Monday, 31 January 2011

Book 5 - Cheerful Weather for the Wedding

Book 5
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

Another super fast read. I think it took me an evening to finish. It's the story of a girl who is marrying a man she doesn't really love because the man she does really love is, frankly, useless and doesn't tell her he loves her until too.late. Oh noes.

Nothing really happens during the entire novel, but it is beautifully writeen.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Book 4 - A Partisan's Daughter

Book 4
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

Another terrible photograph; what is it with me and photos? I think not using the itoy would be a start.

Anyway, this was another very fast read; not particularly enjoyable as it was difficult to sympathise with either of the characters, especially the man. It's the story of an unappreciated man who feels that his life is slipping away, who meets an Eastern European girl, who has left Tito's Yugoslavia. She tells him stories of her life and they fall in love. It has a sad ending, which is probably more realistic, although it is a shame, and you are never entirely sure whether she's been telling the truth.

After the storm

Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

We had a bad Monday last week. My dad came in the morning - he arrived at Heathrow on the 5am flight from Hong Kong, and always comes to us afterwards, which is lovely but wakes me up at 6 every time. I try to make bread for him and we leave coffee and honey out so he can look after himself until we come down. Lucy adores him, which is great, but it means that she is then unable to settle when he goes and wants him back, or wants to go to Ninny and Owl's house, and is generally in a bad, bad mood. So when I announced that we were going to Tippietoes, she went nuts, and ended up hitting me across the face.

After a lot of tears and cuddles, we became friends again, and she did some painting with me. I could bang on about how creative she is and how wonderful it is that she chooses her own colours (demands) and mixes them to create new ones (brown) and how artistic she is (paint everywhere); I will say though that she tidies up after herself, a skill her mother has yet to master. She only got a bit of paint on the floor, and that upset her, so she cleaned it up by herself.

I am far prouder of that than of the paintings.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Out of batteries

I am shattered. *Someone* woke up at 4:30 last night/this morning and shouted "Get up now mummy" until I went to her, and we had a big cuddle on her beanbag with the blanket I made covering both of us. So now I am exhausted. I could've sent Simon, but I was awake anyway having just fed the HatBat, so I went. What a brave little soldier. I've been running on empty all day, and keeping awake using hot chocolate and diet coke.

Sophie and her family came to visit at the weekend, which was lovely. Her little boy, while almost a whole year younger than Lulu, will be in the same school year as her, so Lucy spent a great deal of time bossing him around, while he raced around after her, both of them leaving a trail of destruction. Again, exhausting. Harriet was horribly, horribly sick after they left, probably just bouncing out a whole milk feed, but I was quite worried for a bit. Then in other illness news, Lucy's had conjunctivitis and a hacking cough, and is now on amoxycillin and eye drops. It's like bathing a cat. But less fun.

Apart from that, things are going well, lots of visitors, lots of chocolate cake and lots of cuddles.

Another bird baby gro

Another bird baby gro
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

What a terrible picture. I made this for the soon to be born little girl of a friend of my brother. I hope he likes it; I'm sure the baby will be indifferent. Tim can pretend that he made it if he likes, although I'm not sure that'll wash.

Book 3 - French Leave by PG Wodehouse

Book 3
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

Not a classic Wodehouse, but still very funny, and a light and easy read.

I honestly can't think of anything else to say about it.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Gerald and Elizabeth - Book 2

Book 2
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

This is a "don't judge a book by its cover" moment. Simon calls this one of my "sex books" and it looks like the slushiest form of romantic fiction, but is actually a rather sweet little period piece by D.E. Stevenson. It was a complete contrast to the previous book and had a satisfactorily happy ending.

I enjoyed it, but I can tell why she went out of fashion, and why her stuff isn't being reprinted. Shame though.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Raisin bread and other things

Raisin bread
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

So. I made another loaf of bread, this time one I hadn't made before. It's really very good, and I've managed to eat at least half of it, all by myself. Lucy doesn't really like it, and Simon has been away, so it has been mine, all mine. Yum.

This week, we've been quite busy. I took Lucy to Tippietoes on Monday - the first time since we came back from South Africa, back in May. She was, as usual, exceptionally negative about going (NO MUMMA NO), but had a marvellous time, and really didn't want to leave. Silly girl. Harriet slept peacefully through it, and also through the cafe where we had lunch. I won't be bothering doing that again - one bite from each chip and half a sausage. We'll have lunch back at home next time. I also took her on a magical bus ride around Ealing, which was great fun for her. I didn't enjoy it as much of course, as Lucy insists on being able to do everything by herself and I was so worried about her falling face forward and smashing herself up. She wouldn't consent to be on my lap, or in the buggy, so I had to sit next to her, which occasionally meant leaving Harriet so I could go to the back of the bus.

The rest of this week has been fairly uneventful; lots of lie ins, cooking and general pottering about. I'm making a bacon and flageolet bean soup using the ham stock and a beef and mushroom casserole, both of which required intense preparation, then a large amount of time sitting in the oven or on the hob.

Karen is coming to visit tomorrow, I am looking forward to seeing her and her daughter Emma. Hopefully, we will have a fun day without any shattering tantrums, but we can only wait and see.

Book Review

Book 1
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

I've decided to review, or at least log, every book I'm reading this year.

I love John Irving, although he is very cruel to his poor characters. This book is so terribly sad, but he manages to be funny about grief and the grieving process, something that takes real skill. Making Daniel, the main character, a writer has allowed him to explore the way he writes, which was a little self indulgent, but when you are as good and as popular as JI, you should be allowed to write in the way that you choose.

It's not an easy read, but it's very enjoyable.

An Owl Baby Gro

Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

Part 1 of my current owl obsession, this is for a friend's daughter. He lives in Japan, his wife is Japanese, and this is my intepretation of a Japanese Lucky Owl. I think it's really sweet, and will be making one for Harriet and Lucy soon.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

An Exhibition of Challenging Behaviour

Our elder daughter is being somewhat of a ratbag at the moment. She has been suffering on and off for a few weeks with a cold, and on Friday, she was really not well at all, and all she wanted to do was go to bed, where she slept for close to 15 hours. She was also sick, poor little thing, and had a scarily high temperature. Since then, she has been a lot better, but isn't 100%. Even though she seems fine, she's extremely emotionally fragile and is providing us with all sorts of trouble. Today she refused any form of supper, flung yoghurt around and, when I'd finished speaking to her great grandmother, took the phone and threw it at the wall. Fortunately it didn't break, and the plastic casing hasn't cracked, and that was the final straw for today. She's gone to bed now, and seems to be feeling a bit better. I know she's not well though as she is going to bed without any form of a fight.

We went to a Farmers' Market in Palmer's Green today, as a bit of a change. It was quite small, but looks like it has some interesting things. It's been revitalised by the wife of a friend of Simon's, which is why we went. It's a bit of a long way to go every week, but every now and then, it'll be fun to go and see Hannah and Clwyd and their son. I covert their house and garden though, so I don't want to go too often, as I end up horribly, horribly jealous. The only thing I don't love about it is that it is in Palmer's Green, which is very much up and coming.

Harriet is growing very well, and is now over 10 pounds, and gorgeous. I'm very relieved that she slept for ages last night - about 6 hours. Hurrah. Unfortunately, I didn't as she is a very noisy sleeper, and I was also checking that she was still breathing. It's a start though, so I hope that it will become more regular, and eventually we will all start sleeping through the night.

I have some finished objects to show off, but I haven't photographed them yet, so imagine a grey Owls jumper and a teeny baby gro with a lucky Japanese owl on it. I think I'm owl-obsessed at the moment.

Monday, 3 January 2011


Oh gosh, I'm tired. I can barely see and things are waltzing in and out of focus. I think it's something to do with my contact lenses as well as having had a really bad night last night, where Harriet was awake from 4 onwards, as was Lucy, who chatted away to herself for a good hour or so. I threw in the towel at 8 and got up (Bank Holiday lie in cancelled) and let Simon sleep, and we went downstairs to play. Lucy fortunately went back to sleep but the little one was wide awake and alert, and enjoyed watching me cook a chickpea soup and stumble around feeling bleary and blah. She went back to sleep at around 10, when her father and sister surfaced, and I've been sleep-walking for the rest of the day.

We went to Kew for lunch and to see the bulb paintings exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, which was beautiful. We got told off by a staff member - apparently we were disturbing her nap - there was no one else in the gallery. We had fun at Kew, although Lucy wanted to walk/dawdle around, and Simon finds that very trying - he likes to "get there", whereas I'm happy just to drift around, so she spent a lot of time either on his shoulders or in the buggy, and grumpy about both of these. Harriet slept peacefully throughout the whole trip, and didn't wake up when I wanted to feed her, so I ended up feeding her in the car park of Osterley Tesco. Comfortable.

In other news, the Owls jumper is on the verge of being finished - just 8 more rows of owls to do, and then it's decreases and the neckband. I'm really pleased with it. Snapdragon mitten flip tops next and then some fishy ones that I've been keen to make for ages and ages, and have finally decided are not too hard. I've bought the yarn and everything, and am just waiting for it to arrive. Hopefully I will have a whole range of finished items to show off before the end of the month - Lucy's blanket needs one more square and then it can be sewn up. Finally!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year

First bread of 2011
Originally uploaded by JuliaCroyden

It's good to be home. I've blown the dust off the bread maker - one of my New Year resolutions is to make more bread and use the expensive toy we were given two years ago. Since Lucy started eating bread, we've been buying rubbishy ready sliced because she prefers it. We've been eating it too, and I don't really like it, although some is quite good - the Hovis granary is very good toasted in a fried egg sandwich.

I've made some other resolutions - to read all my unread books by the end of the year, to use a whole lot of stash up (this was a resolution last year, and has been a resounding failure, but I'm hoping that now I have my craft room with all my boxes on display I'll be able to have better access to it) and to maintain my current weight loss, and add a further 10 pounds to it. Ideally I'd like to be under 10 stone by this time next year, but we'll see. It's not something I'm going to obsess over at the moment, when eating is far more important than dieting.

We had Jamie and Jim for New Year's Day. The less said about that that the better. I will write about it when I've calmed down a bit.

Lucy decided that she didn't need a nappy yesterday and wore her knickers instead. After two accidents, we decided that she could wear knickers and a nappy, so honour is satisfied all round. We knew it would happen soon, as she is adamant that she is not a baby and needs to be treated differently from Harriet, but we were hoping that it would be accompanied by a desire to sit on the potty as well. Oh well, it's a step in the right direction.