Book Review: She’s Not There by Joy Fielding

She’s Not There is every parent’s worst nightmare come true. The premise is a young couple with two kids vacationing in Mexico, who decide to leave their kids sleeping in the hotel room while they go out for an anniversary dinner in the hotel. When they return their youngest has vanished from the room without a trace. Fast forward fifteen years and the mother receives a phone call from a girl claiming to be her long-lost daughter.

As a mother, my heart ached for the main protagonist in this novel. I liked the pace of the novel and the way the writer narrated the story by flipping between present day (which is fifteen years in the future) and the past. The novel reminded me of Gone Girl and The Couple Next Door and had me hooked from the first page. I have read Joy Fielding books in the past and the climax always has a twist leading to an unexpected ending. This novel did the same and the ending was quite unexpected.

If you are a fan of Gone Girl and The Couple Next Door, put She’s Not There on your reading list.

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery.

Why I write…

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.

Ernest Hemingway

I grew up in a pretty traditional Indian household. We watched Bollywood movies and listened to Hindi songs. Dinner was ‘Dal Chawal’ or ‘Chicken Curry with Roti’ and ‘Kheer’ for desert.

And in typical Indian fashion, there were certain topics of conversation that were taboo. We didn’t talk about our feelings. It was ok to watch Bollywood movies where a guy would profess his love for a girl he just met and dance around a tree to prove his love for her but in our house we did not hear those words.

Feelings were left unsaid, unless you were angry. Then the yelling would let everyone know how you were feeling.

As every other teen girl does, I went through the normal growing pains: obsession with boy bands ( hello back street boys!), Michael J fox, Shahrukh Khan, and boys in general. I had what I know now is teen angst. I was rebelling in my own way, which in my house meant I was on the phone too long or read a harlequin romance novel without my parents knowing.

I had all these emotions and feelings inside, that I did not know how to get out. We moved a lot so I did not have close girl friends to confide in. So I started a diary and I started writing. Some times I wrote about my day, sometimes I wrote angry words, sometimes I wrote about what I aspired to be. I wrote because it felt good to put my feelings and thoughts on paper. It was like a cleansing ritual, I could put my day on paper and my heart felt lighter.

Fast forward to present day. I write because it is the only way I know how to express my feelings. I also write because I want my daughter to know how I was feeling when she came into my life. I am writing a history of my feelings and emotions while going through the growing pains of my motherhood journey.

Why do you write? How did you get started? I would love to hear about your writing journey.

My sister in law posted this quote and it inspired me to write about why I write.

She is a talented screenwriter, a busy mom of two, and runs a production company! #momboss

You can follow her writing journey @jody_rae_thompson on Instagram or her FB page.

PS: Follow me on Instagram @husna_theaccidentalmommy I take pictures of food, coffee art, my daughter and pretty Vancouver scenery.

Funny Baby Sayings

Funny babyToddlers say the funniest things! When Zara turned 2.5 years her language exploded. She started copying us and we realized that the time had come for us to clean up our act in front of her.

Regardless, she keeps things pretty entertaining. I am keeping things a little light in this post and sharing some funny things baby says that keeps us laughing. So take a read and laugh a little or a lot!

Happy baby at Starbucks

  • Momma my poop is too big.
  • F$$$k##g C$$k$$ck$r (Yup every time she drops something or falls. We have daddy to thank for this one!)
  • I am so cute!
  • Rj go get milk and bread. (This was my fault. Now she says this every night because she thinks that’s what daddy does when she goes to bed.)
  • Daddy you stinky. Stop parting! (Ok this one I might have taught her! )
  • What’s that noising?
  • Can I get a chicken nugget, large diet coke, and a coffee?
  • I want to make a baby. (She means make a baby using playdough. But still funny!!)

What does your kid say that keeps you laughing? Mine, hasn’t said any of this in public or at daycare yet. Has yours? I am waiting for the call from daycare when I have to explain the swearing. Tips on how to handle that?

I hope you have had a good laugh, because let’s be honest this world needs more funny baby sayings and less of everything else.

Valentine’s Date night : Where to go in Vancouver to Wine and Dine

Valentine’s day is around the corner! I have compiled a list of my fav restaurants for you mommas and dadas that are looking for date night ideas and BONUS, two of them are kid friendly in case it turns into a family affair!

Here are our fav restaurants:

The Keg: I can honestly say I have never had a bad meal here. When Rj and I first started dating this was our go to date restaurant. Last year Rj and I celebrated our ten year dating anniversary with a dinner at the Keg and we were not disappointed. The Keg is also kid friendly, so if your little one is tagging along on your valentine’s date, this the place to go.

Ahi Tuna and Creme Brûlée YUM

Ahi Tuna

Lupo: Lupo made Rj and I feel at home. It is actually set in a house and it felt like we were visiting a friend’s house. The food is Italian and the flavors are authentic and divine. Make sure to try the beef short rib and the lamb.

Lamb shank, Beef Short rib, Tiramisu, Beef Carpaccio

Wildebeest: This restaurant serves unique flavors and dishes but I promise you the tastes will blow your taste buds! If you see the lamb on the menu try it!!

Lamb shank, Beef Short rib, Fried chicken bites

Merchants : This is our favorite restaurant to go to when we are craving fresh oysters. They also change up their menu often and feature seasonal dishes, to appeal to various taste buds.

Seasons in the Park: I love Seasons in the Park! We got married at Queen Elizabeth park and we had our reception here, so Seasons holds a special place in my heart. We celebrate every wedding anniversary with a dinner here. The views are spectacular and enough of a reason to visit. We have always gotten great service and loved the meals here. Bonus! They are kid friendly and have a kids menu. So if you can’t find a baby sitter, you can still enjoy a dinner out.

Lobster and Prime rib, and Mac and Cheese

What are your fav places to go? Are you planning a date night with your spouse or celebrating with the family? Comment below.

Please note this is not a sponsored post (I wish it was). All opinions are based on my personal experience.

Free/Cheap Rainy Weekend kid friendly spots in Vancouver

Winter is a tough month for families in Vancouver, BC. The rain has everyone stuck inside and usually after the crazy Christmas spending, people are looking to save some dollars.

I am always on the hunt for where I can take Zara to run around indoors, for FREE or for the price of a coffee at Starbucks, on the weekends.

Here is a list of a couple of my favorite places to hang out with Zara for FREE or economical cost in Vancouver.

Oakridge mall : This is one of my favorite malls for multiple reasons. It’s accessible by skytrain and has free parking. The play area is a simple carpeted area but Zara has a blast running around. They also have some coin operated toys in the area that, Zara loves, jumping in to. The play area is also located right by the Lego store, which is a dream for my girl. The LEGO store has a set up of LEGO, that Zara has thoroughly enjoyed. There is also a Vancouver Public Library in the mall if you are feeling like grabbing a book or story time. For meals, there is a White Spot or multiple choices at the food court. Unlike other malls, I find Oakridge busy but not crowded and it is small enough that you are not walking a mile to get to the bathroom!

Trout lake Community Centre: I have written about Trout Lake in one of my previous posts, and it is one of our favorite spots to visit. You can read about it here. The play gym is $3.00 for drop in and runs from 10am to 12pm, Sunday to Friday. You can also buy 10 tickets for $24.00 and save some dollars to treat yourself to a coffee. When you need a large area for your kid to run around on a rainy Sunday, this the place to go. Last Sunday, they had a bouncy castle set up, and Zara was totally blown away. They also have a cute little cafe, serving local baked goods, sandwiches, coffee and ice cream! Covers all the food groups!

Ikea: I recently learned that Ikea supports refugees, so I feel good about spending my money here. Also, the Ikea restaurant has really upped their game on the quality of food. The breakfast is $2.99 and comes with cage free eggs, potatoes and turkey sausage. The lunch and dinner menu is more than just Swedish meatballs and has a lot of variety at reasonable prices. Kids meals are $2.99 and Zara is a huge fan of their Mac and cheese. And did I mention they have wine??!! They have seating with little play areas in the restaurants so the kids are not confined to a high chair.

There is a ball pit play area for potty trained kids, while parents shop. The toy section has a display toys that Zara loves to run around and play with.

Family dinner night anyone??

Fraser River Discovery Centre: The first time I visited the centre I was in awe of how family friendly it is and how much Zara enjoyed it. You can read about my experience here. Adults are $6.00, children 2 to 12 are $3.00, and under 2 are free. With Family day around the corner, they have hands on exhibits to explore including: make a mess at the residue ramp and digging for artifacts in the archaeology bin. Did I mention it’s FREE?

What are your favorite places to go in Vancouver in a rainy day, that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg?