Monday, January 24, 2011

Andalucia, Day 2 (my birthday)

The climb up to Al-Hambra was rather interesting, to say the least. We somehow ended up on the walking track (no driving) up the hill towards Al-Hambra. I was out of breath most of the climb but I was actually glad we walked up...the walking path was actually beautiful. Running along the side was this lovely little river, which I later learnt was the River Darro. Inside Al-Hambra were also plenty of fountains, reflecting pools and Royal water passes and you can hear the sounds of the water all around. It turned out these water features of Al-Hambra was the highlight of the trip for Adam.

This is the side of the Palace of Charles V.

And this is the inside. This palace and some of the Christian buildings were built in the 16th century, after the christians rulers took over.

But for us the main attraction was the Islamic architecture in the Nasrid Palaces, built in the 13th century. I had never seen anything like it. There are so many photos, I wish I could put it all up to show you just how beautiful this place is..

Breastfeeding in Al-Hambra. Too weird ? hehe. She doesn't care. This girl has breastfed ALL OVER the WORLD, literally. Now focus your attention on the beautiful walls. This is just a tiny, hidden little corner of the Nasrid Palaces. Now imagine all of that beauty and more, all over the place, up the wall and ceilings.

Some of the intricate details on the walls. Subhanallah, isn't it brilliant?Everything must've been sculpted by hand.

The view over the Court of the Lions. The Fountain of the Lions at the moment is under restoration work. The lions have been carefully removed because they have been deteriorating from water from the fountain and the fact that it is exposed.

The lions can be viewed here in this building. Sorry Ernie no photos of the lions because it's on special exhibition and they don't allow any photography in there..apparently since the restoration work they've discovered new things about the lion - for example they have slight differences in the details and they've been made in pairs i.e. pair of similar ones.

Can you believe the view from up there? When Mia saw the view she went 'Wow!'. Seriously.

Adam kept checking out where the water was flowing, the water channels, stopped to listen to the sound of the water, looking out for the fish in the reflection pools etc...He was the Hydraulic Engineer for the day..

Al-Hambra was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

That night we had dinner at the same restaurant as yesterday. Food there was really delicious and the owners are this wonderful couple. We had some yummy local spanish food for my birthday dinner. Seafood is quite reasonably priced here, and very fresh. The owners suggested another very local dish - paella, for our dinner the next day and we agreed and couldn't wait to taste it.

I had the best birthday I could ever wish for. We retired to the hotel room, ready to rest when I discovered another birthday surprise waiting for me.

From the most romantic man I ever met.

I am very lucky, indeed. Alhamdulillah...

p/s: I have no idea why my text is coming out underlined and I can't seem to fix it. oh well. hope it's not distracting you too much.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mia is one

Dear Mia, my daughter, my princess, my pride..

You are one year old today.

You are the cheekiest little girl I've ever met. When you don't get what you want, you curl your mouth open ( i must get a pic of this ) and pretend to cry. You look so cute it never fails to make me and Daddy smile. How can we get mad at you when you make that face?

You are so smart. You understand everything we say. You absorb everything like a sponge. Even when I think you're not listening. If I asked you tonight to find something that I just introduced to you this morning, you will know where it is.

Recently you learned how to kiss. Wet and sloppy of course. You can almost say 'kiss' too. You only offer a kiss when you're very happy. A kiss and a sweet smile. Let me tell you, getting a kiss from you is the best feeling in the world.

And that special smile of yours, with your eyes crinkled up they're almost closed. You can get away with anything with that smile, you know.

You love your Daddy very much. Always hugging him, calling after him, and you won't let him go to work. You're his princess. He loves you more than you know. I'm afraid your future husband will have a very difficult time asking for your hand :)

You hate car rides, or train rides or anything that requires sitting still. You love being at home, or at the children centre, where you can roam around happily. I thought your brother Adam was energetic, it turned out you're even more so. I can hardly keep up.

You brother loves you the most. He protects you, he greets you when you wake up. He loves it when you hug him. You two are learning to play together. You fight with him all the time too, that's what siblings do. But watching you two together, is the most blissful feeling for me.

I long for the newborn that you once were a year ago. So soft and little and fragile. But I am proud to embrace the clever little toddler that you are becoming. I love you so much, princess..

Happy First Birthday Mia.....

Andalucia, Day 1

What struck me the most when we first arrive was how different this place was from anywhere we have been before. In London it was cold and damp, and a mere 2.5 hour flight later, suddenly it felt like summer. The sun is out, and we didn't even need a jacket. The climate here is very unique. Although it is winter, this part of Spain is sheltered from the harsh weather and retains a pleasant mild climate. Temperature is around 12 - 16C.

The hotel we stayed at was beautiful. Plenty of interesting things to do. The resort was by the beach and had outdoor and indoor pools , which is brilliant for Adam, because he has been asking to go swimming for weeks...(insisting on wearing his swim pants whenever we went for any trip, even in the cold winter and snow)

Upon arrival, we immediately explored the beach. The beach had soft black sand, and just a dream to roll around in. The kids loved it so much. We let Mia run around free. We were a bit concerned about her eating the sand but after the previous incident at children centre, we just let her be. She was so happy. She did try to eat the sand a bit, but most of the time she was walking around, picking up smooth rocks, running her fingers through the sand.

Adam making a border around his sandcastle. I noticed he is paying more attention to details and designs.

He had a little dip in the water.

And then later my husband and the kids went for a swim in the indoor pool. The outdoor pool was surprisingly cold despite the hot weather. Mia was excited! and bold! She ran around the outside of the pool and tried to jump back in the pool...

The day ended with a delicious dinner at a restaurant by the seaside as the sun is setting. More story to come about this restaurant, where we had many wonderful spanish food...

p/s: ernie, i know you're waiting for photos of Alhambra..hehe. It'll have to wait after Mia's birthday ok (tomorrow).

Monday, January 17, 2011

perfect birthday!

alhamdulillah..i am having the most blissful birthday ever. we are in alhambra, spain. it is a world unlike any other and it is magnificent. i dont have any photos as we have no internet or laptop here. i am trying to post from my kindle. hope it works. for my friends and family,thank you for the birthday wishes..

to my husband. you're awesome ;)

with love from me. older but hopefully wiser (and prettier?)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

For the love of Cath Kidston...


Yes, I am a self-proclaimed Cath Kidston fan. I browse her website just for eye candy. I long for a studio just like the ones in her store. Now can you tell why I would be so ecstatic such gorgeous goodies for my pre-birthday present? He knows me too well.

This was not my first pre-birthday present. He already got me the coolest phone ever. Apparently there is also another present on the way. Aaaand, he asked me to packed our bags tonight, because tomorrow we are going to a secret location for me and Mia's birthday trip!

This is turning out to be the best birthday ever....and it's not even my birthday yet...

Thank you sweetheart...I love love love the presents!!! and i love you even more!!

Tonight I am working on Mia's birthday banner...


All Cath Kidston fabric, of course...I will have finished photos when we hang it up....

Hopefully we will have internet connection where we're going..but if not, full update when we get back!!

Mia's knitted wool soaker

A wool soaker is typically used over natural fibre cloth nappies as a nappy cover. Natural sheep's wool contains lanolin, which is a wax that is produced by sheep to keep their fleece in weatherproof conditions. This essentially makes the wool soaker water repellent, thus making it an ideal nappy cover. Add in its warmth and breath ability, it has become quite a favourite as a night time solution for cloth diapering parents, i heard.


I've never used them myself. I'll give this one a go and report back. Wool soakers need to be treated with lanolin, to ensure it has enough lanolin to work (some wool has been treated to remove some of the lanolin) but it is easy enough to do. Just use a teaspoon of pure lanolin (the same lanolin used by breastfeeding mothers can be used) melted in hot water and some soap and soak overnight. I can't wait to try this on Mia.

Once it is used, it only needs to be washed every couple of weeks because the wool is anti-bacterial and basically renews itself if it is aired after use. Simple!


Making this soaker was very easy and quick. And the result is really cute too! I would use it as pants even if it wasn't used as a nappy cover. The pattern was free on Ravelry. The link is here if anybody's interested. The wool I used was a real treat (Rowan pure wool aran) - softest wool I ever felt, gorgeous yellow colour, and it was on sale! A bought wool soaker can cost anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds...

I might knit more if this one works well....

oh btw, this is one of mia's birthday present as well :)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mia's birthday dress

Here it is! Phew, like a weight lifted off my shoulder when I finished this dress. Wouldn't she look just so lovely in this sweet dress?

I chose a random fabric I found at Liberty which of course turned out to be by Tanya Whelan. Who else would design such beautiful elegant patterns? (well Cath Kidston would actually, but hers comes in cotton canvas, perfect for home decorations, not for a Princess dress)

The ribbon is a vintage ribbon found at Portobello market, and the only one I have on-hand that is long enough for this project. Turns out to be a rather sweet combination...

aaah loving all the if only this dress comes in adult sizes....(although, if it does, it may not look quite as cute on me as it does on Mia i'll bet ;) )

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mia's (back-up) birthday dress

This dress style has got to be my favourite one. I love gathers and pleats and this dress is full of it. Bubble skirt and pheasant style top. The pattern is Miss Lily, from the Handmade Dress.

It's quite an easy construction. The whole process from cutting to sewing to finishing took about 3 hours.

I love bubble skirts! it just looks so girly and magical. The fabric is not the fabric I had in mind, it's a trial fabric, but still try the pattern for the first time..a girl can't have too many dresses, after all, right? I'll update again once I have the real birthday dress completed.. good to be sewing again...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cast one on


Tonight I went to my knitting group meeting. I brought a project that's a treat for myself (my birthday is in January too, you know), I don't have a picture of it yet, maybe later I'll put it up. In the group there's this pakcik, and he had the above badge on his bag. Cool, huh?

Anyway, when I got back, I was still in the mood to knit so tonight I thought I'd cast on a little something that will be one of Mia's presents. She has quite enough cardigans and hats - she still fits in the ones I knitted for her while pregnant, and I found 3 lovely hand-knitted cardigans for a pound a piece at the carboot sale recently. So I thought I'd make her a wool soaker. I have never used a wool soaker on the kids before. But I've looked them up, and seemed rather interesting.


Here's the tension square i made (well more of a rectangle). A tension square is a test sample that you must knit up in order to match the size specified in a pattern. A tension square for knitting is basically what pre-washing is for sewing : It is a pain to do when you're excited to start your project and wants to save time, but if you skip it, you will end up doing the opposite.


I only got to here tonight. More to come. Time for bed.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prep time

It's January and my little princess' birthday is approaching. I think she deserves a little bit of mama-mades for her first birthday, don't you? I'm a procastinator, I always delay until the last minute to do things..and it doesn't help that I'm the worst organiser on the think this time i'll record my progress on her birthday prep, just to motivate myself...

ok here goes..

I'm starting with her birthday crown...the pattern is the same as Adam's birthday crown (from the book - The Creative Family)


I am using wool felt here instead of the usual craft felt. If you can get access to wool felt, I certainly recommend it. To be honest when I bought the felt I was just testing, I didn't think it would make that much of a difference. But it does. The texture is so much more stable, dense, smooth and just a dream to work with. I would imagine it would withstand long wearing and much chewing and yanking too. The crown can be kept for many birthdays to come.


The result. A crown fit for a princess, no less.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


The first time Adam I heard used the word 'amirals' was in a pretend play. I was unpacking one of my circular knitting needles and he took a look and said 'Mommy, amirals. Snake! sssssssss (bunyi snake)'. And then he took the needle and packaging and started playing snake. I could understand how a circular needle can become snake (it is long and narrow) ..but...what's amirals? I asked him and he tried to explain 'snakes Mommy...amirals!amirals!'

So for the next couple of weeks I occasionally hear the word popped up now and then. And everytime I would guess the meaning - emeralds? mirrors? nothing was right.

Last weekend we went to stay at a farm with my mom. The farm had farm animals - chicks, ducks, goats. The word 'amirals' popped up a lot more. I told my husband 'I think the word had something to do with animals'. He ventured a few guesses as well. Adam said no no no.....

The farm had a sign that says 'Free range children and animals'. Finally it hit me. Can you guess what it is?



*i love all the mispronounce words...soon enough he will grow out of it...but i will enjoy every word as much as i can now...

Monday, January 3, 2011

Welcoming 2011

We have had the pleasure of such wonderful companies this past month. Now they've all gone back home and we miss them all!

Their departure marked the end of the year for us. And now we're slowly falling back into the comfort of routine life. It is cold outside, but inside in this cozy little home, it is always warm.


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