September, 2014

29 September
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The Dreaded Post-pregnancy drama… Hair loss!

I’ve heard many women talk about losing their hair after giving birth – I think it’s something to do with your body holding on to a lot of it whilst pregnant (don’t ask my why), and then the change of hormones releasing a bunch once the baby has arrived…. Something like that. Anyway, the point is I was aware that it could happen and was on red alert.

With that in mind, I was obviously conscious of the dozens of strands that fell from my scalp whilst in the shower and washing my hair, but I didn’t really think much of it. I’m sure everyone notices hair falling out when they’re brushing conditioner through it. In fact, I thought I was doing a fairly good job at keeping most of my barnet. It’s only now that I’m noticing baby hairs coming through on my bald patches on my hairline that I’ve really started realising how much I’d lost. Tom tells me I’m seeing things, but I think he’s just being polite – I can see those empty triangles of scalp when I tie my hair back! Aaaah! What a fabulous look… But, as ever, it’s just another little negative that’s far outweighed by the positives of having Buzz. Who cares if you lose your hair, gain a sodding load of weight and add a few stretch marks to your body when you’ve got a gorgeous little bubba showing you unconditional love each day?! I certainly don’t.

Also this week…

· Buzz has discovered a new sound. It’s basically a mix between a vocalised cough and a fake laugh – but he does it repeatedly, so it sounds more like a toy machine gun.

· I fist pumped the air while I pressed send on an email to my editor, which had the first draft of Christmas With Billy and Me attached. It’s been a new type of challenge writing with a baby around, but I’m so glad I started with a novella rather than a novel. Moving forward I know exactly how the next few months are going to work as I get underway with book three, and that fills me with lots of confidence.

· As a reward for getting my first draft in I took myself off to Aden and Anais’ launch for their new merino wool range – a collaboration they’ve embarked on with Woolmark. There are essentially four pieces in the range (although available in different colours) – a cute little comforter, a beautiful swaddle blanket, a gorgeous sleeping bag and a super-duper snuggly blanket. Honestly, nevermind the baby – I want one of those bad boys for myself. They’re perfect for those winter nights that’ll soon be upon us. They’re just as breathable and light as Aden and Anais’ existing range, but the wool is a more durable than cotton, so they might be more expensive, but you’ll definitely get your money’s worth.

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· Tom had a rare weekend off! As it was last minute we couldn’t plan to go away, but we made the most of chilling as a trio with a walk around our local aquadrome and then a trip into London to find Christmas. Yes, yes, I know. It’s only September – but there were some Christmas trees in an advert on the telly and we decided the time had come to visit Harrods and Selfridges. Both had Christmas areas in place, glittering their magic. Don’t worry, we didn’t buy anything and we’re not listening to Christmas songs yet. We like Halloween to be out of the way first – in fact, we usually start singing along to the classics once Oxford Streets lights have been switched on. Although, saying that – I’ve been listening to Christmas carols for the last month while writing Christmas With Billy and Me. Well, I had to get into the mood!!

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· Tom was thrilled when (whilst Christmas hunting in Selfridges) we stopped off at Lola’s Cupcake bakery and found that they did a vegan cupcake… not only was it dairy free, but it clearly tasted amazing. He didn’t offer me a single bite! The cheek of it.

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· But better than any of that… Whilst in Selfridges (AGAIN – I have a lot of love for that shop this week) we came across a stall making up personalised Nutella jars!!!! For those who don’t know, I’m totally obsessed with Nutella (and Ferrero Rocher), so it’s not too surprising that I got rather excited. Obviously I got a jar. I would say I’m keeping it closed as it looks so pretty with my name on, but I can’t promise that. I’m already thinking about cracking it open and diving in with a teaspoon… What?! Don’t pretend you don’t do the same!

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Have a lovely week!

Gi. Xx

22 September
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Mummy-Guilt Slaps Me In The Face…

A few weeks ago I was hit with my first dose of mummy-guilt. Actually, I think I was hit with it as soon as Buzz was born, I just know what it’s referred to as now. A teacher at drama school once told me of her own experiences of motherhood, and said, ‘You feel guilty from the moment your child is born, and that feeling never leaves you’. I’m now starting to understand what she meant.

Like many mums, I’ve had to make the difficult decision about going back to work… although, even as I write that, I find myself asking, ‘Did I ever actually stop working?’ I wouldn’t call mummyhood a walk in the park – it’s flipping tough. So perhaps I should rephrase that and say I needed to make a hard decision about going back to what I get paid to do (rather than voluntarily getting pooped and puked on daily just for fun). And that for me, is writing. Books really don’t write themselves, so without time spent at my computer there’s no way I’d make my approaching deadlines. But what to do about Buzz, I wondered. I knew I’d be able to do some writing in the evenings when he’s in bed, but seeing as his daytime naps only last 30minutes each time, I needed to come up with another plan of action. A plan involving Tom’s wonderful mum!

 

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Once we’d come up with the idea for Nanny Fletcher to look after Buzz two/three days a week I initially felt relieved that I’d be able to meet my deadlines. But, once that feeling subsided (and I received a couple of work based emails) reality hit and I was left feeling upset, worried and guilty. Upset that I wouldn’t be spending every waking minute with my little boy now that he’s started laughing and giggling (he’s so much more fun than when he was a screaming newborn), worried that I was doing the right thing about going back to work (I call it work – I’m at home in my PJs, living in my imagination), and then guilty that Buzz wouldn’t be with his mummy. I felt like I was failing him in a way. Like I’d brought him into this world and was then abandoning him for a few days a week… Needless to say I had a good cry and text a few mummy friends of mine who I know have been in the same situation. That’s when I realised it’s okay to be apart for your baby and get on with doing things that pay the bills AND MAKE YOU HAPPY - it’s even okay to feel like you NEED time away from your baby (although, I’m not quite there yet).

Life is about making situations work so that everyone involved is happy and content. It’s also important to look at the positives in any given scenario – so, in my case, I have an amazing baby AND an awesome job which gives me the flexibility to be around said amazing baby. I know Buzz is with someone who loves him a huge amount and who I trust. I also know that I’m going to thoroughly enjoy writing over the next few months and that all the new emotions and feelings I’ve experienced in the past few months will undoubtedly end up inspiring some of what I’m writing.

This week was the first official week of our new set up and I can safely say that the best bit of my day is seeing the look on Buzz’s face when I walk back into the room after a few hours in my office. It’s honestly priceless and fills me with unless amounts of love. It’s wonderful to know that he’s thrilled to have me back, but that my absence didn’t make him miserable – he’s VERY well behaved for his nanny!

Also this week…

· Buzz has moved into his own room. Waaaaaaaah! Sad times. He’s six months now and getting too big for his crib – so the move made sense. It’s odd not having him in with us at nighttime, but we wander in several times a night to check he’s okay AND have his monitor on full volume… even though he’s only next door.

· Rather excitedly, Buzz has learnt to roll over! The start of this was when we went into his room one night and saw him sleeping on his side. I total freaked out after having it drummed into us early on that he HAD to sleep on his back. The next day, while playing on his mat, he rolled onto his side and then carried on going. He’s got quicker and quicker at it, too. It’s amazing to watch and I haven’t got bored of whooping every time he does it yet.

Right, once again I’m off to lock myself away in my office and write Christmas With Billy and Me (it’s almost finished) and make some more vlogs for YouTube – I’m blooming loving my vlogging experience.

 

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Big love to you all!

Gi. Xx

15 September
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I’m the Mother of a Six Month Old?!?!

Buzz turned six months old this weekend… I can’t believe I am the mother of a six month old. I look back at the pictures of when he was born, cuddle into his newborn clothes (which look tiny but used to swamp him) and sit in utter disbelief that the whole thing has gone so fast… Well, I say that, but it also feels as though Buzz has been a part of our lives forever. It’s difficult to think about a time Before Buzz (BB) because life now holds a much greater importance for me and Tom. He’s almost taken over – although we are planning on bringing back date nights soon and having some grownup time.

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 I recently looked back at the blog I posted when Buzz was one month old and just wanted to give that tired mummy a well-deserved hug. What a difference six months makes.
 
I can’t forget the hours Buzz would hysterically scream (for reasons I never knew) in my face. It really did seem to go on forever and I’d wonder how I’d get through the ordeal – those moments would invariably stretch out and feel more like weeks in my exhausted state. But now, life is so different. We talk (I talk, he looks at me with comical expressions), he reacts and he seems to find me The Funniest Human On The Whole Wide Planet – and when he’s around me I feel like I live up to that name. I’m constantly making a fool of myself just to hear his adorable giggle.  I hope that gives a few mummies out there a chuckle as well as some hope – that screaming little gremlin will one day giggle, and that loveable noise is a total game-changer! No longer are you trying to shush your baby, instead you welcome the noise and do all you can to encourage it… and then, one day out of the blue, they angle their arms in your direction and reach for you – GAAAAAAAAH! Nothing can describe the feelings evoked by that first reach and their desire to have you close. So hang on in there mummies, they’re about to find many new ways of communication and soon that hysterical cry will be used far less often! (I wish I could say it’s made entirely redundant, but that would be a blatant lie – sorry!) 

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Also this week…
 
·    I was asked to appear on This Morning and take part in one of their fashion features. I obviously said yes like a giddy child being offered ice-cream and appeared on Tuesday’s show. The piece was about maternity style – and as we all know, I just LOVE talking anything pregnancy or baby related. The two other ‘celeb mums’ on the show with me were Jenny Frost and Suzanne Shaw – both incredibly lovely. I’m highly envious of Jenny’s chilled life in Ibiza – it sounds heavenly! I had a fab time on the show – but then, anything that takes me away from mummy duties for a few hours usually turns me into an excitable child. Saying that, I’m always dying to get back to Buzz as soon as I step out the door and usually spend my time away from him talking all things Buzz and proudly showing off photos. Ha!
 
·    I went to Fearne Cotton’s fashion show for her Very SS15 Collection with Georgia and Izzy before going out for dinner with them and Ellie – a wonderful girlie night. I loved Fearne’s collection (as usual), but particularly liked some of the summer dresses. I’ll be snapping some of them up next year!

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·    My brother Mario took on his first babysitting duties while I took a trip to Waitrose. I wasn’t surprised that they both enjoyed their nephew/uncle time. Mario’s always pretty hands on with Buzz and is great at keeping him occupied and happy. I’ve yet to get him to change a nappy, but I’ve never asked… next time!  
 
·    I’ve posted two further vlogs on my YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/giovannasworld. Check them out and subscribe. I’m really enjoying making these videos far more than I ever thought I would. It’ll sound strange, but with vlogging and blogging, I feel like I’m never alone. There’s always someone to listen and take an interest. It’s a lovely feeling and it’s made me feel a lot of love for everyone who’s ever commented and tweeted.

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Hope you all have fantastic weeks planned – I’m off to get my Christmas vibes flowing and work on Christmas With Billy and Me. Not long until my deadline! Aaaaaah!
 
Big love,
 
Gi. Xx

08 September
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Nothing Beats a Sleepy Snuggle…

Before Buzz came along I was told time and time again to put him down when he goes for naps, otherwise he’d always want to be picked up and I’d never get time for myself or anything done. Although I was happy with this choice at the time (it meant I could get a load of washing cleaned or have a much needed shower) I started to feel like I’d missed out months down the line when friends told me about their time spent snuggled up on the sofa with their sleeping bubbas and how it was time they really treasured – especially as their babies had grown up and out of the snuggle stage. I worried that I’d done something
totally wrong and missed out on an amazing bonding experience with my little one. I thought the time had gone and that we were totally set in our routine – but then several times in the last week he’s fallen asleep during a feed when we’re downstairs and I’ve not bothered putting him in his cotbed in his room. Nope, instead I nudged my cheek against his and breathed him in – falling in love with him even more with every breath.

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I’m not saying it’s a correct way of parenting (I’m sure some will gasp in horror that I’ve thrown away the parenting handbook of rules), I’m just admitting that sometimes you can worry too much about what is ‘right’ instead of going with your heart and absorbing every momento you have with the little being you created. So from this day forward, I hereby pledge to make the most of those sleepy snuggles on the sofa – the washing can wait, and I’m sure Buzz won’t care if I whiff a bit from the missed shower opportunity… Right?!

As I result I’ve been making sure others enjoy him in his sleepy state too – Tom, my brother Mario and sister Giorgina – I’ve encouraged them all to kick back and enjoy being Buzz’s mattress during a few of his naps. And why not?! You’ve got to enjoy those naps while they last, after all!

Also this week… I vlogged! Yep, I decided to get my butt over to YouTube and see what all the fuss was about. In all honesty I’ve been meaning to vlog for sometime, but I was a little worried that my mummy life wouldn’t be that interesting. However, I decided to view it as an extension of this blog and giving a more visual account of my week. My trip to Italy seemed the perfect place to start. It took a while to edit together because I filmed so much and wanted to narrow it down to five minutes (so that people didn’t get bored), but hopefully future vlogs should be quicker to make now that I know what I’m doing… And
seeing as I got such a positive reaction to my first vlog, I’m planning on doing many more, so get subscribing to my channel!

Check out my vlog post! Food, Family & Fun in Italy: http://youtu.be/C3IZESqJsHA

Buzz has tried broccoli, carrots, babycorn, sugar snap peas, pineapple… He’s getting quite a varied mix of fruit and veg now and is loving it. It’s amazing seeing him pick up chunks of things and ram them into his mouth. He’s certainly eating a LOT of it, too. N.B. Broccoli poop is the worst! Haaa!

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Tom was graced with a rare day off early in the week so (after he helped me edit my first ever vlog) we took a trip to our local lido for a leisurely walk. Buzz slept the majority of the way round, but woke just in time for us to put his feet in sand for the first time ever. He wasn’t that bothered, but it felt like a big deal to us.

Buzz and I also joined Tom at work one day where there just so happened to be a DeLorean. Clearly I just had to get in for a photo! I think Tom enjoyed the chaos that me and Buzz brought to his working day! Ha!

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Big love,

Gi. Xx

01 September
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Birthday celebrations and Buzz’s first flight!

This week brought with it not one but two important birthdays – my mummy’s and daddy’s! Growing up I loved the fact that my parents had their birthdays a day apart – but now that I have Buzz and have become increasingly disorganised their proximity leaves me feeling a bit nauseous, especially when I leave it until the last minute to arrange presents and bits. Ahhh! So, firstly, I’d like to kick off this here blog by saying happy birthday to the two people who brought me into the world and helped turn me into the girl/mother/friend/nutter that I am today. They’ve both influenced me in ways they’ll never realise and their continued love and support means the world to me – thanks ‘rents!

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So before flying anywhere we celebrated my mum’s birthday with lunch for three. Armed with a tupperware box of cucumber and watermelon, we headed to our local Ask Italian for lots of food and a good old catch up. It’s so bizarre sitting in a restaurant as a three with all of us eating (or sucking/bashing/gnawing on food). Buzz looked so grown up it was scary and fascinating in equal measure. I love watching him working out the food we’ve placed in front of him. This week he’s tried strawberry, cucumber, watermelon, apple, peach and tomato (plenty in Italy – all from the local farms). Worryingly, I’ve become obsessed with his poop and get quite excited to see what comes out as his tummy can’t quite digest food properly yet so sends it out in near enough the same state it went in. From what I can gather, he’s certainly eating the tomato… it makes nappy changes lots of fun. Don’t worry, I’ve restrained myself from taking any photos. Ha!

The main event this week (and of Buzz’s life to date) was getting on a plane and flying to Italy to see my Nonna who’s 93 years old. My dad’s been so excited about taking Buzz over there – in fact he’s been trying to get me to book it since I first fell pregnant. No point waiting around for a little thing known as an actual baby, or an equally unimportant passport! We flew from Stansted to Naples with Easyjet. On the way there me and Buzz were with my dad. Originally I was going to be flying back to England on my own as my dad was staying out in Italy a little longer. So I planned for Buzz to be sat on my lap flying there and then paid for him to have his own seat (using his car seat) flying back. In the end my brother Mario decided to fly out and join us on Dad’s birthday so that he could see him, give our Nonna a squeeze and then fly back with me and Buzz. It made everything a whole lot easier having him there!

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So, I know you’re all dying to hear about how I got on with a five month old on a flight… Well, it was alright, actually. The staff were lovely and friendly, the people sat around us extremely kind and forgiving of Buzz’s noise and it all went rather quickly. My secret weapon during the whole trip was The Muppets on my iPad – as soon as the Disney intro starts Buzz’s enraptured and can’t take his eyes off it for a good ten minutes, by which time he’s calm and happy. I know, I know… Shocking parenting, blah, blah, blah. A child watching the occasional bit of telly is far better than one working himself up into a frenzy (in my book anyway). Funnily enough, when we were about to board one of the flights and were waiting on a hot transfer bus, he had a bit of a meltdown. A young boy said rather loudly ‘shut up’… I ignored him and whipped out The Muppets which calmed Buzz down instantly (I’d already tried soothing him in other ways but I knew he was simply hot and bothered). The young boy’s mum turned to me and said, ‘Don’t you use a dummy?’ ‘Only at nap times,’ I replied (I’ve long since stopped shoving one in his mouth in public while I faff around and see what’s wrong with him – we all know babies cry, I’m far more laid back about that fact now and don’t sweat half as much over it anymore). ‘I’m telling you, you should,’ she retorted in a this-mummy-knows-best manner while raising her eyebrows at me… I didn’t ask for her opinion, nor did I want or need it. I smiled politely and continued watching Gary and Walter dancing around with my content son. You’ve got to love people who stick their oar in…

I did some online research (Google is my best friend) about babies and their ears on flights. I suffered terribly with my ears as a child, so didn’t want Buzz having to deal with that pain and not knowing how to equalise the pressure that builds up. I read that feeding you baby during take off and landing works wonders… I’m here to confirm that this is indeed true. Amazing.

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There were a couple of other things I was worried about before our trip – the heat and the Mosquitos. Although I know the Mosquitos over there are no real threat other than generously giving an itchy bite, I still wanted to prevent them from annoying Buzz at all. The heat turned me into a paranoid feeder with me whipping my breast out whenever Buzz might be thirsty (every hour on the first day) but, with the help of naked time and some cool breezes, it was manageable – it’s not like I put him in direct sunlight either. Also, after some research (again, thanks Google) I found mosquito patches for babies online – you squeeze them to release the oil and then stick them onto clothes. They certainly did the trick. The mossies were uninterested in Buzz’s fresh blood. Instead they acquired a taste for mine and had a total feast – I have at least twenty itchy lumps, including one on my face and neck. Lovely! There’s nothing more satisfying than scratching a bite… But it becomes addictive, irritating and, eventually, sore! Booo…!

Before heading to Valva my dad told me that my cousin had organised a night at the local villa/castle to talk about my debut novel Billy and Me that’s also been translated into Italian (much to the delight of my dad). I was deeply touched that the mayor and several dozen villagers came out for ‘a night with the author’ to find out more about me and the book – I even had my own translator. How cool is that?! I had no idea what to expect, and I have to say – it was flipping beautiful to have a night like that held in my honour in such a romantic setting, and in a place that means so much to my dad.

I might’ve only been able to visit for a few days, but it was wonderful to see my Nonna meeting Buzz for the first time. It was certainly super special to see her holding him and hearing him laugh as she sang little songs to him. She’s an amazing woman my Nonna – the strongest woman I know, for sure. It’s always horrible leaving her to come home, but at least I know my dad’s there keeping her company for a little longer – making the most of the local red wine.

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So, after lots of homemade pasta, ice-cream and a little wine, I’m now home and ready to start…WRITING! I announced on Twitter this week that I’m revisiting some of my favourite characters from Billy and Me and am writing a little novella for this Christmas. Yes, you heard right – it’s time to see what Sophie and Billy are up to again. Christmas with Billy and Me will be published 6th November and I promise it’ll be filled with lots of love, magic and tinsel!

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Big love!

Gi. Xx

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