Category Archives: Family

The S Word


Are you getting any? How much are you getting? These are questions you will hear a lot as a new parent. Sadly we are not talking about THAT ‘S’ word (although I feel like that could be a separate post entirely…). No, I’m talking about SLEEP.

When you become a parent, you, and everyone around you, becomes obsessed with it. Spending time with friends and family invites a whole host of questions.

Is he sleeping through the night? How long does he sleep? Are you still feeding him at night? How often is he waking? What time does he wake up in the morning? What about sleep training? Cry it out or another method?  Does he use a dummy (pacifier)? Can he self settle? How are his naps?

Bound up in these, often well intended, questions are a whole host of judgements about you as a parent, your parenting style, and your child. There is also no shortage of advice; both online and offline, everyone has an opinion.

I’m guilty of it too. If I see a Mum I haven’t seen for a couple of weeks, sleep is usually one of the hot topics we catch up on over our coffee. WhatsApp is full of chat about naps, bedtimes, night feeds and wakings, and most recently how solids can affect sleep.

When I got pregnant, everyone said to me ‘ooohh enjoy the sleep while you can!’ and I just kind of laughed it off. I wasn’t sleeping that well as it was. Endless trips to the bathroom, being kicked by the baby half the night, leg cramps, overheating. I thought I knew what being tired felt like. Boy, was I wrong. I did not know what true tiredness, exhaustion, really felt like until I became a Mum.

I think that’s why we’re all so interested in sleep. How you are sleeping can deeply affect your health, your relationships, your work. We’ve been through ups and downs with little F and his sleep. For a time, the night wakings and the naps on my chest or lap worked. Feeding him or rocking him to sleep worked. Until one day it didn’t. We hit a wall where we both said ‘enough’. We took steps to help our little guy sleep better on his own, and it worked, up to a point. We’ve just started taking some expert advice, and so far the results have been really promising.

I suppose my point is, be gentle with yourself and with others. Try not to judge other families or offer your own sleep advice, unless they ask for it. Every household and every baby is different. For parents, when you hit that wall, there is no shame at all in saying ‘this isn’t working, we need some help’, whatever form that takes.


And so, like the Phoenix…


…I rise from the ashes! Hello again world, it’s good to be back.

My last post on this blog was far too long ago, and a HUGE amount has changed since then, but I’m still living in Singapore, and still loving it.

Since my last post I’ve set up my own business – working freelance for Singapore companies, supporting them with marketing, content creation, copy writing and communications, events and business development. However, this has been somewhat put on hold for the time being because…I had a baby!

I’m now officially Mama to our gorgeous 6 week old boy, F. His birth was a little dramatic, as he arrived at 34.5 weeks, and at some point I’ll share exactly what happened, and what happened before that point with my pregnancy and my journey towards motherhood. But needless to say, we’re absolutely thrilled that he’s here and healthy.

This huge change in my life prompted me to think about the things that I’m passionate about, and that includes writing. I did a fair bit of content writing when I was freelancing, but that changed over the last few months, as I worked with different clients. I missed it, so I thought now might be a good time to flex those writer muscles again, and get back into the written word and resurrect this blog. I’ll still be documenting life in Singapore, but with a rather different focus now, as I attempt to navigate being a Mama living in Singapore.

If there’s anything you’d like to see me write about, please do drop me a line or leave a comment, and stay posted for my next update!


Update time


It’s been a long time since I wrote anything! It’s been a turbulent time over the last few months. I got made redundant from my job, which was a horrible experience, back at the beginning of November. I’ve also had some health issues – a trapped nerve – which has caused me a lot of pain and I’ve been spending time trying to resolve. Plus the usual end of year madness – preparing for and celebrating Christmas and the New Year with the in-laws. And now I find myself already a month into 2015 and trying to find some purpose.

I’ve been filling a lot of my time with trying to get fit. I’ve been doing a load of Pilates, plus my physiotherapist is a bit more like a personal trainer, and has me doing weights and lunges in the gym. I’m also trying to fit in some cardio and swimming as well, so it’s been a busy time. I’ve been making time to catch up with old friends, as well as exploring the island a bit more with my friend Crystal. I’ve also been advising a friend on a new business idea which she’s launching.

Anyway, hopefully I’ll be able to find a bit more time to get back into blogging again and share my latest adventures again.

Back to the drawing board


So, after much silence I decided to start writing in this thing again. The main reason, if I’m honest about it, is that I’m unemployed again so have much more free time to write and explore again.

So what happened with the job? A lot of you know the story but in a nutshell my employer ran out of money. After a year working there and 3 weeks to go before the conference I’d spent all that time organising, I found myself in a meeting with my ex-boss telling me there was no more money and they had to let us (myself and my colleagues) go, as well as cancelling the conference. Needless to say, this was a bit of a bombshell. A month on and there are still a lot of things to be resolved – my tax clearance still hasn’t been done, outstanding salary (of 2 months) is still to be paid.

However, every cloud has a silver lining. In my case, the conference being cancelled meant I could go to one of my best friend’s weddings. In fact, she is maid of honour at my wedding next year. So you can imagine, we were both thrilled! So I’ve spent the past week in a rather mild England, celebrating with some of my best friends. I also got the chance to see my family which I was especially delighted about.

Congratulations again, Mr and Mrs Hayward!

the girls

Exciting news!


Hi folks – apologies for the long hiatus, it’s been tricky to fit in finding my feet in my new job, seeing friends, going back to England for Christmas, an Indian wedding, a friends 30th birthday long weekend, and blogging! Phew…

Anyway, excuses out of the way. I wanted to share some super exciting news with you – after a long time of knowing each other (8 years!), the boy and I got engaged over Christmas!

photo (2)

He proposed near to where he grew up, on a beautifully crisp and cold English winters day – it was just perfect. It goes without saying that we are hugely excited about being engaged, but also the years we have to come. So, as if I wasn’t already busy enough, I have our English countryside wedding to plan now. That’s the kind of busy I really like!

A trip home: London 2012


Unless you’ve been literally living under a rock the past month, it won’t have escaped your attention that my fabulous home city of London just played host to the 2012 Olympic games. Having been excited about it since it was announced 7 years ago that London would be the host city, there was no way Will & I would be missing out on being part of it. After a  bit of drama actually getting our hot little hands on our tickets (combination of moving abroad and the fact that Locog would not let us change our delivery address months in advance of delivery), we managed to pick them up from the post office when we popped back in June.

We were still in Singapore for the opening ceremony but we managed to watch quite a few events before we left, such as seeing Bradley Wiggins win gold in the road race time trial. There was something magical about seeing a British athlete winning gold, cycling through areas that I’d grown up in, around Hampton Court and Bushy Park. It actually got me a little choked up and definitely pining for the UK.

Before long though, we were back in London and, despite having landed at 5am, were heading up to Wembley arena to watch Mexico play Senegal in the football. We met up with our friends Adrian & Camilla, who also had tickets to the same game.

Inside Wembley Stadium

Will it be a goal?!

Our stylish tickets

After watching Mexico beat Senegal in a surprisingly action-packed match, we headed down to Hyde Park to experience one of the free to enter Fan Zones. The Fan Zones were spread over London and allowed people to come together to watch the different events. Well, we picked a great evening to go down! It was the evening that saw Mo Farah win the 10,000 metres, as well as Jessica Ennis scoop gold in the heptathlon, finally proving to all her critics that she was indeed worth all the hype. The atmosphere in Hyde Park was incredible – the crowd roaring and cheering, the tension watching Mo Farah creep up to the front of the pack, the sudden rush of adrenaline when we realised he was going to win – amazing!

The next few days passed in a blur of seeing friends and family, and soaking up everything London and the UK has to offer. It was so wonderful to be back on familiar territory. Will managed to go to Hyde Park with his sister, to watch some of the triathlon (she competes in triathlons herself), but I was up in Yorkshire seeing my Granny!

Thursday saw our next dose of Olympic excitement, with a visit to the Olympic Park over in Stratford. We took one of the high-speed Javelin trains from St Pancras to Stratford which was great fun. Luckily the sun had come out, so the whole park was bathed in glorious sunshine.


Anish Kapoor’s striking ‘Orbit’ tower

I really loved the Olympic Park. It’s vast with the aquatics centre, velodrome and the main athletics stadium. The landscaping was really pretty, with lots of green spaces filled with wild flowers. There was something really ‘British’ about the whole place. We had a good wander around, as we’d arrived super early to soak up some atmosphere. This included eating a traditional British curry (!) down by the riverside, as well as enjoying some English cider in the sunshine. We met some terrific people, who we just got chatting to, who were incredibly friendly – they even bought us drinks … this NEVER usually happens in London! I think one of the things I loved most about the Olympics was how happy and friendly everyone was. The volunteers did a superb job of being really cheery but hugely helpful, and all of the members of public that we met were so excited and happy to be a part of it. It was like all the cynicism and British whining had been sucked away! The patriotism blew me away as well – there was barely a single person who wasn’t wearing some kind of team GB t-shirt or who didn’t have a Union Jack transfer stuck to their cheek!

Union Jack trainers!

Will gets his paws on some Team GB merchandise

Before too long, the sun had started to lower in the sky and it was time for us to head into the Olympic stadium for some athletics action! We got really lucky with the session we went to, as we got to see Usain Bolt compete, and take gold, in the 200m final. We also saw some of the closing events in the decathlon – javelin and 1500m. We also got to see a World Record be broken by David Rudisha of Kenya, in the men’s 800m.

The stadium was full of noise the whole time we were there – everyone was cheering on all the athletes, regardless of what country they were representing. During the track events, there was a ‘wall of noise’ that followed them around the stadium. I can’t imagine what it felt like competing there, but I got some serious goosebumps at times! I don’t think I’ve ever felt so proud of where I come from. Can you imagine what I would’ve been like if we’d won a gold that evening?!

Inside the Olympic stadium

That’s Usain Bolt in lane 7!

Jamaica take gold, silver, and bronze in the 200m

The Olympic flame

Being a part of London 2012 was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ moments for me. Congratulations to all the athletes who competed, in particular to Team GB of course! Best medal haul yet!

I’ve never felt so proud to be British, and a Londoner, and I really want to say thank you to everyone who made it a reality – you did an incredible job and these memories will stay with me forever.

Policemen and kids doing the ‘Bolt’

Thank you London

You can see more photos from London 2012 over on my Flickr set by clicking here

24 hours in London & a Tuscan wedding


Back at the end of June we took a trip back home, and then to Italy to see our gorgeous friend’s Tony and Jacquie get married. I had been looking forward to this trip so much – I was going back to England! Only for 24 hours but still… better than nothing.

After touching down at Heathrow at 5am (ouch) we were suddenly sitting in a taxi going down the M4, towards Will’s parent’s house. All around me was the beautiful English dawn, fields either side of the motorway, and SHEEP (how long has it been since I saw a sheep?!). I just couldn’t help the tears that sprang to my eyes – all of this was so beautifully familiar – it was totally overwhelming. I found myself with such an ache in my stomach as I realised just how much I had missed my green and pleasant land. We spent the next 24 hours in the company of family – talking, laughing, catching up on news. We also went to visit the money pit flat, which actually was starting to look like it could be a home again, rather than just a pit of money with damp, crumbling walls.

I can’t tell you how much of a delight it was to see my Mum – to sit and eat lunch in one of Brixton’s gorgeous little eateries, and chat away like no time at all had passed. We then went back to Will’s parent’s place to sit and talk some more. Then my little brother arrived! I will embarrass him now but I have missed him very much indeed. We sat and ate proper English sausages, gorgeous English strawberries and drank cider. It was probably the most blissful afternoon I had spent in a long time. But all too soon it was time for them to leave, and for us to go to bed. My familiarity tank (thanks KJ!) had a much-needed emergency top-up.

The next morning left no time for wistfulness – we were straight back to Heathrow, this time to fly off to Rome. After security we went to find our friends Phil and Sat. Boy can those two give good hugs! It was so great to be back with people you’ve known for years – chatting and bantering away like we’d been away for no time at all. Phil used to live in Australia so he totally gets the expat weird thing which I love. After a short but bumpy flight we landed in Rome. I had forgotten how much I love Italy – the last time I was here was when Will took me for my birthday after I’d finished my finals, so some time ago.

We were in Rome just for a day – time spend eating and wandering around the city, before bumping into more of our friends by the Trevi Foundation (so strange to just be walking in a foreign city and then spot familiar faces).

Will & Phil enjoying a cold beverage in Rome

Trevi Fountain

That evening saw us meeting up with the bridal party, and enjoying some delicious Italian food, before watching Italy make it to the final of Euro 2012! This was followed up by much singing and dancing in some of Rome’s bars.

The next morning, a bit sleep deprived and hungover, we took the train down towards Pienza, where the wedding was going to be held. We were staying in a little agroturismo nearby to the wedding venue. It was a great option for our large group, as we all had our own rooms with en suite, and many of the units had kitchen/living rooms as well.

What a view!

That evening we went out into Pienza town, which is really picturesque. It kind of clings to the side of a hill, meaning you get the most spectacular views from the town wall. There are lots of twisty little paved streets, and apparently a great cheese shop (although I didn’t make it there myself). It was great just hanging out with friends, enjoying the view and a glass of perfectly chilled white wine.

View from Pienza

The next morning we headed over to La Bandita (the wedding venue) early, as Will was doing a reading and they needed him for a run through. I had a great afternoon getting ready with the bride and bridesmaids.

The wedding itself was gorgeous. La Bandita is set up on a hillside, with a big infinity pool – you can see more photos on their website here. They had set up the aisle outside, with a beautiful covered area next to the house where we ate dinner. We had a fantastic time, listening to all the readings and seeing our friend’s pledge to be with each other forever. There were definitely tears (I always cry at weddings!). I will leave you with some photos.

The bride and groom

Will & I all scrubbed up

A date to remember

6 months in


Today is our six-month anniversary of arriving in Singapore. I cannot believe we have been here 6 months already! This is officially the longest either of us has ever been away from the UK so it feels fairly momentous.

I wanted this post to be a bit reflective, so I’ve been reading back on my old posts and I’ve realised what a journey I’ve travelled on. Before we left I was super anxious – I was nervous about what living in this new country would mean, and how it would impact my old life. I worried about everything – all the tiny details like where would we buy furniture or who would supply our mobile phones. I also worried about the big stuff like how I would cope with not working, the homesickness and how moving here might affect my relationship with Will. Man, I really worried a lot!

I think the one big thing I’ve learnt about living here for 6 months is that it is a real rollercoaster of an experience. You have days where everything is wonderful – the sun shines, it isn’t as humid, you go out exploring and see some wonderful thing, talk to some amazing people and eat delicious food. But you also have days where things are tough – everything reminds you of what you left behind, whether its people or cultural differences. Everything can feel like you are battling against the tide even to do the simplest of tasks. Those difficult days are now less frequent, and the happy days are more and more common. I have been fortunate to meet some wonderful people who have become my new social and support network. And I have my old friends who continue to send me long newsy emails to keep me up to date.

Life is richer I think. I experience something new almost every day, and that is something I will always be truly grateful for. I have had my eyes opened by the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, and the things I’ve seen. I have learnt huge amounts about myself, and realised that I am perhaps stronger than I sometimes give myself credit for. I have realised that its ok to miss people – it just means you know some great people who are worth missing!

I think most importantly, I don’t regret coming here. I am hugely fortunate to be able to be here, and see the world. I am also super excited about the next 6 months. Thanks to everyone who got me there, but the biggest thanks has to go to Will. I couldn’t have done any of this without him.

Bicycles and Bats


Will’s sister came to visit us last month – we have now officially had all his immediate family to visit us! Must up the pressure on my lot to come and visit us now! It was wonderful to see her, as she was en route to visit Australia, so had a few days stopover with us. T is much more active than both Will & I so we had a rather action packed few days! It was actually lovely to get out and do things, and then be able to come back after a full day, sleepy but happy.

We went back to Pulau Ubin, as promised, and rented bicycles this time. You must be careful when renting bicycles there as they are all of varying quality. Make sure you test out the gears and the brakes in case they don’t work properly. Don’t be afraid to challenge some of the bicycles guys if they try to give you one that is no good. We cycled over to the Chek Jawa wetlands which are on the other side of the island. It was a pretty long ride for us unathletic types, especially in the heat and humidity. But you do get to see some amazing wildlife – we spotted a big monitor lizard on the way there, wild pigs, toucans and a HUGE spider in a web on the way back.  There is a viewing tower when you get to Chek Jawa where you can look out over the whole area. We also walked along the board walk where you can see lots of different natural habitats, including the mangroves. There are helpful signs to tell you what wildlife to look out for. I also enjoyed watching the planes landing at Changi, as they approach the airport from over the sea. You can find out more about Chek Jawa here.

We also finally made it up to MacRitchie. Despite it being only a short distance from us we hadn’t made it up there yet. I have thought about going during the day, but was frightened of seeing monkeys if I was on my own (I really, really hate monkeys!). So the three of us went, with our friend Fiona, for a walk along the HSBC Treetop walk, and a little wander around the area. MacRitchie is a big place! Make sure you wear proper shoes if you are planning on walking there – we did it in flip-flops which wasn’t so great, as the paths can be a little uneven and muddy if it has rained recently. The treetop walk is great fun – it is a huge suspension bridge which allows you fantastic views of the MacRitchie area.

Hanging out on the Treetop Walk

What a view!

After crossing over the bridge, we followed one of the trails for a little bit, allowing us to soak up the sounds and smells of the rainforest. There was a lovely little section where there was a bridge over a small stream. I am little bit obsessed with water features of any type, so I couldn’t resist taking a snap.

Little stream

We also took a trip to the Night Safari once again (how could we not?!). It was great as always, but this time Will & T made me brave the bat enclosure! I was not a fan! To make matters worse (or better, depending on your viewpoint) the keeper was in their feeding the fruit bats which meant they were all going bonkers and flying around. I know T took an illicit snap (by accident I should add) so if I get the photo from her I’ll pop it up for you to see. I’ve been in there, seen them, and I still don’t like bats flying around my face!

We had a wonderful time with T, and I hope she has even more fabulous adventures in Australia. Maybe I should get her to do a guest post…

Pulau Ubin


At the start of March we had our second set of house guests – Will’s Mum and Dad. We did a fair few of the more touristy things with them (Raffles, the Night Zoo, Marina Bay Sands) but we also wanted to do a couple of things that were more off the beaten track, and highlighted another side of Singapore. Their visit also happily coincided with some of the hottest weather we’ve had since we arrived in Singapore – seemingly endless days of bright blue sky and soaring temperatures.

We decided to make the most of the weather and do something outdoors. A couple of friends of ours had visited Pulau Ubin a couple of weekends previously, and raved about, so we were eager to explore for ourselves. You catch the bumboat over from Changi Point Ferry Terminal for the princely sum of S$2.50 (for UK readers, that’s about £1.25!). There aren’t any fixed departure times – the boats just go when they’re full. We seemed to time it just right, and there was one getting ready to depart as we arrived. I love being out on the water, slight spray on the face, wind in my hair – I felt oddly elated as we travelled over.

Enjoying the boat ride over

The bumboat

Welcome to Pulau Ubin!

Going to Pulau Ubin is like stepping back in time. It is described as one of the last ‘kampongs’ (villages) left in Singapore, and is supposed to be like what the rest of Singapore was like in the 1960s. Needless to say, I loved it! Such a brilliant, chilled out kind of vibe, and so wonderful to be around so much nature – even if I did acquire several mozzie bites within the first 15 minutes of arriving – the air feels fresher somehow, and its great to escape all the modern materialism of modern Singapore. I’d definitely recommend it as an escape on those days that you are feeling a bit disillusioned and fed up with Singapore.

There are loads of bikes for hire, for pretty cheap prices. We chose a more sedate option and just walked around a bit. Both Will and I are keen to go back and bike soon though, as we definitely didn’t get to explore as much of the island as we would’ve liked to. But it was fun walking around the little village bit, admiring some of the original art work, and hand painted signs for fresh seafood.

Bicycles for hire

Painted buildings

Seafood anyone?

I love this quote - it seems to embody the Pulau Ubin spirit

I loved strolling along the shady paths, spotting all kinds of local flora and fauna – which reminds me, I really need to get some kind of guide to that, as there are tons of things I don’t know the names of! There are some small buildings, near to the ferry point, which tell you all about the history of the island – it used to be famous for its granite quarries – as well as more about the wildlife you can find there. I’d like to go back and explore the mangrove areas next time.

Bananas growing by the side of the path

A sky to die for!

Starfruit (my current local food obsession)

There are plenty of places to sell you a cold drink, and we took Will’s parents to the only accommodation on the island, the Celestial Resort. There is a pretty decent restaurant there, where we enjoyed fried squid and noodles for lunch, whilst enjoying seeing all the brightly coloured fish (and a ray!) swimming around the restaurant – its set out in a little lake type bit. It was pretty relaxing to be honest, and nice to get out of the hot midday sun that was over us.

Island living

Tee hee - got to love this kind of thing!

In the end the heat defeated us a little bit (I am pretty acclimatised to the weather now, but I still flake out when it’s that hot…I’m a Brit, ok…sun is like a foreign thing to us), and we headed back to the jetty to go back to the mainland. I really enjoyed my short trip to Pulau Ubin, and I can’t  wait to go back and explore properly by bike another time. If you are looking for a little slice of peace and quiet in Singapore, I’d definitely recommend a day trip out there.