TOP 10 HIGHLIGHTS OF 2018

2018 has been one of the best years so far. It was full of fun times and beautiful moments while family and travels being the most dominant elements. I hope 2019 will be a continue of 2018 with lots of new opportunities for more experiences and work.

  1. The places we went. We visited six countries and many cities. I also finally made it to go to Mykonos and I absolutely loved it.  We went to some amazing places we’ve always dreamt about.
  2. Spending almost all 2018 with my baby. I got so emotional in her 1st  birthday and being able to see her growing and transforming to such a funny and kind child makes me so happy. Even though I’ve been critized for staying home with her for so long, because people still think it is ok not to my mind their own business, I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world and I haven’t regretted it not even once.
  3.  Having date nights with my husband again. I didn’t felt comfortable leaving her to go out until she was eight months old. But since then we go out at least once a week only the two of us, for dinner, to theater or to watch a movie. I get dressed well and try to look cute for him as in the beginning of our relationship. We feel more connected and we let our parental duties away for a while to give our full attention to each other.
  4. The gift I gave to my dad on his birthday. It was something simple but made him smile. I have a special connection with my dad and when he is happy I am happy too.  Nothing is more important than showing our loved ones that we care.
  5. Starting my own business, White Anemones Event Planning. When the company I worked closed down,  I secretly felt a bit relieved, even though I loved that job, because I knew that was the time to do something myself. I took baby steps in 2018 since I didn’t have much time, but I am proud that I already have some orders. In the New Year I will put all my effort to grow it and make it an important name in event planning industry.
  6. Attended the Malaga Fair in Spain. It is about Malaga becoming part of Castilian crown when King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella conquered the city in 19 August 1487.  The city was celebrating and people were dressed in traditional costumes, dancing and singing all day. Many concerts were happening during this time, Spanish are the warmest people and they know how to party. This was one of the greatest highlights of the year.
  7. Bought a new car. Since now I had a car I bought when I was a student so it was about time to get a new one. I am so in love with it that after my first ride I actually kissed the steering wheel and said goodnight to it.
  8. Visited Positano. This could go to the travel part, but Positano had been on my wish list for long. It is one of most instagramed places and not for no reason. It leaves you speechless with its beauty. It stunning! Soon I will make a post about it.
  9. Amelia’s baptism day. Everything was exactly as I had dreamt and even better. The decorations, the fun, the food. And I made a new friend, my daughter’s godmother, who is the sweetest person. We also had the chance to see members of our family that we hadn’t seen since our wedding who made the day even more special.
  10. I got back to fitness. Eventhough I ‘ve been eating like crazy, I worked out a lot. This year I started the Kayla Itsines sweat app, which is so strong, helped me lose all the pregnancy weight and got my confidence back.
Long walks in Tenerife
With beautiful ladies in Malaga Fair
Morning in Positano

HOW CHRISTMAS CHANGED THIS YEAR

Christmas with a 20 months old

Growing up, I felt like I was loosing that Christmas feeling I had as a child, and I tried every year harder to find it. I decorated every room in my house, listened to the Frank Sinatra’s Christmas songs from the early November, baked cookies, but it was worthless. I just couldn’t feel that warm and excitment anymore, until one day I finally acepted it and convinced myself that this period is only for the kids. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the Grinch. I spend most of my time with the family, I am always ridiculously happy and I am very grateful of what life has brought to me. I’m talking about the magic a child sees at the Christmas tree, which I experienced it too when I was little. Now I could stare the tree for an hour or longer and I would push myself to feel it, but nothing would happen.

Last year my baby was only seven months old and she couldn’t understand much but this year was totally different. Why nobody tells you anything about having Christmas with kids? It is one of the most precious moments you get to live as a parent. As my daughter is already at an age where she can communicate and understands everything, she was so happy with all the new things going on. She says ‘Hey’ 100 times a day to put her the ‘Jingle Bells’ and we dance to the ‘Rudolf’ song all day. When we decorated the Christmas tree, she did a screaming laugh out of happiness and every night she waved goodnight to it. She even had her first present from Santa and we left him cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. When kids came to our door to sing the Christmas carols she was clapping her hands and shaking her head to the rhythm. Having her first Christmas together while I tried to give her a full experience of it, put me in the mood too. I lived all the moments to the maximum and I actually felt the magic again after all these time. My husband said to me one day, I don’t know who is more excited, you or Amelia?

Always trying to kiss he

Being a parent sometimes is really hard, but moments like these are everything! This little girl has brought so much joy to us and I can’t wait to see what wonderful things the future is going to bring. Whish you all happy moments with your family and a Happy New Year!

BANANA MANGO SMOOTHIE

I’ve always liked smoothies, but this banana – mango one is my favorite. I remember making them for breakfast or as a snack when I would crave something sweet. I would take any fruits and nuts we had in the kitchen with some yogurt or milk and put them all in the blender. I made smoothies not only for all the nutrients and the vitamins they provide, but also because I really loved them. I can’t even believe how healthy I used to eat, it was a lifestyle for me. One of my resolutions for the New Year is to get back to my old eating habits, with lots of vegetables and fruits and less candies.

I have tried any possible combination. Mostly fruit smoothies, because I don’t like mixing fruits and vegetables together. Bananas are rich in potassium and fiber, and provide your body with many health benefits. Mangos on the other hand, are a great source of fiber, antioxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin C.

Combining these exotic fruits together you have delicious mix. You cannot imagine how good it tastes until you try it. So, if you have some bananas and mangos at home go and try it right now, and if you don’t have any, then put them on your grocery list for next time.

Banana – mango Smoothie

Just blend these two elements with some ice or coconut water. You can add whatever you want, oats, almonds for some protein, dried fruits, even some avocado for healthy fats. I added some linseed, chia seeds, almonds, coconut flakes and some dark chocolate, while it is not 2019 yet and I can still enjoy it.

Do you love smoothies too? Tell me if you tried this combination and if you liked it.

5 REASONS ALL COUPLES SHOULD TRAVEL BEFORE HAVING KIDS

Traveling before having kids is one of the most fun things any couple could do. You are in love, with no care in the world and all you have to think about is yourself and the other person. There are tons of reasons of why you should travel as much as you can, but planning of having kids in the future is maybe the most important one. Children are great and they brighten up our lives, but the freedom and carelessness you have now will absolutely change for the next 18 years after having babies. So, you should really take advantage of your current situation and go for that road trip you always had in mind, or plan an adventurous trip now that is still possible. I am not saying that you can’t do all these with kids, but for sure it will be ten times harder. Family vacations are amazing and unforgettable, but going with kids and without kids are two totally different experiences that you can’t miss.  Here are five reasons why you have to make traveling a priority.

  1.  It is cheaper. Anyone can understand that paying one more ticket, or two, or three can really make a difference in your pocket. If now you don’t care much about where are you going to stay, whether it is a hostel or a hotel, let me tell you that after having babies you will only search for decent places. You’ll need a clean room with all the accommodations, in a secure location and that means extra $$. When it comes to food you don’t have the choice of fast food anymore, the baby will not appreciate a Big Mac and you have to find nice and healthy food options, because the last thing you need is getting sick in a foreign country. And you don’t want me to start with the museums and sightseeing fees, which are anyway expensive in Europe. What I want to say is that when you become a parent usually your budget is tighter, and either you have to limit the travels you make, either your own expenses.
  2. Goodbye spontaneity. I remember when we were dating with my husband everything was so easy, we would decide for a last minute trip and we would book right away, without thinking if it is a kid – friendly destination, or if it has many parks for our daughter to play. We wouldn’t choose a place for the very few attractions it has, because you can’t visit all the museums with a toddler. Life has changed a lot now and I love it. I don’t mind running behind my child all the time or not being able to have a cup of coffee in silence, because it is my choice to have her and I am very happy to watch her explore this interesting world. But it is a whole new situation now but I am so grateful I got to be just me and my husband in all those crazy adventures we have had. Back then, we were the only kids and we were like two silly grownups laughing and playing with each other, not caring if people are watching. And we would take a four hour drive and back again, just to see a sunset, which is not possible to do with a little child because you have to follow her schedule of sleeping, eating and resting.
  3. Getting closer to each other. This is something that still will be happening when kids come and for a lifetime if you want to be together, but with a child you are more consentrated to her, your attention is to provide everything the baby needs,cause she cannot take care of herself. So, you don’t get the chance to talk or spend as much time you would like with your partner. On the other side, when it is just the two of you things are very different. Being in a new place, where you know nobody and the only familiar face is his and you are both relaxed and happy,  subconsciously you feel closer to the other and love grows even more. Believe me those moments are so precious and unique. This is actually the main reason of why you should really take him and go to that place you always said you wanted to.
  4.  The challenges you face. When traveling together you are most likely to get into difficult situations. As in the everyday life, unexpected things may happen, one of you might not be in the best mood, have a fight, you might get lost somewhere or anything else. But,when you are in a new place, there is nobody to turn to and you have to face the other one right away.  If you both manage and survive any difficulties when you are outside of your comfort zone,then you can handle having kids together. When couples go on vacations any issues in the relationship tend to come in the surface. If you feel uncomfortable or that you miss something when you travel with him, then probably something is not going well and definitely must be fixed before you grow your family.
  5. Not all places are for families. Now you could go and explore the Amazon Rainforest if you want to. You could also visit a war zone or take any trip you could imagine, but when a baby comes that is not a choice anymore. There are places that are only for adults and places that are family-friendly. If you plan to travel I would suggest taking some of those trips. I regret that we didn’t go to any of the very far destinations we wanted, while we could. We have her with us at any travel, but I’d think twice about taking her to a 12 hours flight. I know many parents do it and it is not impossible, but I just haven’t felt ready yet.  I hope in 2019 we make it, but it is not an easy decision at all.

You don’t want to miss the opportunity of traveling only you and your other half. Not only for practical issues, but because the whole experience will bring you closer and the memories you will share together, will keep you together.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO BREASTFEEDING

My breastfeeding journey continues up to this day. I never thought I would keep it for so long. I always had in my mind that nursing for a year is more than enough. Actually, when I first started, my initial goal was to be able to breastfeed for 3 months, then for 6 months, for 9 months and for a year maximum. It did not matter what I want because my baby had a different opinion and she wouldn’t let the boob that easily. She nurses when she is teething, sad, tired or wants to sleep. People around us are usually surprised when they hear that I am still breastfeeding her, and honestly I would be too before I had Amelia, but now I know better. I just follow my child and what it feels right to me. Not even once all these months I have felt like I should stop nursing her.

However, it hasn’t been that easy, especially after she turned one. Maybe I was expecting too much, like her to sleep better or breastfeed less often and when I realised none of these were happening I had a difficult time with breastfeeding agitation. That lasted until she became 14 months old and at this point I made up my mind to continue nursing her until she is two. In general, breastfeeding requires a lot of effort from the mother and support from the people around her. It is not the simplest thing in the world to have a baby that completely depends on you for her feeding and oftentimes you may be insecure about your supply or you may be exhausted. That is why  finding opportunities for sleep and rest whenever possible will make you a happier and more patient mom.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed my baby, it sound so natural to me mostly because growing up I listened to my parents talking about it and how good it is for a baby. The main reasons I managed to do it were because firstly, I took a class for expecting mothers, which gave me all the information I needed and secondly, I was very calm. I said to myself that even if I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed, my baby would still survive and be healthy by drinking formula. It would be great if  we make it, but it is ok if we wouldn’t. All it mattered was the baby to be fed. I was so lucky, she latched immediately after she was born and I cannot express all the happiness and love I felt those moments.LRM_EXPORT_632362527112965_20190101_173310735

We should not forget that every case is different and not all moms can or want to breastfeed and it is totally ok. Chosing to breastfeed doesn’t make any of us a better mother. Below I will show you about what I learned from the class I took and talk about my experience. I am not a breastfeeding counselor and these are just general rules for full – term born babies. For any problem with you or the baby you should talk to your doctor.

Things that can affect your milk supply.

  1. Breastfeeding on demand. Nursing frequency and duration have a huge impact on your milk supply. A newborn may stay on the breast for 18 hours a day and that is perfectly normal. The more a baby is nursing the more milk you will have.  Anything from 8 to 12 or more times a day is totally expected. Breast milk digests faster than formula and as a result your baby is hungry more often. Infants go through growth spurts when they are getting ready for their next milestone and they may breastfeed for many and many hours and mothers might think that they are not getting enough milk, but it is all very normal. You just offer in demand, everything is fine as long as the baby is gaining enough weight and has at least 4-6+ wet diapers a day, according to www.kellymom.com .
  2. Hydration. Water, water, water. Drink as much water as possible. Dehydration is one of the main reasons that can drop your milk supply. Your body needs liquids to produce liquids.
  3. Nutrition. Mother’s milk is the best milk for a baby, even if she eats junk food. The baby will absorb all the nutrients he needs from mother’s body but eating well and healthy in this demanding period is crucial. A balanced diet will fuel you with all the needed energy. Keep in mind, though, that having lots of healthy snacks all the time, will keep you away from indulging to cakes and all the nutrient-poor foods. I don’t even know how I got to my pre – baby weight with all that food I am eating. I am more hungry than when I was pregnant and I need to eat all the time. Seriously, I have to eat every hour something. Some days I consume so much food that I am sure I must have gained at least 2 kg. The good think is that with breastfeeding you lose many calories too. Balance is the key.

Breastfeed as soon as possible from birth. Newborns in their first two hours of life are awaken and are very alert about the world around them. They are looking for their mothers, so ideally they should be placed on their mom’s chest for some skin to skin and then they start to crawl and breastfeed on their own. Newborns have this ability for a couple of hours after delivery and then they usually will sleep for most of the time. The same goes for the mothers who had a c-section. I had a c-section myself and I nursed her immediately after birth.

Breastfeeding does not hurt. You may already have heard this somewhere, but it is true. If you feel pain then you are doing something wrong and baby doesn’t latches as she is supposed to do, so don’t keep suffering, ask a counselor to show you the right way. Even if the first weeks are hard, pain will go away, but the baby still will not be positioned well and most likely not feeding well. It is very important to get help.  Also, in the first months a breastfeeding pillow will save your life. The baby will nurse for so long that your back and arms may hurt, so buy one and you will see a great difference.

Always offer both breasts. During breastfeeding first comes the foremilk, which is lower in calories and then hindmilk comes as the feeding progresses. The baby should be placed in one breast and stay there for as much as he wants. After he stops feeding offer one more time the same breast, if he is done with it offer the other one and let him stay there until he lets it himself. Always should be offered both breasts at every feeding.

Breast milk provides ideal nutrition to infants. It is sterilized, has the perfect temperature and easy to offer at any time.

The World Health Organization says that infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of age and complementary foods should be introduced while continued to be breastfed for up to two years or beyond.

I often hear people saying that a toddler has nothing good to take from breast milk and they only do it for soothing. I don’t see anything wrong with the soothing reason, toddlers are still babies and they need any kind of tenderness they can get from their mothers. However, the benefits of extended breastfeeding are countless. It provides energy to the kid, helps brain development, boosts immune system and many other. It is up to the mother and the child for how long they decide to keep on it.

Taking medications when needed is another issue that worries young mothers. You can take medications while nursing, as long as they are compatible with breastfeeding. Antibiotics, homeopathic medication, paracetamol and lots of others are not forbidden during this period. You can simply check compatibility of any medicine in the http://www.e-lactancia.org website. You just enter the active ingredient of the medicine, it is usually on the medicine’s box, and it will show if it is very low risk, which means that there is no risk for the baby or it will show high risk, that means it is not safe to take.

Lastly, the thing the nurses told us is that if you want to breastfeed you will.  It is the best for your child and yourself too. If challenges come, seek for advice. It is the most natural thing, but you need to know how to do it and good information is extremely useful. The bond with your baby and the  moments you get to live with him are very special and worth every second.

Anna


EASY EGG NESTS BREAKFAST

LRM_EXPORT_579225728714660_20181127_191050887I’ve been doing these egg nests for years now. I was in search for something healthy we could take away for a road trip. I made 8 of them and we ate them all at the first hour of the trip. They are delicious and very easy to prepare, all you need are eggs and bread toast and you can fill them with anything you like. You can skip the ingredients below and customize to your taste. Depending on what is in the fridge I add chicken, any kind of vegetables I have, bacon, feta cheese, mozzarella or cheddar. It is a full, balanced meal option since it contains protein, carbohydrate and vegetables. Next time you want to impress someone with a great breakfast or a quick snack, do this recipe and they will think it took you so long to make them when you only need 15 minutes. It is perfect for kids too because they can take it with their little hands.

For 4 egg nests:

5 slices of toast

5 eggs

2 tomatoes

200 gr mashrooms

80 gr grated cheese

Salt, Pepper

Heat oven to 356 degrees. Cut the bread slices in the maffin cup’s height, then put them around the cup. Add in the cheese, the vegetables and on top of them the egg.

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Probably, you will have to push the ingredients a little bit so that the egg doesn’t come out of the cup. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and put them in the oven until the eggs are well cooked, for about 12 minutes. Enjoy!

VANILLA CUPCAKES

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Amelia had a cold so we stayed home all weekend long. The weather was cloudy and rainy, really puts you into the Christmas mood. We started to decorate the house for the holidays, reading books and watching ‘Peppa Pig’. It has been very sweet and cozy. Sunday morning found us making cupcakes. I gathered all the ingredients and we started playing  with the colors and the buttercream. The kitchen was a real mess but it was very funny and totally worth it. We sang the happy birthday song to Amelia, even though it is not her birthday but she loves to blow the candles from any cake or cupcake and then we had them for breakfast. They didn’t came out looking perfect but they were really tasty. This is a cake recipe so it serves about 20 cupcakes.

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Vanilla Cupcakes

For the cupcakes:

250g softened butter

2 1/2 cup sugar. I put half regular sugar and half coconut sugar.

4 eggs

1 1/2 any milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

500g self – raising flour

For the buttercream:

100g soften butter

230g icing sugar

20ml milk

food coloring

 

Preheat oven to 180C and fill the cupcake tray with paper cases. With the electronic hand whisk beat the butter and the sugar. Then add in the eggs one by one and beat for 3 minutes. Lastly, add in the flour and the vanilla extract and mix well. Fill each cupcake and bake for 15 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

For the buttercream, beat the butter and the milk together until smooth and add in the sugar and the food coloring. You might want to separate the mixture in different bowls to color each of them differently. Take out of the oven the cupcakes and decorate with the buttercream.

 

 

NETFLIX SHOWS I’VE BEEN WATCHING

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It has been a couple of months since we have a Netflix account. I can say it has quite good shows for any taste. The good thing about TV series is the fact that you can watch them even if you have limited time. I cannot stay for more than an hour in front of the TV because little human will wake up. So below I have listed the shows I have been watching.

1. The Alienist. It is a mystery/thriller series. We watched the whole season in a weekend. It is a great show! So atmospheric and intriguing. You just can’t move until you find out who the killer is.

2. Cable Girls. Or ‘ Las chicas del cable’ in Spanish. This is my favorite one. It takes place in the 1920s, in Madrid and it is all about friendship, love, female rights, suffragette, etc. Anyone who I recommended this show loved it too. I can say though, I was a bit disappointed with the 3rd season. Too much drama.

3. When Calls the Heart. This drama series is so easy and simple that one (Dimitri) may say boring. I didn’t find boring the first two seasons. I liked the characters and the time period. But at some point there has to be a progress in the relationship between the teacher and the police officer. It is a bit slow but so romantic in a nostalgic way.

4. Outlander. This is what I am watching now. I like it so much! It is about a girl in the World War II, who time travels in 1700s in the region of Highlands, Scotland. Scotland is my favorite country and we’ve been there when I was pregnant. So this series takes me back to those outstanding views. This series has everything you want in a good show, war, love, beautiful landscapes, history and so much more. Highly suggested!

5. La Casa de Papel. This is in Spanish too. I watched this show because I had heard so many people talk about it. It was very interesting in the beginning but then you realize that the whole scenario is about a very well – planned robbery in the national mint of Spain and that’s all. Maybe it would show something different after a few episodes but it didn’t intrigued me to keep watching.

Occasionally I have been watching other shows too but nothing I really liked. I am always in the hunt for a good series, so if you have any suggestions please let me know.

 

xo xo, Anna