0 Cart
Added to Cart
    You have items in your cart
    You have 1 item in your cart
    Check Out Continue Shopping
    Blog Menu

    My breastfeeding nightmare

    My breastfeeding nightmare

    I had no idea what was coming my way. 


    Whilst every bone in my body has felt ready for motherhood for as long as I can remember, nothing was going to prepare me for the breastfeeding hell.


    No book or instructions handout, no NCT class, no hospital workshop, no breastfeeding expert, no video, no hypnobirthing app, nothing and no one was going to prevent the two years of trauma that were to follow my child’s birth.


    For two full years, whenever anyone would ask me when we’re planning to make another adorable little human, I would literally cease up in discomfort and go into panic mode, my stomach burning with pain and my throat drying up. 


    For two full years, I thought it was the trauma of birth that did this to me. 


    [Without going into too much detail- every contraction made me re-live the car accident from 16 years earlier. It was as if my spinal fusion was being smashed from the inside and I felt my back breaking over and over for eight longest hours of my life.]


    It wasn’t until Lake turned two and I felt that she needed a sibling, that I was ready to address the wound and deal with the pain. I knew I wouldn’t want to bring another child into the world with so much fear occupying my cells. So I had my mum put together a cell memory clearing meditation for me to follow and I enrolled in The Journey course to help me through this.


    What I uncovered through this intense healing process was that it wasn’t the birth at all which I was most afraid of, it was the first three months that followed birth.


    And so in order to deal with the trauma and to completely let go, I went on to re-live the nightmare. My breastfeeding hell.


    I remembered the piercing screams of a hungry baby that simply wasn’t getting enough milk.


    I remembered the dozen or so midwives that came through our doors to ‘assist with the issue’ over time. 


    I remembered each one of them attempting to get the crying child to latch by forcing her over my breasts while I bit my fist in agony and cried with her.


    breastfeeding awareness week


    I remembered telling Elliot not to allow any visitors because it was too painful to put a top over the raw and bleeding scabs of my nipples.


    I remembered the heartache of not being able to comfort and to hold my baby too close for that very same reason. 


    I remembered Lake sucking only to peel the scabs off till blood ran down her cheeks.


    I remembered the midwives panic because my baby wasn’t only not regaining her birth weight at 10 days old, she continued to lose weight. She slept for 5 hours at a time because she had no energy and cried when she was awake because she was so hungry.


    Still they insisted that I persevere with breastfeeding and not give in to formula no matter what. 


    I remembered sobbing in the shower from physical pain of my exploding breasts, the scabs, the blood, the blocked milk ducts; and the emotional pain of feeling like a complete failure in my first task as a mother that provides for her newborn in the most basic way.


    I remembered how surreal and dehumanising it felt to literally be milked not only by strangers that came through our doors but even my own husband.


    I remembered never being able to sleep, not because I was over-exhausted, but because I needed every minute to mentally prepare myself for the immense agony of feeding a child as soon as she was ready to wake up.


    I remembered taking this innocent child into my arms and seeing only a mouse trap that was about to jam itself over my raw skin and send me into more silent screams.


    I remembered wanting to slice off my breasts because I thought anything will be less painful than them blowing up till I saw skin tearing with my own eyes.


    I remembered Elliot sprinting to Superdrug in freezing January to buy out shelves of any product relating to breastfeeding or soothing a baby.


    I remembered how much I wept from the depth of my core when I tried using a hand pump to relieve me of the milk build up, only to feel the scabs of my nipples crack open and see nothing but blood drip into the bottle.



    I remembered how exhausted I was to care when someone finally picked up on the fact that Lake was tongue tied to latch properly and had a severe case of asymmetry. (Her neck was jammed in one position and her head was always turned to the right, which meant that feeding equally on both breasts was not only difficult and painful for her, it was pretty much impossible, till we called in a cranial osteopath to release the muscles. This apparently happened as she was developing inside me- she was growing into a long baby inside a short mother so there wasn’t much room to move and she kinda found a comfy position to keep growing with her head turned to one side).


    Meanwhile a fellow NCT mum offered to lend me her electric pump and I refused because of what happened with the hand pump. She insisted that I give it a try and had it brought to my house. I stared at it with deep fear for at least a week.


    By the time we had Lake’s tongue tie fixed, by the time the osteopath’s magic work began to take effect and by the time I discovered how a miracle electric pump was going to give my nipples a break for a chance to heal.... my milk pretty much dried up.


    The next round of painful experience began.

    My baby was literally screaming from starvation and I felt like I failed her yet again by not having enough milk and by giving in to formula.


    For the first time in weeks, I could see the child was satisfied. Thank you Lord for baby goats!



    The midwives still went on about how important it is that I don’t give up and continue to breastfeed. 


    So I persisted and committed to trying any tip going that might help to increase breast milk production.


    Again, there was no chance for me to sleep. I was a mum on a mission...


    It felt like I had warm compresses on my breasts around the clock. If I wasn’t nursing Lake, I was expressing. If I wasn’t expressing, I was in a hot shower massaging my breasts to stimulate the milk production.


    I upped my calorie intake and started loading on complex carbs like brown rice, beans and whole grain pasta. I was steeping fenugreek, raspberry leaf, stinging nettle and fennel seeds all the time to take as a tea. I started drinking dairy for the first time in years, because I heard that a glass of warm milk before nursing will increase my own milk. It did work for a short time and when it didn’t, I started to drink formula myself. (That was one of the low points of the whole mission). 


    The next round of painful experience began. My baby got the taste for formula milk and was no longer interested in mine. 


    It was also a big effort for her to breastfeed, while the bottled milk just flowed. 


    It was difficult enough witnessing just how much she no longer wanted my milk, but when a stranger dining at my cafe made a remark like ‘I do hope that’s breastmilk in that bottle’, it left me in tears for weeks.


    I knew how it looked to an outsider: A raw food expert with her own organic cafe, promoting natural living, that's free from animal foods - wasn’t even breastfeeding her own newborn. Instead she was feeding her dairy milk formula! 


    I hated feeling like I had to explain myself to friends before I pulled out bottle feed, but the last thing I thought I’d be doing is avoiding my own beloved haven of a restaurant at the risk of the judging eyes.



    It’s Breastfeeding Awareness Week and every year starting August 1st, I see hundreds of posts on the importance of breastmilk, as well promotion to stop the shaming of mothers nursing in public.


    Although I am 100 percent in full support of this incredibly important initiative, I felt like I needed to write this post for a number of reasons-


    1. I needed to do this for my own healing to be complete. I have a brand new life growing inside of me now and I am determined to bring this child into the world without fear. (Surprise!) 
    2. I now know what to look for (ie. tongue tie, asymmetry, electric pump) the second time around. Hopefully someone else reading this will benefit from knowing these signs and won't need to suffer for as long as I did.
    3. If you’re also struggling with so much pressure to breastfeed, while crying from unbearable agony, just know that all this pain and fear is being passed on to your child via the hormones in your milk. Yes, the goodness in your milk may outweigh the fear hormones and Yes, we don’t know what the animal that was being milked went through and what fear hormones it might be passing on via formula, but I do know this... As soon as I relaxed and the pressure (mainly in my own head) to breastfeed went away, the love and the bond between me and my child blossomed. Love is the ultimate fuel. Babies need our love just as much as they need food to survive (if not more).
    4. Please whatever you do, DO NOT judge a mother feeding her child in any which way she possibly can. You have no idea how many tears she cried till the point that she could comfortably breastfeed in public. You have zero clue as to how often she was losing the will to live until she could soothe her baby with a bottle. Believe me when I say ‘she is doing her very very best’.


    So much love going out to all the new mamas, the newborns and the judging eyes. We are, after all, the ones that need it the most.





    Lake's 1st Year - in weekly pictures

    Lake Tatiana Maher - first 52 weeks

    When Lake was just 1 day old, we lay her down on a super cute blankie that was a present from Stella McCartney.

    Elliot loves foxes so we fished the internet for the cutest fox toy when I was still pregnant and found this handmade cutie by the Ragtales.

    We placed the toy next to our little miracle of a newborn and I took pictures with my phone. 

    When she was 1 week old, I sort of did the same thing without thinking. Never planned on it becoming 'a thing' but it did and I'm so happy about that because it inspired lots of you guys to do the same and now we all have a collection of beautiful snaps and notes about our little ones' development to treasure forever and ever.

    It took a while, I know (Lake turned 2 on 13th Jan), but I just had a collage printed of her first 52 weeks and decided to post it here along with the weekly updates.


    Microphone in one hand, phone in another, this one is a multi-tasker from Day 1.

    Our baby girl Lake Tatiana Maher was born on 13/01/16 weighing in at 8.9lbs, 53cm in length.

    Shakespeare won't know where he is when he awakes from hibernation!


    Baby girl is 1 week old today. I thought I may as well teach her the peace sign early.


    Lady Lake turns 2 weeks today. Precisely how long mummy hasn't slept...


    Our Lady Lake turns 3 weeks today and already I have no idea how I ever lived without her. I know parents say this all the time, but she really is the best thing that's ever happened to me. Feeling so blessed, there's no words for it


    Our little monkey is 4 weeks old today! Already just in this last week alone, she's been on a tube and bus adventure around London, participated in a 2 day business development workshop, worked a shift at @Tanya's Cafe, did a baby massage course and met lots of her fans. Wow my boss sure knows how to keep me busy 😝


    5 weeks of the most indescribable love. 5 weeks of daily dream smiles (5 days of awake ones). 5 weeks of identical outfit for mummy and 35 for baby. 5 weeks of discovering new muscles I didn't know I had. 5 weeks of washing line looking like a baby pyjama shop. 5 weeks of pukey bath robes, zombie night time walking, no routine, being late to every meeting, not understanding how hours disappear, daily discussions about poop burps and nipples, and just being totally and utterly lost in pure bliss that is Lady Lake.



    6 weeks old and already a personality like no one we've ever met before. Mostly utter cheekiness. She has us completely figured out now and knows how to use that amazing smile to get anything. Every. Single. Time. Doh!


    Just when I thought that at 7 weeks we may not get a photo, because Miss Personality wasn't 'into' any of her outfits today... I pop her back into her daily attire of a comfy onesie and a bib and not only do we have a smiley baby again, we have a fist-pumping-happy-flying-life-is-super-awesome supergirl! I'm pretty sure she wanted to have it on record how mummy sees her every day, not just once a week.


    Today my baby is 8 weeks old and it's one of those days when I'm basking in gratitude for my work. I don't know if anything else I've done in the past would've let me ease back into work mode just 3 weeks after giving birth and I don't know if I could have Lake with me wherever I go. We are together at the cafe, in meetings, in workshops, in the kitchen, outdoors, everywhere. Every day I fall in love with this pure blessing more and more and don't even like to leave her side while she naps. Call me crazy but I miss her even when she is sleeping and I never thought I'd be saying this a few weeks ago but I now get excited waking up in the middle of the night to feed my baby because I get to cuddle that sweet little squashy cuteness. I get to do what I love and I get to do it with the love of my life in my arms. Wow. So so grateful🙏


    Baby girl is 9 weeks already. Wowsers!
    This past week she's really discovered her hands and is grabbing everything (!!!!) including my hair, earrings, necklaces, her bib, nose, cloths, blankie, even this foxy toy. It's super adorable and funny until she grabs, pinches and scratches my face and my chest while feeding. Haha. Ouch.
    On another note, does anyone know where I can possibly find a yellow dress her size? I've looked and looked everywhere (business opportunity?) but this dress with teeny yellow bows on her shoulders is the closest I managed. Even red or green are more popular that yellow It's the happiest colour and the one I feel represents Lake's personality the most... no doubt more mummies out there feel the same about their babies so if you know someone in baby ware biz, pass on the request pretty please and they already have their first customer in the queue 🐱


    Celebrating 10 weeks of this sweet little bunny being earth side with us. It's as though she knew that Easter outfit was coming up, because this is the first week she started staying on her tummy without crying, even fell asleep for the photo (she never sleeps during the day)! #shesgettingrolls#sodelicious #lakemaher


    Yussss first yellow outfit of many!
    Thanks so much everyone for your comments, links and suggestions... this little ray of sunshine will not be short of happy colours to match her personality.
    Baby Lake is 11 weeks old today and had the smiliest week ever meeting her auntie from NYC for the very first time. You always know my sis has been to visit when Elliot and I are kitted out in Ralph Lauren gear, now she has her niecey pie to spoil too. I mean seriously, a RL polo onesie? This kid is so lucky. And fun. Man I love her.


    That awkward moment you realise your daughter's wardrobe is already better than yours and she's only 12 weeks old 👶
    This last week has been all about the growth spurt babies go through around this time, I didn't know about it so I wasn't prepared for what was coming my way. Just as we got the most amazing routine going and she started sleeping through the night from 9pm till 6am for a couple of weeks in a row (a wee secret I kept to myself 😝), she'd suddenly wake up at 4am not only to feed but to play and to smile and chat and cuddle and giggle and maybe vom a little too. And despite all my efforts to tire the little monkey out, there's no going back to bed till evening time. My goodness that giggle is everything though!!!


    If I could summarise Lake's cuteness into one signature move- it's this! Whether she feeds or bathes or watches Baby Einstein or sometimes sleeps even, she has her hands clasped together like the Lady Lake that she is. It's something we've noticed her doing daily from around the 3rd week, today she is 13 weeks or 3 months exactly. She was born on the 13th and today is the 13th. My grandma whom I was named after, whom my cafe was named after and where Lake's middle name came from, was also born on 13th January. It's an auspicious day as 13 also happens to be one of my favourite numbers and feels whole and sacred. Number 13 also carries a message from your angels that you are being guided and assisted with your soul mission. Today I'm soaking up the gift that is this delicious little human, who happens to be in her happy swimmers because this was the week of her first swimming lesson!


    Baby girl is 14 weeks old today and it's the first week we've witnessed the most growth over the shortest period of time. Literally feels like we've just blinked and she went from being our little baby to our big baby.
    She not only feeds way more and has already outgrown all of her first onesies, but she's talking in the most hilarious Lake Language and is very close to turning over on her own (she can already roll over on her back from being on the tummy and can lay on her side from being on the back).
    It's also been the most event filled week during which all of her waking hours were spent on adventures like London School of Diving (she goes all the way under the water now!), lectures at London Business School, picnics with antenatal class mamas and babies, meeting other newborns, extended park walks, lots of blending and raw cake making at the cafe with mummy and even booking flights to Ecuador to meet her grandparents!
    I now totally get what everyone's been telling me all along: "treasure this time, it goes by so fast"


    15 weeks of this sunshine today. This week, Lady Lake's Godmama came back to London from her sunny state California with a wardrobe of sunny yellow outfits for the sunniest little girl. Britney felt so connected to Lake from way before she was born, she even saw her in a meditation when I was 8 months pregnant and Lake showed up with a head of black hair (just the way she was born) and told Britney that she'll arrive on the 13th (just like she did, although due on the 7th). Yellow also happens to be Britney's favourite colour and the stories I keep hearing about Britney as a strong, happy, clever, independent, sweet baby, I'm seeing in Lake every day. If my little ray of sunshine grows up to be like her Godmama, then she's on this earth to spread only love and happiness. And so it is.


    16 weeks old today and out of the 88 pictures I just took- this is the *only* frontal one... our Lady Lake figured out how to roll!
    The moment she rolled over for the first time on Saturday was the moment those days of leaving her unsupervised, even for 30 seconds, were over. She was so pleased with her newly discovered talent, that it's all she ever does now- the funniest thing to witness ever- as Lakey grabs her own feet and arches her whole back to flip over like a spring.
    As for her outfit this week- it's borrowed from her newborn friend Willow. So far everything you've seen her wear has been either a gift or something I bought from a charity store, but this little number is borrowed. When Willow was born, her parents and us did a temporary exchange of everything Lake has grown out of for the things still too big on baby Willow. It's such a shame otherwise to have your little one wear something twice and then have to fold it away because it no longer fits. Plus it feels pretty good to share and that's what I'd like for our little girl to know as the norm


    To my sweet darling girl,
    17 weeks (almost 4 months) ago today, you entered our crazy beautiful world.
    Already in just this short while you've made me and your daddy smile more than we have during our 8 happy years together. (And that's coming from the 2 positive joy-filled people that made a promise to each other to never go to bed angry and to make each other laugh every day.)
    The very first description of you I've ever heard came from a sonographer, who was wowing all through your scan calling you "the most cooperative baby" she's ever seen. Then at our routine check ups with nurses and midwives, I kept hearing how advanced you were, how early you started kicking and moving. Before we knew your gender, my hairdresser would say you're either a boy or a Tom-boy, because you did NOT like me being there in the slightest. Your daddy would say you're going to have your mummy's energy because you were happiest when I moved and would go wild kicking away if I sat down, carrying on till I moved again (this went on through all of my pregnancy). Your Godmama would need to see me to "feel" you because she said you make everything better when she needed to feel better. I always thought you were a "child of light", because the only time you were super chilled inside me was when I was in a bikini with my bump facing the sun, while at ALL other times you would kick and kick and kick till I found a well lit bathroom and pulled my top up to let in some light... that's when you'd relax.
    Amazing. Just like you.
    You are all of those things and so so much more.
    Your head popped out of me screaming in tune with me, shocking the delivery widwife and then continuing to shock all other midwives when they saw how well you were holding up your own neck from the moment you were born.
    That "child of light" and "energy like your mummy" went a little too far when we discovered you had major FOMO and did not want to sleep during daylight no matter what. Turns out we actually got pretty lucky because you slept through the night after just 2 months.
    Today you are rolling over multiple times in one go and making yourself giggle as you do it, cracking us up even more. You stare at serious people on the tube with your big smile till they notice you and start to melt, you make so many people happy.
    Thank you my sweet child. Thank you for choosing us to be your parents, we'll continue doing everything possible to prove that you made the right choice.❤️ #LakeMaher #LakeWeekly


    Our mini little human is 18 weeks old today. Eighteen weeks!! Lots of exciting changes this week including real progress in her swimming classes, tasting her first green juice and spirulina, hugely improved digestion after adding probiotics and warm water sipping to her diet, first (and all) early signs of teething, non stop attempting to lift her head while on her back and finally pooping on cue via Elimination Communication (almost no dirty nappies for 2 whole weeks)! One thing's been pretty consistent though... that smile!


    Our mini little roommate is now officially a British Citizen! And she has a passport to prove it. It just arrived yesterday, right in time for our first family holiday. In fact I'm posting this from the airport as we're off to Sicily in a few minutes. Weeeeeeee! Lake was so excited to become a citizen before her parents, that she asked her friend Willow to borrow a Burberry outfit to represent her pride in the British culture.


    Today this Lady Lake is 20 weeks old. She is dressed in her big girl swim suit to represent her very first visit to the beach! Not that she wore anything at all in the ocean but she might not forgive me when she's older if I posted a Nakey Lakey picture. But man if you have a little one- no doubt you'd agree your baby, all nakey, is just the most lovable thing in the world! How silky is their back?? Also in one 24 hour period this past week, she's been on pretty much all transport there is- bus, train, car, ferry and plane! First time on a plane and she was a dream. I used to talk to her in my belly at 6 months of pregnancy on flights to and from Sri Lanka and would tell her to remember the sounds of an aeroplane which actually represent everything pleasant, like holidays, family visits and summer. I would tell her that she will love travelling just like her mummy and that being on a plane is safe, relaxing and enjoyable. Sure enough she slept every minute of the 2.5 hour flight to Sicily and back. She also tasted a bit of watermelon and banana on holiday and is now grabbing and gnawing everything in sight like the tiny little teething monster that she suddenly turned into overnight.


    Just when we thought this little charmer couldn't get any smilier, her grandparents arrive from NZ to meet her for the first time! With a house so full of love, presents and attention, she exhausted her jaw muscles so much, she fell asleep immediately when put into bed at 8pm and didn't stir till 6:30am. Today, Lake is 21 weeks old and this little finger-in-the-mouth is pretty much how you're guaranteed to find her at any given moment of the day. No matter what teething toy she gets, it's the finger that satisfies. You can't tell in the pic, but she is also wearing an amber necklace for teething (it's meant to release healing oils with anti inflammatory properties and sure enough- within half an hour of putting it around her neck, she calmed down completely and stayed chilled for all these days while wearing it).


    Sweetie pie is 22 weeks today (5 months and 2 days). For the first time in her life she's had someone other than her mum and dad stay in the house for an entire week with her. Her Kiwi Gran and Granddad are loving this time with their first granddaughter aka the giggliest funniest Miss Personality. They've only been visiting for just over a week and have already noticed a big change in her growth and development. So fun to compare notes! Gran picks up on her 'toilet face' too now, so I take her to the loo in time and we avoid a dirty nappy. Oh and in swimming she's discovered how to splash water so it's her new thing non stop now, plus she's finally opening her eyes under water (apparently it's very natural for babies to have their eyes open when they are under but for some reason as soon as you say 'Ready, Go' and dunk Lake in, she seals them shut. Not any more!)


    Daddy kept asking why his little lady never wears his favourite colour so she surprised him in this blue outfit for Fathers Day this week. Upon reaching 23 weeks of age, this has also been the week Lake transitioned out of her hammock into a big girl cot (thank you Kiwi Grandparents)! The first two nights weren't so dreamy for anyone, but she's back to her impressive sleeping habits now. She's also been trying different fruits and veggies and goes absolutely crazy for bananas or avocado mashed with fruit salad. It's so fun watching her discovering new flavours and textures and instantly letting me know what she will or won't tolerate. And my absolute highlight of this past week is how this tiny person is now giving us proper hugs by wrapping her arms around our neck and resting her head on our chest. (Well...half the time it looks more like a little teething vampire with her mouth and claws attached to our neck, but still- she relaxes into a proper loving cuddle pretty quickly. And it's literally the best feeling in the world. The best!)


    Lady Lake. 24 weeks of this most hilarious, silliest, cheekiest, delicious sweetie pie. I was so happy to capture her looking like this because that's how she looks now every time she realises a million kisses are heading her way- she squeezes her eyes shut, presses her whole chin into the chest to hide that ticklish neck and opens her mouth to make the longest going giggling gurgling sound. Her hair is getting fluffier and lighter too. Totally utterly besotted. This girl is everything!


    Our mini ballerina is 25 weeks old. She's had a big week of firsts... She parted with her kiwi grandparents, got her first sniffles, went from 2 to 3 solid meals a day, met Novak Djokovic and moved into her very own room!!! I never witnessed anything cuter ever... she usually needs a dummy to settle and then the moment she falls asleep, she'd spit it out. Well, there was so much new stuff to look at in her new bedroom, she lay there quietly for 45 minutes playing with her toes and gently tapping the railings of her cot until she drifted to sleep without the need for a pacifier for the first time ever. Needless to say, I got all teary peeking in on my baby acting all independent and then couldn't sleep half the night, trying to listen out for her to cry or snore or laugh or something! Turns out she's a good sleeper like her daddy.


    Where? Where did 6 months go?
    26 weeks ago, exactly to the day TODAY, I gave birth in St Mary's Paddington, the same hospital where the Royal children are born.
    We arrived home less than 10 hours later. I was very naive to think that breastfeeding would be the most natural and therefore easiest thing in the world. We had a rough start to say the least (and if anyone is interested to know about my experience, do let me know... one day I'll get over it and may write about it on the blog).
    One thing is for certain though- I had no idea of the love capacity in my heart until this Miss Lake Tatiana Maher came into my world. Every single day my heart expands that little bit more. Sometimes I look at her, she is smiling so wide and I wonder if my heart could burst right there and then, but instead I just tell her I love her. I love her. So so so much.
    So today, Elliot and I are celebrating SIX months of Lake. #soinlove #lakemaher #lakeweekly


    27 weeks of Lady Lake and this is the week that got me questioning my mothering skills. This sweet happy girl is still just as sweet and happy but ONLY whilst being held 😬 The moment I put her down -be it into the cot, her pram, playing gym, anywhere- even if I'm right there next to her, she'll let the whole neighbourhood know just how unimpressed she is about that. Could I have really spoilt my own baby at just six months by giving her all the love, attention and cuddles she wanted? Am I being too soft for not being able to leave her crying? Oh dear. I do hope this is just a stage, as I don't think I have it in me to leave her to 'cry it out' nor do I believe it to be necessary. Any suggestions?
    As for some fun progress... Lake is making all sorts of sounds and sometimes it 'feels' like she's actually talking and telling stories. The other day as she was eating avocado with spirulina, a little got stuck to the roof of her mouth and to get it off, she stuck out her tongue and uttered her first syllables: nya nya nya nya nya nya. The funniest thing is that in Russian 'nyanya' means 'nanny' and since she has a Russian nanny for a few hours a week, we thought it was hilarious and typical that as much as Elliot and I competed for dada/mama, our little angel didn't want mummy and daddy competing so she went ahead and made 'nanny' her first word😂
    The amazing dress is from her beloved Auntie Alla in New York, who just announced that she's coming to Ecuador when her niecey-pie is there this Thanksgiving!!!! Weeeee


    28 weeks of Lady Lake! This week she went away for her second overseas holiday (France/Spain) and not only with her mummy and daddy, but Auntie Kiki (Saskia) too! Elliot had a couple extra leave days to use up afterwards as well so I took this opportunity to sign her up to #DaddyDayCare and got on with masses of work...
    When I got home after 10pm on Wednesday night, I nearly cried because it was too dark to take her #LakeWeekly picture and she's been sound asleep for hours anyway. Well there's a first time for everything plus eventually I'm gonna need to stop taking these pictures anyway, hahaha, she is already nearly impossible to photograph as she immediately goes for the fox toy and rolls over... and over... and over.
    As for her progress- where to even begin? This week has been massive for progress! Firstly, thank you guys so so much for all the supportive and encouraging comments last week... the very upsetting clingy stage was very much a stage and thank goodness it already seems to be over.
    Secondly, the little lady is becoming very chatty and lots of 'nya nya nya, ya ya ya, dya dya dya, ga ga ga' sounds are on repeat mode. It's the cutest thing!
    Thirdly, she is out of her bassinet and now just sits up strapped in a pram. This change immediately transformed a crying frustrated (from laying down) baby into the happiest, quietest, most curious little monkey, that just loves to see what we are seeing.
    Also, she had a good splash around in a lake for the first time (yes, Lake in a lake!) and loved it! Oh and speaking of swimming, she had an underwater shoot at her Little Dippers school and the photos turned out just as amazing as the Nirvana album cover!
    Still no teeth.
    Still poops on cue (when mummy's around).
    Still amazing to fly with.
    Still loves her avocado/mango/spirulina mix most of all and today for the first time she had her biggest meal yet and discovered a new favourite (whole peeled cored apple blended with soaked sprouted oats and cinnamon, all raw).


    Literally the one and only photo I took of Lake today before my phone ran out of memory and I figured it's perfect anyway. Elliot got me this phone in time for Lake's arrival and now there are 5,580 photos and 356 videos 😬 This was 29 weeks ago! For everyone asking if she ever doesn't smile, the answer is of course- yes. She's a baby and she's not afraid to let the world know! But we are so very blessed with the sweetest little girl that will smile immediately upon hearing mummy's or daddy's voice, seeing herself in the mirror, seeing Ulrike (my EA, who doesn't have to do much to make Lake happy), hearing water splashing, looking out the window at green tree tops, seeing my phone camera appear in front of her (they learn so fast!), going for a walk strapped to me facing forward and the most recent one being- seeing other babies on the bus. This week she finally began to notice other little people and it's so fascinating to witness how long she is willing to smile at them till they smile back. #lovemygirl#whoruletheworld #myworld #thatlittlepinkythough#lakeweekly #lakemaher


    Lady Lake is 30 weeks young today! The best thing about this week has got to be her brand new eating sounds. She must've listened to me long enough going 'look amaranth mmmmm, look avocado mmmm, blackberry mmmm' and interpreted it as her own version of 'mmmm' with a rather loud mix of moaning, growling and grunting in the most serious manner. I keep trying to video this peculiar expression of enjoyment, but as much as she loves smiling for the camera, there's no way anyone can interrupt the important meal time! My girl. Speaking of eating... she is onto 3 solids meals a day (and down to 3 milk feeds) and her sleeping is the best ever! Goes down immediately by 8pm and doesn't make a sound till at least 6am. All this time on her tummy, which is also a super new thing (and a super surprising thing because of how long she hated tummy time). Lake's mega adorable jumpsuit is from NZ's Pumpkin Patch but more importantly, from her NZ auntie and my bestest friend, Ginku/Genovata/Genda/GinaSan/Genola. We've been waiting and waiting to fit into Gina Provic's pressie and suddenly POP 🌱- my tiny 7 months old sprout is fitting into 12 months old stuff


    Just when we thought that maybe this little one might never grow teeth, 7 months (31 weeks) and boom... we have a tooth! I'd eagerly run my finger over those sweet gums every morning for months now, but never did I foresee my own excitement levels over a little sprout! Skipped around till I got thirsty. Lakey Lake has also fully mastered the army crawl (more like a floor/head butting slug action) and she can get herself from one corner of the room to another pretty quickly. And today for the first time ever, she got up on all fours over and over again, each time staying there longer than before. She's so nearly crawling and might just skip learning to sit all together 😂 The weekly photos are getting soooo much harder now that she's super active, alert and determined, I always need a second pair of hands now to assist in everything from getting Lake's attention to pinning her down to replacing the fox to pulling down her dress to turning her back over (or around or upside down) to straightening out the blanket, etc etc. It's quite the mission for one picture. I do secretly enjoy the challenge, especially for an opportunity to show off all her outfit gifts like this summer number from her beloved Auntie Kiki (thank you Saskia!)


    Not only is this image the most representative of our busy energised little lady, that's now always on the move, it also happens to be one of the only couple of pics (errr out of 100+ images) where she was looking at the camera. We officially have a crawler! She is determined and on a mission! The crawling isn't as graceful as it is wobbly, but looks adorable especially because she is so pleased with herself. The funniest thing is that she decided to skip sitting altogether, just not interested in being still, plus there's so much to explore when you can crawl around the lounge and the park outside in this insanely gorgeous weather! Also as soon as I announced her first tooth, immediately there were two the next day. I've been taking videos of Lake tasting foods for the very first time to capture her reaction and I thought that when time comes to her first taste of a lime or a lemon, it's going to be one video to treasure for ever! How wrong I was... so I'm doing a colon cleanse and it's so awful, I decide to get a bowl of lemons and limes to coat my tongue in before swallowing this fibre sludge... Lake watches me (enjoying only the limes no doubt) and starts reaching for a taster... I get all amped up for a video opportunity, set up the camera, bring the lime to her mouth, aaaaand... Nothing! She licks it, swallows and opens her mouth for more. Who is this child? Haha. Elliot had to tell me to stop feeding her limes, she was that into them! Celebrating 32 weeks of #LakeMaher #LakeWeekly


    Our little sweetie pie is 33 weeks young today and THE day has finally come... Lady Lake is officially too long for her rainbow blanket! (I don't mind so much because the personalised blankey from Britney is fully revealed!) This child just keeps growing and growing, but only upwards it seems, as she can still fit into all of her 0-3 months leggings, they've just turned into three-quarter pants, that's all. How timely for summer👌 And how lucky are we that her friend Willow has such great taste in fashion and lets Lake borrow her outfits for these weekly shoots, like today's! (Thanks Jodie and Neville , I think tutu skirts are my favourite ever on Lakey Lake). The crawling is in full swing this week and we now spend all of our time between the cafe or a near by park... I put her on the grass and she bolts off towards anyone she sees, making lots of new friends and spreading smiles and happiness. Feeling overwhelmed with love and gratitude today. Simply and completely in love with my gentle-feisty-funny-cheeky-kind-delicious-lovable-ticklish-darling baby girl.


    Our little dancing queen turns 34 weeks today. The best 34 weeks of our lives! She decided to give sitting a go this week and really liked it! After 2 whole weeks of crawling and rolling everywhere, suddenly it's all about being still and taking it all in. Even her ball pit which used to always frighten her to tears is now the most enjoyable place for her to hang in. This week, she went to Brighton for mummy's bday weekend, helped me with 'weight training' while I packed a hundred cleanses at Tanya's Cafe and she was strapped to me all day long and she was the only baby to get a one-off special access into this year's #specialityandfinefoodfair as I was doing a cookery demo (tens of thousands attend this prestigious show, so a big deal for Lake!).


    What a week for Lady Lake. What a weeeek!!! She is officially 35 weeks old/young today and to celebrate she accompanied her Kiwi/RussianKiwi parents at a Citizenship Ceremony when we all became British as a family. She also pulled herself up once in her cot, and now all she wants to do is stand! She pulls on the couch, coffee table, ottoman, my legs, anything that looks semi-climbable WILL be climbed. Super adorable to witness but nothing is ever safe anymore! Also this week, she's petted a duckling and a cat, and was super happy and equally gentle with both. As it's been majorly hot in London during the last couple of days, this outfit from her Babushka and Dedushka in Ecuador has been the greatest thing ever! She reminds me of a little monk, especially when she sits, it's like she spreads an immediate zen effect through the room looking like a meditating Buddha.


    Today is the first time I had to go through previous #LakeWeekly posts to check how old my baby is! 36 weeks today, no wonder I've lost count! She is growing up so so fast. She's spending more time standing than sitting, but that's no shocker as she crawled before she sat and even when I was pregnant with her, she never liked me sitting down either. The teething is getting rather intense and it doesn't help that Lakey doesn't want any teething toys in her mouth, just her fingers, my fingers and cold apple slices. The weather over this last week dropped from a high of 32C to a low of 16C but it's all pretty exciting because of all the outfit possibilities which were way too large for a winter-newborn 8 months ago. These white trousers are denims!!! (Just really needed to point that out, coz I'm obsessed! Thanks Auntie Alla @universechorus ). And I actually planned to put her in a super cute hat today but she woke up with a curl (her top knot that we haven't seen in weeks- it's too long now to stay up) so a must to show it off 😜👶🏻 #lakemaher#raplhlauren #stellamccartney#betterdressedthanmummy


    Our sweet angel pie is 37 weeks young today. She is wearing daddy's favourite colour especially for him because this was Elliot's bday week. We went back to Biarritz, France (second time in her life!) but now that she is sitting and crawling, she experienced sand in her hands for the first time ever. It was seriously a sight to behold and I will forever treasure the entire world stopping while I watched my baby discovering something as fascinating as that. The flights are getting trickier now that she is standing and is way too curious to sleep. Luckily for us, she smiles way more than she cries and therefore made lots of friends on the plane. She's so gentle, even when she gets super excited about seeing a 3 year old child on the next seat, she just reaches over to touch their face and explore their hands, never grabbing, just giggling.


    Brrrr the heaters went on this week and we're back to wearing hats. What's exciting though is that Lady Lake is a whole new size since the last time she wore such warm clothes and I can finally put her into this sweet kitty beanie and dress from @frankieandava. This week has been the busiest for mummy's work ever but I am soooo grateful Lake has the sweetest Russian nanny. Now with all the Russian she hears from me and our nanny, it's starting to be pretty funny for mummy when I see just how much better Lake at her 38 weeks of age understands Russian, than Elliot. Can't wait for cheeky giggles with my girl about the weird things daddy does when she starts talking 😂


    This delicious little book worm turned 39 weeks today. She got 2 new teeth this week, both being top teeth, but neither the middle ones... baby's got fangs 😬! She had a dinner date with her godmama Britney Brix while I ran an event on Monday, started to really love her bath time now that she can sit and splash and sing and giggle and throw her toys around all at the same time, and whilst she's never been a great sleeper during the day (she sleeps at night), her day napping is almost non existent now... and there was a day this week that she stayed awake from 7am to 7pm. Oh dear. She's got so much to learn, do and explore, I can't blame her I guess. Lady Lake's #grateful onesie is from the talented @seasoulandsnow and I swear it's like she knows exactly what it reads on it... as soon as I put it on her, she reached her arms towards me, wrapped them around my shoulders and dropped her head on my chest for a good 30 seconds as if to say 'mummy, that's what I've been trying to say all along'. Yep I totes welled up.


    Happy 40 weeks our Little Lady Lake! Happy 9 months (earlier this week)! Happy everything! And thank you for all the happiness you shower us with every single day. This week the big progress is her first word and iiiiiiit's..... 'mama'!!!! Yay! She's been doing lots of 'mamamama, nyanyanyanya, dyadyadyadya' for months now but now we're pretty sure she is consciously calling out for her mummy as she crawls around looking for me in each room going 'mama... mama'. It's pretty damn special alright. What else is pretty spesh is how quickly she moves on her feet (she can get from one end of the couch to the other in a heart beat and only slightly supporting herself with her hands). Plus she's been attempting the whole 'no hands' business by letting go of the couch and at last this week she managed an entire second of standing on her own! More Yay! The not so 'yay' of the week has been what we could only identify as a tantrum but we were sure that doesn't happen at this age so I turned to forums and uuuum it is totally common for babies at 9-12 months!? Luckily, that even though she can get pretty bored and frustrated quickly, she looooves her books and we can always rely on Lakey's favourite 'We're going on a Bear Hunt' to get her smiling again. (I love this explanation re baby tantrums: http://www.parenting.com/article/ask-dr-sears-tantrums-already)


    Today little miss sunshine has officially been out for longer than she's been in! Celebrating 41 weeks of Lady Lake, earth-side. As soon as I posted about just how much 'mama' she's been saying at 40 weeks, she's literally never said it again (hahaha) and it's all 'dada' now, non stop all day every day! Still always smiling but it's mega hard to get her to smile for the camera nowadays since she figured out that the camera is my phone and my phone has cartoons on it and things you can touch and if you're not allowed to touch, then the whole neighbourhood hears about it! This photo sesh was heading south till I gave her a snack and boom!... happy baby again! My whole life revolves around baby snacks now and how to be stocked on all sorts of chewy bars, dehydrated fruit leathers and crunchy corn puffs, everywhere we are. We are now majorly counting down till Ecuador to see Lake's grandparents, which is exactly TWO weeks from todaaaaaaaayyyy!!!!!! Yaaaaay!!! As this will be a rather long flight with a very active baby and I'll be on my own, any tips for successful flying with little ones are very welcome


    42 weeks of Lady Lake, 10 weeks till she's ONE, 1 week till Grandparents in Ecuador, 4 days till Tanya's Chelsea closes for a revamp. Whoa. So much excitement ahead! Ze Bebe's been such a joy all week, I mean she usually is but this week even more so, through teething and all. She now crawls up to us, climbs along our legs to stand herself up, looks towards our face, points and stretches up her arms to be picked up. Then when she's being held, she plops her head on our shoulders and makes us melt immediately. So can you imagine how shaken up I was all day when one of my worst nightmares came true and she fell out of bed, right onto the super tough woven carpet, straight on her head, and now even 35 hours later the entire right side of her face is covered with a designer imprint of bruise and carpet. Awesome. Luckily for a good combo of reiki, arnica cream, frozen peas and cuddles, the sweetie pie was back to her usual chirpy self despite the unfortunate face tattoo. Something funny I have to mention is how much she loves it when I brush my teeth! I also sing the 'this is the way we brush our teeth' song when I do it and she giggles so much, I had to go and buy a mini tooth brush for my mini-me. And she loves using her own toothbrush too! And having her hair brushed. OMG how she loves it!


    An unusually early #LakeWeekly post for a Wednesday but that's precisely how excited and impatient I feel right now... On Lady Lake's 43rd week birthday, we are boarding a flight to Ecuador!!!!! It's a long one and by the time we land in Guayaquil, it will no longer be Wednesday in London. Literally so excited to see my daughter in her grandparents' arms, I can't even recall what's happened in this past week for an update. Two things though- 1. Mama closed Tanya's Restaurant to remodel it into Tanya's Retail and 2. Lake started waving and doesn't stop, whether it's saying hello or bye or looking at strangers, she is so pleased with her newly acquired skill and everyone involved is even more so. #lakemaher#homeiswherethegrandparentsare


    44th week birthday and we have officially been in Ecuador for a full week of Lady Lake's life. I have no idea where the time has gone especially since this has been the most relaxing week for me not only since she came along but for many years (I'm usually either holding a retreat or presenting when in Vilcabamba). This little love bug is in baby paradise over here! The minute we arrived, her grandparents got hold of their most precious gift and have not let go... Granddad Vlad feeds her seed milks, walks all around the garden with her and takes her for river walks every morning while strapped to him. Nana Elena prepares her the most nutritious organic meals straight from the garden, rocks her to sleep 3-4 times/ day and bathes her in herbal homemade remedies. They both play all sorts of instruments with her, nappy change as a team, sing and dance for her and with her...basically the fun never stops! Something Elliot and I figured out early on is how happy it makes Lake to see her parents kiss, so to get this photo (she's sooo over these weekly shoots!), Grandparents also used this magic technique and gave each other loud funny kisses for me to get the shot. There's been sooooo many firsts here in baby paradise, FB won't allow for all the characters just to list everything, but we discovered how much she loves dogs (not only Kiwi but every dog she sees), how much she loves pointing and even falls asleep with her index finger aimed up, how much she loves the 'if you're happy and you know it' song plus clapping her hands and let's not forget baby's first pony tail that also happened this week!


    Lady Lake is 45 weeks young today! And this will be our last Wednesday here in Vilcabamba at the grandparent's paradise. Booooo! This week has been mega eventful, as she didn't only reunite with her beloved daddy, but also her Auntie Alissa and even met her Uncle Dave- they all arrived together from London and New York at the same time. Aside from that there were almost 3 whole days that she spent without both mummy and daddy as I flew back to Guayaquil to meet those guys. Needless to say she was overcome with emotion when she saw us all at the same time and had the best and longest sleep of her life that night. New favourite food: mulberries. She picks the dark ones straight from the tree here! She's learned how chocolate grows too and cut 3 big cacao pods off the tree with her grandparent, ate mandarins that have fallen straight from the tree in front of her, picked homegrown cucumbers, touched her favourite avocado on its tree, as well as pomegranates, tomatoes, kale and turmeric, that all grow here. #neverleaving#vilcabamba2016


    We are 46 weeks old today and I just realised that there are now only 6 more of these rainbow blankie posts left! I took a couple of pictures next to a foxy toy to see how Lakey grows over her first few weeks and for no particular reason, I kinda didn't stop. Then it became our weekly tradition and I said I'd do it 52 times till she turns 1. What I didn't realise is that it would be more like 5200 times because there have been days I'd need 100+ snaps of our teeny active, turning, crawling, giggling, crying, dancing, moving and shaking little person. And today this little person has been without her grandparents for 48 hours already! We got home late last night, she was so excited to reunite with her toys, she literally threw herself at every book and teddy that she saw, then threw her arms up in excitement when she saw Babushka on Skype, giggled all the way through her shower and right into bed. She slept in for so long I was starting to get seriously worried and decided to wake her up. When she opened her eyes, she sat up in her cot, looked around to see where she was and as soon as she realised who's room it is, she smiled so wide, I gasped for air and giggled with my girl. My God, I love her so fricken insanely stupidly much.


    47 weeks today but now it's more of a countdown till this wee monkey is 1.
    So, FiiiiVE weeks! 😬
    This has been a long long week of jet lag joys. As lovely as it's been to sleep in as a whole family on the weekend for the first time in all our 47 weeks together, singing and rocking a baby to sleep for hours till it's already 11pm and we are all exhausted... not so lovely. Something I also don't like doing is waking up a sleeping child but it had to be done the last few days. It's working as she is going to bed earlier and earlier, day by day. A 5th tooth sprouted today, Lake is now standing up without support for a full 30 seconds and the highlight of the week is that she learned to lean in for a kiss (read: bang her head into ours with her mouth wide open when we say 'kiss mama/dada'). Oh and since I had to be on my own taking these pictures again and it's kisses that make her smile, I was resorted to kissing one of her toys to get this reaction haha. #lovemygirl #sososomuch


    Lady Lake is now officially 11 months young. The countdown to 52 weeks just struck FOUR weeks!! My lordy, I'm strangely emotional about that. Speaking of emotional, we've had one clingy little slug all week long. There's been absolutely no chance of even standing up to stretch without her freaking out that I might move out of her sight, she'd jump up by grabbing onto my legs and keep crying and reaching her arms skyward till I pick her up. Fun fun. Heavy heavy! Something interesting is that right from birth, we've been getting comments of how alert she is and then the comments evolved to 'observant'. This week, Lakey's been wowing me non stop with those observational skills... if there's a new Xmas card on the fireplace, she'd point it out, if an umbrella is hung on the wrong hook, she'd let us know about it, if I refill a vase with new flowers, she'd clap looking at them, if she spots another baby on the opposite end of the bus or Xmas lights flickering around the corner, she'd do all she can so no one will obstruct her vision with that little finger pointing in their direction and the 'mmmm' sound to accompany. This week she reunited with almost all the NCT babies and their parents at our house, it was hilarious to watch how excited she was to show off all her toys to the other babies. Four teeth on the top now, still two on the bottom.


    THREE weeks till the big important 52. I can't believe that this time last year, I couldn't find a comfortable position to sit in with an oversized belly, as well as speed-waddling in and out the bathroom for having my bladder constantly prodded and getting high from sniffing red wine which I only dared to dream of on a daily basis. A year later and we have a dream-boat of a love-bug with seven teeth, one pony-tail, a great appetite and giggles for days. The main thing to report this week is that now instead of spotting every teeny tiny bit of crumb or fluff on the floor and putting it straight into her mouth, she carefully picks it up, inspects it closely and brings it to me! Such a thoughtful little sharing cleaning lady. #mamasgirl


    A very happy karate heel click to represent us taking our first steps this week! On Christmas Eve, Lake made 5 steps, then 3, then 4 more, so we called it the Christmas miracle. Though it was already four days ago and I've seen her take more and more steps each day, I still can't get over the sight of my little human walking. It's the most special feeling within her progress I've experienced to date (apart from maybe her giving me kisses- I'll never ever get over that!). Baby's first Christmas has been and gone; and it's so crazy to think that the next time I'll post the #LakeWeekly update would be the second to last plus it will no longer be THIS year! Happy 2017 everyone


    We are 51 weeks young today and I figured it's about time #LakeWeekly featured the star in her daily getup. This outfit is quite literally what she's worn every single day since London cooled down! It consists of layers of warm woolly jumpers mostly from Nana Elena in Ecuador or hand knitted by Gran Adele in NZ, an overcoat from her Auntie Alissa, jeans over stockings from Auntie Saskia, cutie cute sneakers from my fellow IIN graduate Dani and a hat suitable for the day's temperature. She always loves seeing her pink coat and knows exactly what it means when I get it out. Lots of teeth on the verge of coming through (that 'finger chewing' has been the signature look of the week), more and more steps on her own, but the highlight of the week has been finally figuring out how to suck through a straw and not only hold her very own bottle, but drink a whole 200ml of water through it each day! It might seem like a small feat, though definitely not for us! Getting Lake to drink water has been a daily struggle, I tried every bottle, cup, mug, glass, you name it! Even glass straws, which I'd cover with my thumb to trap water in, bring to her mouth and release. Unless the trapped liquid was coconut water or green juice, she would literally scream and squirm her way out of my arms before any water got into her mouth. So weird. Well, weird no more! It seems that now she knows how to help herself to all the water she needs, when she needs it, she is drinking enough to make up for all the months and months of going without. And it's the most adorable sight watching your baby standing up, sipping on a bottle of water which she is holding herself with both hands, looking at you and going 'nnnyum' (her word for everything delicious).


    Fun quiz: did the fox shrink or did this bebe double in size since DAY 1?
    Oh my, the day is almost over but I'm still processing the fact that this little girl has been in our lives for 52 weeks. I've been feeling a tad emotional about this final rainbow blankie photo rolling round and I think it rubbed off on Lake, as she simply wasn't interested in laying down or smiling but especially not both at the same time! It took us 2 days, 3 people, 80+ shots (mostly of her side or back) and a whole lot of fun breaks to keep the model enthusiastically content.
    Amazingly this angel's 52 week bday falls on a very special day: 11/1/1! It is the 11th day of the 1st month of 1 Universal Year (in numerology when you add up 2017, you get 1). It's a day of manifesting, making big wishes and important decisions. It's also the day I finished my final Clear Out and cleanup of my cafe baby, ready for demolition tomorrow. It's been a VERY important day indeed. Oh and to top off all the numerical excitement, Lake turns 1 on a lucky Friday 13th! Lucky Lake.
    We adjusted the cot base to its deepest setting this week and got her a scooter with seat which she loves to use for walking (perhaps this being the reason she decided to take a week off walking on her own).
    #LakeWeekly #LuckyLake #LakeMaher Next up: #LakeMonthly
    Fun quiz: did the fox shrink or did this bebe double in size since DAY 1?
    Oh my, the day is almost over but I'm still processing the fact that this little girl has been in our lives for 52 weeks. I've been feeling a tad emotional about this final rainbow blankie photo rolling round and I think it rubbed off on Lake, as she simply wasn't interested in laying down or smiling but especially not both at the same time! It took us 2 days, 3 people, 80+ shots (mostly of her side or back) and a whole lot of fun breaks to keep the model enthusiastically content.
    Amazingly this angel's 52 week bday falls on a very special day: 11/1/1! It is the 11th day of the 1st month of 1 Universal Year (in numerology when you add up 2017, you get 1). It's a day of manifesting, making big wishes and important decisions. It's also the day I finished my final Clear Out and cleanup of my cafe baby, ready for demolition tomorrow. It's been a VERY important day indeed. Oh and to top off all the numerical excitement, Lake turns 1 on a lucky Friday 13th! Lucky Lake.
    We adjusted the cot base to its deepest setting this week and got her a scooter with seat which she loves to use for walking (perhaps this being the reason she decided to take a week off walking on her own).
    #LakeWeekly #LuckyLake #LakeMaher Next up: #LakeMonthly


    Day 1 vs Week 52




    How I knew a little girl was coming... before I was even pregnant

    How I knew a little girl was coming... before I was even pregnant

    Hi guys,

    If we are not yet best buds on social media where I announced the safe and natural arrival of my mini-me, then you might’ve wondered if she’s even here yet.

    And she is!


    Not only has she been here since 8:16AM 13th January, but I have no idea how I ever lived without my little lady Lake.

    In fact she’s the best thing that has ever happened to me. Ever. I’d hear other parents say that about their children and I thought that it’s just something you say, like ‘My wedding day was the best day of my life’. Perhaps it is very much true for many, but both Elliot and I went to bed that night high-fiving each other because it was over. Heehee. Not that we didn’t enjoy it -it was the most incredible day with our favourite people, in the best location, best food, best speeches, best so many things- but we were just way too happy the planning was over and especially the first dance which we practiced in his work’s meeting room for just enough after-work hours for the security guard to get seriously suspicious.

    Back to Lake.. she is the best thing that’s happened to me and Elliot, we can’t say it enough and can’t get enough of our delicious little girl.


    We knew that we were going to have a girl way before we were pregnant. How?

    Every NYE we sit down with our note pads and list off all the amazing things that happened in a year. They don’t have to all be super happy, but they are all the things we are super happy they happened (everything eventually leads to happiness). In other words, we make a gratitude list to start off the new chapter in a state of bliss.


    On 31st December 2014, we decided to fancy up our little tradition and along with Elliot’s sis, went for a walk to my favourite place in London, Holland Park, to burn stuff. Let me explain…

    1. We wrote down our greatest wishes and desires for the new year.
    2. We read them over, breathed them in and put ourselves in a state of feeling as though everything on that paper was ours right now.
    3. Then to release all attachment to the outcome, we set fire to our folded paper. It was now up to the universe to get to work.


    I personally wrote down 3 wishes, one of which was a happy healthy pregnancy in 2015. By the time Saskia and Elliot’s bits of paper transformed into magical fairy dust, we were all ready to head back for some warmth, except we didn’t, because my bit of paper hasn’t burned out. No matter how many matches I lit or how hard I tried to shield it from the wind, we could’ve been there all night waiting for it to be finish burning.

    I decided it would be just as effective if I buried the remaining piece under all the fallen leaves and let nature degrade it when it’s ready. When my wish is ready…

    Just before I went ahead and left it behind, I was curious to see what could’ve been on that paper which didn’t want to burn.

    Then as I unfolded the wish list, it wasn’t what I wrote which shocked me, it was what I saw:


    Wow, right?

    I couldn’t have created this shape with a magic wand, let alone a match. That was the moment I knew that when we were ready to start trying, a little girl will be ready for us.

    Do you ever wonder how many messages from the universe you might be missing? Or how to look for them? Or how to interpret them when they pop up? Or maybe how to receive them when you need some guidance?..

    Then there’s nothing I could possibly recommend any more than getting involved in a Hay House World Summit this year!

    In a month’s time I’ll be writing to you to let you know how you can get the very best advice, from the very best authors, in the comfort of your own home, completely free of charge. But like with everything super mega valuable, it will also be for a limited time, so make sure you’re on the list not to miss my reminder!


    Have the best day!

    Boy or Girl? Plus baked vegan carrot cake recipe...

    Boy or Girl? Plus baked vegan carrot cake recipe...

    There's a lot I love about the way my American friends celebrate special occasions. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Baby Showers. What ever the event, you can be sure they don't go about it halfheartedly.

    So you can't even imagine my excitement when my best friend- our muffin’s future God mama / the sunny Californian Britney- offered to throw me and Elliot a Gender Reveal Party!

    For those not in the know what this party entails, here’s the gist:

    Mum-and-dad-to-be get their 20 week scan and if the sonographer can see the baby’s sex, they don’t tell you, but write down Boy or Girl on a piece of paper, seal it in an envelope and you then pass it on to a friend who is throwing you the surprise party, where you and your guests find out what you are having at the same time. This could be with a treasure hunt, quiz night, blue or pink coloured balloons, etc etc. Fun, right?

    I’ve always loved the idea of finding out in this way (we’re both too impatient to wait nine months), however before Britney took over, I thought we would organise this on our own. We were supposed to get the secret envelope to one of my raw chefs at Tanya’s, who would then take a look inside and make us either a blueberry cheesecake (blue for boy) or strawberry cheesecake (pink for girl), then coat it in white icing with absolutely no sign of what colour is inside. Then Elliot and I would slice open the cake with all of our friends in the room.

    But! Britney does everything better!

    She made sure not to give away any clues and said to leave it with her. The only clue she was willing to give away was that the reveal wasn’t to be via a cake, so if I wanted to make one of my own, then it’s my call, otherwise she had the food and drink sorted too. Wowsers. That’s a whole lot of work, time and effort and even from your closest friend, it just feels like too much to accept.

    Of course I could never turn up empty handed or leave a friend to do all the work, so I promised to bring a cake. Two cakes- one for each gender.

    better raw gender reveal

    So I gathered my recipes and a plan to make it happen, but the day of the reveal also coincided with my actual birthday and Better Raw’s annual sale, so the evening was approaching faster than anticipated. By the time I calculated how long it would take me to shop for ingredients, soak the cashews, make, decorate and leave both cakes to set in the fridge, I knew I’d be hours late to my own party…

    Slightly panicked, I dove into my 20 year old recipe notebook for ideas.

    Crazy to think that I still own a book so old, torn and well-travelled, half of which is filled with carefully written recipes and instructions in Russian by my 10 year old self and the other half with a whole lot of scribbles in English after I began to learn the language in New Zealand. What’s crazier is that the recipes within it either use a bunch of animal products, processed ingredients or both. Still, this is a place I like to refer to for ideas and where best inspiration comes from when creating my healthy recipe versions.

    As soon as I flicked to the page with my once-upon-a-time-favourite carrot cake, I knew I had to make it. It’s baked, which requires no setting time in the fridge, so it had to save me at least 3 hours and desperate times were upon us.

    There’s one problem- I haven’t baked for over 6 years!

    Actually there's more than one problem- the recipe contained eggs, processed sugar and other ingredients I haven't used in over 6 years either!

    But then again, I checked out my notebook for inspiration, not the recipe per se, so I took out all the healthy versions of listed ingredients from my pantry and started up a science experiment to invent 'vegan eggs’. I used a little banana for the ’slimy’ part of the egg, ground flaxseeds for the ’sticky’ part which holds ingredients together and coconut yogurt to make it ‘mushy’. It didn't take long to invent, however having not baked in such a long time, I completely forgot the fact that there is baking AND cooling time involved before icing the cake, so we were still late to our own party afterall. The cake was AMAZING though!

    tanya maher baby gender reveal party

    Recipe below, but first, the remainder of the story…

    We arrived at Tanya’s in Chelsea, where a portion of the cafe was reserved just for our group and decorated in the most adorable blue and pink colour palette. There was really nothing to give away the gender at that stage though- Britney made sure to have an equal ratio of blue to pink for everything.

    We had such a good time catching up with all our friends, that I didn’t even notice how nervous I was until she called everyone to start making their way downstairs.

    Downstairs? What is down there? This was the time I dialled in my parents in Ecuador and my sister in New York via Skype and Elliot FaceTime’d his mum in New Zealand, so our families could partake in the fun.

    When our whole group entered myhotel’s darkened meeting room, we were impressed to see rows of chairs facing a large projector screen. Elliot and I knew it already, but this is when everyone else saw just how lucky we were to have a friend that would go through all this trouble. And this was before we even knew what she actually did!

    When the movie showing begun, the first video was of the God mama herself introducing what was about to happen in the most hilarious way, followed by video clips of our friends around the world sending their well wishes and vocalising their bets (and even names) on what we were having. When I say ‘around the world’, I mean around the world! Friends from New Zealand, Australia, Ecuador, New York, California, Japan, London, Portugal and even Bangkok, sent in their video predictions for us to watch.

    I wasn’t just blown away, I was an emotional wreck! Every familiar face appearing on the screen in front of us made me gasp for air. Then hearing them speak directly to us or to our baby was more than enough to make my eyes swell and my legs shake.

    By the time Britney appeared on the screen again to do the final reveal, I was so overwhelmed with emotion, gratitude, anticipation, love, nerves and adrenaline, I was no longer sure that I was ready to know. When she said that this wasn’t the way we’d find out and that we now all had to go upstairs and look for a unicorn, I didn’t know who I was relieved for the most- me, because I got an opportunity to gather myself or my family, because they could now continue watching without the shaky experience they were getting when the laptop was on my trembling lap.


    The parents and the God parents


    The Unicorn Piñata

    The rest was such a blissful blur, that I still don’t really remember where the unicorn piñata was or how it was split in half over my and Elliot’s heads or the details of what (or even what colour) fell out from inside, or who clapped first when the gender was revealed, but I’ll never forget searching my husband’s eyes for his reaction and thinking what an amazing dad he would be to a…. baby girl!

    A girl! A girl! We are having a baby girl!

    And I’ll never forget what Britney did for us. This little love bug inside my belly has already been so cherished and celebrated from the first day of discovering she was there, but she has no idea how lucky she really is with all the loving grandparents, aunties, uncles, God parents, and not to mention mum and dad, awaiting her arrival.


    It's a girl!


    Pure happiness

    And now the recipe! I asked on Facebook and Instagram if you guys were interested in a baked vegan cake recipe and to my surprise, the majority said 'Absolutely'! So here you are. It really is so delicious and using the best ingredients, I think you'll love it too..

    Baked Vegan Carrot Cake

    better raw gender reveal 4

    3 cups grated carrots
    1 cup light olive oil
    1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
    2 cups wholemeal flour (I used spelt)
    2 cups coconut palm sugar
    EGGS (1/2 banana, 1 cup soy/coconut yogurt, 1/2 cup ground flaxseeds)
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1.5 tsp cinnamon powder
    1 tsp Himalayan salt
    2 tsp baking soda

    [For the pink icing, I used a similar recipe to the Strawberry Layer here>> and for the blue icing, I used the recipe of my Blueberry Pie filling on p.117 of The Uncook Book]

    -Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
    – Blend oil and sugar.
    – Add banana, yogurt, vanilla extract. Blend again.
    – In a bowl- mix flour, ground flaxseeds, cinnamon, salt and soda.
    – Add carrots and walnuts, then mix.
    – Finally stir in the blended mix, scraping everything out of your blender. Stir well to combine ingredients evenly.
    – Transfer to a 8 inch tin and bake for 1 hour.

    The Uncook Book launch and Pina Colada recipe

    The Uncook Book launch and Pina Colada recipe

    Hi my friends,

    Whoa what a week it's been.

    I don't remember the last time I felt this busy, excited, energised, exhausted, emotional, productive, behind, overwhelmed and calm all at the same time. Actually, I've never had a week this full on before.

    To sum up just a portion of events that occurred in this short space of time, I had a birthday and my huge annual birthday sale which is always exciting and mega busy, my bestie threw us the most incredible and emotional gender reveal party (more on this next time), I took Tanya’s Cafe and book signing on the road for the first time ever, our dear friends and travel buddies got engaged, my first published book was officially released all over the UK, the massive competition with an insane amount of entries came to an end, prep for The Uncook Book launch was in full swing, followed by the exhilarating launch party itself and ending with travel outside of London for uncooking demonstrations and book signings.

    Sounds super fun (and it really really was), but during all the celebrations, my inbox nearly exploded and I’m now weeks behind replying to everyone (if it’s you, now you know why, love you!), my sister’s flight was so delayed that she missed the gender reveal party which she was looking forward to since the moment she learned she was going to be an aunty, the wheels on my giant suitcase broke off on the way to the Birmingham demo which made the 30kg of equipment not only too heavy for helpful strangers to drag, but especially for me with a growing baby bump, which brought on a meltdown even I didn’t anticipate, and meanwhile ‘interesting’ events kept occurring at our cafes which needed my immediate attention.

    The last thing I wanted to do is to write a post full of what sounds like complaints, but I hope you can see that I am just like everyone else :)

    I cry, I get tired, I experience stress, I forget to drink water, I worry, I think too much and I take off my cape when it needs a good clean.

    Amazing how just one day, sometimes even one moment, can remind you that you do live the best life ever and that there’s nothing in the world which would have you trading it for another.

    For me that moment was last Thursday…

    The Uncook Book launch party with some of my favourite people in the world, at my very own happy place, with my dream publisher, blessing my pride and joy into the world, may have just topped all the best nights of all time!

    Aaaand finding out that during the first week of its release, The Uncook Book has already gone into its SECOND printing. Just wow.

    Thank you so so much, it's all because of YOU!

    Here are some of the pictorial highlights from my best night ever...


    The Uncook Book ready to party


    Peanut Butter Cups from the Kid's Section (really, Adult's section, but it was going to sound strange if I had an 'Adult's Section' in the book)


    Prep in full swing. Vodka Lavendade (less the vodka for a non-alcoholic version) and Pina Colada (scroll down for recipe), both from the Party Section

    Tanya Maher, The Uncook Book

    Here I am with my book baby and a 5 months baby bump

    Tanya Maher, 5 months pregnant

    See? There really is a bump. I love it!


    The adorable Hay House team, from left: Jo, Alexandra, Jessica, Julie (the incredible and talented editor), Karen and Ruth (the hard working cutie responsible for this awesome night). But where's Amy?


    Here she is! My sweet editor Amy and her bright smile as always. Fab and Lauren in deep convo


    No uncooking party without a cold-pressed organic green juice


    And another super adorable Amy. I've come to a conclusion that the best and cutest humans are named Amy


    Sister Party! From left: my soul sister (and the one responsible for introducing me to Hay House) Michelle, my sissy-in-law Saskia and my own sister-face Alissa


    The stunning Nikki Salamony, PR for Tanya's Cafe


    Serious chocolate talk with Kris from The Raw Chocolate Company and Richi Qi from The Wellbeing Now Conference


    The always gorgeous Christy, American Girl in Chelsea


    Food glorious raw food from various sections in the book


    Alkalising Cucumber Rolls from the Party Section


    My sis of Universe + Chorus , a Pina Colada (scroll down for recipe) and a summer roll


    Luigi and my Goji Berry Trifles from the Party Section of the book


    A few words turned into such a long gratitude list, you couldn't stop me talking


    That little muffin inside was all blissed out and still with so much gratitude pouring though my body


    The love squad. Thank you all so so much for your support


    Happy times with the lovely Maxine there in the back ground and Bronwen from NZ Biz Women's Network here to support too


    A tad proud of my cake, made using a combination of recipes from the book, especially having had my sister rolling the cute energy balls, my chef Eddie decorating the cake and Rebecca Campbell blessing it


    The amazing Linda Barker of BBC's Changing Rooms


    The Uncook Book launch


    Blogger and co-creator of Plant-based Picnic, Natasha Lipman


    The Uncook Book launch


    My favourite human, personal recipe taster and loving husband, Elliot

    The Uncook Book goodie bag

    And the prize for THE BEST goodie bag goes to... Can you believe how much goodness is in here? And all in support of the book launch! Thank you so much for such generous gifts: Superfoodies, Dr. Organic, Hay House UK, Neal's Yard Remedies, Udo's Choice, The Raw Chocolate Company, Planet Organic and Seasoul & Snow



    And because I believe that every successful party post deserves a recipe, here is one you will LOVE...

    It was a hit and a half at The Uncook Book launch (above), it's the first recipe of the Party Section in the book and it includes my favourite ingredient combination EVER. Introducing...


    Pina Colada

    (serves 1)


    45ml (1.5fl oz) light rum

    120g (4.25 oz) ripe pineapple, peeled and chopped, reserving leaves from the crown to garnish

    90ml (3.25fl oz) fresh apple or pineapple juice (6 apples or 1 pineapple will usually produce enough juice for 4-6 servings)

    2 tbsp coconut butter

    2 tbsp manuka honey

    handful of ice


    -Blend all the ingredients, except the ice and garnish, in a blender until creamy, then add the ice and blend again.

    -Pour into a chilled highball glass or a goblet, garnish with the pineapple leaves and serve with a pretty straw.