The Flat Above – How I decorate with posters

The code”TESS25” will give you 25% discount at Desenio between October 9-11* Follow @Desenio for more inspiration. *The code is not valid on frames or handpicked-/collaboration posters.

The flat above is really starting to take shape now.

As you probably know by now, we bought the flat above ours here in Clapham. We first did a fairly large renovation and now I’m decorating it. The idea is to rent it out in the future. We prefer to rent it out furnished since it gives us the option to Air BnB it in-between tenants.

At the moment our friends Bex and Luke live there with their little 1-year old boy Milo. They are renovating and extending their own flat, and is staying at ours until it’s all done. It has worked out really well, I didn’t have to rush the decorations and got all the furniture in place as they arrived.

The other weekend when Ace was sleeping, Garth and I snuck upstairs and added the finishing touches – the artwork. 

It’s meant to be a rental, so it has been important for us to keep the furniture clean, classic, tasteful and with items most people hopefully would like. We didn’t want to spend any huge sums, but still find the absolute best within our budget.

How suitable isn’t a collaboration with my beloved Desenio?  I already have lots of posters from them downstairs in our flat and I love them. They have a massive selection, and you don’t have to empty out your wallet either. Since they are fairly inexpensive I just switch them out if I get tired of them. Perfect!

Ready for loads of pictures of the flat upstairs and what I chose to put on the walls? It’s really easy to decorate with posters.

In the living room, I chose a palette of grey, petroleum, and brass. Little details like plants, tiles inside the fireplace, a big round mirror and two matching posters over the dining table make it look decorated. But also leaves room for personal touches by whoever will live here later.

The posters I chose for the living room are called “Into the blue” and “Blue tide”. 

In the UK it’s common to have hallways in our homes. In Sweden, you usually have to walk through rooms to get to other rooms. The nice things with hallways are that they are really easy to decorate. We just added a cabinet on the wall and all of a sudden we have both extra storage and a lovely surface to decorate. 

Here I chose to work with petroleum, grey, and white. I also added a few little details in a dusty pink color.

I love these little areas in a home. It’s where your personality can afford to show through in your decorations. Depending on what you choose to put in the frames and display, this space can change completely. You can also move stuff around for different seasons. 

In these frames, you find  “Dancer one”, “Pink oyster pattern one” and “Aquarelle shape” from Desenio. 

In the master bedroom, I kept the same palette, but I added navy blue and more dusty pink details. Instead of placing my artwork over the bed, I chose to hang them beside it instead. It’s a bit less expected and a lot more intersting. I love how they reflect in the mirrored wardrobe. It makes the whole room look bigger.

Flowers as a motif in a bedroom gives a nice calming effect. I love that these pictures aren’t cute but have more depth. It really works with the rest of the decor in the room.

The posters in this room are called “Spaceflower” and “Gardenflower”. 

Last but not least I added 3 posters in a row in the hallway at the entrance. It’s quite a sterile and hard space. So to add some colorful artwork here really makes a big difference to the feel of the room.

I chose more of a vintage feeling this time.

The hallway is all white and has a grey carpet, so I felt like it needed a bit of a color pop. The pictures make me want to go on holiday and I hope that the person who lives here later will love them as much as I do. Otherwise, I will steal them for the downstairs instead.

These posters are “French riviera”, “American Vintage car”, and “Pool edge”. 

…I couldn’t keep myself from getting a little something for our own flat. My little blog office really needed something inspirational on the wall. My unofficial motto is “Be water” and I really think this photo embodies this. Very inspiring!

I even ordered a few of the frames from Desenio. It was totally practical, all I had to do was to put them on the walls. Simples!

How gorgeous isn’t “Beach aerial one”?

So what do you think of the flat upstairs so far? Do you want me to show you more? It’s a bit different to decorate to rent than when you live in it yourself. 

This post is sponsored by Desenio.

 

Mindful Monday 8th October

Dress – Asos, belt – Moschino, bag – Saint Laurent (liknande), sneakers – Adidas. (adlinks) Location – South Bank. Photographer – Ida Zander.  

Omg guys, I just had a look at my English blog and realized I only posted 2 (!) posts here last week. It’s meant to be 6!
I’m so sorry, it was just one of those weeks where I lost my life-balance. Between a sick baby and going to Paris I basically just ran out of time. Since my Swedish blog is the bigger one, I had to prioritize writing over there.
The reason I post here 6 times and on the Swedish one 9 times a week is that the blogging culture is slightly different in UK and Sweden. UK readers are more interested in learning something from a blog post, “how to” “this is why” and post in that kind of style. You guys seem to prefer to come away with something new from every post.
When I was nominated in UK blog awards I was basically told they would barely even score my blog because of the number of everyday posts I put up. And that kind of sucked.
The Swedes, on the other hand, are more interested in me as a person. They want to know what I’m up to, how my day has been and all the little things.
To solve the dilemma of the two different styles. I decided to separate the two blogs and make 6 proper posts here and 9, with a couple of more every-day posts over there.
However last week was not how it was meant to go. So please forgive me for neglecting you, my English-speaking friends. It won’t happen again.

It’s time for this week’s mantra, affirmation, dreams, and goals;

My mantra of the week – “Everything is figureoutable”. Sometimes it takes a bit of thinking, but that’s life. Most things can be solved if you really put your mind to it. If things were easy all the time, than life would be pretty boring. We would never appreciate anything because everything would be a win. So it’s worth to remember, when faced with a problem, that this is how we grow. It will, in the end, make us happier to have overcome this obstacle.

My affirmation of the week – “I’m a super-talented go-getter that never lets anything get in my way”. Let’s turn that inner critical voice into a really energetic and over-excited cheerleader. Pompoms and all! Let her jump, dance and sing every morning. It might feel a bit weird in the beginning, but at least you will start the day with a smile on your face.

My goal of the week – Balance. As mentioned, I lots it last week. First of all I need to be kinder to myself. To fee bad won’t make any difference, all I can do is to promise myself that this week will be better. I actually have an extra half-day to work on Friday, since Ace’s nursery was closed one day a few weeks ago so he will go on Friday morning too. It will be interesting to see what a few more workhours will do for my week.

My dream of the week – The Maldives. I have never been and really badly want to go. I want to live in one of those little houses on poles in the water, swim in the blue ocean and walk along those bright white beaches I would go next year if I could, but it’s probably better to wait until Ace will actually appreciate it for real.

My vision of the week – Burning man! This vision will happen, I’m going to make sure of it. I met up with my friend Tiffany and her little boy Leon in Paris. We actually know each other from LA and both of us really long to go over there with our boys. So since Tiff was the one who showed me how to sneak into Coachella, it wouldn’t be more than right for us two to leave the boys with the boys and head off to burning man for a day or two.

My focus of the week – I have to be kinder to myself. I’m always striving to do my absolute best, most of the time on the detriment of my on mental health. I need to learn how to focus on what I have accomplished and not on what I didn’t do. It’s hard to make that nagging little critical voice go away. But this week I’m really going to try to shut her down.

The event of the week– This Friday Josefina, Bex and I are heading out on the countryside to have a “mom-weekend”. We decided already when we were pregnant that we deserved some time away once the babies turned one. To celebrate that we kept them alive for a full year. Go ahead an laught. But honestly sometimes having the responsibility of another person’s life can be quite overwhelming. So we deserve a good celebration.

We are going out to Bex’s parent’s house. the plans so far is to drink wine, read books, go for walks and just talk and talk. No baby chat allowed, it’s a “baby-detox”.

My lesson from last week – I cannot put my head in the sand whenever I can’t make my time stretch far enough. Garth did work every day we were in Paris. But I’m pretty sure I could have got him to take Ace for an hour or two so I could sit in a hotel lobby and write a post. I have to get better at asking for help when I can’t make it on my own.

The every-day luxury of the week – This week I’m going to be a lot better at keeping work, mom-time and downtime separate. Tonight I’m turning off my phone and computer at 8. I’m going to have a shower, watch a movie and eat pho. It will be my reward for a good work day today.

My inspiration this week– This speech by Steve Jobs at the Stanford commencement 2005 really resonated with me. Especially since I have been to uni, but chose to travel the world with modeling instead. Steve Jobs is an inspiring guy in general. But I really took to heart what he said about “being dead soon”. I’m going to carry that thought with me from now on.

 

Why you need a red power-suit

Suit – Y.A.S. Bag – Saint Laurent, similar here. Jumper – old, similar here. Heels – Zara old. Earrings – River Island.  (adlinks) Photo – Ida Zander.

Who says a suit has to be black, grey, navy or beige? I much prefer this red power-suit personally.

The cut is pretty casual to be fair and I matched it with a cozy turtleneck to make it fell-appropriate. But it would look just as good in an office with a nice silky top under.

If men do red power-ties, why not a red power-suit?

The trousers are slightly flared and it lends the whole look a bit of a 70s vibe. Whilst I get a bit of help with the illusion of slightly longer legs. Can you even have too long legs? Have you ever heard anyone complain about having legs up to their ears? Me neither.

I have this thing with red at the moment. It’s a color that stands out and takes up space. You cannot apologize in red, it’s all – ” I’m here no matter you like it or not”.

The contrast to the black jumper and the gold earrings makes it even more interesting visually. I actually think gold and red are a match made in heaven. And not only for Christmas.

This is a proper “Don’t you dare mess with me” – outfit. For those days when you need a bit extra power (or just to be a bit extra in general).

Can we take a moment to appreciate this location btw? It’s the jetty by The London Eye at South bank in London. Ida and I shot here last week and it’s just a great visual with all those white beams.

We did get told off and eventually had to leave. But to be fair, the ferry guys were kind enough to let us finish taking our photos first.

Good thing Ida and I are a great team. We can shoot an outfit in minutes if we have the right location. I can’t wait for her to arrive here in Paris tomorrow. There are so many cool locations around!

If you want to know what I have been up to, check out my Insta stories. I’m showing off our Air BnB (it’s awesome), what I fancy in the shops (it’s expensive) and also my best mom hack when traveling with a baby. You can find me here @TessMontgomery

 

Mindful Monday – 1st October

Today I’m working from here – our kitchen. Ace has been ill over the weekend, so I’m working from home with a nice cup of tea, a great playlist and a sleeping baby in the buggy (the bed was not just an option today for some reason). 

He had a temperature Saturday night and is actually a lot better today. But if I expect other parents to be careful with their kids and bugs, then I will have to do the same. So we are aiming for 24 h fever free before he goes back to the nursery. I know not every parent have the same opportunity to stay at home, I’m lucky my work is flexible and that I have the opportunity to keep him with me for the day.

These are my affirmations, mantras, visions, and goals for the week;

The mantra of the week – ”Positivity is not the same as being ignorant or naive”. Some people seem to mistake happy, kind and positive with naivity and softness. I have actually noticed that it’s the other way around. The people who are seriously clued in are the ones who deal with life in a positive way. They always seem to come out on top.

Veckans affirmation – ” I welcome a new week and all the opportunities and experiences it will bring” I need this affirmation today because just looking at my calendar makes me feel a bit tired.

On Wednesday we are heading off to Paris again. Garth is finishing off a job there and has to stay for a week. So it makes sense for Ace and me to join him from Wednesday to Sunday. But before then I have lots to do – a collaboration to shoot, another one to plan, a draft to send in, some important emails to write, calls to make, errands to run, problems to solve, washing, packing and preparing to travel with a baby again. It will be fine, but I will continue to repeat this affirmation today and things will hopefully all fall into place.

The goal of the week – To finish all my admin before we leave for Paris on Wednesday. So I can focus on enjoying myself and my family. This time we have an Air BnB, and it will make it all a bit easier. Ace is walking now, so we need a bit more space. And we will have a kitchen to be able to cook and eat after he has gone to bed.

The dream of the week – A jacuzzi. My dad got one at the house and I love it. Just the ritual of taking the time to pour the water, light the candles, choose a playlist and pick a book makes me relax. It would be amazing to get to have a mini-spa every Sunday night, to prepare for the week ahead.

The vision of the week – I wake up early, the rest of the house is still fast asleep. I throw on my workout gear, get on my bike and hed for the gym. Crossfit or yoga depending on the day, but most importantly I wil start the day in a really positive way. I have never been one to do morning work-outs. I quite frankly find it discusting to work out before breakfast and prefer to stay in bed. But I have come to terms with the fact that the monrings probably is the best time for me to sneak off. I’m hoping if I visualize this enough times then hopefully one day it won’t feel like a punishment anymore.

The focus of the week – I want to plan my autumn this week. We have Paris booked in this weekend. The one after I’m heading out on the countryside with Bex and Josefina for a baby-free weekend to celebrate we managed the first years as mothers. But after that, it looks pretty free until Christmas and I want to fill it with fun stuff.

The event of the week – Paris again! I’m almost french soon…(bonjour.) This time my lovely photographer Ida will join us Friday to Sunday so we can both hang out and take a few photos. Maybe I can even get that elusive husband of mine to end up on a photo or two!

The lesson from last week – We will be sick a lot in the next few months. I need to keep this in mind when I plan ahead. Hopefully, there are a set number of colds we need to go through before Ace’s immune system is strong enough to cope with all the nursery bugs.

The everyday luxury of the week–  I have a weird sugar habit at the moment One month I don’t want any and the next I just want to eat dark chocolate all day long. My solution to this is to get a set number of really nice chocolates each week to divide over 7 days. I’m hoping this will make sweet stuff more of a special treat than something I reach for when I need a bit of extra energy.

The inspiration of the week – Is actually Garth! Or something he did yesterday. I noticed something was different. For once he was answering my questions with full sentences, he was actually talking to me and seemed to want to hang out. At first, I thought someone had switched my sullen husband for some charming man I didn’t know, but then I found out why. Apparently, you can lock yourself out of certain apps on your phone after a set number of hours spent on them in a day. Obviously, Garth underestimated how much time he spends on these apps since he got locked out already by the early afternoon.

This is a great feature and it will do wonders for a lot of marriages.

 

OMG I hate Mom-shaming

mom-shaming och kritik från föräldrar

Photo – Ida Zander

God, I hate Mom-shaming. It’s when other people (most of the time other parents) make someone else feel bad about the choices they make for their children.

I had no idea how much some parents compare their kids before I had children of my own. Some mothers seem to almost be competing in who is the better parent. It’s quite scary!

”So your child goes to nursery? Well, I have a private nanny so little Ralphie won’t get fleas from the other children”
”You give your child grains before they are one year old? We don’t believe in grains and would never give it to our little Ralphie”. 
”Your nursery don’t serve Organic? We only give Ralph 100% organic food. He deserves the absolute best and nothing else”
”I protect my little angel from illness by staying at home with him 24/7. It’s just one of the sacrifices you do if you love your child”. 
”Children who go to nursery before they are 3 years old will have severe social problems in the future… (quotes random source)”
”What, you mix Swedish and English at home? You can only speak Swedish with him at home if you want him to learn!”.
”What you mix Swedish and English at home? He will fall behind in school if he doesn’t have the full English vocabulary in the future.”

…these are just a handful of things I have heard in the last few weeks. And it makes me sooo tired. It’s never straightforward either, more like snide passing comments.

Next time I get one of these little digs from another Mom I will look them straight in the eye and say –  ”YOU DO YOU. ”

Having children is not a competition! So what if your kid can’t run when it’s 10 months old. It’s not like they will grow up running weird as adults. Fed is better than starving because the breastfeeding isn’t working. Work or not, it’s up to your family constellation, plans for the future and economy.

All parents and children have different opportunities and needs, as long as you do your best, you are a good parent.

Mom-shaming is just incredibly unnecessary and surprisingly common. Sometimes I feel like people only say these things to make themselves feel better.
I mean I cook 90% of Aces food, all organic. Still, someone told me they were “surprised” that Ace got an (organic) pouch when we were out. Apparently, her little child would never even taste it… Nothing is good enough if you start listening to everyone else.

There is no such thing as the perfect parent.

Then if we add all the latest reports on this and that. Immunisations – normal, slow or not at all. Screentime, plastic toys etc.. It would be a full-time job just to keep updated with the latest research (and who is behind it). As if you don’t have enough to think about as a parent.

I believe in common sense and gut feeling.

You know your child and you will do your best based on your situation. And if your child is healthy, happy, fairly clean and is reaching all their milestones in time. Chances are you are doing a pretty good job. But to turn yourself inside out trying to please other Moms is only silly.

So you Moms who know what I’m talking about and live with this too. Ignore or say stop. Ask what they mean and why they chose to bring this subject up at this very moment. I have a feeling that if you lift the comment to the surface then you will either get a proper discussion or at least fewer digs in the future.

I actually expected a lot of Mom-shaming here on the blog. But you guys have been the most supportive of everyone. Thank you, you are awesome <3. 

 

My Morning Routine With Vichy’s MinĂ©ral 89 Booster

I recently had a collaboration with Vichy and their  Slow Âge Nuit night creme and it was a hit. I’m already working on my second jar of the good stuff. 

So when they asked me if I wanted to try out their new Minéral 89 Booster and Slow Âge day cream as a part of my morning routine, I jumped at the chance.

I love collaborating with brands and products that actually do what it says on the box and I either already use or really fancy trying out.

I have to admit I have been a bit of a skin-snob in the past. It had to be all kinds of fancy and expensive to be good, or so I thought. These days I have realized that it’s what’s on the inside of the product that matters and that I don’t have to spend a small fortune to have a good skincare routine.

Vichy is a hypoallergenic pharmacy brand that is dermatologically tested to suit even the most sensitive of skins. I love that the brand is positioned at a decent price point and that they make products that actually do what they claim. It’s a lot harder to find than one expects.

I have realized that what my skin actually needs the most in moisture, tonnes of moisture. Preferably I would like a 12-step Korean beauty routine, but I don’t have the time nor the energy to commit to that every morning.

That’s why Vichy’s new Minéral 89 Booster is the perfect product for me. I can add it either as an extra step in my skincare routine, before my serum, when I have the time. Or, if I’m in a hurry, I can use a few drops of the booster as a serum under my day cream.

What Minéral 89 mainly does is to add even a bit more moisture to the skin in the shape of hyaluronic acid and mineral-rich thermal water.

It’s a gel that sinks into the skin straight away and is so light that it would suit even you who have slightly oilier skin or find serums a bit too much. Just use the booster instead of the serum and add your day cream on top.

I’m ridiculously careful with what I put on my skin, mainly because I don’t like to wear a lot of makeup. So I rather put my energy into prepping my face so my skin looks healthy on its own. This is the secret to that glow I really like.

This is my new skincare routine;

  1. I was my face with a gentle and moisturizing cleanser that doesn’t strip my already slightly dry skin from its natural oils.
  2. I add the Minéral 89 booster all over my face.
  3. (If I have the time I add another serum on top).
  4. I use Vichy Slow Âge day cream, for even more moisture and SPF 30. This way I know that my skin always is protected against the sun.
  5. Vichy Slow Âge eye cream for the sensitive skin around my eyes.
  6. I’m ready for makeup unless I’m having a “good skin day” and choose to go without.

Guys, remember that you will have your skin all your life. Clothes and all the other material things we choose to spend our money on comes and goes. But you can’t buy or make new skin, so make sure to take good care of it every day, you won’t get a second chance.

It’s never too late to start a good skincare routine.

So, have inspired you to try a serum or a booster now? If you don’t already have it as a step in your skincare routine, then I think you should give it a try. You get a lot of result for a fairly small input.

I have asked Vichy to give you guys a 20% discount on Minéral 89 . Just click here or use the code “Min89_20” at Swedish online pharmacy Apotea to try out the new booster at a great price. 

This post is sponsored by Vichy.

 

The Monday Checklist 24th September

Jumper – New Look, trousers – Y.A.S, cap – Brixton. (adlinks) Location – Westminster Bridge. Photo – Ida Zander. 

This is a slightly unusual start of the week for me. I’m sitting at my regular table at Minnow with Olive, as usual. But I have a sleeping Ace in the buggy next to me. 

This morning when we got to his nursery there was a power cut, so they couldn’t safely take any of the children. I had to bring little Acie face along to the café, bribe him with a big buttery croissant and let him dance on the table before he fell asleep in the buggy.

Not ideal from a work point of view, but shit happens. You have to be flexible when it comes to small children and make sure not to get too stressed and to be nice to ourselves. Things that are out of our control, are out of our control and that’s that.

As usual we are starting our week with affirmations, mantras, goals, visions, and dreams:

The mantra of the week – “There are no wrong decisions.” Everything happens for a reason and it will either work out perfectly or not at all and we have learnt that lesson until next time. As long as we have made the choice with our hearts and truly believe it’s the right option, there are no regrets. This is a good thing to remember those days when we stand in front of a big choice or just small everyday decisions. Sometimes it’s more important to make a choice than what we actually choose.

The affirmation of the week – “I  attract positive and supportive people because I am myself a positive and supportive person”. We become like the people we spend time with and as an adult, most of our friendship circles are already full. When you are young, your circles are constantly growing, but as we get older they shrink again. Some go because of life and others we clear out, rarely to be replaced. We get more and more selective about who we want to spend our time with and it’s incredibly important that the people in the inner circle believe in us and makes us feel good about ourselves.

The goal of the week – I have quite a lot of work to get done this week, so the goal is to get it all done without putting too much pressure on myself. With Ace not going to nursery today and a school tour on Wednesday I will have to be very efficient. But I will get it done. I have my tools to avoid stressing myself out and I will use them.

The dream of the week – Am I allowed to dream of spending a few months in the Caribbean? I have only surfed once, in Barbados, but I really loved it and would love to learn properly. To bring my little family and go and live somewhere like Barbados or Antigua one winter would be the dream. I will just have to wait until Ace is old enough to stand on a board first.

The vision of the week – A big walk-in closet filled with only clothes I truly love and feel good wearing. One side is mine, the other one is Garth’s and in the middle is a display cabinet with my wedding dress (why keep it in a box not to be seen?) I actually had a walk-in planned on the original drawings for this flat, but to get planning permission we had to change a few things prioritized bigger bedrooms over a walk-in. But in the next house!

Focus of the week – To get all my work done, do 2 yoga sessions, clean and tidy up at home after the party and clear out more items from my wardrobe. I’m getting better and better at letting go of old things and “Save the children” here in Clapham is getting the bulk of it.

The event of the week – This will in contrast to last week, be a calm one for us. I have noticed that an every-other system works really well. The only thing planned is to go and tour a potential school for Ace on Wednesday. We have registered him at two different schools and will choose what would suit him better when he is a little bit older. The whole school conundrum here in London is completely mental.

The lesson from last week – Kids parties are great fun. I have never thrown one before and it all went really well. So it’s a positive lesson this time.

The week’s everyday luxury – Cathy who plays with Ace for a couple of hours each week will be back from a long trip on Wednesday. This means I will have 4 more hours to work. But I have decided I need a treat for carrying, birthing and sustaining a life for a full year, so I’m going to use the 2 hours on Friday to do something for myself. The question is what to do. Any suggestions?

Inspiration of the week – There is this show on Netflix called “Chef´s Table” and I find it really inpiring. Not that I want to become a chef or open a restaurant, but becasue of the different life stories. All of them come from different background, but have one thing in common – they want to open a top restaurant. I love how determined they are, how hard they have worked and how they finally have succeeded. It’s also filmed really well. (However don’t watch on an empty stomach, you will want to eat your tv).

 

Ace 1 year and the world’s cutest animal cake

Yesterday we hosted our very first birthday party. Ace turned 1 year old and we celebrated with all of our friends and the world’s cutest animal cake.

We love having people over and have had lots of parties and dinners at our place over the years. But this was a completely new kind of party and it was important for us that Ace would enjoy it at least as much as we did.

25 people made it, half of them grown-ups and the rest were Ace’s little friends. There were kids from 7 months up to 5 years old. We had loads of food and a gorgeous animal cake that Garth’s mom Merrill made. She is such a talent, she made all the decorations for our wedding cake too.

Our theme was African animals and Ace was wearing the cutest little lion outfit. I’m going to see if I can find a picture, he looked sooo adorable.

Steffi, Nalle and Harry flew over from Sweden and stayed in the flat above all weekend. Dad and Aja came over too and the world’s best godmother came and suprised us all. On Garths side of the family we had his parents and also his siter Tanya with all 3 kids. They stayed in the second bedroom upstairs, so there were 5 wild little cousins running all over the place having a blast.

We surprised all the non-swedes at the party with a traditional Swedish game called “go fish”. All the kids line up in front of a door covered with a big sheet. Then there is a “fishing rod” and all of them get to “fish” for something on the other side of the sheet. Sometimes they get old boots and have to throw them back other times they get candy or a soft toy. Nanna was head fisherman and I think she had even more fun than the kids. We could not have picked a better godmother for Ace <3

We couldn’t really decide on what to do regarding alcohol. So we offered everyone a glass of champagne when they arrived and then we put a few bits in the garden for people to get if they wanted. It was cold and rainy, so most of us only had that one glass. It felt appropriate. It’s not up to me to decide if people should be drinking or not, but personally, I think one glass is enough when there are children around. So this was a great compromise.

Even if Ace won’t remember this birthday, it will probably be the most important one for me. His first year and his first ever party. In that one single year, he has changed my life in more ways than I thought was possible. <3

 

Ace’s 1-year birthday gift – His very own market stall

You only turn one once, and since it’s the very first birthday, it will always be an extra special one for us. 

I felt like it was time to take Aces nursery away from changing and breastfeeding and make it more fun and available for play. So the other day I asked Garth for a little DIY project. I wanted to build him his very own market stall.

I found these super cute little baskets of fruits and veg at IKEA and even though he doesn’t really get the concept of a shop yet, he can still have fun playing with all the little bits and bobs.

His favorite thing to do at the moment is to draw on the blackboard with the chalk. He doesn’t quite know how to hold the pen yet, but he can see that he is making marks and it makes him mega excited.

He even enjoys the cash register, anything with buttons you can push are a big hit.

Of course his first customer was Olive…

She bought a sausage…

It actually wasn’t all that hard making this little shop (ha, not at all, since Garth did most of it anyway). A Couple of Youtube tutorials, a trip to IKEA, some plastic pipes, fabric and a glue gun later I have to say it turned out better than expected.

It fits perfectly in the alcove where the changing unit was before. It was really weird to tak it down and to pack up the breastfeeding chair and tae it all down into the basement. But he is getting big now and his room has to grow with him.

I can’t wait to have all of his little friends over for his party on Saturday. At the moment 25 people will make it. Steffi, Nalle and HArry arrived from Sweden earlier today and are at the moment fas asleep in the flat upstairs.

I can’t believe I have a 1-year old. Time has gone so incredibly fast!

 

Diastasis Recti – One year on

It has now been almost exactly a year since I had Ace and I’m still suffering from Diastasis Recti. 

Quite a few of you have been emailing me over the year, to share your own stories, ask for advice and just give me a bit of encouragement. You are amazing, thank you<3

I understand now that this effects more of us than I thought at first. It’s easy to just look at whats shown in media and blog. Bellies disappearing the same day as the baby is out and perfect flat tummies only weeks after birth. It makes us who have to struggle to feel like our bodies aren’t normal.

I took a few photos this morning to show you what my belly looks like today. Excuse the 06.00-in-the-morning-face. I have quite a lot of extra skin, a few stretch marks and my belly button is a disaster. But I want you to focus on the protruding of my belly, this is because of the diastasis.

It has gotten a lot better, especially since I got help from my woman’s physio. But I still have some way to go, before I feel and look back to normal again.

I have always been a person with a very flat stomach. I often had a 6-pack and my core has always been amazing. I think a lot of it comes from horseriding, lots of Ashtanga yoga and CrossFit. I was actually in great shape when I fell pregnant with Ace.

I did pregnancy yoga all the way through my pregnancy, even in week 42 (yup, the other Mums-to-be got a bit scared by my huge belly). So I actually had the very best base for my body to go back to normal straight away.

However – I’m petite, Ace was big and I went over for 2 full weeks.

To weigh 47 kg at the start and produce a 4 kg baby is quite a lot. My belly had to move far forwards early on to make the space he needed. I felt already in week 12 how my belly popped out. Yes, I actually felt it over a few seconds. It was a bit like holding a balloon under water and letting it float up. It was such a strange feeling, but kind of cool too.

So it’s not all that strange that my abs had to separate quite a lot to give room. Add a c-section to get my big bubba out and you have Diastasis Recti.

Mostly it seems to be twin and triplet-moms that struggles the most with this condition. But you can like me, get it with only one baby too.

I have been reading lots of blogs, books and spoken to my physio on the subject and this is what I know;

– The body will do its job and try to pull the muscles together for the first 2 months after birth. After that, it will need a bit of help. I went to my GP who told me “9 months to grow, 9 months to go”. Incredibly stupid! If I have known how it was I would have made sure I got help a lot sooner. I still looked pregnant when Ace was 5 months old!

– Diastasis Recti can give you a prolapse, incontinence, problems with your lower back and umbilical hernias. I have done quite well and only have some backache and a small hernia in my belly button.

– It’s not the “sixpack” that is the important muscles to focus on. All the core muscles are super important and even more so the “corset” and pelvic floor.

The best thing to do to help the muscles get stronger is to do exercises that focus on the lower muscles in the belly and the pelvic floor. The worst thing to do is to work out the abs with exercises like situps. They make the belly dome and will stretch the connective tissue even more.

 Hormones have an effect on the connective tissue in the body. So when you stop breastfeeding you can notice that the belly will pull together a bit better. It’s because of the hormone “relaxin” we are so much more flexible during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

–  Posture, how we carry the babies and our habits can affect any diastasis. If we are constantly pushing our bellies out, then the tissue never gets a chance to pull back and the muscles stay stretched out. So try to avoid sticking your bum either in or out too much. Keep your spine straight and be aware of your pelvic floor and to pull your bellybutton in.

I wear Spanx daily to help keep my belly tight and to remind me to focus on my posture.

These days I do 2.5h of hot yoga a week and it’s completely fine. I only have to do a modified core workout, but then I just use my exercises my physio has given me. I still can’t do any situps or similar movements.

It’s a lot better already, 6 months ago I wasn’t allowed to do anything. My belly was like jelly and I had zero support. I had a constant backache and felt really weak.

My physio started me off with these simple exercises;

1. 10 x 10 seconds on, 10 seconds off. I tense my pelvic floor, all three steps and then I pull my belly button in towards my spine and hold for 10 seconds. Then I rest for 10 seconds and do it all over again 10 times.

2. Same as above, but I do it in a squat, pressing my palms together for extra support.

3. Same again, but on the floor whilst sliding one leg at the time up to a bent position.

4. On the floor, on my back, lift both legs and keep them lifted whilst I hold the pelvic floor and belly button pulled for 10 seconds 10 times with breaks.

I try to do at least one of these exercises daily and I do all of them when I get the chance to in yoga class. The pelvic floor exercises has really made a difference for me so far. It was when I did these exercises regularly I could finally fit into my clothes again.

I’m not there yet, but soon. I have about 10-15% left of my way to go. Now my separation is only 1.5 cm wide, still fairly deep, but not very long. The day I’m all done having babies I will most likely look into the option of surgically help my muscles come together. I have a hard time imagining them doing too well after having had yet another pregnancy, so I will most likely need some help.

If you, like me, suffer from Diastasis Recti – make sure you get help, do the exercises and don’t lose hope!