30+

Growing up I had big issues with anxiety about death, my own death, which prevented me from planning anything ahead of time. I was convinced that death was just around the corner, waiting to jump in as soon as I was happy.

My biggest win in life, up until then, was to turn 30. I never saw that in my woken nightmares, because 30 meant you had survived the younger years. Someone over 30 was a grownup and I just never thought I would have the privilege to experience that. But I did. Same with children, marriage and many other things that most people take for granted. I never thought I would get to experience any of it, but here I am.

Anyone over 30, for me, has always been a boring old person with boring responsibilities and a look to match. I never wanted to grow old before my time, but I have been forced to in many aspects – never the exterior though. That’s one thing I still can control, how I look. I don’t know, for the most part, how I’m being perceived by the general public but I do know the idea I’m trying to put on display: not an old bat.

I honestly don’t aim higher than that. Some people want to look perfect, tan and made up. Not me, I just don’t want to become that old lady that needs help carrying her groceries. Obviously we’re many years away from that, but I have seen some people my age looking like death came to them last year. And I don’t want to be a part of that crew.

I should watch what I eat, sleep more and take care of my skin and hair. I don’t and am solely relying on genetics. I don’t really have the time, and when I do I spend it doing other things that don’t involve taking care of me. It all comes down to priorities. I don’t have a babysitter, so most of the cleaning that I do around the house is done carrying a screaming baby.

Erik’s been knee deep in one of the leaps, he’s been teething and got his vaccinations which triggered a serious flu – all at the same time. This has been accompanied by my back giving way completely, me getting a flu and custody battles. So the whole sleep, eat, clean schedule has been put on hiatus. I’m happy if I get a shower once a week these days, which may sound gross but that’s because it is.

I have to prioritize other things over me putting on a facemask, or eating a healthy meal. Mostly I just jam any high caloric crap I can find into my mouth when my blood sugar levels are dwindling. So between chocolate, chips and energy sodas I honestly don’t know what it is that gives me such a healthy glow. Jokes aside, genetics really do make all the difference.

I smoke occasionally, I drink more coffee in a day than most do in a week and my stress level is at an all time high yet the skin is looking good. Better than it should, considering both age and treatment. But makeup is becoming a necessity. You can get away with most things but the bags under the eyes, the black garbage bags, are not forgiving. So I cover them with foundation, add some blush and mascara. Today I even slapped on some lipstick, if you’ll believe it.

I mean, if you’re feeling like shit at least you can look like you’re doing somewhat ok. Eyebrows are dyed, lipstick is solid and the two wrinkles I have on the forehead are almost invisible today. I guess, all in all, it’s a pretty decent day. If only life would stop throwing me curveballs for a while, I could maybe have a shot. But for now I enjoy my almost wrinkle free face and soon another cup of coffee with my tiny gentleman who seems to be doing a little bit better today.

Campbell of Sweden

On motherhood…

The holiest of subjects. There are so many preconceptions about it. And I think every person who’s ever thought about having a child has an idea or a thought on how they want it to be, or how they think it will be. And every person who’s since had a child will attest to it being a vastly different experience.

One thing most parents have in common is the overwhelming feeling of love they feel for their child. Something no one is ever prepared for, because it cannot be compare to anything one has ever experienced before. And I only have the one child but I believe that even if you have more than one, every single child you have you get that same overwhelming, never-before-experienced feeling of love.

But the hardships are many. Some are spared, and those lucky few are exceptions to the rule. Most of us have babies that have some sort of difficulty – be it sleeping or eating. Those are the two most common ones, my empirical studies show. Of course there are people who have children who are sick and they really struggle, and are the true heroes who tirelessly fight to make the best out of a situation nobody ever wants their children to be in. But us regular parents, we mostly struggle with sleep and food.

I lucked out in the food department, at least this far. Erik eats like a large, healthy horse. But his sleeping is bad, it’s very bad. He has had one night where he slept a full four hours, in nine months. He doesn’t sleep much during the day 2-3 naps circa 20 minutes each while being continuously rocked. At night he scrapes together about 1.5 hours then eats and falls back asleep only to wake up in an hour again, and so on. After 2 AM I have to keep rocking him otherwise he will be wide awake and angry. For hours and hours.

This is the situation now.

It is so much better than it was a few months ago but far from good. Some nights I don’t sleep at all since he needs to be rocked. Every time a tooth is coming he just stops sleeping all together, he is exhausted and clingy he whines and screams nonstop but he just can’t fall asleep.

So I have learned a few tricks while being at home with him. Mom hacks, if you will.

I do my nails when he’s in the shower. That way I can keep a close look at him and interact with him while also getting to look less like a hobo. I use a dip-in remover so it doesn’t stink up the place, then I file down the nails for a more clean look. After that I soak the hands in warm water and baby oil (that’s what I have on hand) and then file additionally if I see something I missed. I push back the cuticles, usually with a tool but these days it’s with my nails and then put some lotion on them to keep them moisturized.

I’ve tried the “Amazonian Saviour” from The Body Shop. And to be honest it is like a firmer version of Vaseline. I am really underwhelmed due to it drying out my hands. I later applied “Hand Repair” hand cream by Trind to actually moisturize my hands.

That process takes between 5 and 10 minutes. Usually by that point Erik is done splashing around, so it is perfectly synced. Painting the nails I can really ever do if someone is watching him. That I haven’t managed to hack yet.

However I am strongly considering getting a gel manicure set, just so that I can do a nail at a time and guarantee that it doesn’t smudge or smear. It is a bit pricy but I think it might be a good investment, because then I can do nail art without having it get ruined. Living alone with a baby that doesn’t sleep doesn’t leave any space for do-overs.

Nails and food have always been my two big hobbies. Two hobbies that eat up more time than you realize. And when you suddenly find yourself busy 24/7 you are forced to prioritize what’s important. As a parent you, and your wants, always take a back seat, so you have to learn to do what you can with what you have. New situations require new actions. So my nails are nude, for the most part. Some weeks I just can’t manage to squeeze in any upkeep, like filing, because Erik needs 150% of my time. Same goes for food.

On good days I can make simple dishes with Erik hanging onto me or climbing the stove or the dishwasher. Worry not, no area he can access is even remotely warm and I always have a splash guard so nothing splashes onto him. Dry brusselsprouts are not splash prone.

It is often said that one eats with the eye, so sometimes I try to plate my food nicely to make myself forget how simple the dish is.

This was a pepperoni sausage and wax bean casserole with some pasta and cheese.

Other days, when you’ve been up for 12 hours playing and only had two cups of coffee (how good is coffee tho) your eyes are not half as hungry as your stomach.

On those days you eat burger patties with cheese and butter fried beets with garlic. All drowned in Sriracha mayo. That was my breakfast, lunch and dinner today – all in one meal.

Erik has a fever, not a high one but a fever nevertheless so he hasn’t left my side all day and hasn’t slept for two nights straight.

And on days like these one just doesn’t prioritize eating, going to the bathroom or the fact that one has a herniated disc and sciatica. Pain is a French word for bread, which is the motto I live by. My pain is secondary, and any hobby I used to have is a thing of the past. Erik reigns supreme, in terms of getting my attention and time. And I can’t imagine a task more rewarding or fun. Because even though it’s quite painful and I’m exhausted, there are moments like these:

For a baby who is about as affectionate as his mother was when she was younger this is an unusual sight. But it is the biggest treat for the mom unit. Baby cuddles are quite amazing and I’m all but spoiled with them.

But about mom hacks, the best one so far is discovering that the grocery stores do home deliveries. In a small town like this where there is only one pizza place that does deliveries, and that costs as much as two overpriced pizzas (I shit you not!) discovering that I can get fresh fruit and vegetables delivered to my doorstep has been a lifesaver for me. Also I don’t have to carry all those bags. They have Erik’s formula and all the food he likes.

My other lifesaver – 3 AM coffee.

Campbell of Sweden

Beauty routine

I have one routine in terms of skincare: inconsistency. I have never washed and moisturized my face day and night, I just don’t have it in me. I usually only wash my face when I’m in the shower, and an occasional separate ordeal if I get something on my face. I am lucky to have good skin. I have no real breakouts and I got my first wrinkle at 30.

Lately I have, however, noticed a slight decline in its elasticity. That makes me a bit nervous, but not enough to actually do something proper about it – like implementing a consistent skincare routine. But! I am slowly realizing that I need an emergency kit, that will at least slow down the decay.

So today, while Erik was playing in his Jumparoo I washed my face and put on a mudmask.

Since my skin is grateful to see any type of product it’s content with most brands, which is why I recently stopped buying the top brands and moved down the scale a bit. Strangely enough my skin seems to prefer this treatment better than the one before it.

It goes from left to right: Hydra Végétal Refreshing Radiation Scrub by Yves Rocher which I help along with some Scrub to mix, also by Yves Rocher. Once the face was properly scrubbed I washed the scrub off and dried my face. I applied the Facial Detox Purifying Recovery Mask by MUDMASKY which I left on a bit longer than one should due to there being a diaper change that took precedence over facemask removal.

After I washed the mask off I washed my face again with the Hydra Végétal Refreshing Cleansing Gel by Yves Rocher. Once my face was dry I got to the good stuff, and something I have been meaning to write about for a while.

From left to right: White Orchid Eye Gel by Cien, Truth Serum by Ole Henriksen, White Orchid Intensive Serum by Cien and finally White Orchid Day Cream by Cien.

Some of you will frown and others will wonder what brand Cien is. It’s Lidl’s own brand.

A few months ago I was talking to a girl about skincare and she swore by the regular one by said brand. I was sceptical but curious, so I went out and got myself the day cream.

How pleasantly surprised I was.

It left my skin feeling smooth and not oily nor dry. A fantastic moisturizer. So before Christmas they released this White Orchid line, and my curiosity got the better of me. I figured that if it isn’t any good I would just discard it, it was basically free. But here we are, some months later and the products are now some of my all time favorites.

The eye gel has a light shimmer to it and a really mild and pleasant scent. The consistency is like a loose gel and it’s very easily absorbed into the sensitive skin around the eye.

I use two different serums in the winter, the first is an oily one by Ole Henriksen and the second a more gel like by Cien. The serum by Cien is, again, mildly scented and very easily absorbed into the skin.

The day cream is unscented and a very good consistency, not too fatty but moisturizing as if it was. I’m yet to try the night cream due to lazy reasons.

But not only are the products very good the packaging is a thing of beauty. Never in a billion years would I have thought that I would buy off-brand skincare and even crazier yet that it would be from Lidl, but I was so very pleasantly surprised and am hoping for a return of the White Orchid line so I can stock up on it.

My skin has never taken to products this fast and I’m very happy that I gave it the old college try without dismissing it based only on the producer.

The masked face and the aftermath.

Couldn’t be more pleased with the results.

Review goes, five hatched chickens! 🐥🐥🐥🐥🐥

Campbell of Sweden

The first day of the year

 

Many people, I’d say most, love the last shower of the year. Me, I prefer the first one. The one that washes off all the dirt and the grime of the past year and allows you to really start fresh. And boy do I start fresh this year. Erik had one of those nights where he woke up a few times an hour, almost throughout the night. Ironically he fell asleep at 11:45 and didn’t wake again until 2 AM. So he slept through the fireworks, like a champ. He’s seven months and needs his sleep more than he needs to see the firework display, I feel like. The display was massive, however. It reminded me of the one at the turn of the century, that was a massive ordeal. And so was last night. We had the best view in town, removed from the action but a full view of it all. It was beautiful, but I was too tired so I wished my tiny man a happy new year and kissed his foot and fell back asleep.

It wasn’t the NYE that I thought I was going to have but it’s way better than any ones before it. And to be honest I can’t wait until Erik is old enough to actually enjoy the fireworks and can partake in the celebrations. But for a first NYE he did swimmingly.

The morning started off with a bang too. We got up at about 8, we’d been awake for about an hour before then but I usually let Erik play about in bed for a while to allow myself to fully wake before we get up. So we took his diaper off and I carried him into the living room to air his little butt out a bit before putting a new diaper on, to avoid diaper rash and such. I left him on his towel with his toys and went into the kitchen to make me some breakfast, a sandwich and three cups of coffee that I pour into a bowl-sized cup.

First breakfast in 2018

When I come back into the living room to check on him he has, true to his habit, pooped all over the towel then rolled around in it and was at the time in the process of crawling away from the scene of the crime. So I did what I always do, picked him up and ran into the shower. Showered off the worst, put him down on his little mat and drew him a bath. He splashed around in there while I washed him off and then it was off to dry and finish a bobo he had started before we had gotten up.

He’s a funny little man, completely unbothered by most occurrences. When he was semi-dressed we went back into the living room which I had cleaned up by now and he kept busy crawling about on the floor.

That is until he went for the heater – at which point I put him in his Jumperoo and went to take that wonderful first shower of the year.

The first picture is straight out of the shower, the second one after I’ve moisturized and brushed the hair. The reason for these is to show how a lack of an after shower glow looks like. I shower too hot and get these red blotches all over my face, plus the after sweats. Not very charming but this new face routine is actually doing wonders for my face. It’s a full series with an eye gel, a serum and a day- and night cream. I’ve just started using it so I won’t be reviewing it quite yet, but so far so good.

Now I’m off to make Pudgy (Erik) his porridge for breakfast. I hope you all have had an absolutely amazing NYE and that the new year starts off with a bang for you too. Maybe not in the same way as mine has, but a bang of sorts anyway!

Campbell of Sweden 

Mudmasky

First night of this shenanigans, a lightweight face mask to wear while sleeping.

Instructions are simple: wash and dry face, apply mask and let sit for a minimum of five hours (and a maximum of 10 hours). Easy enough.

It’s very gel like in its consistency and doesn’t smell like anything in particular. It has a mild and sort of fresh scent to it. When applied to the face it’s absorbed almost instantaneously which is good, because that means no traces of it on the pillow. The mild scent is also good because it won’t be overpowering, which can make it harder to sleep. Especially when you, like myself, share a bed with a baby.

It gave me a slight tingling sensation, around the nose, but nothing that causes discomfort. However it does make you aware of its existence. I am also aware of it due to the dryness of my, usually very moisturized, skin. But I have that same sensation whenever I wear a face mask, so there’s nothing new under the sun.

I’m looking forward to really giving this product a go, I’ll be trying it out for about two weeks so we’ll see if there’s any improvement to my skin.

But now the bed is calling to me, and a certain tiny gentleman needs to be slightly moved so that the mother unit also fits into that bed.

So smol.

Ms. Campbell

Ole Henriksen

So for about a month now I’ve been trying out some new skin products by Ole Henriksen. It’s from two different lines, the serum (called “Truth Serum”) is from the Truth Collection and the moisturizer (called “Sheer Transformation”) is from the Transform Collection.

Ole Henriksen, as some know, runs a celebrity favored spa in LA. And just like most spa’s they got requests in from clients for the products they were using for the treatments. And the rest is history.

Now fast forward 34 years (the products were launched in 1983) to Bålsta, Sweden. In this climate, with a skin type that’s mixed, these products are just not cutting it. Both the serum and the moisturizer are extremely quickly absorbed into the skin – which is a bonus, but they don’t leave the skin feeling moisturized. Instead what they do is make my face feel like it will tear if I sneeze.

Since the pregnancy I have noticed my skin drying out much faster than before. But time also does its part, I am after all 31 years of age. But my other products do the trick even with the cold weather and the age issue.

The orange pump is the serum and the blue tub is the moisturizer.

These are the testers. The serum is more of a gel than an oil and the smell reminds me of sea buckthorn. I personally really like the smell of it, however it really dries out my skin and makes it feel sort of strung or tense, if that makes sense.

The moisturizer is not as bad in the drying out arena but the smell reminds me of Elmer’s School Paste (trälim). In the parentheses is the Swedish equivalent.

I’m sure a lot of people enjoy these products but I myself am not at all a fan. With the exception for the scent of the serum these products score a whopping zero on my list. Nothing I would ever run out to buy.

Rating (1 out of 5 hatched chickens):

Ms. Campbell

Sleep when the baby sleeps, and other stories…

My boy doesn’t sleep. I mean he does but for about 15-20 minutes at a time, and then he’s up for hours. He’s been this way for as long as he’s been alive. If he’s to sleep any longer than 15-20 minutes I have to keep him on my legs, in his baby nest, and continuously rock him. If I stop rocking him he wakes up in a rage.

He’s fallen asleep on his own once, it took 2,5 hours of screaming and playing and everything one can think of, but he fell asleep without me having to rock him. It was something I celebrated. That was a short lived victory, because he kept waking up and not going down and since that night he doesn’t sleep past 2 AM.

Yesterday he was tired after having thrown up a lot and slept for two hours straight. I was so proud and I did two loads of laundry and all the dishes, I tidied up and painted my nails. I also did something I never thought I’d get to do again: I sat down at the kitchen table and had toast and coffee without having to rush or worry about Erik losing his little mind. It was magnificent, and for the first time since before his arrival I had a hot cup of coffee.

It’s hard to grasp if you’ve never been in that situation. Most parents have to deal with certain situations at times but my boy is a high needs baby (HNB). A HNB is a baby that neither can nor will entertain itself, it needs all your attention at all times or it will throw fits of rage. Erik is a demanding, strong and angry little man. He has more personality than most grown ups I’ve met but he’s damn near impossible sometimes.

The worst part is the sleep, still. I can manage having him on me at all times, not leaving his side for more than a minute at a time. I can take the rage fits, the kicking and screaming. I can live with him refusing to go in the car and the stroller, that’s all manageable- but the sleep deprivation. It’s kicking my butt up and down the street.

Some nights I only get an hour. Some nights I get less. He wakes up at least once an hour, wanting to be rocked back to sleep. Wanting a bit of bobo (bottle). And if the rocking stops – so does the sleeping. So, in order for him to get some sleep I need give up mine. That would be fine if it wasn’t going on for so long, or if I had any help. But alas we are alone. And it’s slowly, but surely breaking me down.

So what’s the point I’m trying to make? When someone says sleep when the baby sleeps I just want to strangle them slowly with the sound of Erik screaming as if he’s being tortured because that’s the soundtrack of my life currently. Whenever I try to put him down for a nap he screams bloody murder. It’s awful and I wish only to get 2 consecutive hours of sleep so I can deal with the commentary from mothers “who know how it is to have a baby”.

Oy vey!

Ms. Campbell

Shifts…

We’ve decided to deal with our Pudgy in shifts due to a lack of sleep. None of us is getting any sleep, because the little whale is a fussy baby. He sleeps for very short bursts of time and when he wakes he’s hungry and very, very angry. So we’re trying something new: 4-hour shifts, 3 each. Tonight I’m kicking it off by having the Pajama Batman sleeping soundly in his stroller while I make lunch for tomorrow. Sean takes the first sleeping shift.


Pajama Batman sleeping soundly in his stroller, socks and all.


Food in the making: Falukorv in the oven (about as Swedish as it gets).

As I was writing that, Pajama Batman woke up and sure enough he was screaming before ever opening his eyes. I changed him while he was still screaming with his eyes never open and now we’re enjoying feeding time – he with his bobo (bottle) and me with some falukorv.

Most people keep asking me if he’s breastfed and he was partially in the beginning but he was too lazy and way too angry to ever keep that up. So we gave him formula as a backup and he never wanted the boob again. 

That’s something that has kept me up at night, the guilt over not breastfeeding. As if it was ever my choice to stop. 

But we’ve all had that hammered in that ‘the breast is the best’. So we tried, and we cried but in the end Erik chose otherwise. There’s not much to do in that situation, so I talked it over with the husband and decided that we weren’t going to force Erik to something that he was just not wanting. 

But it was a hard decision to make and to this day I feel like I failed, both as a woman and as a mother.

But Pudgy is progressing well, regardless of food source. He’s gaining weight like a pro, adding a full kilo to his birth weight at the four week checkup. He was large at birth but at the hospital he lost 300 grams and then an additional 40 at home, due to the trials with breastfeeding. So we put him on more formula and soon after he started refusing the boob. As soon as he stopped taking it the milk just stopped being produced. I was pumping but there was less and less for each day and three days after he had stopped my boobs went dry. Which in a sense is good because I didn’t have to go through the pain of mastitis and all that horror.

He’s a healthy but angry baby. He’s not a happy baby but we’re suspecting he might have the colics due to the constant crying and screaming. He doesn’t sleep a lot and seems to have tummy aches more often than not. 

But he likes sleeping on us and he likes hanging out in his BabyBjörn carrier. So we went out today and got him an ErgoBaby one as well. He doesn’t like that one at all, but we think he’ll come around to it and that that one will be better for when he’s a bit bigger. 

He needs a lot of body contact but we’re trying our hardest to have him doing other stuff and sleeping off of us. Today he hung out in a bouncy chair/babysitter, and didn’t scream the whole time. 


Matter of fact he even fell asleep in it later on.

But yeah, life as a parent is different than I thought it would be. Way different. Especially considering that our baby is extremely fussy and strong, which makes it hard on the both of us since he wants to be carried at all times and throws himself about when he’s being carried. 

He loves kicking me on the scar when I’m trying to burp him and he loves slapping Sean when he’s asleep. But with all the trials and tribulations, with all the sleeplessness and the migraines – I can still honestly say that he is the best baby ever. I couldn’t love him more and I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the screaming. 

He’s a tough little man and he has his way, that’s going to be such a great thing to have in the future – a strong will and stamina. He will be one resilient person! 

As for myself I’m just glad to be on my feet. I was up and about right after the delivery, and two days after the c-section I drove. I was cooking and carrying the whale. Because I too am a resilient person, a stubborn woman with more strength than sense. But look at me – I am doing swimmingly and as soon as it’s all healed up properly I will be back to that same old, same old.

Mrs Campbell 

It is time…

I’ve been away doing a lot of different stuff, not focusing on me or us but on finding work and not freaking out about having a baby in May.

For you who are new, let me introduce myself: I am a 31 year old, mother to be, working as a tax specialist in Stockholm, Sweden. I currently live in a one bedroom apartment, 38 sqm, with my husband and all the baby stuff. It is cramped and cozy but it would be wonderful to have more space. In my free time I do makeup, DIY stuff and nailart. And cook. I cook a lot! 

This blog is going to be my way of sharing my daily life with those who are interested. All my adventures both in life but also in the kitchen, as well as the nail related ones.

I am not great at consistency so if I write a lot some days and nothing at all others it’s because I am a lazy perfectionist and if the post is not up to par I will abandon it and be a bit bitter for a while. 

Let’s start a new adventure! 
/Mrs. Campbell