October 31 2016

Photography: Sofia Graniello | Location: Marsa Malaz Kempinski 

As a blogger, you interact so much with your online community that you build your own ‘internet friends’.  My internet friendship with Polly from Follow Your Sunshine started when we both announced our pregnancy on the blog (we were 2 weeks apart). I started following her pregnancy journey on the blog and felt really connected to her. Follow Your Sunshine is a diary of Polly’s life in the Middle East, her food adventures, travels and her beautiful family. The blog name fits perfectly with her sunny disposition and she’s even lovelier in person.

She’s fast become one of my mommy friend and it just so happens that our little ones love spending time with each other. They don’t know this, but we are grooming them to be baby bloggers (Baby Clumsy Chic and Baby Sunshine!).

Polly and I can go on talking about motherhood and our babies for hours on end, that we decided to ask each other questions on our blog. She talked about what she loves the most about being a mom to 7-month old Sophia, wearing different hats as mom, and running on 3 hours of sleep.

  1. How has your life changed when you had Sophia? 

In just about every way possible. Before I became a mum, I used to have quite a major lazy streak. I’d live for the weekends, when I could have long lie-ins and then laze around in my pyjamas watching vlogs or lie beside our pool getting stuck into a book. Now I’m up at the crack of dawn changing nappies, preparing lunches and playing with building blocks. And I love it! I’ve found I’m much more organised and economical, and can get a lot more done in a day. While I’m definitely more tired than I used to be, I’m also happier than I’ve ever been. Little things don’t phase me like they used to, because all that matters to me in life is that Sophia is happy and healthy!

2. What surprised you the most about motherhood?

Just how resilient I can be, and how that overwhelming motherly love can get you through just about anything. If you asked me a year ago whether I thought I could survive on less than three hours sleep every night for a week, I would have laughed in your face. Now I’d say, “three hours?! Mama, I can do it on two!”

3. What do you love the most about being a mom?

Seeing Sophia grow and develop into such a happy and bubbly little girl. I feel immense pride every time I look at her, and I really can’t believe that I helped to produce her sometimes.

4. What’s the toughest thing about being a mom? 

As a mum, you have to be everything. Before, I was just ‘Polly’. Now I’m mummy and chef and cleaner and teacher and nurse and carer and organiser… It can all get a bit overwhelming sometimes, especially when I think about how much responsibility is on my shoulders. We don’t have any of our extended family out here in Doha and while Mr Sunshine (my husband) is an equal partner in all of this, some days when he is working long hours, things can get on top of me. When I’m feeling like this I usually get on Whatsapp and message my other mummy friends and realise we’re all in the same boat. Being a mummy is difficult and rewarding in equal parts, and you shouldn’t put too much pressure on yourself to be amazing at everything all the time. You’re still allowed to have bad days!


5. You’ve managed to keep your blog going while taking care of your little one. How do you balance it all? 

I’m not going to lie, it’s been a struggle! I’m lucky to have a really supportive husband who is very enthusiastic about my blog. He often offers to take Sophia out for a bit so that I can do some blogging without me even having to ask. It also helps that she now attends nursery for three mornings a week, giving me five to six hours to do some writing or attend events. That being said, blogging has definitely taken a back seat since Sophia came along. As I write this I am supposed to be at the opening of a brand new swanky restaurant in town, and instead I’m at home in my dressing gown, having paced up and down my apartment with her for four hours trying to get her to sleep!

6. What three advices would you give to new moms-to-be? 

1. Whatever hardship you’re going through right now - be it sleepless nights or teething or reflux or colic - this too will pass. Hang on in there, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

2. Surround yourself with positive people who are willing to support you on your parenting journey. There will always be people who will critcise your parenting style or decisions, but whatever you’re doing is right for you and your child. You’re their mum, and you know best, remember that.

3. Always, always carry baby wipes.

7. What are your 3 must-haves for moms? 

1. A really good changing bag. I have the Jem & Bea ‘Beatrice’ bag which is massive, with lots of compartments for all of your bits and pieces. But more importantly, it’s stylish and doesn’t look like a changing bag at all.

2. A supportive and comfortable nursing bra. My favourite is the Bravado Designs Body Silk Seamless.

3. This might be a random choice but I always take a pot of Coconut Oil with me wherever I go - it’s lipbalm, moisturiser and make-up remover in one, and also works on nappy rash and cradle cap. Wonder product!

8. What are your 3 baby must-haves? 

1. A great travel system / buggy. We couldn’t live without our Bugaboo Cameleon, with Cybex car seat attachment. It’s been all over the world with us on our travels!

2. A sturdy but breathable baby carrier - our favourite is the Ergobaby Cool Air.

3. We couldn’t have survived the past seven months without our Sleepyhead, which Sophia sleeps in every night inside our Chicco Next2Me. She is a terrible sleeper, and both of these products have made co-sleeping a breeze.

9. Where do you like to shop for Sophia’s clothes? 

I’m not going to lie, it’s been difficult in Qatar and we tend to order lots of bits and pieces whenever we travel home to the UK. I love Mamas & Papas, but it is very expensive out here. The turning point came when I discovered the beautiful range of French baby clothes that they sell in Monoprix. It’s dangerous because I end up coming home with an item of clothing or two every time I go for groceries!

10. What can we look forward to seeing on Follow Your Sunshine

Since becoming a mummy, writing about my family has become a natural extension of my blog, which is primarily a lifestyle blog, with a big focus on my principal passions - food and travel! Follow Your Sunshine is all about positivity and fulfilling your dreams, so I have a few mummy-focused advice posts planned which will hopefully be helpful to other new mums. Mr Sunshine and I also have more plans to travel in the not too distant future, as well as a couple of vacations / staycations closer to home, all of which have a family-friendly focus. Finally, as always, there are lots of new restaurant reviews because I have been eating at a lot of amazing places recently. I hope you’ll follow along!

You can also check out my interview on Follow Your Sunshine here and be sure to follow her Doha adventures and travels.