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What an Indulgent Time of Year

For me, Christmas is not about the presents. It's not about the tree. And it's not even about Jesus. Christmas, for me, is all about the desserts. The baked goods. The sugar, the spice and everything nice.

It's the one month of the year when I don't think twice about indulging. I take off the belt and I just let loose. If there's a cookie, or a cake, a pudding or a brownie anywhere near me, I will devour it within minutes. 

That's why I'm so grateful for my mom's masterful baking skills. We tend to get a sweet delivery of hers about once a day. We're her guinea pigs. If we like it, then it's gold. So this morning, I woke up to not one but two Christmassy treats, one of which is my all time favourite traditional Greek Christmas cookie, Kourabiedes. They're almost like a lovely buttery shortcake, made with toasted almonds and dusted with powdered sugar. They couldn't look more festive.

The other was a deliciously rich, flourless chocolate cake. Not so much a traditional holiday dessert, but sensational nonetheless.

If you're stuck on what to bake for a special event, I would highly recommend either of these sweet treats.

What's your favourite Christmas treat? I'm always on the lookout!

Deck the Halls...

Christmas is here! What a happy time of year!

The tree is up, the lights are lit, the cinnamon-scented candles are out and the Christmas baking has begun. We are totally ready to take on the holiday season. We had lots of fun decorating the Christmas tree yesterday. We put some classic Christmas songs on and dug right in. Henry even helped to hang some of the baubles.

I'm so excited for Henry's first Christmas and I can't wait to start new family traditions. I had every intention of actually making our advent calendar this year, but I got too lazy and bought a Cadbury's Chocolate one instead. Chocolate is always a good idea.

Money is tight this year, so I'd really like to hand make my gifts. Maybe make something using family photos. Anyone have any ideas? I'm all ears!

Hope you're having a lovely December!

Having a Wonderful Weekend

It's been a pretty good week. Mainly because we had a lovely Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt's house and we also got to see my dad and his wife on Tuesday. We're super excited also because we're flying to London next week to visit Matt's family. I can't wait to see Henry playing with all his cousins! We've been looking forward to this since we booked our flights back in August.

Today we've just been chilling and getting ready to put up the Christmas tree and all the decorations. I can't wait to celebrate Henry's first Christmas! And I'm so super excited that my sister will be here too.

We have such wonderful families, lovely homes and with this tiny little bun in the oven currently, I feel I have so much to be grateful for.

Hope you're having lovely weekends too!

On a separate note, I'm SO pleased for my friends Katie & Reuben of House of Humble for winning a trip to New York at the Voices of 2013 event in Australia! I can't think of a couple that deserves it more.

Feeling Blue

Love this greeting card I found on Etsy

Argh. What a day. It's not even midday yet and already I just want to curl up under the covers and not come out again until tomorrow. I try to be as positive as possible on this platform, but today, life has just got the better of me.

It's good to let it out, right? It's just been one of those days where the universe is set on pissing me right off. From noisy neighbours yabbering away from 3am until 5am, to Henry waking up extra early (5.30am) and refusing to have his morning nap (he still hasn't had it), to Matt losing his car keys... it's just been awful. And I actually broke down and cried.

I blame it on the tiredness (and possibly, the pregnancy hormones). But already, I can tell that being pregnant is going to be a lot less relaxing this time around.

I'm hoping a tall stack of pancakes and a steaming cup of jo will set things straight.

What gets you out of the doldrums?

We've Got News!

Yep, there's another bean on the way! Henry's going to be a big brother! I can't imagine him being a big anything but, yep, it's happening!

I always wanted my kids to be close in age, one reason being I want to try and recreate the relationship I have with my sister (we're only 18 months apart). So as soon as my doctor gave us the ok, I knew we would start trying right away. Much like the first time around, I never expected it to happen so quickly! I fell pregnant when Henry was about 5 months old. Having kids with only a 14.5 month age gap just sounds crazy to me. But so exciting too!

I also like the idea of going through the baby years all in one go. It's going to be tough with two under two for the first couple of years - gosh, I know that - but after those first few years, I'll be able to throw myself right back into my career and into trying to get my body back to looking somewhat like what it used to. I'm not going to complain. I don't think I've actually had it THAT bad as far as my body is concerned. I think my boobs still look great (even though they do look like someone else's boobs entirely which is something I had to get used to), I haven't spotted any stretch marks and the baby weight was slowly but surely falling off.

But, now, that's all changing! I don't need to worry about losing the weight just yet and I can bask in the happiness that is pregnancy once again. I loved being pregnant and I just hope that this pregnancy is as good as my first one. So far, so good! Actually - even better. I had nowhere near the amount of nausea this time around as I had with Henry. Let's see how the rest of it goes...

We had our 13 week ultrasound today, and I was really hoping they would be able to tell the sex. The technician did have his initial suspicions but I won't share those just yet...

Yet another thing to look forward to!

Pancakes (from scratch)

What's a Sunday without some pancakes? I got ahead of the game by making a whole batch yesterday and freezing them to eat for breakfast for the rest of the week. I also couldn't wait to use the authentic Canadian maple syrup sent to us by a good friend over there.

I've never made pancakes from scratch before (I always use Bisquick ready-made mix), so I woke up ready to scour the net for a good 'from-scratch' recipe.  I found Nigella Lawson's take on the fluffy American pancake and, based on the reviews, I decided to give it a go.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't too pleased with the results. They were tasteless (even though I added a touch of vanilla essence to a couple of them) and rather rubbery. 

I might try Jamie Oliver's recipe next, but until then, I'll be eating these bad boys for the rest of the week. However bad they might be, they're still the best darn breakfast food there is.

Oh, and for those of you living in Athens, I am beyond thrilled that pancake house, Melinikon, will be opening up in Kolonaki on November 27! Finally - pancakes in Greece!

Do you have a tried and tested 'from-scratch' pancake recipe? I'd love to hear it!

Evolution of a Baby (8 months!)

I totally missed the 7th month, but who cares when I've got cute little pictures of Henry at every month up until now. Bubs, on November 8 you turned 8 months old! So much closer to a year old than to being a newborn. How. time. flies. Just when I think you're at your cutest stage, the next month comes along and you're even CUTER than before.

You're now crawling all over the place (we really need to carpet these tiled floors!) and pulling yourself up onto furniture to stand up straight. How you love to stand up straight and tall and walk around the room. I think you'd be happy for me to take you by the hands (hunched over like Quasimodo. Not doing any favours for my back) and walk you around the room all day long.

Your bottom pearly whites are just that - the two cutest little teeths I ever did see. Oh and that smile you flash more and more often now - it melts all of our hearts. You look just like your Daddy when he was a baby. We love how it's so much easier to make you smile and laugh. From tickling your neck and belly, to making silly faces (Daddy loves to do those), to travelling to the stars and the moon and the planets (again, with Daddy), to Mommy going 'uh-oh' every time you drop something on the floor, to Daddy pretending to drop you, to playing with Poppy - so many more things make you laugh now. Your laugh = the cutest sound in all the land.

And you just LOVE watching football. And playing football. And throwing your football around. This makes Daddy very happy. What also makes Daddy happy is how you cry when he leaves the room. You're definitely showing more interest in Daddy now. I'm going to need to get used to this.

Bubs, it's an absolute treat watching you grow.

Turning 30...

... is not that bad when you've got a lovely, gorgeous husband who cooks you dinner every evening because he just loves to cook. When you've got a family who are incredibly supportive and loving and the best people anyone could ask for. When you've got the awesomest, funniest, wisest of sisters who shows you the most unconditional love and makes you proud every day. When you've got the bestest of friends ready to make you laugh at the drop of a hat. When you live in a lovely home in a gorgeous part of the world. When you love your job and look forward to doing it every day.

Turning 30 is not that bad when you wake up to the sweetest, pudgiest face in the mornings. When you've got the most gorgeous little creature making your life an absolute joy every single day. When your life is so full of love that you can almost feel your heart burst.

I turned 30 yesterday and yeah, I'm ok about it.

When Do You Blog?

Print available to purchase from Etsy here.

Admittedly, I haven't been doing much blogging lately.  However, it is something I enjoy and I try to make time for in my day

I find that some of my most inspired and motivated moments are in the morning. So whenever I do have a relatively eventless start to the day, this is when the blogging magic happens. I say magic because if you blink, you'll miss it.  If I leave it until any other time of the day, life, work and Henry just get in the way. But what a cute distraction, eh?

I often wonder, when reading the blogs of awesome moms (Taza of Rockstar Diaries being one of them), when do they have time to blog when they've got not one, but two (in the case of Taza) very mobile, very curious, very excitable toddlers in the house. I have huge admiration for these women!

In an ideal world, I'd wake up nice and early, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, coffee in hand, ready to tackle this blank page with the wittiest of words and the prettiest of photos.

Here's to wishful thinking.

Whether you've got little ones or not, I'd love to know how and when you fit blogging into your day.

6 months (already!)

Last Sunday was your half birthday. You're six months old! You've long moved on from the newborn stage. We can now start to see the makings of a tumbling little toddler. 

This month has been a month of firsts: first taste of solid food (rice cereal), first flight (from Chios to Athens), first real dunk into the sea (at Yiosona beach), first haircut, first successful attempt to sit up, first night in your own room. 

You were such a champ on your first flight. You had your bottle and then fell fast asleep for all 40mins of the journey. I hope this good experience will instil within you a love for travel. 

Your first haircut turned you into such a stud (boho chic to sophisticated chic). See above and swoon.

Your first taste of solid food revealed a massive love for bananas. My little monkey. 

We've also booked your first trip to London to see your English family and cousins. We're off in early December. We can't wait to show you London during Christmastime. It's absolutely MAGICAL!

You are not allowed to grow this quickly, little dude! Please take a breather and let your mommy enjoy your cute little babyhood a little while longer. No matter how hard I try to get a fill of your chubby thighs, your button nose, your sweet smell, your tiny toes, your gorgeous smile, your laughing eyes, I know I will never have my fill. I will never get enough. I want to breathe you in; bottle up your babyness forever and ever. I don't think there's ever been a cuter baby in the whole history of the world. You're the cutest, sweetest thing I've ever had the pleasure of laying my eyes on. I'm sorry other Mamas out there, I'm being entirely subjective here.

Two of my favourite people in the entire world. My little man and my Momma.

We love you forever and ever, little man.

Letting Go

Two nights ago was the first night Henry slept in his own room. It was a decision I've been putting off. But at almost 6 months old, it was time. I love watching him sleep next to us. He's so peaceful. Like a little angel. And I love waking up to him every morning. He'd usually be awake before us (and, dare I say, even wake us up), chattering away to himself for an hour or so. There is no sweeter sound in the world. Having him sleep next to us made my happy beyond belief, just knowing that the two most important people in your life are safe and asleep in the same room as you.

I keep having to remind myself that my little boy won't be a baby forever. As much as I would love to cuddle him and kiss him and squeeze him and have him forever in my arms, I have to remind myself that my job, as his mother, is to raise a responsible, loving, independent human being. And this means letting go. 

Good thing is, he's still tiny. So I can shower him with millions and zillions of kisses for a little while longer!

Was it difficult for you the first time you put your baby in their own room? How did you feel about letting go?

Fudge. Because why not.

Yesterday, I made fudge with my mom. It's so easy to make - which is dangerous! Just get some good quality chocolate, some sugary condensed milk, butter and powdered sugar. Mix all together on low heat, pour into a tray, stick in the fridge for about an hour and you've got fudge. I believe she adapted this recipe. 

The fun part comes in choosing what to put in your fudge. We went for Snickers and Mars for the one batch, and white chocolate, milk chocolate and After Eights in the other batch. The batch above is white chocolate and Reeses Pieces bites. DELICIOUS.

Oh and you might have noticed the chocolate chip chunk cookies thrown in for good measure.

I'm trying to lose the baby weight and my mom isn't helping. I think I might just stick to taking photos of her creations. Which brings me to: I think I've discovered a new interest - I'm really really enjoying photographing and styling my mom's creations. I want to learn everything there is to know about food styling and photography. 

Any advice and suggestions are welcome!

All Quiet On This Front

It's been a little quiet around here lately. I've started working full swing now which leaves me very little time to write. This here blog has gradually turned into a month-by-month rundown of what Henry's getting up to. And I think that's fine for now.

When I'm not working, we've been enjoying (eventful!) trips to the motherland (my family's home island of Chios) and quiet days at home. We're enjoying watching the season change and to be honest, I'm very happy for this heat to disappear. We've also booked a trip to London in December to visit the UK side of the family and I can't wait! London during Christmas is just the absolute best! We can't wait to take Henry to all of the museums and to Winter Wonderland.

So much to look forward to!

5 Months!

Last Thursday, you turned a whole 5 months! WOW! If you had any doubts about whether you were a big boy, NOW you're a big boy!

You roll around back to tummy (but haven't mastered rolling back onto your back), you lift yourself up to a sitting position using my fingers (and make the cutest little 'struggle' face in the process), and you can even get onto your knees and push your bum into the air (the first signs of crawling). If I put my hands against the bottom of your feet you can push/crawl your way across the other side of your play mat. Such a clever bean!

Your toes have found your mouth and oh, how they love to be there. Big toe in. Big toe out. Little toe in. Little toe out. And all the while, you've got the biggest grin on your face. Is there a better feeling in the entire world than seeing your baby grin like mad and kick their feet and twirl their hands with excitement at the sight of you? No. No there is not. It probably comes tie with seeing your baby laugh their little heart out at something you do (like hiccup for instance. We have a video of this. Look it up. It's hilarious and was a total hit on Facebook).

Your hands reach for EVERYTHING! You have such a strong grip. Nothing is off limits: phones, cutlery, food, hair, noses. You change every day. I'm convinced you change after every single nap. Your face becomes more knowing and even cuter than it was before (right when we think it's impossible for you to be any cuter.) You've been taking a lot of naps lately. Extra long ones too! I'm sure that's not going to last very long. Your ability to blow raspberries has gotten even stronger. You love to blow raspberries - for minutes on end. And you've got the funniest, most serious expression when you do it. As if you're disgruntled that someone you're having a heated conversation with doesn't get your point.

Next week, we start proper food practice. How exciting! We'll start of with vanilla creams and move on to pureed fruit. I can't wait to see your little expressions as you try all of these new yummy flavours. There is so much for you to discover! You have your whole little life ahead of you! How amazing is that? Seriously. 

We love you bean, more and more each day, impossible as it may seem.

4 Months!

Where does the time go?! No, but for real. Where does it go?? You've only been in our lives for four months and yet it feels like forever.

Your hair remains ridiculous. You're laughing loads, like when I tickle your belly or blow in your face and you're turning into a real roly poly.  On June 25th, you rolled completely over for the first time. It's mid-July now and you're on your belly in a flash! 

We haven't seen signs of teeth yet, but you're definitely making noises about it. You probably have your hands in your mouth 90% of the time. And the sounds that are coming out of you! We could almost make out a 'mama'! You're starting to know what you want and asking for it.

Now that you've mastered lifting yourself up on your arms, you're so close to sitting up. You can nap for hours one day, and not sleep a wink another. You make it very difficult to plan my days (but I wouldn't have it any other way).

Our trip to the homeland, Chios, was so much fun. You were such a champ on the boat and on the road trips: in and out of cars, up and down hills. I'm loving that you're so good on trips at such a young age. I'm hoping this will help you develop a love for travel when you're older. 

Your face grows and changes within a single day. You'll wake up with one face and go to bed with another. We all adore watching you grow and you bring each and every one of us tremendous joy into our lives.  I can't wait until your auntie Ilia comes in August to see you at this sweet age.

We love you with all our hearts, little bean! Happy 4 months!