Tuesday, February 2, 2016

2016, what's in it for me?

We're already one month and one day into 2016, so I'm as late as ever to ask myself these questions and outline some of my plans for this no-longer-new year. Better late than never, or so they say. Truth being told, I have been neglecting this space for a while now but as much as I think that I've totally outgrown this travel blogging thing, I still find myself coming back from time to time. Of course, my approach to blogging has changed. I no longer seek fame and money, a huge readership and a career as a travel blogger - not that I ever got remotely close to that, mind you. But in a way I feel like I've stepped down the blogging game; I'm writing more for myself and I'm happy about. And as always, happy and thankful for those of you that still read and comment on my posts. A big THANK YOU goes to you.

Somehow I think it's a pity that I'm not devoting that much time and effort to this blog anymore now that I have been travelling more and taking some interesting trips. Well, I may recap all my recent travels any time soon. Or maybe not, who knows. My life and priorities have changed greatly in the last year, I guess, and I am putting all my energy in some other ventures. Besides parenting being so time consuming, you know.

Anyway, one month and one day into 2016, these are some of the things I look forward to. 

Travel. We already have a couple of family trips planned, London and Montreux. And I'm also going to Tenerife in March. We would also like to plan a trip to Ireland this summer, but at the moment, this is just an idea. I love London, I haven't been there for eight years now, and I can't hardly wait to go back. I'm so excited about this trip that I might even blog about it - yay!

And writing. I have been wanting to write like all my life but until now I have always found an excuse not to do it. I really don't know how to write, I will wait until this and this plot ideas are perfectly clear in my head, I'm not that good at writing, I don't have the time, I will never be good enough ... you know how it goes. 2015 was a life-changing year for me, not only because my daughter was born but also because I was confronted with the reality of death more times than I would have liked to, which made me very aware of how brief is our time here. Oh, such an obvious truth, yet so elusive. Becoming aware of my own mortality made me realise that I can only try and do the things I enjoy while I'm alive, for who knows what will happen next. Again, another very obvious truth. And then I had the big revelation. The time to follow my dreams and pursue my callings was now. Not tomorrow when I have more time, not in the future when I learn more about writing, not whenever inspiration finally finds me and takes my hand to write a novel-length story from the first word to the last. No, the time is now and it is up to me, and only me, to make this happen.

So this is what I've been up to lately and what I'm planning to do this year - as far as I have planned. 

Though I'm not the best writer I could be yet, I already started to treat my writing more seriously. I try to write something every weekday and in the last couple of months I have completed several short stories and edited a couple of them. Some are terrible and some are not too bad, but I'm ok with this. I also set up my own personal website, so you can find me now at Irene Montaner. It is a work in progress but I will keep an updated online presence there and write every now and then about how my writing dream career is developing. Feel free to drop by and say hi. Or just write something here and let me know what are your goals for this year. Or if you have any crazy, life-changing idea you would like to turn into reality in 2016. Or if you have any interesting advice for aspiring writers. Or just say hi, really.

Have a lovely Tuesday!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

That was 2015

2015 has been quite a year! With half a pregnancy to go, then a newborn in my arms and right now the cutest baby ever at home, this year sounded like lots of hard work. Luckily, everything went smoother than I ever thought and in fact, the whole year had gone in a breeze. Last day of the year today!

Despite the long days and nights with BabyGirl, we have managed to do some nice travelling, both around here and a bit further away. I haven't been a very active blogger this year, though, and I haven't written about many of the trips I've taken this year, so I thought it would be a good idea to round up this year with a summary post. You can find below the list of places I have visited this year.


KONSTANZ (Germany)


SPLÜGEN (Switzerland)

MÁLAGA (Spain)

LUNGERNSEE (Switzerland)


LUGANO (Switzerland)

BELLINZONA (Switzerland)


Not bad for these brand-new parents! 2015 has been quite a year and I'm hoping that 2016 will be at least this good. I don't think I'll be blogging regularly any time soon because I have been busy with some other endeavours - mostly writing short stories - but I will update you around here every now and then. Until the next time then. 

Have a good and happy 2016

Monday, September 7, 2015

Flying with baby - tips for an uncomplicated flight

'Never had such a relatively uneventful flight had quite such an impact.'

I read that sentence on this post by mummytravels and I couldn't agree more. The first flight with a baby of your own is bound to be remembered forever, even if nothing memorable happens along.

I was on my own with BabyGirl for this very remarkable milestone, BabyGirl's first flight, and I started freaking out as soon as I booked the tickets. Was it the right decision? Will she cope fine with flying? Will her ears hurt? Will she cry non-stop and make this flight a nightmare for me and every other passenger? After all, BabyGirl hadn't asked to be put on an iron-bird to cross the skies and land some 3000 Km away from home in Andalusia.

Thankfully everything went very smoothly and BabyGirl passed this test with flying colours. We said goodbye to Boyfriend on the security check and from then on it was only the two of us. We passed the security check without any hassle, we waited for the boarding to start, sat in the plane, took off, flew and landed without any problem.

I tried and forced a paci on BabyGirl's mouth for take-off and landing to prevent her ears from aching but paci or no paci she seemed to do just fine and slept most of the time. She woke up roughly at her feeding times, pooped a bit a lot and went back to slumberland. During our flight back she did poop a second time when we were about to landing and just when we were supposed to be fastening our seat-belts we were locked in a toilet, me desperately trying to put BabyGirl in some clean clothes and BabyGirl half-naked crying because it was too cold for a baby in there. Luckily, the plane descended and landed smoothly.

I'm sure not every flight will be as easy as this first one but preparation is definitely key to success. So here are some tips to help make the flying experience a pleasant one.

Food: definitely an essential. If you are breastfeeding you don't have anything to worry about, as everything you need you are taking with you. And if not, not much to worry either as there are no liquid restrictions for babies. 

Toys: babies still don't play that much at this stage but it is always a good idea to bring a favourite toy  (and some more) to keep a baby entertained in case sleeping doesn't come easy.

Pacifier: v. important thing. Baby's ears can hurt during take off and landing due to the changes in air pressure and sucking on something will take some pressure off his or her little ears. If baby takes no paci, then bottle or breast will have to do - I personally find the idea of breastfeeding while take off/landing rather weird, what if the plane moves more than usual and baby bites way too much?!

Warm clothes and blanket: you know how it goes, always dress baby by layers. And more than ever when travelling, as you never know what the weather will be like when you arrive at your destination and much air co will be on the plane. So always better to take too much than too little.

Diapers and wet wipes: with all those changes in air pressure and altitude, baby's bowels seem to be working overtime up there. So never skimp on these, you can never have too many changing supplies.

Bib, hand towels, muslin cloths: even if you're a pro at feeding your baby, chances are that being cramped in a tiny space, the different surroundings and changes in temperature will make your baby a bit fussy and food and spillovers can end anywhere from your baby's face to your clothes.

Spare clothes: a body for baby and a t-shirt for you. See below, in such a tiny space it is easier than ever for baby to spit over both of you. Or you might find yourself in a poopy mess when you least expect it.

Patience and sense of humour: ditto. You never know when you'll find yourself in a poopy mess. 

Is there something I forgot? Some more advice to give?
Please let me know in your comments.

Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

September 2015 - The Long Days With BabyGirl

"The days are long, but the years are short"
Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

I read this book called The Happiness Project back in June after BabyGirl was born and this quote really resonated with me at the moment and it is now proving more and more meaningful as days go by.

In case you're wondering, the book is ok. The Happiness Project is a quick read with some good advice and a handful of inspiring quotes. The only minus point - and it is a big minus - is the author. She is not a very skilled writer and seems a rather shallow and irritating person. Like the kind of person who cannot be bothered to listen to her own daughters but one day decides to start laughing at their jokes just for the sake of keeping up with her happiness project resolutions, not because she thinks they are funny, witty, or anything like that. You get the idea. Who knows, maybe one day you meet in her in real life and she is a lovely lady but she didn't portrait herself like that at all in her book.

Anyway, I digress.

Days can be really long, especially with a baby at home. I remember the first weeks after BabyGirl was born and each single day would be an endless loop of diaper changing, feedings and rocking to sleep. I would collapse in bed at 9:30 pm the latest only to be woken up four hours later for the next feeding session. And I was really lucky because BabyGirl was a great eater and sleeper and gave me some four hours breaks since the beginning! And now three months have passed since those first exhausting weeks.

Yes, the days are long but time flies now and the last three months have gone in a whirl. I remember when I would put BabyGirl on my chest to help her sleep, her head on my cleavage and her feet on my hips. Nowadays her feet have long surpassed my hips and whenever she moves her head bumps on my chin (well, I'm only 5'2''). I remember how BabyGirl used to spend the evenings crying inconsolably, feeling overwhelmed after a long day of novelty. Oh, and I remember the funny faces she pulled whenever her bowels made a move, her lips pouting and her eyes wide open. Funnily enough, that was favourite face.

But the years are short and the long exhausting days are now gone and have been replacing by the long tiring days, which are a bit more manageable. The sleeping bond has been replaced by playing time together, the endless crying by a myriad of cooing sounds and the funny faces by smiles and laughters. The years are short but every long day is a learning adventure with BabyGirl and I love spending every single minute of them watching out for her new tricks.

So, baby or no baby around, I hope you are making the most of every long day you have.
Do you agree with this quote? 

Have a meaningful September!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award

One morning a week ago I was enjoying a steamy cup of tea while going through my blog reading list and I was delighted when I found out that Arni of Travel Gourmande had nominated me for this Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award. It is always nice to be acknowledged by fellow bloggers and even better when the recognition comes from someone as dear as Arni, who I count as a friend, though we've never met in real life. Thanks again for the nomination!

So, without further ado, here are the answers to the questionnaire of the Sisterhood of the World Blogger Award.

1. What is the story behind your blog?

I moved abroad for the first time in 2007 and I have done quite some nice trips around Europe ever since. I have never journaled and I had all my travel photos scattered around many folders in several USB sticks and hard drives. I had always liked the idea of travel blogging and thought it would be a great idea to start my own online travel journal to hold all my memories and photos together. And so in 2012 I started Away from Tenerife. I was living in the Netherlands back then, I am currently in Switzerland and have lived in Ireland in between.

2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

London! I have always had a thing for the English capital and I would love to spent sometime there. If I didn't like it in London I would move back to Maastricht (the Netherlands). I lived there for two years and loved my simple but lovely time there.

3. What is the best piece of travel advice you've received?

Make the most of your breakfast. A hearty morning meal will see you through the most hectic sightseeing days. Thanks mam and dad for teaching me so.

4. Where did you have your best meal ever?

It has to be Ireland. I was very fond of the fish and chips I could eat there and I loved the hearty Irish breakfasts. Oh, and the scones, don't get me started on that. But the best proper meal I had was at a seaside restaurant in Howth. I went there with some friends on a chilly winter evening and feasted on a crab toast and some carrot soup and closed the meal with the most delicious Eton Mess ever.

5. What is your most memorable holiday or trip?

I once went with Boyfriend and some friends of him to Leukerbad, in the Swiss canton of Valais. We skipped all winter sports activities and went directly to soak up in some thermal waters. It wasn't even winter but it started to snow and there we were, in an outdoor swimming pool with 38°C water with breathtaking views of the Alps while snowflakes drifted from the sky and melted on our faces. Travel or no travel, that's probably the most heavenly experience I've ever had.

6. What is the one thing you cannot live without when travelling?

My camera. I just love to take pics of everything!

7. Is there some souvenir you always take home from your travels?

A postcard. I can be as uncomplicated as that.

8. Who's your go-to travel buddy? Or do you prefer to travel solo?

Though our interests can be quite different, Boyfriend is definitely my favourite travel companion. Yes, he likes his morning lie in and I can't do without my morning breakfast; he likes to rest and I like to go out and take a hundred photos but we always find a compromise that will suit us both. And now I'm hoping that BabyGirl will be a keen traveller like her mammy!

9. Are you a spontaneous traveller or do you prefer to plan everything in advance?

I like planning - I'm definitely missing the Spanish gene of spontaneity. I like doing my research and planning accordingly. That being said, there is always room for improvisation if the ideal plan doesn't quite live up to reality. Or if hunger strikes.

10. Where are you traveling next?

Tenerife! Yep, I'm going home in three weeks!

That's the traveller me in a nutshell and now it's your turn! I am nominating the following bloggers but feel free to nominate yourself if you pass by and would like to answer these questions as well.

Sophie of Sophie in Clogs
Tania of Rowdy Fairy
Anda Alexandra of The Home Of The Twisted Red Ladybug

1. Why did you start blogging?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
3. What is the best piece of travel advice you have ever received?
4. Where did you have your best meal ever?
5. What is your most memorable holiday or trip?
6. What is the one thing you cannot live without when travelling?
7. Is there a souvenir you always take home from your travels?
8. Who is your go-to travel buddy?
9. Are you a spontaneous traveller or do you prefer to plan everything in advance?
10. Where are you traveling next?

Have a lovely Tuesday!
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