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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

25 August
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Buzz Eats a Strawberry… Sort Of!

This week has been quite eventful because Buzz has eaten his first bit of food that isn’t milk (Yes, I know milk is liquid and theatrically a drink, but it’s classed as bubba food, so please don’t think I’ve lost the plot here). For a little while Buzz has been really watching us when we eat, he’s even gone as far as moving his mouth along with us as though he’s tasting it – then, the other day he made a sudden grab for the food on my plate (perhaps he’s been plotting this move for a while – like something from Prison Break, waiting for a some slack behaviour on mummy’s part before making a dash for it). After lots of recommendations from friends, we’ve decided to try Baby Led Weaning, so instead of giving liquidised food you give proper food in grab-able pieces or sticks for them to play with and then eventually eat. Whereas the normal way of weaning teaches them to swallow first, BLW allows them to learn about the muscles in their mouths and the art of chewing, it also encourages babies to learn about food through play and discovery. Making food fun and interesting, rather than something mummy keeps popping into his mouth whenever she tricks him into opening it, sounded very appealing to me. Ha!

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So on Saturday morning at breakfast we decided to give in to his pleading eyes and allow Buzz his first food experience. While he was sat in his high chair (he always sits with us at breakfast), we gave him a strawberry. We were amazed when he picked it up and took it straight into his mouth with precision and ease, as though he knew exactly what he was doing! He pulled a few funny faces at its sweetness, but other than that it looked like he had a thoroughly good time with it. As you can see, he made a total mess. Actually, I know the mess is one thing that really worries some people about this method (If you’re a clean freak then this definitely isn’t for you), but we found it highly amusing to watch him play and discover as he bashed, mushed and sucked.

If you’re interested in BLW, I’d suggest reading up on it first to know what foods you should use and to understand more about the technique – we’ve read BLW books by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I’ll keep you up dated on our progress.

Also this week…

My brother Mario nominated me and Tom to do the ALS/MND Ice Bucket Challenge. Naturally we accepted – it’s all in the name of charity and raising awareness, after all. I’m ashamed to admit that I knew NOTHING about this disease before all these cold and wet videos started flying around this week. Beyond all the laughter and chattering teeth are the people affected by the horridness of ALS/MND and it’s their videos that have really opened my eyes, moved me and educated us all. If you haven’t already, check out the video ESPN made about how Peter Frates kick started the challenge for ALS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCoKB_tU9ng) and then another by Anthony Carbajal (http://youtu.be/h07OT8p8Oik).

Once you watch these you’ll see why you should do the challenge (fish out a bucket and some ice) if you’ve been nominated AND why you should donate – text ICED55 followed by the amount you’d like to give to 70070.

Like many new mums, I worry about SIDS and am constantly checking that Buzz is okay in his cot. I am also concerned about the fact that his head has become a little flat from lying on his back on a hard mattress – something that happens to many babies with the current sleeping guidelines. So, I was delighted when PurFlo asked if I wanted to try out their breathable mattress on Buzz’s cotbed (it’s happening – he’s almost big enough to go into his own bedroom at night… Waaaah!). The mattress came in a lovely little box with easy to follow assembly instructions – that’s right, you build it by slotting together metal poles and then wriggling on its cover, which is made up of a mesh-like material and holds Buzz as though he’s sleeping on a firm hammock. Actually it’s nothing like that – it’s much sturdier and supportive. I wish I had one for myself!

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I had a realisation this week that I’ve been hiding in the comfort of my home and that, if I wasn’t careful, the thought of heading out of it and seeing my friends would become too overwhelming to manage with Buzz in tow. Therefore, I decided enough was enough – I needed to see a few of my besties, and so, I gathered Katy, Sav and Lauren (three of the greatest girls in existence) and headed into London for one of my favourite summer past times – a picnic! Summer sun (sort of), gorgeous food (all made by Katy – a fellow veggie) and a girlie natter (we had a lot to catch up on). It was just what I needed and lovely for Buzz to have some time with my ladies!

This was followed up with a trip to Willows Activity Farm with Emma, our fab friend Joe and the mini Willis’. I thought Buzz was going to be blown away by the sight of so many different animals… but he seemed nonplussed. I think he was just playing it cool. I can’t wait to go back when he can really make full use of the petting zones and feeding them all. It’ll be so much fun.

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Hope you’ve all had fantastic bank holiday weekends!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

P.S. Tom wanted me to write something about Doctor Who. What can I say? I watched it AND I enjoyed it. With any luck he might succeed in turning me into a Whovian this series…GERONIMO!

18 August
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What made you YOU?

Over the past few years I’ve become fascinated by childhood and how, in their sponge-like manner, our young brains absorb everything and mould us into the adults we become – I’d say it’s a fairly huge theme that runs through both of my novels actually. The people we grew up with, the toys we played with, the books we read, the films we watched – they all go a long way into making you YOU. As a mum, this is obviously something that plays on my mind when it comes to Buzz whose personality is developing rapidly along with his skills set (he’s sitting up this week – see, I told you he was a clever one). I observe him daily as he watches the world with interest and I wonder who my little boy will grow up to be.

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I can’t help but look back at my childhood and think of what I was like growing up – here’s a brief insight:
· I loved the camera and having my photo taken – in fact, I searched out that flashy little contraption and was ready with a cheesy smile whenever a photo was about to be snapped.
· I loved people and being liked. I had an overwhelming urge to be accepted, something I’m sure came from being badly bullied at a young age.
· I loved reading and would go off into my own world whenever possible.
· In addition to that, I wandered around the playground singing to myself and making up little scenes in my head – my imagination was my best friend back then.
· I dressed like a boy. Not for the whole of my childhood, but for a large chunk of it. High-waisted jeans, denim shirts, DM boots, suede waistcoats… I looked a total sight!

Did these little snippets of me as a child offer clues to the adult I’d become? Perhaps. I still love photographs – although now I’m the one taking them (it was time to stop stalking the camera), want people to like me (I’ll admit that this desire is something I’ve never been able to shake off), love reading (there’s no debating that I wouldn’t be so creative now if it weren’t for the days I spent with my nose in a book or talking to myself in the playground) and I still have a questionable fashion sense (you should see what I’m wearing while writing this). It’s no wonder I look back at those early days with fondness – that little girl is as much a part of who I am now as my adult self is. Her decisions created me. I owe her a lot.

It’s that little girl who lives inside of me who wept when she heard the news of Robin Williams’ death this week. He never failed to capture her attention or put a smile on her face. What a fascinatingly funny man he was. Even though that little girl never met him, they shared a bond – she was sure of it. How deeply saddening to hear that his own world was full of so much darkness that he longed to escape. I know there’s a tendency to put those who’ve passed on a pedestal unnecessarily, but in this instance I think it’s fully deserved – for my generation he was our Genie, he was our Scottish Nanny, he was our Peter Pan. He was the adult we all trusted with our imaginations and he never failed to take us off on epic adventures.

Following on from the original theme, this weekend we took a trip to sunny Victoria Park and then to the Museum of Childhood with my sister Giorgina and Lee. A lot of the toys dated back to way before my time, but there were gems in there that brought memories flooding back – plus it’s pretty amazing to see how toys have changed over the last century or so.
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I was a very proud sister-in-law this week after seeing Tom’s sister Carrie in Les Miserables in the west end – she’s been in it for over a year now (time flies) but being pregnant and having Buzz has meant that I’ve only managed to see her a few times in the role. She’s blooming fab, though – such a star!
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Me being out meant that Granddad Falcone and my brother Mario could have some fun with Buzz – something they both relished. I’m not sure what they do with him, but the mornings after he’s been with my dad Buzz is always extremely chatty – like he’s trying to tell me all about his adventures with granddad. It’s so cute… and LOUD!
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Big Love,

Gi. Xx

11 August
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Luxury in Bath, glamping and celebrating with friends…

Since returning from York last weekend we have been extremely busy. A few of the McFamily have made the most of The Jones’ honeymoon time and jetted off to places covered in piping hot sand with beautiful views overlooked by nothing but sunshine, however, we opted to stay in the UK. Yes, a staycation it was for us – no need to faff around with flights or worrying about Buzz getting hot and bothered in the tropics. Nope. We wanted to make the most of the good English summer… and the rain!

First stop was a trip to Bath and Babington House. We’ve been wanting to explore Bath for ages, so thought we’d have a pamper at the same time. It was a lovely family outing and I can honestly say that I had the best massage of my life in their Cowshed spa. I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards – it was just what this slightly haggard mum needed. We followed up our massages with quinoa burgers, Arctic Rolls and a massive bowl of salted caramel popcorn. We certainly pigged out, but we had to make the most of our night away in luxury…

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That indulgence was followed up with some glamping! This weekend we joined my drama school friends at The Original Hut Company in East Sussex to celebrate my friend Charlie turning 30 (Happy Birthday Chuck). Two years ago we all camped, but now that there are children, babies and pregnant ladies to consider, it made sense to add a little glamour/comfort into our weekend getaway. The huts were incredibly cute and obviously eliminated a lot of camping woes… Like getting cold in the night (they were lovely and snug), waiting ages for a cuppa (they all had gas hobs and whistling kettles) and trying to change your knickers in a sleeping bag (a necessity when camping but always awkward). It was wonderful to spend some quality time together eating great food and playing games. My favourite game had to be rounders, which I’ve not played since I was a child. I’d forgotten how much I love it – and how competitive I can be. Although, I’ve been aching ever since – but that might be more to do with a crazy celebratory dance I made up. It was funny at the time but now I can barely move. Ha!

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Once we were back home, de-smoked (camping is never complete without a bonfire smell sticking to you and following you home), it was time to head into London. Two awesome friends of ours got engaged at the start of the year and they FINALLY had a little get together to mark the occasion. Congratulations Lauren and Dan!

Buzz’s world has been full of new discoveries. He’s has learnt to take his dummy out AND put it back in, which, seeing as he only has it at nap times makes the hours that are meant to be sleep-filled very entertaining. Especially since he’s also started making proper sounds. He’s literally found his voice overnight! Instead of waking up crying for attention he shouts in an adorable but extremely loud manner. Making him difficult to ignore. Also, now, I could be one of those mums sure that their little ones are advancing at a startling speed (making him a genius) but it looks like he’s attempting to crawl! Amazing seeing as he hated tummy time until two weeks ago. I’ll keep you posted…

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Sadly, I was shocked this week when I saw comments online about a glamorous fashion shoot of Olivia Wilde breastfeeding her baby. With people saying it was disgusting, that women shouldn’t ‘flaunt’ themselves in that way and that breastfeeding in public was unnecessary. I was actually outraged, and that’s not an emotion I feel very often. Perhaps it’s because of my own trials and tribulations with breastfeeding that I was left with such a strong reaction. I’ve already shared my concerns over breastfeeding in public and I’ll admit that it really made me want to stay in during the early days of mummyhood. I hated the thought of going out and Buzz suddenly becoming hungry and needing a feed. I wasn’t ready to feel so exposed and vulnerable in public. For that reason I sometimes hated going out and preferred to stay indoors. I totally admire the mums who go out and BF in public. I think they’re wonderful. My own issues with me doing it personally is all down to my own insecurities rather than my feelings towards the act. So, in response to the idiotic people online who would rather a mother feed their child in a public toilet than in comfort in a coffee shop, I decided to make a mini protest. Yep, after a few angry tweets, I found myself the following day planning our trip to Bath around me getting back into the car at midday to feed Buzz away from those members of the public who don’t like to be aware of free boobies… and I suddenly decided I wasn’t going to. Instead I found a nice park bench, grabbed my swaddle sheet for discretion and got on with it (I even took photographic evidence!)… and it was fine. No one even batted an eyelid. Incredible! I’m not saying I’m going to BF in public all the time, but it’s nice to know it’s not the petrifying debacle I thought it to be.

It tickles me the way people react to breastfeeding and milk as though it’s the sickest thing ever – yet they’re willing to drink cow’s milk which has come from a cow’s teat and is actually meant for her young calf. Hmm… which one sounds more natural to you, and which sounds a little odd for us to be drinking? It certainly gives us all some food for thought.

And finally… Danny and Georgia’s wedding photos are in this week’s Hello! magazine. Hurrah! I’ve not seen any so I’m looking forward to reading the article and reminding myself of their utterly beautiful wedding day… Georgia was THE most stunning bride I have ever seen, but then, I guess she is a model – it’s her job to make everything look fantastic. Well, she was certainly working it on her wedding day – I was mesmerized by her beauty. For those wondering, I opted for an Emma Louise London dress from www.littleblackdress.co.uk. A gorgeous, multi-coloured shift dress from one of my favourite designers.

Right, I’m off to play with my genius child.

Big love,

Giovanna
Xx

04 August
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The Flu before the McWedding!

This week was really focused around one thing for me – a trip up north to watch our two fantastic friends Danny and Georgia tie the knot. Hurrah! It was lovely to have all of the McFamily together celebrating something so magical, however, I feel it should be them who divulge all the joys of their big day – and not me! Disappointed? Don’t be – you’ll hear all about their wedding details in HELLO! soon.

Although I will say that I saw the most amazing bit of machinery on our way up to York while driving slowly through road works (it was the longest journey ever)… it was a central-reservation-building-contraption. I’m not sure that it’s oficial name, but whatever it’s called, I found it mesmerizing. It inched its way along the center of the motorway as cement was pumped and molded into a pretty wall shape.

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Yeah, okay, point taken – I need to get out more. Anyway, I’d love to wish a huge congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jones – may their marriage be filled with love and understanding, friendship and passion, laughter and smiles.

Also this week:

- I got sick! Headaches, tummy aches, aching joints and muscles, nausea, feverish… And a blooming high temperature! Turns out I’d had flu for a couple of days before I decided to see the doctor. Lovely. Luckily Buzz seems totally unaffected by it – it would be miserable to see him suffering with all of those symptoms!

- I got my hair done! By Thursday I was feeling soooo much better, so decided to pay my local Haringtons a visit for a cut and colour. I’ve had Louisa cut my hair a few times since I got pregnant last year and travelling into London became tougher for me. She’s an absolute star!

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- I’ve become addicted to Catfish the TV show. I watched the documentary last month and then loads of you told me about the TV show. Having checked it out, I’m now hooked! Funny how the internet gives us such security in talking to others and sharing our inner secrets, without us really questioning who we’re talking to. Hiding behind our screens, writing in our PJs in the comfort of our homes, it seems easy to let our guards down and let others into our lives. I find the whole thing fascinating and can’t help but feel sorry for some of the people ‘Catfishing’.

So, that’s it this week… a wedding I can’t talk about, me getting sick and my newfound love of concrete! I promise I’ll work on my fun factor for next week. Ha!

 

All my love,
Gi. Xx

28 July
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McFamily Time and some disasters in the kitchen!

A certain little wedding in the McBusted camp is getting closer and closer – so before Miss Horsley becomes Mrs Jones (and the couple wander off into the sunset and live happily ever after) we decided to have a couple of get togethers to mark the wonderful occasion.

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Seeing as me and Izzy were both unable to attend Georgia’s Hen do (she was whisked away somewhere hot and gorgeous – I was extremely jealous), we decided to do something for her here in the UK as a trio… It was difficult working out what to do with her – although, obviously, we knew some naughtiness should be planned. And not in the shape of a stripper! We wanted to do something indulgent with a touch of heart, and so, we decided to take Georgia to The Waffle House in St Albans – the spot where her and Danny had their first date almost five years ago. Georgia was extremely shocked and delighted at the chosen location and had no idea where we were driving to… Until we were literally right outside and she saw the sign! Haaa! She’s a funny lady. I bet you’re dying to know what I opted to eat… Well, a spelt waffle (less gluten) with chocolate sauce, crushed hazelnuts and banana (with a side of ice-cream)… It was SO good! In fact, just thinking about it is making me salivate once more!

This was followed by some flipping gorgeous treatments at Champneys. Well, we weren’t going to make Georgia go for a pamper by herself. It seemed only fair that we joined her. One full body massage and Elemis facial later and I felt nicely rejuvenated. After all, I’ve not really had any ‘ME’ time for the last four months. Just having a shower every day feels like a major victory! And for those wondering – Tom was left in charge of Buzz for the day. In which Buzz cried for a few hours solid. Perhaps he missed his mummy, but eventually he was happily having some naked tummy time while watching The Muppets. Phew. The start of many Daddy and Buzz days to come!

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That evening we were joined by the rest of the McFamily and went to STK in London – a steak restaurant! Yes, it could’ve been torture for us new veggies, but the food was great anyway so I really didn’t miss my medium-to-well-done ribeye steak… Honestly, at no point did I stare longingly at someone else’s plate wishing I could scoff its contents. Haha. It all smelled delicious though! It was fab being all together as a group and having a catch up with our bonkers friends.

Also this week…

- Both of my novels have become available as audio books! How cool is that?! You can now listen to the stories that I created!

- I made a blooming gorgeous lentil curry from scratch. I couldn’t quite find the recipe that what I wanted online, so I made it up using all the ideas I’d found. I’ll definitely be cooking that one again this week!

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- My success in the kitchen was followed by failure. A major one. I made a horrible pizza using a cauliflower base – don’t try it, it’s not nice! This was married with Tom making Tofu cubes with garlic and salt… Again, disgusting. Our only failed attempts at vegetarian/vegan cooking so far. I must say, Tom redeemed himself the following day by making chocolate and peanut butter balls. They were so tasty!

- Buzz’s swimming classes have finished for the summer! Very sad they’ve stopped but we’re planning on taking him down to Virgin Active ourselves during the break. He loves being in the water so much, we want to keep it up so that he doesn’t start getting fearful or anything. We want him to remain confident in there.

- And lastly, a lovely image to leave you with – on getting into bed one night, I found baby sick inside my bra. Too much information? Have I gone too far in my openness? I was just ever so surprised seeing as I’d put Buzz to sleep hours before and it took that long to discover it… Gross!

 

Hope the sun keeps his hat on for us all!

Big love,
Gi. Xx

21 July
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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!

14 July
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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

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