that bed

I slept on a carved narra wood daybed that my grandfather was born on with a solihia base that a little foam mattress sat on. It was the only thing that was constant in all our moves. It was the one thing that was mine when the walls of a new bedroom knew nothing of myhistory or had none of my secrets to keep.On nights the nightmares came, the bed allowed space for my little brother to keep me company when I couldn't bear to be alone. It was the bed secrets were shared on, the one I laid on when phone calls lasted seven hours or more, the bed my best friends and I sat on when we told our stories of our first kiss. It was the bed where I spent nights hiding under the covers reading my Sweet Valley High books and it was the bed that kept me safe when my heart was broken numerous times holding my tears in its comforting space.

And now it sits in my little girl's nursery waiting to create new memories for this little one to keep. It waits to hold her in its space as she grows with it, perhaps one day her long legs will reach the end of the bed. Mine never did. It waits to hold her as she laughs, cries, and dreams on it. And I'm sure it'll keep her secrets the way it has mine.

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on that one day in London

The streets are bright and busy. The summer sun leaves shadows on the architecture, with buildings reflecting the rays before it begins to set at nine thirty in the evening. I cross Hyde Park Corner and decide to walk into the park instead of taking that bloody number ten bus down Kensington High street at rush hour. The skaters are out weaving their way on their roller blades down the path, mummies and nannies pushing their prams, people sitting out on the grass soaking in every inch of the rare sunshine we have been getting. The Serpentine glistens as the ducks flap their way across it. Should I keep walking? I stop for a 99 flake from a ice cream truck further down and feel like a little girl walking down through the park past Kensington Palace. I want to hold this moment forever. 

Another summer day and I can’t wait to get out of this stuffy office as my desk piles up with purchase orders and invoices. I’m also tired from that long shift at the pub last night. Perhaps those two wind down large glasses of wine at one in the morning wasn’t a great idea. The back roads of Great Portland Street are lined with smokers and delivery vans as I walk towards Regents Park just for me to breathe in that ‘me’ time. A nice cigarette, my bacon and egg sambo and my music. Just for this hour. Thank goodness for this greenery in the middle of the city, an hour just to escape, an hour to pretend I am lying on the beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. Sleeves and trouser legs rolled up, as if my skin would brown with the London sunshine. Who was I kidding? But it felt good. And every person on their lunch break sitting on their own patch of green felt exactly the same way I did. 

The streets are cold and misty, that crisp breeze gently wisps through my cardigan. Springtime tulips are coming out as I cross Brook Green park to catch my tube at Hammersmith station. The local Starbucks is packed but I stop for my chai soy latte, daydreaming while I watch people cross the broadway, each rushing to where they have to be. The pie shop next door whiffs its smell across the station. Should I stop for one? No time, have to get to class. Ah shit. I missed the train anyway. Bloody District line. Shouldn’t have gotten that latte.  

My front door never felt so far away. It’s freezing. I bloody hate winter. Shit. I wore the wrong shoes. My toes feel like they are falling off. Fuck. I dropped my glove and now it is all wet. I shouldn't have taken them off on the tube. Dammit. I should have remembered to bring my umbrella to shield me from this pathetic excuse for snow. Why did I choose to live five blocks away from the tube station in the middle of Chiswisk? There aren’t even any buses to take me closer to my flat. Bloody Stanford Brook. Did I mention I hate winter? 

That bottle of wine warms us up as we sit in Boheme Kitchen in the heart of Soho just before Christmas. V and I on our second bottle of some fabulous New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.  The cinnamon smell from the mulled wine hovers throughout and my cheeks are flushed from the warmth in the pub. Are the heaters turned on too high? Or perhaps its the wine? We walk out as the cold stops my breath for a minute. It’s sharp but kind as the wine circulates my blood. I watch my husband and V skip down Old Compton Road, arm in arm, like a pair of old friends when in fact they just met. This is what it’s all about. This is what London is. It’s as if I’ve literally frozen and life moves amazingly fast around me, with traces of light following everyones footsteps. This is my London and I’m in it. And then I run down the road to catch up as we walk through the doors of Bar Soho to grab ourselves vodka mojitos in the middle of a winter evening that I actually love.
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the girl with the bump

I'm not one to show off my body in bikinis to post online. 
I'm usually the one hiding behind someone so my legs aren't on show.
Or the one breathing in so much you would think I actually stopped breathing completely.
Or even the one who has mastered the shoulder pose to make my arms look skinnier.
But these photos.... 
Well, I'm not embarrassed nor am I even that tad bit ashamed of posting them here.
 In all honesty, I have never been prouder of my pregnant body. I'm not even that slightly embarrassed to share them because they are beautiful memories of who I was when I carried my little girl. What my body represented as my skin stretched to its utmost capacity.
 They are my memories of aches and pains, sleepless nights, my nine months between her and I. 
We shared that together. 
And I'd like to remember it  forever.

p h o t o s  b y:  h y l t o n  l e  r o u x

Peep this post for my first self-portrait post that I geared myself up to post online shot in the exact same space.
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my two thousand twelve

... I watched my younger brother buckle at his knees as he watched his bride to be walk down that aisle.
... And a week later I watched an old friend marry her best friend and at the same time ran around for our catering company's first destination wedding.
... I marvelled on the inside as people stood in front of my art up on those walls
... That project up on the mountains was completed and I walked away proud of what was achieved.
... I visited an old childhood playground and watched my little boy's eyes as he stood wondrously watching the life moving around him.
... I had that one night with the girls. That one night you look back onto and fall into fits of laughter from just remembering. 
... wWe fell into an inconvenience that found us moving out of our home for a few months. it was a true test of patience and understanding.
... and looking back, it turned out to be the worst month of two thousand and twelve.
... I picked bright pink flowers in a quiet hidden corner of my village.
... I went to my first burlesque show in the most unexpected place with some of my favourite people.
... I worked on my first shop window for my design company.
...We started april on an island, in a beach hut, with a thatched roof, by the sea. I couldn't have asked for anything more. 
... My husband and I got silly drunk, like teenagers, for the last time together this year. You know,  the fall-on-the- sand kind of drunk. 
... I spent a day teaching underprivileged kids how to play football.
... And didn't realise that it would the last time on the pitch for nine months as my little bean began to grow.
... I spent the first few days on an island with two girlfriends. Mystical and quiet. Waterfalls and white sand. The perfect start to my pregnancy.
... Five days into the month, one of my best friends came to visit me. And ten days went way too quickly.
... We moved back into our house. 
... I dreamt of travelling. I dreamt of London. I dreamt of New York. I dreamt of LA. I dreamt of getting out of Manila. 
... I dwelled on what wasn't happening in my life over what was.
... I welcomed by goddaughter and my cousin home for two months. 
... I spent a rainy weekend up on the mountain with a friend, eating cheese and truffle oil in a secret garden surrounded by lilypads and frogs.
... My husband premiered his second season of his cooking show.
... And with that came photo-shoots with the family.
... My little boy started big school.  And wore my school colours. 
... We found out that pink, pigtails and dresses were in our future. 
... I joined in on my third August Break.
... But lost my way after I lost my engagement ring. 
... It began with me saying goodbyes, again.
... I accepted the way things were.
... And allowed this month to be one where my feet were put up on the couch as my belly grew bigger each day.
... My baby became a little boy as he turned four.
... And on one ordinary afternoon after school, we painted animals together.
... I began planning the nursery
... We had a wonderful Sunday, just the three of us....
... And realised that my family, at this point, is what mattered the most. 
... I sat by the pool with the sunshine scorching on my skin, embracing each of these moments with grace.
... I celebrated at my baby shower and was reminded about unconditional love.
...Which I tend to forget when life turns the other way.
... I danced with friends at an afternoon event that played some of my favourite beats.
... I waddled.
... I ached.
... I cried.
... I laughed.
... I was nine months pregnant.
... I became a mother of two.
... And I could not explain how my heart felt like it would explode.
... I held my sleeping son's head on my shoulder as I nursed my daughter. 
... And I never knew what contentment felt like until I looked at both my children lying next to each other. 
... I've also realised that with two children comes patience. The fact that it has taken me a week to write this makes me realise that I can't just sit and do what I want to do when I want to do it.
... I accepted that two thousand and twelve wasn't exactly what I had planned out, nowhere near it  but I have opened my eyes to the fact that things change in the last minute. 
... I am allowing my two thousand and thirteen to be open, to be unconstrained, to be mine in whatever way it comes. 
So two thousand and thirteen, I'm ready for you.

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