I forgot to say, Erbie is 8 months already, and rolling like crazy. We've put a duvet down for him to play on but he keeps banging his head on the floor in an alarming manner. The GR and I were both knelt down today deliberately banging our heads until it made a similar noise. The GR was very concerned that he might be doing himself some damage. I found it quite difficult to actually let my head go so that it would bang. The GR was relieved when he did it, that it didn't hurt too much - just made a loud noise. I on the other hand when I eventually did release my neck muscle actually felt a bit dizzy, and have since been watching Erbie like a hawk and averting many bumps, by the end of the day thankfully he'd almost learnt to stop his head just before impact.
Husband and wife team, James and Emma Emmerson's design company nineteenseventythree has some cool cards and interesting things like colouring-in wallpaper. New for 2009 is a range of 16 very sweet cards called Belle and Boo, Here's 1965 Patience Brown and 1964 Cowboys and Indians. Available from their online store.
This large hole left by the levelling of Middlesex hospital is a very visual sign of the credit crunch. The planned complex of shops, flats and penthouses (is there a plural for that - penti?) which was to be called 'Noho Square' is no longer viable. Candy the construction company who bought the site, have dissappeared. Westminster council I believe now own it, having bought at a vastly reduced price. So what will it be? At the moment it's just a big boarded up hole. Lots of cafes sprang up around the site for workers and then potential residential customers, they too are feeling the pinch.
A friend once said: “Luxury is having a cleaner and fresh flowers every week.” I aim for the flowers. The GR’s opinion of cleaners is very low, a morbid fear infact. When we are on holiday, our enjoyment can quite often be marred by trying to not be in the room when the cleaning woman arrives, hovering outside the room for the cleaning woman to finish, or rushing around trying to get out of the room before the cleaning woman arrives. So having one at home – no. We’re all Virgos anyway, so it never gets too bad. Erbie hung in there for an extra day so he could join the club or we could have become intolerable. I think The GR gets it from his father, they recite ‘cleaning woman, cleaning woman, cleaning woman’, in a worrying fashion. It’s a quote from a Steve Matrin film originally I believe. I shall enquire, and update. They also mock people who clean up before a cleaner arrives. I find most men don’t understand the concept that cleaners clean not tidy; apart from Nico’s husband who is a hairdresser and of questionable sexuality – I digress, anyway here are the flowers from last week.
When I was about 7 or 8 my best friend and I had a favourite game of reading out a page from a book and substituting each word that began with ‘s’ with sausage and each word that began with ‘b’ bolony. It made us laugh hysterically, ah the ease at which small minds are pleased. We still quote a line from Cinderella to this day: “Hang onto your sausage Cinders.” Which alluded to ‘seat’ and was the mouse exclaiming to Cinderella as he drove the carriage away from the ball before it turned into a pumpkin.
I feel I should really work at getting my libido back, so am going to name her Lavina and put her on the missing person’s list. Hopefully there will be news of her by the end of the Summer. This may involve a trip to Coco de la Mer, following the white rabbit down the hole or reading Anais Nin. But will probably start at Marie Stopes on Cleveland St.
UPDATE Right that's it, Lavina definitely needs to be found. I've just eaten chicken. For the first time in 22 years. What made me do it? Reminiscing about Sunday lunches as a child? Staring out of the window longingly at the people sat with drinks in the sunshine over the road, while I'm waiting for Erbie to finish his nap? Hunger? Or missing Lavina?
I was just carving up the chicken to take to the park (not for a walk, for a picnic), warm from the oven, free-range, roasted in garlic with fresh parsley and lemon, succulent juices dribbling over the breast, the sea salt catching the light from the kitchen window on a thigh, and I started to think 'what the hell', 'why shouldn't I', I've been cooking chicken for years and never even tasted it, 'Go on' said Lavina, one little taste won't hurt, one little taste led to another, and another, mmmm that's good. Oh goodness, I've just lost my vegetarianity.
Patisserie Valerie is taking over London. Popped over to Planet Organic on Torrington Place, round the corner from Habitat and decided to get this Satdee’s cake from the Patisserie Valerie next door. Yum and big enough to share with The GR.
I picked up a white hat and a pair of navy shorts in Baby Gap, it’s too warm for wooley hats and bandanas don’t keep the sun out of his eyes. They look adorable though, a mad old lady came up and asked if she might take a picture when we were sat in Russell Square midweek. I was on my way back from picking up a job on Tavistock Square and it was so lovely, I just sat down on the A3 manila envelope containing corrections, and whipped Erbie’s tights off for the first time this year. Yes, I dress him in tights! He’s young, he won’t know.
Originally designed by Patrick Hodgkinson in the ’60s as a social housing and retail development the Brunswick Centre retail units languished disused for years. The Renoir cinema in it’s midst held out and one little restaurant called ‘The Hare and Tortoise’, with reasonable thai food and moody staff, had queues of office workers at it’s doors of a Friday lunchtime, but other than that it was a scary place. I wouldn’t have walked there in the evening. The flats were tatty, peeling paintwork and rusted windows, until the developer Levitt Bernstein came along in 2006.
Now that is all in the past, a large Waitrose sits at one end and a plethora of trendy shops nestle within it’s uniformly fronted units. 24 hour security ensures no graffiti or trouble with skateboarders. The housing above has been repainted, and all the windows replaced by Camden council. Now, the flats are worth triple the price and highly sought after, and there is even a farmers market every Saturday.
I met Suki there midweek, and had a bitter chocolate icecream and espresso in the sunshine outside Carluccio’s. (Carluccio’s has a baby changing facility in the disabled toilet and provides highchairs). NB: Always leave a good tip, at Carluccio, the staff wages are topped up by them – shocking but true). Suki had mushroom soup and walnut bread and I understood why she is the size of a sparrow and I a motherly old coot. She has been feeding Missy Ella’s Kitchen aswell, but didn’t realise they could slurp them up themselves. Missy did and seemed happy, she’s 2 weeks younger than Erbie, with larger thighs and more teeth, he’s destined to be surrounded by girls. Suki joked that Missy would come to her in tears when they were older saying: ‘He’s talking to that other girl and won’t look at me, he’s my friend’. I favoured the Estelle and Pip scenario! Hopefully neither will come true.
I won, I won, Erbie gets next size up Converse from Ebay. They arrive 2 days later, an absoloute mini version of The GRs black converse baseball boots. This will be his third pair already. I can't throw the old ones away, they are too cute, so they're accumulating dust in odd places around the flat.
1. Get Erbie some new shoes. 2. Open a Child Trust Fund Account. 3. Get rid of portable TV. 4. Sell Bouncy chair. 5. Turn cot around. 6. Go to family planning. 7. Clean floor. 8. Clean windows. 9. Get The GR back in the bed. 10. Wean Erbie from night feeding.
I don't know how this will work, but now I've told you my objectives, perhaps I will be more likely to get them done. Well, in fact as I knew I'd be writing this I have done the first 2 on the list, I just have to write them up, when I get time this weekend.
My libido went to lunch got drunk and lost her keys, which is a botheration considering how horny I felt when I was pregnant, and The GR wouldn’t come near me with a barge pole. Not because I was fat, he flattered, just he felt weird about their being a baby in there, fair enough I thought, but now he feels weird about there being a baby in the next room. We hold hands and he sleeps on the sofa most nights, while I sleep in bed with Erbie. This is not the way forward for a healthy relationship. Erbie is 8 months this week and I still haven’t had a period, although I’m sure I get PMT.
Driftwood wreath from RE. All those young men, boys don't do the cry for help thing, they just do it. My sister rang today to tell me one of their pub staff, a nice young boy, his whole life ahead of him hanged himself this morning. The GR worked out he'd know 8 people who committed suicide, 6 of them young men. So pointless.
Emma Bridgewater has produced a new set of 1/2pint mugs, perfect for that morning cuppa and they are donating 5% of all proceeds from these mugs to the National Garden Scheme. To find participating gardens in 2009 go to the website: http://www.ngs.org.uk
Every family has their own little game they play with babies, I’m finding out.
When I saw my best friend and her mum a few weekends ago, they did one where you stick your tongue out at the baby until you get his interest and then pop, where’s it gone, this worked well for them as they are both very petit and have tiny pointy little quivery tongues, my gurt great fleshy thing just sits there looking, well like a tongue.
Of course there’s the standard ones, raspberry blowing on the stomach, men seem to like this one, as do I.
Round and round the garden like a teddy bear, is recognisable to Erbie now, but kind of peters out before the tiggly under here, as he’s not tigglish yet.
This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed at home, gets his attention, but again at the wee wee wee all the way home stage, it’s an anti-climax. We tried it naming concentration camps, but this little piggy went to Belsen didn’t rhyme with much. I’m not anti-semetic, it’s just the most preposterously unfunny thing we could think to make light of. I mean ring a ring o’ roses is about the bubonic plague right.
My dad used to do grandfather clock tick tocks, holding me upside down by my ankles and swaying me from side to side, also a plane, round and round in a circle holding onto one wrist and one ankle, which made me squeal with joy, I’m sure that’s why I love the Waltsers.
I like to chant: The wonderful thing about Tiggers, is Tiggers are wonderful things, to Erbie building up to a crescendo of they bounce and bounce and bounce whilst bouncing. He likes this a lot.
There’s also holding up in the air, in which we sing a little song and he ends up above my head. Frog man flying in the sky, I can see you fly like a frogman in the sky. That’s one of the GR’s songs. If the GR isn’t around I sometimes whoosh him up in the air and let go everso slightly, he loves this but GR does not and would have an eppie fit if he saw.
I've just got Erbie out of his cot from his morning nap, he's such a cuddle muffin, a big smiler, warm and kissable, flailing his little arms around and making little excited breathing noises on my lap as I type. Now he's patting up and down on the front of the lap top. Better go be a mummy. Oh, a poo face, so sweet!
Oliver Peyton's strawberry fairy cake from inbetween Habitat and Heals on Tottenham Court Road, they are not as good as they were, less icing, and no lovely box, just a plain old white one, I guess credit crunching is everywhere. It was good enough though to be a treat, I must practice making butter icing, I'm ok with the cakes.
So I go to meet the man behind the voice I have been dealing with for the job I’ve been doing over th past couple of weeks. My expectations are wrong, not a slim suited nervous business man, but a large baseball cap wearing hook nosed gentleman, who bares a striking resemblance to our friend Matty but in a bad way, so as to become known to us as Bad Matty. Bad Matty, is ok to work with though and the job turns out to be quite fun although many corrections go back and forth. He wears cowboy boots and is off to Vegas with the printed job on Saturday. We just manage to get it the printers in time after the Easter break, through which I worked. I’m lazy and don’t check everything properly and the printers have to change a couple of picture from RGB to grayscale, I’m such a bodger. Bad bodger. Anyway, he’s very pleased with it and singing my praises takes me to lunch and pays me in full. I didn’t mention that I had a baby, but Erbie gave himself away about halfway through the job by squeaking loudly in the background of a phone call. At the next meeting, he asked, so how old is he then? Who? I casually replied. Since then, as he now knows, I’ve threatened to bring him along to several maeetings, but GR has always been on hand to sit, so Bad Matty now thinks I have an imaginary baby. He asked how old I was. And I replied honestly, 'Gosh I thought you were about 32 he said kindly, which had the unprofessional effect of making me blush. Bad Matty had had minor surgery, according to his secretary, the day befor our first meeting, which he then proceeded to mention several times, so that in the end I felt I ought to ask after. He very proudly told me he had hair plugs and showed me, I was careful not to look, and smiled politely. That will last until I don’t care whether I have hair or not, he said.
I heard on Radio 4 the other evening, about 3 scam artists who got the title deeds of several mortgage free houses from land registry signed over to their names. Promptly remortgaged them to the tune of a million, jumped in a taxi down to London from Manchester and bought gold with it. They then got the waiting taxi back to Manchester and are now languishing at her Majesty’s pleasure for 4 years, probably less, but the gold hasn’t been found.
Bad Matty (see Job Well Done), told me he does a lot of dealings with South Africa, whom one should never take any form of payment other than cash from. All others are usually forged, they even, he says, usually throw a couple of forged ten pound notes into the fray when paying by cash, so he has a by weight counting machine, that spits them back out. They always have the right cash somewhere on them, and apologise and give it up. He said he had about a million in cash that they didn’t know what to do with and had converted to gold, hmmmmm, he doen’t have a Manchunian accent though?
“Child Trust Fund (CTF) is a savings and investment account for children. Children born on or after 1 September 2002 will receive a £250 voucher to start their account. The account belongs to the child and can't be touched until they turn 18, so that children have some money behind them to start their adult life.”
Can’t be bad. Basically the government give you a cheque for £250 which you can invest and then top up yourself each year. If you do top up by the maximum amount of £1,200 until they reach 18, then your child will have at least (in theory) £21,600, enough by then hopefully to pay for Erbie's further education instead of a student loan.
Of course the government suggest suitable accounts for investing the money and you can invest in stocks, shares or just a plain old savings account. We have decided on a plain old savings account, and I was just going to open a high street bank one, when the Belle Mere stuck her oar in and stopped me in my tracks by getting her financial advisor involved, suffice to say it now lies festering in a drawer. I think I shall make that my goal today, to open a savings account round the corner in the high street bank, then move it a later date if we decide on somewhere better. We thought a savings account would be less of a risk, but since the credit crunch it would appear no money is safe wherever you put it. We could buy gold.
UPDATE So, we decided on the Skipton Building Society to open Erbie’s Child Trust Fund account and there is one on High Holborn. The GR decides he wants to come too, and realising Erbie has his surname rather than mine I agree it might be a good idea. We need to take, both passports for ID, a council tax bill for proof of address, Erbie’s birth certificate and the £250 government voucher. It’s a nice walk, through Bedford Square, Erbie on the GR’s back, up Lamb’s Conduit Street, where people are eating in the sunshine, and across Red Lion Square. We come out almost on top of the Skipton Building Society. It looks a tad worn around the edges from the outside and not much better within. Two lonely cashiers look surprised to see us, the place is deserted, we are ushered to sit and a nervous young man starts telling us the Skipton is a very safe society, alarm bells should start ringing, but we sit it out. He says his name is Yousef, takes our paperwork and dissappears. The vast backroom office is populated by 3 men at desks in faded Skipton turquoise ties and greyish shirts. Two of them are discussing who’s going to be paying for their drinks at the weekend. We wait, we wait a bit longer, we continue to wait, Erbie gets bored, I get bored the GR begins to seeth. I go to find Yousef, wandering around in the back of the building society unhindered. Apparently, the system has gone down so he cannot set up our account. Alarm bells should now be deafening. But no, I tell him to copy our paperwork and call me if there are any problems. I then sign something without reading it, more concerned with getting the 2 boys in my life back out into the sunlight and away from this stiffling place. Yousef says he will send a form through the post. On the street we have a heated discussion about money, wills, work, property and Erbie’s account all of which are sadly lacking. I for some unknown reason stick up for the Skipton building society, but meter it with, we can move the account at any time. We decide to watch it for aa year and see how it goes. This, of course, could all be academic, as we have no proof of opening an account and I handed over the voucher in our flustered ‘he’s hungry’, ‘no, he’s bored’ leaving.
Erbie has learnt, in the past 2 days to bang things together, which apparently is a developmental milestone, it may be a mental milestone for westendmum if he continues in this confined space, but I can't help smiling at him doing it all the same. He has also learnt to drop things intentionally, especially when he is in his highchair and a parent is near by to retrieve. GR picked up the same plastic spoon 4 times before he cottoned on. Both of them looked very pleased with themselves. We have started putting a duvet on the floor for him to sit on and amuse himself with toys now. Which he does happily, I made a treasure box for him, that he grapples eveything out of one by one, each item going in his mouth for a while. It's a Pampers wipes plastic box, with a good clicky catch, that contains: One small stripey tin of tiny liquorice beads, not openable, makes a lovely noise when shaken. A string of pearls - fake. Harvey Nichols storecard, defunct. Chainmail purse, sadly too tatty to use any longer. Laminated pub tab card from drinking days, paid. Heart shaped stone, from a beach in Greece circa '99 Small pink ball, doesn't bounce. A tubular silver bracelet, with heart charm, that looks like it could be an expensive christening gift. London transport handbag mirror. An American drugstore calcium supplement bottle, which makes a great shaky noise.
Erbie has got a second tooth coming through at the bottom front, he was up from 3am to 5am last night. His cheeks are bright red and he is chewing on everything again. His head has got bigger too, or I washed his jumper on a hot wash, things aren't slipping over it as easily as they were before. As I was staring at his beautiful face this morning I welled up with tears, it's not fair he should have a milk allergy, probably brought on by the HIB vaccination / breastfeeding antibodies combo. Why didn't I find out more information before. I'm not allowed to be cross about it, GR gave me a good talking to, 'unless you decide to take on the NHS, there's no point getting upset.' And Kendal completely missed the point and said 'your life from now on will be spent worrying about him, and feeling guilty that you haven't done the right thing.' or maybe she did get the point. He's just such an adorable, good boy, he doesn't know of the wicked world out there. I must protect him. I guess this is motherhood then. I gave him a slice of dryed mango today to chew on, and he swallowed it whole, the gag reflex didn't work and he wouldn't let me get my finger in, so am typing in silence in the dark, so I can hear if he chokes in his sleep, oh dear!
Penguin Classics have brought out a series of 20 paperbacks about the British Countryside. I love their simple white illustrated covers. Books titles inlcude: A Wiltshire Diary by Frances Kilvert, illustrated with a whitehorse, A Shropshire Lad by AE Hausman, Let Us Now Praise Famous Gardens, Vita Sackville West and English Folk Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams. All pictured below. You can buy them online, I saw them in Borders, Charing Cross Road.
Centenary edition (1909 to 2009) £6.99 from www.peterrabbit.com A cautionary tale of the soporific effect of lettuces on one, two, three, four, five leetle rabbits.
My mummy used to read this to me, and we all think of her at Easter time, as sometimes it fell around her birthday, as it does this year. My oldest sister rang the other day to say she was making Easter biscuits, mum's recipe, and I'm sure she'd been crying. Note to self, get recipe.
Having a lovely quiet Easter this year, at home, just we three, I even got an Easter egg, although I had to pretend to buy it for GR. GR and I went through the past 13 Easters together, he has an amazing head for dates, I on the other hand do not aothough I could probably tell you what I was wearing.
2007: Pregnant, West End
2006: West End, Picnic in Regents Park with friends and an ESKI of beer - I didn't know what it was at the time either, but an 'ESKI' is our antipodean friend's word for a cooler of beer, this one was enormous and on wheels.
2005: Living in and running my sisters pub in the West country, while they attempted to retire to Thailand, nah that didn't work for them.
2004: Bliss. Costa Rica, Eddie (now a friend)'s cabins on the Caribbean coast, snorkelling, bird spotting, cycling and sunbathing every day. Cacique rum and no good every night.
2003: Torture Garden?
2002: Mum's 75th birthday, at home in the West country, with my brother and sister, Lalique and a card made from 75 one pence stamps, I thought it was good!
2001: Winchester - mother-in-laws.
2000: Highgate Village.
1998: Prague. Oysters in 'La Provencale'. Absyinthe ergh.
1997: Working. Boys linked up on computers.
1996: Bliss on bliss. Portmeirion. Young, very much in love and in mummies (his) MG.
I'm very happy with my new purchases, a Doidy cup, (pictured) made by Bickiepegs. Erbie can't hold it yet, but will bend down to slurp. The Cath Kidston beaker looked lovely, and worked for a while but Erbie's new sharp tooth left rather a lot of scratch marks, and he now screws up his face to any proffering. Bickiepegs are for teething and have been around since 1925. They are long rectangular hard biscuits with a hole in and a safety tie supplied. You simply thread the tie through the biscuit and attach where you desire. I often use pretty ribbon and simply hang one round Erbie's neck if we go out, obviously I wouldn't leave him alone in a room with one tied round his neck, but then, I wouldn't leave him alone in a room either. You really haven't seen the size of our flat, it's not possible. I also got a long awaited waterproof bib with arms, rather fetching in red with turquoise stars and arms. It only comes in baby size though. Available at John Lewis.
London Transport Museum Covent Garden Piazza London, WC2E 7BB The London Transport Museum has a fantastic online collection of over 5000 posters, you can search through them by date, theme or artist. I found these black out ones from the war.
One of the staff of the Computer Exchange (CEX) or Wank Shop as we call it is losing weight rapidly. He must be in his early twenties and maybe he gave up chocolate for lent, or maybe he's discovered amphetamines prolong gaming time. He keeps taking in his jeans, legs only, not a good look from behind. That shop is never ever quiet, it's a dirty little secret of many a grown man, sometimes girls even hover outside waiting for their boyfriends. You have to be a member to buy a game, or return a game, and that's what they do mainly. Oh yes, there are mobiles and ipods and DVDs in the window, but 90% of the customers are looking for a new game for their PC or console. Inside the walls are lined with games cases, and there is a certain smell like a teenage boys bedroom. Boys to men stand around looking shifty and if a girl does accidently enter, she WILL be stared at. UPDATE The CEX shop worker who is rapidly losing weight has continued to do so. He is ow wearing shorts and looking camper. Perhaps he discovered his sexuality. What happened? He seriously has gone from about 18 stone down to about 13, in a matter of weeks.
Poor Sarah Jessica has been SO retouched in this Oz edition of Harper's Bazaar as to be almost unrecognisable, as seen on girlwithasatchel.com She now has not 1, not 2, not 3 but 5 fragrances: Lovely, Covet, Dawn, Endless and Twilight and if you so desire you can get a sample from www.sarahjessicaparkerbeauty.com. They are starting to sound like a set of alter ego dwarves. Should one say Snow White and the Seven Little People now? Anyway I digress, and it is wrong of me to mock SJP, for I do likey. Did you ever see the pictures from her house in the Hamptons, we likey very much.
Easter Saturday, does that even exist. What does one do today? Get the Satdee papers. get a lottery ticket. Go to Jean Louis en famille for printer ink. Do BelgianWaffling's Easter quiz. Darn it I'm taking another day off. I'll finish my work tonight.
This is how I felt when I realised there maybe a connection between vaccinations and allergies. I gave Erbie a crisp, that I’d licked all the salt off. He immediately started to come up red with white spots, oh boy, hands and all. The crisp, surely not, surely yes, the packet said ‘may contain milk products'. This got me thinking, how come this is so prevalent these days.
I’ve been wondering since finding out about Erbie’s reaction to formula, and the doctors swift diagnosis as to what the root cause could be. There is no history of allergy on either side of our families, and I did not avoid or over eat anything especially during pregnancy. I know that egg protein is used as a carrier in one vaccination and this may be linked to egg allergy after (I haven’t tried him on egg yet). So, it’s quite possible then that other types of protein could be being used as carriers in vaccinations, and at 4 months he’d already had three visits to the nurse, for injections, one of which did react slightly with redness around the injected site. I did a bit of research (google!!!!), and it would appear that peanut oil, soya, and casein (cows milk protein), aswell as eggs can all be used as a protein carrier for vaccinations. This is then injected directly into the bloodstream.
I found this: Pabst and Spady (1990) studied infants immunized at 2, 4, and 6 months with conjugate Haemophilus influenzae type B vaccine (HIB to you and I). They found that “antibody levels were significantly higher in the breast-fed (57 infants) than in the formula-fed group (24 infants) at 7 months and at 12 months” and that breastfeeding “enhances the active immune response in the first year of life, and therefore the feeding method must be taken into account in the evaluation of vaccine studies in infants.”
and this: The 1913 Nobel Peace prizewinner: Charles Robert Richet said, “We are so constituted that we can never receive other proteins into the blood than those that have been modified by digestive juices. Every time alien protein penetrates by effraction, the organism suffers and becomes resistant."
I then started to get a bit paranoid as a lot of the information I found especially on blogs had been removed.
So I won't say anymore, yet, and of course I don't believe vaccinations to be the sole cause of allergies, but it gets you thinking eh?