8# Life update: Big changes

I’ve been a bit quiet the past few months, as I prepare for the changes in the year ahead. I can’t believe its almost the end of 2019. This year has gone so much faster than the past few years for me. I’m not sure why, but it may be because I have been getting a lot more sleep with a 4 year old.

So the biggest change that I have been trying to get used to and also preparing for is a new baby. I am currently 15 weeks pregnant and due in late May. I only announced it recently to my friends and family, even though I have known since I was a few weeks pregnant. I had a bad cold early on and then a minor spout of food poisoning, which had me a little paranoid. However, everything seems to still be going well. I had a chance to hear the babies heartbeat and speak to my midwife and she wasn’t concerned. The photo below is the little bub at 7 weeks. I won’t be able to get another look in until I’m 18 weeks.

Since I had my initial scan I have also done a non-invasive blood test around 11 weeks. I found out I am having a boy! I wasn’t so surprise at this because my symptoms have been really different from the first time around.

First, there were crushing migraines that didn’t fade with pain relief. Next, I had constant morning sickness that was probably wasn’t as bad as last time, but is lasting much longer and doesn’t seem to get better with crackers and ginger tea. I have also had shortness of breath and exhaustion when standing for too long. I don’t know if this is because I am older then last time or just a different experience. Lastly, I have started showing really early. Last time around, my tummy was so small that they had to scan me at 35 weeks because they were worried the baby was too small. But this time around, my body knows what to do. So I have a huge tummy, which doesn’t leave much room for food. It’s not hard to overeat, which is quiet painful for hours after. On the bright side, I’m not disgusted by food too much. I can stand to eat greens and beans if they are put in front of me.

The next big thing is that my little O has graduated Kindy! That means she is starting school next year in grade Prep. She is so excited and although we had some reservations about holding her back another year, we ultimately decided it was best she starts straight away. I think she needs to be enrolled somewhere every day, with some old and new friends her age. She’s going to learn Japanese, taking dance classes, participate in sports, as well as learning the basics for reading, writing and maths. I’m so excited to see her thrive in her first year and hear about all the next things she learned and the new friendships she will forge. It will also be nice to have the house to myself for 6 hours a day, with a newborn.

So in preparation for the next year, I have already been planning a baby nursery. I am determined that this baby isn’t going to co-sleep like O did. As magical as it was, I’m hoping this one doesn’t need to comfort of a warm body and wake up every hour for the next 4 years. I only recently got O in her own bed for the entire night. So with this enthusiasm, I have been looking at the amazing range of Greenguard Gold certified nursery furniture at Pottery Barn Kids. Aren’t they gorgeous? Most of them also convert into toddler beds, which is really handy when they are in the awkward phase of climbing out of the cot, but can’t be put in a single bed yet.

So that’s the big change in my life that is coming in 2020. I am hoping that I will still be able to blog in the new year and this baby is a lot more manageable than my first. But I guess time will tell how things will go the second time around.

Have you got any new changes in the new year approaching?

Life update: Ancestry DNA

Its been a while since I’ve given an update on my life. Between motherhood, university internship and a bit of a rough patch, I haven’t had time to reflect much. I have now graduate from my Museum Studies program and finally have some time to catch my breathe and focus on writing a bit more.

So something I have been wanting to write about for a while was my Ancestry journey. For my birthday last July I bought a Ancestry DNA kit. Genealogy is something I’ve always been interested in, and I was curious how ethnically Italian I was. I am also a big believer in eating for your ethnicity. Since I got my results, I have been able to trace my family back several generations in various towns, uncover family secrets and found relatives all over the world.

DNA results

Before buying a DNA test, I did a bit of research on which company to go with. I found that Ancestry seemed to be the most accurate and have quite a large sample size.

After sending away my DNA to Ancestry, I received an email that my results where in. So when I logged in I was able to see my DNA story and DNA matches. My DNA story has changed since my initial results. The reason being is that your DNA doesn’t change, but the sample size and algorithm that is used to assess you DNA will change. Ancestry uses Autosomal DNA, which represents both one’s maternal and paternal segments of DNA. According to their website, their DNA test targets your most recent family history of the last 100 to 1000 years. You do your DNA with other companies that focus on paternal or maternal lines, called Y-DNA and mtDNA, which can focus on the last 10,000 to 50,000 years. However, when searching for relatives and using historical records to trace back family history, I think Autosomal DNA is sufficient.

As you can see below, that the majority of my DNA is Southern Italian. This was broke down further to idenity Calabria the place of origin, which you can’t see in this image. Caucasus was next, which is modern Persian empire. Then there is a touch of Middle Eastern and European Jewish. I was pretty astounded to find that 26% of my DNA came outside of Calabria. I wasn’t sure if this was because invaders had intermarried with the local population, or because a group of my ancestors resettled in Calabria at some point in the last 1000 years.

I was pretty excited about my results, which represented a crosssection of Mediterrean and Middle Eastern countries. There was no big suprises of rogue ethnicities in my family tree that I wasn’t aware of. Considering my grandparents are all Calabrese, I doubted it would be the case.

My results also put to bed a family legend on my mother’s side. My mother’s brother was told back in the 90s by a ‘genealogist’ that their surname, Gualtieri was of French origin. He sold him a family crest and told him that we descend from a French king named Gualtier. This king was apparently exiled and relocated to the south of Italy where he changed his name to ‘Gualtieri’, married into a poor family and lost the family wealth over generations. This was immeidately grasped by my mother, who had a conversation with an old Calabrese man years before in the cheese factory that she had worked in. He told her that her father family was orignally from the north of Italy and had came from France. Clearly none of this is true, otherwise I would have a trace of French or Northern Italian DNA, which is distinctive to Southern Italian DNA. Additionally, the surname Gualtieri is a common surname found in the area that her parents are from and originates from the Papal States. There is no known history of this story either, which lead me to believe it was a lie. A more plausable explanation for the story from the man in the cheese factory is that my mother’s had two great uncles, who immigrated to France and Piemonte. This man may have been from the same town and would have known them or her family.

Another, falsehood that I had be told growing up was that my father’s family is Greek. Their surname is Greco, which does mean ‘the Greek’. However, this surname origins from Tuscany and is one of the most popular surnames in Italy. My mother also believed that my grandfather’s family has a more Greek bodyshape, being long in the torso and short in the legs. My results show no Greek DNA. Additionally, I have been able to trace the Greco name back eight generations in the same town, which dispels this belief. It is possible that their town had originated from had Greek settlement in the distant past, as many towns in Calabria had. However, there is no reason why they would be more Greek my other ancestors.

Updated DNA Results

About two months after I received my results, Ancestry did a massive update. Everybodies results had changed based on a new algorium. I was really surprised that my results had changed so much and now focused on two regions. I was now 73 % Calabrese and 27% Turkish/ Caucasian . I was confused how I had such a significant percentage of Turkish/Caucasian, but not surprised that I lost my Middle Eastern and European Jewish regions. However, when this conversation topic came up on a Calabrese Genealogy Facebook group, it was apparent that no matter how ‘Calabrese’ we were, we all had signigicant amounts of Turkish DNA. This is most likey due to the fact, that during the Middle Ages Ottoman pirates raided Calabria and other parts of Southern Italy. This birthed the italian expression “Mamma li turchi!”, meaning “Oh mom, the Turks!”. Nevertheless, I am proud of my DNA results and I imagine I had a doppleganger living 100 or 1000 years ago, living a very different life to mine.

Have you done a DNA test? What company did you use?

Where you surprised by your results?

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everybody! I hope you had or having an amazing time celebrating the end of 2018 and a new start to new year. I am actually really excited about the upcoming year. So many exciting things are going to happen and so many possibilities.

I don’t intend starting the new year with any resolutions. But this year is hopefully going to be fresh start for my health. Once I am feeling 100% I intend to grow my family by one more, followed by my dream Disney wedding in Hawaii. So there is lots to look forward to and prepare for.

This year for this blog I’m hoping to continue to write about travel and colouring. I will also focus more on food and tell you about my new found passion for genealogy.

Before I completely move into the new year, I thought I would take a look back over the last year.


Live

So this year I did quite a bit of spontaneous travel. We visited Singapore and Nordic Europe. I am still in the process of writing about my trip through Sweden and Finland. We saw so muchand I have been a bit lazy in getting it all written up. If you planning I trip to either of these place do check out my posts to see some of the amazing places that you can visit and eat.


Eat

I didn’t post that many recipes this year, but these are the ones that made it onto the blog. As you can see its mostly pasta, since thats a big part of our diet. You can find all these recipes and more in my Recipe Index. Probably my favourite recipes for this year were the:


Colour

Adult colouring still remains a big part of my life. I find it to be a great creative outlet and I don’t see myself giving it up any time soon. I know its not trending so much for regular folks, but the colouring community is still alive and well. This year I review quite a few book reviews, including:

I also did a few of themed colouring projects:

Here are a few of my favourites from this year:

All the best for your new year and I look forward to bring you more travel adventures, delicious eats and colouring inspriation this year!

6# Life Update: home again, birthday and transit eats

I officially returned to Australia at the end of June after three weeks of travelling in Nordic Europe. It’s taken me a little bit to get over the jet lag since I was living in the lands of the midnight sun, with an 8 hour difference to my home timezone. I was only averaging about 4-5 hours sleep which is normal for me when I travel, since I am always on such a high. However, after having a child, my sleep isn’t as important as someone else, so I am not able to bounce back as quickly and get cankles from the aeroplane. The joys of age and responsibility. So anyway I am finally feeling like myself again the past couple of days.

 

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5# Life Update: Scandi Trip

I haven’t given an update in a while and now is probably the best time to let you know what we are up to. We are currently on another trip in Scandinavia for 3 weeks. We actually left a couple of weeks ago, but since I didn’t think I would have time to travel and blog simultaneously, I am writing this in advance.

So how did this happen? Long-story-short there was amazing short study trip to Italy for my school of Museum studies. I really wanted to go, but it the logistics didn’t pan out with a 3 year old and an intensive schedule. Next thing Marco found some super cheap tickets to Finland, which we booked immediately for  between semester and here we are.

So our travel plan begins with our flight into Helsinki, then the we fly within a few hours to Oslo, Norway. We will spend a few days there and then catch a train to Bergen and from there we will do a road trip visiting Flam and Balestrand. After returning to Bergen we will fly to Stockholm, Sweden and do some site seeing and visit family. From there we take a overnight cruise ship to Helesinki, Finland. We have a few days in Helesinki, including a day trip in Tallinn, Estonia. Then we take another road trip in Finland, visiting Turku, Tampere, Ähtäri Zoo, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Savonlinna, Porvoo and return to Helsinki to fly home. So I spent the week before making this itinerary, which includes all the sites and places to eat. Marco organised the Airbnb’s, car hire, flights etc. It was a very ambitious trip to organise with a toddler, which we hoping will be a happy traveller.

So while I have been away and until I returned I had schedule the rest of my posts. I have finally finished my Singapore Trip, which you would have already seen. Over the next week I have upcoming posts, including a book review and video for the Swedish colouring book Skymningstimman (Nightfall) by Maria Trolle, a review of Holbein Artists’ Pastel Tone Pencils and a recipe for Chocolate Chip Banana bread.

When I get back I hope to share with you some of my new colouring books. I’m hoping to get Maria Trolle’s Botanicum and Hanna Karlzon’s Smyckeskrinet, as well as a few others Scandinavian colouring books. Just before I left I bought the most recent Australian release of Colouring Heaven Issue 33: Secret World of Animals Special. This features the work of Japanese artist Kanko Egusa. It’s so adorable and I can’t wait to get back to colour it.

So until I get back you won’t see anything about this trip. But I hope you enjoy my upcoming posts and I look forward to sharing this travel adventure when I return.

3# Life Update: home again, Singapore buys

Hi everyone, I’m finally home again after our 10 days trip to Singapore. I got back a couple of days ago, but I’ve been too burnt out to do much. The time difference to Brisbane is only two hours, so I’m more exhausted from the trip in general rather than jet lag. I was a bit disappointed to come back home to real life. I was enjoying having my bed made, my meals prepared and exploring new exciting places every day. However, I missed my bed, my colouring pencils, soy cappuccinos and my family (in no particular order).

So before I share some of my travel adventures and stories, I thought I would show you some of the stuff I came back with. I didn’t do that much shopping really. I planned on coming back with a lot more. Marco, on the other hand, thinks I came back with more than enough. He only came back with a couple of pairs of shoes. I guess for the amount of time I allocated to shopping I thought I would have found more things I really wanted, but I guess I’m more sensible these days. So I’m happy with all my buys.

 

Continue reading “3# Life Update: home again, Singapore buys”

2# Life Update: January 18, Singapore

This is my first life update for 2018 and only the second so far on the blog. I did promise you more about my personal life in my New Years Plans and Goals. So I thought I would let you know whats going on in my January, as I make the trip across the sea to Singapore today.

 

Continue reading “2# Life Update: January 18, Singapore”

Life update

Since starting this blog I haven’t really told you guys what’s going on in my life and where it’s about to take me. As most of you probably know this blog is a new project I started after concluding Live Blissful that I started back in September 2012. I had a really long break from blogging after I had my daughter. I just really didn’t have the time or energy to put up quality content. Additionally, I was unsure where my plant-based journey would take me.

As I stand at the moment I am not 100% plant-based. I really struggled with this during my pregnancy and since then. I have accepted that I will probably never be 100%, but that’s ok. Different phrases in my life will call for different foods to nourish my body and my growing child. Does that mean I will not continue to cook and seek plant-based food? no. I actually prefer to eat like this. However, I also love to try new things and eat traditional foods when I travel. My biggest priority is to eat the clean, mostly organic and unprocessed foods. This means that majority of our families diet is vegan and vegetarian. I never came to this diet for ethical reasons, but I do believe eating minimal amounts of animal-based foods for better health and for the environment. Eating dairy-free is still a priority for me. I was able to eat small amounts while pregnant and through breastfeeding, but now as my child is feeding less I am getting side effects. For me just tasting someone else’s food can bring on blemishes and flu-like symptoms. I guess it’s a blessing in disguise, I would have never known how bad cows milk can be for our health had I not found out about my intolerance. As for the recipes, I will be sharing, I will probably stick to vegetarian since that’s what I like to cook.

Other big news is that I’m going to Europe tomorrow for a month. We are travelling to France, Italy, Serbia, Sweden and Belgium. Although we will be staying with family and friends throughout our trip, we will be making a special trip to Disney Paris. I can’t wait to share our adventure with you when we get back!