right now – June and July

Before and After Birth

I missed the link up last month, but I guess I have a pretty good excuse. This month we’ve been figuring out how to keep our daughter alive and (mostly) happy. It’s been wonderful and overwhelming and chaotic and transforming.

In mid June I finally said screw it and declared myself officially on maternity leave. Anything that hadn’t been done or handed over by then was dropped and I settled into the REST that my body was craving. It was wonderful! I read multiple books in a week, watched TV, baked, met friends for coffee. I know it was so good for me. Giving up the feeling of “but how will they cope without me?!” was is hard at times but also a good exercise in realising I’m not indispensable. I mean, I’m awesome of course, but you all will cope without me for a few months…!

So here’s what I’ve been mostly doing these two very different months – the one with a nine-month-belly and the one with a gorgeous hungry girl in my arms….


What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. Lots of people have read this and enjoyed it. It was a fun book. I didn’t connect with the main story as emotionally as others have, although it was a good reminder of how it’s a whole lot of little steps that get you to a destination – so being aware of where those little steps are taking you is so important. I did cry through some of the sister’s story (covering miscarriage and infertility) and I thought some of the best writing of the book was saved for her.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. This was a book club read for us and another young adult book. I loved it. I sobbed my way through most of it in one day. The characters were beautifully written and the simple way Rowell writes sucked me in so that I felt like I was living it all. Surprisingly perhaps, my biggest sobs were reserved for the scene where Park’s mother recognises the reality of Eleanor’s family life. I think I had to put the book down for a few minutes until the crying had subsided a bit. So worth reading.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. This one was a slow starter for me, maybe because the two main characters don’t really come into their own for a while. But I kept going and by about a third of the way in I was hooked. It’s such an imaginative story, so original, and I was desperate enough to find out the ending, that I figured out how to hold open a thick paperback book with one hand while holding a breastfeeding baby with the other…

Leaving Church by Barbara Brown Taylor. This is the second BBT book I’ve read and I’m as much in love with her as I was after her book An Altar in the World changed my life last year. Leaving Church is about her work as an Episcopalian priest in Georgia, and her decision to leave her role as a priest. I underlined about half the book, and it’s one I need to go back to and mull over for a while, there were so many interesting thoughts.

listening. I made a birthing playlist at the end of June, knowing that the hypnobirthing music we’d been given would drive me mad after the third round. It is a weird but perfect mix of U2, Taize chants, Alela Diane, Nina Simone, Josh Garrels, Zero7… actually it’s a pretty great mix that I still listen to. We played it while I laboured at home and it was great background music to keep me relaxed and positive.

watching. In these sleep-deprived weeks, I have watched a lot more television than I would normally, especially those days when Kaya has decided to cluster feed the whole afternoon. I’ve been enjoying White Collar – just the right amount of excitement to keep me interested (I am a woss, I don’t like being scared), not too complicated a plot (see: sleep deprivation), and a good looking chap in the lead role. Perfect.

Way back at the beginning of June I also went to see The Hundred Year Old Man who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It was our very first book club read one year ago (I missed the anniversary meeting as it was the same day Kaya was born!) and so when the film came out a few of us went to see it together. You know, I actually preferred it to the book! It works so well as a film. The action moves faster and it’s very visual humour. Definitely recommended.

taking selfies. This has been one of the surprise ways I have remembered to enjoy these hard first few weeks, and to recognise all the good in amongst the hard. I wrote about it here.

eating. Since we came home from the hospital, we’ve been spoilt with cooked meals three times a week from friends. So we’ve eaten Indian and Mexican and Moroccan and oh-my-goodness-amazing brownies. My mum came to visit and had baked a cake within three hours of touching down (see where I get it from?) and when my MIL was here, she and Rasmus spent an evening making delicious meatballs with broad beans from the Ottolenghi Jerusalem cook book. I could get used to this…

When my sister was visiting we made bacon & choc chip cookies. Not bad but a bit weird to be eating bacon in a cookie. I also introduced her to Leigh’s “Mug Brownie” recipe. I loved this when I first tried it last month but let me tell you, when you have a newborn and are craving CAKE but the idea of baking is about as ambitious as scaling Everest with your baby, this recipe will become your best friend…


loving. seeing my husband become a dad. He’s a natural. And she’s besotted with him. I’m so glad I get to do this parent thing with him.

sewing. Ages ago I started hand piecing a quilt (here’s a post from 2012 about it!). My MIL taught me how and I’d do a few more pieces every time we watched TV. But then it would get tidied away and I’d forget about it for a few months. I re-found it for the third or fourth time a few months ago and knew I wanted to finish it for our baby. I taught myself how to do quilt binding using youtube videos and quilted it in easy straight lines.

The day I finished, I instagrammed it, with the caption “now I’m ready for this baby to arrive”. My waters broke about 10 hours later…

walking. to the park. into town. to the new Italian ice cream parlour three minutes from our front door… yes, I’ve been there rather often.

harvesting. green beans, cherry tomatoes, chilli peppers, radishes and our first two courgettes! Yey for balcony gardens!

feeling. happy. exhausted. overwhelmed. grateful. lucky. frustrated. weepy. wonderstruck. hungry. bored. elated. Sometimes all in ten minutes.


As always I am linking up with the lovely Leigh Kramer for her monthly What I’m Into post. Her link up is a great way to find new recommendations for books, films, music, recipes…

And don’t forget you can also connect with me on twitter, instagram or facebook. You’re more likely to find me there than on the blog these days (typing 140 characters is much easier while feeding a baby…).