Being a mother now I thought it was only appropriate to poor my heart out and tell you all about the wonderful journey I have experienced so far with my Vincent.
I’m going to start way, way back (it feels like an eternity ago) with the labor and birth of sweet Vinnie boy. I’m glad I am writing about this now, it’s a more sustainable approach, using way less tissues than I would in the first few weeks, where almost anything and everything makes you cry.
On Wednesday 1st March 10pm my waters broke! I was in the whale phase of pregnancy where I was struggling to move (snail pace), but Ryan and I took a decent walk around the block that night after dinner at 8ish. Being first time parents and not really reading the books or going to birth classes, we rushed straight to the hospital around 11pm. The doctor did a check and I was only 1cm dilated, now begins the longest waiting game of my life! We went back home, tried to sleep and came back the next morning as requested at 8am. Still 1 cm dilated!! Fast forward to 5pm 2nd March still waiting with contractions far apart and still 1cm dilated. The doc suggested I get induced to speed up the process, so we did and then some serious pain begin! I lasted about 2 hours before getting an epidural and feeling some relief! By 10pm (24hours later) I was still 1cm dilated.. It felt like it was never going to change. 2am 3rd March I was finally seeing some light and was 3cm. By 5am I had a quick turn around and was 8cm. By 7am we were pushing… ahh the pushing!!! The last half hour was a blur, the epidural had been turned right down and I could feel the contractions and was pushing but Vinnie wasn’t budging much, he was comfortable in my big cocoon of a belly. With some magic from the doctors, support of Ryan and some serious pushing Vinnie entered the world at 8.18am Friday (the best day of the week, always!) morning.
I would do the whole thing again to have that moment of holding your baby for the first time in your arms
Those first few weeks at home I was fueled by adrenaline. I had prepared mentally for the lack of sleep, but I hadn’t prepared for how much your body needs to recover after having a baby. To give you an insight, walking those first few days had me in agony consuming strong pain killers and sitting on icepacks, all the while trying to nurse your baby. I felt so empowered (still do) those first few weeks. I could not believe how amazing my body was to create life and then birth it straight out of me. I would look around and remember that millions of women do this all over the world and basically came to the conclusion that women are the absolute shit! Thank you Beyoncé for singing it loud and proud “Who runs the world, Girls”.
As the weeks go on not only does Vinnie grow, I do as his mother. You feel more confident, you listen to your intuition, your routine naturally starts and you just grow more and more in love with this wonderful new life in front of you. Don’t get me wrong it’s hard work too; people (other parents) are not lying, but it is a labor of love!
Ever since holding Vinnie in my arms, I have been head over heals. Everyday between all the thousands of kisses and cuddles, I look at him and I am filled with so much gratitude that he is in my life and that I get to be a Mum.
Instead of telling you about his last 14 weeks I’m going to put some of the billion photos I take of him everyday to use. <3
Time has become a weird and extremely important concept since being pregnant. It is how everything is measured.. Where the babies growth should be, how I am feeling, how my body starts to look and grow? How much longer to go? It’s a constant count up and then count down till the time runs out and you are left with a miracle.
Well, to be honest I just want to pause time! Pause in a moment of non pregnancy bliss, go for a run (which was not a favorite pre-pregnancy activity) do some somersaults down a grass hill, perhaps a handstand in the pool or jump on a trampoline then have a really strong margarita after, before going to sleep on my back or tummy for the night without any loo breaks in-between.
Now, I feel like I’m sounding selfish!! But being pregnant is a constant selflessness that I have had to get used to. Sharing your body and every waking minute and sleepless night with another life- that you know you will love but yet you don’t know who they are.
It seriously is the weirdest most amazing, yet challenging journey I have been on thus far in my 25 years of life.
I have recently started thinking a little differently about birthdays!!! When the life starts.. Perhaps everybody else already thinks about them like this and I’m the odd one out.
Our birthdays are a day where people celebrate life, your life and achievements and the beauty of you. It’s also a great excuse to be selfish for the day, choose the restaurant, eat too much, drink too much and get lots of things you want or need etc. But, birthdays should also be a day to be selfless and thankful; thankful that someone carried you for 9 months or so to give you life. Think I’m going to start thanking my parents this year on my birthday for my life. Plus finally have some margaritas ;)
As time becomes more valuable in these last 4 weeks, it also seems to be moving slowly.. Is that possible?!!!!
Think it might be time to just have this baby and get on with it :P
My goal now for however long left of this baby free time I have is too…
Making easy salads is a skill that I have been mastering for a while now- still not mastered. But I do have some salad knowledge I would like to share; about a favorite salad that takes 30 minutes to make with only a few steps!
Recipe for 2 people (who are big eaters J)
Spinach leaves (1 cup)
1 cup uncooked quinoa
Juice of half a medium lemon
Small handful of coriander leaves
Good quality feta cheese
1 large sweet potato or 2 smaller ones
1-cup chickpeas (normally a whole tins worth)
Coconut oil for brushing sweet potato
Olive oil for quinoa
Salt & pepper
1 tsp. chili flakes
Start by preheating the oven to 180 degrees, then washing all the produce, quinoa -in a sieve, spinach leaves, coriander, chickpeas and sweet potatoes.
Next chop the sweet potato into rather large bite sized chunks and brush them on a baking tray with coconut oil. (This brings out the sweetness in the sweet potato and makes the vegetable feel like a candy- you could also eat with some Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, yum).
Cook the sweet potato for the full 30 minutes, turning once and making sure they are soft but with a crispy light brown surface (I leave the skin on, more nutritional value).
While the potato cooks, boil the quinoa with 1 and ¼ cup water on medium heat, add in a splash of olive oil and some salt to help fro sticking together. This should take 10min; cool quinoa straight away by putting into the salad bowl you are going to be serving in.
Stir through the chickpeas and lemon juice, then add a splash more olive oil, salt and pepper and chili flakes.
Once the quinoa is cooled and the sweet potato is almost done, chop the coriander and spinach roughly and stir through the quinoa mix. And you are almost done!!
Plate up the quinoa spinach mix on your plate, add those sweet sweet potatoes and crumb the feta over the top. SO yum and super easy! This salad keeps well for the next day too, just don’t add the extra olive oil to the next day or might go a little soggy. Happy eating x.
Having a baby grow inside you does tend to make you think about being a mother more than I ever have. It also makes you fart a lot, you have been warned!
In all seriousness I have always thought about and looked forward to being a Mum and having a family. I personally think that is one of life’s greatest gifts. I remember being 15 and thinking to myself I wanted a huge family, enough to fill a rugby team, a man who made me laugh, and life full of adventure. I’m getting close to the dream!! Hehe
Over the past weeks I have enjoyed being pregnant so much more than those earlier months. I have my energy back, my appetite has increased (hence why my pants aren’t fitting) and I just feel happy and lucky to be here doing life.
I felt the baby move last week which was a very exciting experience. It caught me completely off guard, as I was doing the washing (a rare occurrence) it gave me a little kick. It scared me at first, but I was over joyed that this little human was moving around and felt an immediate connection to it. Since then baby bean has not stopped moving, most days he/she is pretty chilled but come late afternoon or even time to sleep, it’s like a party going on in there!
I have been thinking about being a mother and all the mothers before me. It makes me feel strong knowing so many women around the world give birth every day, and millions of women have given birth before. I feel a strong connection to mothers, like we are all in this together.
So I wanted to make special mention to some women in my life that have influenced my choices, given me strength and continue to love and support me in all I do. Firstly, I’ll start with my Oma Grace, a courageous, strong willed Dutch women who moved to Australia as a nurse during World War II. She found a Dutch man in Sydney with similar values and beliefs and there started the beginning and life of our crazy big Dutch family in Sydney. This woman raised 4 children with no help from anyone. She was on the other side of the world from her mother and family, yet without any complaint brought up her children and grandchildren on her own, what a legend!
My Nan, Barbra Allison an intelligent and cultured farm girl came from rural NSW to Sydney for her University. Whilst studying English literature she began dating her Professor, a man with a heart of gold. Three years later they married in Sydney and so begun her life as a primary school teacher. Soon enough she was starting a family. She raised 5 amazing children whilst managing to still work through it all. Taking her family of 7 over to England to live for a year and offer them an experience they will never forget. What a champion!
Lastly my own mother Alby, a spirited women who knows how to be the life of the party, where forgiveness knows no limits, and love is always in her heart. She managed a work /home life balance so well. She did her degree then a masters with 3 young kids, moved with her family overseas twice and was always so positive about life and all the adventures to be had.
I got so lucky to be able to call her my mum, and I’m so happy she is going to be a grandmum so soon.
And now me, a soon to be mother… My story is only just beginning and I can’t tell you much so far. What I do know is that love and gratitude is something I have in my heart thanks to all the wonderful people who have loved me, and that is something I am going to give in abundance. Xxx
A baby is coming..
How?? What!!!!! Or even when you may ask..
Well, it all started with a birthday weekend away in May 2016 celebrating Ryan and some other friends, on an island of Indonesia called Batam. Now if you know Batam it is not the most magical place, but it seemed to do the trick for us just fine. This was where something incredible happened, something that will now change our sleep patterns, savings accounts, holiday plans, weekly menus, shopping sprees, bra size (just me), weekends, family and hearts forever.
I shall start by saying we are really thrilled about how this little bean is coming into the world next year, especially early enough to be able to attend our wedding and it’s first family holiday in Bali (where else would we go). When we first found out about the little bub (we call it many things) we were in some serious shock, my first reaction was feeling proud of my body for actually being able to do it. Every now and then the occasional slip up has happened and nothing ever eventuated from it, so that doubt was there in my mind. But, woohoo my body can do this, we are very thankful for that fact.
Since finding out at 5 weeks, the following 12 weeks have been a little bit challenging to say the least. I knew morning sickness was a thing, but man I wish I had empathized more with women who had gone through it (Note to self work on empathizing more).
Mornings, lunchtimes, and even the evenings have hit me with morning sickness, headaches, gas, constipation, and the feeling of being constantly hung-over without any good stories to tell about the night before. At week 18 I can honestly say the nausea is starting to decrease, headaches are less frequent, yet the need for constant napping still lingers. Who am I kidding; I did that before being pregnant!
Now the next few months are where all the exciting bits are about to start, not that puking 3 times a day isn’t eventful. The other night I thought I felt something move inside me, although we did have spicy beef noodles for dinner, so you never know where that movement was coming from. We are going to Bali in 3 weeks where we will be finalizing wedding plans, and baby can get a taste of those relaxing Bali vibes that they are going to love. We have to find a new place to live; our 2 bedroom flat just won’t make the cut next year with the bub a helper (a luxury in Singapore with babies) and dotting grandparents and uncles coming to visit.
We have to pack up, move and set up all before March 6th that’s when it’s going to get real!!
So much cheese!!!!
Bread and butter
Cake (with really good icing too)
French fries- the other day I sat in Mcdonalds for the first time in years (not hungover or drunk) just wanting to sit and eat my french fries lol fatty!
Well holidays are well and truly over. School has started back this week, teachers refreshed and full of ambition and energy, students bouncing off the walls and parents relieved to have some routine and normality back!
I have been reminiscing the last few days about how wonderful and grateful I am to have my job. Being a teacher really does offer such great balance to life. We set ourselves short-term goals to make it through a school semester, then when we do we are rewarded with a nice holiday, before we do it all again!
Holidays, I can’t think of a person who doesn’t like them! Our holiday was wonderful, home time in Sydney with family and friends, shared over winter fires, strolls in the warm winter sun and mountains of cheese boards with over flowing glasses of red. Amazing!
After our winter wollies back in Australia we thought it was time for a tan, so we headed over to Borneo Malaysia for a nice romantic getaway. The holiday was for our anniversary and it had the WOW factor. Waking up in villas on the hilltop and over looking the ocean was magical. Walking along boardwalks surrounded by jungle was exciting and snorkeling before breakfast was the best way to start the day.
We stayed on Gaya island, a 20 minute boat ride from the main land of Borneo. Very accessible from the airport, a short travel journey from Singapore and then within a matter of hours you are in paradise. The island has 3 resorts we choose Gaya Island Resort and I am so glad we did. The island was remote, but the resort offered 3 different restaurants and many day activities that you could keep yourself busy all day with various mountain treks, kayaking, cooking classes, snorkeling, arts and crafts, the list goes on. We often choose 1-2 activities a day and then spent the rest of the time reading by the beach, swimming, playing cards or enjoying a nap. It was a seriously relaxing experience!
If you are planning a short or long getaway somewhere in Asia then I would consider adding Gaya island to your list, you will not be disappointed.
As for me, I am getting back into routine, alarm clocks, rushed breakfast, early nights and before you know it, it will be another holiday again. Where to next….
Let me start this post by saying... I am a lover of meat. I have never not eaten meat before (except on a juice cleanse, which are rubbish by the way), I have always ordered pork ribs over salad, bacon on the side with my scrambled eggs and chicken wings as a starter on a night out, so I think you will be as surprised as me when you here what I have to say next.. I loved my 30 meat free days!!! Why????? You may be thinking... or for the vegetarians and vegans out there, about bloody time, you might say!! Well, I am a massive lover of vegetables as well, any food really, as you can tell by my blog. I had been watching many vegan and health videos online, Mango Island Mamma, Bite sized vegan, Michael Pollen to name a few and was feeling rather challenged by what they were saying about my current diet and lifestyle. To be honest I hadn't really thought too much about how my meat consumption and the worlds meat consumption was ruining our natural environments, damaging our seas and worst of all the animals themselves. I mean I loved meat, how could I give that up...
After watching a fantastic documentary (highly recommend watching it, on Netflix) Conspiracy, I couldn't believe how little I knew about the agriculture industry. All the signs were pointing towards giving it up and I was starting to be turned off the stuff. I decided 30 days, a month is manageable, I would challenge myself, make a small change in my life that in return would be helping animal lives and the our planet life. Yes, I am a massive believer in making a difference hence why I wanted to become a teacher and try to help shape little individuals, or be a positive light in their lives, so if there is a change I can make to help the world and make some sort of positive difference I am definitely going to give it a try.. YOLO!!
When deciding to give up meat, staying healthy was a massive part of this, how would I be able to get all my protein, iron, calcium, omega 3.. The crazy part is, you don't even need meat to be healthy. For some reason the way we have been educated through school health, government food charts, parents we think of the 5 food groups and how that consists to a healthy balanced diet. But, this is not the only way to be balanced, eating a large variety of vegetables, grains (unprocessed), nuts, legumes, seeds, fruit all contributes to a healthy body.
There are so many positives I have discovered by giving up my meat and reducing my dairy intake. My digestion is much better, I do not feel sickly full after I stuff myself. I can happily have a second portion without feeling sick. My skin is better, more colour and clearer than it has ever been. I have just as much energy or even more and to gross you all out, my bowel movements are amazing and oh so regular!
My suggestion is this, try 30 days without meat, challenge yourself, make a change, do something different, feel different and make a difference to animal lives and your own wellbeing, and life on this planet.
I'm not saying it is going to be easy, I found eating out painful sometimes, when some restaurants had very limited options. Telling your friends and family, and being interrogated about your new choice can be draining.. but 30 days isn't long and once that is over you can make a new choice and see how you feel. #30MFD
I have managed to even convince Ryan to eat meat free meals at home.. and he is impressed by my creative ways in the kitchen to keep him interested in my cooking, plus he can't be bothered to do it himself hahaha..
Even trying new recipes, changing your shopping (saving plenty of pennies) and being creative with your homemade meals is so rewarding!
Rant over... Enjoy your meals what ever it is you are cooking and check out my Instagram for some inspiration with veggies if you need it! @justgeorgieskitchen
Bali is one of our favourite holiday spots, we have been going there for years. We love the food, people, culture, rice paddies, beaches, and bali vibes, so we have decided to get married there!!!! Yeeeewwwww exciting times ahead.
There is something for everyone in Bali, you can't go wrong with a holiday there. One of the best parts for me is the food and drink. They have nailed fusion food with a beautiful mix between Asian vs Western delights at cafes, bars and restaurants. I wanted to share some of our foodie favourites with you, so keep reading..
Firstly, a couple of Bali tips... It is a good idea to book your restaurants a day or two in advance, (even a week, if you know in advance) especially in the main tourist parts Seminyak and Legian. Places book up fast, and almost every restaurant now has a website you can book through (don't you just love the technology).
Secondly, Bali has seriously bad traffic!!!! If it is walking distance, WALK! If it is not, then add a extra 15 min to your normal travel time. We often get a motor bike when we go, this way you skip traffic and it is so much fun hehe.
This is in no particular order, just a list of all our favourites places that I would highly recommend when visiting!!
1. Sarong Restaurant
Ask for a table outdoors in the candle light, it is a beautiful and a very romantic restaurant. Totally suitable for a girls night out too :)
2. Motel Mexicola
This place is like stepping back in time and visiting Mexico, such a great set up and perfect for groups of people. They do a Mexican banquet for larger groups and have great vegetarian options too!
3. Old Man's Bar
Old Man's is right on the water and is a beautiful chilled bar/restaurant. During the day it is a great place for a feed and beers with views. In the evening the place transforms into a fantastic spot for a boogie with great Dj's and music and a very generous happy hour.
4. Watercress cafe
Great food and cafe, lots of healthy tasty options!! Lots of locals in Bali love this spot, so you know it's going to be great.
5. Seminyak Italian food
I love this place, the last 3 times we have been to Bali we have been here for dinner and a lunch. Their food is great, really good prices for what you get and the location is fantastic. Service is also awesome here, very friendly staff with helpful suggestions.
This area is a must when you are visiting Bali. At 5pm every afternoon something magical happens at Double Six Beach. All the bars set up awesome coloured bean bags and umbrellas to watch the sunset with, it's just so pretty! I love that this place has reasonably priced cocktails and tapas food, and it's on the beach!
7. Finns Beach Club
This place is amazing! ! ! If you are staying in Uluwatu this is a must because it is so close by. From Seminyak and Legian it is about a 45-1 hour drive to get there, but worth it. We made the trip from Seminyak and made a day of it. We headed there midmorning had lunch, and stayed the whole afternoon, eating, drinking and swimming in the pristine blue waters. You can make reservations and I would highly recommend if you are traveling a while to get there. Great for groups of people and families too.
8. Sisterfields cafe
Perfect for breakfast and lunch, amazing smoothies, juices and cocktails. My fav cocktail 'The French 74' is a gin and champagne one, whoever decided to mix the two, genius! Great spot for kids too, very kid friendly.
9. Potato head
I'm sure you have heard it, or someone will mention it if you tell them you are heading to Bali, it's great! Every thing is over priced, BUT the music, vibe and whole atmosphere is awesome. They have a restaurant section, bar area, pool bar, lounge area and a beach part, you will find something to love.
10. Betelnut cafe
I love this place for a wholesome healthy feed. Great fresh produce, sourced locally! Really well priced and such a cool spot to eat (it feels like you are eating in a tree house), amazing.
Hope you like at least one of the spots! ! Happy eating and safe travels :)
Here are some happy snaps of some of the spots, also make sure you have a Bintang-yum!
This recipe is my pesto pasta salad perfect for sharing and parties, you can prepare it in advance, it's super simple and tastes awesome! I brought mine along to a bbq this weekend and it fed many mouths, so this recipe roughly feeds 6-8, it is so great for school lunches during the week too:)
Homemade pesto paste
1 large bunch basil
1 cup pine nuts (lightly toasted in a pan)
1/4 cup olive oil
4 garlic cloves
100 parmesan cheese
1 packet Fusilli pasta 500 grams
2 cups arugula (rocket leaves)
1 punnet cherry tomatoes mixed colors (cut in half)
1 cup mozzarella cheese
80 grams spicy salami (about 10 slices chopped into strips)
Basil leaves to garnish
Pinenuts to garnish
Place water in a saucepan, a tsp of olive oil, salt and bring to the boil before adding the pasta. Whilst the water is boiling make the pesto, place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and wiz together for 1-2 minutes until a smooth paste forms. Once the pasta is boiled, run under cold water to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Stir the pesto through the pasta and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Once cooled add the washed arugula and tomatoes into the pasta and stir through (I saved a couple of tomatoes to garnish on top). Add cheese and salami and stir through some more. Garnish with nuts, extra tomatoes and basil.
I've mentioned it before and I'm sure I'll mention it again, I looooovve sweet things. I would say I have a sweet tooth and savory tooth, because I just like it all. Eating sweets during the week is something I try to avoid (save for the weekend) but I'm not perfect, and it isn't as easy as it sounds, so often I opt for healthy versions so I can have my cake and eat it too :)
This weeks school snacks were an adapted recipe from one of my favorite bloggers Ambitious Kitchen. http://www.ambitiouskitchen.com/ She does sweet treats with a healthy twist so well, so I thought I would use one of her recipes for inspiration. I chose a peanut butter and chocolate chip recipe dah!!! Because, it is simply the best combination.
1 cup oats
2 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 cup whole natural peanut butter
2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla
Dark Chocolate chips (not optional in my household, a must)
Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix all together. Then, take roughly half of the mixture out from the bowl and place in a food processor or blender (my nutribullet is awesome for things like this). Wiz it around for a minute so the seeds and oats break down and form a powder like resemblance. This helps to stick the mixture together well and creates a nice consistency, with some crunchy parts for fun. Mix all the dry ingredients back together again in the bowl.
For the wet ingredients use a separate bowl and add all ingredients in together, stirring so that it forms a thick paste together. Fold in the dry ingredients into the wet, kneading with your hands to bind the mixture together. Finally add the delicious chocolate chips and start rolling the mixture into balls. My balls were the perfect '2 bite size', but create the ball shape that suits you :P
*If your peanut butter is very oily then you might need some more dry ingredients, another tbsp of oats and flaxseeds should do the trick.
These are great at room temperature but I store mine in the fridge for longevity, about a month. Perfect school snack or sweat treat with that morning coffee. I hope you enjoy them as much as me. Happy healthy snacking!!! :)
My life really does revolve around food! I love learning about produce, reading new recipes, trying to create my own. Here are some of my food, travel and creative journeys, I hope you find them interesting or just delicious!