Tag Archives: family

Love: going the distance.

Call me sentimental, but I am really enjoying the feel-good vibe of the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenges at the moment!  For me, the day our son met his Uncle (my brother) and Aunty for the first time is a very personal embodiment of the ‘one love‘ theme this week.DSC_0039-1

Here is my Muslim English brother, who lives in Qatar, with his Libyan wife.  They are gazing adoringly at my baby son, who is English and lives in South East Asia. At the time these photos were taken, Dania was also very heavily pregnant, so my son and his cousin-to-be were separated only by a bump.

Love and life in our modern world is colourful, and complex, and complicated.  Family life is no exception.  In our family we are collectively blending different cultures, religions and values all the time, whilst we carry on our daily lives, scattered across the globe.  It isn’t always easy; in fact sometimes it has been incredibly fraught. But you do what you have to do to keep the love flowing.  Because in the end, family is everything.


About three weeks after this photo was taken, my son and daughter gained a beautiful healthy baby boy cousin.  But by that time we had already returned to Brunei, so sadly missed the opportunity to meet him.

Our expat existence brings enormous benefits for us as a family.  But the cost – and it is a significant one – is that we don’t get to see the people we love as much as we would like.  I don’t think our situation is particularly unusual – it is a hard reality that in our global society, families are very often fragmented.  Will my children ever meet their cousin?  I really hope so, but I honestly don’t know. They live in the Middle East, we live in South East Asia right now, but will soon live in South America.  We all return to England intermittently, but not always at the same time.  It is complicated.

Despite the complications, instilling my children with a sense of their familial bonds is vital to me.  We FaceTime, we have their photos all over the house, we talk constantly about them.  And of course when we can, we make the absolute most of opportunities to be with them.  Watching our little girl hugging and kissing the iPad when she is chatting across the miles with her grandparents, we know that for her, for now, it is enough.  The love she feels for, and from, her family is absolute.  The distance isn’t there.  We will make sure that our son feels the same way, as he grows.  That is the best we can do.



Merry go round moments – week 9.

Family fun: top shot.


These two…so much sibling love. I try to get at least one photo of the little man on this mat every month so we can make a little keepsake. It’s hard to get a photo on his own though, because his big sister always wants to be with him, kissing and cuddling him, and he is always looking for her!


Pause for thought.

A good friend has had a very sudden, very worrying health scare this week.  She’s urgently had to go back to England for further tests, but the health professionals here are very concerned.  It has been a huge shock to her, and to all of us who care for her.  She’s young, she’s fit, she’s vibrant, and the most wonderful friend, mother and wife.  We’re all desperately hoping for some good news, whilst preparing ourselves for the bad news. I cannot even imagine how sickeningly terrifying it must feel in her shoes right now.  I’m thinking about her much of the time at the moment.  And when I’m not, I’m often (naturally, I guess) left thinking about how lucky I am and how important it is to seize every second, make the most of everything and everyone I’ve got.


Memories are made of this.

Little man, trying so unbelievably hard to roll over.  He’s desperate to do it and is getting so frustrated that he can’t yet.  He’s such a happy little chappy and is quickly all smiles again, once you  pick him up and pacify him.  But I’m sure he’ll be rolling very soon, as he is seriously committed to practising!


Laugh out loud.

We’ve taken all the suitcases down from storage this weekend, ready to start gradually getting things together and packing.  Only two weeks now until our big trip to England, and I am super excited.  Our girly seems pretty excited as well, especially if you count the fact that she had to comfort test each and every case.  Yes, that means unzipping them, flipping the lids open, settling inside, and doing up the buckles over her lap.  Crazy kid!  It did make me laugh, seeing her and ‘baby’ curled up and ‘sleeping’ in every suitcase.


Quick quote.

This seems like a very unlikely thing for a Pope to say, but as Popes go, he seems to have been a colourful and controversial man at times.  And I totally agree with the sentiment:

Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now! There are only so many tomorrows.

Pope Paul VI


Music makes me happy.

The Hues Corporation – Rock the Boat.

This week I was listening to the podcast about Jo Malone’s choices on the BBC Radio 4 show, Desert Island Discs.  A fascinating listen, especially for someone who is a). very much into perfume and aromatherapy and b). a big fan of Jo Malone products.

This was one of her picks.  I just love this track.  Podcasts have to play shortened versions for rights reasons, so of course I had to go and hunt out the full version.  Brilliant, feel-good stuff.  Just what I needed.


Good times.

We’ve had a bunch of playdates for our girly and her friends recently.  It has been lovely.  It feels like life is getting back to normal again, after the slowed-down exhaustion of late pregnancy and the early weeks with a newborn.

Something both wonderful and slightly scary about playdates these days is that the children now seem to be happy to go off and play independently in the bedroom, instead of in the playroom with us adults around.  It takes everything in me to leave them to it, and only check on them every ten minutes or so, instead of having them under constant supervision, like ‘the old days’ of just a few months ago! Where has my little baby girl gone?!  At this rate, before I know it she’ll be slamming the door and telling me to knock before I can go in!

Merry go round moments – week 8.

Family fun: top shot.

This week it had to be both the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots.  She had such an amazing time at the beach.  But what were we thinking?  Next time we are taking her in her swimmers!


Dancing on the spot she was so excited to get her feet wet.


It was an incremental thing. Just her toes to start with, then up to her ankles, then her knees. She was always gong to end up soaked through!


Pause for thought.

I’m sickened by the terror attacks on Paris; yet another very black day in the modern history of humanity. But I find myself feeling increasingly uncomfortable, as I notice the wave of Facebook profile pictures changed to show solidarity, the many many posts on my Twitter and Instagram feeds honouring those injured and lost.  Where was the same global outpouring of public support, grief even, for the people of Lebanon, suffering their own loss at the hands of terrorists, two days earlier?

Someone with the handle @karunaezara, was quoted by someone I follow on instagram.  She says it so well:

“It is not just Paris we should pray for.  It is the world.  It is a world in which Beirut, reeling from bombings two days before Paris, is not covered in the press….Say a prayer for Paris by all means, but pray more, for the world that does not have a prayer, for those who no longer have a home to defend. For a world that is falling apart in all corners, not simply in the towers and cafes we find so familiar”.


Memories are made of this.

Our girly jumped totally independently into the swimming pool for the first time this week.  All by herself – no arm bands, no waiting arms to catch her, no coaxing words of encouragement.  She just saw her four year old idol do it, and immediately followed suit! I don’t know who was more surprised – her or her daddy.

I thought her daddy handled it very calmly, considering he had to very quickly get to the right bit of the pool to hoik her up on to her feet and shower her with praise before she noticed that she’d been a bit panicked by getting a faceful of water up her nose!


Laugh out loud.

I had a friend round for coffee and cake during the week.  Her son was born the same week as I gave birth to mine. It was a lovely opportunity to catch up with her and let the boys have some social time too.  My little man’s first playdate.  Lying side by side on the baby mat, both boys looked like two proper little rogues.  With a glint in their eyes, all cheeky smiles and that gorgeous irresistible chubbiness that young babies carry off so well.  It made us laugh out loud.


Quick quote.

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Music makes me happy.

Good day sunshine – the Beatles.  What better way to start the day than cuddles with my babies, singing along as we listened to the Beatles?  This song is my all time favourite Beatles track.  Guaranteed to make you feel happy.


Good times.

Two sleeping children in the back of the car, nothing and nowhere to rush off to, take away coffees on the go, chatting with my husband about our plans for our upcoming holiday in England. With a toddler and a baby in the house, we don’t get much time together these days when we can have an uninterrupted conversation! Sometimes it’s the little things.