I’m about as far from a domestic goddess as one can get. I am neither organised at it, nor enjoy it. Cleaning is simply one of life’s necessary evils. I find it to be such a frustrating endeavor as well, as it’s difficult to see any progress. Yes, my room might be clean for an hour or so (at best, with a toddler around), but it will soon be back to needing yet another clean.
When writing, it’s different. You can write a little every day, and you see improvement. Your word count goes up. There’s no imp following behind you ten minutes later erasing the words you just typed. It’s so much more rewarding to do something where you can see that you’re moving forward.
Cleaning? Cleaning is a never-ending circle of tidying up – it gets messy again – you tidy it up – it gets messy again. It does my head in. Having a dog, a cat and a toddler admittedly doesn’t help. Some days it feels like they’re having some sort of contest on who can mess things up the quickest. Or a combined effort to get mummy to lose her sanity in the shortest time possible.
I’m trying to follow “The Organised Mum Method”, with varying results. If I wasn’t as exhausted as I am, I think it’s a really good method. It’s just that there are days when I can’t actually bring myself to do it. Still, even following it halfheartedly has my home in better shape than it was before I did.
What do you do to keep your home tidy? Are you a domestic goddess?
So, the world sort of stopped for all of us, and now it’s suddenly June. I completely lost the plot there for a while, and to be honest with you I’m still kind of floundering. Motivation to do anything is low, and I’m feeling pretty down.
About a week or two after my last post the UK went into full lockdown. We were only allowed outside once a day for exercise (1-hour max), and for essential food and medication shopping. That was pretty much it. No seeing other family members not in your household. Everything was shut other than grocery stores pretty much.
As I’m writing this, we’re just starting to ease lockdown, but it’s still fairly strict. As of today (1 June) some children – not all – are going back to school. We’re allowed to visit the beach or park (no playgrounds) or see family (max 6 people total) outside in a park or garden – but only if we keep 2 metres apart. I personally can’t wait until we’re allowed to leave the Imp with her grandparents for an afternoon.
Entertaining a toddler at home is not easy. I don’t envy people with multiple children, I’ve struggled with just the one!
I worry about what the future holds, but I’m hoping things will improve. I just hope there’s not a second spike after lockdown starts easing (feels like it will be difficult to avoid though). My trip to visit family in Sweden is postponed indefinitely for now until it feels safe to travel, which makes me sad.
My writing has been up and down during the last three months, partly because of my mood in lockdown, partly because the Imp’s sleep varies greatly, and partly because I’m honestly just lazy and want to watch Netflix some evenings.
I finished my novella for the ONC, and made it through three rounds and onto the Longlist – but didn’t then make it onto the Shortlist. However, I’m quite pleased having made it that far as I never thought I’d make it to the Longlist even.
In actual words written, this will now be for the last three months. Let’s have a look!
Total work/words for March-April-May Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapters 9-17 (16 697 words) ongoing Shadows & Lace: Chapters 5-20 (27 883 words) complete A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapter 2+3 (4633 words) ongoing One-shot scene for Bowstrings & Velvet: 3039 words
While Shadows & Lace is technically finished – I do want to go back and flesh it out a bit more since it was rushed to hit the contest deadline. When I do that, I will probably also do the editing.
I also made a collection book for the whole Spellbound universe where I’ve added the one-shot scene, character lists, world history etc. I’ve not bothered adding the words for that, since most of it is just lists and such anyway, so not exactly fiction writing.
So in a moment of stupidity, I managed to delete the blog for a while. Fortunately, my host was able to retrieve it from a backup – but I did lose a lot of links to old photos. I don’t think a lot of people look back at old posts, so shouldn’t be too bad. Still frustrating though.
When I got it back, I decided to change the colour scheme slightly. If you can’t remember, this was the old one – compared to what you see now. Minor changes, but it feels a bit happier and cheerier which is what I need.
I also updated the Writing section slightly, mainly with images – which I hope won’t load too slowly! But it now has all of the most recent covers and blurbs for the stories.
The website in general is giving me some weird problems where it locks me out for a few days now and then. Not as in, I can’t login, but rather that I can’t even access it. Almost as if the host is blacklisting my ip from time to time. Very strange. (This is also the reason this post is a few days late, as I’ve only just now been able to get back on after the last lockout.)
What has everyone else been up to the last three months?
Today is a very special day – it’s the Imp’s birthday!
I can’t believe she’s 2 years old already! How did that happen!?
A few tidbits about our favourite imp…
She spent the first three months of her life refusing to sleep unless she was on my chest. When there she slept amazingly well. Me? Not so much.
Even after that, she wasn’t exactly a great napper/sleeper. She still isn’t. I’ve kind of given up hope of getting more than 4 hours of sleep until she’s a teenager.
She walked at 11 months and 3 weeks after spending a couple of months happily cruising along furniture.
She’s been such a boob-monster I swear her first word was the Swedish one for “boob”. (Tutte, if anyone is curious.) It’s possible that she was saying some bastardised version of mamma and daddy before that, but I’m fairly certain boob was her actual first word. I’m not quite sure what to make of that…
She came into the world tiny (2060 grams or ~4 lbs 8 oz) and 44 cm long. She’s still tiny. To the point where the health visitors are now reacting as she’s dropped off the lowest curve. She was steadily following the 0.4th centile for height but has now dropped below it, which is potentially concerning, I guess. She looks proportionate though. At 2 years old she’s now 75.5 cm tall and weighed in at 9660 grams (~21 lbs 4 oz). She’s still wearing the clothing size 9-12 months.
We celebrated her birthday mainly the day before on the Sunday with a little birthday party, inviting her little friends (and their parents). I made a train cake, and we had a little bit of a dinosaur theme (the second carriage of the train is transporting candy dinosaurs!).
And suddenly it’s March… Honestly, time does go much too fast at times. So, what have I been up to in February? Really, I’m asking, because I honestly can’t remember right now. I think I will have to look at my phone to figure it out…
I’ve managed to keep up my schedule on Wattpad of publishing one new chapter every week of Bowstrings & Velvet. I’ve also entered a little writing contest (Open Novella Contest), and I’m slowly slogging through my entry for that (not as quickly as I would have liked). Last week I also ended up publishing the first chapter of my historical romance (regency). I figured that if I can get any feedback there for now, it can help me with the revisions before releasing it on Kindle fully edited (and by then probably removing it from WP). But I’ll see, I haven’t decided on that one.
Total work/words for February: Bowstrings & Velvet: Chapters 4-8 (7389 words) ongoing Shadows & Lace: Chapters 1-4 (5128 words) ongoing A Midsummer Night’s Kiss: Revised and published chapter 1 (3158 words) ongoing
Another month of rubbish weather. I swear we had a storm here every single weekend. So a lot of indoor time again. Even at the farm we go to we ended up mainly indoors. Valentine’s happened. We didn’t do much, to be honest. I cooked a nice dinner and the Boyfriend brought home flowers and chocolate. With a toddler there’s not much romance, I’ll be honest.
Right now, I just feel like I’m waiting for the weather to turn so we can go outside and enjoy this beautiful part of the country where we live. I’d like to go to the seaside with the Imp and the dog. I’d like to visit a playground without having to bundle us up in ridiculous amounts of layers.
I haven’t even been watching much Netflix, there’s just no time. The boyfriend and I are re-watching Friends while eating dinner, and other than that all I’m watching is Picard (on Prime).
With a new year, I thought I’d get back into the habit of writing a monthly update with what I’ve been doing lately. For myself, if nothing else.
I signed up to Wattpad in 2017 but did absolutely nothing with it. Since I’ve decided that this year is the year I stop procrastinating (as much), I’ve started publishing some of my shorter things there. Some are ongoing, some are now done. I had a lot of old fantasy romance stories I wrote when young, and I had the idea to combine them all into the same universe (which is a merger of the old ones) and loosely link them all. So far I’ve updated an old one called A White Rose, and I’m writing a new one called Bowstrings & Velvet which I update every week.
Total work/words for January
Bowstrings & Velvet: Prologue + 4 chapter (7756 words) ongoing A White Rose: 4 chapters (10 159 words) complete Day of Farewell: Flash fiction (933 words) complete
The weather has been absolutely rubbish in January. We’ve managed two visits to a playground, and one visit to the farm that we go to a lot, other than that it’s all been indoor activities. A lot of soft play areas! Swimming once. A couple of times to mini gym/mini movers. Then we’ve hung out with our friends and tried to keep ourselves entertained at home. I really hope the weather will improve soon!
She’s starting to talk more, even if more than half of it still sounds like gibberish. I suspect that she knows what she’s saying, only we can’t make it out. I think she’s a tiny bit behind on speech, but it’s supposedly common in bilingual children. That said, she speaks a lot more English than Swedish, but I guess that was unavoidable considering that we live in England. However, she fully understands either from what I can tell. (It’s not like she will do what I say if she doesn’t want to…)
I’ve finished (and really enjoyed!) The Good Place on Netflix. It was such a good show. If you haven’t seen it, you really should. I’ve also started watching the new Picard show on Amazon Prime, and while it’s not quite like the old Star Trek shows, I’m quite enjoying it. Another good show I’ve seen lately is Sex Education on Netflix. There’s a Swedish guy in it, which always cracks me up. His accent is very Swedish!
Oh, and The Witcher. I had mixed feelings about it initially, but I have to admit that the show grew on me. Henry Cavill as Geralt didn’t hurt… Since then I’ve been listening to metal versions of “Toss a Coin to your Witcher” on YouTube. Someone, send help…
Nothing else interesting has happened really. Between the imp and writing, there is little to no spare time left (and as you can tell, I spend it binge-watching Netflix!). I’m trying a new approach to keeping on top of housework, which is always difficult for me with CFS and fibromyalgia causing lack of energy and pain to steal my momentum. Still, even while I’m not managing to follow the program fully, I feel like I’m a lot more on top of the cleaning than I was in 2019. Fingers crossed that I can keep it up.
In just over six weeks the Imp will be two years old. It’s hard to imagine. There’s this weird thing when you have a child where on the one hand you feel like they’ve always been around, and on the other, you wonder where the hell the time has gone, were they not a newborn like, last week?
I realise that my writing about the Imp might not be overly interesting to all, and I fully understand that. Other people’s children are only so interesting really. Though more interesting, funnily enough, once you have one. This surprised me. I also find it difficult to know how much to share, since I do want to respect her privacy (ignoring that teenagers and young people these days seem to share absolutely everything online, so who knows what it will be like by the time the Imp gets to that age?). Sometimes I feel like I’m “proud momma” who wants to plaster photos of her cute monster everywhere, while at the same time I don’t really want to put her photo up all over the internet. It’s why, as she’s gotten older, I’m generally trying to only post photos now and then, and usually ones where you can’t necessarily see that much.
Anyway, as I’m approaching the day she turns two, I wanted to write down a few of the things she does. She’s a proper little monster. Again, I realise this is only interesting for… Well, probably me as I will come back and read this in the future, and possibly some of my family.
Why is she a little monster you no one ask?
Proof 1: The other week I found her in the cat’s litter tray together with some of her Duggee figurines. They were having a bath apparently. Cat litter all over the floor. I need an anti-bacterial shower. Like in the movies when they walk through that tunnel and get thoroughly sprayed.
Proof 2: Any time she can make it into the kitchen (there’s usually a gate locking her out) she will throw whatever she can in the dog’s water bowl. Like her toys, or kitten plush, or her feet! When I tell her off she just laughs in my face. She really respects me, people.
Proof 3: I left her in the living room for a few minutes watching nursery rhymes while I quickly washed up some dishes. I popped my head around after a couple of minutes (like I always do) to find her sitting in her high chair. It should be noted that when I left her she was on the floor…
Proof 4: She will tell the cat off whenever he’s on any furniture, loudly exclaiming “NO!” and waving him off. She will also chase him through the flat. Also the dog. The poor animals. (Yes, I do tell her off… See point 3.)
Proof 5: When she’s finished eating she can’t just… you know… Finish. She has to chuck any remaining bits on the floor. Including mug, plate and half-eaten yoghurt.
Still, I love my little monster. She can obviously be very lovely as well. And the truth is she’s probably no worse than any other toddler. They’re just little nightmares the lot of them.
The holiday period for us was quite busy, but not necessarily in a bad way. Our tiny flat was filled to the brim with visitors as my dad, his wife and two of my siblings came to celebrate Christmas with us. It was crowded, but a lot of fun!
Being a weird Swede, I’m used to celebrating on Christmas Eve, so with my family in town, we invited the boyfriend’s parents over and treated them to a Swedish style Christmas dinner. It included things like meatballs, sausages, potatoes, Christmas ham/gammon, fermented herring, egg halves, ribs and a home-made schnaps that my dad made from vodka and spices. I think it was fun, and while part of me just enjoyed getting to eat all the Swedish goodies, I also enjoyed sharing some of our traditions (and food) with my new English family. (And the Imp, but she’s a terribly picky eater at the moment and basically only ate sausages.)
Christmas Day we all invaded the boyfriend’s parents’ home for a more traditional Christmas lunch and presents. I say traditional, I don’t think theirs is entirely traditional as I saw no turkey! Amazingly we managed to fit a full 10 people (or 9,5 if you consider the size of the Imp) in their small lounge for presents. With that many people, presents took forever, but we had nothing better to do anyway. And it’s nice to see what everyone else gets. The Imp was so happy about anything she got, that she completely lost interest in unwrapping more presents, and would instead walk off with her latest discovery. This did not help with the speed for getting things unwrapped.
On Boxing Day (last day for my family before returning to Sweden), we all went out to our favourite restaurant for a meal. The Imp, true to her favour of beige food at the moment, ate nothing but chips (fries for those of you not British). I tried giving her some peas the other day. She put one in her mouth, promptly spat it out and started brushing off her tongue as if she had burnt herself. And when I tried to at least add a bit of pineapple to her favourite lunch (cheese toastie… we’re hitting all the major food groups here, people!), she just said “Yuck!” and wouldn’t eat it. I honestly don’t know what to do with this child and eating anymore.
But I digress.
Once full on chips the Imp no longer wished to participate at the table, so like the good mother (*cough*) I am, I brought up Netflix on my phone and she watched a bit of Chip & Potato. She then entertained our whole section of the restaurant by laughing her head off at a part of the show where the main character is running around/chasing the other. Apparently things running is hilarious. I swear she laughs at it every time.
After my family went back to Sweden the flat was blessedly empty. We loved having them here, but there’s something to be said of just being on your own for a bit too. New Year’s passed by without much ado. We didn’t do anything as some plans we had tentatively considered fell through, and so we spent the evening/night at home. The Imp, true to her aversion to sleeping, was awake at the stroke of midnight to toast the new year. We then all went to bed together.
So, only a week and a bit too late… But Happy New Year!
The Imp and I went to Sweden at the start of November and stayed until December 1st, so we’re only just back in the UK, really. While in Sweden I attended my grandma’s funeral, which was incredibly sad, yet a beautiful service. I’m glad that I could get there and pay my respects, even when living in another country. There’s always a fear of missing out on important events when living far away.
During the rest of the visit, we saw family, visiting my dad for a weekend and one of my sisters for another weekend. There was snow for a few days, but a good couple of weeks were just gray and dreary with rain every day. Those days were absolutely miserable.
I’m frustrated by myself and my lack of writing – both on the blog and otherwise. I was never a very prolific blogger, but since the Imp it’s been pretty dismal. In my last post I mentioned having written a chapter for a novella, that’s about as far as I got since after that the Imp decided that sleep was not something that she needed. Suddenly her already rubbish evenings turned into a flurry of “no I will not sleep until 11 pm at the earliest”, and I would most commonly fall asleep with her or shortly after. Even the odd evening when she did fall asleep I got nothing done because I was either exhausted or expecting her to wake up any moment (which she often did).
Four (and two more nearly through) teeth later, and it looks like there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel. She’s actually been asleep by 9 pm a couple of evenings now. I won’t hold my breath, but if I can at least get a couple of hours to myself in the evenings again, maybe I can get some writing in. Wish me luck!
Our one week in Spain turned out really nice. There was quite a bit of running after the Imp as there was an open pool in the garden, but between three adults it worked out well. We took it easy most of the time, lounging at the house and in the pool, with only trips to the grocery store and twice to the beach. I think everyone just wanted a break, and it was lovely. The Imp, unfortunately, decided during the holiday that she hated the car seat, the highchair, and the buggy – so we had quite a few battles whenever we needed to go anywhere!
I’ve already booked my next holiday, which will be a trip back home to Sweden in November. Sadly it’s due to wanting to attend the funeral for my grandmother who passed away a couple of weeks ago. She ended up in the hospital while we were in Spain, but seemed to be doing better as we came back. I was on standby to book a ticket to come home sooner if needed. Then suddenly she took a turn for the worse, and then she was gone. It’s all very sad, but I’m glad that at least I can make it for the funeral. It’s instances like these that bring it home that I’m far away from my family, and it makes me miss them even more.
In completely unrelated news, I’m trying my hand at writing fiction again. It’s been absolutely forever, other than some fan fiction a few years ago, and currently, it feels about as easy as squeezing water from a rock to get the words to flow – but I am persisting. Hopefully, the writer’s block will subside if I can keep at it. I just need the Imp to sleep a bit better, so that I have more time to actually write. To sort of get myself back into it, I’m not jumping right back to my old Regency series, instead trying to write a little novella with a Christmas theme (still Regency romance). I’m considering publishing a chapter every week or so on Wattpad and/or blog as I finish them. Then for Christmas 2020, I’ll have it revised and properly edited, and maybe release it as an e-book.
We shall have to see how it goes. I only started yesterday so I only have one chapter so far. Wish me luck!
I’m not entirely sure how it happened, but suddenly the Imp turned a year old on Saturday. How has it been a year already? It’s been a wonderful year, with little sleep, but a lot of love.
The Imp was born at 37+1 after an induction, following doctor’s recommendations due to growth restriction. She just wasn’t growing as she was meant to, and after a few weeks of regular check-ups (towards the end I was going every other day to check her heartbeat/that she wasn’t in distress), it was simply time to get her out. I went in on Thursday around noon for an induction, and the Imp was born on the Friday at 22.57.
I remember going into labour with practically no sleep due to the contractions starting Thursday evening, but managed a little nap in my room in the labour ward after being given my first bout of painkillers. Which was lovely. Less lovely when it wore off. I tried gas and air, some people swear by it – but I’ll be honest, it did nothing for me. I could as well have been breathing in regular air for all it did.
Having a low pain threshold and just not being a brave person (I’ve always feared the idea of giving birth, for as long as I can remember), and the fact that induction contractions are really bloody painful – I ended up having an epidural. Say what you want, but I don’t think I’d have managed without it. The drip to induce labour was bringing the contractions on quite strongly. There was quite a bit of fiddling up and down with it as well, because baby would become distressed if they put it too high, and if they lowered it nothing happened.
Eventually they seemed to find the magic formula though, and I was allowed to start pushing. It took awhile, and towards the end it seemed that she got stuck, and I just couldn’t quite get that last stretch over the finish line. I ended up with an episiotomy, and out she came! She was a tiny little thing at 44 cm and 2060 grams (just below 4 lbs 8 oz). We stayed in the hospital for a week since she was too little to breastfeed properly, so she had to be tube fed. We kept practicing though, and we finally cracked the code, and she became quite adept at it!
I look back on that first week now a year later, and I’m so glad it’s behind me. I hated being in the hospital. After about three days I was starting to go stir crazy. It felt like the whole day was a never ending circle of expressing, sterilising, and feeding. I’m so glad that the breastfeeding eventually worked.
Now, as a one year old the Imp is still relatively small. She’s wearing 4-6 months clothing (but I have high hopes that she’s about to grow into the 6-9 months clothing soon), but other than being small seems to hit most goals. We’re not quite there yet, but she’s started walking a few steps. At most she’s walked a few metres across a room, which is quite well done after all. She has four teeth, with another four on the way (at the same time!). Her talking is possibly a little bit behind, but I’m told it’s quite normal for bi-lingual children, so I won’t worry about that (yet).