How To Afford Designers Things.

It is the holiday season and several parties to attend or host and you want to look a million dollars without spending millions on your outfits. Well now you can have that designer outfit or accessories you always wanted without paying the hefty price tag for it.

Material Box is a personal styling service that delivers pre-owned designer items at 90% off the retail price! Yes you heard that right and I couldn’t believe the quality of the items and how beautiful they were. They came package and had labels on them. At first I thought they were brand new items because of the the newness and freshness of them. There was no visible wear and tear on the ones I got.

Another reason I love this service is that they assign you a personal stylist. Mine was called Dana and she wanted to know parts of me I would love to flatter and parts I’m happy to show off! After asking questions about my likes and taste in fashion she put together a box for me and I loved everything in it. She chose a C/MEO Collectives for me and it was perfect because although I don’t like my bingo wings, I do love my top arms so the blouse had cold shoulders. The open back details said “I’m sexy but classy”. The sleeves had slits which is perfect if you are someone like me who loves to wear jewelries.

You get one box each month containing 5 items. I had a Burberry silk scarf, a Prada handbag, a Max Mara coat and a J Brand jeans. All items were right up my street. You can keep some or all of them or return them. I am already looking forward to the next box. I am so excited to have found them!

On The 13th Day of Christmas.

Today I wanted to write about attending my kids Christmas concert in America for the 13th day of Christmas blogmas.

While I was working on the content it was dinner time and the kids said they didn’t like the dinner I had pre-made. They didn’t ask me for another one but seeing them eating bread and cereal was breaking my heart (p.s nothing is wrong with kids eating bread and cereal for dinner but I’m a big softy and I hate that I’m that way). So I went to start cooking something I knew they would definitely eat. A hot dinner. While trying to cook, the baby started crying and she won’t stay in her playpen, high chair or even allow the siblings to hold her. I had to carry her. Now that she’s getting bigger and longer, I don’t like carrying her in the front while cooking because one little knee jerk around hot frying oil could be dangerous. So I had to put her on my back.

While I was carrying her on my back and cooking, my back started aching. Then I remembered the deadline I had, the emails to send. I have a side business that isn’t related to blogging or instagram and I had to send something off in the next hour, my oldest daughter wanted to know where HER laptop was (I mean you used it last) and my son wanted help with his homework and suddenly I started feeling like I couldn’t breathe. It was all too much at that time.

In the midst of it all, all I could think about was that I’m sure I’m not the only mother feeling this way. Tomorrow morning I will dress up go for a lunch date, take a picture and post it and I look happy, perfect and collected. In as much as that is true, but at the moment, it was far from the truth. Normally it is hard to remember that picture takes just two seconds. Your smile and happiness is captured at that moment. The rest and previous times could be the same or totally different. In other words, we all loose our sheet* sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong not all days are like that. Maybe if they had eaten their dinner it won’t have been that way. Maybe if their dad was home from work to help it won’t have been that way. Maybe if I was a millionaire and have a full time nanny and probably a cook it won’t have been that way.

So I decided to not write about the winter concert today. There is going to be another one on Monday so that’s ok. I decided to start a new segment on the blog called “You are Not Alone Mama”. In this segments I will be posting real unadulterated feelings about motherhood and wifeyhood (if that’s a word). This is so that you know that you are not alone in your journey through motherhood. What you are feeling is not irrelevant. Many great women go through it on a daily basis. Even those with all the help go through psychological torture of guilt and feeling like they are not good enough.

Some of us have mastered ways of coping overtime. Like soldiers we are constantly on survival mode. My best friend always says she doesn’t know how I do it all. It’s not a choice for me. But like every soldier, we have our moments too.

Sometimes I would share things and ways of coping. One way to have coped with this evening experience was to order fast food meals for the family. Not having to cook would have taken that pressure away like 90%. Cooking is one of the hardest for us moms because it’s not just about giving the kids food it’s about the guilt of the kind of food. Is it healthy enough? Are they getting their nutritional quotas? You would have to shop (even online takes a while) prepare and cook the food and you do it day in day out. When it’s only you, it is exhausting. I have ordered pizzas and McDonald’s a few times because full tummy is better than no tummy. And as I was about to say just get that fast food I remembered the food service I was sponsored to post on my instagram account the other day.

The truth is I don’t have to talk about it here on the blog. But because I used it and it was indeed good and because of the promotion of getting a discount I’m going to. The service is called Yumble. They delivered home cooked nutritious meals straight to your door and you can have a two weeks worth in the fridge. Mistake I made was only doing it for the baby. For a 30% discount you can use the code: THELONDONMOM30 at checkout. Like I said I don’t have to mention the service here but they are the only one I’m currently working with to get discount for my mamas and papas (or if you just want cooked food!). I am sure there are other food delivery services out there. Taking that burden away from you is one way to cope in this crazy but wonderful journey of motherhood.

On The 12th Day of Christmas

Christmas is a time of good cheers and happiness. But how can you have good cheers when you have not slept properly. I can understand the frustration of some parents when they don’t get why some people are always smiling. What’s funny. I haven’t slept in like forever.

I do understand you, I honestly do. People say all kids are different that is so true. By six months old my two older kids had settled into their routines. They slept through the night and maybe occasionally wakes up for water or snack. Especially my son. He was really good. My oldest daughter wasn’t that to easy especially in the early part of the night.

My youngest baby is now 9 months and she hasn’t slept through the night once. To be fair, she’s not really fully awake, she grunts and if I don’t put food in her mouth (especially milk) she starts crying. Even from her sleepy state. So I understand you if you haven’t been sleeping. I understand the exhaustion. The bags under the eyes. The feeling of depression trying to sweep in. It’s hard. Especially if you don’t have full time help around the house.

I started sleep training her two weeks ago and I will update on that another time because I want to make sure the method is well tried and tested. But what I can say right now is that she wakes up for reassurance.

You are all they probably know. From the time they were in your womb. They can hear you, feel you, even smell you. Now that they are here, we expect them to just be detached from us and do so easily. It will take time.

I started exercising again this week and I mistakenly forgot my t-shirt inside her cot (problem of wearing too much whites – everything blends in). So when I put her to sleep I didn’t realize she was actually sleeping on my T-shirt. And she slept for a long time. Being that that was my exercise outfit, I had sweated on it. She could smell me, as if I was there with her inside her cot. Whenever she wanted to wake up, she would just go back to sleep. For the first time in a while, I slept for long.

I’m not going to be put smelling t-shirts inside her cot but I’m going something from me. A used but clean t-shirt. Something that still has my smell on it.

Another thing to remember is that sometimes we forget all this. We are busy with other things like making dinner, running a bath, checking homework and so on. To help remember, take a piece of clothing you don’t wear often, spray a little of your daily scent on it and leave it in the crib. That way even if you forget, there will always be something of yours for her to hold on to.

On The 11th Day of Christmas

On the 11th day of Christmas we went to Macy’s Santaland in Manhattan.

You have to book it and you could get a spot as early as 15mins. But we booked a week ahead. Seeing that it is a very popular experience during the holiday season for tourists and locals, we chose a Tuesday after school slot thinking that the queue (line) won’t be too long.

It was long. The total experience despite being on a Tuesday was about 2.5 hours.

There is a restaurant just in front of Santaland to sit down, get a coffee or snack and wait for your time slot.

I saw this beautiful lady and Mama was really her name! I asked if I could take her picture for my website and she smiled and said yes 😄

The food was very tasty and good value for money considering how everything else is expensive in New York City. After grabbing something to eat we proceeded to the Santa express. It was very long and tiring for the parents but the kids didn’t really complain so they must have loved it more.

The elves were cheeky, funny and brilliant!

There were lots of fun things to see and do along the way. So waiting wasn’t so boring.

Finally it was time to meet the big man himself.

You can request to see a brown Santa from the gate but I don’t really mind. We told the kids the original Santa was brown but we just love whoever puts on the suit.

The elf taking photos was very kind and if you ask him to take your pictures he will. Despite capturing this on my phone I still got the professional prints. It was our first time and I wanted it done properly. Maybe next year, something like these would be enough. Can I also point out that the final prints were very lovely. Even for rich ebony skin, it was beautiful. I never used to order prints from non brown photographers because of how they capture our skin tones especially those done on the spot but this one was perfect. So don’t worry, you can try one and I’m pretty sure you would love it. The whole photo package was very affordable.

Overall it was a very busy, tiring but extremely exciting day and we got to create some new memories.

**I wanted to take a quick nap before writing up the days experience after the baby slept, knowing she usually wakes up every few hours at night for feed and comfort. But tonight was different. She slept for 6 hours straight and I slept off too. Just woke up to feed her and maybe for the next blogmas I would share what I noticed made the difference tonight. It wasn’t because we were all tired, I always try to wear her out but it never worked. But this trick which was totally unplanned, did it. So come back for the 12th day of Christmas and hope you are getting into the Christmas feeling!

On The 10th Day of Christmas

Me and my daughters all ready to go see and smell some fresh Christmas trees while my son takes the photo

On the 10th day of Christmas we went shopping for Christmas tree. If you follow us on social media and watch our stories you would know that we already have a tree and seeing that we live in a small New York City apartment, we don’t have the luxury of having several Christmas trees.

Our Christmas tree

So why go shopping for trees when you don’t need one you may wonder. It is simple really. It is all for the experience. Although I love the idea of taking the kids to the farm to cut a tree (sorry my eco warriors) but I don’t like the actual real trees. It’s weird and confusing I know. I like the idea but not the reality of actually owning one. For one I don’t like the short lifespan. They are high maintenance. I can only grow and nurture children right now and that’s about it. We really want a puppy but I can’t handle extra responsibilities right now and watering a tree every morning in addition to solo parenting isn’t really appealing to me right now.

Also, they shed on the floor and attract bugs. You get this beautiful tree, decorate it. Hang your baby’s first Christmas ornaments. Take baby’s first picture with a tree. That tree has now become part of your family. It is part of your stories and memories. I don’t want to chuck it away after we are done. I want to keep it. I know I may or may not have attachment issues but I love sentimental things especially when it comes to the family. I got our last tree in London when I was single living in Manchester. It followed me all over the UK. I had my first Christmas as a married woman with my husband with the tree. My first born saw it and so was the second child. I know I don’t have a psychological attachment with the tree because when we had to relocate, I left it behind and moved on. Now we got another artificial one and we are creating new memories with it. Come to think of it, I think we should give her a name. Anyway moving on, so I wanted to give the kids the experience of a real tree. Just to see it and smell it. Feel it and we can go back to enjoy our faux tree.

Being that we live in the city with no farm and I don’t like to cause myself undue stress by traveling out of the city just to cut a tree, we made do of the ones that are sold on the curbside street markets. They promise to be freshly cut and I take their words for it. In fact we should thank them for doing all the hard work for us already.

After the experience we went for a walk saw and waved to a police officer riding on a horse. My kids love horses and police officers so it really made their day.

We then came back home to continue our tradition of watching a Christmas movie after homework and dinner. To add to that tradition, I have set up the google home mini to wake us up to Christmas songs every morning. And this morning was the first time and I must say it was beautiful. If you haven’t done this, try it. It sets the tone for the day and you find yourself walking around humming to jolly songs, smiling and looking happy. I particularly love the Beyoncé Christmas songs it played today. I’d forgotten that she did one. Was always used to the Mariah Carey’s one. I can’t wait for the 11th day of Christmas. I already know what this one will bring because it was a pre booked one but I’m hoping it brings many more adventure with it.