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!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Robbing Peter to pay Paul

A friend and I were talking recently about how everyone appears to be in the same boat, robbing Peter to pay Paul, cashflow has never been worse. As if to prove the point, I had a narrow escape this morning. I though I’d check my balance online, as I’d mistakenly cleared out The GR’s account the previous day. It was a good job I did as there in nice big letters it said: ‘no available funds’. Now I have, we have, been suriving financially by the skin of our teeth, but this was still a shock, my overdraft facitly appeared to have disappeared. Trying to think calm thoughts and smile I rang the bank. The lady sounded stern and was unwilling to concede that they may have made a mistake, I knew I was on thin ice as technically of course an overdraft is the banks money. I had to go through monthly income and outgoings, and it seemed to take an awfully long time for my details to come up. Eventually after being on hold, the advisor said, of course you will have to pay off the overdraft you have now before we can impliment the new one. Internally I started shreiking, the student in me felt like slamming the phone down, how is one supposed to repay an overdraft if one had the money, the overdraft wouldn’t be there if I had the money, all this raced through my tiny brain but thankfully I said nothing. I said nothing for so long it prompted the advisor to offer a solution. Pay off your overdraft with your credit card then reimburse the credit card when the new overdraft is in place. Simple, simple thanks to the fact I had the funds on my creditcard, what if I hadn’t? ‘That should all be in place by Monday, is there anything else I can help you with?’ Perhaps you could help me find the actual card I need to use this account, Erbie seems to have stowed it away somewhere in the past few days I thought, looking in the vicinity of the toy box. ‘No, not today, thankyou’.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

2 Ladies

I keep starting the week thinking, I must get organised, I must get a proper meal time routine for Erbie, I must do a meal planner and budget. How about feed a family of 2 and a quarter for £50 a week, hmmmm. Then Kendal rings up under the pretence she wants the sewing machine, (we went halves on one earlier in the year), and whisks me off to Primarni. A leopardskin coat and 2 cardigans later I’ve spent half of the weekly food budget and am sitting in Marks and Spencer’s basement cafe mopping up the coffee Erbie knocked over the table, making sure no milky (argh) splashes have got on him. He doesn’t seem bothered and is munching through a fruit salad, the lady directly behind however has thrown her cup down in disgust and flounced out. That used to be me, I inwardly cringe, she smiled when we sat down too. A little old lady in a hat toddles over and tells us she loves little boys, then leans in closer and says ‘...and I  love them when the grow up even more’!

Stupid girl

Dashed off to a meeting yesterday morning leaving Erbie with The GR, at nap time, the first time The GR would have to try and get him to sleep. Forgot my keys forgot my phone, forgot my head. I realised half way there but was too far gone to return and a leetle bit scared of The GR being cross with me. Very quick meeting, one can be so productive without a child in tow, I'd forgotten.
Dashed back home, rang bell, no reply. Went for coffee, tried to call The GR from friend's office, his phone was off. Went back to flat, rang bell, rang bell, met old gentleman coming out, so got in first door. Wrote a note to GR and shoved it under the flat door. Visions of GR and Erbie walking the streets, Erbie crying, the GR in foul mood. Suddenly the door opened, I need not have worried the pair of them had been sound asleep together on the bed, my frantic doorbell pushing did not go down well. Thankfully Erbie didn't wake. We had a humdinger of a row in the evening. I had strict instructions to get spare keys cut and leave them with a friend. I forgot.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Bring me sunshine!

Bring me sunshine in your smile 
Bring me laughter all the while 
In this world where we live 
There should be more happiness
So much joy you can give 
To each brand new bright tomorrow  

Make me happy through the years 
Never bring me any tears 
Let your arms be as warm as the sun from up above 
Bring me fun, bring me sunshine, bring me love

Image © BBC

Silent ‘H’

The letter from Belle Mere to The GR contained a postcard with a business card selotaped to it of someone she had had lunch with, who worked in The GRs field and was signed ‘your mother’. I feel no need to comment further.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Weaning my poor boy.

This picture by the fantastic Swiss artist Maria Zgraggen is probably how my poor boy feels this week, especially as he appears to be getting his molars too. Interpretation is in the eye of the beholder but in this image I can see it might be sad and painful but it’s necessary for physical and mental growth.

© Maria Zgraggen

First steps First shoes

Erbie’s walking has come on amazingly in the past week so I thought it about time to get him fitted for proper shoes. Where to go? Clarks was my first thought, or Startrite, I put it to the Twitterati and @salihughes suggested: ‘Brilliant selection and proper fitters at John Lewis.’ John Lewis, ah John Lewis, of course, they stock Clarks and Startrite and several other well know brands of children’s shoes all in one place. I went early in the morning to the child’s shoe department on the fourth floor and we were the only customers. Erbie was a ‘4F’ or ‘21’ in european size, the sales assitant advised me that all shoes should be tried on as sizes vary by brand, he may only be a 3 in Clarks for example. She explained that shoeless was best especially on a carpeted floor but if we had hardwood floors he should be wearing a soft soled cruising shoe. She also said that he shouldn’t go into hard soled or ‘proper shoes’ until he had been walking for at least eight weeks. So the black plimsoles he is wearing when we go out are fine for now, although they’re only a 3. For correct sizing there should be a thumbs width gap between toes and the shoe front and growing feet should be measured every six to eight weeks. I wasn’t that taken with any of the shoes on offer, and have 8 weeks to wait anyway, so I mentioned I’d seen some rather adorable Lego Kickers online, would they be suitable? I was told ‘Yes’ as the are good surportive shoes. Look out ebay, we’re getting hard-soled.

Image: ©Lego Kickers

Tuesday, 13 October 2009


One can never be too thin or too rich.’

Wallis Simpson is purported to have said.

I believe one can be too slim and too rich, but I have a dismorphic attitude to money, somewhere along the line I’ve garnered the notion that money is evil, which is as stupid as thinking money is God. I should have it out with money as this animosity towards it means I’m left just about getting by rather than having plenty to spare. I do however seem to believe I am rich – which is helpful. Believing you’re poor, as I did when I was a student, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. And as we all know, life’s riches are not of monetary value anyway.

Get off you horse and don’t drink my milk.

My little boy is going to break my heart. Last night he offered me his sleep bunny’s ears, probably his most treasured possession in the world and looked at me as if to say: ‘and now may I have some milk please’. I am stopping breast feeding.

I’ve  breast fed this long because of the horrendous reaction he had when I tried him on formula at 6 months, then the diagnosis of milk protein allergy, meaning no dairy produce at all. I truly believed I’d only breast feed for 6 months, (the recommended time) then replace with a bottle. I started feeding him to sleep for an easy life early on too and it really was easy, no tears, no screaming, if he woke in the night, he’d be back asleep in five minutes. Now we both have to be strong and my little boy has to take his first step of independence along with his first physical steps.

He cried and cried last night, shaking his head furiously from side to side then gazing at me in disbelief, stretching his arms up for contact then brushing my hands aside. He made a lot of noise but there were hardly any tears, it was a frustrated cry rather than a terribly upset one, still heart breaking though.

I cheated today’s nap time by going out for a walk with him until he fell dosed off (no pushchair, he fell asleep on the hipseat), then easing him onto the bed. He slept for an hour, he usually naps for nearly three and woke up frustrated, noisy and demanding again. It took all my strength to not give in, especially as we were both tired from the 1.30 to 4.30am battle of wills in the night, not to mention the 6am rising.

Guilt ridden I went to GAP and bought a lovely navy pea coat in the sale (I’m a hand me down girl, this is not normal) then we went to Bedford Square for a toddle.

As the day drew on I was dreading the prospect of a first proper bedtime without breastfeeding Erbie to sleep. I tidied the bedroom, fluffed the pillows, lined up the cuddly toys, put snacks on the windowsill, gave him a bath (in the kitchen sink), we watched bedtime CBBeebies together had tickles, cleaned his teeth and eventually I took him through to the bedroom at 7pm.

I had made up a bottle of warm apple juice but didn’t expect him to take it, I’d tried previously with soya milk to no avail, he took it, I almost convinced myself I saw a flicker of understanding in his eyes. I read three stories and we played catching his finger through the hungry caterpillar holes.

Once we were onto settling down, he tried to get out of the window, off of the bed and burrow into me, each time I spoke to him softly or sang badly and snuggled him up with bunny again. Eventually he fell quieter and I counted to 200 shushing on every five, tucked him in and left the room. It was 8pm.

I poured my first guilt-free vodka and tonic and asked The GR ‘how was your day?’!

I’m expecting him to wake at 3am in a foul mood but he is a dot , so we shall see. I’m also expecting it to be really hard for 7 days, with more frustrated crying, head shaking and unhappiness.

He’s such a treasure, he still looks at me and gives me a full moonbeam smile even though I’m probably the meanest person he knows right now and he still waves at all the people we encounter seemingly cheering their day.

I’m blessed with the boy.

I was right. Erbie woke at 3am for an hour of complaining until he exhausted himself in my arms and we both fell on the bed at 4am. He slept right through until 7am. I couldn’t get him down for a nap during the day, so I cheated again and took him for a walk until he fell asleep. He napped for 3hours until 4pm – I joined him! I have just put him to bed with some complaining, but not too bad. I feel very emotional and my boobs hurt, when The GR hugged me and gave me a pep talk saying I was doing the right thing a tear fell out.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Dirty windows

View from John Lewis’ back staircase, Oxford Street.

The Koon’s a Balloon

Jeff Koon’s helium bunny at Covent Garden piazza on Sunday. Looking a little deflated.

And sadly now a deceased bunny. Going, going.

Crossrail Cometh

Wandering around with Erbie the other day, I was struck by this space of sky, unusual in central London.

Do you know where it is yet?

Yes, that IS Centre Point on the left.

That’s right, it’s Tottenham Court Road Station. Dyonisus Kebab House (that fed my salty-chip cravings whilst I was pregnant) is no more. The new Crossrail link is on it’s way.

New Build

These new ‘innovative’ offices on Shaftesbury Avenue have gone up faster than you can say Duplo.

Known as Central Saint Giles (the name of the nearby church) the development is planned to include a piazza, living roof gardens, sustainable water and heat recycling and some housing.

We shall see. Cynic moi?

Odd shops

Need a porthole, floating keyring, Breton top, length of rope? Here’s the shop for you - Arthur Beale’s Yacht Chandlers on the Covent Garden end of Shaftesbury Avenue. Intriguing non? Apparently it’s been there 110 years.

Lovely sign.

It is next door to Freud equally worth a visit for those quirky tea-towel, coffee pot, electric fan needs.

We are walking

Erbie has started walking. Well sort of running, he doesn’t seen to realise he needs to learn how to walk before he can run and pelts off, usually nose diving into a crawl. He walks from the bedroom to the living room and from the kitchen around the corner, balancing with his hand on the wall. He can get up and down from the bed and has started pushing opening the doors in a scary squashed fingery way. This morning when he got up at 6.15am, he got off the bed, waited for me to open the door then put the doorstop in himself, likewise with the door to the sitting room. (All our doors close unless you wedge them open).

Sunday, 11 October 2009


I got offered an amazing job, to do from home, for a very reputable company. I had to go to a meeting in the head office, where everyone wore black and looked super stylish. Erbie came too and was not on best behaviour. I just about managed to take down a brief inbetween fielding Erbie climbing up the open plan marble staircase and wriggling out of my arms to do it again, smiling self satisfied when allowed to reach the summit. The poor lady trying to give me the brief then fielded him while I talked to the art director. Ho hum! Anyway, I have a small job to do, and if I do it well there may be the prospect of more, so hence my silence on the blogsphere, as I have been working when Erbie sleeps.

I just had to post about what Erbie mainly ate today.

An empiric victory on my part as the poor mite is normally palmed off with Ella’s kitchen. Today I made mushroom risotto, to which he shook his head vehemently. I sat at his side and ate my bowl of the same and he stuck his hands in his bowl and began to eat. Very messy, but joyous to watch as I tried to hide my mirth. This was followed by homemade dairy free carrot cake and a liquorice bear all washed down with syrup du menthe -an old rusty tin of which I found out after finding Erbie’s penchant for toothpaste.

It never rains it pours

 Bright and early yesterday morning the mangement agency sent someone to fit a new washing machine. It transpired the man they sent wasn’t the right man for the job.

‘I’m a drain man’ he said.


He proceeded to pull the old machine out, in front of the adjacent cupboard to which he needed access for the hose. It really was a comedy of errors. The machine now wouldn’t go back into the space from which it came as it had come off of the piece of wood it had been sat on, it wouldn’t come out of the space it had been because it was still plumbed in at the back, plumbed into the hose which ran through the cupboard it now blocked. He cut the hose off under the sink by  the light of his mobile and tried to pull it through. Of course the cupboard was full of china teacups and saucers rolling pins and blenders. He worked the hose out and I decided to leave him to it. The next thing I heard was a pitiful ‘ut oh’, I peered in the kitchen to see him trying to jam the hose back into the washing machine as water spurted out, there seemed to be a lot of water on the floor too. The drainage man with a shaking hand desperately tried to shove the hose back into the washing machine as more water gushed out. I grabbed Erbie and ran down to see if there was a stopcock in the cupboard next to the front door – indeed there was. I grappled with it hopelessly, it wouldn’t budge. The GR shouted for me from above and I re-entered our flat to see him knee deep in water on the kitchen floor rummaging under the sink.

‘Stopcock?’ mumbled the ‘plumber’,

‘Yes, it’s downstairs.’ I squealed.

Both The GR and the not plumber had their hands full tempering the water flow in the kitchen, and I wasn’t strong enough to turn off the rusted stopcock downstairs.

‘Out the window,’ squawked the ‘I only do drains’ man, gesturing furiously towards the window with his head.

The GR hopped up onto the sink and forced open the sash window,

‘But there are people below’, The GR informed him.

‘They’ll soon move’ said the hose man.

The hose was forced out of the window sending an impressive fountain of water into the street. My thoughts turned to the apprentice languishing in the white van and my temper frayed. I stormed back downstairs, babe in arms to a door full of people. An audience had gathered outside, the chef from the café below was at the door, the foreman from the building site around the corner with his plumber, the old boy from upstairs was on the intercom saying: ‘Who is there, who is there? ’

‘Do you need help?’ the foreman asked

‘Yes!’ I squeaked.

I beckoned angrily at the youth peering from the van window.

‘ I can’t leave the van, it’s not locked’ He called across.

‘I’d rather you were upstairs crawling around than my husband’ I countered.

The foreman, real plumber, moody youth, myself and Erbie all piled back up the stairs. Everyone was surprised to see there already was a ‘plumber’ on site. The foreman’s plumber turned the to the flat off and our plumber looked suitably ashamed.

I rang the management agent.

The water stopped, a large pool had collected in the road outside. The kitchen floor was swimming, the hall carpet had started to swell, the light fittings in the café below were dripping water. The next hurdle was an electric one. The old machine was wired to an isolator switch, the ‘not plumber’ was also a ‘not electrician’ and I didn’t really want him to electrocute himself in my kitchen so I called back the management agent and said we needed an electrician. Midday was the soonest one could get to us.

The GR got out before he lost his temper.

The kitchen was a war zone, no one had had any breakfast, let alone a cup of tea. We had to wait. In the meantime they got the old machine out and the new one in. The electrician arrived and didn’t seem to do much.

The GR came back at lunchtime to find everyone still faffing about.  The electrician left, the ‘not plumber’ realised the new hose wasn’t long enough and had to go to King’s Cross to get a part, I half expected him not to come back. No one had had any lunch. Luckily I had an Ella’s Kitchen pouch to feed Erbie and I put him down for a nap. The plumber came back with the new hose and fixed it. I couldn’t watch any longer. He left about 3pm. We put newspaper down on the sodden hall carpet, and I cleared the surfaces of everything that had been under the kitchen sink and in the cupboard. I think we ate, it’s hazy, then we tried to relax. The electricity started to short out, firstly every hour then roughly every half an hour.

The GR lost his temper. Things such as ‘if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, incompetent, I pay my rent, another day off ruined etc. I was given strict instructions that by the time he returned from work the following day, the electrics had to have been sorted and I had to have got the management agencies word in writing that we would be given 3 months notice before building work started on the back of the property.

Quiet Weekend

After the washing machine fiasco The GR made me promise him a quiet weekend. No interruptions, no people popping round, no bad news. I had strict orders that by the time he returned from work on Friday we should have working electrics and the promised notice letter from the property management agency. I started with the electrics, a kindly electrician diagnosed a wet junction box and recommended a week to let it dry out. He rigged up temporary wiring for the sitting room, running from the kitchen so that we could watch TV and work on our computers, while we waited to see whether the floor boards needed to come up! Next I emailed the property agency threatening to turn up at the office in the afternoon if I didn’t receive a reply. I got a reply of sorts saying, there were no plans as of yet for the scheme to go ahead and that they’d let us know with ample time before building works started. I doctored it to say 3 months time to put The GR’s mind at ease, or he’d be impossible to live with, with his worrying. So on my head be it, if the give us 5 days notice. Satisfied with my work, I went to leave the flat to get some nice food for the  weekend, and what was waiting on the doorstep. An envelope from the Belle Mere addressed to The GR. The first contact in 3 months. Can’t he even have a weekend I thought to myself, well, yes he can, I’m hiding it and putting it back on the doorstep on Tuesday morning, after he’s had the award ceremony he’s been looking forward to on Monday night.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Lady Cups

Having just posted about a lady in the bottom of a cup, I came across these:

What the devil, you may think quite rightly, is a LadyCup. Well it appears to be something on the european market that is an environmentally sound way to replace tampons. Not in my mind a bad idea as even though I know we shouldn’t flush, I can’t say that I don’t and I know I have friends who think it’s even OK to flush the applicator or plastic wrapper.

We are all so squeamish us English ladies, I can’t see it crossing the water just yet. The menstrual cycle is not for conversation. However having got my first one since conception (on my birthday *%$^&**&) I feel suitably unjaded enough to start that conversation. I’m a syncher, I synch up with anyone around me, friends, sisters, the moon’s cycle, hell, I’d probably synch up with a dog on heat if we had one. (anyone unfamiliar with this, it is when a group of women working or spending time together all start to menstruate around the same time).

The lady at the family planning clinic told me the first one I got after pregnancy would probably be a shocker, so I was pleasantly surprised, if that is a term one can use for getting your period. Not so, the second, coinciding with the full harvest moon and in the fair ladies words ‘a shocker’.  The GR and I had an argument the day before, I should have realised it was on the way then, but I never do. I resent it when you tell a guy you’ve got your period and they look in the near distance and say: ‘oh, that’s why’ in an all too knowing manner, referring to your behaviour the week previously. I often get that spot on my chin which supposedly denotes which side you’re going to ovulate on, aswell.

My theory is if all the oceans in the world are affected by the pull of the moon and we’re made up of  a percentage of water, why not me, I’m hoping the ‘shocker’ will be a harvest moon one off.

Mooncakes really do exist

Erbie and I went down to Chinatown on Sunday to eat mooncakes and look at the lanterns strung up for the Mid Autumn festival to celebrate the harvest moon which fell on October 3rd this year.

Chinatown, Soho, London :  4th October 2009

This is a mooncake.

Moon cakes are made from lotus seed paste in pastry, sounds bad, actually very nice. I sliced mine up into quarters as they are very rich. Some have a salty egg yolk in the middle to represent the moon. Thankfully not the one I got. It went down rather well with a hot strong espresso. Erbie wasn’t impressed and stuck to homemade carrot cupcakes instead.

While I’m here I thought I’d show you the lady in the cup. My father bought this teaset back from somewhere for my mother a long time ago. Never used, it sat on a high shelf collecting dust when I was a child but I’d occasionally take down a tiny cup to watch the lady’s face appear at the bottom if you held them up to the light.

I’ve got a horrible feeling a similar one may have inspired TPau’s ‘China In Your Hand’.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Winning the Lottery

Just fantasising this morning, (or shall we perhaps call it positive visualisation) about what we would get if we won the lottery.

A nice little 2 bedroom mews house in central London.

A West country abode in need of renovation with a little garden that needs some love and attention.

And as a treat – a bluebell wood.

I don’t usually do the lottery, but yesterday was in slightly in my favour financially. A few little things happened that meant I spent less money than I had expected to. But then The GR and I had a massive row about money, involving him walking off. We’re both worried about it and the threat of potential building works starting at anytime and having to find somewhere else to live is getting to us, along with not really having any consistent work.

The joyful anticipation before checking one’s numbers is worthy of a little dreaming n’est ce pas?

Oh Look!

Here's the shirt I was harping on about in Clothes Loathe. I haven’t worn it yet.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

RHS Wisley

Joojoo invited Erbie and I for a daytrip in her new car. I carried Erbie on my hip down to South London, carrying the child seat - (not as bad as it sounds, they’re very light and the tube is virtually door to door.), We set off early on a bright clear Autumn morning at the end of September, Erbie napping in the back to Wisley, near Woking. I can’t believe I’ve never been before. We spent the whole day there and still didn’t manage to see everything.

Wisley morning September 2009 : WEM

And of course, it being a RHS garden everything is labeled. So if you see a plant you like, such as this lovely Sedum Erbie was pulling as I took the picture, you can note it down (for when, if ever, I get a garden!).

Why WEM Why?

Our visit coincided with a sculpture trail:

Orange spots denote sold so there will be a few gardens with this foxy, I wonder if he’d work as a cat scarer?

We had a several cups of tea from accompanied by rather lovely carrot cake and a beetroot cake, Erbie tried both, well stole a lot of both actually. I especially liked the greenhouse. It started with an amazing collection of orchids and pitcher plants.

Pitcher plants are carnivorous, they entice insects with pheromones, who then fall into and their water filled cavities and drown to be ingested as soupy nutrients. Joojoo said ‘carnivorous plants always look like men’s bits – seducing innocent insects in’!

At the other side of the great glasshouse were the succulents and cacti.

I especially liked the prairie meadow behind the greenhouse.

Posting pictures of flowers makes me smile.

An apple a day

I was recently informed that there is truth in the adage: ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away.’
Apparently it also helps to keep excema and asthma away too.

Did you know it is the tannin in apples that makes them go brown, so the more tannin the apple has the quicker it will discolour.

Friday, 2 October 2009


I’ve been hectic throughout most of September doing the suit’s job.

So now we have October month of the London Film Festival and Halloween.

Erbie is ‘cruising’ (which someone gleefully informed me is walking around holding onto furniture – not in Soho it isn’t.)

Erbie also has a cough and snotty nose from visiting other people’s children.

Erbie is also teething methinks, he keeps crying, which is very out of character.

I have managed to wean him off of night time feeds – I know, I know, now he sleeps roughly 8-10 hours straight, which is a big difference as he was waking every 3 hours. Unfortunately 8-10 hours straight only takes him to about 4 or 5 am, whereas when he was waking every three hours I could get him back to sleep again in the morning. We shall persevere. I, however,  haven’t started sleeping longer than 3 hours at a stretch yet, which is obvious in tell tale signs such as suitcases under the eyes, pasty skin and an inaptitude to do anything.

Scary dolls

 I saw these this morning, when I took Erbie to Covent Garden for an early morning walk.
He woke at 4am. Teething and a cold. I gave in and got up at 6.

Would you get your hair cut in a hairdresser’s that had these in the window?

Me neither!

Other nonsense

Quote of the day

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

“Philately will get you everywhere”

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

“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