I’m Loving It

I don’t usually write posts like this – but I wanted to share the products I’m loving these days…

First, on our way to Dubai in July, I was browsing through the Duty Free catalogue and came across this…

Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm
Chubby Stick Moisturising Lip Colour Balm

Tinted lip balms are my new thing.  I don’t tend to wear make-up during the day, so these would be perfect for those days when you have to dress up a little.  They came in a pack of three, which was perfect.  And yes, the fact that they’re called ‘Chubby Sticks’ did make me giggle.

During the holiday, I went into Sephora – I love this store.  I could buy millions of things in there, but manage to restrain myself.  I went in with the intention of buying more Chubby Sticks.

I found them and bought two more.  What I didn’t realise was that they were Chubby Sticks Intense.

Chubby Stick Intense Moisturising lip Colour Balm
Chubby Stick Intense

This actually worked out well.  This meant I could use them when I went out in the evening (and wearing more make up), as the colours were more…  Well, intense!

They moisutrise well and are long-lasting.

I’m going to buy more next time I travel!

I usually use Palmer’s Cocoa Butter as a full-body moisturiser.  I ran out months ago and have just been making do with random moisturisers – none of which did the trick.

I borrowed my sister’s Vitamin E Body Butter from The Body Shop while I was in Dubai and loved it.  So much so that I bought my own before leaving.

Vitamin E Body Butter
Vitamin E Body Butter

It leaves my skin SO soft and smooth, it’s amazing.  The only thing I don’t like is the fact that it’s in a tub.  I’d much prefer it if it were in a squeezy tube or bottle.

When I went into The Body Shop to buy the Body Butter, I saw their Almond Hand & Nail Cream.  I picked that up too.

Almond Hand & Nail Cream
Almond Hand & Nail Cream

The thing with me is that I buy products like this *remembers Benefit eye cream from two years ago* and then don’t use them regularly (or at all).  I can honestly say (hand on heart) that I use this hand cream at least twice a day.  It is brilliant!  It keeps my hands soft and moisturised.  I can’t tell you if it makes any difference to my nails as I’ve started biting them again (I know!).

So…  If you’re going out shopping and want to treat yourself – buy any of the above products.  You won’t regret it!


While we were in Bali last year, LagosDad and I bought six new paintings for our home.  I left them rolled up in their containers.  We always said we’d have them stretched and/or framed after we painted our downstairs.

A year later and we still haven’t painted downstairs and the paintings were still rolled up!

A friend told us a few weeks ago that we’d better unroll them as the paint might crack.  As soon as we got home from that dinner we opened them all up and checked them.  They’re all fine, thank God.

Now that they were unrolled, I wanted to get them stretched and/or framed.  I asked several people where they went or who did theirs for them.  All the paintings we’ve had done previously don’t sit properly against the wall as the wood has become warped.

1. People who asked carpenters to make the frames for them weren’t too happy with the job that had been done.  One friend said she even sat there and measured the wood, etc for her carpenter to make sure he got it right.  I can barely tell one end of a tape measure from the other – so this was not going to work for me.

2. Another friend suggested a frame shop – owned by her friend’s family.  This sounded like a plan.  I set off one morning, arrived in the area where the store is and drove around in circles for forty minutes as I couldn’t find it.

3. On the way back from Number 2 (above), I came across an art shop in Ikoyi.  This place was also suggested to me.  I had gone to look for it before, but didn’t find it.

So I stopped and took my paintings inside.

Two ladies work in the store.  Lady 1 (L1) stood immediately and came to help me with the paintings and asked what I wanted to do, etc.  Lady 2 (L2) sat slumped over the desk, head resting on arms.  She made no attempt to move.

L1 told me they couldn’t tell me how much it would cost to stretch the paintings until she knew the size of them all.  She then unrolled them, one-by-one, and measured them.  L2 was still sat at the desk.  Her job was to write the size of each painting on a bit of masking tape and stick it on the back of each painting.

Each time L1 gave L2 a measurement to write down, she wrote down the wrong thing.  Or she didn’t hear her.  Or she couldn’t be arsed.  I don’t know.

This continued for all six paintings.

After the measurements were done, I approached the desk so that L1 could get the calculator out and figure out the cost.  As I stood at the desk, L2 started tearing up bits of paper, rolling them up into little balls and throwing them at L1.

WTF was going on?

I just kept staring at L2.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.  If this is how she wants to behave when they’re on their own, that’s just fine.  But when there are customers around?  This was unacceptable.

After receiving the quote, I rolled up my paintings and took them home (I had to clear the cost with LagosDad first).

I went back a few days later to give the paintings in to be stretched.

Thankfully L2 would have nothing to do with the process.  Having said that, she was reasonably professional during my second visit.

On Wednesday I got a phone call.  I couldn’t hear a damn thing the woman was saying because someone was singing (very loudly and very out of tune) in the background.  She kept trying to tell me where she was calling from and that my paintings were ready.  I told her, “I can’t hear you because someone (I bet it was L2) is singing in the background!”  She just talked louder.

On Thursday I went to collect them.  I got there at 10.30am.  L1 was waiting outside.  L2 had the key for the store and was still on her way.  They are meant to open at 9am.  I know that public transport is a problem here.  And getting around isn’t easy – but L2 didn’t arrive until nearly 11am!

Another guy was waiting to buy masking tape and some paper or something.  It took L2 ten minutes to write the invoice!

Anyway, I paid the balance of my bill, took my paintings and left.  They’ve actually done a really good job, as well.  (I have to give credit where it’s due!)

I forgot how beautiful they are.  Two of them are LagosDad’s choice – I wonder if you can work out which ones…?

Painting 1
Painting 1
Painting 2
Painting 2


Painting 3
Painting 3
Painting 4
Painting 4
Painting 5
Painting 5
Painting 6
Painting 6


The Case of the Missing Pacifier

Yes, my son is three.

Yes, he still uses a pacifier.

Yes, it irritates me.

No, I don’t know how to get him to give it up.

Or…  I didn’t know how to get him to give it up.  As it turns out, giving him no choice in the matter worked very well (she says with her fingers crossed).

Do you have any idea about what I’m going on about?

Basically, on Monday I went out for lunch (it’s a rare thing for me to ‘do’ lunch, but there you go).  It was an early lunch and this meant that LagosDad had to collect V from nursery and deposit him at home before going back to work.  You probably know by now that LagosDad has no sense of timing, so I kept clock watching and calling the nanny and him to make sure he got there on time.  He didn’t.  But I guess making V wait for five or ten minutes isn’t too big a deal.

When he gets home, V has lunch and then naps at about 1.30pm.

At 2pm the nanny called.  She couldn’t find V’s pacifier (chupa) anywhere, he wouldn’t settle and she wanted me to buy another on the way home.

I considered it.  In fact, my first instinct was to go buy one.

But after thinking about it (and consulting the rest of my family), I decided not to get one.  This was the perfect time to get rid of it.

Once I got home the nanny explained that he didn’t actually sleep until 2.45pm because he was so distraught and that he finally fell asleep because he was so tired.

When he woke I took him downstairs and we looked for the chupa everywhere – under the sofas, under the tables, on all the surfaces in the kitchen and under all the appliances.  No sign of it.  And he also saw that there was no sign of it, which is a good thing.

That evening was a little difficult.  We went through all his soft toys, looking for one that he could take to bed.  I eventually told him that I’d give him a present in the morning if he went to sleep.  He wanted to know what it was.  Then he wanted to look at it.  Then he wanted to keep it in his room while he slept!  I made it clear that it wasn’t to open at that time, but the next day.  He agreed.  I took out one of his birthday presents (I’m so glad I didn’t let him open them all) and gave it to him.  It took him a little while to fall asleep, but he slept without any more fuss.

The following morning was a problem though.  He didn’t want to go to school.  He wanted to open the present and do the puzzle right then.  He cried the whole way to nursery and they had to take him from my arms.  I felt so bad.  I didn’t foresee that happening.  I should have known better!

There were tears on Tuesday afternoon just before his nap, but he eventually slept at about 2ish.  We kept him super-busy for the rest of the day – playing outside, running around, Lego in the afternoon, puzzles, the whole lot.  At 10pm he said he wanted to go to bed.  He asked for his chupa once and then fell asleep by 10.30pm.

Wednesday nap-time – Hooray!  He didn’t even ask.

(And we found the chupa – but threw it away before he saw it.)

Wednesday night was easier.  He went to bed earlier and settled more quickly.

He still asks for his chupa now and then.  And he still finds it a little difficult to settle – but it’s definitely becoming easier.

I’ve been wanting to get rid of the damn thing for a while now, but didn’t really know how to do it.  And I took the chicken’s way out and decided that I’d let him give it up when he was ready.  In my mind, the cutoff for this was Christmas time.  However, although it’s been a bit traumatic for him, I’m glad it’s happened this way.  No one has had any choice in the matter!


Let’s Party

I’ve been going on about V’s Mickey Mouse party for so long, I’m getting sick of myself.

So I’m going to stop.

But before I do, I just have to share some photos with you.

The photos are by Madbursts – if you’re looking for a photographer – I recommend them!

Decoration Bits

Decoration bits and pieces
Decoration bits and pieces


Cake and cupcakes
Cake and cupcakes


Our family
Our family

V’s reaction when he saw the horse

V's reaction when he saw the horse
V’s reaction when he saw the horse



Ok – that’s all I’m going to say about the party!

Now to start thinking about next year…



Geez Man!

Last summer we were in Bali for a month.  LagosDad, me, V, my parents, my sister, my brother and his wife.

We had the most fabulous time.  However, as expected, we did get on each other’s nerves – this was bound to happen – we’re not used to all living together.

When we needed to swear/vent/curse in front of our parents, we all just said, ‘Geez man!’

I don’t know who started it (maybe me?), but it did the trick.  V wasn’t speaking much at that time, but he was also saying, ‘Geez man!’ by the time we left!

So a couple of days ago I picked him up and put him on his changing table.  He’s become really heavy!

The following conversation then took place….

Me: Geez man!  You’re so heavy!

V (laughing): Geez man!  Fucking hell!

Me (shocked, but trying not to laugh): Vinay!

V (still laughing): Geez man!  Bloody hell!

Me (truly shocked by this time): Vinay!  Stop talking nonsense now.

V: Geez man!  Superhero!

Me: Superhero?  What does ‘superhero’ mean?

V: I don’t know.

We then went on to talk about Spiderman, Batman and Superman and everything else was forgotten.

Yes, I found it funny when he swore.  I think it was just the look on his face.  He was laughing and laughed even more when he saw the shock on my face.

But I also know that we’ve got to be really careful about what we say in front of him.  Even if we don’t think he’s listening!


V’s party was about ten days ago.  I am so, so glad it’s over.

But I do have a problem now.

I have no leverage.

In the three weeks leading up to his birthday and then his party, he would do anything I wanted.  ANYTHING.

All I had to say was, ‘I’m going to cancel your party.’  Or, ‘Vinay, I’m going to tell Miss Liz (the party planner) not to bring the horse!’

And he’d do as I asked.

I realise it’s probably not a good idea to use bribes and threats, but he really doesn’t respond to anything else.

Are all toddlers the same?  Or is it just mine?

Anyway, so now I don’t know how to get him to do anything anymore.  He knows his party is over and that it’s not his birthday for a long time.

So now what?



Hey Mickey!

So it’s all over…

I’ve been planning since about March – and this Saturday it came and went.


Oh sorry – I’m talking about V’s Mickey Mouse birthday party.


I bought Mickey ears for everyone to wear (the children weren’t happy about this and hardly any of them wore them!).  I took a pair out for V about two or three weeks ago and started getting him used to wearing them.

V was ready to go downstairs and get the party started!
V was ready to go downstairs and get the party started!

He wore them at the beginning of the party and for family photos (which was a relief).  But then he’d had enough and took them off.  He refused to put them back on AND he had a mini-tantrum each time I gave a pair to a friend of his!  I told him that his friends were bringing him birthday presents, so he had to give them ears.

He was kind of ok about that.

Presents waiting to be opened!
Presents waiting to be opened!

V had one request for this party.  He wanted a horse.  Yes.  A horse.  We went to a party in March and the birthday girl had two horses to take the children for rides.  V didn’t forget about it and he kept asking for one.  And yes.  We organised one for him.

The horse
The horse

He was SO happy!  I can’t even begin to describe the look on his face when he saw it coming through our gate!

The thing is, he didn’t want any of his friends to sit on the horse.  As far as he was concerned, it was his horse.  In his garden.  I suppose that’s logical?  So he sat with almost ALL of them while they went on rides.  After about twenty minutes he’d had enough – but he refused to get down.  He lasted another twenty-five minutes or so and then went on to the next thing.  It may have been the bouncy castle or playing games with the entertainer – I was inside on panic mode, so I have no idea!

It was finally time to cut the cake.  He was thrilled with his Mickey cake.  And he was drooling while looking at all the cupcakes!  Again, I can’t describe the expression on his face while everyone sang Happy Birthday to him and he blew out the candles.  Once he cut the cake, all the children started reaching for the cupcakes.  And V started crying.  He told me to tell them to put all the cupcakes back because they were all for him.  I don’t think he realised that he couldn’t eat 48 cupcakes all by himself!

Cake pops, birthday cake and cupcakes
Cake pops, birthday cake and cupcakes

I told him that if he didn’t share his cupcakes, his friends would take all their presents back home with them.  This worked well.  He calmed down and I got him to come and help me give out the return gifts.

The return gifts
The return gifts

However, just before that – when I told him about sharing the cupcakes, I overheard one of the mums telling someone else that I was really mean and that I didn’t handle the situation properly.

I felt a bit crap about it for awhile.  And I’ve thought about it a lot.  How else could I have handled the situation?  And I came up with: I know my child.  I know what works with him and I do the best I can.

As my friend Rosssa says: “Your kid, your rules.”

We gave out the return gifts and stopped children from taking helium balloons.  Maybe selfish?  But I paid a lot for them and for the helium.  And V and I both love them.  So I won’t apologise for not allowing them to take any home!

The photographer we hired said she’d get our pictures to us in two weeks – so I am eagerly awaiting them.

Meanwhile, my own pictures will just have to do!

V is Three!

Last Saturday, V turned three!

I can’t quite believe it – but there you go.  Someone told me that time goes faster when you have children.  Whoever said that probably hasn’t experienced a nine week summer holiday with an almost-three-year-old!

Anyway – our day started with a treasure hunt.  V had to follow the clues to find his presents.  This was a fabulous idea – thanks tattooed_mummy!  He LOVED it!

I was going to post a link to the video here, but then  I realised you’d all see what a mess my house is – so I decided against it!

After the excitement of opening all his presents, lunch and a short nap – three or four of his friends (and some of their parents) came over to play and cut his cake.

He was a bit concerned about people touching his new toys, but he soon got over it!


The ‘big’ party is this Saturday on the 14th.  *gulp*


No Problem

I’m trying desperately to sort myself out.

V’s birthday party is on Saturday – so got a lot going on with organising that and LagosDad’s cousin is coming to visit tomorow and is staying with us for ten days – so trying to clear out the guestroom (which has been used for storage for a year).

Apart from that, we’ve got a few other things happening (which I’ll let you know about another time).

Anyway, so am trying (really hard (not really)) to clear up a bit and tidy up.  V left his helicopter (a ride-on that’s not really a helicopter) in my room right by my bed.  The area by my bed is a big enough (organised) mess anyway.  I really didn’t need the helicopter there.

And the conversation went like this…

Me: V – Please come and take your helicopter back to the playroom.

V: No mama, I want to keep it there.

Me: I don’t want you to keep it there.  I want you to take it back to the playroom, please.  I might trip and fall if I don’t see it.

V: You will fall?

Me: Yes.  And I’ll get hurt.

V (thinks for a moment): No problem.  You can just use a plaster.  Then go to the doctor and you’ll feel better.


Me: V – I don’t want to go to the doctor.  Please remove your helicopter now.

Thank God he listened (for once!)

What Should A Four-Year-Old Know?

I was at a lunch last week.  There were about ten or twelve of us.  Most of the talk centred around our children (as usual), schools and school admissions.

Since V was about a year old (maybe even before), there was talk between the mums as to where we would send our children to school.  Which nursery?  Where after?  British?  American?  Which area?  Who else was sending their children to that school?  Or this school?  But why?  Which is better in the long run?  Children at X school are not as well behaved as those in Y school.  And on and on and on and on.

And of course, now that all the children are closer to school age (or in some cases, already in school) the talk has just increased.

I’ve often questioned whether we are making the right educational decisions for V – but in the end I have to remind myself that I know my child and I know what’s best for him – regardless of what other people may think.

Some of the aforementioned talk has been about the British standard of teaching being higher than that of the American.  And how the children at the American school don’t learn to read until they’re five.

There are only so many times I can tell people that it doesn’t really matter – the children all learn the same thing in the end and that the schools just have different teaching methods.

A couple of days after that, I saw something on Facebook which I shared.  I know V is only (just) three, but I think this applies to all children and parents!

It’s kind of long, but definitely worth a read.

What Should A Four-Year-Old Know?
I was on a parenting bulletin board recently and read a post by a mother who was worried that her 4 1/2 year old did not know enough. “What should a 4 year old know?” she asked.

Most of the answers left me not only saddened but pretty soundly annoyed. One mom posted a laundry list of all of the things her son knew. Counting to 100, planets, how to write his first and last name, and on and on. Others chimed in with how much more their children already knew, some who were only three. A few posted URL’s to lists of what each age should know. The fewest yet said that each child develops at his own pace and not to worry.

It bothered me greatly to see these mothers responding to a worried mom by adding to her concern, with lists of all the things their children could do that hers couldn’t. We are such a competitive culture that even our preschoolers have become trophies and bragging rights. Childhood shouldn’t be a race.

So here, I offer my list of what a 4 year old should know.

She should know that she is loved wholly and unconditionally, all of the time.
He should know that he is safe and he should know how to keep himself safe in public, with others, and in varied situations. He should know that he can trust his instincts about people and that he never has to do something that doesn’t feel right, no matter who is asking. He should know his personal rights and that his family will back them up.
She should know how to laugh, act silly, be goofy and use her imagination. She should know that it is always okay to paint the sky orange and give cats 6 legs.
He should know his own interests and be encouraged to follow them. If he could care less about learning his numbers, his parents should realize he’ll learn them accidentally soon enough and let him immerse himself instead in rocket ships, drawing, dinosaurs or playing in the mud.
She should know that the world is magical and that so is she. She should know that she’s wonderful, brilliant, creative, compassionate and marvelous. She should know that it’s just as worthy to spend the day outside making daisy chains, mud pies and fairy houses as it is to practice phonics. Scratch that– way more worthy.
But more important, here’s what parents need to know.

That every child learns to walk, talk, read and do algebra at his own pace and that it will have no bearing on how well he walks, talks, reads or does algebra.
That the single biggest predictor of high academic achievement and high ACT scores is reading to children. Not flash cards, not workbooks, not fancy preschools, not blinking toys or computers, but mom or dad taking the time every day or night (or both!) to sit and read them wonderful books.
That being the smartest or most accomplished kid in class has never had any bearing on being the happiest. We are so caught up in trying to give our children “advantages” that we’re giving them lives as multi-tasked and stressful as ours. One of the biggest advantages we can give our children is a simple, carefree childhood.
That our children deserve to be surrounded by books, nature, art supplies and the freedom to explore them. Most of us could get rid of 90% of our children’s toys and they wouldn’t be missed, but some things are important– building toys like legos and blocks, creative toys like all types of art materials (good stuff), musical instruments (real ones and multicultural ones), dress up clothes and books, books, books. (Incidentally, much of this can be picked up quite cheaply at thrift shops.) They need to have the freedom to explore with these things too– to play with scoops of dried beans in the high chair (supervised, of course), to knead bread and make messes, to use paint and play dough and glitter at the kitchen table while we make supper even though it gets everywhere, to have a spot in the yard where it’s absolutely fine to dig up all the grass and make a mud pit.
That our children need more of us. We have become so good at saying that we need to take care of ourselves that some of us have used it as an excuse to have the rest of the world take care of our kids. Yes, we all need undisturbed baths, time with friends, sanity breaks and an occasional life outside of parenthood. But we live in a time when parenting magazines recommend trying to commit to 10 minutes a day with each child and scheduling one Saturday a month as family day. That’s not okay! Our children don’t need Nintendos, computers, after school activities, ballet lessons, play groups and soccer practice nearly as much as they need US. They need fathers who sit and listen to their days, mothers who join in and make crafts with them, parents who take the time to read them stories and act like idiots with them. They need us to take walks with them and not mind the .1 MPH pace of a toddler on a spring night. They deserve to help us make supper even though it takes twice as long and makes it twice as much work. They deserve to know that they’re a priority for us and that we truly love to be with them.