Notes From KL

It’s not snowing here. I’m pretty sure that it’s unlikely to snow here in the foreseeable future. That means that I am insanely jealous of all of the facebook and twitter pictures of everyone having snowfights and sledging.

In retaliation, I shall post pictures of Emmi, playing with the hosepipe taken on the same day as you were all out making snow angels. Bit of a contrast, no?

Taken by Chloe, on Sunday at the end of Max’s birthday party


It’s taken some time, but I think I’ve finally turned a corner with motherhood. It’s no secret that I’ve struggled with motherhood over the past year. It transpires that being a mother to a baby is not my thing. Being a mother to a toddler? Now *that*? That I can do. Stacking toys? Yes. Baking together? Yes. Dancing around the living room in our PJs to christmas music, despite it being mid-January? Yes. Yes Yes Yes. We also do a lot of ‘reading’ together now. By which, I mean, Emmi brings me a book and stands there shaking with excitement until I find a picture of a cat in it to show her, at which point the shaking becomes more violent and she lets out a high pitched squeal. And repeat. A book without a picture of cat in it is no book in Emmi’s eyes.

But back to the motherhood thing. Does everyone have an age that is their ‘motherhood time? Or is it just that some people (ie me) find baby-hood bloody hard work? Is it mother nature’s way of encouraging you to have another one, by making one part, at least, enjoyable?


My dad and step-mother came to visit over christmas. It was magical to see Emmi enjoying having them around. It’s the ONLY thing which makes me even think about moving back to the UK any time soon. Our parents and family are missing out on her growing up, firsts, new experiences.


Andy and I went away for a weekend for his 40th a few weekends back. My parents looked after Emmi, and she had a wonderful time being spoilt, swimming twice a day, and eating inappropriate amounts of e-numbers. I’m not sure she even noticed we were gone.

I spent the entire journey to the airport fretting and as the plane took off I convinced myself that I was going to die on the flight, and that Emmi would be left parentless, and oh-my-god-Andy-why-did-we-leave-her-we’re-awful-parents. And then we arrived at the hotel, and I got given a cocktail by a waiter, and I promptly forgot that I was even a parent. I did crazy things like drinking coffees without keeping them in the centre of the table to avoid a small child grabbing it and causing 1st degree burns to everyone in the vicinity. I went to the toilet on my own. Because I could. Sometimes twice.

I read three huge books in three days, and it was HEAVEN. I don’t ever let myself burn, mainly because I’m a wimp and I can’t sleep for days when I do because I’m oh-so-sensitve and the sheets grate my skin, but I got all giddy with the freedom and lay in the sun for too long and got burnt. It was absolutely worth it though, to reconnect as a couple, and remind ourselves that we’re more than just Emmi’s parents. And ultimately, we’re better parents for it.


A sample of the whatsapp conversations to which I wake daily (damn time difference)

AISLING: Phil wants to get the goldfish a friend because he looks ‘lonely’. HE’S A FISH.

ANNA: I’m with Phil. Heart of Iron.

AISLING: Oh Jesus.

ANNA: I’m going to form a fish support group. No fish left behind.

AISLING: Am I going to find you picketing outside Pets at Home?

ANNA: Blowing bubbles and wearing scales. Although, you never know. Your fish might be an angsty teen fish who wears black, wears an excess of eyeliner, and wants to be alone?

AISLING: Finding Emo

ANNA: Baaaaaaaaaaaaaa! Sheep Noise!

AISLING: So. Pleased. With. Myself.

ANNA: You deserve to be.

Can you think of a better thing to wake up to?


On the subject of waking up, I often stumble bleary-eyed into Emmi’s bedroom in the morning, wishing that she’d just have let me have five more minutes, cursing the day we became parents. And then, I come around the corner into her room, and she’s sitting there, sweet as you like, tightly clutching her teddy ‘Twinkle’, and smiling up at me as if I’m exactly who she hoped would be walking around the corner. Which, I guess I probably am, for the fact that I make her breakfast, (marmite on toast), if nothing else.

I’m pretty sure that the way babies smell in the morning when you first pick them up is some sort of magic. MAGIC I tell you. Because, at that point, Every Single Morning, as I pick her up, my heart melts, and I fall headlong in love, all over again.


Because I’m not sure how many more baby-related posts you can all take, and Stella is obviously going to be taking up the AOB mantle, I’ll be posting a lot fewer pictures here from now on. However Chloe and I have challenged ourselves to take a portrait of our babies children every week this year. Obviously Chloe’s are going to be a million times better than mine, but should you want to look at them, they’re at ‘Catch us if you can – what Emmi and Max did next‘. If by any chance you enjoy looking at pictures of vaguely cute toddlers doing their stuff, feel free to follow us on there.


Last but not least (I’m aware this post has gone on a bit) – if you are taking part in AOW Book Swap Extravaganza, (about which we are obscenely excited) you should by now have received your questionnaire (if you haven’t, shout. Loudly.) We need them all back by TOMORROW so that we can put them all into an enormous hat and draw out who is getting to send to who. No more excuses about it being too difficult to name your favourite book of all time…you can do this….

Ok I lied….one more thing…If you haven’t signed up already but you want to go to the marvellous Any Other Hen Do, go and leave a comment and we’ll make sure you get an invitation with alllll of the details.

Over and out from KL x

Categories: Behind the Scenes at AOW, Life, Written By Clare
45 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Alex
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    What a great day to start the day (have to wait till it’s almost noon in Dubai, but it’s my favorite moment of the day)! Thanks Clare! And those pics are just amazing! Love the ones where Emmi’s playing in water! And I can so understand your jealousy concerning the snow :)

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Alex I have to wait until 3pm every day – I try my hardest not to sneak peek a preview but sometimes the temptation’s just to strong!

      • Alex
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

        Clare, maybe you can start posting so that we get an early start?! :)
        And I agree to some comments below about Book Swap Extaraganza: hardest questions ever!

  2. Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    This is gorgeous Clare. I’m so glad you’re enjoying being a mother so much more now. I’ve been thinking about having a child for a little while now, but I still can’t get over my fear at the thought of being a mother to a baby. It just simply terrifies me.

    Also – AOW Book Swap Questionnaire = Hardest Questions Ever.

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:41 am | Permalink

      Fiona – I can honesty say, that FOR ME the first year of Emmi’s life was by far the hardest so far in my life. The thing is though, that now, having come out the other side, with a child that runs to me for cuddles, and brings me two non-matching shoes because she wants to go out, it all seems worth it. I now get it when people say that having children enhances their lives – I thought people had made that stuff up! So basically, what I’m saying is, it might be hard, but if kids are your thing, ultimately it will be worth it… (Ps please feel free to remind me I said this when I hit terrible twos)

  3. Mahj
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Aah Clare, how I have missed thee.
    Lovely post and photos, I’m still obsessing over Emmi’s cheeks! So squishy and lurvely.
    I reckon there was some point over Snow Week where I desperately wished that I was in KL rather than freezing my toes off here!


    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      You are all aware that you can come and visit any time, right?!

      • Mahj
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

        Invitation accepted!! xoxo

  4. Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Beautiful photos!

    And I have good news my friend it gets BETTER and BETTER and BETTER from
    Now. I thought the baby bit was the biggest load of bull’ ever. With every few months I find parenting gets that little bit more rewarding, he gets more independent, he can explain what’s wrong and ask for the right thing. None of that ‘what the hell are you crying for no?’ Nonsense all the time!

    Seriously, your photos are always so beautiful!

    Love this post.

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Anna this is SUCH good news. Part of me wanted to believe that it would just get better from here, because CRAFTING, PLAYING HOUSE, but I’d hardly dared think it!

      • Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        crafting, building dens, AND George has started memorising all his bedtime stories and “reads” along with me. BEST. THING. EVER.

        he also says things like #I’m not sure you’ve done that right Mum” when I’m reverse parking. Too funny.

  5. Posted January 24, 2013 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t have time toproperly think what to write in response to something so beautifully written – but loved reading this Clare!

    • Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Had to come back to say… the pudgy legs. The pudgy legs! Gorgeous. *cries*

      • Clare
        Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:11 am | Permalink

        She gets those delicious knees from her father’s side I’m fairly certain. Mine are ugly and knobbly and not at all like that!

  6. Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I can never decide whether I love your photos or your words more Clare. Either way I just eat up your posts and always want more.

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      Amy I love you. Anna and Aislig always laugh at me because ever time I post a personal piece recently, I’m a gibbering mess, and convinced that my life is utterly boring and it’s all So Inane. And then I get comments like this, and it’s worth it!

  7. Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Clare!!! Your pictures are so beautiful (Chloe’s too!) I have already added Max & Emmi’s blog to my phone so I can see how they’re doing. I love the cat book story, she’d love the one I looked at yesterday then (The cat that lost its purr). Cute.

    Don’t be too jealous about the snow, I’ve been housebound since last week (11 days and counting, save for one snowdog building trip all the way to my garden) because of the FEAR of falling over. I am told it’s not just snow and pregnancy that don’t mix but snow and small babies, especially when you are without a car. I am going CRAZY. So just enjoy those non slippery pavements for me, yes? If I close my eyes really tightly I can remember our trip out there last year to see you. For a fleeting moment. Ah the heat…isn’t it funny that you crave the opposite of what you have?

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

      I INSIST that you bring Lentil Stendall to visit Emmi within the first year of his/her life. Not too much to ask, surely?

  8. Posted January 24, 2013 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    These pictures are stunning Clare. The one of Emmi holding her grandparents’ (?) hands melts my heart.

    I love your words too. The snow was magical for a little but then it turned to ice with slush on top and it took twice as long to go anywhere and perhaps some people even strained muscles really badly by going on a THREE HOUR walk by accident and then could only hobble for 2 days after. I am neither confirming nor denying that “some people” means “me”.

    Anna&Aisling, you crack me up. Please don’t ever stop having hilarious whatsapp/text conversations and posting them for our enjoyment!


    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      That finding emo conversation deserves an entire post of its own really. Bloody brilliant!

      • Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

        Yes the finding emo conversation is the best. It made me think of the Emo Lolitas at the V&A’s museum (at the Japan’s room) that we saw this weekend and all.

  9. Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Sounds like bliss. I’ve always preferred kids once they get a personality to babies which I have no clue what to do with. Just sent you my questionnaire, so hard!

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Yep. Toddlers win every time for me.

  10. Steff
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one who wants to run through the hose with Emmi and experience all that joy?! Absolutely beautiful.

    Your photos are always stunning, today is no exception!! Glad you enjoyed your break and got back refreshed and enjoying life!

    As someone who is about to embark on the baby phase, it’s good to hear an honest (and beautifully written) account all the ups and downs. To know that people do in fact come out the other side will keep me sane. I may have bookmarked some of these to read at 3am to remind myself of that. Xx

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      You know Steph, I have a few friends here who have newborn twins, and I honestly think they’re coping better than I did. I think it must be down to the fact that psychologically, as a pregnant mother of twins, you mentally prepare yourself fort he fact that it’s going to be tough, whereas other mums think it’s going to be all sunshine and rainbows! Good luck for when the time comes – I am always at the end of an email to support stressed mothers of babies!

  11. Sarah
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Awww, Emmi is just gorgeous! Those squishy little legs! Making me quite broody…x

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Sorry Sarah – if it helps I could post a recording of her screaming, to counteract the knees?

  12. Posted January 24, 2013 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I actual gasped at the first photo, it’s so cute. So much perfect joy and delight that I don’t even have the words for it. And then holding hands with her Grandparents, my heart actually squeezed.

    In fact I basically spent this whole post making inarticulate noises of cuteness interspersed with jealous outbursts along the lines of “OHMYGOD the TAN!”

    It’s impossible for the world to seem like a bad place when there are posts like this in it. Fact.

    K x

    PS: Finding EMO?! Comedy genius.

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Pure joy is exactly what that first picture says to me. She was honestly THRILLED to bits to be sprayed over and over again. Simple things…

  13. Chloe
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    A stunning post, gorgeous pics, wonderful words. And those water ones.. well, amazing! Seriously though, I feel so lucky to have a converted photography geek to hang out with now, as well as the Mother of my child’s best friend (obviously enforced by us) and whose husband gets on with my husband. Too convenient? I hope not. Please don’t go too soon.
    PS. I am watching my back now – you’re pics are getting good!

    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I’m currently negotiating with Andy about how I can fix it so that we stay here forever. I’m working on it… xx

  14. Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Virtually everybdoy I know with children has said that the first 12 months are brutal and that it gets better with every day that passes. Then there are a few who had relatively little trouble in the early days and are now finding the terrible twos are really living up to their name! I wonder if it’s as much about the child as the parent? My mother-in-law has always maintained it was seriously different for each of her four. So glad you’re getting to your magical parenting phase with Emmi. She seriously gets cuter with every post, impossible as that may sound.

    Also – Aisling? Finding Emo? You’re my hero.


    • Clare
      Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:34 am | Permalink

      FINDiNG EMO!!! How are more people not commenting on that?! I honestly nearly fell out of bed laughing when I read it!

  15. Clare
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    So Cute!

    And love to the best friend – I found months 9-11 SO TOUGH. It will get better though….

  16. Amanda M
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I LOVED Finding Emo – very droll indeed. And just to wade into the great goldfish debate here, apparently if you pop a bit of carrot in the bowl, it totally fools them and they think they have a friend. I’ve had people in my life who were more carrot than friend….

    Emmi’s love of cats in books is very sweet. It sounds like she’d have no problem with the fiendish ‘favourite book’ question on that questionnaire.

  17. Vivienne
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Aah, that smell, and the first morning smile, my favourite things EVER. We can always trust you to write honestly, and It’s reassuring to read that it is possible to survive the first year, sanity intact. Ish.

    Emmi is beautiful – and already so wise, of course a book without cats is no book at all.

  18. Zan
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    LOVED THIS :) that’s it really. Apart from the fact that I’d actually be really interested in watching Finding Emo…

    just me then….?

  19. Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Oh this post made me cry, in a good way, I so want to be a mom.
    I can take all the baby posts, for some reason they make me hopeful, even amidst the fertility issues I like to see what I aspire to, and sane women like you with babies with a great taste in books* is what
    I am glad you had such a great time on your holiday.
    Also: Finding EMo hahahahhahahahaha ! Best joke ever. I love this place.

    *(books with cats !!!! maybe I should send her some vet manuals)

  20. Liz
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    This is all so cute!! I’m loving Emmi’s adorable chubby legs, and her vest, skirt, sandals combo!

    Your reassurance that being a mum gets more enjoyable is very much appreciated! I am 12 weeks into this motherhood lark and it is so much harder than I could have ever imagined. I think I have cried the same amount of tears in these weeks as the previous 3 years put together – and then Tessa goes and learns to giggle or something and makes it worth it. I had this image of being the perfect mother and just taking to it all like a duck to water, it has shocked me how far from the truth this is. Fingers crossed I am going to be good at the later bits as well!

    Also – tan, cocktails, beach, books…. so jealous!!


  21. Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink


    It says EMO

    hahahahahahahahahahah only took all day.

  22. Leni
    Posted January 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Oh Clare, Emmi is sooooooooo cute! I am in a seriously broody, wanting to steal babies phase at the moment and I would happily add her to my collection. Also, love the idea of a goldfish being fooled by a carrot! I compared my year 11 students to goldfish today (due to the blank expressions they were giving me about pretty basic facts that probably will be on thier exam tomorrow…) If I placed a carrot at the front of the room tomorrow, do you think they’d be fooled into thinking its me?

  23. Posted January 24, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

    The third picture KILLS me.

    I’ve always thought that the first months of motherhood look hard and unappealing but a necessary evil to get to the better stuff. I’m certainly not glad that you did find it hard, but it feels good to hear someone say it – someone who is obviously a great mum!

  24. Posted January 25, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    I read this yesterday but had no time to comment. Emmi is adorable. You look fantastic and Finding Emo is pure genius.

  25. PiriyaP
    Posted January 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    I nearly died from cuteness overload after hearing about Emmi’s excitement at seeing pictures of cats in books. She is so gorgeous. Also, Finding Emo is pure comedic genius.

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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