28 December 2006
We had a lovely time. The FB let us sleep in until 7.30 and had to be prompted to check his stocking which he then dragged through and insisted on opening on our bed. The highlight of his stocking was a torch, though he was very chuffed that Santa had brought him two satsumas and a banana.
Eventually he was allowed to start on the huge heap of presents Santa had left under the tree (which was decorated in time for F. Christmas' visit). I thought he would get through the loot in about 20 minutes, but an hour and a half later he had finally unwrapped the last present. There were a lot of stops to play with things as they appeared. So he is now the proud owner of his very own till and a doctor's set, which is good because he's decided to be a doctor when he grows up - I guess he realised that being a doctor, a builder and a traindriver during the week, and a street cleaner at the weekend was just going to be too much work.
The obstetric consultant appointment was yesterday. It's not common to see a consultant in the UK during pregnancy; most of the care falls on either the GP or Midwives, but my midwife felt that I needed to see a consultant because of the ectopic, so we saw him yesterday and it was obvious that none of us knew why I was there, but never mind. He's testing my thyroid, liver and kidneys to see if he can figure out why I can't keep my eyes open in the afternoon.
Today, like most of London, we went to the Natural History Museum, followed by the Science Museum. We were under orders from a certain knee high dictator to go and look at the dinosaur exhibition but our little Castro chickened out when it came time to see the huge roaring T-Rex. Then it was off to the Science Museum to find Stephenson's Rocket (one of the first steam trains).
We've weaned the FB off his Underground Ernie fetish only to replace it with a Charlie and Lola DVD watching compulsion. However, there has been a breakthrough, he has permitted us to put Chorlton and the Wheelies on twice! and watch ToyStory, though he did spent most of it telling us that he didn't like it and could we put CBeebies on please.
24 December 2006
22 December 2006
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
I don’t drink alcohol or hot liquids, but I do love chocolate, so it would have to be a chocolate milkshake. Not very Christmassy I grant you, but very yummy
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?
Definitely wraps them but not very well. And if Santa was a little better prepared he would use different wrapping paper than the non-Santa presents.
3. Coloured lights on tree/house or white?
I think they are white on the tree (none on the house) but we haven’t had them up for years.
4. Do you hang mistletoe?
5. When do you put up your decorations?
Christmas Eve due to small boy and 2 cats. All three have a deep love of Christmas decorations.
6. What is your favourite Holiday (Christmas) meal include?
Chipolatas, stuffing, gravy and either turkey or chicken I’m not fussed. This year we’ll have delicious carrots too.
7. Favourite Holiday memory as a child?
My sister and I making a pact when in bed on Christmas Eve that the first to waken would wake the other up.
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
My sister and I had suspicions for a long time. We used to count the fruit in the fruit bowl on Christmas Eve and then tally it with what was in there on Christmas Day morning. We also took to marking the fruit and seeing if it was appear in our stockings.
9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
With whatever decorations we have. I would love to have a tree that looked like it was out of a magazine, well it does, but as the “before” horror shot.
11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?
I love it until it melts into slush and then freezes. I hate ice.
12. Can you ice skate?
13. What's the most important thing about the holidays for you?
Spending time with my husband and son, and watching my son’s face when he opens his presents.
14. What is your favourite holiday dessert?
Stollen. It’s German cake and absolutely delicious, and now I am calling MrV to ask him to bring some more home (from the supermarket, he didn’t bring anything back from Germany except himself.)
15. What is your favourite holiday tradition?
Making the Christmas cake. Everyone has to stir the mixture before it goes into the cake tin, and make a wish.
16. What tops your tree?
I think it’s a really tacky star. I keep meaning to replace it and forget every year.
21 December 2006
After a brief panic this morning about my father-in-law's present it got sorted. I had to wake my brother-in-law up to get his stepmother's email address but then some amazon vouchers were winging their way over to her.
And finally our daily postal update.....are you ready for this? The material turned up today (the replacement parcel) and it is gorgeous. I think I will take it all out tonight and start thinking about patterns to make; then my downstairs neighbour knocked on the door. He had been to the post office to pick up a parcel for him and they had given him two for us. They aren't supposed to do that, and they are supposed to leave cards and they hadn't; in addition we have been in every day for the last 2 weeks when the postie's been. I'm wondering what other parcel cards have failed to slid through our door. Tomorrow I go to complain. The tally of the missing post stands at one bouquet, and one parcel.
Oh and an update on the FB. Despite another tedious day indoors (first waiting to lynch the postman, and then waiting to hear what was going on with his father) we have had a good day. No arguments nothing. Fabulous! Perhaps Santa will bring his presents after all
Heathrow is taunting me. We are under their flight path and I can hear the planes going over. Keep your fingers crossed that one of them is carrying my MrV
on edit found him. He's in Paris. Going to get the Eurostar home tomorrow.
20 December 2006
How is the Christmas countdown going? I think that's all the presents bought and with a sick sense of horror I have just realised that I have forgotten to buy my father-in-law and his wife their present. OH SHIT! OK I think the FB and I will be taking a trip to Wimbledon tomorrow. Bugger bugger bugger. So one present left to get then. Cake is baked and just needs its covering of apricot jam, marzipan and icing but I'll have to wait until MrV is back from Germany before I can do that as the mixer to make the icing is too high up for me to reach. And yes, you read that correctly, MrV is in Germany, on training. I'm going to be incredibly diplomatic (just in case anyone from his company is reading this) and not say exactly what I think of sending a family man on training the week before Christmas. Tree is still resting on top of the wardrobe; however I have just finished making an incredibly tacky garland-type thing of gold beads and coloured plastic letters spelling out several variations on Merry Christmas. OK I'm bored. I've run out of chocolate within hand reach, there is nothing on TV worth watching, and the FB has lost the DVD remote control.
And I know you are all desperate to hear the latest in our missing post saga. Well....some of it is starting to arrive! Hurrah! But am still one bouquet and three parcels down. When they arrive I promise to take back some of the horrid things I've been thinking about the postal service.
1. Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel. Reminds me of singing in the school choir in a freezing cold church at the end of the term at Christmas time, but it also has an incredible grandeur about it.
2. Once in Royal David's City - some of the notes put a shiver up my spine with their perfection.
3. All I want for Christmas are my two front teeth - my father's two front teeth on the top row are false (knocked out playing rugby as a boy) and he has denied having them for years. One Christmas years back they fell out in the middle of a meal. He tried to glue them back in but to no avail and retired to his bedroom to sulk when my sister and I began to sing "all i want for christmas......" He now claims that he was playing a practical joke on us and we fell for it. Yeah right dad!
4. Santa Baby. Once it gets into my head that's it it's stuck there for the rest of the season.
5. Winter Wonderland.
18 December 2006
The tally of missing post continues to rise. A further two parcels and possibly a bouquet of flowers have disappeared. I think after Christmas I shall be wandering down to the post office to complain. On the plus side, the Ebayer who sold me all the cotton to make the quilt is sending more down by registered post and claiming the money back from the PO.
17 December 2006
Yesterday we were going to take the FB to see the reindeer at the local supermarket, but alas when we got there the event had been cancelled as someone had been murdered in the carpark.
I was explaining to the FB this morning why they had to cancel the event - someone got badly hurt in the carpark at the supermarket (I'm too soft to tell him that someone got killed there) and the police are trying to find out who hurt them. They need to stop people walking around there in case they pick up something the police need to help them.
I then explained to him that the police will catch them and then his uncle will tell them off. His uncle used to be a barrister (yes he has a wig, and a little box to keep it in, and a little grooming kit to look after it) with the Crown Prosecution Service (like the US DA, I don't know what the Aussie version is). The FB looked at me and said "and den UncleG will fight dem" just like his very own superhero. MrV then phoned his sister to let her know that her fiance is an undercover crime fighting superhero and she replied by text:
His already large head has now swollen another two sizes. It's a tough job being Top Uncle but someone has to do it.
And I finished it. I finished the cross stitch. MrV took the FB into town to do some present shopping (for me) and I spent the 5 hours I had free sewing and watching grownup television including a fascinating documentary about kodiak grizzlies narrated by Brad Pitt. I'll photograph the finished picture and post it tomorrow. Bring shades.
14 December 2006
13 December 2006
1. Personal Assistant
2. Engineering Assistant in an aircraft maintenance company
3. Level 2. Tech Support
4. modeled togas in a bridal fair in Tel Aviv (honestly!)
4 movies I could watch over and over.
I’m going to cheat and declare movies as meaning any dvd in my collection.
1. Any of the Pink Panther films (but not the one with Steve Martin in)
2. Bringing up Baby
3. All Creatures Great and Small
4. Eddie Izzard performances (the old ones, not too fond of his new stuff)
4 places I have lived (apart from where I am now)
1. Doha, Qatar
2. Kalamazoo & Detroit, Michigan
3. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4. Maastricht, the Netherlands
4 TV shows I love
1. Charmed (yes I know I know)
2. New Tricks
4. Jam & Jerusalem
4 places I have been for a holiday
1. New Zealand to see the grandparents when I was 7
2. Disney World, Florida
3. Interrailed around Germany with MrV and FB (when he was 2)
4. Island hopping in Greece
4 websites I visit daily
1.All the blogs I read. To list them here would take too long
3. The Guardian
4. Tomato Nation
4 favourite foods
1. Chocolate – milk. Never white chocolate and never dark
2. salad – Caesar, plain, greek
3. All fish except swordfish. I would kill for a hammour (excuse the spelling. It’s a fish from the Arabian Gulf and easily the most delicious fish I have ever eaten, especially with tartar sauce made in the Gulf Hotel)
4. Cheese. Especially those forbidden unpasteurized soft cheeses.
4 places I would rather be
1. Edinburgh, either in my dream home in the Grange or a flat in Marchmont (or Ramsay Gardens though that gets rather noisy during the Festival)
2. Australia so I could meet all the people who leave comments
3. Somewhere snowy so the FB could experience snow. He is desperate to build a snowman and throw a snowball.
4. If I have to be in London, then a townhouse in Knightsbridge
stolen unashamedly from domesticali
12 December 2006
And how was your weekend? Busy getting ready for Christmas or are you all far more organised than me and have got it all done? By the looks of things we may be the only household left in the celebrating world that doesn't have a Christmas tree up, and they all seem to be so beautifully decorated. I love this tradition that some families have of buying an ornament a year per child so that when they grow up and leave home they have their very own box of tree decorations each with a little history. I do wonder though, what happens to the parents. Are they left with a barren tree that first year?
Right, I am going to go and figure out how to make savoury rice and then make tea, and then.....
(P.S. the title for today's meander is a little piece of wisdom passed onto me by my father. It explains his ability to break any item of PC equipment within minutes)
08 December 2006
I can hear the kids in the future
"Mum what were you thinking when you bought this?"
"Ask the FB darling, he chose it"
One child turns to another and mutters "there she goes again, calling him the FB. Should we have her locked up this time?"
And this made up for being rained on etc etc etc....
My diary for next year!
(the thing covered in the delightful teatowel is the dried fruit for the christmas cake marinated in a litre of brandy. )
I'm just back from my midwife's appointment (I wrote this earlier, midwives don't hold court at 9pm). Apart from a very scary moment when she couldn't hear the baby's heartbeat everything seems to be fine. The FB who has been behaving like a little hellion over the last few days, got his act together and was a perfect angel during the examination. He must have been shattered because at 6pm all went quiet and I found him fast asleep in his bed; so I woke him up. Well I need him to sleep through the night, and he wouldn't have if he had continued to sleep. Does that make sense? I hope so.
05 December 2006
Well today I plucked up enough courage to take me to Mothercare and I bought a pair of maternity jeans and a top. And, and this is the important bit, I haven't gone up a clothing size which is remarkable considering chocolate is treated around here like it is at least one of the major food groups, if not as important as air for sustaining life. Maybe Liz was right, maybe Maltesers really are a diet food. If so, bring em on!
(see now the title makes sense, if you know that the Underground is also called the Tube, which being terribly Londoncentric, I assume you do)
04 December 2006
So how was your weekend? We got an extra special treat on Saturday morning - the FB let us sleep in until 9.30! Yup you read that right. 9.30! Absolutely bliss. But he's more than made up for it since. We got a grand total of 3 hours last night. I can't wait for this cold to pass.
Because all the words in my head are a little jumbled up with sleep deprivation I'm going to stick some photos up instead.
I can't get this blasted thing to let me title the photos
30 November 2006
29 November 2006
Told the FB he is getting a brother and his face dropped. "I want a sister"he said, then he smiled "we put this one in the bin".
"Umm no" I replied "maybe next time you'll have a sister"
I can guarantee that if the Peanut had been a girl, the FB would have wanted a brother. He's just so easy to please.
28 November 2006
And so while the Christmas cards gather dust in their box unopened, and the cake ingredients lie waiting in the cupboard you can rest assured that all the unnecessary stuff is being done.
Some of you avid readers may remember that the FB's pushchair has been taken in for repair. I alas am not an avid reader of mine and can not remember if I grumped about the incredible suffocating rain cover it possesses. If I didn't... the raincover comes down directly over the FB's face in a way that I am sure is in breach of any health and safety regs that pushchairs have to mind. Anyway before you all fall asleep, John Lewis the wonderful department store who fix the FB's pushchair lent us another one complete with raincover. Necessary things raincovers, this being England and therefore on the damp side at this time of year. This morning was one of those wet times and therefore the raincover was necessary. "Good design" I thought looking at the piece of plastic "ahhh look FB you clip it to the sides of the hood using these poppers, what a clever and easy idea!" Until we got to the right popper which doesn't stay on causing the raincover to fall off on one side and let the rain in.......
Cue much swearing.
27 November 2006
Christmas cake needs to be made
Cards need to be written and sent
Presents need to be bought, wrapped and sent or arrange for delivery to fabulous sister who wraps things far better than me (maybe I should look into a course or a book on wrapping presents - put on todo list for next year/decade)
Tree to be decorated - not until Christmas Eve otherwise cats/FB bring decorations down.
Food shopping to be done which means clearing the freezer out so I'll have to do an audit of the freezer to see what can be used up before then
Shit. Get a new shelf for the fridge
Fill the FB's advent calendar
What I would like to do:
Make some hanging stars and snowflakes for the FB's bedroom and possibly other places in flat
Make some Christmas tree decorations a la Nigella.
Make own Christmas cards - maybe next year.
Get some energy and stop being so bloody lazy.
And it seems like the tiredness I've been complaining and moaning about may actually be anaemia, my second bout this year.
180g dark brown sugar
350g ripe bananas mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 bicarbonate of soda
3 tablespoons warm milk
preheat the oven to 180C and butter a 30 x 11cm loaf tin
cream the butter, and sugar until smooth and then whisk in the mashed bananas. Add the eggs, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and whisk in well. Sieve in the flour and baking powder and beat until smooth. Mix the bicarbonate of soda into the milk and stir into the batter.
Scrape the mixture into the tin and bake for about 50 minutes until the bread is crusty on top and a skewer poked into the middle comes out clean. Turn out onto a rack to cool.
Serve warm or cold, plain or toasted with butter, but allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container, where it will keep well for several days
should be able to be sliced into 10 - 12 slices
26 November 2006
25 November 2006
five books meme
1. Take five books off your bookshelf.
2. Book #1 -- first sentence
3. Book #2 -- last sentence on page fifty
4. Book #3 -- second sentence on page one hundred
5. Book #4 -- third sentence on page one hundred fifty
6. Book #5 -- next to last sentence on page two hundred and fifty
7. Book #6 -- final sentence of the book
Except that because I've got 6 bookcases in my livingroom and I don't want one to feel left out and grumpy, I've added an extra book to the list.
1. Oh boy which ones to choose?
2. "If you were to touch the plinth upon which the equestrian statue of King Charles I is placed, at Charing Cross, your fingers might rest upon the projecting fossils of sea lilies, starfish or sea urchins."
London The Biography by Peter Ackroyd
3."Daddy and I go over the accounts sometimes," James said.
Carter beats the Devil by Glen David Gold
4. "I - we need to use my membership to our advantage, not throw it away."
Operation Typhoon Shore by Joshua Mowll
5. "They are certainly hot, rather stiff, and the legs are often too tight."
How not to be a Perfect Mother by Libby Purves
6. "It swept towards me out of the distance, like a wave, washed over me and glided away."
The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
7. "In future debates, when people would pontificate, "There was no disaster, there was only high water, " or "The '95 floods caused inconvenience, not a disaster," there would be at least one hero, Hans Verdrinker, would could prove with one hand raised, that there had indeed been a disaster, though now part of him was....."JUST ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WAAL."
The Undutchables by Colin White and Laurie Boucke
24 November 2006
Fridays have always been special. I grew up in the Middle East where the weekend is Thursday and Friday. Fridays were our chocolate day as children too. We would have a leisurely breakfast sometimes even having croissants which had been flown in from Paris the day before (so a very very expensive treat). And then in the evening my mother would cook something delicious for dinner. If we were very lucky we would have Roast Beef, and the best bit about that is of course the Yorkshire Pudding. Frankly if my mother had served up the Yorkshire Pudding and gravy, and missed out the beef I would not have been that fussed.
Now I live in the UK where the weekends are Saturday and Sunday, and we aren't woken at dawn by the call to prayer from the mosques, and still Fridays are special. And I know it is very vain but part of me hopes that the sight of a little boy running down the road, chocolate stains round his mouth, shouting "I had some chocolate mummy, I have lots of energy now. I can run!" makes a minute in someone else's life a little special too.
Serves 4 - 6
400ml tin coconut milk
1-2 tbsp yellow or red Thai curry paste
350ml fish stock
3 tbsp fish sauce
2 tspn palm or caster sugar
3 lemon grass stalks, each cut into three and bruised with the flat of a knife
3 lime leaves, destalked and cut into strips
½ tspn turmeric
1kg pumpkin (or butternut squash) peeled and cut into large, bite-sized chunks
500g salmon fillet, skinned and cut into large, bite-sized chunks
500g peeled, raw prawns
Pak choi or any other green vegetables of your choice
Juice of ½ - 1 lime to taste
Coriander to serve
Skim the thick creamy top off the tin of coconut milk and put it, over a medium heat, into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat milk and paste together until combined. Still beating gently add the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemon grass, lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to the boil and then add the pumpkin. Cook on a fast simmer until the pumpkin is tender (usually around 15 minutes though of course this varies).
Shortly before you are ready to eat add the salmon and prawns to the robustly simmering pan. When they have cooked through which shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes stir in the pak choi or any green vegetables you are using - sliced, choped or shredded as suits - and tamp down with a wooden spoon. When the pak choi’s wilted, squeeze, in the juice of half a lime stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or decant the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the coriander; the point is that the coriander goes in just before serving. Serve with more chopped coriander for people to add to their bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or basmati rice.
Nigella says that you must use raw prawns in the recipe and that if you can’t get any just double the amount of salmon in the recipe. As we live in the land without frozen prawns I say that normal prawns do quite nicely.
23 November 2006
It was a beautiful day today; the sun shone, sky was blue and the few leaves left on the trees and those on the ground seemed to glow. So rather than go to the park, we went into the centre of London. Got to go to the Bead Shop, Kiehls for skin cream, and then onto my favourite department store John Lewis. The FB's pushchair has developed a series of faults like one of the wheels keeps falling off. Minor stuff like that but infuriating. So it needs a rehaul and it's still under warranty. This is our second pushchair. The first had a dodgey right axil that kept snapping and now this one. Either we are incredibly unlucky or we should be the crash test dummy family for pushchairs. Or possibly pushchair designers forget that people actually need to use them on a daily basis and so bring out creations that can only be used if child is Thumbalina sized and is under some sort of house arrest so can only go 10 metres from the home.
Witty titles are just not my thing are they!
22 November 2006
Am going to have to move my blog posting time to earlier in the day, as by 6pm I am incapable of coherent speech let alone typing without spelling mistakes.
Eight days left of November and then a break I think from blogging, can't wait!
21 November 2006
Since the FB was little he's been shouting "Green Man come out the pub" every time we wait at the lights to cross. Since the weekend though, he's taken to cupping his hand to his mouth and shouting that little bit louder. Hasn't made much of a difference.
He also shouts "Stop!" at car alarms when out and about, and weirdly, they stop. Doesn't work when indoors though. Useful skill I think.
20 November 2006
We have been whining central today which may possibly have been caused by the Evil Mummy's refusal to let the poor, innocent betrayed FB watch more than 20 minutes of TV during the day. Last week he watched far far too much and we have to cut it back. So instead we played many games of Postman Pat balancing parcels on his arms, Whose Nose is it anyway? and the FB became very inventive and built a runway and heliport on the couch. It was good to see him playing and not sitting staring at the screen.
However, on the subject of TV, those of you Down Under may be able to answer a question for me. We have a TV show here called "The Koala Brothers" which I think may be one of yours? The koalas (it's a cartoon) fly a little prop plane in the outback usually to help some of their other animal friends. But it is their attire that confuses us. Is it cold in the outback (was always under the impression that it veers towards the warmer end of the thermal spectrum). Said koalas are always wearing very thick, Norwegian fishermen style jumpers which is understandable when up in the air, but down on the ground??
Yours in fashion confusion
19 November 2006
Went to bed last night with a splitting headache, feeling sick and very cold; and with the designs of two bead necklaces spiralling around my brain. When I've got the time, and money I'll drag the FB to the beadshop in Covent Garden and start working on it. One of the designs is in green all different shades, and the other can only be described as a rainbow. It could be tacky or it could be gloriously gorgeous.
18 November 2006
Yesterday it bucketed it down, absolutely poured. One of those days when it is far nicer to be in doors snug and warm with perhaps a good film on the box. Alas we had to go out to meet MrV from the tube station as tonight was our once-every-three-years fish 'n' chip night. So the FB and I put on our wet weather gear and headed out.
Today was gorgeous, a beautiful clear crisp autumn day and my mother-in-law is making one of her flying visits to London from the arse of beyond. She left home at 3am this morning, and flies back up north at noon tomorrow. Poor woman, she is absolutely shattered but so happy to see her grandson, and it was lovely to see her too.
17 November 2006
Explain what ended your last relationship?
When was the last time you shaved?
What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
trying to put an image on my blog's title
Are you any good at math?
reasonably (and it's maths not math)
Your prom night, what do you remember about it?
we don't do proms in the UK
Do you have any famous ancestors?
yup. very famous
Have you had to take a loan out for school?
I had a student load but paid it off a few years ago
Last thing received in the mail?
How many different beverages have you had today?
Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?
Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?
I can not remember the name of the band at all.
Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
no, but I dig tunnels, warrens of them
What’s the most painful dental procedure you’ve had?
i've never had any work done apart from having my teeth cleaned and I love the taste of that toothpaste they use.
What is out your back door?
don't have a backdoor
Any plans for Friday night?
spend some time with MrV and try and stay awake long enough to watch QI
Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
yes, makes it go all corkscrewy
Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
nooooo and i don't like popcorn so please don't send any
Have you ever been to a planetarium?
yup a few times i think
Do you re-use towels after you shower?
of course, doesn't everybody?
Some things you are excited about?
the results that came in yesterday, Christmas - more about the things we do as a family than the actual day.
What is your favorite flavor of JELL-O?
either blackcurrant or strawberry
Describe your keychain(s)
two keys attached to a broken keyring attached to a keychain thing that attaches to my bag.
Where do you keep your change?
usually it gets donated to the FB so is scattered all over the floor, shoved into gaps in door frames, pushed under the tv..anywhere and everywhere but not in my purse
When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
God I think it was when I was presenting my thesis at uni.
What kind of winter coat do you own?
leaf green duffle coat
What was the weather like on your graduation day?
Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?
16 November 2006
15 November 2006
We are on day 3 of enforced rest and boredom has well and truly set in. I am now an expert on all CBeebie programs - Doodledo is fantastic (Smarteenies should be taken off air, ughh) and the Numberjacks has the best music I have heard on a kid's tv show. And of course Underground Ernie is back on much to the happiess of a certain little boy.
My copy of The Crafter's Companion arrived this morning and there is the most gorgeous sewing bag in it (top row, otherside of the elephant purse). It will have to wait until after Christmas though as I won't have a sewing machine until then. So a question for you all. Is there a particular sewing machine you would recommend to buy or stay clear of?
(and Kirsty wrote it far better than I ever could)
14 November 2006
Do you think the Priory would help with this?
The cross stitch is coming on slowly. The background is complete and I am working on the border which I have to say is very tedious. I've got to the point now where I am starting to plan my next thing and this, I think, is making finishing this one very hard.
13 November 2006
Today was test day and to be honest having my eyebrow pierced hurt more than having a huge (and I mean huge) needle shoved into my abdomen. Now we just await the results.
1 oven ready chicken about 1.75kg
1 small onion, 1 stick celery, 1 bay leaf, 1 sprig parsley, salt & a few pepper corns = stock
50g flour, 75g unsalted butter, 1 large onion thinly sliced, 2 sticks celery chopped, 1 large/2 small cooking apples, 150ml cider, 300ml stock from above, 2 - 4 tbspns double cream
cut the chicken into joints and remove the skin
put the carcass and giblets into a saucepan with all the stock ingredients, cover with water and simmer gently with a lid on until the stock is needed.
coat the joints in flour, pat off the surplus and fry in 2/3 the butter until brown all over. remove then fry the onion and celery. added the peeled, chopped apples and fry. stir in the remainder of the flour to absorb the fat. add the cider and stock gently. bring to a simmering point and add the chicken and enough stock to cover. simmer for 30 min or until the chicken is tender. remove the chicken, then cook the sauce uncovered for 5 min until slightly thickened, then add the cream. pour the sauce over the joints.
the lazy velcro way
buy some chicken stock, use that instead of making your own
use chicken breasts or thighs
the rest as above.
comes from the Chicken Cookbook
on edit used olive oil to fry the chicken in which worked very well. next time plan on using creme fraiche instead of double cream, and button mushrooms
12 November 2006
I was going to put the recipe for West Country Chicken up tonight. MrV made it for Sunday lunch and it was absolutely delicious. But my wireless network is bucking worse than a wild horse at a rodeo and I doubt that it will stay up long enough for me to put an entire recipe. So tomorrow it shall be. And will give me enough time to see if I can find a link to the Wurzels "I've got a brand new combined harvester" which really ought to be played whilst cooking. Swigging cider is also allowed, and the odd "oohh arrr" too, though in a Dorset/Sumerset accent rather than a pirate (unless you were pretending to be West Country pirate).
Mr V took the FB swimming today (in Wimbledon - see a connection has been made to the title, alas not on Wimbledon Common, there aren't any swimming pools on there and it is a little cold to be swimming outdoors) and I got some mummy time which was so lovely. Am still going through that first trimester exhaustedness stage, although there is some debate as to whether the 12th week is first or second trimester. Either way am shattered and need to sleep 23 hours a day.
11 November 2006
It's been a nothing day today. The midwife came round to do the booking in session where they take your medical history, your height, weight (lied through teeth) etc etc. She's going to book me an appointment to see a consultant if all goes well on Monday. The best thing though, she was my midwife when FB was born and was happy to see him again. The last time she saw him of course he was 11 days old and refusing point blank to breast feed.
Apart from that all I've been doing is stitching. When I've finished it I'll put a photo of it up here. Should warn you though, that like all shop bought cross stitch designs, it leans heavily on the tacky side.
Last night's tea was Days Go By's chicken soup which was delicious, and tonight it's hot dogs.
10 November 2006
1. What time did you get up this morning? 7.45
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds, peferably a blue one
3. What is your favourite TV show(s)? QI & Never Mind the Buzzcocks (but only if Mark Lamarr is presenting and not that whippersnapper they’ve got on now)
4.What is your middle name? Not saying
5. What is your favourite cuisine? Chinese
6. What foods do you dislike? pork
7. Your favourite flavour of crisps? Ready salted hula-hoops (eaten off fingers of course)
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? The Beiderbecke Collection
9. What characteristics do you despise? Smug, incredibly overconfident people
10. Favorite item of clothing? pyjamas
11. If you could go anywhere in the world on holiday, where would you go? I’d love to do the TransSiberian railway to Vladivostock then travel to India and spend a year doing India and Nepal
12. What colour is your bathroom? White
13. Favorite brand of clothing? Not clothing, but I’d love a Mulberry handbag
14. Where would you want to retire to? One of the Greek Islands, maybe Crete, Santorini or Naxos
15. Favorite time of day? evenings
16. What washing powder do you use? Whatever is cheapest
17. Coke or Pepsi? Diet coke caffeine free
18. What did you want to be when you were little? It varied – a vet, a longdistance lorry driver, a writer, a doctor
18. (b) What do you want to be now? fulfilled
19. Favorite sweets? Space dust
20. What are the different jobs you've had? Call centre person, worked in aircraft maintenance, modeled at a wedding fair, washed dishes, nannied, PR to a director etc etc
21. Piercings? Ears, nose, both eyebrows
22. Ever been to Africa? nope.
23. Been in a car accident? Yes, was the front seat passenger
24. Favourite restaurant? Been so long…..
25. Favourite flower? Today hollyhocks
26. How many times did you fail your drivering test? never sat it
27. What do you do most often when you are bored? Read or sew
28. What is your favorite colour? I don’t have one
29. Lake, Ocean or River? river
30. How many tattoos do you have? None but I’ve secretly dreamed of having a chain of cartoon snails going round my upper left arm. Each snail a different colour.
31. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The egg
32. What materialistic thing would you ask for if you had one wish to make? Endless money
09 November 2006
I may be a bit down for a while. Bear with me please.
(Jess I wasn't up to making your soup this evening, but will do it tomorrow.)
08 November 2006
It’s one of those days in South London when the sky is such a perfect shade of grey that people turn into shadowless zombies or is it vampires that don’t have shadows?; and the buildings all stand out against the sky in fantastic relief. I think I must be amongst the very very few people who actually love grey days. It doesn’t bother me not to see the sun for a day, but then I am after all Scottish and we go months without seeing either the sun or healthy food!
And on the subject of umm less than healthy eating, I had to face the horrible fact that the large protuberance on my front was not as I thought a baby belly. Not, unless the baby is a freakish lemon meringue pie, dairy milk chocolate, and pizza fetus. So back to eating cereal for breakfast, and not nutella balancing on toast; salad for lunch, and not sandwiches; and give up on the takeaways for tea. When I was pregnant with FB I gained a whopping 6 stone (38kg) and not surprisingly I experienced so much pain in my hips and pelvic area from carrying around all that weight. So this time I have to keep my weight under control.
And now all I can think of are chocolate cakes, cream filled doughnuts…..
(tea tonight was a pumpkin & lentil stew with chickpeas and carrots. It was blended down so the carrots weren't visible anymore and FB ate two helpings!)
07 November 2006
I miss buying books.
(dinner was beetroot, white fish and tatties with sauce. v simple and rather yummy)
06 November 2006
200g tinned tomatoes with juice, pureed
2 tspn olive oil
500g raw prawns peeled and deveined
2 garlic cloves peeled and squashed a bit
2 tbspns calvados
2 1/2 tbspns single cream
1 tbspn chopped parsley
melt half the butter and when it is sizzling add the tomatoes, a little salt and a dash of pepper. cook over a medium heat for 10 mins until it is thick
cook the pasta as instructed
fry the prawns in the remaining butter & olive oil with the garlic until they (the prawns) are quite bright and the undersides are golden and crusty in places. WHen they are cooked scatter them with salt. Add the calvados and cook until it evaporates
drain the pasta, keeping a cup of the cooking water. Add the tomato sauce to the prawns along with the cream and parsley. Heat until just bubbling. add the pasta and toss well. if it looks like you need it add a little o the cooking water to help the sauce coat the pasta. serve immediate with a grinding of pepper.
brought to you by Tessa Kiros Apples for Jam
ALTERNATIVE LAZY VELCRO VERSION
fuck pureeing the tomatoes, just use passata
chop or crush the garlic
use whatever pasta you have
cooked prawns work just as well (we can not for love, money or sexual favours, get raw prawns in this part of London)
forget the brandy & parsley
forget about thickening the tomatoes, passata is thick enough
fry garlic and prawns in butter & olive oil until done
add tomatoes, swig of single cream and pasta
Admittedly I've never actually made the proper version but the lazy version is very very yummy even when made with children's alphabet pasta (bought to try to entice FB to eat pasta - failed).
05 November 2006
Ah yes, he's home. Came back the bearer of gifts - a digger/tractor for FB which went immediately into the sandpit in the kitchen (no backgarden, boy loves playing in sand) and two very delicious, very stylish bars of chocolate from a Belgium chocolatier. I should make them last I know I should but...
The return of the man meant no more slobbing about in pyjamas, no more ordering takeaway and sadly the dishes had to be done. So tonight I faced the wrath of the cooker and made dinner and it was delicious. Came from Apples For Jam which I love. First time I made this recipe (penne with prawns and tomatoes) and will definately not be the last.
right I am off to eat my chocolate, have a good evening.
04 November 2006
As for the pizza, tonight’s dinner was meant to be meatballs, tatties and sweetcorn but after moving the several tons of pumpkin innards cluttering up my freezer, I found a solitary box of meatballs, already opened and with only 4 meatballs left. I don’t remember opening a box and putting it back in again, but then I walk into rooms and walk back out again because I have no idea what I am doing there. I blame Mrs S our poltergeist. She’s “borrowed” my tube pass, a bath plug and frequently moves my husband’s glasses (though to be fair to her that is probably him) so she was probably hungry for meatballs in whatever dimension or place poltergeists inhabit (inside the tv according to that film)
I am trying to convince my husband, by text message as he is in Belgium and I am here in London, that we should up sticks and move to Australia. You guys seem to have a far nicer standard of life than us poor Brits, and yes the comments on the weather got to me. Alas his last text back to me said “are you ok?” I think he suspects I am now certifiable.
(pizza was yummy but too much and I had to fight the cats off and stop FB from taking a bite out of one slice, putting it back (the slice not the bite) and doing the same again.)
Yesterday I mentioned the crisis that is my lack of maternity wear. Slowly this is being fixed. Next week MrV is taking me boot shopping to this place. I’m swaying between these and these, both in brown. And I’m going to drag him to Blooming Marvellous for some cords and tops.
And on that note, I bid you goodnight.
(favourite word today seems to be "and")
03 November 2006
And because I was pregnant with during the summer all the surviving (and thus hideous) maternity clothes I have are all lightweight and useless in these Arctic conditions. So the hunt is on for winter maternity wear for short round women. Any suggestions?
Today is also a crap day for another rather sadder reason. BabyC would have been due today if it had made it past 7 weeks. Alas it didn't, and turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy. In one lousy day I lost a baby, 2 litres of blood, one fallopiean tube, almost my life, and my best friend (long and very complicated story and no she's not dead, just not my friend any more). So if I seem a little down today please forgive me.
On the upside FB has been the sweetest smooch monkey today. I've been showered in sloppy little boy kisses since he woke me up this morning.
And I have readers! Thank you to everyone who've left comments. You've made a sad old lady very happy.
1. FIRST NAME?
2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
no my parents just liked the name, like many many other parents in the 70s.
3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY?
Wednesday night when the combination of early pregnancy, my son's awful behaviour and my husband's impending weekend away, came together.
4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
As it can change midsentence, it depends really. But generally I would rather it was neater.
5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCHMEAT?
cornbeef (but not out of a can please) with tomato and Hellmans. Yummm
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
I think I would find me a bit too aloof so probably not. Either that or I would be intrigued by my quiet calmness and want to get to know me better. It depends on who I was as that other person.
7. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL?
sort of. This blog is part of it, and I have a daily notebook with shopping lists and notes of things that have happened and occasional musings and thoughts.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Yup. Only missing my right fallopian tube.
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
NO NO NO NO NO
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE CEREAL?
adult or kiddie? Favourite adult cereal is sultana bran. Favourite children cereal is Lucky Charms. God it's been years since I had that last.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Maybe not physically, but I can cope with incredible pain for a very very long time (except childbirth)
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE ICE CREAM FLAVOUR?
14. SHOE SIZE?
3 1/2 to 4.
15. RED OR PINK?
Red. I loathe pink. If the Peanut is a girl she is not wearing pink until she can choose her own clothes.
16. WHAT IS YOUR LEAST FAVOURITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Lack of selfconfidence
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Currently my husband who is in Belgium.
18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU?
sure. what would I do with them though?
19. WHAT COLOUR PANTS, SHIRT AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
dark blue trousers, white tshirt and beigey-whitey woolly slippers. my indoor, no one can see me, clothes
20. LAST THING YOU ATE?
sultana bran with skimmed milk
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The soundtrack to the Beiderbecke programs from the 80s, a car reversing in the street, some medical students chattering outside, and my son playing with his toys.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOUR WOULD YOU BE?
23. FAVOURITE SMELL?
sandalwood. reminds me of my childhood.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
25. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO?
how much thinner they are than me.
26. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON YOU STOLE THIS FROM?
Steal is such a strong word don't you think. I liberated it ok. And yes, I live in awe of her.
27. FAVOURITE DRINK?
diet coke, but sometimes a chocolate milkshake.
28. FAVOURITE SPORT?
I'll watch the rugby if Scotland is playing England and winning but apart from that I hate sports.
29. EYE COLOUR?
30. HAT SIZE?
31. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
only during summer
32. FAVOURITE FOOD?
chocolate, bread, (Abel & Cole) carrots, round lettuce
33. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
35. SUMMER OR WINTER?
36. HUGS OR KISSES?
37. FAVOURITE DESSERT?
38. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
I have no idea
39. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
40. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING?
Pelagia & The White Bulldog by Boris Akunin
41. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I don't have a mouse pad
42. WHAT DID YOU WATCH LAST NIGHT ON TV?
43. FAVOURITE SOUNDS?
44. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES?
45. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME?
not geographically but emotionally - when I was 10 and went to boardingschool. I was in the Highlands of Scotland and my parents were in the Middle East.
46. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT?
I always know where I am and don't get lost
47. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Western General Hospital in Edinburgh
48. WHO SENT THIS TO YOU?
I snagged it from Pea Soup
02 November 2006
The weather has suddenly changed. We've been lucky up to now and had beautiful autumnal weather, I think like the rest of the Northern Hemisphere; and now it is baltic. And I keep forgetting this and going out without my warm winter coat or even a jumper, and then freezing my arse off. And trying to keep a coat on First Born is almost impossible - it must be the Scottish blood in him!
01 November 2006
things chez velcro are slowly settling down; firstborn has so far failed to swamp the bathroom and utility room in 5 days and the downstairs neighbours are either very forgiving (they have the same landlord as us) or very very shortsighted and failed to see the Niagra Falls flowing down their walls.
Halloween was very quiet this year. We only had three trick/treaters so we now have a cupboard full of little bars of chocolate, oh well I know a certain mummy and little boy (who has a face covered in chocolate) who will be happy to get it all eaten. We didn't dress up for it, but we did disembowle and carve two pumpkins. I wish I had taken a photo of them because they sat on the worksurface yesterday evening looking like two gossiping women.
27 October 2006
1. Flip to page 18, paragraph 4 - in the book closest to you right now, what does it say?
from Kitchen Diaries (Nigel Slater):
"Crisp, clear and the sky looks like Sweden. One of those days when you get tricked by the bright, crystal sky and go out with one layer too few, then come home freezing cold. I had every intention of bringing back something for supper but, after eating Turkish mezze at lunch, come home empty handed and end up scouring the fridge and cupboards for something to eat"
2. If you stretch out your left arm - as far as possible, what are you touching?
umm a copy of Heat magazine (looks very abashed)
3. What's the last program you watched on tv?
Charlie and Lola
4. Without looking, guess what time it is.
4.25 pm I think (actually it's 4.18 so not bad)
5. Except the computer, what can you hear right now?
Boogie Beebies on CBeebies. The sun hasn't set yet so the nightly fireworks haven't started up.
6. When was the last time you were outside and what did you do?
about four hours ago. The wee guy and I walked to Sainsburys did the shopping and walked home. He walked! both ways and round the supermarket. I am so proud.
7. What are you wearing?
oh god. Ok Pippi Langkous (longstocking) cartoon socks with holes. navy tracksuit bottoms. a rather nice dark chocolate brown vest top and a cream cardigan from Gap.
8. Did you dream last night? If you did, what about?
I can't remember, but a few nights ago I dreamt about martial arts.
9. When was the last time you laughed?
yesterday when my son fell in the toilet just after I had finished telling him how proud I was that he climbed onto the toilet by himself. He laughed too honest.
10. What's on the walls, in the room you're in right now?
behind me - 2 windows looking out onto the street
to my right - a close up of a parkbench with peeling paint and dead leaves, and an old map of Europe in German
to my left and in front - book cases and a painting of a beach in Lewis where my husband played as a child.
11. Have you seen anything strange lately?
no things have been quite mundane round chez velcro recently.
12. What do you think about this meme?
13. What's the last film you saw?
I can't remember. I tend to fall asleep through films if we watch them at home and we don't get access to babysitters very often.
14. If you became a multimillionaire, what would you do with the money?
buy somewhere of our own to live, donate money to various members of the families, and invest the rest. I feel I should give to charity but I'm not sure which one I would choose.
15. Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I have a terrifying fear of great white sharks in swimming pools to the point where I can't be the only person or even one of two people in the pool. I'm also not very happy about the dark.
16. If you could change ONE THING in this world, without regarding politics or bad guilt - what would it be?
I'd sort out the airconditioning on the London Underground and make it impossible for mobiles to work down there.
17. Do you like dancing?
in private yes, in public no.
18. George Bush?
the elder or the fool?
19. What do you want your children’s names to be, girl/boy?
When I was a teenager I thought Rainbow was a beautiful name for a little girl, 10 years ago I would have called her Russia, now I love the name Daisy.
20. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Already have. Have lived in the Middle East, Germany, the US, Canada, Israel and The Netherlands. I would like to live in either Australia or New Zealand but because of the whole white shark thing I can't fly over vast amounts of water.
21. What do you want God to tell you, when you come to heaven?
I don't believe in God
22. Who should do this meme?
anyone who wants to.
26 October 2006
tonight we are having chicken stirfry and i'll make sure only soy sauce goes in.
The cross stitch seems to be going really well. I'm almost finished the peacock's tail now. I suppose i should really start creating my own designs but well i can't be bothered.
any suggestions on how to cure a toddler of whining, constantly. he never gets what he wants when he whines but he still does it and it is driving me up the wall.
24 October 2006
where did the weekend go? On Saturday MrV decided that it would be fun if we went for a walk so we did..through St James Park, past Buck Palace, through Green Park and onto Knightsbridge and my favourite place in the world - Harrods. nothing bad can ever happen in Harrods, except tourists and other shoppers and people who insist on standing forever in my path. oh but the beautiful Italian man who held the door open for me....made up for getting soaked in the rain on Park Lane. We took the wee guy to a pizzeria for lunch and i have never been prouder of him. he gave his order to the waitress, sat beautifully waiting for his food to arrive and didn't try to a. climb under the table, b. run around the room shouting c. hold conversations with his parents at full volume. i think he might be on the way to being restaurant trained. yippeee!
sleeping getting better finally. i've had two good nights' sleep in a row and today i started back at the gym. last pregnancy i ended up the size of a small blue whale so am determined not to make the same mistake this time. and on that topic tonight's dinner is taken from Twelve . I love her books and have all of them. This is the first time I've cooked from Twelve though (making chickpea soup as the wee guy loves chickpeas) so I shall be interested to see how it goes.
19 October 2006
preview but not when i go on to the real page. Arrghhh! They are there in the template. I swear this is going to drive me either mad or grey, or possibly both.
Shortarse (also known as FirstBorn) is running around the flat with some rather peculiar packaging stuff. It looks like lots of handsized parcels of air all joined together; and he is having a wonderful time pretending to fly with them, throw them down the stairs and other curious things.
The Peanut has a lot to answer for despite being barely the size of a grape. Woke up this morning at 5am in a terribly weepy state and that was it until FB woke up. Consequently i am not at my best today and the poor boy is having to deal with a very lazy mummy. Tea tonight was meant to be lentil soup with carrots but i guess it will have to be meatballs with potatoes and peas instead.
17 October 2006
for at least half an hour. Then, as MrV is off to Stuttgart tonight FB and I went into town to meet him for lunch.
Dinner was an exciting Chickpea and Leek soup with pasta and tonight, because it was just FB and me
we had dinner by green candlelight. FB was very excited by this and wanted desperately to blow the candle out but he's
too small i think.
You know what i am finding frustrating. i am writing reasonably witty (well i think so) blogs in my head
all day and then as soon as i come to actually writing something properly i go all dull and lifeless.
FB found out about the Peanut last night. He asked me if i have a baby in my tummy so i of course said "yes".
He then looked down the front of my top, couldn't see a baby so looked up the botttom of my top and still nothing "mummy where is it?" "it's in my tummy" i said, "but i can't see it" he said. He wants a sister he says, i think he hopes she'll be like Lola (off Charlie and Lola)