Accidents

For some reason I have always found the saying “If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans” to be particularly applicable to me. I’m sure lots of people feel the same. While I am an extremely lucky and fortunate person, I also constantly have strange, frustrating, annoying accidents and setbacks happening to me that greatly amuse everyone around me.

Sure, this could come down to being a little vague. Mildly forgetful, somewhat shambolic, certainly too naive and smiley at times. But I also feel like it’s my own particular brand of karma, my own cosmic energy, and I am secretly grateful whenever one of these small accidents happen because I feel like it safeguards my greater happiness.

Still I got to thinking yesterday about accidents. Or more about the unplanned. I thought about the plans I’ve had for myself, in life, and the things that happened by chance or accident, perhaps which I wasn’t pleased about at the time. And really, the unplanned has led to some of my happiest memories, and the accidents have forged my path in life.

How many of us plan, for example, to meet our partners how and when we do? It’s often inconvenient, or bad timing, or a strange set of circumstances that lead to us meeting this person. I certainly didn’t plan to meet J when I did, actually quite the opposite – I’d just declared that I wanted nothing to do with boys at all. And for the first time in my life, I think, I had really meant it. He meanwhile was there to meet up with someone else! Another girl. But she didn’t show, and he met me, and we lived in different cities and I really didn’t want a boyfriend. Yet three months later, I had dropped out of uni and was moving into his share house in Balmain! Not planned. Not popular with my parents! But really the foundation of everything that I have in my life.

Another big unplanned event in our life was selling our apartment in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs and moving back to Balmain. It was so spur of the moment and not thought through, and we had a real life and network established in the East after living there for six years. But we sort of just suddenly decided to do it which was completely impractical with a newborn and we certainly stretched ourselves financially…and it worked out. It led to us meeting some wonderful people and having such a happy life with our two older kids there, and living close to my sister, and her now living in that same house. And the property boom happened right after we bought.

Then of course there was Hong Kong. If anyone had told me, even 18 months ago, where I would be now I honestly would not have believed them. Of anywhere we could have moved I wouldn’t have imagined Asia (for some reason I always thought Germany or the States IF we had to) and my family always laughed that I could never survive as an expat because I am such a sad Cancerian homebody. But here we are, a year under our belts, and the move has been so good for our little family in every way. I am looking out my window right now at the sun and the sea, after taking an early morning swim with 50 clucking Cantonese women, and I can’t believe my luck.

Yesterday I visited my OB and saw my little one kicking about on the screen, in 4D. I saw Heike’s little nose, J’s nose, so prevalent in his family, right before me on the screen. I saw ten little fingers and ten little toes and I felt so full of love and excitement to meet this little person. And I thought, surely you, little one, are the best accident yet to happen? And I know you happened for a reason, because they all do. I’m so excited to see what that reason is, what you bring to our family and what you have to teach me – I know I still have a lot to learn.

So, if life isn’t quite going to plan for you at the moment, take heart! The best laid plans of mice and men, and all that…and it can turn out quite wonderfully.

Z x

 

What I’m Buying: Spring

One of the best things about a new month ticking over for me is that my monthly budget also ticks over! I actually really enjoy having a budget to stick to as it means I know my limits and once it’s gone I can look but not buy, simply creating wish lists in my head for what I might want the next month. Often as well it stops you from making those impulse purchases, and you look back and think “Actually I’m glad I didn’t buy that mini dress with cinched waist because I’m actually 28 weeks pregnant!”.

Anyway these past few months I had a few things I both wanted and needed and blew through my budget fairly quickly, but as I have been so thrilled with them I thought I would share with you all!

Auguste The Label Dresses

I started following Auguste (The Label) on Instagram back when I was in Australia and I liked a few of their frocks in a shop in Newcastle. Always very dangerous to follow any brand on Instagram, as they do make everything look very aspirational. I started getting a bit carried away by pictures of their Muse maxi – it all looked very bohemian and Byron Bay and hey, would probably fit over a baby bump!

I ended up buying it in the Valentines print and while I was at it I bought miss Heike a same-same but different dress from the Little Auguste collection, the Little Miss Maxi dress in Texas Bloom. The fabric is lovely, they both fit perfectly and she was thrilled. She’s yet to wear hers (NOT a school dress as I have emphasised) but we are having people over for lunch this weekend and I’m excited to wear our sort-of-but-not-really matching dresses!

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Also always great to support a nice little independent Aussie label. Shipping to HK AUD$20.

Rosie Pope Nightie, Robe and Baby Gown

Now for the ultimate in first world problems. For, ahem, some time I have been hinting to J that I would really like a robe. Just something simple, for when guests are here and especially when the baby is born. Night feeds, etc. I just feel like a robe is not something you generally go out and buy for yourself, but a nice idea for a gift. Just saying.

So of course in the lead up to mother’s day I kept dropping hints and even may have said “I saw this one robe I really like from xyz, in case you are thinking of that for mother’s day” (I know, I am a spoilt brat!). And then on mother’s day I got a lovely gift but ah, not a robe.

Naturally I did what any (entitled, shallow) person would do and went online and immediately purchased one for myself. I found this beautiful Rosie Pope set on ShopBop and honestly, not only is it the cutest that you get a baby gown with it, it’s SO soft and lovely and the nightie has nursing straps. I have barely taken it off since it arrived and know I will live in it come August. Highly recommended!

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The Little White Company Baby Duds

I have barely bought anything for this baby, which is very restrained for me but also I think I’ve finally come to the third-child realisation that there’s just not that much you really need. Also, even though we DO know the sex (I know, I won that battle!) I just think little babies look the sweetest dressed all in white. ALSO, now that we live in Hong Kong and have a helper, I find we need even less because everything is washed and ironed seemingly within seconds of being taken off (feel free to hate me now!).

Still I did see that The Little White Company deliver for free to HK and went perusing on there a few times before getting an email two weeks ago informing me they were having 30% off. How could I refuse?

I really did get some of the sweetest little things for the baby, but disclosing exactly what would reveal too much! I can show you the cutest PJs I got for Heiks, who put them on right away and calls them her princess PJs. They had SO many gorgeous night dresses available but Heike won’t wear them because they have buttons (!!). Again, beautiful soft cotton and worth every penny.

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Ancient Greek Sandals

Despite the fact that mules are very in fashion this season, I find that having such long legs I look much better in something with a toe. So I have been on a quest to find some everyday summer sandals that had a toe but were still fashionable.

I found these from Ancient Greek Sandals on MyTheresa, a German site that is similar to Net-A-Porter but stocks some more affordable brands as well. I don’t love all their styles but these were very basic and while initially didn’t seem too comfortable, I’ve now been wearing them every day.

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Lila + Lola Rabbit Prints

For various reasons J and I have taken to calling the baby “Bunny”, so when I saw these prints online I thought they would be perfect for our soon-to-be nursery. The best thing was that you can purchase the digital file from Lila + Lola and print the size of your choice at your convenience. Thus, I did not break the bank this month!

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So cute for my little bunny. They have lots of other cute animal prints available in their Etsy store. Seriously, could not love Etsy more!

Anyway, that’s me for the next few months! What have YOU been buying lately? Inspire me! (Actually, don’t! I don’t need the encouragement…)

Z x

 

 

A Very Pregnant Summer…

The last couple of weeks have seen me starting to really notice that I’m pregnant. I’ve had such a lovely run of honestly forgetting about it most of the time, but I can see that’s sadly coming to an end.

First of all I had the sinus infection which has cleared up but I still have dodgy sinus issues and need to blow my nose every five minutes. This also made me more tired, plus I’ve had trouble sleeping due to a slightly bigger bump. So I’ve been run down and tired which has made it much harder to run around after two other small kids, particularly one highly energetic (and very fast) little boy!

This week my hip pain has also flared up, which I think could be due to the fact that I haven’t been to Pilates for a few weeks due to the sickness. I had really unbearable hip pain when I was pregnant with Heike, and needed lots of physio and Pilates just to function, so I managed to be quite proactive with Walt and again this time around by starting Pilates early and staying on top of it. But the last few days I’ve been limping around like a big fat invalid and feeling very sorry for myself! I’m off to Pilates this afternoon and hoping to come back feeling stretched out and strengthened (realistically, I will probably come back really tired).

Then yesterday because of course, J is travelling for the week, I noticed a raised rash on my inner arm. It was a little itchy but not bothering me too much. Cue me waking up in the middle of the night with the rash spread all over my arms and torso and itching like crazy. I lathered myself in moisturiser and managed a restless night’s sleep but today it’s feeling really awful. I am trying to avoid seeing my OB if possible as I have my 28 week appointment on Monday, but have emailed her midwives hoping they will say it’s harmless (I think it could be PUPPS rash? Anyone had that? Apparently reasonably common side effect of pregnancy) and offer me some kind of miracle relief.

Anyway, sorry to be very “woe is me” because I actually don’t feel that bad, it’s more just a realisation that the actual pregnancy symptoms are only just beginning to kick in, and it’s going to be a looooong summer without school or playgroup to keep us busy (or friends, because everyone does the sensible thing and LEAVES Hong Kong for the summer!).

SO I’ve looked around and desperately sought out some summer activities on the South Side that can at least fill a few hours a day and wear the kids out so we can spend the rest of the time either submerged in the pool or relaxing in the air con. Here is my round up of what we’ll be doing:

  • Woodlands Summer School – We’ve signed up for two weeks of summer school (8.30-11.30, 5 days a week) at the Woodlands Repulse Bay Campus. I let each of the kids choose one week they were interested in, so we are doing “Dinosaur Week” and “Transport Week” which fall at either end of the summer break. I’m envisioning myself floating whale-like at Repulse Bay beach while the kids enjoy their time at the school but let’s face it, I’ll probably go home and sleep.
  • PlayTent Stanley – A local Mum at the playground put me onto Playtent, which is located on Stanley Main Street and runs loads of classes from intensive Mandarin, English and Spanish to Little Chefs all throughout the school term. Their summer program is similar to Woodlands in that you sign up for a week, which includes 5×2 hour classes. The classes are for 2-7 year olds and basically just an amalgamation of all the classes they usually offer – a great way to get the kids out of the house and creative for a couple of hours.
  • Float Plus Swimming Camps – Float Plus are running swim camps each week of the school holidays at The Repulse Bay Club. This is where Heike does swimming lessons anyway and it’s just one week of 30 minute classes each morning. The classes start from 3 years old, so Walt and I will probably just splash around for half an hour while Heike swims. I’m really hoping this will give her the boost to swimming fully independently, as she still lacks confidence despite having the ability.
  • The Studio – Heike does art classes every week at The Studio in Stanley and they are by far our favourite classes we’ve ever done. The teacher is great with the kids, Heike is always begging to go and the work she’s produced is actually quite amazing! She does seem to have a talent for art more than other things but from what I’ve seen all the kids that attend create fantastic paintings (and love it!). They are running summer programs of 5×2 hour classes for a week at a time, in which each child will work on a major “project”. Again this will just be something for Heike (they do run 2-4 year old classes but I would not unleash Walter in a painting studio at this stage!) but probably the thing she is most excited about.

I am hoping that all this planning isn’t too much – I can see myself just not wanting to take them some days (especially, just quietly, to swimming which I can barely be bothered with once a week!) but I am lucky enough to have a helper who can lend a hand with the running around if need be. After last summer of 8 weeks with no plans, no car and no helper, I’ve realised in Hong Kong you need to plan a little more. It’s not like Australia or the US I imagine where you have beautiful, bearable weather (it is usually too hot or wet to be outside much) and loads of green space. It’s good to have at least a few hours a day where you know you can get out of the apartment regardless of the weather.

In the meantime, I have to get through the rest of this school term. And the rest of this day, without scratching myself into oblivion! Wish me luck!

Z x

 

Big Kid Beds

Oh Hong Kong and your wacky weather warnings. Today we are stuck at home, schools closed with a red amber rain warning. No rain to speak of at this stage, but I can tell you it BETTER RAIN! You may remember when schools closed in winter due to inadequate heating, or when I had to cancel my birthday dinner due to a T8 warning for a typhoon that never materialised. Sigh! You can’t say they’re not careful.

Besides a round of colds and flu and a really annoying bout of sinusitis the main thing going on in our house the last few weeks has been Mr 2 climbing out of his cot. I swear he and his sister are polar opposites – he is tricky in all the ways she was uncomplicated, she challenging in all the ways he is breezy. So of COURSE he started climbing out of his cot, because he is an ironman and sleep has never been his strong point.

Aside from the constant fear that he would fall and crack his head open, the main concern with this is that he became so proud of his achievement he was waking earlier and earlier in the morning just to display his newfound talent. So we were faced with a beaming little boy standing over our beds at 4.50am, full of pride and much too pleased to go back to sleep.

And so we’ve had to address the issue of a “big kid bed” earlier than I anticipated, but in a way it’s quite good timing with the little one due to arrive in three months. I really wasn’t keen on buying another cot or bassinet and my main strategy prior to this was to convince J to let me sleep with the baby until Walt was ready for a bed. Which was clearly inadequate.

I’ve been searching all over the internet to find a bed solution for him, including my favourite site Asia Xpat and also IKEA which (NEWSFLASH!) now offer delivery within Hong Kong. The problem is that Heike has a really nice, expensive bed* and anything else next to that looks a bit ordinary. I also REALLY wanted him out of the cot because of, you know, the pre-5am stuff!

So yesterday I had a bit of a brainwave, which was to simply pull the trundle drawer out from under Heike’s bed and drag it to Walt’s side of the room. I already had some single bed linen for him I bought during a Kip&Co sale, so even though it looked a bit funny it looked quite cute once I’ve made the bed in there. And the best news, he napped in there yesterday and slept in there last night!!

I don’t really have any great tips for transitioning into a big bed, except not to force it if you can help it. Heike, being the dream sleeper she was and is, sort of did it naturally by wanting to sleep in a single bed when we hired a holiday house one Christmas (she was 2 years 3 months) and then asking to keep sleeping in a big bed once we got home. We never had any issues with it except I did wonder if it contributed to her dropping her nap pretty early.

With Walter it obviously came down to safety and certainly he will be trickier in terms of getting up out of bed. Last night I lay down in their room and sang a little song, and he quite sweetly clamped his eyes shut with a cheeky grin whenever I looked at him, but it took about 20 minutes for him to go to sleep. He does still have a dummy and a bottle which makes it easier to settle him (a total deliberate decision by me as I forced Heike to give up her bottle at 14 months and always regretted losing it as a comforter). Also, unbeknownst to me he apparently came in this morning before 5am, and J told him it was sleep time, at which point he ran back into his room and went back to bed! J was worried about where he’d gone, but there he was asleep in his big bed. Very cute.

I don’t really have the luxury I guess of thinking about how quickly he is growing up or what a milestone it is – ultimately it’s a relief in a way to have the cot in the third bedroom and be able to get the baby’s room ready. But I do feel sad sometimes that he’s been so easy, growing up before my eyes somewhat as life goes on around him, a classic middle child really!

Not quite sure how he feels about the big bed…

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Look at those luscious legs!

I’m sure with Walt being Walt and the two kids sharing a room there will be ongoing dramas with the new sleeping situation and lots of nights of me pretending to sleep beside them as they drift off. But I don’t mind and am happy to have this ticked off the list before the baby arrives. What a big boy you are Walty!

Anyone have any more tips or tricks for me?!

Z x

*We bought Heike’s bed from Petit Bazaar in Wan Chai, with a discount as it was floor stock. Turns out now we’re using the trundle it was totally worth it!