Archive for December, 2008

Mary mary

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

All the baby books say don’t worry what it sounds like, your baby will love to hear you sing. All they want is to hear your voice. I know toddlers are notoriously tricky, but does anybody else out there actually get a hand put over their mouth and told to STOP? Huh.


Wednesday, December 10th, 2008

Just back in from painting a nice clear cross on the front door. C is in the states all week and he’s poorly too – all the bonus points he gets for combining illness with jetlag and having to work are removed by the lovely peaceful clean-cool-sheets-ness of a hotel. I have a stinking cold and feel very sorry for myself (I have run out of lemsips and am housebound, too); Maggie is not at all well. I picked her up from school yesterday all pale, hot and teary (am slightly miffed as she’d been up coughing a lot the previous nght so I had specifically gone in to say that I thought she was mostly ok but she might not be and if not, they should ring me as soon as and I’d go and get her). She took to her bed and slept from 6 last night – 10 this morning, just waking for extra doses of medicine and drinks of water and cries. She’s been up and down today but was back in bed again by 6 this evening and I honestly can’t see her going back to school tomorrow.

Which is a disaster, as tomorrow evening she has her last ever playdate with her bestfriendinthewholeworldever, who is leaving the country this weekend. We are braced for grief.

Tamsin is perky and bright (it was her turn last week, when she was sick all over me and the bed on two consecutive nights) which is not ideal as I cannot find the energy to do fun toddler stuff. Much cbeebies has been watched today, but I really will have to think of something for tomorrow (even if that involves wrapping her up and shutting her out in the frosty garden for half an hour).

We saw the Mighty Boosh at the weekend: was entertaining but not hilariously laugh-out-loud funny, which was a bit disappointing. Cameron and Maggie enjoyed the Mold panto far more.


Thursday, December 4th, 2008

star and tree(Sorry Karen, I know you are fed up of Christmas already – but people have Asked, so there.)

The recipe for these lovely Jewel Biscuits is taken almost un-fiddled-with from the lovely Scheherezade Goldsmith’s lovely Christmas book (subtitle: how to have a really lovely jolly eco Christmas; chapter 1: first acquire an enormous amount of money and several hundred acres of Herefordshire. Add staff to do the menial stuff while you footer about with felt and oranges, and find friends of the sort to appreciate a galvanised bucket of salt as a present.)


Cream 100g butter and 275g caster sugar. Add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2 large eggs, then sift in 525g plain flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 2 tsp ground cinnamon and a pinch of salt. Mix it all up with a slosh of milk until it is nice and doughy, then wrap in clingfilm and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes or so (NB Sheherezade does not specify clingfilm as it is not very eco. Use whatever you like.)

Preheat the oven to 190C. Roll out the dough on a nice floury surface, to about 1/2 cm thick. Cut shapes – I did a Christmas tree, a star and a bell – and use a smaller cutter (or the lid of a  screw-cap wine bottle) to make holes. Fill the holes with crushed hardboiled sweets* (S says they should be organic; I used Foxes). You could sprinkle some caster sugar over now, for a glittery effect, but I found I preferred a snowy dusting of icing sugar once they were cooled. Don’t forget to make a hole if you want to hang them – and you really do, else you can’t appreciate the stained-glass centres. Put in the oven on baking sheets covered in baking parchment, about 10 minutes: move the entire bit of parchment onto the cooling rack and leave until completely cold. Icing sugar; ribbon (cellophane bag for school fete).

Oh, and the book says this makes 12 cookies…mine were reasonably large (palm-sized trees and stars; slightly smaller bells), certainly as big as you would want, and I got about 30, plus another 15 toddler-sized plain stars when I ran out of sweets.

*My entire kitchen is covered in minute shards of hardboiled sweet. Ignore at your peril Sheherezade’s top tip of putting them in a (clean, recycled) plastic bag before bashing with a rolling pin: the individual plastic wrappers Do Not Do. Or, as I found rather late in the process, if you get your hole the right sort of size – say the size of the wine-bottle top – you don’t have to crush at all, just bung an intact sweety in. They melt just the same.