About Me

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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, 27 February 2009

Feeling sad

I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself this evening. Really, really missing DH and feeling exhausted and worn out coping with a teething, unhappy babe. Have decided to head to my Mum and Dad's in the morning to get some help and hopefully  bit of sleep. The outcome of our hospital visit yesterday was a tentative diagnosis of reflux, Monkey has been prescribed Gaviscon and we're going back in a week to see if it has helped. She's still being sick and brought up her breakfast this morning and a little bit after lunch, but her appetite is definitely returning. She's not sleeping well at all and feeding a lot in the night, hopefully this is her way of making up for the poor appetite of the last few weeks.
On a happier note we spent a lovely couple of hours at Joxy's this afternoon with Ali and her little ones. Again we didn't have time to do any crafting but we ate some delicious veggie chilli and muffins. Photos are from our previous meet-up last month at Ali's, which I didn't get around to posting at the time. There's Monkey, Ali, Ali's daughter Maya, her DS Evan and Jacqui's DS Rye. They all had a lovely time together, the Monkey seems to love being around other little ones and looks longingly as they go off to play together, she wants to join in!

Ali, here's another one for you!

As if I don't spend too much time as it is in BlogWorld, here's another arty-crafty-Soulemama-esque blog to drool over! 

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Can't think of a title, will "Bum" do?

The Monkey trying to claw her Mama with those paws:
Two hairy creatures, the one on the right is my daughter, who seems to have decided that Lady is now her favourite cat. I'm waiting for a book on baby signing to come from Amazon, but for now I've been teaching Tilly the sign for 'cat' as it's the only one I know and there are plenty of opportunities to use it.
We've not ventured very far in the last week or so. We stayed at Nanna and Grandad's at the weekend, and Nanna came back with us on Sunday evening to help out. Babe has been projectile vomiting on a regular basis and it's been horrible. I'm pretty sure it's nothing more sinister than her cough causing her to gag, but I can't tell you how much I hate being vomited on. Not that I imagine anyone particularly likes it, but still. As a result of teething and being sick quite a lot, Monkey has lost a  bit of weight and is now well off the chart (i.e. below the 0.4 centile). We saw a lovely GP this morning who used to work in the neo-natal unit and remembered the babe from when she was just days old and having antibiotics for her chest infection. He gave her a thorough check-over and faxed the hospital to have our paediatric outpatient appointment brought forward, so hopefully on Thursday we'll see the consultant. Regular readers and forum friends will now that this is an issue that I get particularly anxious and stressed about, and I have unquestionably found it hard to accept that we just have a petite daughter, but I still have this lingering fear that something isn't right and at least at the hospital they can do some blood tests and check her vitamin levels. I know that in photos she looks fine, she has little rosy cheeks, but...  she still wears 0-3 month clothes and carrying her feels no different from when she was a few weeks old. She's 9 months old next week!
Enough of that, I'll update when we've had our appointment.
What else? I've just cast-on stitches for an olive green tunic top for the babe, and I'm looking forward to finishing it off with some fancy new buttons I bought online.  I'm looking forward to meeting up with Ali and Joxy on Friday, and meeting another GP mama who lives down that way. We plan to do a bit of a knitting and crocheting tutorial, and I'm hoping Ali will show me how to make a felt figure. Tomorrow I'm going to the recycling centre/ local tip. Glamorous, moi?

Friday, 20 February 2009

This weekend...

I'm listening to Lily Allen, whose Poptastic melodies are firmly wedged in my head.

And watching 'Gavin and Stacey' on DVD (whilst copious episodes of Masterchef accumulate on Sky+ awaiting DH's return).

I'm peaking at the scrumptious new fabric soon-to-be a blind for our bedroom:

And I'm adoring Grandad-Love:

... especially the way he greets the baby: Hello Tiddler!!!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Home alone, and lovely treats...

So the Monkey and I are now home alone; DH is on his way to South Africa for work and we're going to miss him a lot. The last week has been filled with lovely experiences. On Thursday night DH took me out on a Top Secret Date. We went to the O2 arena to see Keane in concert! I had a fantastic evening, we had brilliant seats and tickets to the aftershow party. Unfortunately we couldn't hang around long enough to see whether the band came to the party, but the concert was great. MIL babysat and we came home to a very poorly little Monkey who had been infected with another cold, cue a very sleep deprived night. 
As if Date Night wasn't enough, we had a lovely Valentine's Day and took a trip into central London for the day. We nipped into a little pub pre-lunch, and were 'greeted' (I say greeted, it isn't really the right word, grunted might be more appropriate) by one of the most bizarre bartenders DH or I had ever met. Not prone to displays of even moderate hospitality or warmth, our new friend spent the next fifteen minutes giving us an impromptu lecture on 1) baseball, his favourite sport and 2) spiders, his all-time-favourite-things-ever (and my all-time-least-favourite-most-phobic-things-ever). We listened intently, although the 8-legged subject matter sent shivers up by spine! 
Lunch, oh lunch...
Lunch was here, at Bocca di Lupo in Soho. I am very fortunate in that I am often able to eat out at fantastic restaurants, courtesy of my foodie husband, and this one is definitely a new addition to my top five. The standout dishes were sausage on a bed of lentils, the sausage being Essence Of Sausage and Everything a Sausage Should Be and it just melted in my mouth; a beautiful, tender piece of swordfish topped with capers and ricotta cheese, and the piece de resistance: almond granita with a chocolate sorbet. A dessert so beautiful it made me cry. Well, I probably wouldn't have cried had it not been for 3 glasses of prosecco, but darn it I love my gelati and this one was just on another level completely. I'm getting misty eyed just thinking about it. Afterwards we went to the National Theatre to see 'Every Good Boy Deserves Favour', which was another surprise and very good indeed. 
Thank you, Dave, for such a wonderful day and for being the best husband and daddy ever.

The Valentine Hat

Here's the hat I knitted for DH as a Valentine's Day present, modeled by me because he is now in the air en route to South Africa, where he won't have much use for a woolly hat. The pattern is Stephanie's Boyfriend Hat, also seen here on Soulemama's blog. The yarn is Noro Kureyon, shade 217, which has turned out to be a bit too girly for my man's taste. He kindly wore it on Saturday, but I think I may have to knit another in colours of his choosing. Still, it's a nice hat, the sizing worked out perfectly and it's dead easy. I LOVE the Noro yarn, it's so lovely coming to a new colour each time it changes.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

I am loving...

I am loving this book, 'The Food of Love' by Kate Evans. It's a wise, funny breastfeeding guide packed with hilarious, touching cartoons and darned good advice. I would buy a copy for any friend planning to bf her babe. 

Wednesday, 11 February 2009


I'm growing the baby's teeth in my mouth! The first one comes through but it's really long and too thin, it could snap easily. My mum pulls it out of my mouth in readiness to put it in the babe's mouth. I can't remember any more details (probably for the best, lol!)

Monday, 9 February 2009

Thoughts on Passions and Projects

Something about this post by Mon has stayed with me since I first read it, and my thoughts are developing around the idea of passion and a project, and hopefully finding a way to combine the two. I love my life, I love being a Mama and being a wife, and although I find it hard to leave the Monkey I do like (do I love?) my work as a therapist. I haven't really written about my work here on the blog, partly because confidentiality means that of course I can't share anything that might potentially identify a client, but also because I feel a little embarrassed that my job involves helping people make sense of their lives when this blog often describes my struggles to be a grown-up, mature, patient person, i.e. the qualities one really expects of a psychotherapist! I also fear being judged by my age, that others might feel I don't have the necessary life experience, at 35, to be of help to others in crisis. But I digress...
I need a project, something that inspires me, engrosses me, perhaps something that takes me away from the more prosaic, practical, routine elements of mothering and running a home, something educative, something- dare I say- spiritual? Enlightening? Something with depth, something intellectually challenging. I love learning, and I'd like to learn about something new (or not yet well-known to me) in depth and in detail. I think it needs to be either psychology or philosophy-related, because I also need to be doing some continuing professional development. For some reason I have Jung on my mind, archetypal, depth psychology, something like that?I have considered studying more on Mindfulness but whilst I love to read about it I am useless at the practical application, I have no discipline for cultivating Presence, and without the practice the theory is hollow. The internet is a bit of a demon because it means I just flit around from subject to subject, I might order a book on Amazon, it goes on the pile, I read a little and move onto the next thing... Jack of All Trades, Master of None.
Back to Mon's post, she wrote, "If I do only what I'm passionate about, I have MORE TIME THAN I NEED" [her caps]. Wow. That's great, because I never have enough time. I want to look after my baby, be present for my marriage, nurture connections and friendships with old friends and new, I need to KNIT, cook and now I want to find the right area of study for some personal development. But how do I fit all of that in to my life and sleep?*  How will I know if I am doing that which I am passionate about? How do I find my passion?

*My first thought was to delete my Facebook account, I waste far too much time on there, "looking at stranger's photographs", as DH puts it. I think it would be a good idea but I'm scared of missing something!

Weekend Pics and a new hat

A darling new hat for a darling baby... knitted by Nanna, I LOVE the bright pink colour and the ear flaps are brilliant. And the pompom! It's a little too small for Monkey so Nanna's going to knit another one.

Saturday lunch in the pub. A refreshing half-pint of cider...

... and some tasty pub food


It's my German A-level exam tomorrow... I'm in the class and find I can't translate a word of German... Panic! I get a little notebook and decide to learn the vocabulary, ten words a day!

Saturday, 7 February 2009


From last night... my husband announces he is leaving me (in the dream, that is!)... a dream of pure abandonment which brought with it strong feelings from past abandonments.

Friday, 6 February 2009

Quick Update

I'll post again later this weekend with photos and tell you more about my lovely afternoon with two mamas from the Green Parent forum, but for now there's just time for a quick update about Monkey's check up.  It was a pretty awful start to the day, if truth be told. I took her to our regular clinic to be weighed, because I wanted to get a correct reading and there was a huge discrepancy when I got her weighed at the hospital once. Inside the clinic I put her on the changing table, turned slightly to the side to reach into my changing bag and.... she fell to the floor. Hard floor, no carpet. I feel sick just thinking about it again. I didn't even turn my back on her, she just flipped herself over so quickly. Fortunately she seems unhurt, she cried immediately from the shock but had no obvious signs of injury. The health visitor was obviously concerned but very sympathetic, but you can imagine how I was feeling. This was our first accident, but why did it have to happen there, at the clinic? And to top it all off, Monkey had lost a couple of ounces in the last 3 weeks.
Feeling shaky and just dreading the next part, we made our way to the other clinic for the developmental check with The Dreaded HV. I don't know whether she'd picked up some vibes from our previous telephone conversation, but I found her much less intrusive and preachy this time. I told her about Monkey's fall and couldn't stop myself from crying a little, I think it was the shock. The babe is spot-on developmentally, and whilst the HV asked questions about her eating it didn't dominate the conversation. I was asked to complete the post-natal depression questionnaire, which I scored low on, the only box I did tick was about "anxiety for no good reason", and I told the HV that a lot of that was related to concerns about the baby's weight and eating. Cue more tears. Jeez, didn't realise I'd let myself get that blocked up about it. Anyway, there is a positive outcome to all of this because the HV actually recommended I stop getting her weighed so regularly (I'd always been asked to come weekly or fortnightly) and said I should come 3-monthly or so. Blimey, that felt like a weight off. We're to come back when she's eating better just to confirm she's gaining again, and then we're staying away from the darn scales.
What else..? I feel a bit sad because I  found out that DH is going to South Africa on the 18th for almost two weeks on business. 

Thursday, 5 February 2009

What I am doing...

What I am doing right now: blogging whilst eating steak with jacket potato and braised red cabbage and watching Ten Years Younger and wondering why on earth women (or anyone for that matter) mutilates themselves in the pursuit of Beauty?

What I must do before I go to bed: finish making a huge vat of red pepper, sweet potato and lentil soup; pack weekend bags for myself and the babe; fret some more about the stupid "8 month Developmental Check" tomorrow morning.

What I would also be doing if there were more hours in the day: finish writing obscenely late thank-you cards (leftover from Monkey's Thanksgiving in December *blush*); have a bath (if only); knit with the Noro yarn (have cast on stitches but yet to commence knitting proper).

What I have already done today: had a lovely lunch with Sue; fallen off the diet wagon into a cake; shopped in Sainsburys; dealt with two hideously poo-ey nappies, both of which the Monkey decided to put her paws into and rub all over her tummy (sorry TMI); booked flights to Toulouse for a week in May to stay with a babywearing friend and her husband.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


A new series of occasional reports from the borders of my unconscious, this is DreamWatch. DH is always saying I should write my dreams down, and they have been particularly hilarious of late so here goes...

Monday night: Madonna is bullying me! She is a total b*tch!
Tuesday night: I join the Fire Brigade. We are supposed to wear jeans, a T-shirt and a luminous tabard, but there are no jeans to fit me.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Wintry Weekend

Another exciting package from the postman. This time some Noro yarn, circular needles and some bamboo DPNs from Pavi Yarns. I highly recommend their service, I placed my order at 2pm and the parcel arrived the following morning. Note to self: must stop buying yarn, at least until I've finished by current projects.

We had a wintry weekend walk in Grove Ferry, near Canterbury, on Saturday. What the photos don't show you is that we had to abandon our walk and seek shelter in the pub after a mere ten minutes! Monkey was not a happy bunny in her wrap, and despite being well wrapped up we were all feeling the bitter biting wind. We did see lots of mole hills though!

And my new wellies had their inaugural trip!

Monkey's Treasure Basket

Here's Monkey enjoying her Treasure Basket, which I finally moved into the lounge after leaving it languishing unused in a corner of the dining room. I'm glad I did- she loves it!

Treasure Baskets rock!

Her favourite things so far are some pieces of ribbon and a sponge. Last night we played a fun game of peek-a-boo with the playsilks. Since we brought the basket in, I haven't even got her other toys out of their storage!