Posts Tagged ‘beach life’
I’m honoured to have been tagged by two of my newest blogger friends – Tayla of Motherhood The Real Deal who is super funny and the lovely Laura of Life With Baby Kicks (who listens to me moan about blog tech glitches on an alarmingly regular basis and who I’m dragging out for a Mojito-fest when we meet one day ‘outside’ of the blog) – in the wonderful “I’m a Mum Who” series. I’ve been really enjoying reading the at-a-glance descriptions of various bloggers regarding their parenting experiences and themselves. It’s wonderful finding out more about them.
So here is mine.
Could write a book called ‘Being The Not Now Mummy’. #TooBusyForYourKidsIsTheWrongBusy
Is rubbish at crafts. Cannot. Will. Not. Do. crafts. But finally learned to bake aged 38 and has made all her kids’ birthday cakes since the eldest was 3 (and yes you’ll have to work out my current age yourself) #NotBraggingJustSayinWeDoWhatWeCanDo
Is never happier than when she’s snuggled up for weekend movie night with her babies…or sipping a Rosé by the beach while they play. #HappyMemories
Is hellbent on raising healthy eaters but will never deprive her kids of home made chocolate cake dammit! #LovinFromTheOven
Finally understood so much of what her parents had said/done raising her the very minute her firstborn was handed to her in hospital. #ThatsWhyOurParentsWantGrandchildren
Somehow conceived all her kids on the first try after the age of 35 but who has known the heartache of miscarriage. #MixedBlessings
Literally hates it in a toe-curling stomach-churning tear-inducing way when her hubby yells at the kids but then yells at them herself a few minutes later #ParentingTruths
Conquered her lifelong crippling fear of water to jump into a pool aged 39 knowing there was no other option after her 4yo said “Go on mummy you must”. #AboutTimeToo
Was never an outdoors gal but has got into hiking with her equally “can we just stay home Mama?” kids. #GetOffTheSofaNOW
Is a super strict parent yet still receives compliments, hugs and “you’re amazing mummy” praise from her children #GoFigureAgain
Misses that golden time of the ‘afternoon sit down’ with a cuppa, Murder She Wrote on TV and a cheeky sleep while the kids had their nap. #ThoseWereTheDaysMyFriend
Has found her identity again and ‘met’ awesome talented people through blogging but is so busy running a blog about being a mother that she hardly has time to be a mother! #BlogMammaBlog?
Loves Sunday mornings, pottering about, baking to the soundtrack of kids playing and listening to chillout/retro 70’s/old soul tunes. #EasyLikeSundayMorning
Didn’t leave the suburbs of London from 1975 to 1988 but now has the crazy privilege of stopping off on the way home from school to go to her local beach #LifeHasPlentyOfSurprises
Nags her eldest on a weekly basis to tidy her room yet hasn’t sorted this out since January. #Hyprocrisy
Clowns around and loves laughing with friends but has never been the ‘fun mum’ with her own kids. #SortThatOut
Tries to undo some of the mental conditioning of a very Indian upbringing swearing blind she wouldn’t turn into her parents. But…guess what…yep. #FacePalm
Honestly doesn’t know what she did in her past life to deserve three little monkeys like this #WhenYourHeartBursts
Gets it wrong each day but still has kids who know they are loved. #MummyDoesntTryEnoughButSheTries
I now tag:
Yes Peas Mumma
Coffee Kids Ice Cream
The Holly Hockdoor
and a dad:
Dad Blog UK
You can also find this on these fab linkies by these bloggers:
Image courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography
Summer was a-coming…A.C. units were a-humming.
Then Summer was here, yay!
We put away the jeans, got out the sun cream and
“Hope it’s not a scorcher” we did say.
Image Courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography
Carts piled with melons, strawberries and peaches,
Buses with tourists all heading to the beaches.
Milk shakes, iced coffees, wine coolers and ice creams,
Barbecues, Valletta views and poolside kiddie screams.
Girls on their deck chairs under sun umbrellas,
Lads and their long stares…fellas will be fellas.
Super yachts, cruise ships and glorious white sails,
Boiling hot days, Golden Bay, rosé and cocktails.
Blazing sun and intense blue skies; the drivers become even more crazy,
No rain for months, the fields are dry and everyone’s tired and lazy.
Empty playgrounds, semi full cinemas but all the beaches are packed,
One day in this heat, the kids are beat and every mother is whacked.
Banana boats, pedalos, snorkellers, bikinis and jet skis,
Paragliders, intrepid divers, the Maltese summer is about the sea.
Painted toes + mojitos = nights out with girlfriends,
Festas and hot balmy nights and humidity with no end.
Image courtesy of Eloise Robbertze Photography
Strapless dresses, sun hats, shorts, vests and flip flops,
Essential summer clothing…but some time late October it will all stop.
Then suddenly from sun block and sand and swimming off the rocks,
It will be hoodies, rain macs and winter socks.
Hunters shooting, car horns hooting and months of deafening fireworks,
In the Med, you need pills for your head because the noise just drives you beserk.
Crickets chirping, children splashing, these are the sounds of our summer.
But put away the sun hat because just like that…
…she’s gone. Man…what a bummer.
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Thank you my lovelies!
So October 9th this year, it was exactly nine years since I arrived in Malta
with a 15 month-old Musical M to join my hubby and embark on a life in the sun (well…actually we thought it was going to be two or three years in the sun). Nine years, two more kids, many near misses on the roads and a few sun-induced wrinkles later, we’re STILL here. We’ve hummed and hawed over the years about leaving and flirted with various possiblities including more than a mere flirtation with the idea of moving to the States which didn’t materialise after being turned down twice for the visa (their loss I say). Yet, here we still very much are. A friend of ours said during our trip back to London this Summer “So nine years in Malta…wow really guys, what’s the appeal?!” For me, Hubster’s reply really hit the nail on the head and I couldn’t have put it better myself; but more on that in a minute.
This year is Musical M’s last year of elementary school.
She started age three…and next year she’ll move to Middle School. I can hardly believe it. It’s the only school she and Dreamy D have ever known and Cheeky K just started too. I’ve had some of the teachers twice because of three kids at the same school so we’re part of the furniture by now. We’re in no rush to leave Malta as it really has become home but I can’t help wondering sometimes if it’s time to move on. I’ve never seen myself settling in one place forever as I’m a bit of nomad at heart but when you have kids in the mix, it changes things a bit. So what does one do when trying to answer the question of ‘should I stay or should I go’? Draw up a list of reasons to stay in Malta versus reasons to leave course!
REASONS TO STAY IN MALTA vs REASONS TO LEAVE
They Are in No Hurry to Take My Money…
I can turn up at the hairdressers/restaurant/doctors without my wallet (I do this rather a lot) and I can still get a haircut/meal/appointmet and just pay next time I go. What’s more, I can borrow items from certain stores to try out/show Hubster and then just return them at a later date without even leaving so much as my phone number or a deposit.
…But They Seem To Be In A Big Hurry to Take My Life
They routinely drive through red lights as I”m coming through my green, overtake on double lines on a tight bend with zero visibility and ignore no entry signs driving straight at me. (FYI apparently their misdemeanours are not their fault; they’re mine.)
It’s So Easy to Get to Know People…
I know the guy who runs the car park at Golden Bay, the staff at our local beach restaurant, the owner of our local convenience store, the chap who comes round with his fruit and veg truck, the fishmonger at the supermarket – all by name. This is a big deal when you come from London where you can live next to the same person for ten years and never know their name.
…But Not If They Are in The Medical Profession
We’ve had the same doctor for a few years and he still looks at me like he’s never seen me or any of my kids before. Meanwhile the staff of the state hospital look at us like we built a boat and rowed all the way from India to seek refuge in Malta and one of the nurses I had at the birth of Cheeky K clearly thought I’d had one too many children and simply couldn’t find it in herself to be civil at any point during my five day stay in hospital.
If You Need to Look Good You’re Probably in the Right Place…
I have never seen so many hair salons, nail bars or beauty salons before.
…If You Need Decent Shopping, You’re In The Wrong Place
So you’ve got perfect hair, neat nails and you’ve been thoroughly ‘defluffed’ (oh come on…you didn’t really think I’d let this post go by without a tiny bit of Prabulous humour did you?). Now try finding great shoes and amazing clothes to go with it. Good luck with that. This ain’t New York, Paris or London baby…
Clear blue skies, infrequent rain and an average of 300 annual days of sunshine. What’s not to like?
It may not be Dubai or India but the four months of intense heat and two months of slightly less intense heat but awful humidity can be unbearable…not to mention all that sun on the skin… And when it does rain, they are shockingly ill prepared for it.
And the Water!
Apparently we have the most turquoise waters in the Mediterranean! I mean just look at these scenes! These were all genuinely taken with my phone during various days out around Malta and not from a tourism site. And the one bottom left really is down the road from where we live and I can stop off and fit in a cheeky half hour of snorkelling there.
By the way, if these photos make you want to come here, then these guides might inspire you:
Safety and The Simpler Life…
They may moan about how the island is changing and blame most of the ‘negative’ change on their favourite ‘f’ word…(’foreigners’) but it is still one of the safest places to live…a major consideration when you have kids. It’s a simpler life here. There is a beauty in that.
…Safe and Simple Isn’t Always Fun
Much safer and fewer things to do also means way less buzz. Nope, this sure ain’t New York, London or Paris.
It’s Lovely How Everyone knows Everyone…
There’s no need to be nervous if you’re going to a social event on your own because there is a 90% chance that you’ll walk in and know at least five people there, it’s such a small island.
…It’s A Nightmare How Everyone Knows Everyone
You have to seriously watch what you say. It will ALWAYS come back to bite you if you don’t, it’s such a small island.
You Don’t Have to Book Way Ahead For Events…
None of this months in advance nonsense…partly because they only advertise concerts or events about a month before the date. Well it is the Mediterranean Darling.
…Unless The Event is a Beauty Treatment
Women would rather go hungry here than not have tidy nails or fancy hair. Luckily I can call my magician lady at 4elements and she’ll squeeze me in for an emergency appointment even if she’s fully booked (I’m Indian. We have hair. I’m not being superficial. Believe me, it’s an emergency.)
A Night Out Doesn’t Cost a Fortune…
Crazy transport prices, exhorbitant parking costs, insane drinks prices…nope…don’t have that.
…But You’ll Always End up Going to the Same Places
A Tiny Island Means Short Distances…
Nothing is more than a 15 minute drive away. The kids’ school is a five minute drive away and my daily/weekly life pretty much takes place within a two mile radius. It’s liberating.
…But It Also Means Cabin Fever
When everything is reachable so quickly, you start craving the chance to let rip on long smooth open roads and actually drive. Problem is if you let rip on the roads of Malta and drive, you’d just end up in the sea. Not so liberating.
Life’s a Beach…
Whether it’s a full day relaxing at Golden Bay on the weekends or just delaying the reality of homework/dinner/evening routine by stopping off after school at our local beach for a cooling midweek swim, the beach is never far away. Heaven.
…But Sometimes The Beach Is The Only Thing To Do
…especially during those four blisteringly hot months of the year when It is just too hot to do anything not involving a cooling swim.
Still, you can’t do that in New York, Paris or London.
Or as Hubster said to our friends, “When you start the conversation about where to move to ‘next’ and you sit down and try to make a list of countries that have what Malta has, you end up with a very short list.” About a year after we moved here – once I’d got over my ‘rock shock’ – I realised it’s not about what Malta doesn’t have; it’s about what it does have.
Think we’ll stay a little bit longer then.
Phew. I’m glad that’s decided.
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Thank you my lovelies!
Right, so we’re back at school but here in Malta we still have at least a month of this hot humid ‘What’s the point of even showering cos I’m just gonna need another one in about five minutes’ weather to go. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather have this than a start stop ‘is the sun coming out – ooh look there’s a ray of sun – oh no I can hear rain coming’ type of summer. But what goes hand in hand with hot humid Mediterranean weather people? Beach trips.
Ah yes…beach trips…
Basically, I reckon we pack more stuff for an afternoon on the beach than most families pack for an entire vacation. I swear it’s enough to make your teeth ache. I was going to pick another part of the body for that last sentence but this is a family show. If it’s not enough to make your teeth hurt, it is definitely enough to put you off ever wanting to come to the beach with me and my kids.
Don’t believe me? See for yourself. This is the sheer arse-ache inducing (whoops…there goes my family show status) amount of crap we take:
Obligatory beach towels with garish Hello Kitty, Spiderman and Monster High designs: Check.
Snacks (which started off as “let me whip up some home-made hummus and wholemeal wraps and four different fruits and get some low salt crackers and freshly squeezed orange juices while I’m at it” at the start of the summer and ended up more like “I know it’s out of a packet and full of salt and sugar but frankly if I never have to step foot inside a kitchen ever again I’ll pee myself with happiness so put it in the bag NOW and we’ll just order milkshakes when we get there” rubbish: Check.
Toilet paper (yep…this is the Med…take your own toilet paper folks): Check.
Kids’ individual water bottles: Check.
Waterproof low-on-pesky-chemicals sun cream which cost me a fortune: Check.
Non-waterproof organic sun cream which cost marginally less than the waterproof one: Check.
My book The Day I Realised There Was Too Much Sand in My Life by Ivana Manservant Towashitov (which I ironically won’t get a minute to read because I’m at the beach with kids): Check.
Baby wipes (because God forgive me, I know there are mountains of the world’s used wipes contributing to criminal amounts of environmentally hazardous waste but occasionally they come in useful and I swear I don’t use them much): Check.
Talc to help rub the sand off their bodies because my youngest gets her mini freak on when her feet get sand on them (I know…it’s a beach…there’s sand…lots of): Check.
9 buckets, 11 spades and way more beach toys than three kids could possibly need for one afternoon: someone sedate me and Check.
Towel swim-robes still damp from yesterday’s swim: Check.
More snacks: Check.
Cooler bag: Check.
Beach mat: Check.
Inflatable swimming ring. No not for the kids…for their mother in case she accidentally orders a mojito (what? I need something ice cold on a steaming hot day alright?) and she almost sinks afterwards: Hell yeah, Check.
Lilo which I bought, praying it wouldn’t puncture less than one month after buying it: Check.
Arm bands: Check.
Snorkeling gear x 4: Check.
Useless ineffective tape for the lilo because the buggering thing did in fact puncture less than one month after buying it: bloody flipping Check.
Sun umbrellas which threaten to fly off and injure innocent tourists x 2: Check.
2 portable sun loungers: Check.
Few more snacks…just in case (just in case what? just in case they never see food again?): Check.
Swim goggles: Check.
Spare swimsuit for little one: Check.
Extra water to refill kids’ bottles: Check.
Beach chairs (which I just had to buy in case I couldn’t face cajoling and coaxing and eventually breaking the damned sun loungers out of the back of the car and therefore needed something smaller and more manageable to sit on) x 2: Check.
Umbrella bases which I succumbed to buying after a few too many innocent tourists were in fact injured: Check.
Brown paper bag to hide the bottle of gin I’m gonna need after packing all this shit and carting it down the beach: CHECK.
Right, we’re ready to go to the beach.
For crying out loud, now where are my sunglasses?!
P.S. No I’m not going back in the house to put a jellyfish first aid kit together. Let’s just GO.
Happiness. We all want it don’t we? Personally, despite life’s inevitable low points, I think I’m more of a glass-half-full rather than half-empty sort (like I said, I think!). It”s what works for me. Yes, admittedly, when you live on a little island that is positively drenched in sunshine most of the year, it’s easy to be glass more-than-half-full. In fact, I honestly don’t think a day has gone by in the last few years, where I haven’t done a mental fist pump because of the glorious blue skies and sun we have here. For sure, I’ve bored my kids to tears (and probably half my FB friends) constantly saying how lucky we are.
So recently, a few things have got me thinking about the whole ‘happiness thing’. Pharrell Williams is one of them. He did something with that song; he got us thinking about the H word. (You might want to watch this fab clip of the man himself crying tears of yep, happiness about the impact of the song). It blew me away…such an honest real moving reaction.
Something else that got me thinking was a friend’s 100 Days of Happiness challenge documented over three months on FB. They made me smile and reminded me of something we’ve done ever since Musical M was three years old where we all share our ‘favourite moment of the day’ at bedtime. All three kids love it but even if we saw the Queen in a karaoke bar singing a One Direction song, you can bet money that if the kids watched a DVD that same day, then that trumps the Queen. Seriously though, even if you’ve had a rough day, it makes you focus back on the positive. Oh, don’t worry, no gloating here. I’m NO earth mother. Sometimes my favourite part of the day comes after I’ve got them into bed when I head downstairs to a glass of wine.
The other big ‘what makes me happy’ trigger was our Easter break; in particular, the day I took them to Golden Bay. One of those perfect days with lovely friends, 13 kids playing easily, relaxed lunch, ice creams, sand castles, ball games, sun lounger chilling, coffee in the sea wind and musical nostalgia-fest on the cafe radio. By late afternoon, it was just me and my lovely ‘baker in chief’ friend (who also features in the below list…I wonder if she can work out where) with our six kids. She got out one of those neat little pocket kites and what unfolded was one of those moments that I’ll always treasure. Now, bear in mind that I grew up in the suburbs of Greater London; a pretty ‘regular’ Indian upbringing (who can spot the subtext?), no beaches nearby, kite-flying unfamiliar to us and not much sunshine…a different time, a different generation, a different culture. Yet here I was, decades later on a Mediterranean beach not far from where I live, my eldest having fun climbing over rocks with baker lady’s eldest, my other two running around on the sand without a care in the world chasing after their kite-flying friends, all of us laughing in the evening sun. Parents do their best. Mine did theirs in their way. Yet it hit me, probably more than at any other point in my parenting experience, just how much your kids’ childhood can turn out to be different from your own (that stands for any culture).
Where am I going with this? Well, if Pharrell ever comes knocking on my door, I’ll tell him this is my official list of what makes me happy (for now).
(My) Happiness is…
1. Coming downstairs in the morning to find that hubster has done the packed lunches.
2. The stunning coastline drive to my house.
3. Grabbing a 15 minute breather with a cup of tea (and cake) after non-stop chores before heading out again for the school run.
4. The squeals of “Mama!” from my baby as she runs down her kindergarten corridor towards me smiling.
5. Coming across a film that is such a gem, it leaves its mark on me, becoming an ‘old friend’ I go to when I need comfort (About Time and Something’s Gotta Give are up there).
6. Pulling warm cake out of the oven on a rainy afternoon.
7. Finally figuring out who sings a particular song (We are People or Home recently for me.)
8. Yoga at Golden Bay under blue skies and palm trees.
9. The sight of my kids going nuts in the lounge dancing to my Spotify playlist.
10. Watching Musical M effortlessly dive into a pool, remembering how at that age I was too terrified to even get in.
11. Coffee with girlfriends.
12. Melting under a long hot shower after a long blissful run and sinking onto the sofa afterwards for trashy TV.
13. Hubster paying me a compliment (about whatever…not fussy…after 17 years together, I’ll take anything).
14. Discovering I can do something I never thought I could do.
15. An afternoon of board games to a soundtrack of old school tunes (making Bowie/U2/Beatles/Wonder fans out of the kids).
16. Coffee with myself.
17. Rushing through homework and dinner on auto pilot only to remember the next day is a holiday which equals no school which equals movie night.
18. Movie night!
19. Stopping after school at a beach café to grab a drink in the sun while the kids collect shells.
20. Wine…and the sound of the cork popping and the wonderful glug glug of the first pour.
21. Conquering a life-long fear.
22. Hearing my daughter sing and knowing, beyond natural maternal bias, that she really has got something.
23. Having a friend who would actually leave her house at night, get in the car and come over to mine with a bottle of wine if I said I had none in the house. 🙂
24. Home-made ice cream…see Hubster smile!
25. A beach-side restaurant finally opening a minute’s walk from our house where we can laze over Sunday lunch and let the kids literally step out the back onto the sand while we both have a coffee and a chat.
26. Meeting two cool chikitas, one whom I first met years ago but never actually got to know, the other whom I met quite randomly just a year ago – and knowing they will both be in my life forever.
27. Realising the best things happen when you’re least expecting them.
28. Hubster returning safe and sound from business trips.
29. The sound of my kids laughing. OF COURSE.
30. Launching a blog that has led me to discover the most heart-warming, surprising, affirming things about myself and others that I never expected.
This is my truth. These are what make me happy. So I’m clapping my hands, like Mr Williams said.
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