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.