Wednesday, January 25

List 9/52 Foods I'll never get sick of

Avocados - I used to eat one every day and my skin was a-mazing. Best served smushed on toast with marmite. Also makes a great facemask, apparently.

Houmous - king of dips, but best in a jacket spud with grated carrot and lots of chopped tomato. My favourite home alone tea. Babies love it too, but it's a bugger to get out of those fat creases in their necks.

Spinach - because it is full of green goodness and makes you all bouncy and strong. If you are making Indian food, it is illegal not to include it.

Thai curry - I like my Thai curry like I like my men: green, creamy and exotic with a load of coriander piled on top. Bizarrely, I much prefer my own unauthentic Thai curry made with ready-made paste than anything from a Thai restaurant. Does that make me a bad person?

Home-made pizza - preferably made by the Mister. With tons of any type of veggie (not green pepper - what kind of sicko do you think I am?). And a salad on the side. Add a DVD, a bottle of Leffe and it's the perfect Saturday night in.

Carrot cake - no two taste the same. Always great with a cup of Earl Grey. And has veg in, so you can enjoy it guilt-free. Must always, always have cream cheese icing and preferably a baby carrot made out of marzipan on the top. That makes me really happy. The best one is from here, eaten in the sunshine with the chickens running around next to you.

Dark Choc Hob Nobs - a bit like Voldemort, these are the 'biscuits that shall not be named', such is the strength of their dark powers. I only buy them about once a year or things start to get messy. I'm talking whole packets dunked into just one cup of tea and vanishing. Just like that.

Chips - despite professing my love of home-cooked veggie goodness, I adore chips. Home-made or chip shop or even (you might want to sit down for this one) the oven variety - I love them all. The rules are that they must have lots of vinegar and an enormo dollop of ketchup (running out halfway through is a tragedy). The best chips are always from a chip shop, eaten outside after a long walk on the beach.

Tuesday, January 17

Mondays With Moll

With Gwen in school, Miss Molly and I have Mondays and Fridays to ourselves. We don't do much - just potter about the house, read lots of stories, walk Blod, go to the park and I squeeze her quite a lot.

Recently, despite the rain and the cold, we've got into a lovely Monday morning routine. We get our wellies, woollies and/or waterproofs on, grab Blod and head out for a long walk. First stop is to feed these friendly horses. They like apples and carrots and come galloping across the field when they see us arrive.

After more walking, the next stop is this log, where we do some ball throwing for Blod and Moll picks the mushrooms growing on it -  "for my collection, Mummy".

More walking, then a final stop for Moll to go freewheeling down this hill on her little trike (too small now, but she loves it) over and over again.

And then we go home and make super sandwiches with as many ingredients as we can find - houmous and cheese and avocado and tomato and cucumber and olives and pepper.

It's how every week should start.

Sunday, January 8

Weekend Therapy

All it took to blow away those January blues was a trip to the beach.

We clambered over the rocks. We paddled in the waves with our wellies on. We did roly polys down a dune. We jumped off high walls onto the soft sand (Gwen jumped from a wall about 1.5 times her height - eek!). We saw a teeny tiny sausage dog puppy.

And we did number 30 from The List by taking a big flask of hot chocolate (we even remembered marshmallows).

Maybe January isn't so bad after all.

Friday, January 6

The January Bleurgh

I claim to love all the seasons. I lied. I bloomin' hate Winter. OK, the twinkliness and love at Christmas is nice but I get completely overwhelmed with the consumerism every year. And now, it's January. It has rained for about three weeks. It is so dark when I get woken up up ridiculous o'clock, and it's still dark when I've been up for about an hour and a half. The house is cold and draughty. We have water leaking through roofs and running down walls. I am a bit fat. I look ever so tired. And I'm very miserable.

I have an actual biological need to be outside every day or I go a bit stir crazy. I also can't go for more than a few weeks without going to the beach. My body cries out for water and fruit and veg. I seem to have forgotten all of this and have become someone who drinks coffee, eats white bread, has a Jaffa Cake habit and a dog that's missed a fair few walks recently. This needs sorting. I have written out my manifesto and will read it each morning (while I'm drinking my freshly squeezed apple, carrot and ginger juice and doing a salute to the sun, of course).

And I've also got to embrace January and February, and look forward to early nights, winter beach walks with hot chocolate, soup season, getting under blankets for stories with my favourite girls, sharing winter ales in front of the fire with the mister, lighting candles and fairy lights. I'm going to stock up on some new novels, read ones that have been on my shelf for ages, get some TV series on DVD (any recommendations?), reinstate Cheese and Scrabble Sundays, sneak in some cinema trips, book some theatre outings, plan camping weekends for summer, do more blogging and work on The List.

And Moll noticed today that our daffodils are just starting to peek out from under their blanket of compost, so Spring surely can't be all that far away?

Tuesday, January 3

Back to School

The Snail went back to school today (well, she went back for half an hour, threw up and then got sent home - but that's another story). It's been lovely having her home for two weeks, just pottering about the house dressed in a variety of tutus and princess dresses, demanding Christmas albums on the iPod and making up songs (her current fave is called "I don't wanna make you serious", closely followed by my favourite Gwen classic "You gotta have a baby before you get annoyed").

She's settled in really well at school, has lots of friends and is especially fond of her teaching assistant, Mrs Stockton, who gives her an enormocuddle every morning. I still have no idea what she gets up to for most of the day, but she seems to enjoy it - especially the bit when they sing really evangelical-sounding God songs in assembly.

Some observations and achievements from the first term...

She's picked up a really bizarre, over-exaggerated Valleys accent
She can read lots of letters and words, and has her first reading book - The Red Pig
She's learnt lots of Welsh words and lots of playground games (both of which she tells me off for getting a bit wrong)
She's discovered (from eating her friend's packed lunches) that "You can get this bread, Mam, and it's all soft and white - and even the crusts are soft!"
She played a blinder of a snowflake in the Christmas play
She has been to Lucy Williams' house for tea all on her own
She asks me permission to go the toilet all the time
She must do an awful lot of running about at play time, because she has worn holes in the soles of her shoes

I miss my snail so much, but I'm so proud that she's a confident, happy little girl with lots of friends. Go Gwenster!