Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Russell Square in Winter

I love London...

Snow


I can’t say we’ve really been affected much by the snow here in central London, it settled for about 5 minutes then turned to sludge. Some of the parks have crisp white blankets of frost in the mornings and I have been wearing my new Wellington boots everywhere, even to supper at Kettners on Monday although I changed into my red Mary Janes at the bar. 

I went to a quick Christmas party before with a fantastic view over the old site of Middlesex Hospital:

IMAGES: WEM

Oh Christmas tree.



Having started off with 2 baubles, one red and one blue, gifts from Christmas past one saying ‘Baubles to Christmas’ and the other ‘Merry Whatever’, I was a bit worried our Christmas tree might look a little bare this year. I usually have a theme, for example, one year was shells and bells, one year – minatures, alcoholic ones, that was fun, if a little pricey but not really suitable now we are parents. Twin mum had a box of old decorations that were going to whomsoever wanted them from which I rescued the gold baubles. I found some hand beaded black angels in an art gallery up the road for next to nothing and I had some odd birds, make of that what you will. 

The GR was unsure of my black angels (made by South African tribeswomen) but I liked them. I filled in the gaps with fondant stars, (roll out shop bought Royal icing then press out star shapes with a cutter and dry out in a very low oven for a couple of hours and paint with melted white chocolate). When I started to put a doilly around the base The GR got very agitated but when I covered most of it up with an image of Maurice Sendaks’ Wild Things he was happy. Erbie too, he points at the tree and says ‘star’ and goes ‘boum boum boum ’ at the Wild Things.

Catch-up in brief

The Grandad is here which is jolly, having a grandparent for Christmas that is pleasant to be around and easy going. Sadly he is here because he has left his second wife (mother-in-law number 2). So things are a little cramped but cosy. Erbie is loving it. The Belle Mere has made contact via text and has gone away for Christmas and New Year and Epiphany, so all quiet on the Western front as it were. We got a Christmas tree in a pot from Covent Garden which was great fun. The GR carried it back and got mud all down his new coat. I decorated it in gifted baubles, fondant icing stars, black angels and birds. I'll take some photos later. I managed to get Christmas cards made and sent, not very seasonal but hey. My best friend from the States came to visit and met Erbie for the first time, she has a mane of golden hair so he roared quite a bit in her presence. She came bearing wonderful gifts and we spent some time feeding ducks in Regents Park and wandering around our old haunts on Marylebone High  Street. I've managed to do some Christmas shopping, still have mince pies to make...

Friday, 11 December 2009

Christmas Cards

I make my Christmas Cards every year, which used to involve me thinking of something witty or a scapel at very least. Now however I can barely scrape an idea together let alone an evening of cutting and sticking. These Beatrix Potter ones rather caught my eye, but have sold out already darnit. I shall try and garner an idea at the craft fair tomorrow, if not it will be a fuzzy London photo with Christmas emblazoned across it in a brown envelope .
 

Alphabet Blockers

Alphabet Blocks by Bob and Roberta Smith for the Tate

I find alphabet blocks strangely desirable. I could get some for Erbie but these wouldn’t really do, charming as they are, they only contain letters to make the statement ‘Make art not war’; which although carrying the right sentiment wouldn’t make for good standard educational alphabet learning, just random words such as Worm Karma or Kmart. 

New Banksy?


Banksy, Broadwick Street, Soho, London, December 2009

Badly out of focus I know, due to me not wanting to use flash to keep lovely tree shadows on the wall. It’s just up from Prêt on the way to Carnaby Street. A comment on street performers perhaps?

Christmas Lights

Erbie still has a cough, it is really hanging around, so we have not been out much. He woke up at 3.30 this morning and we couldn’t get him back to sleep. Childcare involved moi on sofa snoring, him playing brum brum cars and shredding toilet roll, with occasional eye unsticking from me to offer cereal or book reading. Kids TV doesn’t even start till 6am. Anyway we all went back to sleep at 11, so I await tonight’s outcome. Bugger all this ‘extra hours in the day makes them sleep longer at night’ nonsense, I’m happy with sleep all night uninterrupted and get up at 5am.

Kingly Court, Soho

Soho

Jaeger head office, Soho

Windmill Street Gallery, W1

Charlotte Street, W1

Absolutely Fabulous

I found the bit I was referring to in ‘Flashcards’ below, (on youtube of course). If you have the time and inclination and feel the wont to accidently spit out whatever you have in your mouth at the time with laughter watch this clip through to the end. 

Miranda Richardson is brilliant, and I believe this sequence maybe responsible for my commando style baby rearing - one nappy, no change of clothes and no buggy! 

New parenting skills AbFab style. 

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Flash Cards


Or rather, not so flash cards. Having seen several of these on offer in various book shops, which all seemed rather boring, we have made some of our own. Obviously it is important that Erbie can say BT Tower, it being a local landmark and all, so far it is ‘Bitty’, but I’m still impressed.

If I do buy any I’ll probably get some french ones from Grant & Cutler in Soho but they put me in mind of Miranda Richardson playing the hilarious pushy mummy in AbFab. She holds up a card and says ‘mummy, mummy, mummy very tired’.

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

If you are reading this

...and you know who you are.

Call your son.


Saturday, 5 December 2009

Barbie dollface


OMG Christian Louboutin has designed a Barbie doll, now there’s a doll Actionman or hell even batman wouldn’t mind sharing a shelf with. This ‘Cat Burglar’ Barbie comes with four pairs of her own mini sized red-soled Louboutins complete with their own dust bag and shoebox. She’s a collecters item but I’d just have to play with those shoes. You can get her from net-a-porter.com for £100, the only way anyone would be able to get 4 pairs of Louboutins for £100 anyday – unless you know differently of course.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Note to self.


Go here Craftacular .






Twin mum day.

I have a close friend who is the mother of twins and I received this email from her today. Next time I’m feeling a bit annoyed because Erbie has stuck his mitten in a puddle or is teething up a storm I shall remind myself there’s only one of him to worry about, I don’t know how she does it.


What a mad morning, I went to the park where both girls decided to sit in a puddle. A puddle of black mud and yuck. They did have their muddypuddles (waterproofs) on, but their fleeces and everything else is black, no other children do it, why do mine?  I did not want them in the buggy they were so dirty I took off  their muddypuddles for the trip home, during which they just yanked each others hair all the way, with me screaming at them (very attractive).  At home I tried to get lunch ready whilst they both decided to empty the freezer. M. then fell off of her chair on to the little table, sending baked beans, fish fingers and waffles flying all over the front room, hers and her sisters. M. split her lip open and the dog ate all the food.

It gets worse I made them a sandwich, then trying to get them up to bed, F, even though she says careful at every step, fell down the stairs. Tears of drama from both of them, one is still awake and its twins club today and I will have to get them up again at 2.30.  I have just hoovered and mopped all the mess up downstairs and I am shattered. I haven’t even started on the washing and bed making yet and have the cooking to do for the girls tea let alone our supper.

All in a day of a twin mum. Is it too early for a glass of wine??








Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Today we are mainly reading



Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendack, Erbie can't get enough of this.




or this...



This is out from the rather fabulous Holborn library, where Erbie now has his first library card.
The pictures are all appliqued, and it's about names of baby animals, you know - cygnets, tadpoles, foals, chicks and the like. What is a baby kangaroo called? A joey - yes!



Every night without fail, when we get to ‘Goodnight stars’,  our star shaped fairy lights get switched off and its time to snuggle down.



Owl babies or ‘owbees’ as Erbie calls it, my favourite, more for the pictures than the story.


Crystal Skull

Erbie’s cough has now turned him into a snot bucket, streams of green flow from his nose at such a rate he has already filled three bandanas this morning. The pair of us are going a bit crazy from being cooped up inside and I decided I needed to take him out before his new nickname became ‘The destroyer’. So far he has torn the spine from three books, desecrated the John Lewis catalogue, tipped every small, arch of foot piercing toy out and thrust them behind the sofa, the radiator, or into the small gap between the dishwasher and the sink, snapped all the crayons in half and eaten all of his Jungle Book stickers. The last straw was when I caught him with a tampon clutched in his little fist whirling the blue string around in a manic fashion. 
So, to escape from the Erbie making crumbs, mess, destroying things, mummy sweeping, mummy putting things back in boxes, mummy sweeping cycle, we popped over the the British Museum to look at the crystal skull. They bought the crystal skull in 1897 from Tiffany & Co NY, believing it to be of ancient Mexican origin, more recent research however has revealed it to be a 19th century fake!


The British Museum WEM



Crystal Skull (British Museum)


Sunday, 29 November 2009

Note to self.

Nearly everything in this catalogue is desirable. From castle and horse china egg cups, dinosaurs in tins for kids to lasercut leaf wreaths for Christmas. the catalogue is downleadable from here: whippetgrey.co.uk but I had to order one too for the lovely pictures.


Friday, 27 November 2009

Tattooed baby.

A female swan is called a pen, a male swan is called a cob.



Erbie woke at 3am this morning with a barking cough and what sounded like a sore throat. In the semi darkness to my horror I saw scribbles all over his legs, had he been up alone long enough to find a pen and start graffiti-ing himself, had I put him in his cot with a pen? Then I realised through my dazed state that it was actually the pattern on his sleep suit.

I left him with The GR this morning while I went to the supermarket, when I got to the self-service checkout I had forgotten my wallet, ‘that’s not all you have forgotten,’ said the nice lady asking after Erbie. I ran home leaving my shopping and The GR had to go and fetch it!

He is up and about but we are staying inside in the warm, his awful cough has subsided thankfully and now he is just a snot bucket. I took him to an under three baby gym on Monday to mix with ‘other people’s children’, so that must be where he picked it up. It’s the time of year for colds, 3 people I know have them, I must keep taking the vitamin C!

Christmas Shopping Fairs

Anyone wanting to know what crafty shopping events are going on in the lead up to Christmas should check out Weebirdy ’s blog. For any unusual gift ideas or quirky finds Weebirdy really is yer gal.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Remote control jousting knights!



Available here !

A day in the life of WEM - or living on a spaceship part 1.

Tuesday 17th November

The café below our flat has a very noisy fridge, over the past weeks it had been getting louder and louder finally giving up the ghost on Friday. We skipped around the flat like kittens for most of the weekend, anyway there is such a thing as chardenfreud – the bloody thing got fixed and is now even louder. The GR rings the council and they arranged to come and have a listen on Tuesday morning at 11am – (today).

Tuesday morning 4.30am
Erbie wakes me, soaked through, (the larger size own brand nappies I got because there were no Pampers are either too big and he’s weed over the top or just plain rubbish). Pull off his sleep suit in semi-darkness and as the spare nappies are in the living room, the quietest room (where The GR is trying to sleep on sofa) readjust the nappy which seems quite dry.

4.45am
Cuddle Erbie to me and try to put him under duvet, he won’t have any of it, hates having covers on him, I think he suffers from The GR’s problem of hot foot. Manage to get duvet over his tummy and leave feet exposed, he falls asleep with his head on my leg as I stoke his head, only problem is I’m sat up. Listen to someone ringing doorbell of flat below, those boys keep terrible hours. Overhear a brief altercation outside, peek through side of blackout curtain but only see that the pub over road has left their pink outside lights on and a candle burning carelessly inside.

5.45am
Move Erbie gently to my side and and snuggle up, his legs are exposed, thinking I should really cover him up as it’s cold in the bedroom I pull the duvet gently over him and he wakes up. I sit back up go through the head stroking again and put him in a faded grey batman top, rather than bare chested. He points at the shadowy animal masks on the wall, a tiger, a bear and a panda and says ‘neigh neigh and ‘rrrrrwar’ I reply. He drops off, I drop off.

6.45am
We wake up, Erbie pats my cheek and pulls my nose, I stick my finger in his ear, he babbles incoherently, I can see through a chink in the black out curtain that it is light, Light, blimey this is very unusual, so late, it must be after seven. Make the same mental note as every morning that I really should put a clock in the bedroom.

7.20am
It is after seven! Erbie toddles into living room where we find The GR on sofa with large industrial sound proof headphones over the top of his earplugs. He has had no sleep, and tells me in not so many words, if he has to drive to Liverpool on Wednesday after no sleep I’m likely to become a widow. I have an emergency colitis near miss visit to the bathroom which makes Erbie cry as I have to unserimoniously dump him on the ground. The GR goes into the bedroom to try and get some sleep.

7.36am.
I pull on a pair of jeans, give Erbie a clean nappy and we go downstairs to have a word with café manager.

7.40am
The Roly Poly man who adores Erbie and the plumber who rescued me when the kitchen flooded are stood outside the café, I stop and say hello before taking a deep breath and going into café.

I tell the café manager that the GR has to drive to Liverpool tomorrow and if the fridge stays on I might have to put him in a hotel as he can’t sleep with the noise of the fridge. He mumbles something about solicitors, I say I’ll come back at 5pm to find out if he’ll be able to turn it off or not.

This isn’t an over the top request he only keeps bloody drinks in the thing and turns it off every weekend anyway! 

7.50am
Go back upstairs and catch sight of myself in mirror, it’s not pretty, feel for poor gentlemen I made small talk with.

8.10am
The GR has fallen into a fitful, exhausted sleep, I put the Jungle Book DVD on and give Erbie some cereal and strawberries. I turn on the computer and manage to type up and email out two outstanding invoices.

9.00am
Feel I should do something motherly/wifey budgety like make a nice homely casserole so pop out with Erbie to get stewing steak. At Tesco there is no red meat on the shelves, the nice lady tells me they are short staffed today, so it may not have come out yet. In my experience they have more stock on the shelves at 6am than 9am! Huff and say I’ll go to M&S, they have no red meat either - what’s going on, they do however have premium meat sausages which I can eat as they are yeast free, yey! As I had my heart set on doing the wifey. mothery, budgety thing I wander back to Tesco shamefaced and bemoan to the tall freckled man about lack of meat. He offers to go out the back and find me some and says the fridge was emptied and cleaned last night and it broke. What is it with me and fridges? He comes back with two packets and gratefully I choose one.

9.20am
On the way back we go into crabfooted pigeon park where there is a childrens play area with a seesaw and a slide. A man is sat on the bench inside the fenced off childrens area and another guy with a bike is counting out money. I divert Erbie with dairy free chocolate buttons and we slip back out of the park unnoticed. Why can’t they do deals on street corners like respectable drug dealers.

9.22am
Check mobile, read 2 text mesages sent last night from J.
“Just sent you final version. Its ok only a few changes. When you open it call me and we can do read through on the phone ok sweetie xx”
“I going to bed so guess we doing this without rehearsing together which is a first for me. Hope you happy with it all and we will have time for a very quick practice when I get to yours about 6.30 hopefully.”

Worry J. will arrive right in the middle of settling Erbie, with The GR working and the first night we’ve had a babysitter I want him to settle properly, I panic and text J. twice. “Okay sweets. Make sure you get to me before 6.45pm or I will be in the middle of settling boy and won’t be able to answer door till he’s asleep xx”
“If I miss his window he will be up till eight o clock. No good.”

9.36am text from J.
“so if I later than 6.45 what do I do...

9.37am
Realise all I needed to say was if I don’t answer doorbell give it 5 minutes and  I will call you to say coast is clear, leave rambling message on J.s answerphone to that effect.
[I’m going out for supper this evening. J. has invited me to co-perform at Kettner’s ‘performance des artistes’, (an evening where performers get a free supper). We will be reading out letters between Anais Nin and Henry Miller. She has done an enormous amount of work and preparation, sourcing and editing the material and all I have to do is read out extracts from couple of Henry’s letters.]

9.50am
I’m itching to ring S. to check she has remembered she said she would babysit tonight. The GR is not due back from work until 10pm.  Slow cook the sausages and make The GR a sandwich and a cuppa.

10am
Call S. she has remembered.

10.15am
Colitis emergency bathroom visit.

10.35am
Man from council arrives, a very quiet man called Patrick. He stands and listens with The GR to the fridge kick in and then turn off seven minutes later as it does 24hrs a day. At one point he actually thinks it’s our bathroom extactor fan until he sees the whole where an extactor fan should be. The GR takes Erbie and pleads with Patrick for a nights sleep. Patrick tells us he will speak to the cafe manager and let us know the outcome.

10.43am
Call from letting agent to say gorgeous 2 bedroom garden flat in Marylebone was taken by first viewers -quel surprise.

11.10am
I catch sight of myself in the mirror again it’s bad, realise I still haven’t had a shower. Jump in shower. Wash hair.

11.30am
Drink restorative tea. Feed Erbie.

Midday
A loud crash from the kitchen makes us rush in to check on Erbie, who is no where close by, the pinboard has fallen over taking with is a small brass keyholder that says home sweet home, the mirror in it is smashed. we hope it mean our luck on the home front is changing for the better.

12.17pm
Text from J. “Call me when boy has his afternoon nap and we can do a read through on phone. Think I will go straight to Kettners tonight. I didn’t sleep all night, new very strong pills made me very sick, work was quiet so at home now to steam cough and sleep. So will go from home tonight already changed so better for you and settling baby too. X x x”

12.30pm
Patrick calls he has told them they have to reduce their noise levels in the cafe and the manager has asked for two weeks to implement it. In the mean time he has to turn the fridge off over night. Our nerves are jangling from lack of sleep and noise interference.

12.45pm
The GR is working over Tavistock Square way, so we walk over with him. Afterwards I take Erbie to Corams Field for a swing and a play in the sandpit. He picks up beautiful russet and yellow London Plane leaves and hands them to me as I follow him around the park. On the way home he falls asleep on my side.

1.50pm
Get home. I slip Erbie out of his shoes and onto the bed and close the door, he’s tired out.

1.56pm
Text from J. “Darling what times his nap usually so I don’t go to sleep then.”

1.57pm
Call J. we have a read through, she has learnt the opening introduction be heart. I rush through my lines and blush down the phone. J. tells me to read slower and not be scared of over ennunciating. I panic.

2.05pm
Chop onions, swede, leeks and carrots and coat meat in seasoned flour. Eventually get the casserole on to slow cook for 3hours, tidy toys and sweep floor.

2.15pm
Have another slower read through of tonights piece and try to think of something suitable to wear

2:40pm
I write to inform the management agency that a man from the council has achieved in an hour what we have all being trying to achieve over the past 5 months.

3pm
Knackered. Curl up on bed next to Erbie and fall asleep.

4:18pm
Wake up

4.30pm
Wizz round charity shops with Erbie looking for something to wear, find an amazing gold mask. Buy the mask and still have no idea what I’m going to wear. Get S. a nice Bordeaux for babysitting, we joke that I should give it to her when she’s finished.

5pm
Give Erbie tea, pull out various bags and boxes in bedroom looking for something to wear, come across full length evening gown of my mothers, russet and gold, like the leaves Erbie gave me.

6pm
Give Erbie a quick wash in the kitchen sink, and give him yogurt.

6.30pm
Snuggle up and watch Waybaloos with Erbie on sofa.

6.45pm
Clean Erbie’s teeth, pop him in bed, read him a book, say night nights.

7.05pm
Text from J. “Can you bring your phone sweetie.”

7.10pm
It goes quiet downstairs for longer than 7minutes, the fridge has been switched off for the night, fell like I’ve stepped off the spaceship.

7.15pm
Iron long dress, it looks tiny. Hang it on the back of the door. Put hair up.

7.30pm
S. arrives. Force her to open the wine I’ve bought her. Put my make-up on, put dress on, S. does it up for me, I can barely breathe.

7.45pm
Swallow a lovely glass of Bordeaux rather too quickly, squeeze into a pair of gold heels and slip the mask into my handbag for later, set off for Soho, leaving S. in a quiet, very quiet flat.
8.03pm
Arrive at Kettners Champagne Bar in Soho where Oscar Wilde once quaffed, Lily Langtrey lounged and the like, my friends were already ensconsed at the bar sipping champagne from old fashioned half moon champagne glasses (supposedly the size of a perfect breast, in the day of non-breasts surely?).

8.15pm
J. seems very nervous for someone who is an old hand at performing in public and likes the spotlight, I feel strangely calm about it all, probably just comatose from lack of sleep. We are shown to our table and the first performer does something inaudible at the piano. We order a bottle of wine.

9pm
After gossip catch-up and a bottle of wine it is our turn to perform. I scrabble in my bag and put my mask on and a microphone is thrust in my hand, somehow I know to rest it very gently on the bottom of my chin, which stops the hand shake and I manage to read my bits slowly and even slightly salaciously. At the end I lean over the table and kiss J. seductively to whoops from the audience.

9.30pm
I’m everso slightly tipsy, the meal is good, the wine is good the company is good, it’s the first time I’ve been out on my own since before, well I don’t actually remember, maybe before Christmas last year, no it can’t be.

10.20pm
I skip desert and run home. S. and The GR are sat at the table discussing fridges. We all have a glass of wine and S. goes home showered with thanks and some stacking cups for Missy that I found on ebay.

10.30pm
I change into flats and run back to Soho for desert - banana cake and icecream. We order another bottle of wine, I get drunker.

11.45pm
The GR rings, I miss the call and his phone is off when I try to call back. I run home. He is not amused, has still had no sleep and Erbie has just woken up.

Midnight
The GR goes to sleep on the sofa. The day ends as it began with us at loggerheads with one another, through lack of sleep and worry. Oh well at least I got a night out!

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Ghost Forest

today is the last chance to see Angela Palmer’s ghost forest project in Trafalgar Square running in conjunction with the UN summit on climate change, while Boris’ Christmas lights burn 24/7 up the road, bah humbug! Sorry, I do like the Christmas lights they are very pretty, but do they need to be on in the morning. Anyway I digress, 10 real rain forest stumps lay like giant tree carrion in the square, a chiling sight of what’s to come, oh whatever I’m off to the shops.


Angela Palmer’s ghost forest project in Trafalgar Square


All images ©WEM


More animal noises!

Staying with the theme of Erbie starting to make animal noises, I happened across this David Farrer exhibition - Africa Revisited at the small Rebecca Hossack gallery on Charlotte Street. Amusing large scale animal heads made from papier maché. It runs until the 5th of December so if you happen to be in the vicinity drop in and have a look, the interest is in the detail, the elephant has an apple with a ladybird in his mouth, and all the different printed paper used is legible. We got a vague trumpet noise for the elephant but everything else seemed to be: ‘a bear’!


Zebra head by David Farrer, Rebecca Hossack Gallery, Charlotte Street


Papier maché animal heads by David Farrer

All images: WEM

Saturday, 21 November 2009

We are bear!


1 roll = 1 or your 5 a day!


Another new healthy over-priced fruity snack from Bear. Who can resist this packaging though.

When The GR and I came across them in Planet Organic, Erbie said: ‘a bear!’, which nearly made us both simultaneously burst into tears and also meant we bought a box full.

Each packet contains a yoyo shaped roll of fruity gum, Erbie loves them.

Rrrarrr!



Erbie also said ‘Rrrrar’ at the lions in Trafalgar Square!

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Whistlejacket

Whistlejacket by George Stubbs, in the National Gallery, London 2009

Took Erbie to see George Stubbs, Whistlejacket in the The National Gallery yesterday and he said ‘neigh neigh’, impressive you may think for a 14 month old, but not if I let slip that’s more or less all he’s been saying since before he was one!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Christmas Lights


Carnaby Street groovy 60’s Christmas Lights

Autumn Leaves


Russell Square


The Regent’s Park

Regents Park


Walking back today, where did those twin towers come from?

Sunday Roast


Swan & Edgar pub, 43 Linhope Street, Marylebone, London

Today after visiting the Farmers Market we went onto the Swan & Edgar pub for lunch and rather lovely it was too. A little out of the way but very close to Regent’s Park so perfect for a rewarding pint after a bracing walk.

Brought to you by the same people who gave us Bourne & Hollingsworth the cool basement bar on Rathbone Place. You may not know they are both named after London’s lost grand department stores. Bourne & Hollingsworth once stood on Oxford Street where the Plaza now is and Swan & Edgar was the vast building at the end of Regent’s Street that more recently housed Tower Records.

In this cute little pub quirky design makes for interesting surroundings with nice little touches such as candlelight fireplaces and a large vase of fresh purple scented stocks and cabbages. There is a bookish theme, the bar is made out of books and the walls of the upstairs room are lined with them. A mix match of chairs, some are covered in a papier maché of newspapers others in a patchwork of city gent material, brown corduroy, suiting, check shirting and I’m sure a a tie or two make for a comfortable dining.

The roasts on offer were:
Topside of beef or chicken with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and vegetables. For a very reasonable £10.

I had chicken mes amis had beef. It was very good. The yorkshire puddings were obviously made on site, the beef was tender, the gravy good, vegetables nicely presented and tasty - carrots and green beans, the roasties were all rapidly devoured. I got the best deal with the chicken, which although it arrived slightly underdone came back finished to perfection and it was half a small bird, succulent and flavoursome with herbs and a hint of lemony garlic. We shared a cheese plate too, worth the £7 petit portions of good cheeses rather than cumbersome blocks of soapy nothing. A Comte an Ossau, Bleu des Causse, Brie de Mieux and St Maure served with a very fresh baguette and grapes, which Erbie happily munched through.

They only had one beer on – Spitfire but it was well kept and a couple of lagers.

The staff were young and friendly, Sunday newspapers lay on tables ready to read, it was quiet and child friendly. I walked Erbie round the block a couple of times and he slept soundly for 2 hours on the corner of the banquette as we ate.


Swan & Edgar pub with its downstairs bar made from books.



This is the flooring in the loo!

WEM opinion: Charming, well worth a visit.

Are you having another one?

Is the question we are getting now.
No, is the answer.
Erbie is stuck with being an only child which got me to thinking about my friends and I realise most of them are the youngest sibling, or only children, funny how like attracts like. The one friend I do have who is the oldest said she was constipated for a year when her sister was born! I know my oldest sister cut off all of middle sister’s golden curls – which never grew back!

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Blogs and Tea

Blogging is a little like therapy! I found this print ages ago online at madebygirl .


Original acrylic painting by Jennifer Ramos



Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Is there a right time to have a baby?


I think it all depends on the person. Some girls can’t wait to start their own family, have already got grandchildren by the time they are forty. Everyone has their little dream life plan, the rose covered cottage the 2.5 children, the perfect husband. I never wanted that, didn’t come from that background. My dream was to live in a round house with my best friend turning sheet music for her when she played the piano, writing and keeping rabbits, I was 8.
Happiness was always my number one wish, I wished for happiness whenever I got a wish – blowing out birthday candles, spotting the first night star, standing under a railway bridge whilst a train roared over above. Don’t get me wrong I wasn’t miserable, I was probably just a teenager. I guess coming from a background of bereavement, (my father died when I was three), I knew happiness was something to be treasured, nurtured and grasped at any opportunity. Even through this I was a happy child, protected from the adult world of news stories, worries, war, relationships and advertising! No one in my family was particularly predisposed towards having children over careers or careers over children for that matter, we just all basically got on with it, living that is. Our mother sent us all out into the world knowing we were loved and that she would always be there for us, a quiet guardian in the background. No interfering, no pushing, just a phone call away if we needed anything, there were no requests to spend christmases together or visit home for birthdays. Some might find this unusual, cold even but it worked well for us and we all became relatively successful in the paths and relationships we chose. I would call home on the anniversary of dad’s accident, and mum would inform me my two sisters had rung earlier, pass on their news, and say ‘you know what day it is today?’ and I’d reply ‘of course, why do you think we all rang!’. I never really saw my mum cry, my brother and sisters did, they are all older. I just remember her peeling a lot of onions when I was very young. We didn’t talk about my dad, couldn’t, he was sacred. Mum only put a picture of him up when I’d left home, I was in my twenties. She never remarried, never really courted anyone else. So you see there was an air of sadness around, that misty eyed, English boned, crisp winter morning sadness that seeps through old musty houses even when children are bashing through them on tricycles. When I was older I’d pester her for information about him, anything, who was this man? I’d pore over old black and white photos, a set of which, taken by his friend, showed me aged three sat on his knee in the garden. A ladybird on my finger, my dad with a floppy fringe and crooked grin wearing a thick hand knitted jumper. Ooooh give me a man in a chunky jumper. I admit I went through the father figure thing. I met an older gentleman who was rather keen on my poetry when I was in my twenties, oh please! If I’d been me now I’d have a few words to say to myself. Along I went to the Hampshire Hotel in Leicester Square for a cut glass tumbler of whiskey in front of an open fire. I should have realised the jib when he kept praising my poem, it really wasn’t very good. Then he wanted to kiss me goodnight in the rain and I ran off and got the tube back to North London soaked and choked and then had that horrible realisation I was chasing a father and a father shouldn’t want to kiss you like that. He wasn’t the only one, there were a couple before him but he was the one that made me realise. So you see it took me an awfully long time to grow up. Still searching for a father in my twenties, only really starting on relationships proper in my thirties, and I’d always said I’d wait until I was forty to have a baby if I ever did. By the time I got to 39 I was with someone, had been with them for thirteen years, we were in love, I thought he’d make a lovely father, he though I’d make a lovely mother, let’s do it. So we stopped using contraception in February and didn’t have unprotected sex until November and that was only cos I got my dates mixed up. I knew I was pregnant. I could taste it, feel it, breathe it, I’d been there before. The metallic taste, the sore boobs, the slightly off kilter with the rest of the world feeling. I thought about the crazy lifestyle we had. I went to work, I came home to a flat full of guests partying most nights. The night I determined to tell The GR my fears, a long lost friend had turned up unexpectedly and there was a surprise party going on. I sipped red wine and felt sick. The GR went into seasonal depression, Christmas with the Belle Mere, Bad brother and his ‘you must be an uncle to my’ child loomed. I went into denial and only bought a pregnancy test when I couldn’t face drinking the wonderful mulled wine on offer at Borough Market. It was positive. I honestly didn’t know how The GR would take it, he was back pedalling towards a mid life crisis as it was. I was prepared to go with whatever decision he made rather that think about what I really wanted to do. In fact I behaved terribly. I didn’t say anything. I kept it to myself, refusing after work drinks in the run up to Christmas and pleading illness. My best friend from school, who now lives in California came over to visit, we went for breakfast at Le Pain Quotidian. Eggy soldiers, I worried about eating runny eggs. ‘So what are your plans for next year?’ she asked, squinting at me over breakfast. I mumbled something about ‘life changes’ ‘You’re pregnant aren’t you?’ she blurted. Relieved at finally being able to share, I shared. ‘You have to tell him’, she quite rightly said. ‘ I will, I will’. I don’t know what I was scared of, him wanting it, him not wanting it, him being angry, my messing up the dates. The longer I left it, the harder it got, every time I went to tell him, it wasn’t right, he was in a bad place, the time wasn’t right. In the end there was no right time. We spent Christmas at the Belle Mere’s in Winchester with the Bad brother his ‘not’ girlfriend and the innocent spawn. We ate sprouts and I wore big jumpers, I mixed my own drinks and only pretended to put vodka in my orange, no one noticed, they were all too busy getting drunk and trying not to fall out with one another. We went back to London, it was the piffin bridge between Christmas and New Year, my friend rang from California to check how I was, ‘You have to tell him’. ‘Tell him!’ she shouted, loud enough that he might hear, into my ear.
I should have taken him somewhere nice to tell him, a park, for dinner, bought him a bottle of malt whisky, sat him down, jumped on his neck, I did none of these, I slipped in ‘I think I might be pregnant, I’m going to do a pregnancy test, oh – yes I am’, while he was prostrate with a hangover on the sofa. Not so good.
He was angry that our futures would never be the same again but adamant we should keep it. My life as a party animal faded into early nights and morning showers with expensive non-synthetic toiletries. I didn’t tell a soul for three months, not my family, not the people at work, no one seemed to notice. I bloomed, the sun came out, my skin cleared up, I wore flowing dresses and my hair got thicker with my waistline. At three months The GR’s father visited from CR and he told him. I’d been out with a close friend in Soho for dinner that night and had been watering down my wine and ordered a second pizza, I’d evaded the after meal request for one last drink and gone home to be confronted by congratulations. As the baby radio silence had now been broken I wanted to tell the friend I’d just been drinking with. I ran back to Soho and found her outside the pub to tell her. She was devastated, but acted pleased for me, I followed her up to the loos and heard her swearing from behind the cubicle door. Everyone had me down as a not going to have babies girl, which would have been the case had I reached 40 single. My family were shocked but pleased. My friend who had thankfully just had twins after a long spell of IVF dropped her phone. My friend in Spain also dropped her phone. I didn’t really tell anyone else, I waited to see people and stuck out the bump. Most of the people in our local area didn’t even know I was pregnant until they saw us walking around with Erbie after he was born. I waited until the right time for me. I’m not missing the party lifestyle, I’ve done it all. I’m fit enough to carry Erbie about and old enough not to care what one is supposed to do. I’m doing it by instinct, internet and what fits for us. Cross fingers everything so far has been okay. He is a very good baby. Now I just need to get my relationship back on track. We’re still in love, but it’s different the tactility from our relationship has become focused on the baby, last night we spooned for the first time since Erbie was born. Now he’s sleeping through the night and weaned I have more time to be grown-up again but it’s finding the energy to be bothered. Relationships are hard work but I hope we are both still willing to put that work in. I try not to take our good fortune for granted and I’ve started wishing for happiness again.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Fourth Plinth

A new statue has appeared on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square for Rememberance Weekend of the New Zealander Air Commander Keith Park.




Marylebone Farmers Market

Erbie and I arrived at Marylebone Farmer’s Market just as everyone began two minutes silence for Rememberance Sunday. We stopped silently in front of the free-range chicken man as everyone in the market stood suspended like statues as the muffled bells of the local church rang in the background. I thought of mum and dad, everyone was united in their thoughts of the dead and fallen then someone cried out ‘thank-you eveybody’ and things recommenced.

‘Are they happy hens?’ I asked,
‘Yes, very’ I was informed – so got a chicken for lunch and a box of eggs.
I also got a bunch of beetroot, carrots, celery and a bag of pears.
Putting Erbie to bed later on this evening I played the alphabet game: ‘Erbie and mummy went to the farmers market and bought..., I got as far a rhubarb when I realised he‘d already dropped into a deep slumber.







All images Marylebone Farmers Market Rememberance Sunday WEM

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Mean Reds



I’m worried about my boys, baby boy and daddy boy and when I worry, I worry myself sick – literally, so my colitis has come back with a vengence. Daddy boy worries are nothing new, Belle Mere and work or lack there of, baby boy worry is probably completely unfounded but there you go. So, sorry if I haven’t been posting lately.

We have been doing nice things, Regents Park, Christmas lights, Kew Gardens and I have photos to share, but I’m feeling quiet or quietly feeling just at the moment.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Victory!







Image: ©Danefae


We like Vikings. The new Danefae collection is now available from their website.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Raspberry faced baboon

Since denying Erbie the boob, (it’s been 10 days) I have been wracked with guilt and have bought him several presents, that i would normally have resisted including:

A pair of maracas from Hobgoblin music shop on Rathbone Street.




 A raspberry faced baboon, (that I couldn’t resist) from Pollocks Toy Museum in Fitzrovia.




...but which took Erbie a little longer to come round to.





And a duck faced eggcup by Quail from Liberty , that I was put onto by the lovely Liberty London Girl ’s blog

It’s getting easier, because he is so good, but it’s true the happy hormones have gone and the tiredness is catching up, but had my first double espresso today for over a year, which soon perked me up I can tell you!

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”
WEM

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”
Clockwise

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle