About Me

My photo
I live in Kent with my husband, toddler Tilly (henceforth known as Monkey) and another baby due in November. We have two cats, Duncan and Lady Macbeth, and four chickens who kindly lay us eggs daily. We live in the picturesque seaside town of Broadstairs. I enjoy reading, knitting and cooking. I'm trying to be a bit 'greener' (not sure how successfully), and to be a gentle parent. Extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping don't freak me out, we use cloth nappies and try to follow some of the ideals of Attachment Parenting. If that sounds as if I know what I'm doing, I don't! I am also a psychotherapist with an interest in Focusing-oriented therapy, and I have a small private practice in the area.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Twenty Five Things

I've pinched this from Earthenwitch's blog, although I haven't officially been tagged either. If you'd like to join in, please leave a comment so I can come and read yours. I now present to you 25 Facts About Me:
  1. My daughter has a birthmark in the shape of a bat.
  2. I love crumpets.
  3. I'm a big fan of bubble bath.
  4. I have many nicknames but DH mainly calls me Mogs or Stinks.
  5. I'm quite fond of the word 'syntonic' at the moment.
  6. I have a degree in English Literature but I've never read a Dickens novel.
  7. I'm currently reading 'Infidel' by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 'Words to Say It' by Marie Cardinal and 'The Art of the Psychotherapist' by James Bugental.
  8. I go to Slimming World and get irrationally excited when I get a sticker for losing some weight.
  9. I'll never go to Australia because everyone who goes there sees a giant spider at some point.
  10. When I was a baby I used to hold my breath until I passed out.
  11. I met my husband on an internet dating site.
  12. As a young girl I was obsessed with Princess Diana.
  13. I have a recurrent nightmare about my German A-level oral exam.
  14. I pick my lips.
  15. My favourite cocktail is a Cosmopolitan.
  16. I have a secret knitting project.
  17. I used to play squash fanatically.
  18. I lived so close to my primary school I could see in my classroom window when I was at home sick.
  19. My grandfathers were a bus driver and a gardener.
  20. I hate milk.
  21. I love Mini Milks.
  22. I've got new pink wellies.
  23. I spend an insane amount of time reading Celebrity Baby Blog.
  24. I don't know if I believe in a God (or Gods).
  25. I had two wedding days and three honeymoons (but just the one husband).

Monday, 26 January 2009

I have just joined Ravelry...

I have just joined Ravelry and although I haven't fully navigated the site yet I can tell I will be spending a lot of time there! It looks fantastic and totally addictive. If you fancy joining you can sign up at the site but there's a couple of days wait for an invitation.

Divine pre-loved sofa!

How do you like our beautiful new sofa? DH found it on eBay, we'd been searching for something to replace our old one which, although in good condition, was cream (not a baby or cat-friendly colour) and looking a bit shabby. I was initially a bit unsure and couldn't imagine it in our lounge, but now that we have it I absolutely love it! It is a plush, deep red velvet, and it is huge. And it was remarkably good value, even more so because we unexpectedly got quite a good price for the old one (which we sold on eBay).
Thanks to those of you who have asked after Monkey. Today she really seemed back to her usual self, a bit snotty, but her appetite seems to have returned and she had a good day with Nanna. She has also slept well for the last 2 nights, waking just the once to feed (hope I haven't jinxed myself there!). We have discovered that singing 'Teddy Bears Picnic' helps with most things- I must have sung it a zillion times over the last few days, but it has enabled me to settle her in her cot rather than having to get her (and my boobs) out each time she rouses!

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Exciting delivery!

My poor Monkey is still poorly. Now she has developed sniffles and a cough/sore throat. She keeps gagging when she coughs, and is being sick a lot as a result. Last night was terrible, she just couldn't get off to sleep despite being in bed with me and nursing as she needed. It was 4am before we finally got some kip, and she was up again at 7am. She has now crashed out in her cot, sleeping lightly, coughing and whimpering. I wish I could make her better :-(

My Onbag arrived this morning! It's black with a beautiful silver lining, I can't wait to take it out. It's a nappy/ baby stuff bag specifically designed for babywearers, so there are no hard parts rubbing against babe and the straps can be worn in different ways. It's a bit of a luxury purchase as they aren't cheap, but our old nappy bag was looking a bit grotty plus it was always slipping off my shoulder when I had Monkey in the sling. See how I justified that! Also in the post today was a book from Amazon that I'd been waiting for, and two mysterious packages for DH. This morning I have finished my first pair of babylegs! The yarn is beautiful and they do look neater knitted on the DPN's although you can see where the needle change is- the stitches are just a bit looser- but better than a seam I think. Now I followed the pattern I linked to in the post below, and they are quite big for Monkey's little legs, and I also think I could have added another inch or two to the length. I've got lots of yarn left so I'll make a matching pilot hat. I've also bought some more yarn for the next pair, a stripy lime green and purple Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino, yummy!

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Beautiful Bolero

As promised, here's Monkey showing off her Nanna-knitted bolero. I think you could say she's rather pleased with it!

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Nanna and the Poorly Monkey

Poor babe has been unwell. She was looking a bit pale and tired yesterday. Nanna (my Mum) was minding her yesterday while I was at work. It was a bit of a nightmare day: I set out at 8.30am to drive to Canary Wharf for my first, 10am, client, but had to turn back because the roads were gridlocked. The Blackwall Tunnel was closed and I couldn't get across the river. I ditched the car halfway home and walked to get the train instead, I had to cancel my first client, something I hate doing. I was feeling really upset because it meant I would be home later than scheduled and I had already booked one extra client in, meaning that the babe would be without her mama for over 8 hours :-( As it turned out, when I eventually made it home I was more upset than she was, and a long feed pretty much made up for my absence. Nanna stayed over as I had another couple of hours work this morning, and Daddy was leaving early to go to work in Wales for a couple of days. At 4am Monkey came into bed with us and after having an enormous feed promptly vomited the entire lot into the bed- cue frantic bedclothes changing. Monkey just wouldn't settle after that, so I went to take her downstairs at about 6am but before I could get there she was sick again, all down both of us. She felt very hot and feverish, and was very distressed, so I called Nanna who helped us to get cleaned up. Babe was running a high temperature and for the next couple of hours could only lie on me whimpering and nursing a little. We're pretty sure it's teething rather than a bug. I felt horrible having to go to work again, but I knew Nanna would look after her well, and indeed she fell asleep for a couple of hours on her lap. Her temperature has gradually subsided and she had a nap this afternoon and even managed a few spoonfuls of porridge. She also modelled her new pink bolero knitted by Nanna (I'll post a photo tomorrow, it's GORGEOUS!). Babe went up to bed just half an hour ago; she wasn't settling upstairs on her own so I brought her back down again. She'll sleep with me tonight, firstly because she's unwell but also because I don't like her sleeping in a separate room from me when we're in this house by ourselves.
I've rambled on but what I really wanted to say was how fantastic my Mum has been, not just today but ever since the Monkey came along. On a couple of occasions she has told me how proud she is of me, but I'm also really proud and impressed by what a fantastic Nanna she is. I don't find it easy to ask for help but it felt okay today to ask Mum to stick around and lend a hand. I think she must have done about 8 loads of washing in 2 days, and that isn't an exaggeration. It gives me such pleasure to see how she interacts with the baby, it really has given her a new lease of life, not that she's particularly old or anything, just that she seems energised and rejuvenated spending time with us. I think it has revived our relationship.


The spaghetti in the title is my lovely Manos silk blend yarn, which I managed to get into an almighty tangle. I'm used to knitting with balls of wool but this one was twisted in a skein and I think should have been rewound into a ball before I began knitting. Anyway, my patient mum sorted it out whilst minding the Monkey these last few days. I've completed one babyleg and it looks pretty good except it's a bit big for my little doll's skinny legs!

We've got a lovely new carpet in our lounge, here's Monkey, Duncan and Lady Macbeth enjoying it!

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

By jove I think I've cracked it...

Phew! After a very frustrating hour or so I think I've finally cracked the ole' double pointed needles. I thought I was going to throw them across the room at one point, but I *think* (pray, hope) that I'm doing it right. They don't seem twisted and I seem to have joined the round. I was practicing with the red yarn and this evening I will get started with my special new yarn. Babylegs here we come!

[edited to add- for anyone considering trying circular knitting- lots of the online tutorials for knitting with DPNs demonstrate the technique with a small number of stitches, maybe 4 on each needle. I found that this really awkward and it was only when I cast on about ten stitches on each needle that I finally got the hang of it]

Unbelievable! Time to post!

I can't believe I actually have a moment to blog. Monkey is having a nap, and we are waiting for a fitter to arrive and lay a new carpet in the lounge. This will mean that Monkey has free rein to venture around in this almost-crawling stage. At the moment we have a duvet spread on the floor but she always ends up on the cold, hard wooden floor. I don't think it will be long before we see crawling-proper, yesterday she was scooting along backwards. I really feel that she is moving away from being a Little Baby. The mop of hair makes her look like a little girl anyway, and I held a friend's new baby last week which reiterated to me that what we now have is certainly no longer a newborn. I had a little weep in Starbucks at the weekend because she was sitting on the couch holding her beaker of juice all by herself (see photo) and eating soft cheese from a breadstick!
Those of you who know me from any of the forums I visit might have seen my messages last week about weaning and breastfeeding. Very briefly, I'd been concerned that babe had cut down her breastfeeds far too much, and that we were filling her with solids that haven't so far had any impact on her weight. I was also raging at the health visitor who told me I should try not to feed her at night because she was 'filling up' at night and not therefore able to eat enough during the day. This is, to be frank, b*llshit. As someone rightly pointed out, if that were the case, breakfast wouldn't be her favourite meal (which it is). I can't believe that I have a HV who doesn't seem to be supportive of on-demand breastfeeding. She is ONLY 7.5 months old, for goodness sake, and she is small and therefore, I presume, in possession of a small tummy which probably doesn't hold enough to keep her going all night. Apart from pure fats/ oils and avocado, breastmilk is the most calorie-dense thing she can have! Anyway, we are still giving her solids but I have cut back slightly during the day by giving her finger foods at lunchtime rather than stuffing her with mush. She still has a puree in the evening and perhaps a yogurt at some point during the day. She has correspondingly increased her mummy-milk feeds, and still just having the one feed at night. I'm happy with that, we'll just have to see what she weighs in at on Friday.
What else is happening? I've just finished Week One at Slimming Word, and was happy with a 5lb loss. It is a lot for one week, I know, but it was the first week and it always levels out a bit after that. I should stress that I am still eating A LOT of food, just healthier, and cooking most things from scratch. I've also finished my latest knitting project, mittens, and sent them off to their new home. I am very excited about my next project, babylegs for the Monkey. The yarn arrived today, along with some double-pointed needles (yikes!). I can't wait to get started, just need to watch a few tutorials on YouTube and get the hang of the new method. I think that I'm going to try this pattern, will blog my progress as it happens!

Oh, and here's Monkey in a Basket v2, and v1 for those who haven't seen the first pic (not sure if I ever blogged it). I think the first photo was taken in August when she was 3 months old.

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Who am I kidding? (confessions)

I've been thinking about my ideals, my philosophies, of parenting, and wondering how it all matches up with what I actually do, and I've come to the conclusion that much of the time it remains a theoretical possibility in my head. I could be like that, I like people who are like that, I really agree with being like that, err, but when it comes to getting off my a*se and actually doing it, well, that's where I tend to fall down. Maybe I'm a bit of a fake? [I'm pondering this in a light-hearted way, not beating myself up or anything]

So there are (many) days like today when, I confess:
  • We used more disposables than reuseable nappies,
  • I parked the babe in her bouncy chair in front of the TV,
  • I fed her from a pot or pouch (organic, but still...).
  • We didn't go for a walk to get any fresh air.
I know it's not tragic or anything, I know I'm a Good Mother, but I think it reflects a bit of a pattern in my life, a certain difficulty (laziness?) transforming theory into reality. 

Anyone else got any similar confessions? Come on, make me feel better about myself ;-)

Monday, 5 January 2009

Tree of Happiness

A lovely blog surprise this morning: Mon at Holistic Mama has passed a Tree of Happiness award on to me and the Monkey. I've really enjoyed reading Mon's thought-provoking posts since I discovered her blog, and I'm following her new adventures in knitting with interest. Do go and pay her a visit.
So now for the rules:
Firstly, link to the person who gave you the award.
Post the rules on your blog.
List six things that make you happy.
Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
Let each person know they've been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
Let the person who awarded you know when your entry is up.

Six Things What Make Me Happy
  1. My generous, handsome, funny, charming, loving husband (who reads this blog to find out how I'm feeling because I'm much better at writing things down than I am at saying them).
  2. The Monkey and Everything About Her but particularly the way she flaps her arms in excitement when I return home from being out.
  3. Ice Cream in most forms and flavours but the most happy-making being straciatella.
  4. A current favourite, slings and wraps.
  5. Like Mon, the arrival of a package from Amazon or eBay.
  6. A damm good curry.
Now I just have to tag six other blogs/ bloggers. Please don't feel obliged to 'pass it on', but I'd like to award the Tree of Happiness to: the lovely and crafty Daisie at Daisie Days; a Green Parent mama with a new baby due shortly (for whom I am currently knitting mittens!) Rachel at Our Free Range Family; one happy mama, Mama4 at A Smile A Day; Claire at Border Stories (beautiful photos, beautiful crafts and beautiful kids); Bohemian Mama (another crafty blog) and finally Teenage Earth Mummy, where you can find lots of thoughtful reflections on parenting from an AP perspective. May you all continue to blog fruitfully. 

Friday, 2 January 2009

New Year's Day

New Year's Day was spent enjoying a walk on the beach at Dumpton Gap. Da-da was persuaded to wear the pink Hug-a-Bug for his first babywearing experience. Monkey enjoyed it, especially when Da-da was cantering like a horse! It was nice to be out in the cold wearing a proper coat for once, next I'm looking forward to getting my new pair of wellies. Lots of people were out walking along the beach with their families, and there were about 8 million dogs, I think there must have been a New Year Canine Convention going on. After our walk we had fish and chips in Ramsgate, mmmm, eating in as a special treat (okay, you caught me out, the diet starts on Monday ;-)). As far as my other resolutions go, I've ordered the veggie box and taken one load to the charity shop with more to come. This evening I got my knitting out to finish a pair of mittens promised as a Green Parent LETS swap. It was odd knitting after a break of a few weeks, if I thought about how to do the stitches or follow the pattern my mind went completely blank, but my fingers instinctively knew what to do. Thank goodness, or it would have turned out a right mess!