Thursday, 3 November 2011

My Birth Story

I can hardly believe my baby girl is already a month old! I now understand what my mum means when she said she blinked and suddenly we were all grown up. Time just goes so fast it's frightening. People told me how hard the first weeks would be with a newborn but I can honestly say that I've had an easy time so far. Of course there are some moments which are more trying than others but on the whole I'm finding motherhood to be a complete joy. I'm blessed with a very good baby who already is showing a beautifully peaceful nature. I also have a wonderful husband who allows me to rest and take care of the baby while he takes care of everything else. 

I wanted to share with you all the story of little Alba's arrival in the world. I had a very easy, problem free pregnancy and it ended with a very easy, problem free birth. On Saturday 1st October I woke up in the morning with my first contractions. At first I wasn't sure if they were contractions as they weren't very painful but after a while I started timing them and they were coming regularly at around 7 minutes apart. I wasn't totally convinced that it was the real thing as I was expecting to be in a bit more pain. Nonetheless, I spent the morning making last minute preparations, finishing packing my bag, cleaning up the kitchen etc. I then sat down to watch Scotland play England in the rugby world cup which took my mind off things for a couple of hours.

Throughout the afternoon the contractions were still coming regularly but not getting any more painful. By the evening I suddenly realised that they were 3 minutes apart. I still wasn't sure that it was time to go to the hospital but my husband convinced me that we should. By the time I was ready to go the contractions were starting to get a bit stronger and quite close together. At that point I started to worry that we'd maybe left it a bit late to get to the hospital, a 40 minute drive away!

However, at around 10pm we arrived at the hospital in time and I was examined. I still half expected that they'd tell me it wasn't time and to go home again. I was surprised when they told me I was already 5cm dilated! The midwife left me to get settled into my room where I stayed for about half an hour before I felt like I was ready to push. They took me to the delivery room where I laboured for another 30 minutes or so before being examined again. I was 10cm dilated and ready to go. Another 20 minutes or so of pushing and my little girl was born at half past midnight. 

I am still quite amazed at what the human body is capable of. I managed the whole labour without any kind of pain medication, not even gas and air. I didn't use any particular birthing method or breathing techniques. I let my body take over and do what it had to do. I feel extremely proud of myself!! The whole experience was quite incredible and I'm so grateful to the doctors and the midwives who helped me through it. I must admit I was worried about giving birth in an Italian hospital but my fears were unfounded. I had the natural birth I wanted and the hospital staff were really supportive. 

I want to thank you all for your kind words of welcome for Alba May on my last post. It means a lot to us that there are people all over the world wishing us well. For those of you wondering about our name choice, Alba is the Gaelic name for Scotland and it is also an Italian name meaning 'dawn'. It's the perfect name for our little half Scottish half Italian girl. 

For obvious reasons my posts in the next weeks might be few and far between. I apologise for this and also for not being such a regular visitor to your blogs. I'm still reading but don't always manage to comment (I'm still mastering one-handed typing!!) Thank you all once again for your kind wishes and for your support throughout my pregnancy, it means a lot x x x 

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Welcome Alba May

On Sunday 2nd October 2011 at half past midnight our precious little girl, Alba May entered into the world. She is perfect in every way and mummy and daddy are over the moon x x x

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Still waiting........

.......for my little bean to make his / her entrance.

In the mean time here is a 'before' picture taken by a friend who is a great new photographer. I hope it won't be too much longer until I have an 'after' picture to share with you.

Thank you all for your well wishes x x 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Crochet Baby Blanket

I'm still here and no sign of baby! At least I've finally got my camera back so I can post pictures of some of the things I've been making.

The first thing I made for baby was this crochet blanket.....

.....The pattern came free with the yarn (Sirdar Snuggly DK) when I bought it in John Lewis. It was really simple to make and it's lovely and snuggly and soft. It's strange to think that in a few days there will be a little baby wrapped up inside it x x 

Monday, 19 September 2011

My Seven Links

I'm still here somewhat impatiently awaiting the arrival of baby. Today is my due date but I have no signs of anything happening any time soon. I've been passing the time 'nesting,' cleaning the house from top to bottom, reorganising cupboards, washing curtains etc etc. I'm running out of things to do so I was happy when Loree of Stories and Scribbles nominated me to participate in Tripbase's 'My 7 Links' project as it gives me something to do!

The goal of the My 7 Links project is  "To unite bloggers (from all sectors) in a joint endeavor to share lessons learned and create a bank of long but not forgotten blog posts that deserve to see the light of day again." Each nominated blogger must select 7 of their previous posts which fit into the following categories:

Your most beautiful post
– Your most 
popular post
– Your most 
controversial post
– Your most 
helpful post
– A post whose 
success surprised you
– A post you feel 
didn’t get the attention it deserved
– The post that you are most 
proud of

It's been fun looking back over my old posts so thanks for nominating me Loree. Here are my 7 posts:

My most beautiful post

My most beautiful posts have to be my 'Wedding Wednesday' posts where I shared memories of our special day. We had a wonderful photographer who captured our day perfectly. It's hard to say which is the most beautiful but I've chosen Wedding Wednesday Chapter III - The Ceremony as it was my favourite part of our whole wedding. It still makes me teary looking back at the photos! 

My most popular post

My most popular post based on the number of comments was I'm back where I announced my pregnancy. I'd been dying to share my good news for weeks but wanted to wait until after my first scan. It was lovely to receive so many heartfelt messages of congratulations.

My most controversial post

I don't think I've written anything that is even remotely controversial. Probably the only post where I came anywhere close to offending anybody was when I criticised Ikea here

My most helpful post

Hmmm, another tough one. I don't see my blog as being 'helpful' as such although I do hope that it inspires a few people. I'd like to think that my posts about how I'm trying to live a simpler and greener life, such as Eco Baby, inspire and encourage a few of you to make changes in your lives to help protect our environment. 

A post whose success surprised me

For this I've chosen my very first post, Beginnings. I was, and still am, amazed when anyone comments on my blog and when I wrote my very first post I didn't think anyone would read it never mind leave a comment. 

A post I feel didn’t get the attention it deserved

In Star Light Star Bright I posted some pictures my husband took of the stars. He is very passionate about astronomy and loves taking pictures of the sky and pointing out all the different constellations to me. He was so proud of the photos in this post and was quite disappointed when they didn't receive more comments!

The post that I am most proud of

Olive Harvest is a post I'm quite proud of. I think the pictures are good and it's a good representation of our life here in Italy. I need to do more posts about our daily life here. I'm not good at taking pictures of the things we do, either I forget my camera or if I remember it I forget to take pictures! Every day I see things around me that are so beautiful and incredible and I really must make an effort to share more of these things.

Now I have to nominate 5 more bloggers to share their 7 posts so I nominate

Thanks again Loree for inviting me to take part, it's helped pass an afternoon of waiting and has made me look back at all of my posts and given me some ideas of what I'd like to write about in the future.

Hopefully this will be the last time I post before the baby arrives but you never know!

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

My Pinterest

I have lots of things I want to post about but I'm still without my camera so they'll have to wait. In the meantime I thought I'd share with you my Pinterst account. I'm already following a few of your boards but I'd love to link up with more of you and see what's inspiring you. I can waste hours looking at other people's boards but it's such a great way of storing ideas. 

Here are some of my favourite Pinterest finds:

Hope you're all having a good week x x 

Friday, 2 September 2011

Eco Baby

My preparations for baby's arrival are almost complete so I thought I'd do a post on how I'm trying to keep these preparations as simple and green as possible. When I first started to shop for baby I was overwhelmed and actually disgusted by the vast array of products on sale for newborns. It's very hard to work out what is essential and what is not. From the start I wanted to stick to the bare minimum so I very soon had a list of the things I felt I'd need and began to research the best options. Here's a list of everything we've bought.


I spent a long time looking online at eco-clothing lines and found plenty of shops selling ethically produced clothes for babies. However they cost an absolute fortune! It would be impossible for us to clothe our baby entirely in these products without going bankrupt in the process. I understand that these clothes cost more to produce but there are obviously a lot of companies who are cashing in on selling eco products and making huge profits. We bought a few bits and pieces from small independent shops such as this one in Florence but otherwise we've gone for cheaper options from places such as John Lewis. Their clothes are good value for money and to reduce our impact we bought as few clothes as possible. We've also collected quite a good supply of second hand clothes from family members. It's not easy to find second-hand baby clothes in Italy. We searched for about an hour for a second hand baby shop we'd heard about in Florence only to find that it had closed down. In an ideal world I'd make all of the clothes for the baby but unfortunately my sewing skills aren't up to scratch (something I need to remedy). I've knitted or crocheted a few bits and pieces and my mum has given me lots of things that she's handmade. So, overall we've managed to get by only buying new a few vests and sleepsuits. 


We're fixing up the cot that belonged to my husband when he was a baby so only needed to buy a new mattress. We've also bought a Moses basket which we'll use for the first few months. For bedding I've bought new sheets but have handmade blankets. (I'll be sharing in another post the things I've made because a friend has borrowed my camera and I have no pictures). 


The one thing I definitely didn't want to get second hand was our travel system. We plan on having more children so we wanted something that is going to last. We've gone for a good quality and practical option and hopefully we won't need to replace it. We've also bought a baby carrier which we're planning to use a lot. 


We've decided we are going to use cloth diapers and have spent hours researching all the different types. We'll start off the first couple of weeks with disposables while we try out a couple of different types of diapers before we buy complete sets. I'm really looking forward to using cloth nappies and will probably do more posts on this subject once the baby is here. 


We don't have a nursery for the baby so the only furniture we've bought is a changing unit. For this we went to the dreaded Ikea (you can see my thoughts about Ikea here). As much as I dislike the idea of Ikea it does have some practical options. We bought a great changing unit which didn't cost much and is good quality. I feel guilty about this purchase but I do love my changing unit! We've recieved other bits and pieces such as play pen, baby bath and high chair from a family member so we haven't needed to buy anything else.


I've spent many hours obsessively researching products for keeping baby clean. There are so many products available and so much information about the harmful effects of these products. I've become completely confused by all of this information and have no idea what the best options are. Once again I've discovered that any natural products are 10 times the price of commercial brands and they are often difficult to find. Once baby is here I'm going to experiment making my own baby wash etc. I've knitted or crocheted a good supply of wash cloths and am in the process of making reusable baby wipes. 

So that's it! It feels like we've bought tons of stuff which is a shock after months of buying nothing at all! However, I do feel like we've managed to stick to the things that for us are essentials and I've resisted the temptation of buying anything carelessly. Every little purchase I've made has been carefully considered taking into account our budget, the environmental impact and of course the health and well-being of our baby. 

I'd be really interested to hear from other green living mums and to hear their ideas or advice on all of this.

Have a good weekend everyone x x 

Monday, 22 August 2011

Homemade Bag

A few months ago my mum gave me this beautiful bag she'd made for me to keep my knitting in. She also made a matching roll for keeping my crochet hooks in. What a clever mummy I have!

It's very hot here in Umbria at the moment and for the first time ever I'm longing for the end of summer. It's too hot to go out so I've been indoors most of the time sewing and knitting next to the fan! 

There are only 4 weeks to go now until our baby is due. Apart from being a bit hot I'm feeling really well and I could quite happily stay pregnant forever!!  

Sunday, 7 August 2011

One Year

One year ago today I married the kindest, smartest, most handsome man in the world. 

Most people say their wedding day was the happiest day of their lives. For me, it was just the start of many many happy days married to the most wonderful man. I can't wait for all the happy filled years to come. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

For Olga.....

Today didn't start as a good day. I had to get up early to drive to a nearby town for my ante-natal class. I don't like driving here and avoid it unless absolutely necessary. On the way home I took the wrong road twice, got shouted at by another driver for taking too long at a junction and arrived home feeling hot tired and stressed. 

Overall, it hasn't been a great week. I baked a cake yesterday which burnt, the washing machine broke down and we had to buy a new one. Matteo is away with work at the moment and will miss our first wedding anniversary this weekend so all in all I was feeling a bit down.

Then I switched on my computer and saw this beautiful post for me from Olga at Artful Nuance. Such a kind and thoughtful post which has made this into a good day and a good week. Thank you so much Olga x x 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lazy summer days.....

The days here are very hot and long. I've been getting up early to make the most of the cool mornings to get things done before the sun rises high in the sky. Then it's time to close the shutters and rest in the cool shady house. When evening comes and the fireflies come out I'll go out for a walk, look at the stars and enjoy the fresher air

During the hottest hours, when I'm hiding inside from the sun, I'm managing to get quite a few things made for the baby. 

It's wonderful to have these final few weeks completely free to prepare for our little one, to relax and make the most of this special time

Monday, 1 August 2011

Challenge of the Utmost Kind - update

As you may remember since last October I have been taking part in a challenge, inspired by Dotty Angel, to buy only second-hand or hand-made goods for myself and home for one whole year. There are only 2 months left of my challenge and I'm happy to say it's been a huge success. I've become much more aware of what I buy and my attitude as a consumer has completely changed. I no longer buy whatever I feel like without a minutes thought.

I can't say that I've stuck to the challenge 100% unfortunately. I've bought a couple of items of clothing to fit my expanding belly and I've bought a couple of pregnancy books that weren't second hand. However, apart from these few items I've stuck completely to hand made or second-hand. That is apart from things for the baby! I decided early on that it would be impossible to stick completely to the challenge when it comes to shopping for the baby. There are certain things that I wanted to buy new such as car seat, crib and mattress, pram. I've bought a few new bits of clothing but only the bare minimum and I've been given a lot of things second hand. Anything I do buy new I try to stick to my green principles and consider where the item has been made and what it's been made of. I'll be doing another post on my 'eco-friendly' baby preparations some time soon. 

Overall, it's proving to be an extremely rewarding experience and although the challenge officially ends in a couple of months I'm pretty sure that I'll continue on with my new spending habits. 

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

La vie sur l'eau

We're back from a wonderfully relaxing holiday in France. We spent 2 weeks with my parents and my aunt and uncle cruising on the Canal Lateral à la Loire in my aunt and uncle's beautiful boat 'Decize'.

We spent long, tranquil days watching the passing countryside, reading, eating fromage and baguettes and enjoying a slower pace of life

I'd love to live in one of these pretty lock keeper's cottages.........

........or in a house with shutters like these.......

We explored some pretty towns and villages: Nevers, Fleury-sur-Loire, Gannay, Diou...........

The weather wasn't always perfect.............

 but it was a perfect holiday all the same.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Thank you all so much for your lovely comments on my last post. You offered me so many wise words of advice and have encouraged me to continue blogging. 

The past couple of weeks I've been in Scotland visiting family and catching up with friends and now after a couple of days back in Italy we're about to set off again this time to France. We're spending a couple of weeks with my parents and my aunt and uncle on their canal boat in Burgundy

Here's the boat.......

Really looking forward to a relaxing couple of weeks surrounded by beautiful French countryside and eating delicious French food (unfortunately no vin or fromage for me ): )

I'll be back in a couple of weeks with plenty of photos.

A bientot!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I'm back!

It's been weeks and weeks since I even looked at my blog. I have no excuse other than an extreme case of laziness! I lost my motivation, my direction. I no longer knew what to write or felt like I had anything interesting to say. I even neglected the blogs which I usually enjoy reading so much. For ages I didn't even miss the blogging world. I've been wrapped up in a happy little pregnant bubble and have whiled away the past weeks daydreaming about my baby. I love just to lie down quietly and feel my baby move inside me. It's been a happy time but a very unproductive one.

Now, the summer holidays are here. My work contract is over and I'm officially a lady of leisure, at least for the next couple of months. Now that I don't have work occupying a large part of my mind I feel much freer and ready to take on new projects. I've finally found my motivation again. 

I've spent a lot of time thinking about where my blog is going and the kind of blog I want to have. I feel that a lot of the time I post pretty pictures and meaningless words. I don't often write about what I'm really passionate about. I still haven't figured out exactly where I'm going but I do feel like I need to make a few changes. This post by Melissa at Miss Sew & So got me thinking about how I write. I need to become braver and write what I want to write, not what I think other people might like to read. I want to make my blog more like a journal of what I do rather than trying to create a perfect (and false) image of my life. I need to be more real. 

Thank you to those of you who have been asking for me during my absence and for continuing to leave comments even though I've been so terrible at replying. You've helped me to bring my blog back to life x x 

Here's the most recent picture of me and darling husband at a local vineyard (no yummy wine for me unfortunately!) At almost 6 months pregnant I still just look a little chubbier than normal most of the time but my little bump is doing well and making everyone very happy

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Handmade Cushion Cover

 I recently received this little parcel from my sister in Australia. She runs her own business, Wee Jennie Wren, customising children's clothes using recycled fabrics. She also makes some home accessories and other lovely pretty things. Here's a link to her Facebook page or if you're in WA you can find her at various markets around Perth. 

I love the fabric of this cushion cover and am thinking it might be nice in a nursery if we're having a girl.