Podcasts I currently listen to

For a few months now my job requires that I commute a few days a week. Sometimes I like to listen to music while reading a book but most of the time I love to listen to a podcast. I have several that I currently listen to and I would love to hear if you have any suggestions as well.

For Fashonistas, but not only: Garance Dore: Pardon my French has a new series of podcasts. She talks to people from the fashion industry and not only about friendship, love, marriage, creativity and fashion of course. If you like her blog, you are going to enjoy this as well.

Here’s the thing, was a nice surprise since it centres on conversations that Alec Baldwin has with a wide variety of people from the entertainment industry, politicians, writers etc. He is very gifted at being the one asking the questions and I am amazed how well the conversation flows with all his guests. I liked the talk he has with actrice Julianne Moore and Jerry Seinfeld.

For anyone that loves a good story about life, love, motherhood, then Modern Love the podcast is for you. It is based on the column with the same name from The New York Times. I easily can cry listening to it because it truly touches you. The stories are narrated by famous actors. One of my favourite stories is My first lesson in Motherhood

When it comes to parenting there is a great deal of material out there, but what resonates with me is the advice Janet Landsbury gives parents. She writes under the motto Elevating child care and she can offer a lot of insight on the life with a baby/toddler.

You can find more recommendations of podcast here.

Any podcast you listen to and would like to share?

And some pictures that have nothing in common with the post. They are from this past weekend when we went from a rainy Saturday in the woods to a nice sunny Sunday in France.

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Fridays with Luca

Friday are my blessings. I look forward to this day all week, because I get to have that one day with Luca. Our day starts at 6 normally. He has potty time, when he usually sits on the potty, does the smelly business while looking at pictures in all his books. Funny, I know, but this is now a routine. I change him from his PJs and then we normally have breakfast. It can be bread and butter, oatmeal, milk and cereal or cheese. I have coffee and think of what I would like to get done that day. Around 9 we could go to the gym (babysitter service included in the gym subscription) but this rarely happens since it is also the time Luca gets sleepy (he’s been up from 6 remember) and then it’s nap time for him. I usually listen to a podcast while cooking or prepping things for lunch. Today I made lasagna. He might nap until 10.30-11 am. Once he is up he gets a snack (what the Swiss can Z’nuni): can be cucumber or other veggie, or just a cracker. Then it’s play time. Lunch happens after 12 and once we are done we either play at home or go for a walk. All depends on the weather. I like to also drive and go for grocery shopping on Fridays afternoon. Depending on how much sleep he got in the morning he will take a second nap in the afternoon. It can be in the car or in the stroller. He loves to nap while on the move. 4 o’clock is snack time. He gets fruits. Usually it’s banana, apples, pears. But last week he tried strawberries and loved them.

In the late afternoons it’s again time to play. Daddy comes home, dinner plans are made. He eats dinner around 7 with us. Bath time is every other night around 8, after which he has his bottle of milk and he goes to bed. I normally feel exhausted on Friday evenings. The week gets to me and my bed time is after 10 but there are days in which I would hop in bed at 9. I know…way too early, but I need my sleep.

So here it is, a day with Luca. I never thought I would love being a mama so much. Every day is filled with so much emotion and life that I wonder how were my days before Luca was here. Fun fact: when he was a few months old I would find myself dreaming of the days when I could just leave the house without having to plan and rethink the whole logistics of doing so with a baby attached to me. Now I don’t miss that freedom anymore. I might miss a long morning in bed from time to time, but our lives now are so much more than before. And this more is what gets me going every day.

My favourite pictures of the three of us are the ones below. We rarely get a picture with the 3 of us, usually is just Traian taking pictures of me and Luca. Thank you Emilia for being there that day and for taking these cools snapshots of us 3.

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Motherhood talks- Luca at 15 months

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Luca is 15 months and life is beautiful with a toddler running around the house. He is so happy and full of life that even in the earliest hours of the mornings it is contagious. Here is a list of activities that he does at this age.

Favourite time: Bath time. In the middle of the day he would run to the bathtub and ask for us to run the water so that he can take a bath. He just loves water and when I mention it is bath time, he is all smiles.

Favorite food: almost everything he has had so far he has loved. I believe avocado is always a winner, sweet potato and grilled salmon.

Least favourite food: so far polenta and swiss cheese. I tried giving him gruyere, ementaler but he just looks at it and throughs it on the floor. Mozzarella on the other hand is a favourite.

What makes him smile: seeing kittens. we live in an area with lots of cats so when we go for a walk we see quite a few of them. Luca observes everything so every kitten he sees he will point to it and make a sound, something like ehhhhh. Our neighbours cat naps on our terrace and as soon as we pointed that to him, he will go to the window and check the cat out. I think we will have to get a cat 🙂

What scares him: The kitchen aid. Yes, I am not kidding, as soon as he hears the noise from the kitchen aid he will start crying. It is the only appliance that has this effect on him.

What he started saying: He says quite a few words, but recently he started saying Mama when he is hungry and wants food. Let’s say I am feeding him and for a moment I get distracted, he will immediately start repeating mama mama mama mama and pointing at the food desperately :)))

Bedtime routine: these days he will ask for his bottle and hint that he is ready to sleep. While I change him and put his pyjamas he will call his Dad that is usually preparing his bottle. As soon as he sees the bottle he is all smiles.

Favourite toy: he likes his toys but he gets bored quite easily so he would play with each for a few minutes and then toss it apart. The only thing that keeps him occupied longer are books. He just loves to flip the pages and show me all the different pictures. He points at stuff in the pictures while speaking his own language.

Animal noises he masters: horse, turkey and owl. I know, quite the trio! Love that he is into animals and this past weekend he met his horse, that my Dad got for him (the horse is a she and her name is Brigitta and she is 6 months old). He was all smiles and it was hard to get him into the house and away from the animal. Of course my Dad was the proudest Grandpa.

First steps: Luca did his first steps on the 2nd of March. I was at home with him sitting on the floor. He got up keeping one hand on my shoulder and carefully he let go and made a few steps toward the couch on his own. But now he still does not want to let go of my hand. So hand in hand we are walking all day until he will feel ready to be independent.

xox,

Andreea

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Late Start

Hi Luvs,

We had a rough start of the year over here. We were sick for most part of this month and the three of us managed to take care of each other somehow. We had help as well from our family and I can finally say that we are now getting back to normal. Being sick just reminded me that sometimes you need to slow down and just take a break. It might not be the perfect timing for that (is there such thing as the prefect timing to be sick?!) but staying healthy and positive is the only way forward, especially when your child is not well. Yes, experiencing our first real cold and virus with Luca got us appreciating even more what we have.

And on a happier note, today we discovered our new favourite Asian restaurant in Zurich, Lily’s Factory. We went there for a late lunch and enjoyed a family meal. Luca is now in the phase where he is trying to walk so we constantly have to walk with him. The only thing that is not very baby friendly is that they don’t offer child seats. We used the stroller to sit Luca when he was not standing up and exploring the place. You can also read a more experienced review about the place here. We give it a thumbs up and we will be stopping by soon.

Here are some pics from today. Wishing you a great week, luvs! Stay healthy and positive!

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Minted Giveaway

Every year the holiday season brings families together. We all turn towards our loved ones, think of what they like and try to give them a nice gift that will let them know that they are always in our hearts. This is how I like to think of gifts, as that special something that comes from the heart. Big or small if it has a personal touch it will most definitely be appreciated.

I turned to Minted this year once again to find not only the best stationary and Christmas cards, but also personalised gifts. I have a very special friend that loves pictures and I know she would love one of their personalised collages.

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I just love the variety of their product range and I am always guarantee that I will find something I like from the home collection to the party decorations. A cool thing they added is the option “buy now, personalise later” which allows you to buy a design and do the personalisation at a later date. Think about wedding invitations or thank you cards for your big day.

Now that I gave you a taste of how cool Minted is, they are offering one voucher of 100$ to one of our readers. Please just head to my Instagram to join the giveaway, that will be opened until Sunday, Dec. 20, end of day.

Happy gifting!

 

PS: This post was created in collaboration with Minted a brand I love and use for years.

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Luca is 1 year old

My dears the day to celebrate Luca’s first birthday sneak up on me. I have no clue how time went by this year and even though I wished at times that he would get older sooner (after the nights with less to no sleep) now I can only feel nostalgic that he is growing up so fast. He is so fun to be around, he is curious and likes to play with other kids. Food is still big on his list and he seems to be in no hurry to walk. At the moment he is crawling in his own unique way and he makes his rounds around the house. Loves to see what is in every drawer, plays with books and magazines and puts a lot of effort to turn the pages with his tiny hands. So fun to watch and be around him. Oh and he is a talker, he says Mama, Tata and imitates talking on the phone by saying Ata (from the Romanian Alo that is Hello in En.)

We organised a small party with our close friends and he enjoyed every moment of it. I had so much fun planning everything and Traian and my brother were the perfect co-hosts that one emotional Mammy could ask for (on Saturday I relived a bit the day I gave birth and it was great to remember how we went through everything just to get to meet him in the evening). It is so special to experience your child’s birthday (to me it is much more interesting than celebrating mine).

But back to the party, I made the food and some sweets. There was cake from In love with cupcakes  but since I want to keep Luca away from sugar for a little longer I  tried a recipe for a special baby banana and carrot muffins with no sugar and the kids loved it.

For the adults I went for finger food mostly and Good Food gave me the perfect ideas. Here are the recipes: Philly- Style hot dogs, Emmental and Leek Quiche, Hot and Spicy Chicken Wings, Basil and Sun Dried tomatoes Hummus, Homemade Guacamole, Crunchy Red Cabbage salad, Homemade Coleslaw salad

And a few pictures with the Birthday boy below. A big thank you for all your warm wishes and nice thoughts that you sent our way this weekend.

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This is for you, Mimi!

I met Mimi in 2007 when I moved to Bucharest and I started working my first real job in Oracle. I was new to the city, had a few close friends, but I was eager to bond with my new colleagues. I was young and not very sure of how to fit in the new world that I was entering. I met Mimi my first day there and I knew instantly that I would like her. She was beautiful inside and out, friendly and it turned out that we had friends in common. So we started talking and going out together. I remember the Tae Bo classes we took together and how she helped me move house only 3 months after we met. She offered to come carry my stuff with her boyfriend in her car. I think she had this power of seeing when people were struggling and needed help. And she always offered to help.

We continued being friends and colleagues but once I changed jobs and moved country, we mostly talked on social media. She followed my adventures and I, hers. I now realise that she was constantly present in my life, even if it was only by a comment or a like at one of my pictures or blog posts.

I read one of our chat conversation back from 2011. I had recently moved to Switzerland and I had started this blog for a few months. She wrote to say that I had a voice that could touch people and that I should always keep writing, that she felt like I was talking to her when she was reading my posts. She told me to dream and talk about my dreams because they can come true if we believe in them, her words: Believe beyond the means. Her childhood dream was to be a fashion designer and she was very proud that she had started pursuing that dream. (Story about Mimi is the name she chose for her brand)

This weekend, our Mimi passed away. She was one of the victims from the fire that happened in a club in Bucharest. She was there to support one of her coworkers that had a rock concert with his band. From what I understood she was also doing the costumes for the band. I wish she would have not gone to that concert and club, but Mimi had to be there close to her friends. There is no way she could have missed it.

I now know that the legacy she leaves behind will never die. Her words and the lives she touched will continue to live forever. I can only feel sad that I did not talk more to her in the last few years, that I did not tell her how wonderful she is. I should have done it every chance I got. We think we have time, and that we will be here tomorrow but that is true until one day…Take the time now and every second to spread love and kindness around you. This is what Mimi did all her life and I will do my best to continue to do that for her and for all the people around me.

With Mimi at a company costume party somewhere in 2009.

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Photo in the header from here.

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Birthday wisdom

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Today is my birthday and normally this day would have had a bittersweet feeling attached to it. I think that when it comes to birthdays, I was always a bit vain and selfish. I would focus on the fact that I was getting older and what that would do to me, like a lot of us do. But this year after coming across something online, I’ve finally realized that I was looking at the whole birthday thing from the wrong perspective. I mean why not be truly happy that I got to live another amazing year, that I got to meet Luca and experience his first year of life, that I got to become closer to my husband, that I got to build new friendships and make the old ones stronger, that I got to see our own parents become grandparents and the joy this has brought on them. That and many others are just a few reason to celebrate and to look forward to another year. Yes, that means getting old and dealing with all the stuff that will come from that but that is inevitable. And what you can’t change, you should embrace and live though with as much grace as possible. Don’t you agree?

So hurray to my birthday and to my new found wisdom that it’s linked once again to motherhood. I know I say this a lot but having a child and experiencing everything that comes with that is incredible. And as it is my first birthday since having Luca, I have to say that it is one of the best ones. It just is something else to be the mother of this little boy.

The first picture is from a barbecue we attended this past weekend at a friends house and the second one is from today, leaving the restaurant we had dinner at.

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Xox, Andreea.

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Life latelly

Two months already since I am back to work and things are beginning to resemble somewhat to normal for us. Luca is doing better and better at the daycare, I am home with him on Fridays and having a 3 days weekend is great. Life is not boring for sure. I am trying to get into a rhythm where I have enough time for everything I want to do. First priority everyday is spending time with Luca and Traian and some days this is all we do. But there are the days when I can devote a bit of time to my interests, blogging being one of them. All is very different from before but it is a good different. The only thing I would love to be able to accommodate better is spending more time with our friends. We are not able to arrange spontaneous outings with friends like before for now. We need to give the babysitter thing a try in the near future.

Luca is growing and his personality comes through. We had a bit of a headache with the teeth but as we are already counting 6 of them things seem to be calmer. He loves to be around people and he smiles at strangers like he knows them for a lifetime. He is not crawling yet but as he is more and more on the floor with his toys, I think we are close to him making a move. A part of me can’t wait to see him move on his own but then I know that our house will need to be rearranged. I think my heart will stop ten times per day with all the corners, drawers and other possible dangers. But then again, each milestone he faces, we face with him and we are growing together.

He likes to eat and every time we introduce a new food and he loves it, I feel like I conquered Everest. He is into finger food and I try to give him fruits and veggies mostly. You know you are a Mum when you carry all sorts of snacks in your purse (one of my friends told me this and she was absolutely right :)).

One thing that has not changed since Luca came is our habit of being out of the house. We arrange activities during the day so that we spend as much time as possible outside. Luca loves being in the car, in the stroller and as of recent in the carrier. Being out with him is wonderful especially since he seems to enjoy it so much. Here are some pictures as of lately.

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Wild berries tart

There is nothing I like more for desert during summer then a nice piece of fruit tart. Well there is ice cream as well, but still…baked goods are my weakness. Since wild berries seem to be everywhere I wrapped up a nice tart this past weekend. The good thing is that you do it in less than an hour, and the fruit is fresh since you don’t cook it. What is takes longer is chilling it, but you can savour it at room temperature if you are impatient.

For the sweet pastry I used the same recipe I use all the time. It works wonders and it is very simple: 100 gr. butter, 60 gr. sugar, 220 gr. plain flour, 1 egg. You mix the sugar with the butter and the egg and at the end you add the flower and using you hands you mix the dough. You should mix until the flour is just about incorporated not more. Put the dough in the baking tray and leave it in the fridge to cool for 30 minutes. Then you put it in the oven for another 30 min to 180 degrees C covered with baking paper and some beans/rice on top. After 20 min you can remove the baking paper and leave it for another 10 min to continue baking.

For the crème pâtissière I used this recipe. I put almond milk instead of the usual milk and it came out just as good.

Once the sweet pastry and the crème pâtissière are chilled just put them together and decorate with the fruit of your choice: blueberries, raspberries or any berries for that matter work. Leave to chill and savour it with someone you love. Sweets are meant to be shared if you ask me.

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