Thursday, 21 May 2015


I've said it before and I'll say it again, Where is the time going? Life here seems to be coasting, drifting if you will along a current of appointments and treatments for our youngest. There's been practical changes to our work arrangements (well mainly mine as being an academic is fairly flexible) as she can't go to nursery at the moment. We've become experts in her condition, in giving her medication, in undertaking daily tests, in knowing and understanding and negotiating the subtleties of the health service. It's hard advocating for your child, making decisions on her treatment which could affect her future, it's very hard. If I had a penny for everyone who has said to me "Ooh you'd never think she was ill would you" I'd be very, very, very rich. I know (for the most part) they mean well but it doesn't really help much. Of course, it is incongruous, a very ill child who's running round and doing forward rolls.  

Not wanting to be left out it's looking likely that our eldest has a nut allergy. Pistachios for certain. Other nuts? Who knows but she's not having nuts anymore. More referrals. More appointments. More tests. Even with 'insider' knowledge on navigating the health system it's exhausting.

But amidst this there is joy. 

I've laughed myself silly at Peter Kay's new comedy about a car share. i think it might be one of those that you keep coming back to. We've watched some more films - 24 Hour Party People (again), Alan Partridge - Alpha Papa (again), Silver Linings Playbook (which I loved as a book and the film was pretty good) and with the girls, Despicable Me. They are now officially minions crazy.

Another upside of being home more is more time in the garden. The girls love playing in the garden , although my plants and I aren't that happy with an enthusiastic 2 year old pulling and trampling on them.

I've been growing alliums again this year and finally, finally had success. I'm very pleased with myself!

My trusty azalea has burst into flower again, It's hot pink blooms really cheer a corner of the garden. I believe the old wive's tale too (that they like being moved) and took it on its annual walk round the garden (it is in a pot, I've not lost my mind that much) before it flowered.

I'm looking forward to a bounty of blueberries this year. LittleR ate the best part of a punnet today!

I've made a lot of new cakes but taken no pictures of them. Cherry cake, chocolate marble cake, (the offensive) pistachio cake.  I thank you Mary Berry and Fay Ripley.

I've been reading numerous cookery books and making a huge list of new things to try.

I still haven't gotten round to buying that mug. Although I did spot an interim replacement in Asda the other day. I love a puffin.

I'm reading your blogs but doing it from my phone means commenting is more challenging. I hope normal service can be resumed...eventually.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

New routines and rituals

You know how it is. Those activities you just have to do before you can settle to something else. Like tidying up before revising for an exam. Or finishing the ironing/cleaning the loo/scooping out plugholes before you make yet another visit to the hospital. Or just having a quick coffee before you get on with anything. I've been thinking about routines and rituals. I've written about it before and seen others writing about it recently. How the ebb and flow of life subtly changes and you develop new routines and habits.

:: I'm still a slave to a coffee. I love our bean to cup machine. It gets used multiple times a day and make the most delicious coffee. I have to have a very specific mug. My favoured Orla Kiely mug met an untimely demise at the hands of LittleR, so I'm currently on the look out for a new one. I'm liking the look of this one.

:: Since the onset of "the illness" my hands have never been more sore and cracked. Actually, that's not true. My hands were just as dry when both girls were born and I was hand washing multiple times a day. So my newest ritual is remembering to apply hand cream. You would think this would be easy...sore hands, oh yes apply cream. But no. I have to be very mindful to do this. I have some lovely cream and some prescribed cream neither of which are near me when I think ooh apply cream. Maybe I should string it round my neck?

:: Our latest (unwanted) routine is Early Rising. The littlest has taken to whining very early in the morning (somewhere between 5.15 and 5.40). I have no idea what's waking her. She doesn't want to get up but doesn't want to stay in bed. I have to go in and pat her, where after she might consider being quiet for another 15 or so minutes. Or not. It's very boring when you're sleeping badly enough as it is. Hard going on the ABO when he's been on lates too. We're thinking about a gro clock (although that had limited success with BigR!) and thicker curtains (to cover the blackout blind!).

:: My favourite new ritual is watering the plants.  I'm expecting we'll be spending a lot of time at home this summer with plenty of it in the garden. So we've bought some new garden furniture and are making plans to grow 'stuff'. I'm working on the flower beds now. I sowed some cornflower seeds last week and they're just starting to sprout...I'm very excited. We've planted some peas (now proper plants!), beans (just poking through) and strawberries (bought with flowers on for best possible chance of success!) and I'm hoping to get a tub of carrots and radishes going. Never had much luck in previous years with carrots of radishes but you can try again can't you? The biggest thing is getting outside to water them but it's easier now as the girls are both a little more independent in playing in the garden, I can tend to the plants - before havoc ensues! And if the plants survive balls, hula hoops and enthusiasm from the smallest!

:: A ritual I'm hoping to get back is making. I don't feel I've been very creative the last few weeks. I've been seeing others' efforts and feeling the need again. So I've dusted off my sewing machine and ordered some new bobbins and needles. The skirts (I've mentioned before) for the girls are top of the list. I've been looking through my recipe books (getting excited to see Nigel Slater is writing a 3rd volume of  Kitchen Diaries) and want to make some new things to eat. Just recently I made a (very delicious) pistachio cake adapted from a Fay Ripley recipe and some coleslaw. I was amazed how much tastier it was without the raw onion. I'm also keen to make an embroidery for my friend's baby girl. So, I have plans  - now I just need some motivation to get started!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

The year in books :: May

Well it was a little better this month on the reading front. I managed to two novels. The first was 'girl on a Train' by Paula Hawkins, such an excellent premise to the story of a girl imagining the life of people she observes in their gardens and houses on her commute. Of course, it gets a little more complicated than this as it transpires she used to live on the street she observes and imagines and then one of the women she sees goes missing...
I was gripped. It was 'light' enough to keep my (sleep deprived) attention but gripping enough to draw me into the story.

The second novel was the new one by Mark Billingham. I really enjoy his Tom Thorne novels and again this was no exception.The last couple of novels have taken Thorne away from his job in the met but still 'fighting crime'. This one appealed to my more gruesome side! I'm hoping they'll make some more of them for TV - David Morrissey, in my mind is a super Tom Thorne.

So not bad for April.
In May I'm hoping to read Jay Rayner's novel The Apologist and Kate Atkinson's new book (when it's published...very excited!!).

Joining in with Laura.