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, 24 September 2009

Thank goodness for Mummy Milk

Poor Monkey is suffering this week with her teeth and a cough & cold. She is barely eating and as a result we are breast-feeding LOTS. Which I need to keep reminding myself of, because I do worry when she doesn't eat. And I get to eat lots of yummy things because I'm feeding both of us :-)

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Almost there

We have exchanged contracts on our house and moving day is scheduled for next Wednesday! I can't possibly convey to you the stress of the last couple of weeks. At more than one point it looked like it wasn't going to happen. We had a deadline of 30th September before our mortgage offer expired. Last Friday we found out that our vendors had lost the house they were planning to buy. Thankfully they have decided to continue with their plans to move and are renting a house in the interim. Yesterday, after trying to exchange contracts for the previous two days, we were informed that our buyers had lost their buyer. Yep, they just decided not to proceed. The English system is appalling, it is a disgrace that there is no commitment until contracts are exchanged. You are relying on someone's word and planning your future lives with no guarantees whatsoever. With great relief we found out that our lenders were happy to proceed on the basis that we would be renting our house out, and even better news came when our buyers indicated that they would like to rent the house and buy it when they had secured another buyer. So now we have a week to pack our lives up and prepare for seaside life! Here's a few pics of our destination:

Mmmm, chilli jam!

Inspired by Nina over at Tabiboo (a soon-to-be neighbour in Broadstairs) I decided to have a go at making my own chilli jam. I wanted something piquant and sweet to accompany cheese, cold meats, sausages etc. This was my very first attempt at making any kind of jam or preserve, so I borrowed my Mum's preserving pan and hey presto:

A deliciously sticky chilli jam! I used Sarah Raven's recipe which you can find online here. I changed the recipe very slightly, using 3 regular red chillies and adding 1 Birds Eye chilli for some extra heat. I also used one of those sweet pointy red peppers. It set beautifully after an hour or so bubbling away, and the spicing is just right, a nice heat but it doesn't send you rushing to the tap for water (not that water helps but anyway!).

Unfortunately the recipe quantities only made one jar (plus a tablespoon leftover which was very quickly devoured!) so I will be making it again very soon and sizing up the quantities.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Just Because

And I'm out...

I'm sorry to say that I've given up on my second Booker Prize novel, How to Paint a Dead Man, by Sarah Hall. Sorry because I absolutely hate giving up on books, but life is too short and too busy, and this one has been sitting by my bed for 2 weeks now and I've had to force myself to read further. It's also a shame because the writing is beautiful. This, for example:
Still, there you were, together, from the very beginning. You shared a pillow of placenta, pedalled in tandem against your mother's belly. You heard concurrently the wet chamber music of her body, shared nutrients, and dreamt the same hermetic dream.
Elegant and poetic, but ultimately the narrative was just not strong enough to maintain my interest. There are four strands to the novel, each concerned with art and it's place in the world, but I read a third of the novel and became frustrated that there was no plot to speak of and nothing to urge me forward. I guess I need a good story. Maybe I should get the new Dan Brown (JOKE).

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Knitting: The Proof

Some knitting to show you, at last! Here's my most recent project, a pretty teal bolero for the Monkey:

Nanna had to finish it off, however, because I couldn't work out the reverse shapings on the collar. Boo. Feel like a bit of a cheat.

How cute is she in her play buggy?!

My current W.I.P is another one of these contrast-edging cardigans.
Nanna knitted this one in white and green.

And I am knitting the next size up in a lovely grey and dusky pink. Let's hope I actually manage to finish it all myself...

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Another foodie weekend...

This weekend was a rather successful foodie weekend. Successful for the tastebuds, deadly for the diet, that is! We had a lovely takeaway Indian meal on Friday evening, and on Saturday we pizza using Hugh Fearnley Whittinstall's recipe from the Guardian magazine a few weeks ago. Now I was a little dubious about pizza-making, never having made a dough from scratch before. Deciding that this MUST be done properly, I nipped over to the food hall at John Lewis in Bluewater to purchase a pizza stone. This nifty bit of equipment gets preheated in the oven at the highest possible temperature and is supposed to ensure that your pizza gets a crispy base. Hugh F-W does claim that the dough recipe is foolproof and he turned out to be right. The pizza was incredible, as you can see from the photos! Light and crispy dough, just perfect. We were so pleased with ourselves. I also made a roasted tomato sauce and we topped the pizzas with chorizo and hard goats cheese (the winner) and roast peppers and feta (a worthy runner-up). Saturday nights are now Pizza Nights, and we have spent today dreaming up our next batch of toppings. Controversially, we are both in favour of pineapple on pizza (Hugh is NOT), so that will be featuring next time...

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Loving this... Florence and the Machine

I don't tend to listen to much music because I'm a Radio 4 gal at heart, but I have fallen head-over-heels for this amazing girl and her band, Florence and the Machine. Look at her at the Reading Festival, isn't she the coolest chick with her flaming red hair and her bat costume?! I've got a huge girl-crush on her. Click on this link to go to the Performance Highlights, at 26 minutes in you will find my favourite song, Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up). I must have listened to it about twenty times in the last few days! It's so uplifting it makes me want to jump around the room...

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Day(s) From Hell

Okay, hell might be a slight exaggeration, and of course there are many people far worse off than I but crikey it has been a trying 24 hours or so. I am renowned for being calm under pressure, and five months of being in the house-buying process is pretty darn testing, but after three weeks of being told that we would have a date imminently I finally lost it. I need to know when we are moving! I wouldn't even mind if that date was two months away, I just want to know. As it is, we keep hearing soon, soon, soon... but no word comes. We are living in limbo: making preparations; changing arrangements for work; living amongst boxes of flat-packed furniture; lusting after interiors and beautiful Danish furniture on eBay; fending off endless "when are you moving" questions; vaccinating our cats in readiness for a stay in the cattery; Freecycling things, like spare beds, which it would still actually be quite helpful to have in the house.
We made our offer on the house we want to buy before Easter. In that time we have managed to sell two houses, completing on one and hopefully tying the other one in with our onward move. Our vendors haven't even managed to get their sodding mortgage approved and appear to be the last people you could possibly wish to find yourself in a life-changing house purchase transaction with.
Deep breath. This too shall pass.
The dishwasher has packed up, and fused the electrics in the process. I am now having to empty it and wash the contents by hand, which does have the advantage of at least ensuring that the dishes are clean, a basic requirement which said dishwasher appears not to be particularly fussed with.
I've got fleas. Well, not me exactly but the cats do, and yours truly is the only one in the house with bites. Lots. Of. Bites.
Oh yes, and did I mention that my baby passed out for a minute this morning?
Yes, this is now the third episode of breath holding, this time triggered by her being angry rather than having a bump or being in pain of some sort. It was a total nightmare, we were in a busy restaurant having lunch and Monkey was getting fed up of not being able to run around. I tried to pop her back in the highchair, she let out a cry and then... no breath. And still no breath. And floppiness. My friend and I are calling her name, shaking her, trying to rouse her. It's less than a minute and she comes round again, promptly projectile vomiting the contents of her stomach across me and the restaurant. Jeez. She was fine after I'd cleaned her up. I even managed to eat the rest of my pasta. Bless the waiting staff, they were very tolerant and kind, I was of course mortified. I got home and researched breath-holding spells in toddlers, which turned out to be quite reassuring. I learned that it is reasonably common, and that the child will spontaneously start breathing again in a minute or less. I learned that I don't need to rouse her, shake or splash her with water, and that I should just lie her flat until she comes around. I also learnt that it can run in families, and yes, I was a breath-holding toddler! It can also be linked to anaemia, so I will be taking Monkey to the GP to get her iron levels checked out and to get a second opinion. It aint easy being a parent, is it?
My prescription then...
DH is out tonight so I will be trying to relax by having a bath and casting on stitches for a new knitting project (not whilst in the bath). The diet has gone out the window and is legging it up the street so I'm treating myself to Indian food from Waitrose. The Monkey was gently encouraged to have an early night. Fragranced candles are burning on the mantlepiece. Tomorrow is another day.