Happy Bloggiversary to Me!

Yesterday was my one year anniversary of starting this blog. I didn’t have time to write anything for it but I marked it in my head. I don’t want to make a big deal out of it, for one thing  because I’m not much of a prolific blogger and for one, more important reason:

This blog was born from a tragedy. I started it inspired by a blossoming friendship with a wonderful woman Jennie Edspire after the tragic loss of her beautiful 9 month old baby Matilda Mae to SIDS.


So the fact this blog is one year old means it is also just over one year that Matilda Mae has been gone, and that is something to honour and commemorate, yes, but not to celebrate.

However, I love my blog. It’s only just beginning and I’m sure I’ll use it more and more over the coming years, but it has enriched my life and makes me happy, so honour it I will! It’s also just one of many new blogs to be inspired by Baby Tilda and her Mummy and one tiny speck in the amazing legacy she’s left. So to honour my one year blogging birthday, I would ask you all to do just one small thing:

Think of Tilda
Donate £1
Just text
MMAE92£1 to 70070

Doing this will raise money for the Lullaby Trust in her memory.

Thank you x



2013 Review

I remember the 1st January 2013 very well because I spent a lovely, happy day with my boys watching DVDs at home and out in the park in the mild sunshine and I thought at the time it bode well for a good year ahead… which for the most part it was, despite tiredness, some sadness and plenty of challenges. Here’s a quick look back at the highlights of life at Casa Azoitei through my eyes…


Gabs had been given planets and planet decals and a globe for Christmas and from the moment they went up in his room, his Space/Astronomy obsession ramped up a notch and hasn’t come down since. The boys played a lot of violin and we had a lot of snow:

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On 2nd February, my heart stopped when I read that a fellow blogger’s baby had died of SIDS. The blogging community rallied around her and somehow Matilda Mae’s brave mummy Jennie and I became friends and supporting The Lullaby Trust in Matilda’s memory became a new passion. My obsession with work, and indeed anything else fell away and all I cared for the whole month was spending quality time with my two beautiful boys and counting my very many blessings every day. We spent most of the month in the park, on the swings and painting…

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My March started super-well with two nights in Paris with Remus where we got snowed in and did zero sightseeing but had a wonderful time. I worked as a violinist a bit mostly with BBCCO, did a concert in memory of Matilda Mae for Mother’s Day and raised £200 for her Bliss Charity Precious Star Fund and Classical Babies turned 3 years old. Remus found out he was to be decorated Officer of the Order of the Royal Crown (a kind of Romanian MBE) by King Mihai of Romania! But mostly my theme of amazing time with my boys continued, the firsts signs of Spring appeared and Lucian’s terrible twos kicked in.

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I spent a week in Cornwall at my parents’ with the boys having fresh air, R&R and some amazing Reiki sessions which put paid to my cluster migraines. April continued trickily for us, with a major errm, I shall call it ‘misunderstanding’ (!) with a family member in Romania whose privacy I’ll respect because it’s not necessary to name them and anyway, said relationship looks to be going forward positively in 2014. But it happened to occur just before we left for a family trip to Bucharest and caused stress and sadness for all of us, not just at the time but subtley in the background for the rest of the year. However, we did have incredible weather over there, the boys had a brilliant time bonding with their cousins and Remus played some great concerts. In the end a trip I had to literally force myself to take ended up being pretty great! This was also the month Remus played an amazing Lalo ‘Symphonie Espagnole’ with the George Enescu Philharmonic and was decorated by the King.

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On 2nd May I drove down to Kent to meet Jennie, Matilda Mae’s mummy for the first time at the Matilda Mae Mile in Memory Walk and I played and took little violins. Lucian and I reached an emotional end to our breastfeeding journey when he had his last ever feed the day he turned two years old, 18th May. He also had a wonderful Winnie the Pooh party and got a scooter. Generally the combination of his terrible twos and Gabs’ above average naughtiness just about gave me a nervous breakdown for most of the month, yet somehow we still had a wonderful month.

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Nothing much happened in June. We took a lot of sunny walks around my favourite streets in our lovely neighbourhood and enjoyed what we didn’t yet know would be our last month there. We all stayed up late to watch the Super Moon. Gabs enjoyed his last month at the nursery he loved. June was sun, playgrounds, ice creams, lollies and Regent’s Park. The boys ran, and ran. It was just perfect.

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July was just NUTSO. The 1st was my birthday. Remus was away but hid my new violin case in the wardrobe, I had my last acting class before  a 6 month break and did this scene from ‘The Graduate’. The 3rd was Gabi’s last ever day at nursery and the day we found out we had to move. The 4th was our Gabi’s 4th birthday, his first morning at primary school and the day we found our new house! We threw Gabi a kick-ass Space Party, went for a holiday in Cornwall with my parents – got detoured to N. Ireland when my Grannie died, then back to Cornwall. Remus and I spent our 5th wedding anniversary apart while he packed up our entire flat in London and I holidayed with the boys on a Cornish beach. I was attuned to Reiki Level I, by an old family friend in the village before travelling home. I took the boys and the violins down to Jennie’s for the twins’ Gruffalo Party and also played at the BBC Proms in the Concert Orchestra. Crazy, crazy month.

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August. Moving month. Emotional upheaval. Endings. Gabi’s nursery ‘graduation’ on the day we moved. We explored our new home and garden, Childs Hill and Golders Hill Parks and Gabs and I had a series of “Mummy & Gabi Days” before him starting Holy Trinity Primary in September. I pretty much “love-bombed” him (as I later found out it’s called!) and loved every minute of it. I also played a second Prom with the BBCCO.

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There’s only one event that stands out for me in September and that’s Gabriel starting school. He was so, SO excited and really loved it. Because of his Aspergers traits we started to have more and more trouble with him as more and more children joined the class until it was full (they stagger the start dates with the youngest first) and he got overwhelmed. It took him a long time to settle but the school were fantastic and proactive about getting him assessed and on the special needs register. The month was full of meetings, form-filling and ‘incidents’ but somehow his enthusiasm hasn’t waned. We threw Remus a 42nd birthday party with the biggest violin-cake you’ve ever seen! and I played solo in the Vivaldi A minor double concerto at St. Martin-in-the-Fields with Remus in the audience watching me for a change!

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With Gabs at school I started enjoying some time alone with Lucian which I hadn’t really had… ever! He’s a cheeky little monkey when he’s out of Gabi’s shadow. I was out a lot playing with the BBCCO and working incredibly hard for Classical Babies. The excitement of the month was two days in Reykjavik with Remus seeing his recital and one of my bestest old friends Silla, who I miss so much. I love Iceland, we will go back soon. We celebrated Halloween.. some of us enjoying it more than others. 😉

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The 1st was the end of half-term and I took Gabs to Tower Bridge. It was a wet but wonderful day. We got soaked but he absolutely loved it. 2nd November was a special day. I went with the boys and some wonderful friends who agreed to play in a quartet with me at the Matilda Mae Welly Walk at Beale Park in Reading, to honour 9 months since Tilda died and to raise money for The Lullaby Trust. It was a truly fantastic day. We filled most other weekends with trips to our local park and messy play like Leaf Rubbing, painting and playing in the garden. On 28th Nadine and I went, as Classical Babies to the Theo Paphitis #SBS Winners’ Event in Birmingham and met the man himself!

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My first school nativity! Gabriel was an angel – “double irony” as Mrs Pillay and I both said … Oh how we laughed!! Despite his struggles to blend in to the class this term, he sat nicely, did all the actions and sang all the songs. I was most proud. I bravely took both boys to the school Christmas Disco and started to really feel part of the school community and felt truly at home and settled in our house for the first time all year. We got a kick-ass Christmas tree and posted a stupid number of photos of it on facebook and ate a hell of a lot of sweets. The Classical Babies Christmas Concert and Party 2013 was a great success with 56 people turning up with kids attached (that’s over a hundred bodies in the room!) … coincidentally the same number of times we watched ‘The Snowman and Snowdog’ on repeat. We had an amazingly quiet and happy Christmas at home just the four of us and I nailed Christmas Dinner. Yeaaahhh! What a fabulous end to the year.

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Happy New Year 2014!

Leaf Rubbings and Printing

I hadn’t planned to do a Messy Play activity today but it got to 3pm or so and the boys were driving me craaaazyyy, so out they went into the garden just as it started to get dark and scooted and chased each other round and round while I watched them out of the kitchen window. They weren’t keen on collecting leaves though, complaining that the leaves in our garden are too crinkly and yucky (I have to agree with them there, it’s not a great batch). Next time we will walk down the road to Golders Hill Park where the paths are littered with perfectly-edged, ENORMOUS yellow and orange ones. For today, I had to find a few myself for our afternoon of crayon-rubbing and paint-printing (as requested by Gabs).

But wait! We can’t work on an empty stomach. First, chocolate digestives and milk…


Leaf Rubbing

The plan was for me to set up the boys with leaves, paper and crayons, show them how to do it and then leave them to to it while I had a cup of tea. But it turns out that leaf-rubbing is surprisingly tricky for small hands, even with me holding the paper down. The leaves moved around under the paper, the paper moved every time Gabs rubbed his crayon a bit too rigorously and he got frustrated, so after boiling the kettle three times I gave up and accepted this would be a supervised activity. That said, when it worked, he got really excited and loved the results and he did get the hang of it enough to do a few himself by the end.

Lucian joined in briefly before deciding random scribbling was more fun but between us we ended up with a nice collection of different colours and shapes.


Although leaf-rubbings are fun to do, you couldn’t really call it messy and Gabs isn’t thoroughly satisfied with his weekend unless it involves some sort of paint. So we kept our leaves, moved the crayons aside and got out the paints. Now, officially leaf painting is a bit easier than leaf-rubbing in terms of keeping the paper still, but a white IKEA table, a plate full of paint and a four year old and a two year old is recipe for something if not a full-blown disaster. In the past, I’ve used these Saturday afternooon Messy Play activities to keep them occupied for a long stretch (hovering around taking photos of them at work, cleaning the kitchen, starting to blog it already or at least getting the dinner on.) But today had to be heavily supervised.

Man, I supervised the crap out of those kids….

Again, we used different leaf shapes and colours and as well as painting the leaves and pressing them onto the paper we tried sponging paint around the outline of the leaf.

Surprisingly, Lucian was less concerned with painting my kitchen than lining up the paint pots in a straight line and throwing them into the box, but it was lucky I supervised Gabs who moved onto hand-printing.

We ended up with a nice collection, and then while I started blogging, Gabs carried on with his favourite obsessive activity: drawing the planets of the solar system. He also cut them out this time and tomorrow we’ll buy a big black sky to stick them onto from the art shop.

And I finally got that cup of tea… (*ahem*)


This was a Messy Play for Matilda Mae activity. messy-play-large1

Messy Play for Matilda Mae – Silver & Gold Leaves Christmassy Wreath

I’ve really missed Messy Play for Matilda Mae over the last few months. This is our first messy play in the new house (which really isn’t that new anymore!) which should tell you in one second that I’m really not … Continue reading

Look What Love Can Do!

Readers of my blog might know that it was named by a very special lady and friend of mine, the amazing Jennie Henley, she of the award-winning and inspiring Edspire blog. Jennie lost her beautiful 9 month old daughter, Matilda Mae, to SIDS on 2nd February this year and since then she has selflessly and tirelessly channelled her grief into raising a quite incredible amount of money for and public attention to The Lullaby Trust, a wonderful charity devoted to both raising money for research into the causes of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and supporting bereaved parents and families.




Today is Jennie’s birthday and in her usual giving style she has asked that people who would normally buy her a card or a present instead donate to Baby Tilda’s Starlight Fund via her Justgiving page below. If you know and love Jennie, or you’ve just read her blog and are moved and inspired to help, please click on the picture below and consider making a donation as a special “Happy Birthday!” for her:


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Look What Love Can Do!