Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Knitted vest

It's turned pretty chilly here in Umbria so luckily I've just finished this cosy cardigan to keep my wee one warm. The pattern is 'Plain Vest' from Pickles. It was really easy and quick to knit and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It's the first time I've knitted an actual garment (apart from scarves!) so I'm quite proud of myself!

I think Alba likes it!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Slow Progress

When we began our house renovation I knew it would be a slow process but I wasn't prepared for the months and months of waiting around for something to happen. These pictures were taken over a month ago and since then nothing has happened. The builders are off on other jobs and each day that goes by we're wasting money renting the scaffolding and other equipment. It makes me want to cry and almost makes me wish we'd never started in the first place. 

There was great excitement a month ago when the new roof was finished. The roofers did a fabulous job and I really felt like we were getting somewhere. And now we're at a complete standstill again and facing yet another winter living with the in-laws, our 4th since we began our project. It really is depressing.

On the positive side, look how beautiful our new roof is!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Guest Post from a Fellow Mummy

For a while I've been thinking about inviting guest posts to my blog to fill in the gaps when I am too busy or too exhausted to post myself. As I was figuring out how and when the universe answered in the form of an email from Katie of Moore from Katie. She had written an article she thought I might be interested in posting on my blog. And so, today I'm welcoming my first ever guest post. Hopefully there will be more to come in the future.

And now a little about my guest. Katie is an active blogger who discusses the topics of motherhood, children, fitness, health and all other things Mommy. She enjoys writing, blogging and meeting new people! Her article on healthy eating during pregnancy provides some useful advice for all expectant mums who are battling unhealthy cravings!

Healthy Eating and Alternatives for Cravings by Katie Moore

Eating for two was a lot of responsibility. It was difficult to keep my focus on healthy food when the baby and I were craving salty, fattening foods, or sweet treats. The great news is there are strategies to satisfy some of those cravings while getting the vitamins and minerals you and baby need for good health.   As an expectant mom I was always trying to balance good nutrition and healthy weight gain against cravings and old habits. To keep my focus on good nutrition I needed to start my day off right. I recommend speaking with your doctor to see which foods are better than others to eat during pregnancy. My doctor was my best resource when it came to any questions I had, for example about: exercise, cord blood banking, pain medicine, and even circumcision. Have fun with your diet, try new things but make sure to follow what the doctor orders.  

A University of Rochester study showed, “A mother’s iron deficiency early in pregnancy may have a profound and long-lasting effect on the brain development of the child, even if the lack of iron is not enough to cause severe anemia.”*   
A couple of eggs on a slice of whole grain toast served with a small serving of dried fruit is a great starter to the day. Eggs and dried fruit are rich in iron, which is necessary for the health of the fetal brain. 
 Your prenatal vitamin is a great supplement to a rounded, healthy diet. It is not meant to replace the vitamins and minerals found in food, but to ensure you are getting what you need. It is important that all pregnant women increase their intake of foods rich in folic acid, which can prevent some birth defects if consumed before pregnancy and in early pregnancy. Folic acid is found in broccoli, strawberries, oranges, and spinach. Foods rich in calcium, such as yogurt and milk, help grow strong bones.   Fighting cravings is tough. There are healthy alternatives to try before giving in to the unhealthy cravings. Bear in mind, there is no reason you cannot indulge occasionally in the things you are craving, but you can substitute healthy alternatives here and there. Balance is the key.   For example, are you craving salty pickles? There are several low-sodium alternatives to try in stores. When you have a sweet tooth, ambrosia salad is delicious and packed with vitamins. This recipe is an easy version with lots of flavor:   Ingredients • 2 cups cubed fresh pineapple • 2 large navel oranges, peeled and sectioned • 1-1/2 cups green grapes • 1 cup miniature marshmallows • 1 large banana, sliced • 1/2 cup flaked coconut • 1/4 cup chopped almonds • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) vanilla yogurt Directions • Combine ingredients and fold in the yogurt. Chill until ready to eat.   If you use your imagination you can find tons of healthy ways to satisfy your cravings. Remember that it is always better to eat the fruit than drink the juice, keep your sodium at healthy levels, and eat lots of colorful vegetables every day. Enjoy all the foods you love in a balanced way, and let the cravings push you toward new recipe discoveries.   

Thanks Katie for your interesting and informative article. I was very lucky to have a perfectly healthy pregnancy and it's actually the time of my life where I felt the fittest and healthiest. I made sure I ate well and got plenty of exercise and I really felt wonderful. I did have unhealthy cravings for salt and vinegar crisps and although I allowed myself the occasional indulgence, mostly I tried to satisfy the craving by adding extra vinegar to my salad dressing. What strange cravings did you have during pregnancy? 

Friday, 12 October 2012

Can you comment on my blog?

For a few months now I've been wondering why I don't get as many comments as I used to on my posts. Maybe it's because I don't post very regularly, maybe it's because there are fewer people reading blogs nowadays or maybe people just have nothing to say. However, I recently realised that there was a problem with the comments form on my page. I've now hopefully fixed the problem so if you were having difficulty commenting here in the past then you should be able to comment again now.

I'd really appreciate if you are reading this if you could just say a quick hello and let me know that the comments page is working properly.

Image from Pinterest

If only it was as easy as putting pen to paper!

Thank you x x

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Alba May is One!

Last Tuesday my baby girl turned one. The past year has been such a rollercoaster. Being a mum is more wonderful than I could ever have imagined. My wee monkey never ceases to amaze me with her boundless energy and cheeky grin. I love the little person she is becoming. She is so curious about the world around her and always off on some wee adventure. She loves being outdoors, sitting in the dirt looking for bugs. She is kind and generous too, always offering me part of her snack or bringing me little presents such as a flower she picks in the garden (lovely) or a dead bug (not so lovely!). She has a wonderful imagination and usually chooses simple objects to play with. A box of ribbons, an egg carton or a cardboard box are far more interesting to her than the fanciest of toys. She can be a handful at times, especially at night when she's refusing sleep (can't believe I've survived a whole year without a single full nights sleep!). But it's all worth it and I wouldn't change her for the world.

Happy birthday sweet girl x x

Monday, 10 September 2012

We have a walker!

Alba took her first steps a few weeks ago and every day she is getting more and more confident. In just a few weeks she'll be a year old can you believe it?

I'll be posting a house update hopefully in the next few days. The new roof is going on as we speak and it's all very exciting!

Happy Monday everyone x x

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Camping with a Baby

It is very very hot here, at least 40°C and with a horrible hot wind. So at the weekend we decided to escape the heat and head off into the fresh air of the mountains. My husband and I both enjoy camping but were nervous about taking a 10 month old. We needn't have worried. It was really easy and Alba took it all in her stride as if she was already a seasoned camper. She loves being outdoors and was restless at home being stuck inside because of the heat. 

Bed time stories in the tent..........

Raring to go as soon as the sun was up......

 The field where we camped.

Ready for a hike in the mountains

We were joined by some cows for part of our walk

And some ponies much to Alba's (and my) delight!

Playing outside the tent

It was such a great weekend, I wish we could go back every weekend until this heat passes. We are positively melting at the moment. I'm usually a sun worshipper but the heat is not so much fun when you have a baby. Next year we'll be spending our summer in Scotland!

For those of you living in hot climates how do you survive the heat?

Monday, 13 August 2012

Wooden Beams

Since my last post a lot of work has been going on in the house. These pictures were actually just taken a day or so after the last ones. Our builders are pretty hard workers and managed to put in all the new ceiling beams in just a day despite it being 38°C outside. 

The room in the picture below will be our utility room. 

This is taken from the utility room to the space where the stairs will go

Looking up to the upstairs bathroom. It's still a bit draughty!

 Looking up from the kitchen.

These are the old oak beams which we had to remove. They can't be reused as beams but we will cut them up and use the wood for other things, possibly a kitchen worktop or even the stairs. Any ideas?

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Work in Progress

Some of you may remember that a very very very long time ago we began plans to renovate a 500 year old property which belongs to my husbands family.

If you walk by the house today this is what you will see.......

The sign says "Do not enter"

But we'll just ignore the sign and take a little peak inside.

They had to completely knock down the stairs in front and rebuild them.

They've reinforced existing doors and windows and knocked through new ones.

In this past week they have taken out the floor between the two levels and completely taken off the old roof.

Now, you can see blue sky from my kitchen!

Seriously, I think it would have been easier to knock the whole thing flat and rebuild it from scratch.

But that would have been no fun!

Hopefully in the next few days they will be putting on the new roof. We've saved every last tile and brick and everything will be re-used where possible. My father-in-law is painstakingly cleaning each individual roof tile to reveal their beautiful colour.

The work is reaching a really exciting stage, where big changes are happening and they are starting to put the puzzle back together again. It's quite incredible how quickly things can move when everything goes according to plan. We have a great team of builders who are doing a fantastic job and my father-in-law is there every day over-seeing the work. For him it's a labour of love, bringing back to life the house he grew up in.

And the next generation is waiting patiently for her new house to be ready!

Happy days!!
Sarah Elizabeth x 

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Co-sleeping - sharing my bed with baby

Before I became a mother I read all about the benefits of co-sleeping or bed-sharing. I also read about the dangers. Being a slightly over paranoid kind of person I decided that, although the idea of the 'family bed' sounded nice, that I'd prefer to have my baby sleeping in her own crib where she wouldn't be in danger of me rolling on her or being smothered by the duvet. We bought a Moses basket, I crocheted blankets, hung a mobile above and couldn't wait to put my baby inside.

Needless to say, everything changed once my baby was actually here. After she was born the midwife tucked her carefully into the bed with me where she nursed hungrily for the first time and then fell asleep. After a while I dosed too, waking now and again to check on my sleeping bundle. During my stay in hospital she nursed so frequently that it was just so much easier to keep her in the bed next to me and it felt so natural, it never even really crossed my mind to put her down in the bassinet next to my bed.

When we got home from hospital I put her to sleep in her Moses basket that first night. She looked so small, alone and cold. I lay on the bed next to the basket and watched her sleeping, secretly urging her to wake up so I could cuddle her in my arms again. Inevitably, she did wake up to feed after only an hour or so. I took her into bed with me and there she's been ever since.

We are very careful that we are sleeping safely. We have no blankets or pillows anywhere near her and once she was able to roll we put a bed guard on to stop her rolling off the bed. It feels safe. Safer than having her sleep far away from me. I've researched the topic extensively and there are varying opinions, some reports say that co-sleeping increases the risk of SIDS and others say it reduces it. My mummy instincts tell me I'm doing the right thing.

Of course I worry that I'll still have her in my bed when she's 18, and what happens when we have more kids? Already space is at a premium and I'm not sure how this arrangement would work with more children. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, I relish those precious sleepy snuggles, I certainly appreciate not having to get out of my warm bed for night nursings and I adore the contented look on my daughters face when she wakes, smiling to see me lying next to her.

Wishing you all the sweetest of dreams,
Sarah Elizabeth

PS I want to thank those of you who commented on my last post. You all encourage and inspire me every day and I thank you so much for your kind words on a day when they were greatly needed x x

Saturday, 14 July 2012


It's been so long since I last blogged and I must apologise. I have so many things buzzing around in my head that I want to write about but can never seem to get them into any kind of order. I've considered starting a new blog, a clean page, starting afresh but since I barely find the time to keep one blog going I doubt I'd manage with two! It feels however that this blog doesn't quite 'fit' anymore. It started out as a blog about our home renovation but when that was moving along so slowly it became more about our life here in Italy and bits and pieces of crafty things I did. Now, I've got lots of mummy things I want to blog about such as cloth diapering and baby-led weaning but I'm not sure I want this blog to be all about parenting. I suppose I just need to get back into writing and see where things take me, stop thinking about what people want to read about and just write what I feel like. I think it's a better idea to try and adapt this blog to fit in with my new life rather than trying to start again from scratch. I might consider changing the name though. What do you think? I named my blog after myself when I was starting out as I didn't really know at the time exactly what I was going to blog about. I feel like a change though and would like something that maybe is a bit more descriptive of what I'm all about.

Now for a little Alba update. She is now 9 months old and amazes me more and more every day. I could seriously spend hours just observing her and all her funny little ways. Actually, I do spend hours just observing her which is probably why I don't have so much time for blogging or cleaning my house for that matter. She's a very easy going baby but she does demand my attention a lot, especially when it comes to sleeping. She sleeps in my bed at night and a lot of the time will only nap with me as well. I love all of the baby snuggles but it doesn't leave much time for anything else. I've been tempted to buy various books which seem to have the answer to all kinds of sleep problems but I love having her close to me and value the bond that we have too much to risk breaking it by any kind of sleep training. For now, we're just going with it and hoping that things will sort themselves out eventually.

Finally, here's a picture of the little one with her nonna......

Love to you all, Sarah Elizabeth x x x 

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Alba's Christening

We've just returned from a month long holiday in Scotland. During that month we had a hen party, a wedding, a christening and lots of trips out visiting friends and family. It was a busy month but we had lots of fun.

We decided before Alba was born that we wanted to have her christened in Scotland by the same minister who married Matteo and I. Originally the idea was to have the christening in our local church but since it was undergoing repairs the minister suggested doing the christening at my parents' house, just like our wedding two years ago. The weather wasn't warm enough to have the service outside this time but we had it in the living room which looks out at the same view we had during our wedding ceremony. It was perfect, such an intimate event with just our family and close friends around. Afterwards we enjoyed an afternoon tea with cream scones, cup cakes and meringues. 

Our wedding photographer, Craig McBeth, very kindly agreed to come and photograph the event and we got some lovely shots of the star of the show. 

Now that we're home again and getting back into some sort of routine I'm planning to get back into blogging again. I've got so much I want to share, most excitingly the progress of our home renovation! It wall all depend though on how much spare time a certain little madam will allow me!! 

Lots of love to you all

Sarah Elizabeth x x x 

Sunday, 6 May 2012

International Herald Tribune

I was very excited a couple of days ago to see a message from Susie of the blog Palazzo Pizzo to say that my blog was mentioned in an article in the International Herald Tribune. The article is about expatriates, home renovating and blogging. There was just a tiny mention of Sarah Elizabeth but I'm quite proud all the same. You can see an extract of the article on Susie's blog which was also featured.

I'm currently in Scotland on a long holiday with Alba but while we've been away I'm pleased to say that actual work on our house has finally started. It's been a long process getting all of the planning permissions required but we're finally there and the fun stuff can begin! I'm looking forward to finally sharing with you some of the work.

Sarah Elizabeth x x x

Friday, 10 February 2012

Winter is here!

After an unusually mild few months winter has arrived in Umbria. It's snowing outside and bitterly cold. We've just returned from a 2 week trip to Scotland where the temperatures for once were not that different to here in Italy. 

I must apologise for my long absence. I've been totally absorbed in motherhood! Little Alba is growing so fast and I'm making the most of every second. She is an absolute joy and I just love being a mummy so much. People ask me if I miss being able just to go out when I feel like it and do the things I want. I can honestly say that I don't. This is such a short time in my little girls life and I'm enjoying the cuddles while I can!

Whilst I'm loving these quiet days with my baby I'm afraid it doesn't make for very interesting blogging. My days are filled with nappy changing, washing, cuddles and singing lullabies. It's absolute bliss for me but I'm sure not so interesting for the rest of you to read about.  

So, my posts will probably continue to be a bit sporadic for now. Thank you to those of you who have continued to send me messages and comments even though I'm so bad at replying. You are all in my thoughts often I just have a very pretty little bundle who distracts me from my computer and prevents me from keeping up to date with you all. Who could resist this little cutie?