Tutu Tuesday

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Shirt: Bohemian Traders, Skirt: Zara (similar here), Boots: Rubi Shoes (similar here), Bag: X Nihilo

Autumn Shmutumn. We are having The craziest weather in Melbourne at the moment. First it was an extended summer with about three weeks of heat and now the rain and humidity has set it. This kind of cool-then-sticky-then-hot-then-wet weather makes getting dressed in the morning incredibly challenging, but luckily for me, I usually just ignore the weather and wear whatever ‘speaks to me’ ;).

This morning my pink tulle skirt practically jumped out of the closet so I paired it with this mid weight denim button down and my trusty Chloe-esk studded ankle boots from last season. Now as you can probably imagine, rain and tutu’s don’t really mix. We were super lucky to get these pictures before the rain poured down again this afternoon. Its safe to say that as soon as I got in from picking the kids up from daycare, this outfit came off and the trackies went straight on, haha. Who else does that??

I am so happy to be back to regular programming this week as hubby is finally home and VAMFF is finished. I will blog about my experience working at the Fashion Festival later this week but the short version is, it was amazing and I am exhausted :).

Hope you all have a great week. Talk soon.

Caitlin xo

A Break From The Madness

Top: Global Desi (similar here), Jeans: Topshop, Sandals: Zara

Phew! Today has been a good day. A good day in the sense that for the first time, in what seems like forever, it felt like an easy day of parenting.

It’s no secret that the past 5 months have been challenging on all fronts but especially from a mum life point of view. I came to India with a toddler and a ‘baby’ but I well and truly have two toddlers now and boy is that exhausting!! 2 times the tantrums, 2 times the energy, 2 times the love, 2 times the fun, 2 times demands and  2 times the quest for independence but the ultimate dependence on me. It’s also been especially tough because l don’t have a support network here and I have a husband that literally works night and day (all for his family).

I’ve mentioned a few times that my son, my youngest is not a great sleeper but he is also the biggest boundary pusher; something I was totally unprepared for because my first born is so naturally cautious I never even had to baby proof the house with her. Xander climbs on tables, pulls things off benches, runs everywhere, pull plugs out of sockets, draws on the floor, puts everything in his mouth and has an obsession with throwing things in the toilet. So as you can imagine most of my days are spent literally chasing after him, entering into long negotiations with my daughter, cooking, like 7 times a day and fielding fights, tantrums, nappy changes, toilet stops etc etc.

I know I’m not saying anything new and I am certainly not doing anything that every other mum doesn’t do, but the reason why I’m saying it, is that today was not like that. Today the kids played happily and quietly, they ate what I made them for lunch and dinner. They didn’t fight or try to throw themselves off something high. They let me sit by myself for a few minutes and didn’t cry or pull at my leg. Today felt a little bit easier and I was able to catch my breath.

Being a mum is 100% the best thing I’ve ever done and I love my kids more than I will ever be able to explain but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy or that I don’t need my space too. Who knows what tomorrow will be like or even how much sleep I’ll get tonight but I’ll tell you what, today’s good day will get me through a few more rough ones now 😊.  x

Diary Of An Expat: Week 11

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Hi Friends! Happy Diwali as everyone is saying here. Today is Diwali which is the Festival of Lights. It is kind of like the equivalent to New Years Eve in Australia. Tonight we will light fireworks (yes we light our own on the rooftop terrace, eek), have some wine and just spend time as a family. Its been really fun to see all the goings on this week and to see how all the locals celebrate. Most of the houses in our community are lit up with fairy lights and have strings of marigolds hanging from their front gates. There are parties every night and my mother in law has been sent boxes of sweets, fruits and little gifts all week.

The kids had an early Diwali celebration at school as well and now they are on school holidays for a week.

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These Diyas are little clay pots used to hold candles on Diwali

Highlight: As I previously mentioned, all week there are various Mela’s (markets) all around Delhi where you can buy Diwali gifts, handicrafts, jewellery, traditional clothing etc. Most locals shop at these markets for everything they will need to decorate their house with for the holiday. One of the largest and most popular mela’s is put on by a local blind school and all of the proceeds go back into the school. I really wanted to attend this Mela so I was really happy that we were able to go on Wednesday. We decided it would probably be easier for everyone (mainly me) if Xander stayed home and so it became a bit of a girls only day out.

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I didn’t do too much shopping but as you can see there were heaps of wonderful things available and Hazelle scored a new handbag so it was a very successful day out in her book!

What I’m looking forward to:  Before we even left Melbourne a few months ago I was already hoping that we would all be able to go back for Christmas. As you know, I have a wedding on the 23rd of December so my tickets have been booked for months, but due to my husbands work schedule we weren’t sure if he and the kids could come back too. Well this week we finally settled on a date and booked tickets for the four of us to come home. I am so happy and can’t wait to see my parents and celebrate Christmas. This week has definitely put me in the festive mood and it will be so fun to keep that going back in Australia.

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Melbourne – we are coming for you!

What I am missing: You know, this week hasn’t been too bad in terms of ‘missing home’. We have a pretty good rhythm happening and I’m either getting used to the food and how things are or maybe the countdown to Christmas is getting me through, but all in all it’s been a pretty good week. I will say though, I am getting massive FOMO seeing the Spring Racing Carnival start in Melbourne. My stylist fingers are itching to pull some looks together ;). Next year I’ll be there for sure!

Your questions:

Do many people speak English? Do you find it easy to communicate? English is spoken by much of the population, and it’s the language of education, the professional workplace and politics. Most of the children will learn english at school too, no matter what kind of school it is. I still find it a little bit difficult to communicate however because most Indians have very thick accents and they feel the same about me. My dry / sarcastic sense of humour is definitely not a crowd pleaser either haha.

Can you wear shorts and mini skirts? If I really wanted to, I could. There are no laws or regulations about showing skin and in fact I see many Asian and Western foreigners wearing shorts or short dresses but out of respect I choose not too. I already command a fair amount of attention for being fair and tall, and female, so showing a lot of skin would only get me more attention. We don’t tend to go out at night much and I rarely go out without my husband so I never feel unsafe but for any young girls travelling alone or in small groups I would definitely advise against dressing skimpily at night.

How tolerant are the locals in New Delhi of foreigners? Is it easy to make friends? Making friends is just like anywhere else in the world, it takes time and good judgement but overall there are a lot of social opportunities and activities to get involved in if you want. Family is huge so if you find a good family to mix with then they will often introduce you to their connections and so on. Overally Indians seem to be quite tolerant of foreigners  however they only want to hear good things about their country. If you start a conversation listing all the things you miss about your home country, you can bet the conversation won’t last very long!!

…and that’s all I’ve got for you this week! Sorry I missed a few blog posts again this week, time went by so fast but I will make sure to catch up with all my scheduled posts next week. For now though its almost time to light those fire crackers! Have a great week everybody xx

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Mom Jeans

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Tee: H&M, Jeans: Zara, Shoes: Marks & Spencer, Headband: H&M,  Lollypop: Courtesy of my toddler 😉

So you’ve probably noticed that this year, our beloved skinny jean has had a rather dramatic fall in popularity. Yes, this style that has reigned supreme in all our wardrobes for the past few years is now being surpassed by other, more relaxed styles. Think The Boyfriend, and The Girlfriend and yes, The MOM.

For those of you unfamiliar with ‘Mom’ jeans, They are the high-waisted, straight legged, relaxed fit style that was popular in the 90s but had the unfortunate ability to make bums look huge, waists look puffy and legs look stumpy. Thankfully style and design has come a long way in the last couple of decades and now with some interesting styling and better cuts they are no longer jeans to be feared.

Today I’ve got 3 tips for finding the right (and most flattering) fit and then 5 styling tips for you.

Fit:

  1. Make sure it fits you snuggly, but comfortably around your waist. You will want to keep the shape of your waist to create some femininity and draw attention to your silhouette.
  2. Make sure the leg is slightly tapered at the bottom and the fit is not too baggy. These are the two key differences between Boyfriend Jeans and Mom Jeans.
  3. Wash is everything. The perfect pair has to be in a great, expensive looking wash. If you are going for blue, black or charcoal make sure the colour looks true but worn in. No sandblasting or whiskering.

Style Ideas:

  1. Keep it modern with details like fringed hems, distressed patches, embroidered details or uneven cuffs. You can DIY pretty much all of these things if you can’t find the real deal.
  2. Go the whole ’90s’ hog and style with a silky cami and choker.
  3. Show off your ankles. Roll the hems once or twice if they are too long or DIY them (see point one)
  4. Wear an interesting shoe. The tapered legs and cropped ankle length means a greater chance to play up your shoe choice and add interest. A heel with a pointed toe will help to elongate your legs and dress the look up as well.
  5. A cropped tee and slides (like I am wearing above) will give you the right amount of ‘modern-retro’ vibes but will feel like a modern update, rather than a vintage throwback. Also ridiculously comfy.

These guys are from Zara and they come in a million colours. The blush pink pair nearly got me but I knew I’d get more wear out of these charcoal ones, and plus light colours and India do not mix well! I can’t wait to keep playing around with the styling of these and I can already tell that the relaxed but not baggy fit will make them my go to casual choice for jeans.

Happy Friday everyone, see you all on Sunday with week 7 of ‘Diary Of An Expat’. Can you believe I’m creeping up to TWO MONTHS?!?! xxx

 

What I Wore Wednesday

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Kimono: Anna Sui (similar here and here), Dress: Witchery (similar here and here), Shoes: Marks and Spencer

This week is a little bit less fancy than last haha but I thought I’d show you what an easy, go-to outfit looks like for me. Despite being in the country of all things bright and colourful, black is still my favourite shade to wear. For mid week especially it is so easy to throw on, pair anything with and it stands up well to all the dirt and pollution of Delhi (and mess from the children).

I’ve had this dress for probably 2 years now and I think a casual LBD is just as important as a formal one. This particular one is sleeveless and is cut in slightly at the back so I added my trusty white kimono over the top for some modesty. I probably could have gotten away with not wearing the extra layer as today only involved a coffee date with hubby and gym / daycare runs but I decided to throw it on at the last minute for peace of mind. I love the laser cut floral details on the bottom half of this kimono, although the 3/4 sleeves and heavy weight did make it a bit hot.

As I said, neither of these items are new but all I had to do was slip on a pair of on-trend slides (see this post for more details) and my look was instantly ‘current’. Staying on trend doesn’t always mean you need a whole new wardrobe, just stick with your classic pieces and add new additions here and there to freshen the look up. It really can be very easy and inexpensive.

Happy hump day everyone, I’ll see you on Friday for Fashion Friday. I’ve got two trends i’m tossing up writing about, but either way I promise it will be a good one ;). xx

How I Do Two

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Hi Friends,

So today I thought I’d do a little ‘mummy’ post, or ‘mommy’ as Hazelle has started calling me. If that’s not a sign she is watching too much TV then I don’t know what is ;). I’ve always aimed to be as honest as possible about my motherhood journey. Not just on the blog but in real life as well. I know that a lot of people don’t want to hear about the struggles of parenthood, especially if they don’t have children but I think honesty and ‘realness’ is so powerful in this worldwide ‘mum community’. Often, to hear another mum confess a struggle or a mistake or just general overwhelm, can be the most precious gift to our self esteem and help make us feel as though we are not alone in our struggles. Of course not everything is about struggling and I aim to share my successes and lessons that I’ve learnt just as openly as I share the harder times.

For me personally, I have found the jump from 1 baby to 2 much harder than from 0 to 1. This is not the case for everyone but for me it definitely is. Maybe it’s because my kids are so close together, or because of their nature or maybe just because it is. Whatever the reason, becoming a family of 4 was definitely a bigger adjustment (for me) than a family of 3. We didn’t necessarily ‘plan’ to have kids so close together. I needed some support to get pregnant with Hazelle (Clomid and regular accupuncture) and I just assumed it would be the same with our second. Little did I know that 7 months after Hazelle was born, I would unexpectedly find myself pregnant again. Although not planned I wouldn’t change the 15month age gap for anything (just an FYI for anyone doing the maths, Alexander was 6 weeks prem, so the age gap is even smaller than expected).

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Flash back to simpler times when the toddler wasn’t so sassy and the baby couldn’t move 😉

So although I am BY NO MEANS an expert, today I thought I’d go through some of my tips for dealing with 2 young kids, especially 2 so close in age.

  1. Break ‘The Rules’. The most important way to cope, especially when they are so young is to find what works for you. I know that most of us mums love to read books and follow the same routine that our Sister in Laws’ Cousin swears by, but the truth is, you need to find what works for you and stick to that instead. Maybe following ‘Save our Sleep’ to a T works perfectly for you but in my experience most families need to tweak and trial and practice a few things before they find the combination that works best for them. For example, we usually give the kids a bath around 3-4pm. I know this is super early and most families wouldn’t be able to find the time that early in the afternoon, but it works for us. Our day is usually front loaded with all of our activities, main meal and outings in the morning and lunchtime, and once we are home it is much easier to bath both kids when they are happy and settled then to try and do it as they are losing their shit at 6pm.
  2. Dont Compare. Don’t compare siblings, your friends children, the way you parented your first, nothing. This can be especially hard when your two are so close in age like ours. Everything with your first is still so fresh but when you compare your kids you rob yourself the experience of learning about your new baby and you rob them of their chance to develop independently of their sibling. This is something that I’ve had to learn along the way. My two couldn’t be more different. From the pregnancies, birth, gender, personality, preferences, everything. It’s meant that my husband and I have had to evolve and learn how to parent differently too, and although we often reminisce and share memories of Hazelle as a baby we have definitely stopped expecting Alexander to be anything like that and we really cherish seeing his individuality come out.
  3. Don’t get too caught up in ‘one on one’ time. I know that down the track it will be nice and important to carve out time to bond one on one with each child, but right now, for us, we are a pretty much a package deal. We are always together, as much out of preference as necessity. We are lucky that my husband has so much flexibility with his job, but really he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves nothing more than being with us and will do everything in his power to manoeuvre his schedule so that he is around when the kids are awake. If he is not around however, it is always me with the kids. As much as individual time is important, I think that a strong family bond and foundation is a beautiful gift to give to your children as well.
  4. “The day are long, but the years are short”. I know, we’ve all heard it, and I’m the first one to admit that when the days are long, they are really bloody long. It is true though that every stage passes and the hard times do get easier (until they are replaced by something harder, haha). Perhaps it’s because I am writing this after both kids slept through the night for the first time in months last night, but I really do think that a little bit of perspective and looking at the bigger picture of life goes a long way in helping you get through the challenges of babies and toddlers :).

As I said, I am by no means an expert and these are just the things I do, but I hope that some of you have found it useful or interesting. If anybody asks me if I recommend having two close together I would say 100% yes although I do believe there are pros and cons to every situation. I would also spend ten minutes telling you how exhausting it is and how two babies in nappies, needing bottles, sleep schedules that aren’t aligned etc can be really hard. I would then spend the next TWENTY minutes however telling you how watching them grow together is the sweetest thing ever. How people always confuse them for twins because they have a close bond and how although we will always cherish our time alone with Hazelle for her first year, she will never remember a time without her brother by her side.

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Obviously a brother by your side is not ALWAYS the best thing!

And if you ask me if we are planning to have another one, the answer would be….yes. I think. But, not anytime soon haha. Two under two was enough for me, those mamas who do 3 under 3 need a medal, a coffee and a strong drink! xx

PS- we don’t love sharing a heap of photos of our kids on the internet so thats why I try to avoid full face shots, but trust me, they are cute ;). 

Diary Of An Expat: Week 6

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Smile kids, it’s your first day of school in a new country! Not so keen on the milestone photo? Ok moving on. 

Phew, this week flew by. This week saw Hazelle start school and Xander Day Care, but just as quickly as they started they stopped when Hazelle came down with a nasty cold, and then of course passed it on to Alexander by the end of the week. So out of 5 days, Hazelle went 3 times and Xander twice. Ha-ha, not quite the robust start that we’d imagined but I guess easing into our new routine isn’t a bad thing. I’m just grateful that we weren’t counting on them being in care. I can only imagine how stressful / frustrating it would be for parents with minimal flexibility in their jobs and trying to manage sick kids around that .

The funny thing of course is that the one day that Hazelle was at school and I was at home with only Xander, I missed her so much and wanted her to be back at home with me. After two+ years of her always being with me, I missed my little shadow. Be careful what you wish for I guess, huh?

Highlight: I won’t talk much more about the kids starting school because I’m sure you’ve heard enough but it definitely was the highlight of the week, as well as getting back to the gym. The little bit of free time was great for my mental wellbeing and although the juggle to get everything done within 2 hours is hectic, the investment in the kids and ourselves is well worth it. The close proximity of the gym to Starbucks is also a  big plus ;).

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Picture from my Snapchat. Username: caitlinmarwaha

New Words I learnt: Guys, I’m taking this section out. I am so bad with learning the language and even if I do learn some new words I forget them almost immediately. I would say I tried but obviously not hard enough….

Things I’m loving: Connecting with you all. Since I’ve started to post more frequently on the blog I have loved getting your feedback and comments and it seems you are really enjoying the content variety too? My biggest audience is still in Australia and although I would love to make some more connections here in India, it is nice to feel that link with ‘home’. I am amazed and excited that brands still want to collaborate despite the (many) extra miles between us. I love doing my lifestyle posts and I’ve had some questions about my diet (see below) so I’m thinking that I’ll do a ‘Day On A Plate’ post soon.

Things I’m missing: My husband and I talk about things we miss on an almost daily basis. We are very happy here and there are many things that we love about India but there is no doubt that moving from a developed country to a developing one, leaves you missing some creature comforts. Sometimes its food that we miss (this week it was lamb chops for hubby and bacon for me hehe), or unlimited water, but the biggest thing we’ve felt this week is our independence. There are so many restrictions here ranging from cultural ones like what to wear and eat, practical ones like who can drive and then personal ones like living in our own house. We know that our situation is temporary but this week we’ve found ourselves dreaming and planning about our eventual next step and looking forward to the greater ‘freedoms’ that it will bring.

What I’m looking forward to: I’d say I’m ‘looking forward’ to this with bated breath, but I have quite a bit of fun mail coming my way from various sources and I cant wait for it to get here. The problem is that the mail system is complicated at best and I have yet to even see the mailman, so fingers crossed I finds me.

Your questions:

Do you feel self conscious as a foreigner in India? 

There is no doubt that I stand out here. Being tall, female and fair skinned is basically the trifecta for attention here. I am pretty much always aware of it but only rarely do I feel uncomfortable. As you would have noticed I dress fairly conservatively so as not to draw too much MORE attention to myself. I am dying to wear some shorts in this heat but I know that would just give me the wrong kind of spotlight.

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For example, if I were any where else and the weather was this hot, I would totally wear this tunic as a dress. In India however, you ALWAYS need pants!!! 

 

 Are all Indians vegetarian? Are you going to stay a vegetarian forever now?

Actually only about 40% of Indians are vegetarian but out of the 60% than do eat meat, they often do so on a very infrequent basis. Lots of factors influence the typical Indian diet and these range from ethical beliefs, religion, socio-economic status, weather and access to food. Northern Indians are more likely to eat meat and that is where things like Seekh Kababs and Chicken Tikka comes from but in most places around the country you will find that vegetarian food is just as tasty if not more so than non vegetarian.

I don’t know if I will continue to eat as a vegetarian if we leave India (I mean, I just said that I miss bacon) but for now I am really enjoying going meat free.

Do the kiddos speak Indian in school?

No, the kids go to an English school so everything is written and spoken in english. They are the only International students currently enrolled though so that means they are the only kids who have english as their first language. So far there hasn’t been any issues and for the most part I can communicate easily with the teachers. I just have to remember to speak slowly and not use too many slang words!!

And I think that pretty much sums up week 6 of being an expat. Hopefully both the kids get over this flu and we can start week 7 with a (healthy) bang. If you guys have any feedback on the types of posts you’d like to see more of, or any topics that I’m not currently writing about then please let me know. I LOVE hearing from you and will always try my best to create content that you want to read / see. Have a great week, y’all xxx.