Archive for May, 2007

Please advise

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007

1. I’ve bought this dress in a fit of enthusiasm-cum-panic: we are off to Ascot again this year and once again I haven’t got a thing to wear. I haven’t yet taken off its labels, as I am not confident. It is perfect for Ascot (C thinks it is too long but what does he know: one must go maxi or mini this summer and I am not doing the latter) if it is sunny. Really sunny. Even if it is, I’ll need something to wear over it (my denim jacket would be perfect but too casual for Ascot) because it’s a bit too strappy; I also need shoes. I have some dark-red wedge sandals (and a matching bag): what do you think? Personally I fancy some silver sandals and a shiny silver bag (there is a reason for harping on about bags: I’ve fallen for this one and want an excuse to purchase it) – but have neither. Yet.

2. If it’s not sunny or I can’t find the appropriate accompaniments, I have a dark red silk ao dai I bought some years back in Hanoi. I’ve never worn it (I always seem to need maternity clothes when we have an occasion!) and would rather like to. I think it would need adjusting – I’m half a stone lighter than I was pre-Maggie – but it might be stylish. Or would it be weird? That would definitely require new accessories: again, I think silver might work. I’d need a top to go under it, too. Argh.

3. We are having a naming ceremony for Tamsin. Another formal occasion but not the same sort of formal as Ascot. It would make sense to have something that can serve for both (at least the basic outfit) but neither option 1 or 2 strikes me as terribly appropriate. 1 will be ok, again, if it is really sunny, but then there’s the whole breastfeeding issue with dresses, too: one doesn’t really want to reveal one’s knickers to feed one’s baby.

Help me, oh loyal and elegant reader!*

*Of course I reserve the right to ignore your advice and do my own sweet thing. But I’d like to have some, please.

Baby boom

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007

Congratulations to: Helen and Simon on the arrival of baby Sophie, a sister to Charlotte; Heather and Jack on baby Margaret – great choice of name! – a sister for Rebecca; and Caroline and Pete on baby Imogen, a sister for Charlotte. Anyone who’s anyone has two girls, you know.

I recycled my jeans

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

…and jolly pleased with my new sandals I am too. Despite the cynics on Downsizer who claimed it was all a sop to the middle classes: I needed new sandals anyway, my Birkis having done 4 summers’ hard labour and really being fit for no more than hanging out the washing. So I sent off a pair of old jeans, a cheque for 45 quid, and got these lovelies back. And I have to tell you that their claim to be the most comfortable sandals you will ever wear is not at all exaggerated.

The only thing I should have thought about beforehand is the blue-denim thing: OK if you are *not* wearing blue-denim jeans with your sandals but a bit odd-looking if you are. And I do, about 30 days each month. So I am on the lookout in charity shops for some old red jeans I can have converted. How cool will they be?!



Monday, May 21st, 2007

We’re back. Though I note I didn’t actually mention we were going away.

Centerparc; we gatecrashed my sister’s holiday with friends – though I think they didn’t mind as it gave my niece Mia somebody of her own age to play with. I was confident that Maggie would enjoy herself but didn’t expect us to enjoy it as much as we did. Zipping* about on a bike; swimming for hours every morning; Maggie rode on a pony called Nibbles and the girls did plenty of soft play. The daddies played squash and on Thursday afternoon the mummies came over all yummy and swanned off to the spa. Bliss. Restaurants were much better than anticipated but the site recycling facilites are virtually non-existant, which is my only possible complaint (I was nearly but not quite moved to bring home our milk cartons. Had the car not been completely full to bursting I might have.)

*One doesn’t exactly zip when towing a trailer-load of children. But it is very good for one’s thigh muscles.


Wednesday, May 9th, 2007

Tamsin is fast approaching 6 months and, given that she has taken to swiping at my food and tries at least once every mealtime to actually pick up and chew my plate (plus having all the other signs of readiness), we are starting to think it might be time to wean. I am absolutely not messing about with purees again – I spent months making lovely bright-coloured mushes for Maggie, freezing them in baby-sized cubes, defrosting them, poking at them with a spoon, sometimes smearing them about a bit…then throwing them away (the only puree-type thing she really enjoyed was a horrible green pond-slime like substance from a jar. Spinach and potato, I believe). Baby-led weaning is the way forward in this house.

Her highchair has arrived (it’s still in pieces – we so love flatpack) and tomorrow I am going to treat her to some new dishes and bibs as Maggie won’t want to share the former and the latter are frankly not fit for use. Then it will be all systems go!

I’ve already given her a few bits and pieces in the interests of being allowed to eat myself (I already eat chocolate in secret* but I do draw the line at consuming entire meals that way). Just what we were having anyway. She had a floret of cauliflower which she found very interesting until it made her sick. (This was perhaps not a very sensible starting point – whenever I eat cauli or broccoli it gives her a tummyache.) She did rather well with sticks of steamed courgette – sucked the soft seeds from the centre – and licked a soft carrot stick for ages. This morning, after extensive research and consultation with Karen, who I have appointed my BLW guru, she had a bit of my buttered crumpet, which was very tasty indeed. I don’t think she actually injested very much but it was thoroughly sucked and mushed and de-buttered.

I then decided that we should move away from food beginning with C (my mum thought I was following some sort of wacko new baby guru’s alphabetical weaning method) so when we had our dinner tonight she sucked some bits of pasta and a few slices of cooked apple – some of which disappeared so I assume she ate them! I can see the main problem is going to be providing enough food (or keeping my floor more sanitary): so much got dropped and had to be replaced – quickly, else she cried. Perhaps assembling the highchair will help with that.

*A couple of nights ago I went up to tuck M back into bed. I gave her a kiss and she said hmm….that smells of…chocolate! Caught in the act.

The plot so far

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

Spent a lovely sunny hour and a half at the allotment with Maggie today. She painted on cardboard, watered randomly, dug holes and spacehopped. I couldn’t dig much as the ground is like rocks (rain forecast this week though so no more excuses), but that allowed me to potter about doing some light weeding and a bit of gloating. Gloating is important.

The first early potatoes are looking jolly nice (photo).  My garlic and shallots are looking lovely too although I have just this minute read Sarah Raven’s book which tells me garlic needs a wet spring or lots of water, neither of which it has had, so we’ll see what comes out at the end. I have broad beans, Jerusalem artichokes and mixed salad coming through well, although something is nibbling my peas. All in all I have about a quarter of the land properly cleared and another quarter roughly cleared and planted with spuds. A third quarter is destined to remain carpeted for the rest of the season – I am planning to plant squashes (currently in the greenhouse and potted on today) through holes in the carpet – so that just leaves me with another quarter, currently carpeted, which I need to clear reasonably well to put tripods on for beans, cucumbers and some flowers.

And then there is The Unclearable section at the end, all sapling trees and ferocious brambles, which I am pretending I haven’t seen. I have my compost bins there but it is otherwise a no man’s land.

None of this bears any resemblance to The Plan, but that was always going to be the case.