Sunday, 28 August 2016

Girls can do it too!

I've always believed that anything boys can do, so can girls. I don't really get the whole gender stereotype thing. Sure the mini one might wear a tutu or a pretty dress, but if there's a puddle or opportunity to get muddy and wet she's the first one in there. She has gruffalo tops that were "meant for boys" and a cowboy hoodie from Cath Kidston for boys.

She watches Fireman Sam and Paw Patrol then tells me she's a princess and a doctor and wants to watch Frozen. If she's happy and she is learning and loving lots of different things then that's good enough for me.

So you can only imagine how happy a conversation I overheard her having last weekend made me....

We were visiting one of our local soft play areas (review to follow) and the mini one was playing with some kids who wanted to climb up the slide - because down is so 2015. There were two boys who started joining in and was bashing the smaller kids around a little bit. The mini one looked at me and grumbled when one pushed her but I just said "ignore them" and she went back to the game.

These boys kept getting pushy and kids kept leaving and soon the mini one was the only girl left. The boys turned round to her and said, "This (climbing a slide) isn't for girls so you can't do it." She looked crestfallen! Then you almost saw the "pull yourself together" moment go across her face as she turned round, stared them dead in the eye and shouted, "girls can do it too!" Before barging past them and doing a great attempt to get up the slide. 

Sure she didn't make it to the top, but she kept trying until it was time to leave. I'm always proud of my little girl especially now she seems to have taken on my attitude of girls can do it too.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

And then there were two...

I will always remember the day I knew my marriage was truly over. Sure I still loved him and wanted more than anything to say I forgave him and of course we could try again, but I just couldn't. The words refused to come out. Those who know me know I'm not one to mince my words. If I want to say something I often do, but this time my usual self escaped me and all I could do was shake my head, say I'm sorry and walk away from the man some four years previously I'd stood with in front of our friends and family and promised to love and cherish forever. 

The pain was so just intense and so raw there was nothing that could be done to take it back. You see that man had walked out on me. Not once, but twice. He packed his bags and left. Not just the house but the country... Twice. But I don't hate him, I hate the circumstances that lead to our ultimate end. He was the man who gave me our beautiful amazing intelligent little girl but he was also the man who made me break down in front of my daughter midway through reading Stickman to her at bedtime because I couldn't go on anymore.

Our marriage became toxic but it wasn't always that way. He Egyptian, me British, we met while working in the Middle East. We started as friends and when I went through one of the toughest times of my life out there, he saved me. He pulled me back from the brink and loved me, which is what I needed. Three years later we married and 7 months after that I got sick. A trip to the doctors showed I was pregnant. It was a difficult pregnancy and traumatic birth but the end result was perfection.

After struggling to find a way we could live out there and be good parents we decided the time had come to return to the uk. When she was 3 months old my daughter and I moved to the uk and the clock began. We'd agreed to give me a few months maternity leave before starting to find work. But I struggled to find something close to my parents that paid enough for me to meet the financial requirements of the spouse visa. I found something, but then the English language requirement came into play. My husband struggled to pass the listening segment of the test and despite taking classes it took a year and a half for him to get the required grade. We hadn't seen each other this whole time as all our money went on the visa and tests.

In September last year, he arrived. Day 1 was amazing. Day 2 however the cracks began to show. He didn't get that if our daughter woke up so did we, if she was hungry we got food, if she gets bored there's drama, if you say no... She screamed. He had arrived in time for the terrible twos. He still thought he was living the single life which I voiced my frustrations at but he threw it back that I cared more for our daughter than him. We argued a lot and one day when he was so withdrawn he watched our daughter knock over cups of coffee in Costa not once but twice. I lost my rag. I told him he was her father and I (who had been in the toilet) couldn't watch her all the time. She went to do something naughty a third time and he grabbed her. It scared the hell out of her. I pulled him off her and shouted he was to never do it again. He walked out the coffee shop.

The next day was my birthday and there was nothing. No card, no present, no look I've made dinner or shall we order something nice in... Just sat in silence watching tv. I cried myself to sleep that night.

I won't say too much about the leavings, the returns and the eventual goodbye, but they all hurt. I broke down, I picked myself up, I broke down again and when I picked myself up the second time knew this was it I couldn't continue the cycle anymore and enough was enough.

Things aren't always easy as a family of two and as she grows up I know we will face different challenges, but I love my daughter so much. Whether she's smearing yellow paint round the living room, leaving the freezer open, waking me up all night or smiling at me from across the park and saying she loves me... She's worth all the hard work.

This blog was set up to chronicle my life as a mum and wife, now it will stay as my journey of motherhood and the things I love. The highs, the lows, the happiness and the tears. I hope you will continue to follow.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Reading Challenge 2015: The Books

As mentioned in an earlier post, I intend on reading more in 2015 and while looking at my bookshelf noticed these 12 were sat there begging to be read. As you can tell there is certainly a type of book that I gravitate towards! Have you read any of my chosen 12?

Harlan Coben - Long Lost
M.R.Hall - The Redeemed
John Grisham - Sycamore Row
Khaled Hosseini - And the Mountains Echoed

Monique Roffey - The White Woman on the Green Bicycle
Eric Lomax - The Railway Man
Nele Neutaus - Snow White Must Die
Marina Nemat - Prisoner of Tehran

Judith Tebbutt - A Long Walk Home
Terry Hayes - I Am Pilgrim
Patricia Cornwell - Dust
Asne Seierstad - A Hundred and One Days

Currently I am on M.R.Hall's The Redeemed, an author I have read and enjoyed before.

The Egyptian Mummy

New Year, New Challenges


Sorry about that little disappearing act. 2014 was a bit of a crazy year. I moved into a new house, started a new job, said goodbye to all the new mum friends I had made and met some new ones in my new area. Lots of news but one big stay same was that 2014 was the first full year we spent without my husband. His visa is currently under consideration so praying for some good news soon. Anyway... The positives... 2015 is the year I get back into blogging and my god I have missed it! 

I decided against New Year resolutions and instead decided to set myself challenges. 

1 - get back into reading. I love books but after becoming a mum and returning to work have really struggled to finish a book so to conquer that I am setting myself the 12 books of 2015 challenge to finish 12 books that I have bought, put on my shelf and not read.

2 - learn something new. My Arabic is pretty non-descript so I'm thinking this could be a good challenge as I would love to be able to read a children's book in Arabic to the mini one, otherwise I am open to suggestions!

3 - photography. I love photos and my house is full of them as is my phone, iPad, laptop... Etc. this is wrong. They should be in albums and on display. This year I want to photograph more and get a bit more creative.

What do you think of my challenges for this year? What have you got planned?

The Egyptian Mummy

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Back to work

So after 351 days of maternity leave, the time has come to go back to work or in my case start a new job. Two weeks into my 50 day maternity leave in Oman (yep 50 whole days...) I realised that I couldn't return to my then job. The hours combined with the stress I felt while pregnant there made me realise that returning as a new mum so soon after what was quite a traumatic birth just wasn't going to work. I wanted time to be a mother and find out what makes my little girl laugh, smile, cry and stare. I wanted to be there for her first solids and breastfeed as long as I could - for those interested we are still doing a morning and night feed - while taking her to parent and child groups and singing silly songs in the park. I have made some lovely mummy friends and and the Mini Grumpy Egyptian has made some friends of her own, but now the playdates and morning coffee sessions are no more as instead I will be at work.

My new job has me doing something that I think is going to prove really interesting and I am looking forward to having to engage my brain a little more than I have in previous months. Am I nervous however about the new office environment? Not really... instead I am thinking or perhaps hoping is a more suitable word, that the Mini Grumpy Egyptian is going to be ok. I know I can't be there forever, but I would have selfishly liked a little more time. She has a fantastic childminder and my dad is going to be looking after her for this first week to help her settle, so I really hope things go to plan.

Working will mean I get that much talked about and highly controversial "me-time". It will mean that we can - if the current government doesn't change any more regulations - get the spouse visa for the Grumpy Egyptian and get him here with us. It will mean I can wear necklaces and earrings again without someone trying to pull them out!

It feels a little sad, I won't lie. Like the end of an era almost. The Mini Grumpy Egyptian has been such a big part of my everyday for what feels like so long now, but I will still be there for dinner and bedtime and be waking her in the morning for a little feed before I dash out. I will miss her and I will worry that she is ok or that she is crying, but this is for our future and I hope this will make me a better mummy.

Wish me luck and see you soon...

Thursday, 17 April 2014

Combined weaning

I have had the title of this post in my draft folder since November, but inspired by something I overheard today, decided to finish it. We decided to begin weaning the Mini Grumpy Egyptian when she was five and a half months old as she was showing an interest in food and seemed hungry. It was quite hard working out whether she was interested in food or interested in food in that it was new and she found it interesting rather than wanting to eat it. Her first meal was some puréed sweet potato and boy did she inhale it!

This lovely image is taken from the My Little Lunchbox Blog with thanks. It isn't mine!

We chose to go for a mixture of baby led and traditional weaning so would feed with a spoon, but offer soft foods for her to try and eat by herself. We did this because it was the way the Grumpy Egyptian and I were both weaned and we don't have any trouble eating, just the opposite in fact! I know some mum's think that spoon feeding is the same as force feeding, but I've never spooned food into the Mini Grumpy Egyptian's mouth if she's crying or forced her to eat something she doesn't want. By choosing a selection of age/teeth appropriate finger foods at each meal as well as something warm for dinner or a yoghurt at breakfast, she is trying a whole host of flavours.

We started off with two small meals a day - breakfast and dinner - with breastfeeding as needed and her top up bottle of formula mid-afternoon. We tried some pouches, which she was keen on to start, but very soon got bored of singular/plain flavours and would spit it out. We moved into more advanced flavours and I found curry paste pots for children (found in the baby food aisle) were fantastic. I could remove some of the meat and vegetables that I was making our curry with and in a separate pan mix it with the curry paste, some tomatoes and yoghurt and we have enough to freeze for five meals. I also used pouches to make a quick meal with pasta if we were eating something that was inappropriate (too spicy, etc) for her to have.

Around six and a half months in and we introduced a small lunch as well before increasing portion sizes. I was worried that the mini one would overeat, but we found that she quickly found what was a comfortable amount for her to eat and would refuse anymore when full. Five months on and we are yet to find anything this little girl won't eat! She appears to have her mother's sweet tooth but will happily tuck into trees (broccoli), watermelon, pepper slices and is rather partial to a little cauliflower cheese. I give her lots of finger foods at every meal, but am still spoon feeding her yoghurt/wet foods because I'm not sure she's ready to spoon feed herself. When cooking I add no salt to our food and use the Heinz stock cubes that I get from the baby food aisle so if it's suitable for the mini one then she can have some of what we're eating. She likes Moroccan meatball Tagine, tomato pasta, homemade sweet and normal potato wedges as well as gnawing on a bit of steak when it's around.

She doesn't eat pork for religious reasons, but that hasn't seemed a problem so far. When out and about she likes egg and cress or peanut butter sandwiches. Cheese always makes an appearance at lunchtime and I have a container of rice crackers, breadsticks and mini kids flapjacks that never leave the nappy changing bag.

I do worry she doesn't get enough variety, but reading above makes me realise perhaps she does! A frantic Google search one day led me to Kayla and her gorgeous blog My Lovely Little Lunchbox (I'm so jealous, I won't lie) where she writes about the delicious food she makes her little one so I've managed to get some great tips from there. When did you start giving your little ones their own spoon/cutlery? It is her birthday next month so I am pinning away on Pinterest for a couple of cheap but cheerful birthday food ideas.

The Egyptian Mummy

Monday, 24 March 2014

Review: Tesco Finest cheese

A couple of months ago I heard about The Orchard at Tesco, a programme that allows you to sign up for certain projects and write about them in return for free money off vouchers for you and your family/friends. The first one that I was invited to participate in was a Tesco Finest meats activity that I didn't blog about, but you may have seen me mention on Twitter or Facebook. The most recent was for Tesco Finest Cheese and given my love of cheese, I just had to sign up for it.

My welcome pack contained lots of money off vouchers so our next task was choosing which cheeses to buy. Luckily our local Tesco in Winchester has a good range to choose from and I decided to buy my two favourite cheeses - feta and buffalo mozzarella - and compare how they are against my usual brand. The first thing that struck me was the detail that had gone into the packaging complete with details about the cheese's origin.
I chose to use the salty feta in a fresh but simple salad complete with cucumber, tomato, red pepper, spinach, lettuce, lemon juice and olive oil dressing, and my favourite thing to put in salads that contain salty cheese.... Dried mint. Try it, it's gorgeous! The feta crumbled beautifully and made what is a very simple salad, utterly delicious. This would be great as a lunch with a couple of falafel or bundled into a wrap with grilled chicken and a drizzle of Greek yoghurt.

The buffalo mozzarella was meant to be used to posh up a tomato and chilli pasta bake, but I ended up eating most of it out the packet! It melted so beautifully in the mouth and had this mellow milky consistency that for people who've only had its rubbery counterpart could prove a bit strange. I enjoyed some of this mozzarella torn up along with finely chopped tomatoes and some oregano that I stirred through some couscous for a great packed lunch friendly treat.

The remaining vouchers were given to my mum who chose the Stilton and apricot log that I understand she inhaled :)

I think for the quality of the cheeses they were fairly priced as you would probably pay more in a posh deli, but it would be nice to see the range increase further.

What do you think of these types of programmes? What cheeses would you have chosen to try?

*Disclaimer: I was given money off vouchers as part of The Orchard at Tesco in order to purchase the items mentioned here, but was not required to write a positive review and all words are my own