I saw a Hungry Caterpillar breakfast set in John Lewis today, and did a little research, it's made by Portmeirion, (one of my top destinations), for Eric Carles Hungry Caterpillar's 40th anniversary this year. They have produced a special collection ranging from mugs to tray cushions. How many breakfast sets can one child have?
We spent the morning singing along to 'Guantanamera', from Putumayo Kids Latin Playground CD. A lovely collection of Latin American tunes from Ecuador to Cuba. I challenge anyone to listen to this music and not have their spirits lifted at least a little.
Some dancing ensued, a portion of the proceeds goes to support disadvantaged Latin American children, that's got to make you smile.
Look at these adorable little classic books printed in the US and available from Random House. They have been around since 1942 and each one contains a wonderfully illustrated story. You can see from the covers how cute they are, I shall be collecting them for Erbie.
Erbie was very clever and got me a card with a picture of grapes and a lovely antique Wedgewood ring. The Guardian reader made breakfast, we went for a lovely walk and then opened the country pub for lunchtime ales. I stayed upstairs with Erbie for most of it, then we had a roast, sat in the sunshine and waited for the real landlord and landlady to return fromn holiday. it was a wonderful week playing pubs, but we had to return to London. 5 hours on the M4 aaaaahhhh. My cyclamen are dead. Ther flat looked lovely and tidy until our cases contents were strewn allover.
The Guardian Reader started to edit his Jackanory reading of 'Where the Wild things Are' by Maurice Sendak this morning. Erbie and I woke at 5am today, ouch. Guardian reader was on the sofa, after a night on the tiles of Crouch End. Vats of tea for breakfast for the grown ups and banana porridge for small person. Then back to bed by 8am. I fell asleep too, for half an hour, so missed my shower window, oh well, only seeing Belle Mere today.
A pub weathervane and some sheep we said hello to. Had a marvelous week away, and travelled back to London on Sunday - 5 hours on the M4, there had been an accident, which we saw the police removing the bollards from just as we reached it. Erbie behaved himself amazingly well. We had to wake him to get him out of the car, and he woke up when the traffic ground to a halt about 3 hours into the journey.
Went for a quick sojourn to Bath, across Pulteney Bridge, where there is the most amazing dolls house accessory shop. Poked around in the Oxfam bookshop and found the Tale of Johnny Town Mouse by Beatrix Potter, which was missing from my collection and 3 rather splendid Ladybird book for under £1 each. Erbie was on daddy's back, and sporting a blue and white striped woolen hat with red tassels, we called him St. Just (in a french accent) all day.
We went for our constitutional every morning with Erbie down the lane, on our lovely sunny week away running a real ale pub in the West country - somebody's got to do it! There were violets and celandines a plenty, and a lovely mound of primroses nestled under the dry stone wall. Erbie got to see horses and a pheasant up close, he was very happy, cooing like a wood pigeon on each walk. I had him in the Baby Bjorn on this particular day, but the Guardian reader quite often took him up in the back pack. Fresh air and blue skies, bliss for this dusty London sparrow. One can see how clean the air is by the amount of lichen around, the less pollution the more lichen, this one has probably been growing for over a 100 years.
9pm R4 Wednesday 18th.
Tom Heap is going to try and find out what has happened to all the sparrows.
I'll tell you what has happened to all the sparrows.
Hawks is what has happened to all the sparrows.
One can’t drive down an english motorway without spotting a hawk, well unless you are the driver (I’m a passenger).
And then Mayor Ken went and got loads to kill off those dirty rotten pigeons. They are called Sparrow Hawks Ken, S-P-A-R-R-O-W-Hawks, the clue is in the name.
I suppose I should try and listen to the programme and see what informed conclusions they make, rather than my uninformed one.
You know what I like. Vanilla fairy cakes from faircake.co.uk. These look divine, I can never get my butter icing to look like that. Haven't cakes become popular? I had a Cava and Cake party for my not baby shower, it was fun watching everyone get drunk. Drunk, I remember that...
Met up with my anti-natal buddy and her little girl today for a hot chocolate at Pain Quotiden on Marylebone High Street. We got the only table in the sunshine, well encroached on a lovely lady, who beckoned us to join her, as she finished up. 'It's the best table she said', she was finishing off a business phone call, that we couldn't help overhearing, 'appearing on 10 years younger', turns out she has an 'eyelid clinic'? Anyway, she was very nice, to let us sit in the sun. Then another lady sat down with a take away coffee, and showed us a picture of a little one year old girl she was adopting. Very cute. Before I knew it, it was lunchtime, Erbie wouldn't eat the lunch I'd brought for him, so a quick milk feed, and he fell asleep on my legs, then got woken by a police siren whizzing past.
Erbie has a tooth coming through in the bottom front, Nothing is really showing yet, but I can feel it with my finger, then he accidently (I say accidently), bit me when he was overtired and feeding, before bed this evening. I shreiked 'ouch' and he burst into tears, for a second, then we both carried on. That stings!
Is it just us, or does everyone have a problem fitting rear facing babyseats. I’ve just spent over half an hour, in the dark, in the borrowed Ka, I’ve broken a fingernail, my hair has come down, my back hurts, but I think I’ve done it. It took 4 attempts, two phone calls, almost blood, nearly sweat and swearing.
I asked the Guardian reader what he thought of the French navy cotton shirt dress, ‘It doesn’t look very comfortable, is it too small?’, as my boobs were trying to bust out, and; ‘it’s very creased’, I ironed it and phrumphed to myself, but when I studied it in the mirror, he was right. As to the mushroom tunic, it fitted wonderfully, but that colour against my skin, was like putting on a cement overcoat, not a good look, So I returned them and recouped my cash, and happily wore the green and white fifties style wrap round dress from Phase Eight I’d found in a charity shop, much to the Guardian reader’s approval.
Guardian reader borrowed a car to bring some kit down town, and got the wrong key jammed in the driver’s door lock. As he was parked in town, with an unlocked door he put the crook lock on, clicking it shut as he realised it’s only key was the one stuck in the door. The AA were called, but refused to come as it was his mum’s cover. She put him on her cover, they came, but only just. Then the bloke broke the crook lock off with a crow bar. A friend then relayed a story of someone she knew leaving their child in the new car on Hampstead Hill. They kicked the handbrake off and the car started rolling, she managed to rescue the child, but the car only stopped when it’s open door got caught on a tree. The insurance claim was embarrassing.
Took Erbie for an early morning walk and a bit of retail therapy for moi. Went to check out Liberty’s new layout. Liberty is my Tiffany’s – nothing bad can happen there. Saw some to die for metallic hat box bags, in metallic turquoise or rose pink Liberty motif leather, only £1,200! I lingered longingly, stroking. It was not to be. Went to H&M’s Regent Street store. Erbie was burbly, am liking a muted palette at the moment. Got a silk tunic and under vest in the pale pinkish brown of field mushroom gills, and a french navy cotton shirt dress. Also got Erbie 3 plain cotton long sleevers, navy, black and white, for £1.99 each. The grown-up stuff was more expensive, and I haven’t dare try them on yet with my bosoms and cake eating habits.
Lambswool crocheted breakfast anyone? I recently saw one of Kate Jenkins pieces in Rebecca Hossack's gallery on Charlotte Street. I think they are rather splendid, but then I do have a penchant for a good 'english' .
Sparrow Crumbs! Made a cake, from a recipe in the Guardian, but swapped tinned peaches for apricots. This is it before a dusting of icing sugar. Tasted rather good, if I say so myself. Is it just me or are apricots usually a dissapointment? I always expect some juicy ungent sweetness that will transport me to Egypt or a Greek island and end up with a mouthful of dusty Stroud Green High Road.
Banana porridge. Fennel and pear, followed by 'Plum's' plum, guava and pomegranate, which is rather tart and made him screw his nose up somewhat. Which made me laugh. Butternut squash. A chew on a couple of steamed asparagus spears, 2 segments of orange, I had to pull a bit of pith back out again. One plastic teaspoon, one metal teaspoon, a rubber duck, the towel, the remote control, the crossword, my finger... His teeth weren't so bad today either.
Double egg and chips breakfast. The reader accidently threw away the last 2 cubes of frozen pre-expressed milk for Erbie's porridge this morning. I could have cried. He made up for it by making a rather superb breakfast, seen here. I should really start checking my cholestrol levels. Erbie got his porridge, with fresh milk, lucky blighter, still refusing formula. I tried mixing the formula with the sweet water from steaming a pear, still no! Now he's not too keen on taking the bottle either, could it be the association with a nasty a taste.
This is the type of cake I should be buying. It looks good enough to eat. I saw this lovely pincushion on Etsy but sadly they are no longer available. I shall have a go myself. Actually, i might try replicating it in real cake form, as it looks so scrummy.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar pop up book is out. The 40th anniversary edition of this book. I am looking forward to seeing it, but think I can hold off buying it for Erbie just yet, I'm still trying to read the simple version to him without him trying to eat the pages.
The Guardian reader bought this for poppet at the National Portrait Gallery bookshop this weekend. We went into the National Gallery and chose a picture each to study for 5 minutes and then ask each other 3 questions on. We were in the Impressionist room and both chose a Monet, mine 'The Thames under Westminster Bridge' painted in 1871. Monet came to England to escape the France-Prussian war, and captured the smog of London at the time, the recently built Victoria Embankment is on the right of the picture. This used to be one of my favourites when I studied art at school, but not so much anymore. Big Ben looks out of proportion and it is, well, rather grey.
On saturday morning, I went to see the flat Guardian reader had happened across on Shorts Garden, privately advertised, and a superb location on a pedestrianised street, right in the heart of Covent Garden. A lovely little flat, with, can you believe it a large terrace at the back, with table and chairs and a barbeque. Sadly it was on the first floor, and the music from the shop below was pounding through the floor, and this was after the landlord had asked them to turn it down. So sad, but not for us, if we both had 9-5 jobs and were out all day it would be perfect, well except for the weekend. I could just imagine hanging out of the window and sitting out the back in the summer, but we couldn't live with that noise. Bother, bother, bother. The producer from 'Priscilla' the musical was going to view it after me.
We went to view 3 flats in Covent Garden on friday, all for under £340 a week. One on Seven Dials and 2 behind the Royal Opera House - what locations. Sadly they were all too pokey, we would have to get rid of all our furniture, they did have baths though, and 2 were in a secluded gated courtyard - SO QUIET, but it was not to be, we just didn't get the tingle. When we got back home we realised just how super our flat is, if only we could get the landlord to fit double glazing!
I got some 'Organix' banana porridge the other day and have been making it up a teaspoon with a cube of frozen expressed milk in the mornings, yeasterday and today we moved on to 2 cubes and a tablespoon plus a teaspoon, he yums it up. yesterday, aswell as porridge he consumed, 1 and a half plum pots, some butternut squash, a tiny segment of orange, a sip of formula (still working on that one), and some water. This morning, we had a lovely nappy, and I mean that. A nice soft not sticky dark poo! He's been workingup to it, going from usual breatfed ochre to gingerbread, to tan handbag to dark chocolate. God, who'd have thought I'd go from raving about Zandra Rhodes patterns to baby poo shades.
I accidently jabbed Erbie in the mouth with the teething medication syringe, he grabbed hold of it, after a little had gone in and then let go and it jabbed right into his poor front gum, he cried, but not for long. Bad mother. Guardian reader was upset and said I'd scarred him for life, but took it back later.
Erbie, woke at 10pm last night, then again at 1am, 3am and 5.30am and then we both only really dosed until getting up at 6.30am. I hadn't given him anything for his teeth in the evening, and he was pulling his ears and whimpering. I fed him all the times he woke up after trying rocking, he was hungry. He's on solids, he's ate 3 meals during the day aswell as breastfeeding, though only 2 proper ones, the rest were snacks. I've just googled and have read some other mother's stories. It seems quite common, and the fact he does sometimes sleep through till midnight, then 3am then 7am, I think is ok. I think I'll just let him progress naturally, i can't bare the thought of controlled crying, although I might try it at nap times. He doesn't seem able to settle himself, and thrashs around with bunny, kicking the cot sides, which sounds like he's rattling his cage! I allow him to do this for up to ten minutes, but then give in and feed him and he drops off almost instantly as long as he's not over tired.
The Guardian reader and I bought this adorable book by Antoni Louchard in FNAC in 2003, for my nephew and another friend. We spent days translating it into what we thought was a lovely english rhyming version, that we'd now like to give to Erbie. Can we find a copy of this book? No. I've searched FNAC, Guillaime Jeunesse, Amazon. I thought I'd suceeded when I found a copy on Canadian Amazon, but 2 months later they informed me they couldn't find it. In the foreign language bookshop today I was told it is temporarily out of print. Boo.
Having searched high and low for the mythical water / gel filled teething rings all over the west end, my doctor suggested I try Mothercare, which is at Marble Arch. I duly walked there with Erbie in the Baby Bjorn and thankfully found a plethora of teething rings, squares, triangles, even hand shapes. Also a very first toothbrush, very cute, Brandishing my Mothercare gift card I paid to oohs and ahhs about Erbie's body warmer from the cashier. It had taken a good hour half hour to walk the length of Oxford, well march the length of Oxford Street and I'd hoped Erbie would fall asleep at his regular nap time 12.30, but he must have been hungry as he didn't fall asleep, but started to cry. I admit, I had left Mothercare for a quick shufty round Primark, it would have been rude not to. I rushed back to Mothercare's baby changing room, only to find a poor new mother rocking a screaming tot, and what with Erbie and his empathetic crying, they set him off just as he was starting to feed. I gathered us up and slipped across to the empty changing room I'd spotted on the way down. One tear rolled across his nose as he settled into feeding. He fell asleep, love him, but woke up when I got up, no more tears though. I took him smiling over to finish my shopping and managed to get a frock and some shoes. We then got a number 98 bus back down to Tottenham Court Road and home to smooth butternut squash.
Erbie and I visited the doctor this morning to find out what formula I should try next. It turns out his son was lactose intolerant too, so he knew all about it. He perscribed a tin of Cow & Gate Pepti Junior, in which the lactose molecules have been chopped up and so are easier to digest. However when I described the rash that came and went instantaniously he mused that it could be an allergy in which case I would need to take him for a scratch test at the hospital. 'Perhaps you could take him to A&E and then try feeding him', he suggested. 'Isn't that a little extreme?' I replied.
Mother's Day gift ideas. This lovely tin of biscuits from biscuiteers.com Can I expect a card in my first year as a mother? The Guardian reader has already been quite expilcit as to what he would like on Father's Day each year.
Started to think seriously about moving now, and rang an estate agent to view a possible 3 flats in Soho and Covent Garden. Got an email reply and left some details. 3 of the properties we'd like to see are still available, but didn't hear anything more. I'll call them in the morning. Sian came into town, and we went across to see Barbara to get our hair done. the Guardian reader looked after Erbie. Got my roots done after 7 months worth of growth and went for a very short fringe. We likey. The guardian reader thinks I look like the 'Laura in High Fidelity', Sian says I look like Amanda Plummer in Pulp Fiction!
Checked out the internet for private rentals, they are almost impossible to find, sent enquiries off to a couple from craigslist.com and gumtree.com. One seemed too good to be true, a couple that suddenly had to move to Manchester leaving a fully furnished (including linens and a cleaner) apartment with use of a pool for £300 a week. Of course it was too good to be true and an email reply was recieved asking for the deposit to be paid up front, with no viewing having taken place. A less obvious one was placed for a flat in Harley Street, the guy was supposed to be in Ireland, and I was to deal with an agent from findaproperty.com, but only after I'd given my full name and address and paid a deposit. When I asked for his telephone number and repeated a request for a viewing he stopped emailing. These scams work by them sending you dodgy cheque either for too much money or the difference of what you have sent them and then the cheque is returned unpaid, a nice little earner, but not from us. The internet was rife with them, nearley everyone I looked at was a scam, private landlords must get their property let some other way, we either need to find a flat by word of mouth, looking for ads in shops or windows or resort to an estate agent. Don't get me wrong, we're perfectly happy to get a new flat through and estate agent it's just we were looking for affordability, and though if the agency fee hadn't already been tallied into the rent we might be able to find somewhere bigger for the same rental as we pay now. Ha ha.
The alarm finally got turned off at 9.30 monday morning. We posted this sign on the door at 7.30am, and posted it through the letterbox with a contact number. No one has apologised. It's time to move, we spent the weekend with earplugs in, in our own flat! Start checking internet for private rentals.