Friday, 22 March 2019

Flying solo - week 10

Every once in a while Mr M hops on a plane for business and I'm left in charge of the little ones. I quip that I'm flying solo for the week, but no, that would be Mr M. The countdown fills me with dread, but once we've found our rhythm it's actually ok. And remarkably, both beans were well - if nursery bug tag teaming were an Olympic event, they'd be representing Team GB this year. Even Pig was on her best behaviour. But it made me realise that yes, when we were in the thick of it last year and my hourly mantra was "this too shall pass", it really has, and I now have two little humans who can potter about. It really did get easier.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

A snuggle of scones

Every once in a while, when the little ones are napping, I'm hit with the procrastinating call of baking. And then I talk myself out of it in case one wakes up or the guilt that I haven't folded the washing kicks in. As a result, I've barely baked since they arrived, so when the baking bug hits I never have the ingredients in. On a whim, I recently bought a bag of sultanas and there they sat on the worktop eager to be used. Not quite Michael McIntyre's pot of five spice, but certainly getting a little downhearted at being overlooked and obscured by the box of weetabix and general detritus.

But today during nap time, for some reason, I decided to bake scones. I do love a scone. There's something so comforting about them - which is somewhat needed with this weather of late. I like mine cold, with all the trimmings and a steaming mug of tea. Creme fraiche instead of clotted cream is rather controversial but a surprisingly good alternative and what's usually in the fridge. The majority of shop sold scones are a tad mediocre - either so dry that they turn to dust as you try to spread them with butter or so cloying that they get stuck to the roof of your mouth. A pile of scones sitting resplendent on a cafe counter will immediately get my hopes up, especially when they're as big as my hand, but invariably they're more rock cake with a bit of height than the Enid Blyton afternoon treat that I was so looking forward to.

Anyway, I've not made scones since I was at school - I always thought that they were a faff to make. Turns out, they're super quick to make and even quicker to bake. I used this Delia recipe - and it's perfect. Naturally I couldn't find the proper cutters, so had to improvise, but the recipe made eight decent sized scones that cooked in 12 minutes. What's not to love! I honestly can't believe I've not made them this century.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

A glimpse of green - week 9

Spring passed me by last year. I simply turned my head away. I missed those first signs of life, the tentative shoots letting slip the hustle and bustle taking place underground in the depths of winter. The joy of new growth - sedum emerging like goose barnacles, hellebores unfurling their gracious necks, the brown paper packaged fireworks of the witch hazel - the latter aside, I often find this stage more joyous than the petals when they come. This week, with it's unseasonal but welcome warmth, sent our garden into overdrive - the Californian poppies have sprung up everywhere, their self-seeding programme is going well. The weeds are already flowering. It felt good to start spring cleaning the garden, gently readying it for two marauding tinkers and their friends.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Pass the wine - week 8

1. Tag-teaming bugs. The kids. It's a skill. It was A's turn this week - some sort of laryngitis/croup special - another day at home playing nurse. Mr M donned the uniform on Tuesday with me hot footing it back from town to takeover so that he could hop onto calls. Then O's snot levels hit a new high, as did his temperature on Wednesday. The poor lamb has now broken out in a rash, so am looking forward to that situation tomorrow.

2. How do working parents manage with poorly bambinos? We're struggling and it's starting to make us question why I'm back at work trying to secure a job if this is how it's going to be in the short term.*

3. It's been odd having our chatterbox whispering all week - the house has been so quiet. She took to banging the table to get our attention. The great news is that her voice is starting to come back and she's no longer quite as scared of coughing as she once was.

4. I celebrated my last child-free Friday with a calming spa treatment at Foxhills, courtesy of Mr M. It was such a treat - an incredible body massage, followed by a facial - my face still feels joyously polished and my skin hasn't broken out. Although I didn't fully relax because I'd forgotten to look at the name of the locker I'd electronically locked my worldly goods into and that was ALL I could think about during the 90 minutes of calm. All was fine and I thankfully didn't have to ask for help. Note to self...PAY ATTENTION especially when having a bit of flap!

5. I picked up my new bookclub book, Mothering Sunday, from the local library. I've gone from having a reading drought last year (thanks O) to over committing (to myself) and 'joining' two bookclubs (@abookishbakerclub on IG) and a local Facebook-but-meet-in-real-life one. I now have a silly number of books on the go (Mothering Sunday, Becoming and French children don't throw food). Thank goodness Mothering Sunday appears to be pretty short. And with a large font.

6. This incredible weather saw us both outside tidying the garden whilst the little ones napped. It was a milestone for us and reminded me of two things - life is getting back to normal, and how comically abnormal we were in our twenties when we bought the flat with the ginormous garden and spent every weekend digging, clearing or raking. Sometimes fuelled by champagne. I miss it.

7. I made it to the gym for the second half of my induction. A session with a personal trainer, who was wonderful and listened. She didn't treat my "I can't guarantee I'll be at the gym once a week let alone once a month" line with the expected "YOU'LL ALWAYS BE A QUITTER WITH THAT KIND OF ATTITUDE" motivational speech, but instead has created me two fitness plans - one for home and one for the gym. Amazing. I'm doing this to get fit and strong, so that I can keep up with the little ones and fix an ongoing lower back issue. I get to use those trendy ropes on a boat thing. I am going to hurt tomorrow.

8. Wine, wine, whine, whine, wine.

*yes, I know - it really is that odd.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

A side note

Aren't these pearls of dew delightful? We have a front wall that we planted up with mini alpine plants yonks ago. I often forget about them until they're sparkling with frost and dew first thing in the morning.

Anyway - a quick side note - commenting on Blogger seems to be a little topsy-turvy. I haven't been able to comment or reply since I returned in January. Who knows what's afoot. I still haven't fathomed out a fix from my laptop. I managed to reply to a comment using my iPad and then that had a wobble. And then someone kindly pointed out that they hadn't been able to leave a comment. Sigh.

Bear with - will fix somehow...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Even keel - week 7

Back to normal, back to work, running for trains, train delays (because I ran for the train), bumping into friends on the train, catching up with friends at work and wondering why we didn't do it more frequently before, another lunch at the Haymarket Hotel, watching Gruffalo's Child for the umpteenth time but Paddington for the first and then having to explain marmalade multiple times, stealing kisses and snuggles from the eldest and teaching the youngest to kiss and then regretting being on the receiving end of a basking shark with six teeth, eating the leftovers from Mr M's Spanish tapas cookery day which included yummy Octopus, finding time to build the world's heaviest kitchen table with Mr M (83kg of oak and steel #ontrend), finally braving a gym assessment and meeting the nicest personal trainer who actually listened to me, finishing The Cows by Dawn O'Porter and realising I am way more prudish than I thought, drinking too much red wine on Friday night, discovering that A's really quite precise when it comes to stickers, going home for a delightful family lunch and watching my two plink and plonk at my old piano but feeling sad that both sets of grandparents will be piano-less by the end of the year and we still don't have the space, hypothetically searching RightMove with no intention of moving.

The germ factory strikes again - week 6

Poor O caught the grotty bug doing the rounds and then kindly passed a milder version to me. The expensive germ factories just love to give back. Illness aside, it was lovely to spend some quality time with my little chap. He's such a little character - gentle, kind, happy go lucky and eager to learn. We played together at his own pace, without toys being confiscated by his big sister, and it was an absolute joy to see him as his own person. He's toddling and having a whale of a time with it. Still no actual words, but we're working on it. I started reading to A properly at 6 months, but poor O had to wait until he was about 11 months - and even then A has a tendency to derail bedtime stories most nights. He'll get there.