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.

Thursday, 26 March 2009


Just got back from a wonderful massage. I haven't had a regular massage therapist before but I think I've found The One. I feel like my neck is 2 inches longer and my shoulders have dropped a couple of inches too! I could literally feel her hands making space inside me. Oh bliss! It was a very interesting process for me, observing my thoughts and feelings as she took a brief history and then began to work on me. First, it really hit me that, Yes, I really do only get about 6 or 7 hours (broken) sleep a night. And then I got to thinking about self-care, that's therapist self-care and mama self-care, of course. Why is it that I only have a massage once every blue moon? Especially when my neck and shoulders are as knotted as they are. I 'treat' myself often, I reward myself with food, nice things, the odd glass of champagne, but I don't know if I'm very good at caring for myself, and that's a completely different thing. Laying on the couch, being touched, made me realise how pragmatically I live my life at the moment. Perhaps being a mother has contributed to that, days are about tasks, meeting the needs of a baby, a partner, clients. My thoughts are practical, as are my concerns. But another realm, another aspect is being unlived and unnurtured. How to change that? How to nourish the spirit?
People often think that therapists get filled up with 'bad stuff', that clients 'dump' their problems and feelings in us, like a rubbish bin, which we then dispose of on their behalf. Nah. They ask how we can cope with the job, how can we do it week after week? Good therapists don't take on clients bad stuff. Our job is to facilitate a digestive process for the client, to help the client to process their own bad feelings. I think I'm pretty good at that, I don't feel like I take my work home with me, and apart from the odd 'toxic' client, I don't feel damaged by the work. But I do wonder about Energy. I don't know much about the energy therapies and I know they have gained in popularity and reputation, I must refresh my knowledge. I wonder about the space in which I work, I question how to keep it clear and flowing, and what about my own energy and how that may be impacted by the work I do? Ha ha, and then my pragmatic side comes in and scoffs at the subject as unscientific, unprovable. Hmmm.
But I digress. I think I need to make myself a Charter for Self-Care. And stick to it. Starting with earlier nights, so I'll come back to this another time.

Update from us: crafts and feeling fat!

Goodness, it has been a while since I sat down and blogged. We had a lovely weekend in Lisbon and returned home safely and swiftly. It was probably one of the easiest journeys we've made so far, travelling to and from Portugal with Monkey was a breeze, although Lisbon itself didn't appear to have much in the way of facilities for families with babies. I do wish I were a better traveller though. DH laughs at the speed in which I go into Panic Mode. I guess I just get very nervous when out of my comfort zone. Which is a shame because there are lots of places in the world I would still like to visit.
Monkey's Adventures With Food continue, albeit very slowly. She likes to try lots of different things and there hasn't been anything yet that she's given a look of disapproval to (including sucking lemons!). However, she doesn't have more than a few sucks of something before she throws it on the floor or gets bored. This means of course that not a lot is getting digested, and I'm finding it hard to resist putting things in her mouth. Now I know that's not BLW, and it's also a surefire way to make her gag, so I'm having to resort to sitting on my hands, I think. I have continued to give her porridge in the mornings because she really seems to like that and gets quite excited when she watches me prepare it.

I've been struggling a bit with food and my weight, in fact, I weigh more now than just after Monkey was born. A combination of stress/ boredom at home with the baby, and plain ole greed/ lack of self-control. I do think that I need to get back to Slimming World. It's the programme that suits me best and I respond well to the motivation of being weighed each week (and getting stickers, yikes), but in the long run, hopefully once I'm down to a more sensible weight, I want to just be able to eat healthily and model sensible behaviour around food to the Monkey. Excitingly I won a bicycle that I was bidding for on eBay today, so I'm looking for a child seat and looking forward to taking the babe out exploring. Photo is of some wholemeal blueberry muffins I made this week... well, the pitiful 4 that remain, lol! They were lovely and at least a little bit better for us than shop-bought versions packed full of sugar.

In Craft News, this is a photo of the bird mobile that I sewed for Tilly using scraps of Amy Butler fabric. I attached the finished birds to the willow ring that was my gift in the Green Parent winter season swap, and changed the ribbons. It looks quite sweet. I haven't picked up my knitting for ages but I've been slowly teaching myself to crochet. My goal is to do some amigurumi toys, and thanks to Mon at Crooked Hooks I've been pointed in the direction of a really helpful YouTube tutorial which makes the technique look relatively easy. Now I just need to decide what to make: a cheeky monkey? a duck? a owl? 

Weekend in Lisbon

Probably the best table in Lisbon

Another day, another fine lunch, this time being stalked by a rather persistent gull!

Auditioning for Britain's Next Top Model... I'd rather hoped I wouldn't see this 'look' until she was at least fourteen!

That's better

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

And suddenly, overnight, she gets it!

'It' being 'Eating'. She is nine months and three weeks old, and today is the first time I can say that she has taken and eaten solid food by herself. At lunchtime she nibbled on a cheese sandwich, and this afternoon she (we, actually!) demolished a chocolate chip muffin (see evidence!). So this evening I thought, let's go for it, and cooked her a fish finger and some roasted sweet potato. She picked the potato up straight away and put it in her mouth, before moving on to the fish finger. She didn't eat very much of that, deciding instead to feed it to Duncan (puss) who was waiting patiently underneath the table. It was such a joy to watch her.

I was finding it hard to keep faith that eventually she would start to eat by herself. And I know that lots of lovely mamas on the forums and here in Blogland have reassured me that it would happen, but it was just so hard to trust, particularly as her weight kept dropping.
How I wish I hadn't bothered spooning all of that mush in (okay, regrets are fine but I'm not going to beat myself up over what is already done). It did nothing to her weight, in fact, she has dropped from the 2nd centile to under the 0.4th since "weaning". I think her new high chair might have something to do with this sudden development. We sold the hideous giant plastic contraption on eBay and bought a Stokke Tripp Trapp. They are pretty pricey but I would have sold my Granny for one now! It is much easier to clean, but more importantly it sits right at the table and there is no tray in the way. Fantastic. Plastic tablecloth, dustpan and brush, et voila. Tomorrow we are off to Portugal to spend a weekend with DH, and I'm not going to pack any jars. I can't wait for us all to eat together as a family.

My next baby will be entirely baby-led weaned!

Saturday, 14 March 2009

More crochet and a lovely find

I wore the Monkey in the Moby D wrap today. It was the first time in ages that I've worn her and I'd forgotten how delicious it is to have a baby nestled asleep against your chest. We had a lovely lunch with a friend and her little girl, Monkey was so tired but stayed awake through lunch, charming the people on the neighbouring tables before conking out when I got on the tube home.
Crochet update: after about two hours of creating chain stitches and then failing to do the single crochet and having to start again, I finally cracked it. Well, almost. I've done it to the point that it looks something like crochet should look like, but I still need to refine it because I'm not sure I'm wrapping the yarn around the hook the right way. As for turning for the next row, well, that's not working out just yet because it's sloping so I assume I'm losing a stitch each row? I'm enjoying working it out, even if it is a little frustrating. The movement of the yarn and the hook is quite elegant. 
You know what the funny thing is? I feel like I'm being a traitor to my knitting! I've got work on my needles and I feel like I'm having an affair with crochet. Can it last or will it be a mere dalliance? Watch this space.

Isn't this divine? It caught my eye on a stall in Angel Market, and is a vintage, off-white vanity case with a lovely red lining. I wish I could say it was a thrifty buy but, being Islington, it really wasn't!
I thought it would make a nice case for carrying the Monkey's toys around in, or I could use it for my sewing or knitting bits and bobs. I love the little pink containers for toiletries.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Crochet 101

So, inspired by Joxy and Mon in particular, I have resolved to learn how to crochet. I've ordered the Happy Hooker book and a book of cute Amigurumi patterns, but I couldn't wait for them to arrive and had a bit of an attempt this evening. I had a quick look on YouTube and found out that the first step was to learn how to do a chain stitch. The first video I watched was hard to translate into left-handed crochet. I can see that being a southpaw might prove to be a bit of a disability! But then I found this video for left-handed chain stitch and I *think* I've got the hang of it. After doing a few inches it seemed that the stitches were becoming more uniform. You can't really judge from the photo as there wasn't enough light and I took it with my camera. I'll report more tomorrow, and also post a photo of the Monkey's bird mobile, which I completed this evening. 

Thursday, 12 March 2009


Now I know I *should* have listened to some Mummy friends who said you should never cut your children's hair yourself but...

... I didn't.

And no, I didn't use a bowl.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Odd and sods

There are parakeets living in our local park! I saw them once ages ago and mentioned it to Dave who thought I was nuts so I started to doubt it myself but then my Mum mentioned it the other day and yesterday I saw them again myself! You can't see them clearly in this photo but there are at least half a dozen and they are bright green.

Tilly adores reading her 'Splat' the cat book. In fact, she now has two of them. I think she said "cat" this morning when we came downstairs and saw Duncan. I *could* be wrong so I'm waiting for it to happen again before I officially declare it her First Proper Word, but it sounded pretty close.

Mmmm, delicious Leek, Bacon and Potato Gratin.
Must go, Monkey has just awoken after a long morning nap. AND she slept through the night. Most bizarre!

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Weekend Photos

The Monkey Eats!

Or Rather, Sucks on a Crust!

And no, I will never tire of hearing how beautiful she is!

Swans and ducks at Bushy Ruffs park, Alkham, Nr Dover

Monkey & Mama

Monkey & Monkey-Dada

This swan was huge and a little terrifying!

Friday, 6 March 2009

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Daddy's (almost) Home!

Just a quick post before we head off to Gatwick to collect daddy. Monkey is wearing a pretty new 'Spring' dress but as you can see, the excitement has got to her and she flaked out on the sofa after a quick breastfeed- and this was only 3/4 hour after she ate a huge bowl of buttery porridge. It seems her little appetite is picking up. A probably side-effect of eating more is that she is at last sleeping better. Last night was the first relatively normal night of the last fortnight, she went to bed at 7.30pm, woke at 1am-ish for a feed (it might even have been later) and then at 5am she came in with me and slept until 7am. I feel much better for it, even if I did stay up playing with my new mobile phone until ridiculous-o'clock (I was expecting her to wake up at any moment!). 

Beautiful Booby Babe