Monday, 28 January 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

We were at my parents' house this weekend, and Lucy and Hattie really enjoy playing with the trains that used to belong to my brother.  Hat decided where everything should go and Lucy helped her put the pieces together.  Peaceful playing together like this only lasts for a maximum of 5 minutes.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A meal for a cold night

I'm supposed to be at a WI meeting tonight, but it is on "Alternative Therapies" and I can't bring myself to mock the mental, so I'm staying in, cooking sausage casserole and watching the finale of Fringe.  The recipe is a Nigel Slater one, from Kitchen Diaries 1, and I love it, so simple and yet so effective.  It's a proper hearty meal - sausages, lentils, bacon, onion and tomatoes, all cooked together for about forty five minutes, then shovelled from the bowl straight into the mouth with a spoon. Wonderful, but you do need to brown the sausages, which I have done, but not for long enough, so they look a bit pallid and unpleasantly fleshy.

Lucy and Hattie are enjoying living on the top floor, although Lucy still asks me whether I can come and sleep with her in the new sky bed.  Hattie is demanding that I stay with her for a bit; I think her mouth hurts her and she's a bit worried by sleeping in a big girls' bed, and just doesn't have the language to express it.  It only takes her about 10 minutes to drop off and she is funny - grabbing my hand hard, and gradually letting go, only to turn onto her tummy, just on the verge of sleep, mutter "not yet" and then collapse into unconsciousness.  Happy times.

I don't want to talk about work.  Only that we closed early on Friday which was great, and I'm glad that we had the experience of sending the kids out into the snow for a couple of days.  It can bugger off now as far as I'm concerned, I've taken my handfull of pictures of "Nursery in the Snow".

It's so cold, even with the heating on, so I'm wearing my big jumper.  Thank goodness for lovely, lovely wool, even if the waist shaping and my waist are only near neighbours.

Saturday, 19 January 2013


Well, I was 100% wrong about the snow, and it is all over the place here in West Ealing; we even had to close the school early on Friday owing to the weather.  It was really a bit much, and I was glad to get back home; I hate driving in the snow, and the car skidded a couple of times, particularly when I was parking.  Terrifying, even at 5mph.

The girls had a good time, although, of course, it takes about 5 nanoseconds to go from "This is brilliant" to "We are too cold and we want to go inside".  This photo is from that happy period.

Harriet's coat is covered in paint; she loves to paint and draw and get messy, but scorns aprons.  She got a nice new coat for Christmas, which she is only allowed to wear on special occasions, and never, ever to Nursery.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013


So, was that the snow?  We woke up on Monday morning to a sprinkling of icing sugar over the cars and the green, and it looked magical and all that, and, as I pulled on my third layer of clothing, Simon confidently said that it would only last until lunchtime.  Roll on lunchtime, and it was snowing hard, so, of course,  I took the children out in the snow for a very short time - I wanted to balance experiencing snow with not getting too cold and wet.  Fortunately for me, the children weren't very keen on the whole "experiencing the snow" thing and we went inside pretty quickly.  We talked about snow, and whether it is hot or cold, and wet or dry, and we thought about making a snowman and throwing snowballs, but it sadly didn't settle.  In a way, I am quite glad, but it would have been quite nice to have had a snow day today.

Harriet, wonderful infant, is sleeping in at the moment.  She has settled into her new room like a bird in a nest, and yesterday slept until gone 10.  This morning, she came down the stairs in her too big Peppa Pig onesie, calling "me wake up now", clutching her dummy between her teeth for dear life - big girls might sleep in a bed, but they still need dummies.  I think she might be coming down with something though, she's coughing a lot and is very grumpy - her back teeth are coming through too, poor little poppet.

Lucy is also sleeping more - we have to wake her during the week, but of course, she wakes up at 7 at the weekend.  Obviously, parents of more active children may as well look away now; I know that my children are lazy, how could they be otherwise with us as parents?  She is enjoying Nursery very much and is starting to make friends, although I worry sometimes that she doesn't want to join in others' games, preferring to work on focused activities with an adult.  She's a bit too used to getting her own way and bossing Hat around, but this is why she is at Nursery, to learn how to play and that is what she is doing.  Her teacher assessed her reading, and while she can recognise and write some words, she is not technically reading yet, but is well on the way to doing so.  I'm pleased; she is so keen on books, she should be a reader soon.

Non knitters, both of you, look away now; I have reorganised the stash and it is now in a cupboard in our office, almost completely inaccessible, but it looks tidy enough.  One of the boards I'm a member of on Ravelry (bear with me) is challenging us to use your oldest stash, so I have dug some out and am thinking of making a slouchy hoody.  Interesting, no?

I'm trying to advertise the blog and the whole baby gro business, so if you know someone who needs a  baby gro or who might be interested in reading about my children, knitting and general complaining, boot them this way.

Sunday, 13 January 2013


A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.

A trip to Syon Park, in Isleworth, to buy new plants for our fish, and a bunch of stuff for the birds.  Apparently, there is light snow due in Ealing this weekend, although as it's nearly 9 o'clock and there's no sign of it. 

Also in the background, an artfully placed hand knit.

52 photos in a year - 1/52

I take a lot of photos.  Most of them on my phone, which go straight to Instagram and Facebook and rarely end up here.  Most of them are of my children, although sometimes I manage to take a picture of my crafting efforts - badly lit photos of half finished knitting are the way forward.

Reading around the internet today though, I found the following project on Chatiry World, Katherine's blog, and thought that it sounded like a great idea.  Of course, I'm a week behind, but I do have two lovely pictures of the girls from the first week of 2013.

"A portrait of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013".

Lucy, in her unflattering onesie, probably watching Tangled.  Again.

A double bonus here, a hand knitted rabbit with Hattie, gazing into to the future, or more likely at the TV.  

Monday, 7 January 2013

Lucy's Rainbow Cake

Reading Esther Walker's blog today, where she makes a rainbow cake for her daughter's birthday, reminded me of the cake I made Lucy for her third birthday, all that time ago.  It remains the most impressive cake I've ever made, if not the hardest.  It took forever - three times longer than a normal cake - and as I was on maternity leave with Hat, I had her to contend with, although Lyn and Laura helped entertain her.

Ah maternity leave.  Going back to work today was a bit of a shock, particularly being at Ealing Broadway for 8am when I normally am just about sociable by then - working in the afternoons has its benefits.  Being at home with my children is wonderful.  I missed them like mad today - even though the training day in an unprepossessing building on a godforsaken industrial estate in Reading wasn't bad at all.  The building houses a wonderful library of children's books, and was wonderful in its own way.  

Still, nothing beats being at home with a baby, and I'm very jealous of my friends due to have babies this year - first, second and third children.  Even with Simon's flashy new job, I'm still going to have to work, curse it.  Ah well, if the secret plans and clever tricks work out, things should be better soon, and all these babies mean babygros, knitting and crochet.  I've started planning all sorts of exciting things, half of which will never be made, of course.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dick had a Duck with Fur on his Face

I cannot find my keys from one day to another, I regularly forget where I've left the car, but I remember the words, tune and descant to every carol I've ever sung and that silly mnemonic for remembering irregular Latin imperatives for something or other, I've forgotten.  One of the other silly things I remember is the way to remember Greek meter - down in a deep, dark dell, lived an old cow, mun-ching a bean-stalk (punctuation to show the way it's said).  Mrs Charity has a lot to answer.

It's only a few days into the new year, and we've already been stupidly busy; cycling, trips to Brent Cross, up the M1 to Whipsnade, playdates, hysterics and all sorts.  I've even managed to finish a knitting project, and a novel.

The novel was the Rose Labyrinth, and while it was interesting and I read it very quickly, it cannot be called great, or even good, literature; the writer is so desperate to show us all her research that it starts being a bit irritating.  "Alex is an immunologist; he is a doctor who looks at the immune system, which must be jolly hard, because, look, even though he is beautiful and clever and caring, he is single because his wife left him as he worked so hard.  Work is his LIFE."

OK, it's not quite that bad, but you get the general idea.

I finished the rabbit on the way up to Whipsnade - Hat was so excited about seeing the animals, but, once we got there, was terrified by the tigers, the sea lions  and even the elephants, although she later explained that they are all "nice" and "not eat me", which is progress, I suppose.  We spent far more time in the soft play area than anywhere else.

Back to work on Monday, I could do with a rest.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Happy New Year

It takes one tragedy to get me writing, another to shut me up.  RIP Steff, and I will be thinking of you as I cycle the London to Brighton, or the slightly more scary Dunwich Dynamo in your memory.

I did want to do a review of the year, with all my wonderful knitting and crochet, and baby gros and all that, but I ran out of steam.  It was a good year on the whole; I would prefer fewer of my friends to die, please, in 2013, there was a good crop of babies and Julia's Bespoke Babies had a turnover of about £300, which was unfortunately wasn't quite enough to cover the costs of £301.

I'm finally getting to grips with The Killing jumper - this is the first attempt that was a bit too small.

The girls went from strength to strength.

Christmas was fun.  Generally.  Harriet got to play with a lot of glue and glitter.

Lucy got to show off a lot.

Anyway.  Happy New Year.