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Welcome to The Pretty Walrus (read the Hello page for an explanation on the name). I am Clare, married to David, and mother to Emily and Adam. The Pretty Walrus follows our journey from the UK to Malta to Dubai, and all our adventures along the way. Enjoy your stay!

Adam's Cake

Back to Adam's birthday for a little while. So I decided I'd be making the cake myself.

I'm not sure what chemical I'd been inhaling when I made that decision. Had I forgotten that two days earlier, there'd be packers once again turning my life upside down... and two days later, we'd be moving half way across the world?

Probably. That, or I am genuinely delusional and think I'm Superwoman.

I'm no Superwoman, but I will say this... The cake was far from perfect. It was actually quite messy. But when you consider that it was baked with most of my baking tools already en route to Dubai, it really could have been worse.

It was a red velvet cake and it tasted good. And sitting down to make the cake and that bunting for my little boy was just what I needed at the time. It made me sit down and focus. My thoughts weren't about packing, or how overweight we'd be on the 3rd March, or what had I forgotten to take note of. For a beautiful couple of hours, I sat down and forgot about it all. I was focused entirely on my creation.

And I am so pleased with it and with the way the bunting turned out. Not just because it looked cute (I won't go into how the M flag shouldn't have been a dark colour), but because it was evidence that during a week when my world was turning into a whirlwind yet again, I found the time to stop and make something pretty.

Keeping Little Specs On

It's been just over four months since Emily started wearing glasses (it feels like far longer). And in these few short months we have tried out several little accessories to help her little specs stay put. She'd look down and her glasses would slip down her nose until they're at the tip in what she calls her "granny look." It's actually really funny, but that's not the point.

One thing I promised myself when she first got glasses was that I didn't want them to hold her back from being a child. Meaning that, amongst other things, I wanted her to be able to play in a playground as she had done before glasses. We needed to find a way to make her glasses stay put.

We trawled opticians in Malta at the time, but no one had anything more than those awful loose strings that simply turn a pair of glasses into a necklace, or thick sports bands that only came in adult sizes. So we moved the search online... David came across Speccles, and I came across Stay Puts. I ordered both to try them out and see what worked best.

[image via babyology]

Speccles are clear, bendy plastic pipes which fit snugly onto the arms of a pair of glasses. They are as secure as it gets. Emily can do anything when she's got her Speccles on. They are slightly tricky for a child to remove, thus ensuring glasses don't get taken off (handy if you have a child who keeps trying to remove their glasses). We had no such problem but Speccles were our accessory of choice when Emily was at school simply because it meant it was more difficult for other children to remove her glasses.

[image via eyepowerkidswear]

Stay Puts are silicone hooks that are slipped onto the arms of a pair of glasses to keep them from slipping back and forth along the ear. They do an excellent job - even in the playground, Emily's glasses are always safely in place. They give the child freedom to remove their glasses if need be. Emily uses these most of the time because it means she doesn't need us to help her remove or put on her glasses, and it's generally less faff.

She'll be back in her Speccles once she starts school again in September though!

We have also begun patching. Her sight has responded to her lenses very well and she has improved significantly (I can count the amount of times I've caught her eye turning on one hand since New Year), but one eye has responded slightly better than the other. So we are now patching for half an hour every day.

Our optometrist didn't specify whether he wanted her in adhesive patches or not, as I hear some do. But finding patches is quite a bit harder than I'd ever have thought! We moved to Dubai four days after we were told to start patching so we were in a new place, trying to work out where we might find some. The only place we had any luck was at a pharmacy, where we bought plain brown adhesive patches. I promised Emily I'd buy her some fancy ones online, but in the meantime we'd use these regular adhesive ones.

We stopped patching less than a week later. Removing those patches hurt her so much, we couldn't bear to put her through it again for the sake of half an hour. I ordered the online patches and decided to wait until we had those (not quite knowing when that would be as Dubai post isn't hugely reliable).

They made it eventually and we picked up where we left off. I explained to Emily why we are patching and she was cooperative. She's even been out on her bike with a patch on!

We bought our patches from Kay Fun Patch, and are extremely pleased with them. Emily picked out the patterns she wanted herself (sparkly pink skull and crossbones, and a ballerina print one) and chooses which patch to use on a daily basis. They're good quality, reusable, and were worth the money.

Emily's new pair of glasses have transition lenses, so they "magically" become sunglasses when she's in the sun.
And what do you know... Bunny's got glasses too! (also via Kay Fun Patch)

As an aside, we have also tried Kay Fun Patch's Wedgees, which I do not recommend. After using Stay Puts, they seemed like the amateur little sister, didn't fit onto Emily's glasses very well, and were uncomfortable. Five minutes after trying them on, her Stay Puts were back on!

When Adam Turned One

Adam's birthday was celebrated over a couple of weeks. We threw a little party for him in Malta before we moved to Dubai, because we wanted to celebrate with friends and family there.

The party was scheduled for two days before we moved. As you can imagine, it was utter chaos, so the Mickey Mouse theme for the party (his beloved Mickey!!) was lost in it all slightly, and I still have most of the decorations, unused, in a little bag! 

It didn't matter, of course. It was a good excuse to catch up with everyone before we left and of course we also held Adam's quccija that day! Here are some snaps from the party.

Ask Adam "How old are you?" and this is what you get!

He crawled up to the tray with no hesitation whatsoever, and picked...

...a whiteboard marker, indicating that he may be a teacher of sorts when he grows up!
(the one profession we forgot to represent in Emily's tray!)

When we arrived in Dubai, every weekend was spent running errands, meaning the kids were stuck in buggies or trolleys, and they were entirely unimpressed. Adam's birthday was kept clear of anything like that. It was the one day those first few weeks during which we ran no errands. 

Instead, we went to Safa Park. We'd not been there before and had heard it was beautiful - and it was. The kids had a blast, and Adam discovered sand!

A couple of weeks later. we organised a cake smash photo shoot for Adam, but I'll write more about that once I have the photos to show you! (Very excited about it too!)

Why am I the one?

For over a year, FUN's Some Nights album was the soundtrack to my life. It lived in my car, I sang along with all my heart to every single song. When I was a teenager there was Alanis' Jagged Little Pill. Some Nights became my (slightly-more-than-) quarter-life-crisis album of choice. Every single song spoke to me in one way or another. It was as though the songs were written about me and my journey.

One song stood out.

Or go on, go on, go on, if you were thinking that the worst is yet to come
Why am I the one always packing up my stuff?
For once, for once, for once I get the feeling that I'm right where I belong.
Why am I the one always packing up my stuff?

I'd sing along and tears would fall. I never thought there'd be a day when I could sing along to that line: For once, for once, for once I get the feeling that I'm right where I belong - and truly mean it ever again.

When we lived in England, I loved it. It wasn't even a whole decade, but it is what I consider home, not in the sense that my family is there, but in the sense that my soul belongs there.

However, I always felt slightly like a fraud saying that. It was hard to fit in and truly make it into what it would be if I did grow up there. And there was always the fact that I sounded different that was a constant reminder that while I feel like I belong there, I don't quite.

Then we moved to Malta, the place I spent 23 years of my life. It should have been easy and yet I felt more like the outsider than ever. It's hard to explain. Small island mentality was something I had eagerly left behind. I couldn't bring myself to switch back. People no longer got me. I was very often the weird one with strange "foreign" ideas, and a very different sense of humour.

(If you're lost and alone, or you're sinking like a stone... 
Carry on.)

And then there was Dubai. And already, a month in, it feels like I might be singing along to that line in complete agreement for some time to come.

For once, I get the feeling that I'm right where I belong.

Dear Adam, You're One!

Dearest Adam

So much to say. So many moments I'd like to freeze frame. So many looks, smiles, giggles, the feel of your soft, golden curls. You are the happiest baby I've ever met. Your smile is contagious, you bring joy everywhere you go. You love giving hugs, you curl in and snuggle against my chest, head laid gently on my shoulder. You throw kisses, when you fancy it. You give us high fives, and then laugh with pride at this major accomplishment. Your twirling feet are never quiet, your hands always clapping, waving, pointing.

Your favourite things are wheels, shoes, climbing stairs, turning on the tv (but not watching it), the washing machine (which you call "ra ra" because it goes round and round), eating bananas, and drinking as much water as an elephant probably does. Mickey Mouse, birds, cats and fish make you go several levels of crazy, you just adore them too.

We can barely remember a day without you, little boy. I know your sister certainly can't. You have completed our little family and made us all so much happier. I hope your giggle never fades and that you're always as ready to cuddle as you are now.

This year will bring big things. You'll soon walk, you'll talk, you'll discover a new home (again), you'll make new friends, see new places. You'll get taller, no doubt. Do it all, but don't do it too fast. Your first year has gone by way too quickly and I want to absorb as much of your second year as is humanly possible.

I love you, monkey boy. More than you could ever imagine.

Mummy xxx

An Important Note About Photos

As much as possible, I will give credit for any photographs/images used. If however, you strongly object to my using and crediting your image, please let me know to remove it.

Most times, photos are mine. Should you wish to use any of my photos in your blog, please credit '' and link back to this site. I will not tolerate commercial websites or pages using my images without permission.

Older posts may include links to photo albums on Facebook. These links are temporary and only last a few weeks. For this reason, most links may no longer work. Should you wish to, leave a comment letting me know, and I will gladly refresh the link.

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