Monday, 30 September 2013


We've been in Yorkshire, home of the sheep and the brave and YARNDALE.  More on that later.

Anyway.  This is another photograph taken by my husband of the children in Yorkshire.  I can be seen in the background, messing around with my phone, saving scenic shots of YARNDALE and Yorkshire.

Sometimes, you just have to run very, very fast.

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

Thursday, 26 September 2013

October Unprocessed

How is it the end of another month?  Term's only just started, surely.  But no, payday has rolled around, and it will be October next week.  Fans of the blog will know that that means only one thing:

Hurrah.  This year, I have decided to write down my own simple rules for the challenge.

No Diet Coke.
Less sugar.
Baking my own bread for a month.
If I can buy it as an ingredient (baking powder, caster sugar, flour*), it's OK.
Cook more and menu plan like mad.
Chinese style noodle soup for lunch are OK as they are meant to be horrible.
I will buy bread for the children, as they are super fussy about their sandwiches.  

I feel that this is within the spirit of the challenge, if not the letter.  The letter of the law is far, far too difficult to achieve if you work, have young children, and basically can't be bothered.  I've done it before, and all that happened was that I craved Diet Coke for a whole month, and then didn't want it afterwards.  I didn't feel amazing for doing it, as it's not a million miles away from my normal diet.  We don't really eat processed food as a family - processed meat such as bacon (rarely), chorizo, ham, of course, cheese, milk, sugar, but I read ingredients, and if there are more than five things that I can't pronounce, I don't buy it.  The most processed food in the house at the moment are Jordan's Chewy Bars, that Lucy loves, and I've found a way to make my own which we can do together, so hopefully I can replace those.  Jordan's Chewy Bars, for the record, contain no artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives, but do have "natural flavourings" which are refined from natural ingredients, and while are OK, can't be made in the home kitchen. 

If you want to know more about this, have a look at this website.  It really is quite interesting, and the most eye-opening thing is just how shit the average American diet must be.

*I looked this up: all UK flour is unbleached (no chlorine allowed), so it is fine to use in the challenge.

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

WIP Wednesday

My children are not here; Lucy is in Reception, having a whale of a time, Hattie is at pre-school between 9 and half 2, so I have that most precious of gifts, TIME.  I'm not quite sure that using it by going into work early to sort things out is the best use of it, and I really need to start going to the gym, but so far, I'm really enjoying myself, pottering around the house and generally trying to get on top of everything.

We have little visitors in the house; small, furry visitors that poo everywhere.  I've been tidying and hoovering more often (every few hours), in a vain attempt to get rid of them, as I really don't want to trap them, and I feel that we will have to learn to share our Edwardian house with them.  Anyway, I had to sort out the living room stash and find a new place for it as a big pile of wool seems to be a mouse paradise.  I spent my morning yesterday happily sorting through it, putting it in bags and boxes, and then stuffing it into the yarn cupboard.

The yarn cupboard is now full to bursting.  What to do, what to do?  I feel a bit unwell at the sight of all that spending, and at the amount that needs to be knitted up or even given away (NEVER).  It's just too much, and very overwhelming.  

This is my WIP this week.  A yarn cupboard full of plans and things to do.  Whether any of the original plans will come to fruition remains to be seen. 

The list:

Alphabet Blanket for Noah - done
Granny's a Square Afghan - done
Elephant blanket - one stripe half made, really need to get on with this as the baby is now overdue
Peacock Mittens - one finished, bar the thumb
Idlewood - still yarn
Owl Blanket - needs to move up the list, Hattie's birthday is the 3rd of December
Hexipuff Quilt - nearly 140 puffs made, how terribly exciting, and the quilt is rectangular, which is pleasing
Paper Dolls - moved downstairs; I am not allowed to cast anything on until I've finished the body of this
Peerie Flooers - not sure about, I might have to buy yarn for it, and, well, see above
Ringo and Elwood mittens - were going to be a Christmas present, but I think that's unrealistic

Sunday, 22 September 2013


Well, that was the busiest weekend we've had in a while.  Two children's parties, two grown up parties, ballet, visits to family, a christening; apart from going to the supermarket, you name the treat and we've done it.

Lucy at Laila's party.  She stuffed her mouth full of melon; she couldn't even chew it without spilling juice down her chin.  Charming table manners.

We've got ourselves a reader here.  Hattie always takes at least one book to bed with her, generally two or three, and I often hear her padding around, choosing something else to read.  I am delighted, despite the state of her bedroom in the morning.  

Portraits of the children once a week, every week, in 2013.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Taking stock, September

I'm a bit meh at the moment.  The few weeks have flown by; Lucy has been at school for a whole fortnight, and everything is just happening faster and faster.  I feel like we're racing towards Christmas at a breakneck pace, and I'd like the whole relentlessness to stop now please.

So I am taking stock in an attempt to slow things down a bit.  The list is from an Austrailian blogger called Pip; her site is Meet Me At Mikes'.

Making: All sorts of things from the Knit List, plus a mini fashion protest banner. 
Cooking: Mostly things by Nigella.  Getting ready for stew season.
Drinking : Too much.
Reading: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, by Jeanette Winterson
Wanting: things to calm down a bit
Looking: at grey skies
Playing: far too much Simpsons Tapped Out
Wasting: time going into work early and not going to the gym
Fixing: nametapes onto school uniform
Deciding: to join a Curriculum Working Group
Wishing: I had more hours in the day
Enjoying: Lucy being far more grown up and able to be talked to properly
Waiting: for a shower
Liking: having my mornings to myself
Wondering: whether I'll ever get anything finished
Loving: my mohair blanket
Pondering: my career
Considering: a massive clear out and sort
Watching: 30 Rock, mostly
Hoping: for a kitten to come and live with us
Marvelling: at my children's resilience
Needing: a day off
Smelling: we are potty training Hattie.
Wearing: boots and tights and jumpers.  Hurrah.
Following: people around and jumping out at them.
Noticing: my shoes are too tight
Knowing: I need to join the gym
Thinking: about the children
Feeling: disorganised
Admiring: people who work full time
Buying: far too much generally
Getting: fed up of this list
Bookmarking: the truely dreadfully named Blog Lovin'
Opening: junk mail only to hoy it straight into the recycling
Giggling: about
Feeling: knackered

There.  No wonder I have no inclination to write about anything. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013


A blur of a week.  Lucy started school, turned 5, had a birthday party.  Hattie stayed pretty much the same, only louder, grumpier, more insistent that she didn't want to go to school, she doesn't like the teachers or the friends, and can't (under)stand them.  Then whizzes in and plays happily, having to be dragged out at the end of the session.  Ho hum.

Another cheat.  My husband took this. 

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

Sunday, 8 September 2013

35/52 & 36/52

I lost momentum last week.  Term restarted, and I had nothing to say.  Literally nothing.  So far, however, so good, so hopefully normal service will resume shortly.

We cycled to the Brentford Festival last Sunday, just because the weather was good, and it wasn't far.  The girls went on the ponies, and really enjoyed themselves.

I love the sulky teenage riding obsessive, leading the children around the field. 

This week has been a series of firsts: Lucy's first time with just Granny and Grandpa; Hattie's first day at the Ark of Noah; Lucy's first swimming lesson - I put her in totally the wrong class, how was I supposed to know that Stage 2 meant "actually the children can all swim independently and are about 8".

Hattie eating spaghetti.  It's a bit of a mission, and a whole body experience.

Lucy took this picture of herself, so it's a bit of a cheat.  She loves messing about with my phone; she was also eating spaghetti.

Portraits of my children, once a week, every week, in 2013.