Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Christmas Tree Gang

So there's this little girl...



who after several parties, eats too much of the sweet stuff and is sick in the night. Perhaps it wasn't just the sweet stuff, maybe she picked up a bug along the way.

Anyhoo, I go off to London for a full day's work (that's the 6.44am train BTW) and Recaro wakes up with Ellie at the leisurely time of 7.20am (unheard of in these parts). He discovers she's been sick and realises that she's sufficiently out of sorts to go to the childminder.

He's at home, she's at home. He washes the sicky bedsheets. He cleans up her wee - she's lost all sense of focus for potty-time. He cleans up her poo. Poor dab, he's never had to do that before.

He DOES find time to complain to me on the phone. I utter the sweet words of reassurance that he's in charge and must decide what to do.

They nestle down in the big bed and watch Cbeebies (baby TV - no adverts, lots of crafty stuff and signing). She whispers to him (who is hungover and didn't really mind being in bed) 'I love you, heart'.

'I love you' he says. And realises what a great day it's been.

To date, Peaches has NOT declared her love for her mummy. Hmmph. My time WILL come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

A little bit of giving and receiving this Advent

Christmas just came early. I have three parcels waiting at the post office to collect - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that one of them is my calendar from Sue.

There was also a parcel left at our front door today while I was at work. It's not for me of course. It's for Ellie, it's huge and its from Marks & Spencer so I'm optimistic about it being something nice. How sweet that someone's got it delivered direct to the small girl. I'll open it up when Richard gets home - in the hope that it might be gift wrapped inside but at least with a note to say who it's from.

But that's not the only bit of happiness during Advent. No siree. Reluctant has given me an award. Thank you - it's made me very happy.


I love it when the award comes with some clear criteria - and this one sums up the type of blogger I always wanted to be:
These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.
I am very pleased to pass this award on to eight of my favourite regular reads - although I must confess that I don't comment as much as I'd like to:

Imbeingheldhostage at In the gutter
Madame Queen
Nicole at Classy and sophisticated
Casdok at Mother of Shrek
Saz at Fat Frumpy & Fifty
Gigi at Afterthoughts Be sure to try her recipes. She makes a mean texan sheet cake.
Laski Gal at From the cheap seats - I still feel a pang of envy from the day she quit work...
Mellipop at BabyBlog - I've just realised I'm on her blog roll. Cool.

If you've not read any of these before, take a look. I'm sure you'll find something you like.

She's not grumpy, she's my baby

It's okay, Peaches didn't get sent to jail.


Peaches was having a sleep in the car. After an hour, I thought enough's enough - we are going shopping. Only thing is, she wanted more than an hour's sleep.

She slept her whole way round the supermarket and I stashed the week's shopping around her. She even slept through me pulling the reusable shopping bags out from underneath her when we we got to the checkout.

I thought she was sweet for sleeping, but more than a few old ladies thought I was bonkers for not letting her sleep somewhere more comfortable. What would you have done?
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slow blogging

Apparently it's the latest thing. I have no apologies though - I'm working (the paid kind) like stink and have little time left for the fun things in life.

Consequently, I'm spending the spare time I have being a lovely mum and trying to be a better wife. I don't think I'll be able to sustain the hard work ethic for too much longer. Apart from anything - it sucks. I'd prefer to be hanging out with you guys.

I like to think that if you are reading this extremely slow blog, it's for news of Peaches. She is, after all adorable. I'd like to confirm that she is going from strength to strength. This week, she tells me that she likes shopping, party shoes and biscuits. She's mastered jigsaw puzzles and is very clear about boys and girls. She insisted on telling me that John Travolta was a boy in Hairspray - though I appreciate that's hardly difficult...

Fortunately, I like New Year resolutions. Regular blogging is top of the list. Take care, y'all.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Anyone else tried emotional blackmail on a two year old?

It's as well that good things happened this week. After dropping my purse by the ticket machines at Bond Street tube station - a shopping assistant from Russel & Bromley found it and phoned me to arrange for me to collect it from her.

The purse didn't have any credit cards or cash in it - but it did have a load of other personal and useful stuff in there. It was also a purse that I bought on honeymoon, so it was special.

The funny thing was that at the time I wasn't too bothered about losing it - I had a feeling I'd get it back. It's probably because I'm so busy at work that I didn't have space in my head to get wound up over my carelessness.

By the way, I bought her a box of chocolates for her trouble. It saves a lot of hassle when you get a purse returned.

But here's the reason why I have to remember the good stuff - Peaches is finding it hard to go to sleep and I'm found that incredibly hard to deal with. Recaro is out with friends this evening and I was putting Peaches to bed without any back up. I really didn't want to give in and let her run around until she was exhausted.

I realise now that I'm only talking about taking 1 hour and 10 minutes past her bedtime for her to finally fall asleep. The thing is, I felt so put upon and bossed around by her, that I ended up in tears.

Of course, this is after she's screamed for a while too, but she sounded so cross that I thought she'd be sick. Oh - and I had to take a call from my mother in law mid way through. There was no way I wanted to admit to her what I felt like, all I could say was that Peaches was going through a phase of having trouble settling.

There's so much that's bad about this. I was really struggling with keeping myself in the position of being the parent. I even had to walk out of the room so that I wouldn't start stamping my own feet in a tantrum in front of her.

In the end, I'd run out of all my tried and tested options and wanted to cry and make Peaches feel bad. I wanted to manipulate her into wanting to make me feel better by going to sleep. I'm totally ashamed to say that this worked. I sat on the floor with my head bowed looking really sad and she gave me a cuddle and agreed to get tucked up in bed again. I then read her the same story six times in a quiet dull constant monotone until she slept.

Usually I don't mind reading her story books, but I was having to read them so many times I thought I'd go insane - fortunately my frustrated monotone sent her off to sleep in the end. I feel so mean - she's always gone to bed so happy. I feel that I've let her down by losing control and exploiting her sweet - though wakeful - nature.

Friday, November 21, 2008

These boots are made for walking

I've been knitting. So far I've made two presents. As an experiment in following a pattern, I also attempted to make a third present of baby booties. Peaches discovered the pre-felted booties and decided they made excellent slippers. I'm going to have to put a sole on these so that she doesn't fall over.

I've since put them in the machine and they've fulled, but not fully felted. I just put them in our regular 30 degree wash, so this is what I expected. After all, I've ruined enough jumpers to know that water doesn't have to be 80 degrees to wreck a jumper.

Aren't they cute? Lindiloo is holding a Christmas knitting event this weekend at Tardis House, 122 Island Wall, Whitstable, 11am to 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. I have a sneaky feeling I'll be buying some stone coloured aran to make gift booties.

The pattern is from Essential Baby by Debbie Bliss.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The sleeping game

How comes Peaches never plays the sleeping game with me? She's taken Recaro by the hand several times now, led him to be and told him to sleep. As he snuggles under the covers, she pads his eyes closed and says, 'Sleep now'.

Okay, so she dashes in and out of the room, jiggling the door handle in a very scary fashion. But there he is - tucked up in bed, having a cosy lie down.

What I get, is Peaches dragging the duvet off me at 6.30am and commanding that I 'Get up now'.

Mind you, the latest sleep games have involved Recaro being put to sleep under a tea towel. This afternoon, his comfort shrank to the size of duster. Yeah. See how you like that.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Feeling frothy yet?

Unlike any previous year, we have a plan for Christmas;
  • write a list of friends and relatives who will be getting a present this year.
  • go to one shop, browse, choose and buy as many presents as possible in one go.
  • complete the list with target presents from other shops over the next month.
  • buy Christmas cards (we are so not crafty in this house)
  • Recaro to write all post cards for mailing during the first week of December (I have terrible handwriting).
  • post overseas presents by end of November.
The idea is, that by effective planning, we shall remove a lot of the stress from Christmas. It helps that we have already nailed a number of critical relative questions. My mum is going to visit friends in Spain - so zilch levels of expectation there, her sights are set on seeing Peaches beforehand. Since we've fixed the date there's not much more to do.

On Boxing Day we'll have a lot of Recaro's relatives over for cold meats, mashed potatoes, pickles and mince pies. The tastiest, most enjoyable meal of the festive season I think. Christmas Day itself can be fraught with expectation - for us it will just be Recaro, Peaches and me. This can only mean fun, lolling about on sofas, eating chocolate and doing only what we want to.

At some point during all this - I'll see my Dad. He's no trouble - any time will be a good time.

All that remains is to put the plan in action. Incredibly, we got started last week. We took Peaches up to Heals on Tottenham Court Road, London to help us select presents from the toy department. After breaking a glass bauble on a Christmas tree, we thought it wouldn't be a good idea to let her roam the china and glass departments... (what responsible parents we are).

The toy department allows access into the window display of gorgeous, expensive furniture...

Once Peaches had picked herself out a monkey, she was extremely happy to try out this £1,801 chair. Gulp. Fortunately Peaches didn't wet herself with excitement. Don't let the price of this chair give you any ideas about us being anything other than squeaky tight at present giving.

I include this photo just to give you all the heebie-jeebies about toddlers and white sofas.

Also, if you've not been to London, this photo gives a tantalising peek on to rainy days and black cabs... I get to see this every week and I still find it exciting.

It's been so long since I've taken you Christmas shopping, I thought I'd give you an early Christmas present. THIS is the red dress I think we should all be wearing on the day. Alexander McQueen has the corner window at Selfridges, which means I can show you the front of this pretty, frothy parteeee dress....



and also show you the back of it.Handily for a dancing dress, it comes with it's own cushiony-bustle for when you just HAVE to sit down. Yet another gift that keeps on giving.

Friday, November 7, 2008

No smoke in my eyes

This is boldest attempt at wearing LOTS of make up for Halloween.

I really thought I'd put lots on as I was aiming at a really heavy, witchy look while avoiding looking like a panda.

At least I didn't look like a panda. But how comes I left home thinking I had loads of intense Mac black eyeshadow and loads of mascara on - and the moment I take a self photo at the party, it becomes apparent that I might as well have done this for regular day in the office.

Having seen everyone else's halloween posts, I'm quite embarrassed about this. Maybe I just need a make-up lesson. Anyone got any tips for creating powerful smokey eyes?

The rest of my WILD outfit involved wearing a black dress and hooped black and white tights.

Other people had a far more successful time at making an impact - don't they look great?





PSF something I did because it was fun for me


One of the reasons I've not been blogging regularly is that I've been going out to have fun. I took a day off work recently to go and play golf with Recaro and some friends.

Peaches didn't get to take the day off. She had to go and work hard on the play dough, the glitter and the dancing about with ribbons in her hands. It was tough day for her, but she pulled through just fine.

Meanwhile, I played a round in 118. Bearing in mind my target was to play under 120, I was very happy, even if everyone else did beat me.

The sun shone and the links course at Littlestone was fantastic.

I did feel mean for having fun with Peaches. But on the other hand, I did feel a great sense of release afterwards. It was so good to have concentrate and focus on something else without wondering whether Peaches was going to pour water on the floor, run into the road or fall down some stairs.

Recaro had originally wanted to do this on a Friday - a day when we DON'T have childcare lined up. He felt a bit pushed around when I said that wasn't a great idea. We'd have to make alternative plans and I'd only worry that it wasn't working out as well as with the childminder.

So I learnt two lessons from this experience:
  • Taking time off now and then to do something grown up and fun is good for my head
  • Mother knows best about childcare plans or in other words, I'm always right and that's the truth.
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tagged

I've been tagged by Working mum on the verge and because I have a shoddy record for responding to tags and to blogging in general, I thought I should deal as soon as possible.

(A) Four places I go over and over: Tea & Times for breakfast! cake! coffee! banana milkshake! Sainsbury's - every weekend is a challenge to not go to a supermarket. The Fountain - either because I'm looking for Recaro (think of it as Moe's Bar...) or it's the only place we can think to go for a treat. The fabulous childminder's - drop off and collect Peaches. I love the little chats at the start and end of the day about what Peaches has done, learnt or is about to do next.

(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: You are talking to someone who uses a Blackberry for work. My regular emails are from the Information Manager who tells me what work is coming up. Then there's the Marketing Co-ordinator who always finds tricky little questions about grammar, syntax and spelling for me to give the 'definitive' answer. Yes - between us, we are writing the book on correct use of business English. The partner who's very important and is always asking me to just do something else. Finally - last but not least - there's my mother. She has a weird knack for emailing me really bizarre emails with lots and lots of people's names in the 'To' list. I have to confess, I don't always open them - it involves too much scrolling through all the forwarded e-mails. But at least I know how my email address gets into junk mail lists...

(C) Four of my favourite places to eat: The Sportsman, The Goods Shed, Jo Jo's and Tea & Times. If ever you visit Canterbury, Whitstable or anywhere in Kent - you MUST go to all these places.

(D) Four places you'd rather be: The Dingle peninsula in Ireland - it has one of the most fun and beautiful golf courses at Castlegregory and lots of fun pubs. Aeolian Islands in Sicily, Italy - completely romantic, pretty destination. California - never been there... but keep thinking about it. Samling Hotel in the Lake District - it's the most justifiably expensive, comfortable place I've ever stayed.

(E) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Doctor Who, Buffy, Boston Legal,

(F) Four people I think will respond: Aaaaargh. Tagging! Here goes, Amanda, Gigi, Madame Queen and Imbeingheldhostage. Just like Working Mum, I'm not going to mail people - let's just see if they call in.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tagged for a cut and dry

Amanda tagged me - and given my recent lax attitude to tagging I'm going to deal with this one straight away.

1.) Go to your Pictures folder on your computer
2.) Go to your 4th folder
3.) Get your 4th picture
4.) Tag four people

This photo was taken by my sister in law. Our nephew was cutting my hair in the garden. He also cut my sister in law's and a niece's hair. He EVEN cut Tudor's hair (my Bob Dylan-loving, brother in law). We were very surprised about that.

The photo was taken in 2003. I must have been feeling especially skinny - I can't wear those shorts anymore, but I won't throw them away - just in case...

And as for tagging four people - I'm really not good at doing this. How about the first four people to comment should consider themselves tagged? Pretty please.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A smorgasbord of a post

I've just waved goodbye to my mother-in-law. Recaro cooked up a Sunday lunch of ... lasagne. Not especially traditional as far as Sunday lunches go but very tasty.

Best of all, she waited until we'd finished lunch before telling us about a programme she saw on telly where the holy men of India hung very heavy weights off their penises. If you are just about to eat or letting a small child read this blog over your shoulder - I apologise. I just wanted to share the joy...

Quite what Peaches will one day make of her granny - well, I have no idea. But at least she'll know which supermarket chain is offering the best deals on gin, vodka and sherry. In case this is of interest to you - the best deals are on offer in Tesco this week, but Rosemount Shiraz is best value at Aldi.

See what happens when you give pensioners free bus passes. They price check EVERYTHING.

Now that she's on the train home (88 years old and we still drop her off at the station - this would make us sound mean except that I think she likes seeing how terribly badly teenagers can behave in public and there are few better places to do this than on Network South East) and (yes this sentence is going to be a biggy) Recaro and Peaches are both having a siesta, I can blog.

I need to catch up because I've been given three awards. Two of them happened to be this one....

It's from the Reluctant Housewife and Adrian. It's lovely to hear that Reluctant loves my blog because she is one of my oldest and fondest blog-friend. I KNOW there are others who also think she's one of THEIR oldest and fondest blog-friend - but hey, I just went and said it first.

Adrian is a newer buddy. She (yes, she's definitely a she even if she's not Adrienne) thinks I post photos of unidentifiable food.

I quote: "She posts some really yummy looking dishes, but I'm not always sure exactly what they are."

Hmph. Has she been talking to Recaro? Hasn't she seen my astonishing icing skillz? I think I should be told.
I'm kidding, Adrian. Thank you so much - and sorry it's taken me more than a month to respond.

In the darkest recesses of my memory, there's another very lovely person out there who gave me a third. But I was being busy and pretending to be oh so cool about it. Now I've forgotten who it was, when it was, what it was for.

I'm eaten up with shame at being so ungrateful. I've searched through my google mail account and when I find it I'm going to shout about it.

Now, please excuse me while I go and wake Peaches up from a short afternoon nap. She might be exhausted from Granny's visit but this weekend the clocks went back an hour* and I'm keeping the little girl's routine on track.

*The UK still changes the clocks in winter and spring so that farmers get the benefit of lighter mornings - even if it means that children have to walk home from school in the dark. Unfortunately, I won't be able to handle any questions about this - I'm very likely to become incoherent in expressing my desire not to have Peaches wake up at 5am and ready to play.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What's the capital of Iceland?

**** all.

I couldn't help myself. I love that joke. Even if I can't bring myself to swear on line.

This post travels back in time to February 2006. I was two months pregnant and on holiday in Iceland with Recaro. We had a great time staying in a funky Reykavik hotel and then driving north to Hotel Budir.

We took a 4X4 on to a glacier and had fun driving in deep snow.

I had mild morning sickness during this holiday which meant I couldn't finish any of my meals. Recaro came home as big as a house. On the plus side, it also meant that I didn't experience the expense of drinking alcohol in Iceland. Even then, those boys knew how to charge. I was on the wagon and keeping things a little cheaper.

Neither of us had realised that Iceland is a major stopping off point for Americans and Canadians on their flights to the UK. It made the place feel weirdly international - a mixture of European attitude in a western frontier town. Put it this way, there's a lot of corrugated iron roofing in Iceland.

There were a number of things that endeared Iceland to me. Iceland Air was a pleasure to fly. Their cabin staff weren't just about safety and security. They also managed good hospitality and professionalism.

The queue to get on the bus from the airport to Reykavik seemed a bit random as everyone tried to get out of the freezing wind as quickly as possible. But once we were 'decanted' at the city's bus terminal onto smaller minibuses, we realised they were taking everyone to their door. It was an incredibly personal service even though it was publicly funded.

But best of all, the hire car service brought our hire car to the door of our city centre hotel. We didn't have to battle maps and bureaucracy - instead it was all just as you wanted it to be... easy.

All the volcanic, geothermal and glacial stuff was brilliant of course. But then, I like my O' level geography holidays...

I'd like to go back. After all, they haven't lost any of my savings. (savings, schmavings).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Recaro stole the laptop

I was having a lovely SAHM day. Fun with friends, laughing Peaches, Recaro home early. I was so chilled I said to Recaro that I didn't mind at all that he wanted to go to the pub. And I didn't, honestly.

Until I put Peaches to bed... sobbing as soon as her door was shut dammit but quiet now...ish.

THEN I discovered that my no-good, pub-going husband had taken the laptop to the pub with him. They've recently been given passwords to the broadband wireless network in the house next door to the pub which means the guys sit at the bar doing facebook and other geeky stuff.

He didn't mention that he had the laptop with him when he phoned a moment ago to tell me there had been a massive fight at the pub.

[suddenly my blogging seems so much more sophisticated. At least I'm paying for my own broadband]

He wasn't involved in the fight. It was between a stunt bike rider and a couple of local chavs (that's a charmless hoodlum to anyone not up to date with UK slang). Oddly, I have in fact played a game of golf with this local chav. This goes to show what an mixed up social life I have. I understand that most of the pub (apart from Recaro - he's a lover, not a fighter) set on the chavs and sent them packing.

Small town life in the UK. It's red in tooth and claw.

Now my main concern is that the chavs will return to the pub, put a brick through the window and damage our lovely apple laptop, but I'm sure everything will be fine.

However, to make up for Recaro's misdemeanours I'm going to share a photo of his latest purchase - one that has made him EXCESSIVELY happy. Wait for it...

That's right. A Star Trek Enterprise bottle opener. It's in small ways like this that Recaro is helping the UK to spend its way out of recession.

I am so not the geek in the house.

Grosgrain: Marie-Thérèse Gown GIVEAWAY!!!!

Grosgrain: Marie-Thérèse Gown GIVEAWAY!!!!

How could I NOT try to win this? It's incredible. I imagine 99% of little girls would love this dress.

The jelly soundtrack

I didn't take this photo. This was taken by Peache's glorious childminder. They were playing with green jelly. I hope you can imagine hearing her say 'ooooh, fingers'.

After a week of knowing Peaches' has been having a lot of fun at playgroups and with her 'minded-family', today is my day for being a SAHM. So obviously it's raining.

We've just walked home from a coffee shop breakfast with Recaro. He's gone off to work now and Peaches and I are home after having walked along the beach in a fine, hazy mist of rain. It would have been a miserable walk... but I think it's wrong to complain about any walk on a beach, don't you?
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting by blogging groove back

I've discovered that when work gets interesting, I don't find much time to blog during the day. Lots of fun stuff has been going on. We've been seeing friends, going to parties, playing golf, fulfilling the family duties, working, cooking and shopping. All the usual stuff. We've even booked our weekend away for Valentine's weekend. How nice is that?

I've also been keeping Peaches to her routine.

Which is why she's sobbing herself to sleep right now. It's difficult to find the right combination of toys for her to take to bed. It would be simpler if she only wanted everything.

My tactic is to be a hard nosed mother. After stories, a trip to the bathroom and prayers, I gave her a duck, a dolly and a teddy. I think that sums up enough of a post milk, bathtime and toothbrushing routine for anyone.

All has gone quiet now. It only took five minutes. Things could all go horribly wrong if Recaro walks through the door before she's asleep though...

I guess that's the new routine - getting through it all in a relaxed way, yet making sure she's asleep before Daddy brings his fun-germs back into the house.

In case you are wondering about all my planned posts and photos - well they are going to happen. I have to gather my strength to deal with the blogger download. Right now I just want to get something posted. It's been tooooo long and I've missed you guys.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bah! Blame it on the blogger.

Blogger won't let me upload photos. It's so frustrating. So far, you've missed out on the frabjous news of a couple of awards, my wedding anniversary and a weekend of sunshine and two (count'em TWO) rounds of golf while Recaro looked after Peaches.

So much news to share.

Work is going bonkers and I have no spare work time for blogging.

It gets worse. On the last few occasions of travelling to the London office, I've had to rush for meetings - so you've also MISSED OUT on the latest shop windows on Bond Street. The handbags are looking very fine, by the way. And Diane Von Furstenburg (I'd check the spelling if I wasn't rushing to finish this post) is looking very sassy and slinky.

No change at Matthew Williamson though. He's still cluttering his window up with too many mannequins, too many layers and too many posh totty/student ideas.

Surprisingly, Dolce & Gabbana is having a grown up sophisticated month. Quite a relief after all that tartan. But let's not kid ourselves, without the photos windowshopping is not nearly so much fun.

Oh, didn't I mention that? Blogger won't let me upload photos. Not even the cheesy ones of Recaro and me on our wedding day. Sorry guys. Just wait till I get this problem fixed. It's going to be photostory mondaytuesdaywednesdaythursday AND friday.

Friday, October 3, 2008

This is one strangely happy blog

Last weekend we kept the happy vibes going by enjoying the last sunshine of September.

We went for breakfast at Minnis Bay - possibly the nearest sandy beach to Whitstable. There's a cafe on the beach selling breakfast baguettes. But we had to be quick. A small girl was eager to play in the sand.


She played and played and played. (If you look closely you'll see her toes are still pudgy-baby toes.)

Recaro and I played frisbee. It was great to get moving and leap about.

Peaches fell asleep on the way home. Later that afternoon, I took Peaches to the golf club to meet up with Recaro. She practiced her putting and this time she didn't wee on the putting green. But she did insist that that was were she was going to eat her fromage frais. We are so lucky that it's a quiet club. This could cause a ruckus in some places.

However, in breaking news, my slightly slack parenting was met with some success this afternoon. I let Peaches take her tacky pink dolly buggy to the supermarket. I was going to let her walk around the supermarket and would try to keep her engaged and out of trouble while I would attempt to do a 3 or 4 day shop (I knew a full week's shopping would be too ambitious).

And guess what - the constant 'voice of encouragement' or 'motherease' as some people put it, worked. She stayed close, looked where she was going (with some reminders) and 'helped' me by throwing items into the trolley. She did pick up one toy, I didn't tell her off - I expected to get rid of it at the checkout - but then she put it back herself.

We had to queue at the checkout and though she was distracted by the chocolate display, she did put everything back when I asked her. If I'd capitulated, we'd have come home with a kingsize bar of Cadbury's fruit and nut, a box of toffee poppets, kingsize white chocolate kitkat, milky way stars, polos and a yorkie bar.

By the time I was packing up the shopping, she decided to sit down and wait for me on one of those kerb high 'bumpers'.

The only time she really stalled was at the exit. For the first time ever, she showed interest in Barney, the purple dinosaur ride. In the spirit of being a very mean mum and not wanting to set a precedent, I talked her off it. She did deserve a treat... but I wasn't going to give her one.

Instead she had the joy of a happy (or do I mean triumphant? relieved? smug?) me. Now that can't be bad, can it?

Party like you are TWO

A couple of weeks ago Peaches turned two and I knitted (yes, ME, knitted) her a hat and scarf. Needless to say she's refusing to wear it. She's not even going to entertain that idea for a second.

Fortunately, teddy is more obliging and I think he looks very lovely. This was supposed to a be a round, simple baby hat with a stalk at the top. The occasional accidental row of knitting turned it into something more Taliban like... but at least I still managed the stalk.
I'm not very crafty, but at least this attempt does look like a hat (despite a few dropped stitches and a very random take on the instructions).

We started the day with opening cards in kitchen while Recaro made breakfast.
We love a party and invited our good friends and their own small children. There's plenty of time ahead for Peaches to dictate the invitation list. Until, we are loving having friends and their kids over to see us. It's great to be able to chat and not feel awkward about the mayhem going on under our feet.
This was the first time I'd seen Peaches stacking bricks. I was very impressed, but I've got a feeling she might have been doing this for sometime at her childminder's. And what about that dress - isn't that a perfect party dress? Recaro found it at Kent & Carey. He loves shopping for her.

And the wings - a present from Grandma. She didn't take them off all day, until she was given a second pair and had to try them out too.
Recaro also made the cake - it was a bit crispy at the edges because he ignored my advice about the our oven being hotter than average... but no-one minded, it was extremely good. It was a very traditional victoria sponge. We'd had a bit of a bake off and I made an adult pear and almond tart. I'm making that again this weekend it was so good.

We'd also invited an old school friend of mine and our cleaning lady to the party. They were proper guests - but still did all the washing up and cleaned the kitchen at the end. Which is why Recaro and I still look very relaxed at the end of the party.
That might also have had something to do with this.
At least we recycle. How environmentally-friendly.

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Crackers about the Daring Bakers


September's challenge was supposed to be posted on the 30 September. I was a bit busy though, so I missed the posting deadline. D'yuh think they'll forgive me?

Because, you see, I'm not sure they will. It was a bread challenge. Involving yeast.

Always problematic and rarely tasty.

I tried to keep things simple and follow the vegan vibe. With gluten free flour I didn't even get to rolling the dough. It looked worse than Peaches' playdoh.

So I tried again with regular flour. At least it rose.

I optimistically made some hummous from scratch to go with it. I even found some extra light tahini. My intention was that at least my hummous wouldn't be too dry.

Ho hum. Eating this was like chewing cardboard. With a side order of putty. Believe me, I'm being kind to myself here. My lack of enthusiasm shows in the fact that the only photo I took was with my Blackberry and not with a real camera.

If any of the baking gurus from Daring Bakers read this - please forgive me for being late posting and please let's have a mad old party cake in October. I'd prefer a ganache and butter cream challenge to fighting my yeast demons any time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It's enough to drive me to drink

Should you ever stop by the strangely lush family residence, be assured you'll be offered liquid refreshment.

Tea, coffee, decaffinated coffee, apple juice, elderflower cordial, milk (semi skimmed and full fat), red wine, white wine, vodka (tonic), gin (tonic) and beer.

Please note, however, that beer choices will be much reduced in future. Recaro conducted a highly scientific taste-test challenge to identify our future choice of beer.

In a darkened kitchen, we sipped a variety of beverages and decided that Stella is the way forward. Kronenburg didn't make the cut. We did not test Peroni, Sol or Corona, but I have a feeling more taste-tests will be conducted in the not-so-distant future.

The challenge Recaro and I have set ourselves for NOT drinking during the week gets correspondingly tougher as the week continues. It's only Wednesday, I have already failed in this mission. Another colleague has resigned from the team and I encouraged us all to go to the pub at lunchtime. There will also be work drinks this evening to celebrate some corporate changes at the firm.

I call it team bonding. Even if I was the only person in the pub on a permanent contract.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Scotland again: slack blogging

I think I need a holiday again.

My blogging time is getting very compressed. What with all sorts of changes at work, I'm very busy, so when I get home, I'm really loving chilling out with Peaches.

Her speech is coming on fast now. 60 words plus last week and rising to 80+ now. For the first time today she chased to the childminder's door shouting, 'Mummy, Mummy'. I think this means she's loving spending time with me too. Occasionally I graduate to 'Mymummy'. Recaro is invariably, 'Mydaddy'. Which he loves.

Although I can't have another holiday, I can at least enjoy the photos again.

Moments later, Peaches weed on this green. It might be easier to tell you which greens Peaches hasn't weed on...
While she was asleep, we had a tasty pub lunch and listened to some really annoying harp music. Even the dogs didn't like it.
There was a sequoia tree in the hotel garden with a very squishy trunk. I wanted to show the scale of the tree, but Peaches had other ideas.
And bedtimes were mostly very straightforward. Moomin books are lovely. Not too boring for an adult to read again and again and interesting, atmospheric pictures to look at.
Most days, we refreshed our memory of geography O' levels. Here's the finest picture of basket of eggs topography you'll see this year.

I'm going to have to rethink my blogging time if I'm to get back on track. Peaches bedtime is now going to bed at 8pm as a strategy to stop her waking before 6pm, so I can't blog before Recaro gets home. The new bedtime is a lot of fun... but the mornings are still too bright and early...

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Happy birthday Brother

Between holidays and preparations for Peaches' birthday party, things have been busy here. To add to any lurking sense of anxiety, my boss is no longer my boss. She's gone. Resigned and left the building. I blame it on a personality clash with senior management and feel bereft by her departure.

Not many people can be creative, energetic, compassionate, inspiring, demanding and on the ball whilst retaining a genuine and easy sense of humour.

Despite home/work life commitments, I still have no excuse for failing to recognise by brother's 40th birthday. He lives in Melbourne having emigrated about three years ago with his wife and twin sons.

I WILL eventually put the card and present (sitting on the shelf in the office downstairs) in the post to him. He might even like the present and I hope he'll forgive me for being a slack-sister. I have a pretty poor track record of birthdays. Recaro keeps track of them and has to remind me to send cards to my parents...

Since he's a sometime reader of this blog (my mum and dad aren't. Somethings can just stay between me and everyone else in the world. Alright.) I'm going to tell a story that I think he'll enjoy and may not have heard before.

In the midst of a discussion about how beautiful Peaches is, my Dad (my brother's Dad too, we're a bit dull like that) he agreed that parents are biologically programmed to see their first born children as gorgeous.

Quite what this meant about me as second child, I didn't choose to dwell on. It's at moments like that, that I realise there are some answers I don't want to risk hearing, particularly since it would have involved what an odd nose I had at birth and for nine days after. Pesky birth canal didn't treat me too kindly apparently.

As I joked to my Dad about some crazy people not complementing me on how lovely Peaches is, he told me that when my brother was a babe-in-arms he and Mum entered his photo into a local newspaper's Beautiful Baby competition.

It came as some surprise to them both a few week's later, that Bro had not been named as the winner.

Needless to say, they were astonished by this fact.

Just as I was about to chip in with my usual sisterly-jibes about how that really wasn't so surprising, I had blinding flash of understanding.

Dad still couldn't understand why Bro hadn't won. He HAD been the most beautiful baby in my Dad's eyes and time had never dulled his belief.

Happy birthday, Brother. So glad to see you had an excellent surprise party thrown in your honour.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Colonsay and Torridon: part 1

I'm behind on blogging. There's not enough time to comment like I want to. Recaro is away at a conference for two nights though, so I stand a good chance of catching up, watching some romcom movies and eating really badly.

It's a good job Peaches sleeps well. I could enjoy this.

As promised, here are photos from our holiday to the Island of Colonsay and Torridon in Scotland. I'll skip the photos of the aircraft. If it was a seaplane I'd consider it interesting, but an Airbus 3something doesn't do it for me like it does for Recaro (who takes a photo of the plane EVERY time we go on holiday).

Instead I give you the important photos.

...of Peaches sleeping in a big bed for the first time. We visited friends living near Inverness on our first night and Peaches had to sleep in their 16 year old daughter's bed. She was so tired that she only got out of bed three times before giving in and going to sleep. After a bounce about on the trampoline she put herself back to bed for a morning nap at 10.30am.

Of course, it wasn't all good news. She did wet the bed. Oops. Accidents will happen.

Then Peaches had a massive bump on the head in a shop at Aviemore. She wailed and the bump came up like an egg. Even after the first half an hour her astonishing baby powers of recovery were kicking in. By the time we were on the ferry, it was mostly hidden under her fringe. So long as I didn't take her magic packet of English mustard off her (see, that's not a condom she's holding, k) everything was rosy.

We got to play a bit of golf on a mad golf course. No sheep were harmed during our game. If you are wondering why Peaches doesn't have any trousers on, that's because she wet herself a moment ago. If you'd seen the amount of sheep poo on this course, you'd understand why I was not perturbed by this mishap. Despite a couple of accidents during the week, I still thought she did really well.
Recaro got plenty of time to look up at the birds. Which meant that I decided to take up a new hobby. Identifying mushrooms. Sad isn't it? I had to keep an eye on Peaches so much, I didn't get to look up at the sky too much. So I really did go and buy a book about mushrooms.

Oh yes. One day I will treat you to the delights of my mushroom photo collection. You'll thank me, won't you?
And here's ME. With my eyes shut, because that's usually how Recaro photographs me these days. This is at a picnic site on the road to Diabaig. Sunny Scotland. Don't let anyone tell you it rains all the time.

That's enough for the moment. I get photo-fatigue when uploading to Blogger. More soon, but I've got a romcom to watch and a sneaky beer to drink. Look on it as my bad-girl break from my wifey lifey.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Loony Tuesday - a strangely lush DIY tip

Recaro is concerned that I use him as punchline (or is it punchbag) on this blog. I'm not sure that's true. Hopefully you have identified his strengths as a considerate husband, a fun dad and a very great guy to spend time with.

He's mostly concerned these days that when I blog I don't talk to him. And then when I do talk to him, it's to explain that I've blogged about something daft that he's said or done.

To reinforce your view of him (and here's the clever bit, this is going to work whether you think he's a bit loony or brilliantly helpful) here's a handy tip that he did want to pass on to anyone who struggles with DIY. It's a little ditty to help you recall which way screwdrivers work and he assures me that this is very helpful when upside down and dealing with awkward screws and taps.

'Lefty Lucy, righty tighty'.

This could be handy with small children who haven't worked out when to stop unscrewing taps... though they would have to know their left from right. What do you think, is this a rhyme that would work for you?

It only remains to give you an update on the lost camera situation. My bonkers email to the good people of Daibaig for my (not lost after all) camera was very well received. Before I could send an email telling them the hunt was off, they'd been on the phone to tell me they'd had a good look around and couldn't spot it anywhere.

What mighty fine and friendly folk they are. In case anyone wants to check out their house and maybe even go stay, here's the link to Tigh Brachen at Diabaig.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Panic over!

Recaro found the camera. Do you see how I'm blaming him? Well it was in one of his bags which he had emptied so enthusiastically across the office that I thought he really had searched it thoroughly.

Isn't that always the way. Just as the cavalry arrives, the battles over.

Alex from Gairloch is a fabulous person for offering the telephone box number. I'll have to tuck that number away for future reference. You never know when it might come in handy.

To celebrate, here's a couple of photos I hadn't wanted to lose.

Such a pretty gal, in a pretty dress, wearing a bolero knitted for her by the talented Lindiloo.
All dressed up for high tea (sausages, beans and mash) at The Loch Torridon Hotel. Just an informal kiddie tea...

More glorious Scottish photos will follow soon.

I don't want to learn something new EVERY day

If I could just roll on through life knowing enough, I think that would be fine. For a start, it would mean not having to learn not to let Recaro use my camera. Then he wouldn't have lost somewhere in Diabaig, Wester Ross, Scotland, a very long way from home down south in Whitstable, Kent.

Some of those photos were so lovely - and were such great blogging fodder - that I think I'm going to worry over the loss for some time to come. Since I'm not shy (on email, at least), I've emailed a random holiday home owner in Diabaig to see if they can look in the phone box or on the harbour wall outside their house and spot the camera.

Do you think they will? I think I would if someone emailed me, but then again, my email might strike them as bonkers.

In the meantime, I have just six photos of the holiday taken with a different camera - a better one, but so big that it's inconvenient. It's just not 'snappy' enough. However, at least one of these is of Recaro wearing a silly hat, so you can look forward to seeing that on Photostory Friday one day VERY soon.

Ho hum. Better get on with that pesky thing called paid work, some of the mountainous post-holiday washing, shopping to fill our very bare cupboards and collecting the cat from the cattery.

Madame Queen asked a post or two ago if she could swop her life for mine - just for a week. Recaro's condition is that she can, so long as she is fit (since I am not fit, it 's a bit mean of him to insist on this qualification...). I'll be happy to swop too - but no, not for holiday week. I'm talking about the week AFTER holiday. That'd be good.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Last day of the holiday

We left Colonsay amidst all kinds of doubts about whether the ferry would make it in - and out - of the harbour. While we would have been happy to stay, a number of day trippers had been stranded by the bad weather and were wigging out at the unplanned stopover. Frankly, there are worse places to be stranded.

The ferry route had been rejigged to accommodate the various stranded travellers so our two hour trip back to Oban turned into a four hour epic journey.

Lucky for us the seas weren't too rocky and Peaches travels well. We got a two hour sleep out of her, but in the two hours she was awake... Basically, I lost count of the number of times she wanted to go to the toilet. First she's fascinated by the paper, then by the water, then by the flush, then by the soap, the water again and the dryer. Sit down for five minutes and she wants to go all over again.

I did slip into insanity several times during the journey. I couldn't have handled it if the ferry had been at all busy.

Now we are at The Torridon. It's grander than the Colonsay and quite a bit more formal. It's a common theme of our holidays - but, as ever, the food is great. Thought you'd like to be reassured on that point. My main food discovery of the holiday, by the way, is crowdie cheese. Mild soft cheese to have in place of feta or mozzarella in a salad and is also good in cheese cake.

I think if we come back, we might stay on the Applecross peninsula. The coastal road is lovely - better to be a passenger so that you can look at the scenery. The village is teeny tiny, very pretty, big beach, great pub and houses to fantasise about owning.

We go home tomorrow, so today is all about having as much fun as possible.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oh. We do like to be beside the seaside.

This post comes to you from the bar at the Colonsay Hotel. I've had a lovely meal of salad with crowdie cheese (mild soft cheese with salad leaves and roasted cherry tomatoes), chump of lamb and sticky toffee pudding (a proper homemade one, not a Brakes frozen pudding).

Peaches is asleep upstairs, exhausted by sandcastles and fresh air. Recaro is outside having a smoke - despite his insistence that he loves the sweet smelling clean air, he's determined to stink it up with one licorice flavoured Rizla roll-up. Stinky.

I could have written this post from the lounge or the library, but I chose the bar because I love sitting in pubs. The lights of the beer pumps. The banter of the people. The height of the bar stools. They are decadent, breezy places. All sorts of people, prepared to mix things up.

Over in the library, I know a few of the other residents are enjoying post-prandial coffees. They are busy adding an Agatha Christie air to the proceedings, by being slightly older and slightly bonkers. A couple alternate between giving Peaches very intense stares, and then chortling, 'Good morning, Peaches'. All credit to Peaches for giving some people a wide berth.

Children have an uncanny knack for spotting open hearts and genuine affection - who knows why we lose or mistrust this ability as adults. It would certainly come in handy when dealing with boyfriends...

Today, we played a little more golf, had a traditional British picnic (sat in the car, while it poured with rain outside) and then had a THREE hour siesta, all three of us.

Tomorrow, we are planning to play MORE golf, build MORE sandcastles, eat MORE gorgeous food, visit MORE standing stones and, in general, have MORE fun.

Who has MORE fun than us, in our Colonsay tree house?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Adventures and misadventures

I'm blogging from a beautiful Scottish garden at the Colonsay Hotel.

You'd love it here. The food is fabulous, the people friendly, the bed.... sooooo comfy.

We've played golf at the maddest, most sheep infested course - Peaches joining in, of course. It really is great. Even if Peaches does have a bump the size of half an egg on her head. We stopped to shop at Ellis Brigham in Avimore and she tripped and hit her head on the base of a sunglasses display unit.

Woompf. Up came a great big bump. We were terrified and took her straight off to a doctor. Fortunately in this out of season ski resort, they know a thing or two about bumps on the head. She's fine. And I'm very glad she has a fringe ( in the circumstances, a far better term than 'bangs').

At some point there'll be photos. In the meantime, check out Pigs Paradise at the Colonsay Hotel - and that's where we are right now.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

And yet...

There are so many things wrong with this photo. It's not straight, it's blurry, it's over-exposed, it's poorly composed, it was supposed to be a self portrait (at least some of my hair gets into the edge of the shot) and I only just held on to the camera.

And yet you know it's a happy moment, don't you?

Doesn't that make it a great photo?
PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek