to wonder what’s so funny about the side of his Moses basket. He’s so entertaining – one very cool little dude.

Hope you all have fantastic weeks!

Love, Giovanna
Xx

Another Week, Another Adventure…

This week I had to go into London to sign stock of ‘You’re the One that I Want’ for Waterstones Oxford Street West and Oxford Street Plaza (sounds far more glamorous than it was – but go grab a copy if there are still some left!). With Tom off on tour it was Aunty Giorgie and Uncle Chickpea’s turn to have an afternoon with Buzz… Meaning Buzz and I had a little adventure of our own to contend with in order to get from our house in northwest London to their home in East London. Yep, we had to tackle The London Underground.

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Having read loads of info online (I’ve already admitted numerous times that I’m addicted to Google), I was a little worried about how I’d cope with a pram on my own. Did you know you’re not allowed carrycots on escalators? Especially if they’re occupied? It makes total sense when you think about the dangers, but I’d never really thought about it (and I swear I’ve seen millions of them down there before). Needless to say, it makes travelling around on The Underground (which is full of escalators) almost impossible. Thankfully, in a rather spoilt way, we have a spare buggy for such occasions – a gorgeous iCandy Peach Jogger that was driven to my sister’s last week. This meant that I could put Buzz in his babybjorn carrier, his essentials in a rucksack and we were good to go… I may have looked like a loaded donkey ready to travel across the desert, but, hay, it’s London – anything goes!

One thing I was totally surprised about was the lack of kindness in some people. I was pretty weighed down with a baby on my front and bag on my back, but a couple of times I was bumped into or gently nudged out of the way so that a vacant seat could be snapped up before I got to it. Good job I was in a good mood and sending positive vibes out into the world that day – otherwise my feisty side could’ve come out and given them a slight ear bashing about manners. Ha! For every rude person there’ll always be a dozen kind ones, though. I loved people looking at Buzz and cooing over him. I felt like a very proud mum.

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This weekend we decided to go to Essex for love and cuddles from Buzz’s grandparents and uncle Mario. All of them can’t believe how quickly Buzz is growing so they’re demanding to see him more – rightly so.

I’ve decided that there’s nothing nicer than strolling along the beach front in the sunshine. Last week we went to Brighton and this weekend we went to Southend-on-Sea – we just can’t get enough of the sea air! I walked a few miles from my dad’s house to his café and back and it was goooorgeous! So lovely to see children playing in the sand – one of the many things Buzz has to look forward to.

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Right, I’m off to Buzz’s first ever ‘baby class’. Ahhh… Won’t lie, I’m nervous he’ll cry the whole way through or that I’ll just seem a terrible mummy in comparison to all the other mummies. Eek! Wish me luck – I’ll report back next week.

Gi. Xx

P.S. Check out these nails that have been inspired by the artwork of ‘You’re the One that I Want’. I was sent a picture of them on Twitter – it must’ve taken ages. Thank you Mantha!

Publication Day, a chat on Lorraine and a walk along the beach!

This week, after months of waiting, Publication Day finally arrived for my latest novel ‘You’re The One That I Want’. Releasing your work is a little like handing over a piece of your heart to each reader – willing them to be carried away into the world you’ve created and emotionally attached to characters that have become your imaginary friends for the past year. So it’s understandable that I was a little jittery in the lead up to the big day. I can’t tell you how amazed I’ve been to see it sitting at the top spot on the iBooks chart and at number 5 on the Amazon book chart. Bonkers!

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Publication week brings promotion, and on Wednesday afternoon I had a few hours of phone interviews to undertake. So that I wouldn’t be interrupted by Buzz demanding my attention, my dad, brother and (hopefully one day) brother-in-law took him out for a little outing. I can’t tell you how horrible it was to watch them drive off with him – leaving me at home Buzz-less for the first time since he entered our lives. I just wanted to cry. Thankfully I had half an hour to compose myself before the interviews started, meaning I could move away from hormonal-new-mum-mode and skip into delightful-and-funny-author-mode. I think I managed the transformation eventually!

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My jaw dropped when my book publicist phoned and told me I’d been invited to talk about my book on Lorraine… Yes, I was going to be on flipping-Lorraine-blooming-Kelly’s breakfast show! Ahhh! I’ve appeared on a few TV shows as myself now (McFly on the Wall, It Takes Two, Mr and Mrs, Deal or No Deal (McFly special), Family Fortunes, etc…), but none of them were focused solely on me as an individual or required me to speak for a few minutes in a coherent manner… I never feel like I’m very good at talking out loud. I’m one of those annoying people who’d rather text or email than speak on the phone – even though I know a phone call can often be much quicker and with less room for misinterpretation! I think I feel safer being able to think about what I’m saying before I commit to it – otherwise my words usually get confuzzled and I look like a plonker. So, needless to say I was a little nervous about what would come out of my mouth under the pressures of live TV. But once I was sat next to Lorraine (one of the nicest ladies off the telly. Ever!), I relaxed and found myself making complete sense. Hurrah! I loved every second of it and can’t wait to do more of the same… if anyone asks. Ha!

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Ooh, I have to say a massive thank you to my mother in law for looking after Buzz while I gallivanted off to appear on the telly box – the regular pictures of him continued to put a smile on my face throughout the morning. I’m very proud to say he was a little angel for his Nanny Fletcher. Bless him.

Tom and the boys played the Brighton Centre this weekend and, as it wasn’t too far away, me and Buzz tagged along – meaning Buzz experienced his first trip to the seaside (in yet another matching ensemble to his daddy – check out his Babiators). True to form he slept through the whole thing but I’m looking forward to making sandcastles on the beach when he’s a little older…and to eating ice-cream together in the sunshine.

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Also this week , I appear to have deflated somehow! Not only have my pre-pregnancy jeans been dug out from the back of my wardrobe (let’s be clear – it’s still a tight fit), but my engagement ring is back on my finger too! Yay! My hand has been looking bare with just my wedding band as decoration.

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And finally, Tom’s been nominated for Marvel’s Celebrity Dad of the Year award. Ha! I feel like I should give a little pitch as to why he is utterly awesome and deserves to win, but I might be just a little bit biased… GO TOM!

Have a fab week!

Love Gi. Xx

P.S. A huge congratulations to my friend Becky Belfield who has launched her own website of gorgeous handmade babygrows. I love all the pieces on Magnificent Stanley – my friend is one clever lady.

Learning That Children Cry… and that’s okay!

As a new mum I used to find myself going out in fear that Buzz would have an almighty meltdown in public and annoy the surrounding humans trying to enjoy their day… in the event that this occurred I used to hang my head in shame at my inability to keep the little man continuously happy 24/7. Firstly I’d sheepishly grab for his dummy. Yes. That’s right – in my moment of need I’d reach for that devilish little object designed to pacify upset babies that has attracted snobbery from those really-good-mums-who-know-exactly-how-to-read-their-offspring… needless to say, they’re far superior to mums like me who use it as a plug to stop the flowing wails – all the while frantically trying to work out what could possibly be the root of the problem. I imagine it’s a similar feeling to trying to dismantle a ticking bomb – my fingers would become clumsy as I faffed with his clothes (checking he wasn’t too hot or cold), sniffed his nappy (he could’ve done an almighty poop) and rubbed his back to check he hadn’t got wind (gas hurts). All the while I’d be spotting people watching me in my peripheral vision and would be sure I could hear tuts of annoyance… My cheeks would redden and I’d start getting all hot and sweaty. Although, thanks to my hormones and breastfeeding, this seems to be a regular state of being anyway – so nothing new on that score.

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Well, this occurred when we went for our anniversary meal in Manchester’s Rosso restaurant this week (Yes, even after Buzz’s meltdown in the same restaurant last week, we decided to go back – the food was that good!). Luckily, during this mini meltdown, we knew Buzz wanted feeding, but we still had to calm the hungry boy while we heated up his milk – let’s face it, five minutes is just too long to wait when you’re starving, so no wonder he wasn’t happy with the service Tom and I were providing!

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As expected, people were looking over and I was sure the lady behind me was annoyed… cue the attractive reddening and the sweaty pits (seriously, even my knee pits have started leaking). Fast forward half an hour and the lady kindly turned in her seat to tell me how gorgeous Buzz was. This led me to guiltily say sorry for his crying. She laughed and simply said with a shrug, ‘Children cry’, before continuing to tell me never to feel like I have to apologise for it. Not only did her words fill me with relief but the fact that I’d thought she was irritated by Buzz when she was actually admiring him left me puzzled. I know there are still people out there who get annoyed with the screams of a baby (who has no other form of communication to express his wants and desires) – but there are other people out there who understand. It’s the notion that these people exist that led me to laugh and smile with Buzz when he had a similar meltdown (again, over being fed) a few days later at a service station. Instead of hanging my head in shame and embarrassment I looked around me and into the eyes of the people glancing at me. It surprised me to see kindness. Yes, kindness and the knowing looks of people who’ve also battled with their own demanding mini humans. I can’t express how though looks lifted my heart. I vow to spread that kindness whenever I see another in such a predicament.

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Screaming babies aside (Buzz is actually very good, he just choses great times to go into panic mode), this week has been full of loveliness. Not only did I have a wonderful time celebrating two years of marriage with my gorgeous husband, but I also spent a lot of time with our families. I’d love to say that they missed me while I was in Manchester for two weeks, but, let’s face it – it was Buzz they wanted to squeeze. Nonetheless, it’s been great to be surrounded by them all and watch Buzz flash them his smiles – melting their hearts even further.

The week ahead promises more excitement as Thursday is the official publication day for ‘You’re the One That I Want’. I’ll be full of nerves thinking of people reading my creation and delving into my imagination… Aaah! Fingers crossed it goes well.

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Hope you’ve made the most of the weather this week – there’s nothing like being out in the sunshine!

Have a good one!

Gi. Xx

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