31 August 2014

Flying high up in the air - parenting differences between mums and dads

We went out to the park the other day to enjoy the last rays of sunshine and warmth. While we were there I also got thinking about the differences in parenting styles.

mum throwing baby in the air

We gave her a whirl and threw her up in the air. We let her enjoy the thrill of flying, her knowing that we were there to catch her when she falls. Because that is what parents do, isn't it? Let their children explore and be there to support them when they tumble. Be there for them, no matter what.

dad throwing baby in the air

When I looked at the way we interacted with our daughter I started to think about the differences in parenting styles mothers and fathers have. Maybe it is just me, but I do find I am the more timid, the more cautious, and the more careful parent. I am afraid that something might happen, that she might fall and hurt herself. I don't throw her up in the air, not really, I keep her close, like she is still my little baby.

My husband on the other hand lets her explore. Lets her try out new things, lets her have an adventure, lets her jump on the sofa without holding her hand in case she falls. He throws her up in the air, higher and higher. I find men often have that type of parenting style - more relaxed and carefree style, allowing their children to explore and try new things without being overly cautious.

Maybe that is the right way, and the better way, because you let your child become themselves, and learn themselves, from their own mistakes.  Someday we all parents need to learn to let go, and let our children be themselves and use their own wings to soar high, up in the air.

Even if I would forever want her to be my little baby :)

Do you notice differences in parenting in your family?

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29 August 2014

Dungarees in the Park: Baby OOTD #1

Who wouldn't love a pair of dungarees? Especially on a baby?

baby wearing dungarees Marks&Spencers
Dungarees Marks&Spencers, hoodie Mayoral, shoes Clarks

I have to confess something. When it comes to baby clothes and matching outfits on babies, I am a bit of an enthusiast. I love mixing and matching and trying to come up with cute combinations for my daughter. I often think she is better dressed than I am. Additionally, her wardrobe is bigger than mine (and I am not over-exaggerating here).

baby on a swing

When she was but a wee little newborn, she had so many clothes we could have survived without a washing machine for two weeks, maybe even more. We used to get loads of baby clothes as gifts and I did occasionally go overboard with buying all those cute little pink outfits... We still get quite a few baby clothes from my (slightly shopaholic) mother and I still do occasionally go into overdrive when I see cute dresses. 

baby in a park

So, because I am quite into dressing up my baby, and I do love taking pictures of her, I thought every once in a while I would do Baby OOTD posts. OOTD stands for 'Outfit of the Day' for those of you new to the blogging world. Mind you, it is tricky taking outfit pictures of a toddler, since what I usually find in my viewfinder is the back of her head, toddling off to do something more fun!

clarks first shoes baby

If you have done any Baby OOTD posts why not link up and add your link as a comment - I'd love to see other baby outfits!

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27 August 2014

How I became a working mummy: my professional background

I've always thought that learning a bit more about the blogger/writer behind the posts and pictures is interesting, so I figured it would be good to explain a bit more about who I am and about my background.

mirror selfies of work wear
Blogging old school style - mirror OOTD's! This is what I wear at work.

I moved to London in 2006 to start my BA. I didn't really know what I was doing when I applied to university, and I applied to a wide variety of "fun" courses. I got accepted to a few universities, in London and in Scotland and Wales, and after lots of Googling and university ranking lists decided to go to London. Over the summer time I started to think a bit more about what I want to do and how to achieve it. Once I got to the university I promptly changed my degree into something I felt was more business oriented and would help me to have a professional career.

At university I became super-focused on starting to build my career. No Sir, I wasn't going to just go to university and learn something academic and write a few essays, I would build up my skills and explore different professions. I started my first year with some investment banking and law work experience. Determined to tick all the recruitment boxes for future summer internships I ran a large university society with links across the business community in London. During my summer holidays I did a bit of project management, a bit of finance, a bit of law and a bit of academic research, just to try out some different avenues. I also traveled abroad, volunteered, and worked at my university. As you can imagine, I was rather busy doing it all and trying to keep my grades up. It was quite an interesting (and slightly stressful) time to be in London with the financial sector (and all the adjoining sectors) in a melt-down. Lots of friends got burned, but eventually things started to get better and people started to find jobs.

After graduating with MSc, I started to look for work opportunities. A small company hired me to do research and off I went on building my career. After a while I felt like I needed something more, a bigger employer, and more opportunities. I was also aching to start a family. It all made for quite an easy decision - as my career felt like it was in a bit of a hiatus, we thought it would be a perfect time to start trying for a baby. Lo and behold, pretty soon I was pregnant, and waiting for my maternity leave to start.

more work outfits pictures
My work week OOTD - last one is the casual Friday outfit

Once on my maternity leave I started to think of other options. What would I do? Would I go back? I always thought that I would take a short maternity leave, maybe a few months, and then move back to work. After meeting our little sweetheart it all changed - I couldn't leave our little bub, not yet anyway, and decided to stay home as long as it would be financially feasible. Mind you, as I only got SMP I knew it wouldn't be for too long. I didn't want to go back to my old place of work so I started to look for other opportunities. 

During my maternity leave I started my job hunt. It was a long slog of applications, psychometric tests, interviews, and full-on assessment centres... Eventually those long nights of typing cover letters, those long buggy walks my husband did that allowed me to concentrate on calculating percentages, and those quick breast-pumping sessions in the toilets in between multiple interviews paid off and I got an offer letter.

At times, I wished I had an intra-venous caffeine drip. After staying up all night with a teething baby, going to those interviews all bleary-eyed was one of the most exhausting things I had done. But I succeeded. In fact, I did it twice, and was in the great position of choosing between two offers. After lots of thinking and lots of emailing back and fro and calling both places and making multiple pros and cons lists I made up my mind, negotiated a start date to coincide with the end of my SMP, and focused on enjoying my last few months back home with my baby.

pictures of my work bag and shoes
And some details - I'm no style blogger (for obvious reasons...) but didn't want to publish such a long post without any (sort of) relevant pictures

After all this waffle I guess you might be interested in what I am doing now. Well, I work in an analytical role for a large employer in central London. Let's leave it at that, as I've never been a fan of mixing my professional and social networking spheres together. But I can say that, although being a working mummy doesn't come without its challenges, I am very happy where I am and see it as a great place to build a rewarding career and little by little move on to bigger and better things.

So that's that for my professional background.

Would you be interested in reading about my musings on combining motherhood and a career?

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25 August 2014

The two favourite pictures of my daughter

These are two of my favourite ever pictures of my daughter. We were at our local park, enjoying the golden hour and I snapped these beauties as she turned to face to sun and enjoyed the warm summer wind.

It reminds me of the quote: “A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.” by Max Müller. 

The sun peeked through the clouds. She faced the sun and smiled, the warmth of it caressing her cheeks. She was happy.

She is my sunshine that helps me blossom, and she lives because of our love.

Everytime I see these pictures they make me smile. In them she has just turned 13 months, and is wearing a dress I made 15 years ago in school. These pictures keep on popping up everywhere - the first one (in black and white) is on my mouse mat at work so I see it everyday, and it never fails to bring a smile on my face :)

24 August 2014

Our family picnic out in the sunset at Forty Hill

We decided to have a little family picnic at our local beauty spot - Forty Hill. It was one of those days, when it was just too hot to do anything. Then the night came and we still hadn't done anything. Not really gone out, not really done anything useful. It was time for a dinner, and soon bed time routine would start.

dad and daughter at forty hill

picnic basket

Then it just came to me - let's dine al fresco. I had bought us a picnic basket ages ago, and we had never used it. We had a picnic blanket, some scones, what more would we need. Well OK, a few more bits I rushed out to our local convenience store to get, such as cornish clotted cream... But anyway.

forty hall enfield picnic jam and scones

mummy and daughter eating a scone, daughter looking at mum

We rushed out and set our blanket and basket up by our local heritage site. We could hear the geese quacking and honking at the near-by pond. It was cool but not too cold. Our daughter sat on our laps. We sat down to munch our wraps, and eat our scones and there it was. Our perfect, little, ordinary picnic. Not planned, not thought out, just one of those ordinary moments you want to remember for years to come. Munching on a scone and breaking off pieces of yours to give to your toddler who always wants what you are trying to eat. Not having to rush anywhere. Enjoying the scenery and the company. The air was clear, and the sun was setting, and the birds were flying above the park. An ordinary little picnic to keep in our memories.

mum holding baby girl and smiling

Have you ever been to Forty Hill?

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23 August 2014

On the Yyteri beach: in Finland

Here are some pictures from Yyteri, a place some people consider to be one of the best sandy beaches in Europe. These are located in Finland and I used to come here often as a kid. 

stokke mycarrier on a beach

My baby and I went on a quick holiday to Finland a while back to see my folks. It was lovely, althought I did feel like I needed another holiday right afterwards just to recuperate from the previous. We were on the move just about every day, seeing family, meeting friends, going sightseeing, enjoying oudoor concerts at a jazz festival... Every day. It was fun, but exhausting.

yyteri beach sandy beach in finland

One evening we went to the beach front near my parents second home. We used to live near that beach when I was little so I have many fond memories of building sand castles and wading into the sea, sun shining into my eyes. I wish Aili will get those memories too. We walked on the beach barefoot, enjoying the breeze and sea air, feeling the squishy sand between our toes. It was cold though, so instead of going for a swim and turning into ice lollies we popped in a cafe to have an one.

yyteri sandy beach in finland

I wish I lived near a sea front. I'd love to do this more often, not to mention that carrying a baby and walking in sand, up and down sand dunes, felt like a great work-out. I could definitely feel it in my thighs. I would be fit no time!

stokke mycarrier yyteri beach

Have you ever been to Yyteri?

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21 August 2014

The first night away from my baby - a business trip to Antwerp

I recently went on a business trip to Antwerp. Before going I was in two minds about it.

Antwerp at night fall

On one hand I was quite worried what would happen back home - I have never been away overnight and I would be gone day and a half in total, leaving on Monday morning and returning on Tuesday evening. Not that I was worried about my husbands capability of taking care of our daughter, he cares for her every day, but I am still breastfeeding, once or twice a day usually, and I was wondering how would she react not having her usual night time milk and mummy cuddles.

On the other hand, I was looking forward to the trip because of two reasons - an undisturbed sleep and a lie-in. I was planning to be really sensible. Get to the hotel in the evening, eat a nice meal at the hotel restaurant, maybe grab a glass of wine, get to bed early and enjoy my glorious sleep. 14 months as a mother have really hammered it home how treasured those nights without any interruptions are.

antwerp ferris wheel

Well. I got to the hotel 9PM, decided to go and explore the city as I've never been to Antwerp, saw the sights, got a take-away pizza and a beer, and got to bed well past midnight after some Twitter, Facebook and Instagram surfing. Woke up at my usual time (6.30AM) so that was that for a good night of sleep.

How was it then back home? Apparently absolutely fine. She fell asleep fine, woke up in the night time and it took an hour and a half to get her back asleep, but in the morning she was her usual perky self. When I got back home in the evening she didn't seem at all confused or upset about me having been away.

antwerp unesco world heritage site

And how was it for me? To be honest, it wasn't as bad as I expected. I thought I might be a bit upset, but I wasn't. I knew she was well taken care of and my husband sent me lots of cute pictures of her. My real problem was that I had forgotten to bring a breast pump - big mistake! I had to "relieve" myself in the shower and at the airport, and I was still extremely uncomfortable once I got back home.

antwerp statue unesco world heritage site

Even if it all went well I am glad regular travel is not part of my job description. As a one off it was fine, but if it was regular I think I would really start to resent being away from my family over-night. Kudos to all those families for whom this is part of their everyday lives - I don't think I could do it. I was glad being back home, back with my little family, reading my baby girl her night-time story, giving her a big cuddle and kissing her good night. That is what I want for my life.

(Even if those few hours of my own time were nice and Antwerp was pretty they were nothing compared to the adorable smile and soft cuddle waiting for me back home!)

Have you been to Antwerp?

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16 August 2014

Lollibop 2014 - a kids festival in London!

We went to the Lollibop Festival today - it was loads of fun! Lollibop Festival is a kids festival, with loads of things for the little ones to do. As the festival is aimed for older kids, and our little one is still little (14 months of age), I was a bit worried there would be nothing for her to do, but thankfully I was wrong.

baby playing with lego

We checked out the Lego-stand, and our lollibopper stacked some Lego-lollies. Checked out some music and dancing tents too, and Itsy Bitsy Strictly Dancing got her pretty excited. On the main stage the acts got her jiggling too, she loved the music performances. The animals (little chicklings and geese and others) got excited squeals, it was such a shame we missed the Animal Man in the Natural Geography tent. We were there just half a day as we had some previous engagements, but I think we could have easily spent the whole (or almost the whole) day there.

Lollibop Festival

Lollibop Festival crowd

Had picnic out - now what kind of a picnic would be complete without scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam? Tommee Tippee and Organix crisps courtesy of our daughter of course.

Lollibop Festival main stage and crowd
Look at that crowd - amazing!

The atmosphere was quite fun - it really did feel like Glastonbury for kids, with the masses of families and huge audience for the main stage, with lots of little activities going on everywhere. Just look at that crowd of kids, all dancing and bopping to the music, it really looked like a massive rock festival for kids.

Funny that, I would never have thought that I would go to a kids festival, or that going to one would have excited me that much. The thing is, you just get so much delight from looking at the reaction on those little faces, you would pretty much do whatever and go anywhere they find fun. Spending the day out at one giant baby-friendly "Glastonbury" sure was fun for the parents too!

How did you find it?

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15 August 2014

Welcome to my blog!

I figured the best way to start this blog would be for me to introduce myself, my family, and tell you a bit more about what this blog will be all about.

I've blogged on and off (mainly on) for donkeys and I love it as a hobby. I've gained new friends, exchanged opinions on matters close to my heart and just had loads of fun writing about things I care about. Blogging has helped me to develop my writing skills, and has made me into a better photographer. I have even learned a tiny bit of techie stuff while fiddling with the look of the blog. It would be a push to call it coding, but you know, techie stuff. Long story short, I guess my main point is I love blogging and am here to stay.

The reason I decided to start a new blog was that my old blog didn't feel like "me" anymore. Do you know the feeling when you meet up with an old friend, and realise you have grown apart and the two of you have little to talk about? That is what I started to feel like. I started my old blog in 2008 when I was an expat student, and while I had lovely readers and a little community, my interests had moved on. I wanted to move on to blogging about parenting and baby stuff and all that connected with being a mum. So here we are, clean slate and all.

Anyway, that's enough about my old blog and let's move to more interesting things, like my new blog! I also wanted to quickly introduce myself to you.

This is me and our daughter

A super-short biography of my family and I

I am originally from Finland and my name is Sanna. My husband is a born and bred Londoner. We met on a chair lift in Chamonix, France in 2006. Luckily for our little family, a week before that I had submitted my UCAS application to study in UK and half a year later I ended up in a London uni. We picked it off from where we left it in France. After a few years we got married and June 2013 our daughter Aili was born. Now I work full-time and my husband stays home to look after our child.

This is my husband

What this blog will be about

This blog is about the London life of a career mum, stay-at-home dad, and a toddler girl. You could call it a parenting/lifestyle blog I suppose. I love photography and capturing those wonderful little everyday moments our family shares, and that will be one part of this blog. Occasionally I also want to share my thoughts about a wide variety of parenting-related topics, and maybe even share some tips and tricks on how to stay sane in the midst of it all! As it is such a big part of my life, finding balance between career demands and family life will surely feature in as well. My husband might every once in a while pop by as a guest writer and share his experiences of being a dad at home. Other than that, I have lots of ideas for the blog, such as monthly features and am very excited about it all!

You might also wonder where the name for my blog comes from. "Wave to mummy" is what my husband says to our daughter every morning when I am leaving for the day. We thought it was quite an apt name for the blog, with this blog being about our life as a working mum / SAHD family.

So, welcome to my brand spanking new blog, and I hope to see you here again.

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