Thank you 2015…

This is the first I am writing to update all our family and friends around the globe the kind of year we’ve had. This year was all about moving on from our losses around this time last year. The last three years had been very hard for our family. My Mommy died in the Philippines in 2012, and just last year before Christmas, both my in-laws passed away. We’ve had the hardest test in our lives as Alyanna was very sad losing all her grandparents. But 2015 gave us a chance to breathe again, to move on and start our lives without Nan and Grandad.

Despite the heartaches, we just focused on our family – building our lives, finding light from grieving, and just staying together to support our girl. Not many friends understood it but we can’t do anything about that. We are only grateful to the ones who were there for us.

We are so proud of Alyanna for being such a good girl. We have received outstanding news from her school regarding her academic excellence and positive attitude towards her studies. We don’t know how she was able to balance her studies, dance exams,  dance displays, festivals, and at the same time playing the part of Dorothy in Showco’s production of The Wizard of Oz in Summer. The first half of 2015 was unbelievably busy. It was very hard but we were grateful Alyanna had all these activities to focus on.

Last Christmas, we were fortunate to be able to go away in the sunshine. It gave us a little break from the stress of arranging two funerals within a month. It was unimaginable! I saw how stressed Garry was, driving to London everyday, teaching his fitness classes and at the college, doing auditions for FLAMES (the musical play he directed). He was all over the place. See the job I had to do with my family alone? It was tough.

During Summer, both of us were doing our training  for my FitSteps and his Body Jam, and setting up classes. We still found time to take our girl out within UK to make the most of her summer holiday.  We both love our fitness, so now we got into teaching it as well (aside from other things that we do). Keeps us sane and fit. Haha Garry did a small musical play in London called FLAMES. He had really good reviews and hoping more will happen next year.

Blessings have already started and hoping it will continue in 2016.

May you all have a wonderful Christmas and All the best for the New Year!




It’s Mother’s Day in the UK…

After all these years living in the UK, I never got used to celebrating Mother’s Day in Winter time. I got used to the universal one in May. Although it’s so nice to be greeted twice in a year, from my friends in the UK, and from family and friends around the globe. It makes you feel so proud to be a mother during this special day. It is the hardest role I’ve done in my life and it is true that you’ll never know what it’s like to be a mother until you become one. That’s why I don’t pay attention to the ones who are not mothers yet, whatever they think motherhood is like and how it should be. 

To the two best mothers I’ve known in my life, my own mother, Beth Papas-Mercado, and mother-in-law, Jean Banes, and to my special friends celebrating in the UK today, Happy Mothering Sunday. I am so proud to be a MOTHER!   



“Before you were a Mom –
You slept as late as you wanted and never worried about how late you got into bed. You brushed your hair and your teeth everyday.

Before you were a Mom –
You cleaned your house each day. You never tripped over toys or forgot words to a lullaby. You didn’t worry whether or not your plants were poisonous. You never thought about immunizations.

Before you were a Mom –
You had never been puked on – Pooped on – Spat on – Chewed on, or Peed on. You had complete control of your mind and your thoughts. You slept all night.

Before you were a Mom –
You never held down a screaming child so that doctors could do tests…or give shots. You never looked into teary eyes and cried. You never got gloriously happy over a simple grin. You never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before you were a Mom –
You never held a sleeping baby just because you didn’t want to put it down. You never felt your heart break into a million pieces when you couldn’t stop the hurt. You never knew that something so small could affect your life so much. You never knew that you could love someone so much. You never knew you would love being a Mom.

Before you were a Mom –
You didn’t know the feeling of having your heart outside your body. You didn’t know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby. You didn’t know that bond between a mother and her child. You didn’t know that something so small could make you feel so important.

Before you were a Mom –
You had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay. You had never known The warmth, The joy, The love, The heartache, The wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom. You didn’t know you were capable of feeling so much before you were a Mom.

Send this to someone whom you think is a special Mom… 

And remember that behind every successful woman……
is a basket of dirty laundry.”
— Unknown.

Alyanna turns 11!

Our baby is now 11!  Can you believe it?  In tears of joy as I look back…  It wasn’t an easy birth. After 18 hours of painful labour, she finally arrived – via fedex, haha! I had an emergency c-section, had an epidural, and was totally conscious when the doctors were trying to get an 8lbs 12oz baby out of my tummy. Now you know why she didn’t come out naturally. She was a size of a sumo baby! 🙂 Kidding aside, it took a while to hear her voice. I was in tears waiting to see that little angel’s face, and those eyes to look at her Mummy and Daddy. Garry was beside me holding my hand, excited but nervous whilst wiping my tears, and Lola Beth (grandma)  was outside the operating room praying the rosary. It was the best feeling ever, and the moment I held her in my arms, I couldn’t stop crying. After she was given a quick bath, I breastfed her straight away. That moment, I knew she was really mine. She had her Mum’s appetite. HAHAHA I had no problem breastfeeding her. I was very tired after, BUT one thing I will never get tired of is talking about my baby. I can talk about my girl’s story from birth, in details, as I was there for her for the last 11 years and I’m so proud of it!  🙂
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Yes, today that baby is now a young lady, well almost! A happy young girl who is so full of life and ambition. She is serious in becoming a performer and a swimmer someday. I wonder where she got it from? She was so inspired by the Olympics. So inspired actually that she wants to be an Olympian. Whoa! 🙂 She is currently taking a full dance course training doing 7 classes a week, and she totally loves it. We never push her to do things. This is her telling us that she loves to dance. I grew up being pushed to do things and follow orders, but I will not do that to my child. I will respect her desire to become what she wants to be.

As a mother,  I am so proud of her. She is a very good daughter, and I don’t regret any decisions I’ve made in my life since becoming a mother. Family is my priority above all. I chose to have her, so it’s my job to look after her and make sure she grows up to be a fine lady with a good outlook in life and follow her dreams. Over the years I’ve learned that it is important to do what you love. I understand my daughter so well, that I will not give her a hard time in pursuing her own dreams.

To our beautiful girl, Happy 11th Birthday!  Always remember that Mummy and Daddy love you very much. We are not sure if we can give you all the unnecessary material things that rule our crazy world, but one thing we can always give you, which you always had since you were born, is our 100% LOVE, time and attention.  We love you so much, Alyanna! xxx 🙂


Family time

Sometimes it is unhealthy to read posts on Facebook esp if the new year has just started. Your optimism is being dragged down to a few people’s negativity. I don’t understand some people complaining about the kids being off school too long and that they can’t wait for the school to commence. Well, I feel the opposite. I wish the holidays can be a bit longer to spend more time with my hubby and daughter. We love spending time together.

Although we haven’t been away this year for Christmas, we had a great time. To be honest, it’s not the parties and days out that made my holidays, it’s actually the lazy days we had, all curled up on the sofa watching movies all day or playing board games (not pc games), or simply going for a walk. Simple things like that are priceless to me. I feel sad for those parents who can’t wait to get rid of their kids’ company. I’m a Mum too and I understand that we need a time out sometimes, but not after Christmas. When school starts, our kids are at school all day, and there’s less time to bond in the afternoon after school, that’s why we make the most of the school breaks and holidays.

Our (almost) 11 year old daughter doesn’t mind hanging out with us (I hope I am not speaking too soon lol). Kidding aside, she loves being with her parents. She doesn’t complain wherever we take her as long as we are together. She is easy. But of course, puberty is not an easy stage. I am not saying I don’t get a few issues from her, but in general she is actually easy. She is not a demanding child forcing us to buy her things she wants, nor throw tantrums at home when she’s bored. We are always around for her, and family time is very important to us. Our girl still loves sleeping in our bed, in between her Mummy and Daddy. Sweet. Not all the time though but we don’t mind. We actually love our family cuddles in bed with out little kitty Nala with us too. We know that some day, she’ll grow up and will have her own family too, so we try to cherish every moment we have with her. She knows that she is so loved, she feels it. 🙂

Our kids are only young for a very short time, so spend it well with them. People complain about spending too much money taking the kids out to entertain them. Who says you have to spend a lot of money to entertain kids? There’s no need to spend money to make them happy. Home is the best place to spend time with them. If they are spending too much time on the pc, give them a particular time to play games, and make sure to have time for family dialogue and fun. I don’t know what to do if my daughter sends me a text message to come upstairs and bring her food. N + O = NO! Thank God she is not on Facebook yet. So far, I am lucky that these things are not happening yet. I see a lot of kids on Facebook at the age of 6 or 7. I don’t get it. Our agreement with our daughter is 15. Let’s see if that happens. Fingers crossed. 🙂

All I’m saying is, if we find time for our kids now, they will find time for us too once that moment comes that we need their time for us. LOVE is always the foundation in the family. Show love, you’ll get love.

Nyt everyone… Spread love… xx

Why is my 10-year-old daughter not on Facebook yet?

Ok, I am going to be a ‘parent’ this time. Here I go my dears. Let me answer the question:

Why is my 10-year-old daughter not on Facebook yet?

I am not a ‘know it all’ type of mum when it comes to being a mother, and I can only speak for my own daughter’s safety. I am a bit of a disciplinarian, I admit, but all for good reasons. I have a good relationship with my daughter and we often talk. We get along most of the time, and we also have those days when we argue about certain things, esp when I say ‘NO’. In other words, a normal mother and daughter.

I believe that there is a time for being a ‘friend’ to our kids and a time for being a ‘parent’. Friend and parent – two different words with different meanings. When I’m being a friend to her, we do fun things together like being silly in doing our nails, playing board games, go shopping together, sing together, invite her friends and have fun, chat about boys, her crushes at school, etc. Now, joining Facebook is something serious. That’s where my parenting comes in. I am lucky though that my daughter doesn’t really insist on joining Facebook because so far, none of her friends have joined yet. So there is no peer pressure at the moment. You can tell that she has good friends, who obviously have good parents, as they follow their parents’ rules. Although I am aware that she will be pressured to join one day, and I hope it doesn’t happen in the next couple of years. We agreed, so far, to wait until she turns 15. Or ideally after her GCSE results. Let’s see if that happens! (Rolling eyes)
Am I being harsh? I just want her to focus on studies first than to get distracted and hooked on Facebook. Everyone who joined Facebook ever since had either ‘fall outs’, ‘enemies’, ‘stalkers’, had ‘no life’, and had ‘lack of sleep’. I can say that I have experienced all that since I joined Facebook in 2008. Now, am I ready for my 10-year-old to go through that? The answer is NO. This is where I become a parent to her. Yes, my family and relatives are all there, but it is always better to Skype close relatives, talk and communicate. I can’t imagine leaving a message for my husband or daughter on Facebook esp if I see them everyday. That’s my fear, to communicate with my daughter on social media. We are so used to talking, and I don’t want to change that.

The perfect world of Facebook, where everyone’s lives are meant to be seen perfect by everybody, where everyone should be positive, where people express their love in words because they can’t say it personally to that person, where inspiration to oneself is found, where people should be holy. It makes me sick now really but I just mind my own biz on Facebook. I don’t really comment on people’s posts, very rare and quite occasional. If they comment on my post and on my wall, then I will chat a bit.  I prefer to leave them alone. There are people who are brutally funny, who criticize a lot, who think they know everything, who think they are famous, who simply hate, and always negative. All these things are happening on Facebook. Of course, it depends on how you handle yourself and how you will react to what you read. But my daughter is not ready for that.

I do remember reading Mark Zuckerberg’s statement that it is educational for kids under 13 to join Facebook to learn. I know what he meant by that and I completely understand his good intention. But it is not just learning that is happening there. The news, in fact, can prove that there were teenagers who were victimized by bullying and rape by chatting with strangers online esp on social networks like Facebook. I guess that part, Mr. Zuckerberg cannot control, because that is the parents’ job. When Facebook started, I was already in my thirties, and I learned so quick. Some of my friends’ kids were already on Facebook since they were 7 years old. My nephews are there already and they are younger than my daughter, to play games. But you know what, my daughter doesn’t play games online.  She has a lot of activities to distract her from being a couch potato and stay online the whole day. I actually admit that I am online most of the time because of Facebook, writing blogs, emails, checking sites, researching, listening to music, watching videos. And I have already been so hooked that it took me forever to change my lifestyle. SO I decided to deactivate for a year to test myself how long I can last, although I cheated and went on my husband’s Facebook, ha-ha, I had more life and accomplishments when I did that.

I just really wonder how do kids benefit from Facebook? What do they get there esp when adults post indecent photos, swear words, even fight and express hatred. I am curious how the parents of these kids can handle such pressure.

Everything’s different now compared to my childhood. But I strongly believe that time can change but not being a ‘parent’. And as far as my child’s safety is concerned, I will continue to explain to her the pros and cons of social media to children. I myself speak my mind on Facebook and I post anything I want. I don’t play safe like the others. What they read is me. I don’t like to pretend that I’m religious by posting bible verses nor talk about political issues around me.

I am planning to deactivate my account, and focus on real LIFE. In fact, I might do that right now. (Deep breath)

Have a great day. 🙂