Friday, September 11, 2009

Friends Reunited

Hello! Am receiving a lesson on the internet from my good friend Stephen :-)


Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sales tax holiday in Connecticut

It's that time of year where the kids are going back to school and your little ones are in need of a new wardrobe ready for Fall. If the idea of cost brings you out in cold sweats, don't panic. This week is Connecticut's annual sales tax holiday on clothing costing under $300!

For this week only, sales tax is omitted from shoe and clothing purchases providing the total bill comes to less than $300. This also includes 'Layaway' items, but only if you put your items on layaway during that week. Unfortunately, the tax holiday does not apply to those items that you are waiting to purchase and pick up. Other exclusions from the tax holiday include purchases made by phone, mail-order and internet.

It's the perfect excuse for a trip to the mall and, who knows, you may even find a little something for yourself! There are plenty of great shopping malls to choose from, such as the Crystal Mall in Waterford, West Farms Mall in Hartford, Evergreen Walk in South Windsor etc.

For more information, please visit


Friday, August 14, 2009

Watercolor paints

The Dude had his weekly toddler class today. We experimented with watercolor paints. I have to say I admire his ambition for not getting it on his clothing. I wasn't too happy about the fact that he didn't give a tiny rats ass about mine.

Still, he made his first masterpiece and it has pride of place on my fridge next to his Crayola efforts. At the rate he's knocking them out I think I'm going to need two fridges!

Does your child like to draw or paint? If so tell me about it! Just post a comment below.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

When Perseverance pays off

It's been a tough couple of months for me and I was starting to feel very despondent. But as my Dad always taught me, when the going gets tough, work harder and you'll get there in the end.

I'm pleased to report that he's right. I landed two regular jobs this month for two wonderful websites. I've never felt more confident about myself and my ability to succeed. I knew the motivation would get me places in the end, I just wasn't sure how far the end was from where I was standing.

Do you have any good news you'd like to share? If so, post a comment below or come say on Twitter to @ExpatMama!


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Our Favourite Hobby

The Dude and I love visiting the library. He enjoys choosing books for Mommy to read to him and I love watching him make his selections. It's so funny to watch him pull books off of the shelf and discard the ones that don't interest him, while he holds on for dear life to the ones that do. He's only 15 months old.

It reminds me of the visits my Mom and I used to make to the library in London. It was a huge old place, full to bursting with every book imaginable. It was always such a treat when we went with Mom, but now I'd like it to become a habit for our family. It's so much fun to browse the shelves and choose a book that you can't wait to get your teeth into. I could get lost for hours in a good book and not notice where the time has gone. I've always been the same, especially when it comes to library books.

We're a bunch of book worms in our house and it looks as though Little one is following in our footsteps. He loves a certain book called 'Dear Zoo' which funnily enough, I owned when I was a kid. We've already taken it out of the library twice and over the course of a day, he'll bring it to me at least 6 times for me to read with him and each sitting requires us to look through it about 8 or 9 times before he's willing to look at a different book.

What I also think is fab about the library is that there are so many free programs available throughout the year like foreign movie nights and Q&A sessions with local authors. Our local library hosts a kids story time once a week which is followed by a free craft, and in some libraries in the area they host a story time for babies and toddlers too.

Do you enjoy visiting your library? Are there any books in particular that your kids tend to gravitate toward? Share your experiences here and post a comment!


Friday, August 7, 2009

Ready, Set, Go!

Since I've come into my second trimester I've found that I have more energy to burn in the mornings than I have done for weeks - that's right folks, I'm due again in January!

So when my little guy takes his nap, I sit at my computer and get writing. I've never been more motivated and I just hope that it stays with me well into my parenting career. Obviously there will days where it will be more difficult to juggle my two jobs than others, but I'm determined to give it my best shot. Heck, when I first went into labour with The Dude, I beckoned my husband to get me laptop so that I could finish an essay that I was writing before I went into hospital to give birth!

So to all those pregnant Mamas out there: If you have a career goal and the motivation to achieve it, go for it. Don't stress yourself out over it, but don't give up. We Mamas can do anything we put our minds to, so keep going. And remember, don't let anybody tell you that you can't because your pregnant. You have as much right to reach your dreams and fulfill your potential as any other person out there.

Are you a pregnant Mama and have a goal or two you'd like to share? Post a comment and let us know!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Follow me on Twitter

I did it. I finally broke into the world of social media. It was a long time coming, but I'm ready for it. And so far, I've really enjoyed it.

It's a new approach to self-promotion which I've felt my writing has needed for a long time. But for me, it's also a way of connecting with other parents, Mama's, writers, and friendly faces in general.

So, if you can't get enough of Expat Mama, come follow me on Twitter too! Just look up ExpatMama and I'll be there, ready to say hi!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

Forever Blowing Bubbles

Little Dude has been attending some toddler classes recently at the Children's Museum of South Eastern Connecticut. (Fabulous place if ever you get the chance to visit!) Every week they have an activity to do such as playing with felt shapes. This week, we played with bubbles and I have to say I've never seen a child so transfixed. He was so in awe of the delicate balls of soapy water floating through the air that he couldn't move. So after class, I bought him a bottle of bubbles to take home.

He still doesn't quite know how they work or where they come from, but I've found that it helps to soothe his tantrums, they help him to relax him before bed and generally keeps him out of trouble.

So to all you Mamas out there who are searching for that one thing that will help distract your little one's and keep them calm and quiet, I recommend blowing a few bubbles. And don't forget to let me know how you get on with it! Just post a comment below.


Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Day In The Life

I'm all for finding ways to make life a little easier, so long as it's cheap, sustainable and without negative consequences.

So, I managed to pluck up the courage to do my grocery shopping on-line. It was a little daunting at first, but something that I now would thoroughly recommend - especially to all of those busy Mamas out there.

It took me 20 minutes to do my shopping and the beauty of it is that I did it after The Dude had gone to bed! That's right, no more grabbing items off the shelves when my back is turned, no more screaming his little lungs out when I return said item to the shelf, no more playing tug-of-war with him over my shopping list. I no longer have to worry about trying to get out of the door without at least one diaper change and making sure he has toys to amuse himself with on the journey to the store then having to fight to get him to sit in the shopping cart for longer than five minutes without him causing a scene. No longer do I need to spend at least an hour of my day doing a thankless task while spending more money than necessary.

My bill was significantly reduced because I wasn't enticed by the usual crap that ends up in my shopping cart - I was quite content to stick to my list.

I chose my delivery date and time and sure enough it arrived promptly and was all organised so that I could just pop it away ready for use. Lovely. I was so proud of myself.

I also learned a very valuable lesson from my latest adventure. Don't be afraid to try new things. If it doesn't work out, there is sure to be a different method that will. And, don't be ashamed to make a change in your life that helps you out. For too long I have tried to be Super-Mom and it just burned me out. I'm still the same wife and parent, just with one less thing to worry about on my list.

If you have a great time-saving, stress-busting tip, please feel free to post a comment and share it with us. I love to hear from you all!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

No place like home

It's a moment in life that I never want to repeat again as long as I live. I'm sure plenty of you have been there and can sympathise. My Hound went missing. It was awful.

Thankfully, four and a half hours later he returned but was covered in bug bites, scratches and all kinds of crap from the woods. Where he went we'll never know. I'm just glad he's home.

But it got me thinking about something our dog trainer told us about how hounds typically follow their noses and easily get too lost to find their way home again. So how did he find his way back? Was it pure determination to return to the ones he loves and who love him so completely and unconditionally? Or was it just luck?

Whatever helped him find his way back, I'm thankful for it.


Thursday, July 9, 2009

A change of pace

It's been a while since I've posted on my blog. As you can see, Expat Mama has had a virtual make over - a much needed one! I'm so excited with the final product and I would like to say a huge thank you to Shannon over at eightcrazy design for her help and talent in realizing my vision for this site. It's magic!

There have been many changes since my last post. Little Dude turned one, started walking (although running seems to be the only pace he knows right now) he waves, he says a few words, he eats pretty much anything I put in front of him. It's been an interesting experience and I'm loving every minute of it. He puts so much energy into his learning and I'm really proud of him.

My veggies are growing nicely and the humming birds have been visiting our garden on a regular basis. The weather is a little weird, one minute it's burning hot and the next minute we have tornado warnings. Still, it's been a great start to the summer and I'm looking forward to hearing about the amazing changes that are taking place with you all.

Take care for now!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Green is the new everything

I've been reading a wonderful book called 'Gorgeously Green' by Sophie Uliano. My Mom bought it for me and it arrived in the mail today. (Thank you Muv!) I've nearly finished it.

It really is eye-opening to see how many little changes that you can make to have a 'Green' life-style and still maintain it in keeping with how it's always been.

Sophie - a fellow Brit living in the States, has become a real role model; all in the space of one day! I only hope that in the months and years that follow this sunny, albeit slightly chilly day, my son might feel the same way about me. A real role model. Doing the very best I can to nurture and love him, and to point him in the right direction toward a bright future.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Play Time

Little Dude recently acquired a music table. It's one of those toys that drives you crazy after a while, but he really enjoys it. He prefers the buttons that play music than those that teach him the ABC. I don't blame him to be honest!

My husband and I have recently been discussing what to buy him for his 1st birthday. The subject of toy that he can push came up. I'm all for it, but can't help feeling a little disheartened. My little guy will be walking very soon and I'm totally unprepared.

The slightest hint of him growing and adding new skills to his repertoire sends me into emotional overdrive. Did I blink and miss a year? My husband doesn't understand it. He's so excited that Little Dude is becoming more interactive, I don't think he realises just how much I loved those first couple of months full to bursting with snuggles that didn't involve him trying to escape my arms. Don't get me wrong - if it is at all possible, I love my Little Man more than ever. I love watching him play, laugh and learn. But I miss that newborn feeling.

I never realised that my son turning one would have such a huge impact on me.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Earth Day

It's wonderful that we have a whole day devoted to keeping our planet healthy. I am a huge supporter of Earth Day. It's a great way to teach our kids about the importance of doing our bit for our environment. But in my honest opinion, every day should be earth day. Even if the activity you do is simply recycling your yogurt pots or hanging the washing in the yard to dry instead of bunging it all in the dryer.

We live in a society that is starting to become more Eco-conscious, where people are questioning food mileage and using energy efficient appliances. Magazines are really pushing the usage of alternative housekeeping methods. Why don't we celebrate our earth every day, and make a real effort to stop ourselves from pushing the 'self destruct' button?

April 24 is Earth Day. For more information on Earth Day and Eco-friendly tips that you can use throughout the year, visit

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Birthday blues

Little Dude is turning one next month, so naturally we have decided to have a small party to celebrate. After finding the perfect invitation and sending it online, I feel like I've been punched in the gut. My little guy is nearly one and I have no idea where this year has gone. It feels like yesterday when I held him in my arms for the first time. Now he's walking around the furniture and playing patty-cake with me.

If I hear one more person say "next thing you know, he'll be asking you for your car keys" I'm going to scream. Not only because it's annoying, but because I feel like the time is slipping away and I have no idea where it's going.

Still, I love watching him learn and develop. I love catching glimpses of his little personality. I love that he is now able to crawl over to me and climb into my arms for snuggles. I guess it's all just a part of growing up - not just for a kid, but for a Mama too.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Growing Veg

I have been growing some herbs for a little while now. I get so excited when I see new seedlings appear. So when our family took a trip to the local 'Home Depot', I took a stroll through the garden center.

It felt like a candy store! All kinds of vegetable packets and grow kits lined the shelves and a variety of bulbs hung on stands. But what amazed me even more were the amount of people buying these little packets ready to take home and nurture.

My Husband and I would like to have a few veggies growing in the garden for a couple of reasons; to be more self-sufficient and to teach our son that food does not grow on shelves in a supermarket. We want him to have a healthy attitude to food and a good understanding of where it comes from. We want to do our bit for the environment and reduce our family's food miles.

So to see other families huddled around the seed section choosing which vegetables to grow, really made my day. I'm so glad to see kids learning about nature and being involved in where their food comes from. It's so important for kids to be out and about learning new things instead of being sat indoors watching television.

Spring is definitely here and I can't wait to tuck into my greens. I'm looking forward to Little Dude being able to enjoy them too - not just by eating them, but by watching the magic as they grow.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Mystical Hair

I've always been conscious of my style and the way I look, which is why when I walked out of the salon a year ago I was mortified that the stylist had turned me into a member of an 80's rock band. Just give me my hot pink, electric guitar and I'll be on my way.

It's taken a year to grow it out to a reasonable length from which I can start to repair the damage. Don't get me wrong, I have had it trimmed during that time, but today I was finally able to wave good bye to the worst hairstyle I've ever had to endure.

There is something so liberating about watching locks of hair fall to the ground and emerging from the salon feeling like a new person. Today was no exception. In fact, today it was even more poignant. I actually felt my age again. After carrying around all of those excess years in a ponytail it was a huge relief to be able to wear my hair down and look like I belong in the 21st century.

Finding a good stylist can be a mission for most women and I've certainly paid my dues. But now I can honestly say that after 19 months of looking for that perfect hair cut, I found it. Mama- welcome to the new millennium!

If you're still looking for that perfect stylist, give Monique and Dana a try at the Mystic Salon and Spa, in Mystic, CT! More details to follow. . .

Monday, February 23, 2009

All That Jazz

We've never had a problem with getting our son to sleep. He takes after his mother in that respect - I have a very good relationship with my pillow. But recently, he's been fighting sleep and refuses to be put in his crib.

We tried everything in the book. Fed him, changed him, bathed him, read to him, checked to make sure he didn't have a fever, rocked him, sat with him and eventually left him to cry it out. But he kept crying it out and we kept going back in to his room to check he was OK and that there was nothing we'd missed. By the time he'd eventually fall asleep in my arms, it would be 11.30pm.

My husband has an I-pod. I admit I've never owned one, but they're wonderful little gadgets! He has all kinds of music stored on it from R&B to Punk Rock. He also has a lot of Jazz.

Since it has now been two weeks since the three of us have had a decent night sleep, we thought we'd experiment with playing the little dude Jazz while he falls asleep. Normally when he hears music (he adores Beyonce) he looks around to see where the party's at. But the soft sounds of Miles Davis tinkling from the little gadget in the corner of his room send him drifting of to sleep very nicely!

Note to self: Never give up. There is always a solution to a problem, it's just that some take less time to work out than others.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I have two puppies whom I refer to as 'the beasts'. They are hilarious and highly mischievous. They are also my babies and I love them more than you will ever know.

Black Lab puppy sat in my yard the other day howling, growling, barking and snarling. This terrified me as I thought we had an intruder. I went out to see what was going on and noticed that he was going crazy at next door's driveway. I couldn't see anything and went back inside, trying to coax him into coming in with me. He wouldn't budge. His teeth were gleaming with fury in the cold, hard snow. I tried bribing him with treats, but he refused to come inside.

It took 2 hours before he stopped. My neighbour had returned home and stopped at the place where the puppy had seen his nemesis. It was a parcel that the mail man had left in the driveway as it was too icy to drive up to the house.

He finally gave in and came in for treats.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Mr Independent

At lunch time today, I went through my usual routine of preparing Little Man's food, sitting him in his high chair and putting his bib on. I didn't however, bank on needing to wear protecting clothing myself.

I loaded his spoon with mushed up wholewheat pasta, broccoli and peppers. I was so close to getting the spoon near his mouth, when he decided that the only way he was going to eat was if he were going to feed himself. He clumsily snatched the spoon out of my hand and pureed pasta squished through the gaps in his fingers. Mmmmm. Appetizing. But he enjoyed his newly claimed independence and for the first time in two weeks, finished his meal. It was washed down by another newly grasped concept - the sippy cup. Two days ago, he finally got the hang of drinking from his cup, rather than pouring the juice everywhere.

This evening, he fed himself a bottle of formula.

It's amazing how quickly these developments occur, one minute he's completely dependent on me and the next he's exploring the world and it's many wonders on his own. It confuses me and bewilders me. But it also fills me with love and pride as I sit and watch my little boy grow up.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Sheep Happens

I have a sign above my kitchen window that reads "Sheep Happens". Boy ain't that the truth.
Hubby and I have been sharing a car for a week now as our other car has gone in for repair and is racking up a nice, huge bill. Grrrrr. Our drive is buried under snow as we don't have a plough yet so I can't even take the little one out for a walk and cabin fever is creeping in. To top it off, my house smells of dog and no amount of cleaning is helping.

Why is it that when one thing goes a little off-track, everything else follows suit? Is this how the rest of the month is going to pan out?

Perhaps I should see this as a blessing in disguise. Higher powers are telling me not to drive in this weather. It's a great opportunity to spend time with my son and my house has never been cleaner (except for at the end of my pregnancy when I felt the need to clean and sterilize everything, including the lawn).

I'm thinking it's time to give the mutts a bath though. . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Sleepy Sheep

It's official, I'm tired. I am what I call a 'sleepy sheep'. My son woke me at 6.30am, but was easily comforted again by his pacifier. Then he woke me at 7.30 and although my eyes were open, my brain was still snoring. It has been all day. My eyes are heavy and there isn't enough caffeine in the world to keep me alert enough to sit through a conversation. Man I miss my pillow.

Little one is just as grumpy and fragile today. It's a clash of the titans, who can moan and scream the loudest. I moan and grizzle, he wails and screams. I want to be left alone, he wants to be held - Constantly. I need my space, he needs my space too. And so do the dogs. And so does the outside world. Hubby will be home from the office shortly and he'll more than likely jump on the band wagon also.

Still, we live to fight another day (as well as our alarm clocks) and that's what really matters. Hopefully tomorrow the little dude and I will be full of energy, ready to go. Until then, as my Mom used to say as she turned out the lights, 'Don't let the bed bugs bite!

Monday, January 5, 2009

We're on a roll

Little one got a new stroller yesterday. Today he took it out for a test drive. It's light weight, easy to maneuver and looks good. Trouble is, I can't see my little man anymore. He's forward facing, exploring his surroundings in a whole new way. I miss him. I miss seeing his gorgeous little face, looking up at me for reassurance. I miss being able to see his response to the world. I miss his smiles.

To be fair, I can see the top of his head, turning in various directions as we glide down the isles at the grocery store. I can see his little feet kicking with excitement and his arms reaching out for to grab the things that interest him. I can hear him gurgling and babbling with delight at his freedom.

Isn't it funny how it's the small things like this that get me so choked up and throw me completely off-guard?