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Learning how to potty train boys

An English Mamma in Stockholm: how to potty train boys nappies diapers

A few weekends ago we packed the potty away. And I have to say that I am glad to see the back of it. The boys preferred to drag it into the playroom and sit on it there, like a throne. No, no, no. So, yes, the boys are (largely) potty trained. Such a huge relief, I can say, but also that it has been an interesting journey learning how to potty train boys.

There are still a few accidents here and there but it’s the toilet all the way now. The main thing that we learned was that we had a lot of learning to do before we could start to teach the boys.

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Weekly wishes – week 12

That first week back after a good holiday is always a strange one, isn’t it? You start the week a little confused at work but happy because you’ve been on holiday and then, by the end of the week, your holiday seems months back and you feel like you’ve never been away. Oh, well, the only thing to do in those circumstances is to get right on a plan the next trip. Which is what I did.

Weekly wishes last week

  • Take Online Marketing exam. NOPE – I just need to set aside an hour or so and just do this. Maybe tonight is the night.
  • Finish week 5 of the Bikini Body Guide. NOPE – the week was a disaster on the training front. I had managed to do something while skiing that made my weight-lifting all crazy at my training session on Monday and then I just couldn’t seem to find the time to train later in the week. Bad excuse.
  • Hand lettering practice. NOPE.
  • RAIN meditation at least once this week. NOPE – last week really was not good, was it?
  • Book a venue for O’s birthday party and start working on the theme he’s chosen. Some progress here, although not all positive as my top three venues have each been a No.
  • Investigate laser eye surgery. YEP! Appointment booked for the initial check-up the week after Easter.

The week

As you can see, not so great on the weekly wishes front, but I did do a lot of other things that I’ve not listed here. Really, I did. Including researching dinosaur-shaped pinata. Yes, seriously.

It was a week of dental appointments for us. On Tuesday I took the boys for their three-year and five-year check-ups. They both got the green light, and both now return in two years’ time. The following day I went back to there – same surgery, different dentist – but my appointment was not as positive. The usual lecture about flossing (which I don’t do – I know, I know…) and the joy of a 45-minute session with the hygienist to look forward to. “Luckily”, there was a cancellation for Friday afternoon, so I managed to get that slot (otherwise I would have had to wait until the end of June). I left there with the dentist’s words ringing in my ears: “It will hurt. A lot.”

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Skiing hairstyles

Skiing in Sweden involves helmets. Yes, it’s safety first each and every time in Sweden. But that means you need to think a little more about skiing hairstyles when you’re on the slopes.

And I overlooked that when we headed off to the mountains this past week. Since I had few hair accessories with me, I encountered a hair problem. During the past two years that we have skied, I’ve had short hair, so each morning it has just been a case of sticking on my helmet and away I go. (Everyone wears a helmet while skiing in Sweden. Seriously. Everyone.) This year, however, my almost shoulder-length hair caused a few more problems. If I left it down, then the ends flapped around underneath the helmet, irritating me and getting into my mouth. Putting it into a ponytail just meant that the helmet would not fit on.

I started to look around and see how others were solving it. And plaits or braids seemed to be the answer.

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Weekly wishes – week 11

I missed out on posting my weekly wishes last Monday. In fact, I missed out on posting at all last week. But I have a very good excuse. We were up in the mountains skiing for a week. And the wifi didn’t work.

My latest weekly wishes

  • Complete Online Marketing course. YEP – I’ve completed the course. Now I just need to take the exam.
  • As much of week 5 of the Bikini Body Guide as I can. I managed one training session this last week, but then we were skiing every day, so that counts for something, surely?
  • Hand lettering practice. NOPE – I took all my pens away with me this week, but I didn’t manage to get any practice done.
  • RAIN meditation at least once this week. NOPE, but for the first three nights in a row that we were away, I slept for at least 9 hours. 9 hours! Marvellous.
  • Book a venue for O’s birthday party. I emailed one venue but did not hear back. So this week, I’ll book the other place that I had in mind.

The week

Don’t ask me what I/we did the week before last as I truly cannot remember beyond “work”, but I can safely say that this past week was memorable and was all about skiing.

We headed up to Sälen on the Sunday morning and had fixed lift passes by 3pm, allowing us an hour or so of skiing before the slopes closed. Perfect.

The boys were in ski school during the week: E in Snöbollar (Snowballs), the youngest group, for just over an hour each morning, and O in Snöstjärnor (Snow stars), two groups up and for almost three hours each day. And even though he got sick and missed his final class on Friday, O was certainly a snow star and can now ski down green and blue runs with us, doing snowplough turns. This was the first time that E was taking lessons and he also did brilliantly. He just needs to work on stopping – I took a video, the end of which is slightly shaking as he cannons towards me as I shout “Brake! Brake! Bromsar!” at him.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: weekly wishes gsd salen sweden skiing slopes stora backen mountains tandadalen

An English Mamma in Stockholm: weekly wishes gsd salen sweden skiing tandadalen stuga reindeer chalet

I also did two hours of lessons with a ski instructor, which really helped with my technique. I’ve only had lessons a few times, firstly on school skiing trips and then, once in my twenties, and since then I’ve just skied as best I can and had a few tips from Husband (who is an excellent skier). So having proper lessons again was great and has improved my turns vastly. There is a world of difference between Husband telling me to “make your legs softer” and someone actually giving you step-by-step advice on how to do that.

We arrived back on Saturday, a day early, but worth it since it gave us a day to settle back in before real life started in earnest again.

Weekly wishes this week

  • Take Online Marketing exam.
  • Finish week 5 of the Bikini Body Guide.
  • Hand lettering practice.
  • RAIN meditation at least once this week.
  • Book a venue for O’s birthday party and start working on the theme he’s chosen (dinosaurs – fun!).
  • Investigate laser eye surgery.

So a fair few things to get done this week. Let’s GSD!

Linking up with Melyssa at The Nectar Collective.

The Nectar Collective
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Weekly wishes – week 10

We had a beautiful and, dare I say it, spring-like weekend in Stockholm this past week and that always helps to lift my mood. So here’s to a fabulous week ahead with sunny days and happy moods. It makes me feel confident for weekly wishes / GSD* this week.

Weekly wishes last week

  • RAIN meditation – NOPE, unfortunately I didn’t make this.
  • Complete Online Marketing course. NOPE, as I was confused and this week is actually the final week of the course.
  • Start week 4 of the Bikini Body Guide. YEP, and not only that, I did all three training days.
  • Work on hand lettering. NOPE, I didn’t manage to find time for this.

Not a great result on the weekly wishes / gsd front, but I am still so proud of completing the whole BBG week. And it showed when I trained yesterday; my trainer said that I am looking stronger than he has seen me for a long time. So I am particularly pleased about that.

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The Year in Books – March

Can I start by saying that I not only finished my February book but that I loved it too. I raced through the second half of July’s People by Nadine Gordimer in just two evenings as I didn’t want to put it down. And now I wonder why I didn’t read it before. Nadine Gordimer had an amazing ability to create a sense of unease in her writing and certainly throughout this book.

March’s book: Getting control of your emotions

I thought I’d go for a non-fiction book for this month though, and one that has been on my library reservation list for a few weeks: 10% Happier – How I tamed the voice in my head, reduced stress without losing my edge, and found self-help that actually works: A True Story, by Dan Harris.

An English Mamma in Stockholm:  a year in books dan harris 10% getting control of your emotions

After having a nationally televised panic attack on Good Morning America, Dan Harris knew he had to make some changes. A lifelong nonbeliever, he found himself on a bizarre adventure, involving a disgraced pastor, a mysterious self-help guru, and a gaggle of brain scientists. Eventually, Harris realized that the source of his problems was the very thing he always thought was his greatest asset: the incessant, insatiable voice in his head, which had both propelled him through the ranks of a hyper-competitive business and also led him to make the profoundly stupid decisions that provoked his on-air freak-out.

I’ve been meaning to read this book for a while but rereading the blurb recently, it resonated with me even more. I’ve been looking for ways of getting a sense of calm in my life, and since getting control of your emotions seems to be a major part of this book, I’m looking forward to reading about how Dan Harris did just that.

Linking up with Laura at Circle of Pine Trees

Circle of Pine Trees

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Weekly wishes – week 9

My main plan for weekly wishes this week: write better goals – ones that I can actually achieve. Hmmm, yes, I managed a big fat zero with my goals last week. Let me explain (or make excuses).

Weekly wishes last week

  • Start week 4 of the Bikini Body Guide. NOPE, as I was sick on Tuesday and it took me all week to feel better.
  • Mindfulness meditation. NOPE, and no excuse.
  • Work on hand lettering course and post on Instagram #betterhandlettering. Not really – a couple of days only.
  • Arrange a skiing day at Hammarby Backen. I did try with this one but when I looked for the weekend, I found that the snow had practically melted away and only one slope was open and it was a red one at that – not too good for getting O back into the skiing habit then.

The week

Another week of keeping my head down and week two of my Online Marketing course. I feel like I am learning so much – my notebook is filling up with notes and a lot of things are clicking into place now.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get too much done on the hand lettering course, but I’ve ordered a couple of books from the library and am hoping to get back into this once the Online Marketing course has finished, next week. I did a few practice sketches though.

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WIWW: The work casual outfit

As I was hit by a stomach bug on Tuesday and I was still a little shaky on Wednesday, my energy only stretched as far as business / work casual outfit for the office. But I like to think that my new hair colour more than brightened up the outfit.

At the beginning of the week I was at the hairdressers and had decided to go for a new, slightly less blonde look. It’s a mixture of copper and ash to give it some depth. And I love it. Unfortunately, I don’t love te bags under my eyes from too little sleep – please excuse those.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: wiww what i wore wednesday business work casual outfit

I was lucky in that Husband was on hand to take my photo, but unfortunately he did not get in much of my trousers. I bought them from Massimo Dutti a number of years ago and love them. Basically, I’d say they are pretty similar shape to MiH Marrakesh jeans, which I know because a year or so ago I bought a light blue pair of those because I love the Massimo Dutti ones so much and wanted a similar but lighter coloured pair.

The shirt is one of my purchases from Kingsley Heath when we were in Cape Town. And the bracelets are from Lindex/Min Stora Dag (the orange one) and courtesy of E (the multi-coloured one). Admittedly, the Lindex/Min Stora Dag one is a little tight since it is for children but I am trying to stretch it out a little to keep the blood flowing to my hand. And then I smartened it up with my old favourite black H&M jacket for the office.

Not as smart as I would usually wear to the office, but needs must.

Linking up with Lindsey at The Pleated Poppy.

the pleated poppy blog

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Weekly wishes – week 8

Last week was a bit of a selfish one for me: I kept my head down, trained, practised mindfulness and carried on with the courses I’ve signed up for. There is so much else going on at the moment that this felt like the best strategy for getting on. That said, it was only decent on the weekly wishes front.

Weekly wishes last week

  • Last day of week 3 of the Bikini Body Guide and start of week 4. HALF DONE – I finished week 3 but did not get a chance to start week 4.
  • Mindfulness meditation. YES! I finally managed one session of mindfulness and it really helped to settle my mind, which has been very preoccupied in recent weeks.
  • Work on hand lettering course. YES – I finished two more lessons of the course and have started on the 30-day challenge.
  • Plan some future posts. NOPE
  • Fix my G+ page. NOPE

Two and a half out of five is a decent result and far better than the past couple of weeks. It feels like I am getting back on track.

The week

I’ve been keeping my head down again this week, continuing on with the Online Marketing and Hand Lettering courses that I started last week. It’s worked out well timing-wise as well as Husband had to work late three evenings this week, so I was able to focus on the courses while he was working.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: weekly wishes hand lettering practice

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Further adventures in South Africa

When I left the story of our South Africa adventures, we were heading towards Hermanus, the centre of whale watching territory. The whales migrate in October and November, so we had missed them by a good couple of months, but we still encouraged them to keep an eye out for them whenever the road wound close to the water. That certainly was a good way to keep them occupied during the journey.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: adventures south africa hermanus cliffs beach western cape

Hermanus is a stunning place. Just look at that view. This was taken from a brilliant little playground by the cliff edge and close to Burgundy, a restaurant where we ate lunch that first day. I can highly recommend the seafood platter.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: hermanus south africa adventures modern art sculpture

We were staying at Blue Gum Country Estate for the next few nights and we had such a great time. We ate dinner there for three of our four nights and had the family part of the restaurant to ourselves. This area, which doubled as the breakfast room, opened onto the garden, so the boys were able to bounce on the trampoline, play in the sandpit and generally run and around and tire themselves out before bed while we got to eat at a more leisurely pace. I love places that plan their space well like this. We were able to have an enjoyable time without worrying about other diners, and the other diners certainly were!

An English Mamma in South Africa: blue gum eucalyptus tree stanford shrubs garden south africa

An English Mamma in Stockholm: blue gum stanford boys jumping trampoline south africa

Husband decided that he was keen to go shark diving one of the days (eek!), so he booked a trip out from Van Dyksbaai on a boat.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: van dyks baai shark cage diving seaweed south africa

Meanwhile the boys and I visited Danger Point Lighthouse (and climbed the top – no mean feat with two active boys and an incredibly spiral staircase, I can tell you) and hung out at Pearly Beach, spotting jellyfish in the rock pools.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: south africa pearly beach rock pools

We spent an afternoon pottering around antique shops – as best we could with the boys – in Stanford. The town is quite small but beautifully kept, with a handful of really good cafes, particularly Don Gelato ice cream parlour. If you’re in the Western Cape and spot a Don Gelato, try out the zebra ice cream. Well, actually, try out any of their gelato – it’s all amazingly good.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: stanford town mountains stop sign south africa

We also returned to Hermanus for a day of haircuts and fabulous food. If you go, make sure to stop by La Peltola. From the outside it doesn’t look like much but the food was amazing and staff were brilliant.

An English Mamma in Stockholm: la peltola south africa funny selfie

And here’s the diva again, showing off his sunglasses…

An English Mamma in Stockholm: south africa sunglasses toddler

We really enjoyed our time around Hermanus and the Overberg. In total we were there for four days and managed to find fun adventures each day.

And so, all that is left of our South Africa adventures to share with you now is our time in Cape Town. So until the next time…

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Three of my favourite Instagrammers

Last month I missed out on participating in answering the question posed by Victoria and Meg on The B Bar: what had I purchased in the past year that became invaluable. I really wanted to join in but it came close on the heels of our trip and I simply didn’t manage to find the time.

I was determined that I would not miss out of this new blog link-up this month though. And I am glad that I got my act together this time around because I love the question for February:

Who are your three favorite Instagrammers and why?

An English Mamma in Stockholm: my three favourite instagram accounts  instagrammers

I’ve made a conscious decision this year to participate more on Instagram and so I’ve started following new people and posting on there more frequently and commenting on others’ photos. I think Instagram is a wonderful community and, so far, I’ve seen little negative on there (apart from the odd “follow me for likes” accounts). I love looking at the snapshots of people’s lives.

I know it gets criticised sometimes for being too perfect, but I feel that as long as you accept at the start that it will mainly be the best of others’ lives on display there, the community is full of stunning and inspirational photos.

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