Sunday, 28 June 2009

For ladies who sit in the park

As Satdee cakes are off limits at present, here is what every discerning mother should be taking to the park, a Battenburg lace parasol, available online from
Price: £24.46


There are some equally gorgeous ones stateside at :

Eric Carle’s 5 Very Lovely Books

We've all heard of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but how many of us knew that it came from a series of five 'Very' books by Eric Carle. Click on the title link to visit Eric's blog and read about his inspiration.
We have recently been given The Very Busy Spider which is a lovely touchy feely book, with a raised spider web thread, fly and spider, about a spider building a web and encountering farmyard animals in the process. I feel I should collect the other 3: The Very Quiet Cricket, The Very Lonely Firefly and The Very Clumsy Click Beetle. All available on for appropriately about a fiver each.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Happiness Soup

Claudia Roden says "eating yellow foods will result in laughter and happiness".
I found a glut of yellow courgettes at Berwick Street market, well they had bowls of them for £1,
'Nah, love they're South American bananas' ha ha!
So thought I'd try making Nigella's recipe for Happiness Soup from 'Forever Summer'. I'd already been boiling away a chicken carcass to make stock, so had a yeast free base.

Yellow courgettes - 1 big one
Zest of one (unwaxed!) lemon + juice of half
1 pint homemade chicken stock
Olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
A handful of thai jasmine rice.

Dice the courgettes and soften in the oil, add zest, add the chicken stock and turmeric, throw in rice and lemon juice, put lid on, get highchair out, forget about what you are cooking, come back to rissotto, only it's not rissotto because there was no stirring involved. I caught it just as the rice had absorbed all of the liquid and was nice and fluffy. It was yellow and looked appetising, but it certainly wasn't soup. I ate a bowl next to Erbie as I was feeding him, and he tried some too. He grabbed a handful, put it on his tray and then picked out the courgette bits and ate them. So by the end we were all yellow and happy. My how turmeric stains!

Scooby Doo characters

£2.49 for the set - vintage of course sweetie. Can you name them?
Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Shaggy Rogers, Velma Dinkley and Scooby Doo, we can forget about Scrappy.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Diet Trial PART 2

My tests came back with intolerances to yeast and egg white, so I am to avoid both for 4 weeks starting from the 15th June. The dietian said most people had difficulty with the wine – wine, what wine, well wine is fermented so has yeast, what, and beer, yes, and try to avoid all vitamin B, and of course Marmite – AAARRRGH. But it’s only for a month – I signed the form. I get the sensible information; try to eat 3 meals a day, exercise 3 times a day and for my body weight drink 2 litres of water daily.

I also get two pamphlets.
Yeast Free Diet :
No bread full stop, there is a handy recipe for soda bread and scones. No food made with bread – sausages, breadcrumbs, fishfingers. No cheese with rind, Camembert, Gruyere etc. No wine, beer, cider, lager, apparently vodka is ok? No buttermilk, soured milk or cream. No grapes, plums, or over ripe fruit. No soy sauce, Worcester sauce, pickles, vinegar, mayonnaise. What can I eat exactly? The list contains such delights as: Ryvita, Matzos, Oatcakes, rice cakes. YUM! I can feel my mouth getting dryer as I type.

How to avoid eggs :
No fresh pasta, egg noodles, egg fried rice, biscuits, shortbread, ice-cream, custard, ALL cake, nougat, chocolate containing lecithin and Horlicks. They provide a recipe for egg replacer – sounds yummy: 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda, 2 tbsps flour, 3 tbsps water. I mean would anyone actually do that.
So I begin. On day one and two I am at a complete loss as to what to have for breakfast, and end up eating strawberries and cream, which whoops, having typed up this, realise I should have read the yeast one properly, and avoided the cream. Someone suggested yogurt, so day three I eat a big tub, this morning I resorted to cold curry. If I was at least a little organised I’d be making lovely healthy dishes of tuna salad dressed with lemon and oil, cooking up snacks of asparagus wrapped in pancetta. I seem to have unwittingly been thrust onto Atkins, which means the last of the baby weight has come off, all my old underwear fits as do my clothes, and I even got on the waist cincher belt I bought in a fit of pique when I was 8 months pregnant.
All this is well and good and there is, I have to say, a slight improvement on the symptoms side, but I am sceptical as I had a whole year symptom free when I lived in France, and I subsided on wine and bread and very ripe cheese.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve reached for bread but resisted and this week the only rosé coloured liquid to pass my lips was one vodka based Cosmopolitan.
But it is my intention to do better. Instructed to build up to strict following on the last 2 weeks, I may slip in a pizza today then really plan some menus and be good.

Pearly cushions

Here's a crafty idea from (link in title) Pearly King cushions. Perhaps not so good for a household with button chomping babies.

Image: re-foundobjects

Lavinia makes appearance.

Maybe it’s because it’s Father’s Day weekend, or maybe it’s because of the Cosmopolitian I drank after putting Erbie to bed, or the snorting that had ensued when The GR caught sight of ‘My year without sex’ by Hephzibhan Anderson (click on title for link) on the cover of the Guardian, but Lavinia popped round on Saturday evening unexpectedly. She’d just made an appearance when The GR brought up the subject of having another child, to which I retorted, you need to be having periods for that to happen, but it got me worried and I retrieved the only condom in the flat. Anyway, it was a very nice visit thank you very much, and everything still seems to be in working order which is good to know.

Call the fire brigade

Rash reaction to Amoxicillin

Inspired by BelgianWaffling’s breakfast image of sunlight and yogurt, (click title above for link) that I thought looked divine in spite Jaywalkers endeavours of self-depreciation, I started the day with Greek yogurt, yeast and egg white free.

However, I should have know the day wouldn’t go well when The GR started drinking at 9.24a.m, yes a.m. Erbie seemed quite perky on waking despite his ear infection and I duly gave him his 4th 2.5ml dose of Amoxicillin at 6.15a.m. As the day progressed he started to look a bit peaky and rubbing his head a lot. On changing his nappy we noticed a red rash on his stomach and his fever had returned. I called NHS direct on 0845 4647 they took his details and said a nurse would call back. A kind nurse did indeed call back and I had to answer the scary meningitis questions i.e.: Is he floppy? Does he have a stiff neck? Is he shying away from light? Does the rash look like bruising under his skin? Does he have a different or unusual cry to normal? Thankfully all these were no, but he did have a runny bottom and this alarming rash. She advised me to go and see a pharmacist to check the rash. Just before the phone conversation I’d been nursing Erbie, and he’d falled asleep, so I lay down beside him and we slept together. When he woke I duly took him to the big Boots on the corner of Tottenham Court Road. A young pharmacist ushered us into a consulting room and I showed her Erbies rash under his Elvis vest. She instructed me to stop giving him the Amoxicillin, and possibly any penicillin in the future. Usually any reaction is immediate, but because the dosage is so small it had taken a few days to show up. I mentioned him rubbing his head a lot and she told me headaches were also a side effect – poor mite. So back home for many cuddles.

Friday, 19 June 2009

9 months and still no pushchair.

No more Baby Bjorn. Boo!
I got one of these. Yay!
It's a Hippychick Hipseat from John Lewis or their website, it's basically a large belt that velcro's round your waist then clips together with a filled bum bag type seat that the baby sits astride facing in, or legs jangling in a jolly way facing out. The only draw back I've found is it's not as hands free as the front carrier, so I'm fixing him in with a nattily tied scarf! The beauty of it is, that your back stays completely straight, whereas when I stick him on my hip I lean to the side. It's very comfortable, so far I've been to Tavistock Sqaure and back, shopping in Waitrose - Bruswick and whisked to the doctors. I'm not sure how well it would do on a really long walk, there maybe some chafing, but really long walks should involve rests and snackerels - no?


Poorly boy

Erbie has a fever which I’ve been keeping at bay with damp sponges and a nightly dose of child’s nurofen for 3 days, but it’s day 4, so I take him to the doctor.
The receptionist rings me back and asks if I can bring him it immediately as the doctor has an emergency home visit to attend to, but Erbie’s asleep, it’s his 9am nap time and I’ve just put him back to bed. Oh well, up he gets, very mumsey, I sit him on the Hippychick seat and he rests his head against my chest in a sorry way. The doctor discovers raised lymph glands behind his ears and a slight upper respiratory tract infection, which means his left ear hurts him. He is prescribed Amoxcillin for 5 days. It’s luminious yellow needs to be refridgerated and comes with a baby pink syringe. I hold off for improvement till day 5, but then start the course of antibiotics, reading the warning signs avidly. Look out for clay coloured poo and white blotches under the skin. After one dose, the next morning he has a clay coloured poo, um, well he has only really eaten porridge, rice cakes and bit of banana, that’s all pretty clay coloured. I give him a second dose, by now he knows it’s horrid and it’s not so easy. I look worriedly at the white blotches on his skin – I am imagining these. I try and feed him anything that isn’t pale coloured and wait in anticipation for the next poo.

If it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

Well having moved into our new flat a few cracks have appeared in the shiny new veneer, we CAN hear noise from the café downstairs. Music when they set up and close up, which is nice music so we don’t mind that but the worst is – a drinks refridgeration unit that kicks in every 6 minutes then goes off for one minute before starting up again with the gutteral roar of a phlegmy beast. And this refridgerator unit is right below the bedroom. So, I introduce myself to the manager, and rather petulantly ask if it can be turned off over night. I bump into the landlord of the local pub who tells me there is no reason for the unit to be on overnight and that the Landlord of the building has just increased their (the café’s) rent and wants them out anyway. He’s a gossip! They’ve been there over ten years, and I’m all for ‘better the devil you know’, so after a few more sleepless nights decide a better tactic is needed. All smiles I request a meeting with the manager and we talk civilly about the possibilities, all their stock comes in weekly, which is why they turn it off on Sunday nights – bliss, ready to fill up again on Monday. He is considering moving the perishables into a basement fridge, but we are the first people to complain in 10 years. Why do the english never speak up about stuff, this explains why no one has stayed in this flat for longer than the minimum tenancy, a shame as it’s a dream location and on Sunday nights, peace incarnate. The GR and I discuss, and feel bad for even bringing it up, but there must be a remedy. We decide to proffer half and half, if he keeps it on overnight Monday to Wednesday when he has more stock will he consider turning it off from Thurday to Saturday, meaning we get 4 nights of blissful quiet. It’s a Thursday and the fridge miraculously gets turned off. I’ll put it to him today, wish me luck!

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Things you should only ever try if you're a mum.

Mashed advocado, pear and Cheerio.
We've succeed with pear, Cheerios are more or less sweets for Erbie but the advocado has yet to be accepted, pah.

Things you should only really buy if you're a mum

Bag closers.
I always wondered why people had these, now I know, my cupboard is full of half eaten packets of baby cereal, rusks, mini rice cakes - things in short that go soggy if left exposed for a milisecond. I knew I'd entered motherhood when I purchased a bag full recently at Ikea. Bevara 30x bag closers 20 small and 10 large, for a ridiculously cheap price, that doesn't register when Ikea shopping.
Pureed broccoli pear and peas, have you ever tried pureeing peas - it is not possible, I'm telling you.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

What's in your bag?

Thanks to Fabulous at Forty’s blog, and her ‘contents of my bag’ posting. Things like this get me unreasonably excited. I carry an unfeasibly small bag, always have done. When Erbie was really tiny, I even managed to get a nappy in there! So here is this months bag of choice. I’ve put some Cooks matches there for scale!

2 prescriptions for Erbie – unfilled, John Bell & Croydon awaits
Coin purse containing shrapnel, a button and 3 50p stamps for the States.
Oyster card and wallet containing:
6 first class stamps
2 return tickets to Richmond from 2008
Ham polo club guest sticker from 2008
Dior Nude foundation sample
YMCA receipt for shoes and scarf
Soho Wine Supply receipt for vodka
Louis Vuitton Red Card Wallet containing:
Westminster Library Card
NatWest Credit Card
NatWest Cash Card
NHS Maternity Exemption Card
Liberty Loyalty Card
Mothercare Voucher Card
Boots Advantage Card
Tesco Clubcard
Business cards, mine, clients
Chelsea Physic Garden Membership Card
Left Handers Address Book
Set of Endangered Plant stamps
Keys to new flat, not yet a keyring
Mobile Phone
USB fob
Some fluff
2 hairpins
and my camera, which I love - a gift from The GR, not shown for obvious reasons.

You see philaterly will get you anywhere.

Now, your go....

Sorry for the fuzzy photos, I really must do better.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Lavinia cancelled

I've been meaning to say, we were all very excited about Lavinia coming to visit in the country – all that space, and having a pub all to ourselves, but although she promised to make an appearance and we even talked to her, at the last minute we had to cancel due to illness. I'm hoping she will make an appearance now we are in the new more spacious flat, especially as we have two whole doors between us and Erbie, and a carpet these things help.

I'm in love with the view from the window...

King Rollo by David McKee

The King would like to go for a walk, it’s Spring, but everyone is too busy, so when he’s asked to tidy his room he retorts that’s he is too busy going for a walk.
Do the illustrations seem familiar? Are they stirring distant memories – the taste of synthetically colourful ice pops perhaps, that’s because they are by the same guy who gave us Mr Benn from Festive Road.

Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell

A weary duck does all the fat farmers work while he lazes in bed, the other farm animals chase off the farmer in the night and they all run the farm happily ever after.
Gorgeous illustrations by Helen Oxenbury.

An Evening at Alfie by Shirley Hughes

Mum and Dad go out to a party and the house springs a leak while the babysitter is there, neighbours come round and sort it out, everyone goes to bed happy and dry.
More lovely illustrations.

Martin the Mouse

I couldn’t resist this, originally published in 1968. A boy’s pet mouse escapes and ends up on his pilot father’s flight, an air stewardess is really a spy, guns, mice, planes, uniforms, bondage, what’s not to like! Look at those pictures.

I also got ‘Piglet finds a Heffalump’.

Diet trial

I’ve started a diet trial with UCH.

It’s to see if allergens provide any bearing on IBS symptoms.

It kicked off with an 8.30am appointment, after a 12 hour fast to test for lactose intolerance, this involved drinking a dusty liquid from a disposable beaker and then breathing into a breathaliser every half hour and noting down the readings until midday, as I live nearby the kindly researcher let me leave with the machine.

Also a blood test.

Note to anyone who has to have a blood test at a hospital, they send everyone in the morning, you wait in a packed waiting room, you take a number and watch the counter board clicks slowly higher, people cough. Or you leave and come back around midday when the waiting room is empty and 5 nurses are waiting around to take blood, you're in and out in 5 minutes.

I had Erbie with me this time and I am very squeamish, he was strapped to my front and looked intently on as I looked intently away, I wasn’t the only one giving blood in the room, it wasn’t easy. Anyway, touch wood, they never seem to have trouble finding a vein.

I also got given a chart to fill in. Everything that passes my lips to be written down and any symptoms noted.

And oh joy of joys The Bristol Stool Form Chart.

Anyone squeamish reading here, scroll no further. Men seem to love this chart. The GR was so excited he downloaded it and emailed it off to most of his buddies who also eagerly emailed back with desired information.

Urgh. I go back on the 15th to get a specially tailored diet, which should be good as although The GR seems to think we have a healthy diet, pizza, chocolate eclairs, full english breakfasts, pitta and houmous - probably is not.

Thursday, 11 June 2009


I came across this on the corner of Whitfield and Goodge Street.

Vintage finds today.

On happiness scale from 1 to 10 this counts as 7, I don't know if it's real, I don't know if it's fake, but reading Chanel that many times over in one place makes me smile and the shoes are just my own private Summer panto - if there were such a thing.

Back in town, aaaaaahhhh.

View from the kitchen window.

Anyone for crochet.

Kate has been mentioned here before for her crocheted english breakfasts. The Rebecca Hossack art gallery on Charlotte Street has been turned into ‘Kates Café’, showing Kate Jenkins crochet work, with tea and coffee available too. There are some lovely new designs, such as this wonderful 'Selection of Patisserie' which already has a red dot, caviar, and Jam Pots. I wandered along to take a peek this evening with the Belle Mere (mother-in-law) and Erbie, the artist was there, a lovely looking dark haired lady who I so wanted to compliment; alas she was being monopolised by two charming men with cheque books, far more important, methinks. I've slipped in a photo of the breakfast The Gr made for me yet again during the week, he excels himself, he really does, notice the inclusion of sausages this time round.

85 X 60 CM (33.5 X 23.6 INS)


Here is a picture of Shaggy from the posable set of Scooby Doo characters we found in a charity shop in Corsham. Rich pickings. He didn't dirrrrnk the wine. I may have drink the wine. No. Really, my sister drank the wine.


Madify is what mother-in-laws DO.

Dog Rose

Wild rose, Briar rose, when the leaves on the roses in your garden start appearing with 7 instead of five they're going wild, wild I tell you, reverting back to their roots. This is one I picked in the lane opposite my sister's lovely real ale freehouse.

New tooth

Top left coming through.
Went to doctors today and got a prescription for more lactose-free formula. And 2 contacts to call for paedriatric nutrition / allergy information.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

We've Moved

The GR did it stick by stick across the street with each piece of furniture. I wonder if there is a record for moving the shortest distance to another borough? Now it’s a case of unpacking and finding everything, and finding more importantly homes for everything in a pedantic Virgoan way, who me – yep. So far I’ve shovelled all the kitchen stuff under the kitchen sink for later sorting. The kitchen drawer already resembles a kitchen drawer, i.e not a tine of cutlery. The windowsill reserved for herbs, doesn’t quite work out, it’s too deep and not quite wide enough for my current window boxes, so they are precariously balanced on various china that hasn’t found a home yet. Why have I got 2 teapots. Vases are another thing, where do people keep their vases? I’ve put them up on top of the cupboards, but there is that lovely layer of kitchen grease and grim to be addressed up there when I get time, and they’re not giving off the Conranesque collected loveliness I desire. Mum’s old tins that used to have Xmas decorations in, priceless, homeless. The bookcase joy of joys has found a rather snug dwelling in the hallway, out of Erbie’s ever widening grasp. It is piled with paperwork and magazines, 1970’s Vogue anyone, French Elle, all the Kate Moss and SJP covers, thank goodness I don’t get Grazia on a regular basis, and of course some books. The Ottoman may actually get used for it’s real purpose instead of a coffee table and electrical storage. I even have my own joy of joys, clothes rail, we’ve been sharing for years. Now my clothes have room to breathe and I feel decisions like everything must be hung in outfits coming on, and more hangers. There are curtains to be got, white out blinds the prefered choice don’t come in anything like long enough from regular retailers, and custom-mades are just a bit too pricey to leave behind. I may proposition the managing agents at a later date. For now the only place that does anything over 200cm length is Ikea, so off I trundle, Erbie strapped to my front on the Bakerloo line to Stonebridge, then a free shuttle bus to Ikea. There are several ‘streetcar’s in the parking area, if only I drove. The blinds I fancied are far too see-through so I plump for curtains, pick up a couple of essentials such as lime green funnels and black rubber gloves, a few textiles and we’re off. Well off as far as waiting for the shuttle bus back. On the tube I end up with a carriage full of women googling over Erbie, while he flirts shamelessly, making the journey back seem short. Due to the credit card fiasco I’m cashless, so can’t even get a taxi from Oxford Circus, bah. Friends come to lunch on Saturday and cook lamb for us in the kitchen with a dying mans broad beans, and minted new potatoes, which all tastes lovely, vegetarianism trully gone. They lend us their Ka and we’re all set for 10 days running the country pub, only we’re not as I don’t know where anything is and it takes ages to pack, we set off on Sunday around 12 o’ clock, not bad going you may think, not so good seeing as we were all up with the sun and Erbie at 5am. John Lewis sell black-out material, this is to be my return project!

This is a view of the new flat from the old flat!

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