Monday, December 8

The Gingerbread Army

Be afraid... be very afraid...

80 gingerbread men for Sara and Trist's wedding day favours.

Here's what the happy couple thought of them...

Aw. I love a nice wedding.

Breaking news

This is where I want to be going in mid June when Mini Meep II is due to put in an appearance.

Yes, that's right. I am avec enfant again. Hurrah! And indeed, eeek!

ETA Can I just say that I am not a Daily Mail reader, just stumbled upon this on another site. Honest guv.

Tuesday, November 18

Passing through

Not really here. Just passing through. PT job v busy. Freelance work gone through the roof. Photography deadline looming. Kitchen still a disaster zone. Cooking in the corridor. Washing up in the bath. Some lovely bloggers tagged me. Sorry I haven't responded yet. Here's a gratutitous photo of the crazy-haired snail and some pink cakes I made for Sara's hen weekend.

Friday, October 24

Why toddlers and birthday cakes don't mix

And talking of my snail, she has learnt some words over the last couple of weeks. She knows Mama, Daddy, Grandpa, dog, no, more, car and, most importantly... cake! I'm so proud.

Tuesday, October 7

Meep Towers: An update

This, I kid you not, is our kitchen. Hmmm. By some miracle, I'm still managing to rustle up the odd home-baked loaf or a banana bread, so all is not lost. And hopefully by the end of Octber, this hovel will be a beautiful, retro, pastel coloured, family meeting place, with smells of gorgeous bakey cakeyness wafting from the oven.

But on a less filthy hovel-like note, here is the lounge before and after...



And although we don't have a kitchen, we do have... colour-coded book shelves. What more could you need?

Monday, September 29

10 Things I'd Rather Be Doing

I'm at work. Here's what I'd rather be doing.

  • Playing with Gwen in the autumn sunshine (stealing a nibble of those fat little feet)
  • Taking photographs
  • Filling my house with baking smells
  • Picking blackberries
  • Eating cake, of course
  • Taking Blod for a long walk
  • Running on a beach
  • Curling up on my pink chair with a book and a mug of green tea
  • Learning to sew, so I can make stuff from this book
  • People-watching out of the window of a coffee shop

    That is what I would rather be doing.
  • Tuesday, August 26

    Furry Happy Monsters

    I'm a big fan of monsters. I love the Muppets. And I'm quite partial to a bit of Michael Stipe.

    So imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this.

    Sunday, August 24

    Looks get you everywhere

    When you have a face like this, all smiling and happy and radiating delight and goodness and general loveliness, people are drawn to you. In fact, they are so drawn to you, they want to give you things - things like lovely, lovely food - for free.

    This week, I took the snail out for lunch to the lovely Babas. Now the snail usually just eats whatever I'm having, so I thought I'd just get a big plate of gorgeousness and let her pick what she wanted. The man behind the counter thought differently - he was charmed by my beaming daughter and insisted she have a plate of food of her own - whatever she wanted. He even offered to cook something especially, in case she didn't like any of the 50-odd dishes that were already on offer. It was like dining out with the queen or Posh Spice or something. So she ended up with a mountain of food - which the smitten chef refused to charge us for. Result.

    After the meal, we stopped off at the baklava shop for some pudding. Cue another Mediterranean man, my daughter fluttering her eyelashes and grinning lots. I leave the shop, having spent 80p but with an entire tray of sticky sweet treats.

    I was tempted to go to Milgi down the road and try my luck with their cocktail menu. Maybe another day.

    Sunday, August 17

    Sunday Scribblings: Observations

    Haven't done one of these writing exercises in a while...

    My observations on Sundays

  • On a Sunday, you can eat cake for breakfast (and if it happens to be your birthday on a Sunday, you can have two slices).
  • On a Sunday, you should make a huge pot of tea (or coffee if you'd prefer), then spend the morning lounging around in your pyjamas, sipping the tea out of your favourite mug, and reading a big fat Sunday newspaper (with the sport and business sections removed, of course).
  • On a Sunday, lunch is very important. There are two important rules for this most important of the week's lunches - it must be big and it must contain potatoes in one of their most marvellous forms (ie roasted or mashed).
  • On a Sunday, you should get down with Mother Nature. I like the beach, you might prefer a forest, or possibly a lake. However, a trip to an out-of-town retail outlet will sap your soul and should be avoided at all costs (and, in fact, at all times, but especially on a Sunday).
  • On a Sunday, you should do something lovely to avoid the horror of the Sunday Night Back to Work Blues. Tonight I chatted over a glass of vino, made pizzas, danced around the kitchen (ah, the joys of Mr Meep's new iPod), then went to bed with Sleepytime tea, books and my lovely Macbook.

    And that is how all Sundays should be.

    Find more at Sunday Scribblings.
  • Thursday, August 14

    Mama Mia

    I went to see Mama Mia the other night.

    There's only one thing you need to know about this film.

    The bride - that's her in the picture - arrives at her wedding on a... donkey.

    Why didn't I think of that?

    Monday, July 28

    Blee and double blee

    Some people go on Spa weekends for their hen night. Others jet off for a fancy weekend in the Marbella sunshine or cosy up with friends and food in a cute little cottage in the country.

    My friend Jenny, lovely and amazing and fabulous though she is, decided to take us on an assault course. In the mud. On a wet weekend in winter.

    I'd almost erased it from my memory, until this photo appeared on Facebook earlier today (I don't really get Facebook, but I like looking at people's photos on it).

    Now it's all coming back to me... my fingers were so numb from the cold that I couldn't undo my trousers to get them off, the smelly stream I landed head first in was downstream of a field of cows and full of their stinky poo, my legs were still covered in bruises at the wedding three weeks later...

    And day two? This involved more cold water, this time doing this. But me and my mate H had had enough of being cold and wet. As the other girls threw themselves into the icy swollen river, we sat on a grassy bank ogling the not-too-hard-on-the-eye, black-haired, blue-eyed 20-something instructor - her smoking a fag, me eating a tube of Pringles.

    Sunday, July 20

    Can you have it all?

    So, I haven't blogged for almost a month. Why? Work, work and more work. I wouldn't mind, but I am actually very workshy. I want less work and more freedom in my life. I've been promoted in the part-time job, the freelance stuff had gone bonkers, so I find myself working all day, coming home, putting Mini Meep to bed, then working all night. Then off to bed and it all starts again.

    And that's not to mention the house, which is quite literally a building site, covered in scaffolding and surrounded by a cloud of dust, which has worked its way through every tiny gap so that everything inside is covered in a thin layer of grime. So when I'm not working on work, I'm painting, sanding, varnishing, stripping (wallpaper, not myself).

    I haven't seen my friends, I haven't read much, I haven't watched films, I haven't been on long walks with Blod, I haven't been to the beach. Blimey, I even had - and I can't believe I'm going to admit this - about 2cms of underarm hair growth. Blee.

    I like my job, I'm happy that I have a 'skill' that people want to pay me for, I'm, chuffed to bits to have this house in this lovely village that will be fab when it's finished (in about 2012). But there is so much other stuff I want to do too.

    I want:
    To study meditation
    To get fit again
    To have more babies
    To do an art class
    To have a beautiful garden (no sniggering at the back)
    To improve my Welsh
    To write my blog more
    To learn Spanish
    To do a creative writing class
    To get back into swimming
    To do more photography modules
    To get into yoga
    To bake more
    To make fig jam from the figs in the garden
    To write a book
    To read more books
    To go back to volunteering
    To make summer pudding with the raspberries and redcurrants in my garden
    To learn to sing
    To visit Italy
    To do a road trip in America
    To take a dance class
    To learn to sew
    To live by the sea
    To save up and buy a campervan
    To go back to Thailand
    To visit Vietnam
    To grow most of my own veg
    To teach

    Life is just so full of possibilities - how on earth are you meant to fit everything in? And how do you do everything you want to do a)well and b) mindfully? I think I need a guru.

    But for this year? Finish the house is the priority. And get fit. And do another photography course. And do more cooking.

    Monday, June 23

    Summer Solstice

    So being a fan of all things mother earth, I love the summer solstice (apart from the hay fever, which has increased a zillion times since moving out of the dirty city to the fresh, clean, pollen-filled air of the country).

    I was having a surf to see how people were celebrating it. I found some lovely ideas about candlelit evening picnics with seasonal food, baking 'sunshine cakes', making crowns and dancing in the sunshine. Then I came across this novel suggestion:

    "A woman who wishes to conceive should walk naked through her vegetable garden on Midsummer's Eve, preferably picking some St Johns Wort."

    On June 21st 2009, you will mostly find me starkers in my blackcurrant bush wielding a herbal antidepressant.

    Better cut some of those brambles back.

    Thursday, June 12

    The Flickr Game

    The game, originally uploaded by littlemissmeep.

    Why aren't I blogging? Because I'm Flickring instead.

    Seen over at Pea Soup.

    The concept:

    a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
    b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
    c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

    The Questions:

    1. What is your first name?
    2. What is your favorite food?
    3. What high school did you go to?
    4. What is your favorite color?
    5. Who is your celebrity crush?
    6. Favorite drink?
    7. Dream vacation?
    8. Favorite dessert?
    9. What you want to be when you grow up?
    10. What do you love most in life?
    11. One Word to describe you.
    12. Your flickr name

    Have a go.

    Friday, May 30

    I'm a writer and I've been tagged

    I've been tagged by Rach, who is a bit like me but a lot funnier and doesn't bang on about babies all the time, to answer the following question: What revelations have you had since taking up your writing career?

    So, in the form of a list (of course):

    1. I've learnt that I like being free. Free means saying 'Oh, sod it' on a sunny day and sneaking off for a womble through some fields with your dog (last Wednesday). It means not being trapped in an office filled with suits from Next and talking about the weather. It means being able to take the day off, drive through a forest, then stop at a funny pub in the middle of nowhere for a pint of ale, some salt and vinegar crisps and a go on the rickety swing (a couple of Fridays ago).

    2. I always thought that when I gave up the 9 to 5 and went freelance, I'd spend a lot of time in coffee shops, sipping Earl Grey and gazing out of the window. I have never done this. Not sure why, but I think I just like working in my slippers with tea and cake that's nicer and cheaper than evil Starbucks*. However, our village pub, which is just at the end of our street has Wi-Fi and serves a nice pint of Brains Dark, so watch this space. (Any clients that might be reading, if there are greasy marks on your proofs, I am sorry. It's the salt and vinegar crisps. They just go so well with ale.)

    3. Some writing is dead glamourous and sexy. The stuff I do is most definitely not. When people ask what you do and you reply "Why, I am a top freelance writer-slash-editor-type person," they go "Oooo, what kind of things do you write?". Then you reply, "I'm a copywriter, so I write things for companies, like brochures and annual reports," and they just say "Oh".

    4. You get to buy yourself a spanking new Macbook with the excuse that you need it for work and you get to claim it against your tax. And then, you get to spend half an hour taking photos of you and your dog in Photobooth (taking the picture over and over to try and get your expressions looking the same) when you should be proofreading a handbook for Medicine students.

    *Other evil coffee shops are available.

    Disclaimer: I am, in fact, a bit of a fraud because I do still have a part-time job too. But it is working for a mumpety charidee. And things are taking off so, who knows, maybe I could finally take the plunge and break free of the system, man.

    Thursday, May 29

    1 year (and 3 days)

    Dear Snail,
    You are one year old. What an exciting age to be - so many things to explore and bang your head on, so many manky things to pick up off the floor and try to eat.

    Your crawling has reached a most unsnail-like pace and I can hear you slapping your hands across the wooden floor as you excitedly pursue a pet through the house.

    You're also trying to 'walk' on all-fours (clearly way too much time spent with the pets), which results in a lot of head-bumps and wailing - although that's easily resolved with a wave of something shiny to distract you.

    You have been giving me spontaneous kisses, which is just the best thing ever, ever.

    You're trying to copy what we say these days - in your own little way, mimicking the syllables when we say 'Hel-lo' or 'Thank you'. I am way too excited about you talking - can you do it soon please? I like talking. I hope you will too.

    What a lot has happened to you in one year. You've gone from a teeny, tiny, sleepy bundle that didn't open her eyes for two weeks, to an almost-toddler full of energy and grins and excitement and interest. Oh, and cake.

    It's been an amazing year. I'm proud of me for surviving the extreme colic and the sleepless nights, for doing my own hippyish parenting thing with slings and cloth nappies and breastfeeding and baby-led weaning. But mostly I'm proud of you for turning into the perfect smiley, happy, chilled out baby. So yay us!

    Thanks for everything, you gorgeous girl.


    Thursday, May 15

    A Week of Mumpets

    Two of my favourite mumpets

    It's certainly been a week for all things mumpet.

  • Mumpet moment No 1: Have discovered the soundtrack to my life - Hideaway by The Weepies. Lots of my favourite bloggers have been raving about them for ages, and I kept meaning to check them out. Mr Meep went on Itunes on the weekend, heard it and thought I might like it. He was so right. If muffins were music, this is what they'd sound like.

  • Mumpet moment No 2: All of the Meeps went on a family walk up the Garth Mountain (at the back of our house - I love this village) and we met an amazing man. 82 years old and still walking up the Garth a few times a week, a voice like Richard Burton and lots of stories to tell. I could have talked to him all day. After we met him, I told Mr Meep that I thought he was an angel.

  • Mumpet moment No 3: Stumbled upon this lovely Pollyanna-esque blogger.

  • Mumpet moment No 4: Watched this amazing film - I'd seen it before at the cinema, but it was so lovely, I watched it again.

  • Mumpet moment No 5: Met a lovely neighbour down the road - 78 years old (it was a week for mumpet pensioners) with twinkly blue eyes and thinks Blod and Gwen are both amazing, so I think she's amazing too. (Did I mention that I love this village?)

  • Mumpet moment No 6: Went to a yoga class with my lovely Buddhist neighbour (not a pensioner, but is a mumpet - did I mention...? Oh, I did).

  • Mumpet moment No 7: At the yoga class, met that very rare thing - an uber-mumpet. There aren't many of these around, but I think if I met Rolf Harris he would be one. She was stunningly beautiful in a healthy, glowing kind of way (mumpet points for the healthy glow), wearing birkenstocks (summer mumpet footwear of choice) and was really smiley (a mumpet basic). At the end of the class, the teacher said that Milly (mumpet name) has a glut of organic rocket from her allotment (mumpetdar going mad) and did anybody want to take some (Mumpetmumpetmumpetmumpetmumpetttttttttttttt)? I got chatting to her and it turns out not only does she have an allotment, birkenstocks, a smiley face and healthy glow, she also makes veggie boxes for her friends and keeps chickens. I hope she will be my friend (in a totally, like, non-Single White Female kind of way).

    Have you encountered a mumpet today?

    ETA Mr Meep's sitting next to me saying that my blog used to be a comedy blog back when it started, but now it's not funny anymore. Not mumpet!
  • Tuesday, May 13

    Turned Out Nice

    I had to go to London for work and I wasn't happy
    Alarm set for 5am to catch the morning train with all the dreary commuters in their uniform of sludge
    An all day thing, so no time to pop to the Tate or meet friends
    The Tube in rush hour - my worst nightmare

    Got to Cardiff Central
    Bought a fresh black coffee
    And the softest, sweetest almond croissant
    Found a quiet corner of the train
    For daydreaming and looking out of the window
    Watched the yellow fields of rape whizzing past
    Wrote some lists about everything and nothing
    Then got lost in a lovely book

    And on the way back
    Stopped off for suishi
    And a berry muffin to eat on the train
    More dreaming and scribbling and getting lost in my book

    It was perfect

    Friday, May 9

    Cake Friday

    Life is rather hectic. Right now you should be painting your dining room or proofreading something dull for a client or doing the dishes or putting the nappies in to wash while it's fine...

    But it's Friday and the sun is shining and you should be doing happy things. So you bake a sponge cake, fill it with raspberries and mascarpone cream, then enjoy it with a nice mug of Earl Grey.

    Saturday, May 3

    11 months

    Dear Snail,
    Well, there's one major development this month - you are mobile. Last Wednesday, you came home from your Grandma and Grampa's house and you crawled across the stripy rug. Since then, there's no stopping you. You are all over the place, especially - of course - in all the places you're not supposed to be, like your Daddy's Wii, and your Daddy's guitar, and your Daddy's Macbook. And oh, how you would so love to get your hands on the cat. You crawl towards him at top speed, screeching with excitement. Unfortunately, you haven't twigged yet that the screeching makes him retreat to a safe baby-free corner.

    This month, you've also learnt to clap your hands. You don't seem to be clapping anything in particular. You just like to sit back and show your appreciation for life once in while. And why not?

    I know your first word is just dying to come out - sometimes you look at me as if you're about to say something really profound. And you do - it's something like "Urdle, lurdle, urdle, lurdle", which I think is an incredibly shrewd and valid point. I think your first word's going to be 'Blod', your Daddy thinks it'll be 'Mum'. It'll probably be 'cake', because we talk about that a lot in our house.

    We've been out and about a lot lately - to the local pub, out for tapas, walking in the forest, messing about on the beach, toddler group, swimming class... you are so good and we can take you anywhere these days and know that you'll be OK. Your Daddy and I lead pretty much the same life as we did before you came along. Except with a little bit more dribble and a lot of food smeared on our clothes.

    Bedtimes are my favourite times at the moment. I love you splishing in the bath, I love cuddling you dry in a towel, then kissing your head a squillon times when you're drinking your milk. But best of all, I like it when we read 'This Little Baby'. When you see yourself in the mirror on the last page, you give yourself a big kiss, then turn your head to me so I can give you a kiss too - and it melts my heart every single time.

    You are a phenomenally fantastic snail.

    Love, Mam

    Sunday, April 27

    Just a Perfect Day...

    Took Gwen to one of my favourite places, Mumbles (and not just because it has such a fab name). She seemed to like it too.

    Stumbled upon a wood that was carpeted with wild garlic.

    Climbed up a big hill...

    Then found this place at the bottom of it.

    Had a traditional seaside luncheon (Martin Parr would be proud).

    Drove home the scenic route. Not only did we get this view, but just to the left was a man in a little van selling coffee and home-made Welsh cakes.

    And now to bed with a chick lit and a mug of sleepytime tea.

    Wednesday, April 23

    Country Life

    So we've been living here for a month now, so a little update to remind myself of how bad it was, so when I'm having a day of despair, I see how far we've come.

    Gwen's room before...

    And Gwen's room after...

    Our bedroom...

    And the view from our landing window.


    Tuesday, April 22

    Blog, I miss you

    I miss blogging, I really do. I never believed people when they say they don't have time to do things, but I can honestly say it's true. Anyway, here I am, grabbing a few quiet moments, making some time.

    Lovely things that are making me happy amid the chaos of my mother-charity worker-freelancer-cook-house renovator extraordinaire life.

    Photographs of beautiful baby bumps (I so want to get myself another one of those quite soon)
    Lovely, gorgeous, shabby chic homes
    Starting my photography course again
    The Juno soundtrack (and the film, which is just lovely)
    Going to see the shiny happy Mike Leigh film tomorrow night
    Posh cider with posh crisps
    Cherry red toenails
    Lambs gamboling in the fields surrounding my new country abode
    Blod, the neglected pet, having a lovely swim

    Tuesday, April 8

    Beep beep!

    Mr Meep and I have acquired a new motor vehicle. This lovely, older than we are, Morris Minor belonged to the Meep-in-laws, but it's on loan to us indefinitely.

    Here is a poem about my new set of wheels.

    Lovely red seats and a tartan rug
    When I'm driving you I feel quite smug
    And happy that you are my car
    Though I'm scared to drive you very far

    You slip out of gear when we're driving down hills
    Your heater's not great so you give me the chills
    You've turned me into a Today programme whore
    Cos your antique stereo only picks up Radio Four

    My favourite thing is tooting the horn
    On the way to work down country lanes at dawn
    I honk at cows and I parp at sheep
    I even give bunnies a jaunty little beep

    Yesterday morning didn't quite go as planned
    When the knob for the fresh air fell off in my hand
    But I love you little Morris, you're such great fun to drive
    Even though your top speed is only 55

    Friday, April 4

    10 months

    Dear Snail,

    Time is at a premium with looking after you, going to work, renovating a house, running a little business and generally trying to be a superwoman (and failing quite spectacularly). So for ten months, a little list.

    10 reasons why you're fab at 10 months

    1. You can wave when someone says "Hello"...
    2. ... and when someone says "Goodbye".
    3. You are trying really hard to say your first words - we've had a "Ba-ba" for "Bye Bye" and endless babbling but mostly we get something that sounds a bit like "Barry". Who's Barry anyway?
    4. You can eat spaghetti with your fingers.
    5. You can rub scrambled egg into your eyebrows, up your nose, in your ear and all over the back of your head - and still look cute.
    6. You have inherited my love of cake and can spot it at 100 paces, accompanied by much panting and arm waving.
    7. You start dancing when you hear music.
    8. You're still not into crawling, but as we are living in a building site, this is a very good thing.
    9. When I put you into your cot at night, you wriggle up to the top and bury yourself in teddies.
    10. You sleep all night, (almost) every single night until 7am - finally. Thank you.


    Thursday, March 27

    What I have been up to over the break, by Emma, aged 32 and a half

    It's been an eventful couple of months. Here's a review in the form of a numerical list.

    10 – number of months old that the snail was yesterday. How did that happen?
    9 – approximate number of years it will take before we complete this house renovation.
    8 – number of weeks spent living in a two-bedroom bungaloid with my parents, my husband, my daughter and my dog. Cosy.
    7 – number of people in my immediate family that caught a horrible tummy bug from Gwen.
    6 – number of days we were trapped in aforementioned bungaloid when our car broke down.
    5 – number of hundreds of pounds spent on fixing the bloody car.
    4 – number of neighbours passing the house that my dad has invited in to have a look at how we getting on with the renovation.
    3 – number of rooms in the new house that do not still resemble a) an old people's home or b) a building site.
    2 – number of days I have been back at work after 11 months off (and, shh, don't tell the mummy police, but actually really quite enjoying it).
    1 – number of cats returned to the fold after an RSPCA-reportable seven whole weeks in cat prison.

    But hey-ho, the Meeps are all back together. We have a stripy rug, a real fire and oven to make cakes in. The essentials are covered.

    Thursday, January 24

    Gone Fishing...

    Oh, I wish...

    I have two new freelance clients and a big project for an existing client. We're moving into our new home/building site on Monday, then moving back out again for a month while damp-proofing/rewiring and other such things happen. Oh, and I have an 8-month old baby that requires lots of entertaining and a very energetic dog.

    Hang on, what am I doing on here?

    Back when my head's together and my house is de-damped.

    Monday, January 14

    10 Things to Chase Away the January Blues

    Brrr and Bah. That just about sums up the general January mood. It's cold, it's dark, it's rainy, it's grey. I don't have the funds to jet off somewhere warm and fabulous, so I'm muddling my way through it by embracing the cosy.

  • Hearty puddings and stodgy cake - January is so not the time for all this seeds, salads and self-denial detox nonsense
  • Long, hot, bubbly baths with your Christmas smellies
  • Watching the waves on wild windy days
  • Curling up under a blanket on the sofa and watching Rom Coms (pets optional, but an added furry pleasure)
  • As much mashed potato as you can handle - pesto mash, mustard mash, horseradish mash, cheesey mash...
  • Hot water bottles to keep your toes toasty
  • Porridge for breakfast every single day
  • Locking the doors, closing the curtains and putting your PJs on - at 5pm
  • Wearing waterproofs and walking somewhere beautiful in the rain
  • Heading for bed at 10pm, with a laptop and a mug of hot chocolate. Just like I am doing right now. Ah.
  • Sunday, January 13

    2008 is the Year of Craft

    For the last few years, I've been really into craft. Well, I've been into admiring other people's craft on their blogs and saying 'That's nice, I could make one of those' whenever I see something overpriced but gorgeous in the shops. But this year, I'm going to stop talking and start crafting.

    So tonight I did my first project - this knitted flower broach. I'm going to stick it on the boring old bag that I lug Gwen's nappies and emergency poo situation spare clothing in.

    OK, so I won't be appearing on Whip Up any time soon. but it's a start. And as we're moving into our wreck of a new house in a few weeks' time, there's so much scope to fill it with crafty goodies like curtains and, um, sausage dog draft excluders. Mr Meep will be delighted.

    Thursday, January 10

    7 months

    Dear Snail,

    You are turning into a proper little person these days. You laugh a lot - at the cat, at the dog, when we throw you in the air, when someone blows their nose... You've started to make a really funny face recently, sticking your bottom jaw out like Mutley. Just like your Dad, sometimes you shut everything out and go off into a little trance. I wonder what you are thinking about.

    You have two teeth. Two sharp little nashers at the bottom. Unfortunately, teething came at the same time as the family Christmas cold that we all had, so the festive season wasn't a great time for sleeping.

    You're getting to grips with the weaning these days, devouring chunks of roasted sweet potato, parsnip and lots and lots of toast. However, some of your naughty relatives sneaked you some of their puddings at Christmas - I thought I was a fan of all things dessert-related, but I don't think I have ever got that excited about a lemon tart. I mean, I love it, but I don't kick my legs with anticipation at the next mouthful. (I want to, of course, I just have to stop myself.)

    This week, we've been on holiday with your Grandma and Grandpa Shepherd and you've been swimming for the first time. You seemed a bit scared when you first caught sight of us all half-naked with wet hair plastered to our heads. In fact, you did your special high-pitched hurty/scared scream that you only reserve for really traumatic occasions, like hitting yourself on the head with a serving spoon. But after the intial shock, you bobbed and splashed around, grinning at everyone and giggling when I threw you in the air.

    Everyone that meets you thinks you are fab, even my most baby-shy friends, and your dad and I fall in love with you a little bit more every day.