Monday, October 22

A Visit from the Tooth Fairy

It was a very big day in our house yesterday, as Gwen lost her first tooth. In true Gwen style, it wasn't without drama, and involved screams from the bathroom and lots of blood. Once she'd got over the initial shock, she was super-excited about the tooth fairy coming to visit, and even more excited about showing her friends at school her new gappy grin.

She wrote a lovely note for the fairy, and added a little silver crown, a bead and, of course her tooth (thank goodness I had managed to do number 3 from the birthday list).

In the morning, her tooth fairy - Mabel - had left her a shiny £1 coin and a little note on sparkly paper in teeny tiny writing.

Wednesday, October 17


I had the most blissful start to the day today. It was shopping day, so there was limited food in the house, so I packed myself a makeshift breakfast of a slice of home-made lemon cake, some fresh coffee in my posh Bodum travel mug and headed for the train station. I got on the train, the autumn sunshine beaming through the window, got out my feast and a book of poetry and enjoyed 20 idyllic minutes of travelling. I was so inspired and elated, I scribbled down a quick haiku.

In the autumn sun
Lemon cake, coffee and poetry
As the train trundles

Rubbish, I know, but it was a truly magical moment. I think all days should start with cake, coffee and sunshine.

Thursday, October 11

List 12/52 Things to Look Forward to With a Newborn

Yay for babies in slings with funny hats!

  • Friends visiting and bringing food
  • Eating home-made cake every single day - and still losing weight (hurrah for breastfeeding!)
  • Discovering some DVD box sets to watch during those marathon evening feeds (any recommendations?)
  • Wearing him in a wrap sling
  • Buying him a selection of hats with ears
  • Stroking his furry ears and shoulders
  • Running my fingers down his tiny spine
  • Sweet milky breath
  • Funny little snuffly truffly noises
  • Photographing tiny feet
  • An excuse to hibernate for a few weeks
  • Snuzzling and snuggling and generally getting blissed out on baby

Sunday, October 7

37 Things

37 - yikes!

I do love a nice birthday list. Of course, I never do all all the things on it, but it's good to have a plan, even if it is a little ambitious.

OK, so here goes - a bit late as my birthday was in August (I woke up in Tenby to a rainbow outside the bedroom window, and we had a beach barbeque and cake on my favourite beach).

1. Have a baby! DONE!
2. Get a bike - preferably a bubble gum pink one. DONE - BUT IT'S A SUNSHINY YELLOW ONE.
3. Make Gwen a tooth fairy bag. DONE!
4. Take beautiful newborn pictures of Baby 3.
5. Make a photobook of Gwen's first five years. DONE!
6. Climb Pen-y-Fan (this has been on my list for years and years).
7. Make our lounge cosy, cosy, cosy. DONE!
8. Write a monthly blog for Baby 3's first year. DONE!
9. Try 10 new cake recipes. DONE!
10. Take a print making class.
11. Do Race for Life with Gwen.
12. Revamp and de-damp the bathroom. DONE!
13. Applique t-shirts for the children.
14. Learn five more ukulele songs.
15. Get fit!
16. Take Mam to Pettigrew Tea Rooms. DONE!
17. Go camping with friends.
18. Complete a photo-a-day project for a whole month. DONE - FOR ALMOST A YEAR!
19. Continue with 52 lists.
20. Buy some art on Etsy.
21. Make some postcards of my photographs.
22. Draw something (maybe go to a life-drawing class?).
23. Take a creative writing class.
24. Buy some waterproof trousers (seven years of dog walking and I don't own a pair - madness) DONE!
25. Go to The Pot cafe. DONE!
26. Go to an Ethical Chef Supper Club.
27. Fill a jar with 'Magical Thinking'.
28. Do something fab for Dave's 40th (eek!). DONE!
29. Try sea kayaking.
30. Own an iPhone (and start Instagram-ing). DONE!
31. Start a veggie kids food blog.
32. Buy a yellow wool winter coat. DONE!
33. Have a party for my neighbours. DONE!
34. Go to the Harrogate baths. DONE!
35. Save up for a Kitchen Aid.
36. Grow things to eat (this year was a disaster).
37. Buy nice underwear.

And here are 36 Things, 35 Things and lots of other birthday lists.

Thursday, October 4

In the Kitchen

I hang out a lot in my little kitchen. It's small. It's often messy. There's paint peeling off the walls. It'd never make an interiors magazine in a million years, but I like it in there.

In the mornings, I sometimes go downstairs while everyone's asleep, creeping around barefoot on the cold tiles in the half-light, making a pot of coffee, getting lunches and my head together for the day ahead while the dog pads about at my feet.

Then everyone's awake and downstairs and the whole place is filled with chatter and action and stuff. There's apple juice and cereal bowls, lost hair brushes and missing shoes, drawings of princesses and snacks for school. The dog wants to go out for a wee and a bark at a squirrel. Someone wants a different radio station on. The coffee's gone cold.

The kitchen's buzzing with activity on the weekends. But it's relaxed activity on our schedule. No one has to rush anywhere. There are a lot more cups of tea. Endless snacks for busy children. Dropping the dog a little bit of cheese. And there is cooking, so much cooking, preparing food that sustains and nourishes and comforts and makes us happy. Breakfasts of boily eggs and banana pancakes, lunches of sandwiches and soups. And for dinner, pizzas and pastas, curries and casseroles, salads and stews. Sometimes, there are friends and chat and even more food, which makes it all the more happier a place.

On Saturdays, I bake with the children. We bash up biscuits and chocolate with spoons to make the noisiest cheesecake in the world. We squidge bananas with our fingers and transform it into our favourite loaf cake. The girls make messy, messy cupcakes with pink sparkly sprinkles piled high on top. We all like licking the spoons. And the bowl. 

The kitchen is where we play music and we dance and sing our hearts out. Life's a Happy Song from The Muppets, Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Forget You by Cee Lo Green, Defying Gravity from Wicked. There's not an awful lot of space for dancing, but we do it anyway.

In the evenings, the music's a bit softer. Perhaps one of the Bens (Folds, Howard or Kweller). A little glass of red on the go, while I take time over a creamy risotto, some crispy home-made pizzas or a full-on Indian feast. Sometimes the mister shares some crisps and dips and we chat while I cook.

I like sitting up on the kitchen counter and chatting while something cooks. I've done it since I was a kid. I feel at my most comfortable in the kitchen. More relaxed and able to talk while there's other stuff going on. It's not as intense, I suppose.

In my dreams, our kitchen is bigger and tidier (and a lot cleaner), with a flagstone floor and a huge farmhouse table in the middle. But it's still got the same mix of people and food and love. Because really, that's what makes it home.