Friday, 31 December 2010

A Dead Duck and a New Year

Feeling a little tense, as it was deadline day for Charlie and his novel, went to SW9 for brunch with Ruth, Wela and Andrew. Then to Borough Market to pick up the duck for the evening's festivities. Wandered over to Southwark to see Charlie's workplace, then a quick cuppa at the Old Vic before heading home to buy food and start cooking.

Sainsbury's very busy, but managed to find everything I needed. Prepped the duck, and set everything up nicely for the evening ... Stilton mushrooms for starter, roast duck with crispy roasties (and stuffing, sausages, broccoli, orange sauce ...) for main, and Alex kindly brought profiteroles for pud ... yum!!

Pleased to have an Alex quiz on 2010 to see it off for good, though I think I might have been the only one really trying (I do love a good quiz), and then we played on Rayman's Raving Rabbids until we felt compelled to see the New Year in by switching on BBC 1 and seeing a very earnest young man talk to us in between some fireworks that looked as if London has been exploded.

I (predictably) fell asleep on the sofa chair at about 1ish and pretty soon went to bed, leaving Andrew, Alex and Fishy addressing the Ravings Rabbids well into 2011.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Jabs and Jobs and Japes

Caught up with some online chores before finally braving the doctors for the flu jab. I had been feeling a bit wary, having heard some less favourable comments from other people about how safe it would be for the baby, but it all went well. After an hour and a half waiting, it took 1 minute to actually get the jab.

Then, instead of seeing Megamind (our original plan, scuppered by getting the time of the film wrong), had a wander round Borough Market and met with Charlie for dinner at the Charles Dickens pub on Union Street ... very warm, not too busy, nice food.

Then back to Borough to meet with Andrew, Tony, Ruth, Wela, Erika, Dan and Alex for Karaoke at The Old School Yard. A funny place, where they had converted a small room into a lazy Karaoke facility with dodgy Chinese karaoke system to match, we had some fun with some rock classics, but song selection was a bit limited.

Ruth and Wela came back to stay at ours, first watching the 'Brixton Christmas Carol' video ...

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Linear Freeway or Bugaboo?

Met Charlie and Erika for lunch at Wagamama on the South Bank, then walked with E to Regent's Street Mamas & Papas store to look at pushchairs. Had a lazy look around there, in John Lewis and a few other busy Oxford Street haunts before heading home.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Home is where the post is ...

Back in London. Was such a lovely Christmas, and now equally lovely to be home and enjoying a hot bath while Charlie makes a push towards finishing his words in the 3 days he has left. Washing is on, and have had a smashing smoothie from a mango, 2 kiwis and a half melon that were on the turn ... yum!

Mum and Dad hosted the annual Spalding Xmas bash last night, with various Drews and the extended Petchell family. Was great that Laura also joined us, and we had a huge amount of fun playing the hat game.

Out with Erika tomorrow, joining Charlie for lunch and then wrestling the January sales ... what do I need? Maybe nothing ...

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Boxing Clever

Having battled the craziness and queues at Kings Cross on Friday, we got to Spalding in one piece after a kind lift from Peterborough by my Dad, after our train was delayed just enough to ruin our connection.

Great to see the whole family, and we had a relaxing Christmas Day with an ENORMOUS turkey with all the extra bits (stuffing, sausages, bread sauce ... yum!) and a magnificent pavlova. A walk, the Queen, some lovely and thoughtful presents and a little sleep later, we indulged in a family game of Monopoly in which Andrew snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.

And today? Baked potatoes await, and I think another relaxing afternoon, possibly including some writing. And the baby is now showing a liking for Paolo Conte ... good taste! Just keep kicking ...

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A Brixton Christmas Carol!

Our project from the weekend, acted by myself, Charlie Andrew and starring Alex, performed for our lovely friends Norris and Liam who are currently travelling in South America ... to remind them that Brixton is lovely. Enjoy!

A Brixton Christmas Carol from Charlie Fish on Vimeo.

Woke up this morning listening to the Chris Evans Breakfast Show (a particfular favourite of mine, having been very keen on his Drive Time show from my P&G days). Really enjoyed today's show as he was broadcasting from York, with Archbishop John Sentamu ... not only the coolest clergyman in the world and all round good guy, but also one of my travelling companions during my visit to Cote D'Ivoire last year.

Another chilled out day at work, getting some long overdue jobs done as well as having a fun team lunch. Then Pizza at Erika's with her and Theresa, and a lovely cosy evening spent chatting before returning home to lovely Fish, who had not only done a great interview but also had written 1400 words today ... I am very proud of him!

All packed and ready for Christmas and going up to Lincolnshire tomorrow ... let's just hope the overhead lines on the East Coast train route stay up!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Getting festive

A really lovely carb packed evening with Fish, Alex, Laura and Gary to celebrate Christmas before L&G head off to see family. A fabulous lasagne (if I do say so myself) and a yummy luxury rice pudding with double cream and real vanilla ... no wonder I couldn't move from the sofa afterwards!

Helped Charlie a bit with his interview prep before bed.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Met up with Andrew after work, after wrestling with phone shop automatons at the Orange Shop. Popped into Foyles before joining Matthew G, Kirsten, Natalie, Charlie and many other for Christmas drinkies at the Duke of Sussex near Waterloo.

Then to Alex's briefly to preview the project from the weekend ... looks spectacular, watch this space!

Jon was due to be back from Madrid and staying with Nat, but after his flight was delayed and she was feeling pretty under the weather, seemed most sensible to give him an airbed at ours. Had to meekly and apologetically sneak into the spare room where Laura and Gary are staying to get the sleeping bag for him, felt bad but necessary!

And the overhead cables are down on the London Kings Cross to Peterborough train route, so although they will hopefully be fixed in plenty of time for our journey on Friday, there is really no knowing in 'Frozen Britain'!

All feeling like the hecticness that only Christmas can bring! Fah-la-la-la-laaaah!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time!

Such festive joy after a super-festive weekend.

Made it round to Erika and Dan's yesterday for a lovely Christmas feast, beef stew and chocolate orange fondant (along with the glorious cheesecake I made, which was also excellent). Also took round Robin & Marion's Christmas hamper, shown below!

Was pleased that quite a few of us made it, given that Dicky, Judy and Jane were all kept away by the weather and illness respectively. Was much lazy chatting and wii playing.

And today met Alex for a swim, before meeting at Andrew's with Charlie for a small film project ... results of which will be revealed in good time.

And then off to Guildford for dinner at Cafe Rouge with Charlie's old school friends. Lovely to see them all, all were on good form as always.
And, as always, we didn't want to leave, but sensibly headed back at a reasonable time so we didn't get stuck by snow, or feel too tired before work tomorrow.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snow, snow, snow!

Woke up to find Brixton covered in the white stuff. Looks wonderful, though a bit of a shame as it seems to have scuppered the big family day and dinner Erika and Dan have been working so hard on. Oh well, we will probably go around anyway and just have to eat double!

Laura has gone out to meet Gary, who has apparently managed to get the train from Manchester, despite the snow.

As always, loving the view from our back kitchen window ...

Friday, 17 December 2010

Most Magnificent Cheesecake!

Created a baked White Chocolate Cheesecake this evening. It is indeed a thing of beauty, all ready for dinner tomorrow at Dan & Erika's ... can't wait to try it!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Season's Greetings

Met up with Amy, Julia and Lucy along with Amy's friend Suzi to have dinner and see at play at the National called Season's Greetings. It was entertaining and a bit random, starring Catherine Tate and other people I recognised from TV, but not as much 'laugh out loud' comedy as I would have hoped. Will definitely go back to the National though, a great venue.

Has gone very cold again ... big black coat at the ready!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Old Friends

Have been very much enjoying my day off, and have been reasonably productive with it (though still not making much progress in finishing of the Christmas Cards and clearing the study). Picked up some parcels, tidied the lounge and kitchen and did some good spag bol cooking.

But most importantly today, Laura arrived. So good to see your best friend after they have been away so long. After a year and a half in Sri Lanka and a term in China, she will apparently be heading off to Malaysian Borneo in Feb which sounds so exciting!

But for now she is very sleepy, so after a lovely afternoon of chatting and eating, she has gone to bed and I need to make more progress with my jobs ...

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Community minded and musically stimulated

Went to Neighbourhood Watch with Patrick this evening. They are a lovely bunch, and had laid on wine and nibbles. Good to see them again, and discuss matters of importance such as buildings being built without planning permission and the ongoing drama of how to stop people weeing in the alleyway that goes onto Brixton Road.

Was just lying in bed and, due to a string recommendation from my colleague Cat, decided to play the baby the Glee version of 'Don't Stop Believing'. And lo and behind, lots and lots of kicking ... or maybe dancing. Was great, you could even see it really clearly.

Am now watching the BBC's Decade of Discovery , the subject of yesterday's blog, knowing I can have a lie in as I have the day off. Hooray! And Laura is coming to stay, even better!!

Only one small fly in the ointment, have lost (and now cancelled) one of my debit cards. Pretty sure I left in teh self-check out in Sainsbury's, but they claimed not to have it, so had no choice but to cancel it. Sigh but I suppose every rose has its thorn!

Monday, 13 December 2010

More Amazing Animals

Very snuggly Pygmy 3-toed sloth and baby sloth


More great animal pics from the Guardian, this time for a BBC programme looking into new discoveries over the last 10 years, hosted by Chris Packham.

A Barreleye Fish, the green spheres are its eyes!


Pictures like this fascinate me, and are the reason I can watch the 'The Deep' episode of 'The Blue Planet' again and again and again. As you seen from my blog, I tend to veer towards cuddly primates (see my love for pottos) and weird and wonderful sea creatures (like the above, and my husband, who is a Fish).

Maybe one day I will do a degree in Zoology after all ...

Sunday, 12 December 2010

'Making Things' - Sorted and Depleted

A lie in, bizarrely interrupted by a call from Orange, trying to test my patience with making even a simple request difficult.

Met with Alex and Andrew to swim, with my costume still fitting (just!), then to 'The Rest is Noise' for brunch with Charlie and also a round of 'Blockbuster'. Had a little wander around Brixton, including finding a bargain 'Fat Face' top in a lovely shade of coral red in Barnardos.

Spent the day starting to tackle transforming the study into the nursery, starting off (and getting no further than) sorting out all my crafty 'making things' bits and pieces. The main objective was to get rid of anything I no longer would use or need, assign any useful items I don't need to the charity shop bag, and to make everything fit neatly in the smaller shelves in our bedroom.

Was somewhat long and arduous, though did occasionally get distracted by beautiful things and fabulous ideas. An almost full bin bag, a semi-full recycling bag and a full charity shop bag full later, progress has been made. And now there is somewhere to start putting all the baby books and bits and pieces I have started to accumulate.

Charlie has been exceptionally good at following through with his words over the last few days, and even went straight on to sort out some painful house company duties (filing our tax return) before bed ... he has an incredible capacity to get through these kind of tasks!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Festive Fun

Spent Friday night printing off bits and pieces for the first swathe of Christmas cards. As always, being sorted and sent way after I intended, but in general in time for people to get them before Christmas.

Up relatively early for me on a Saturday at 9 to battle with the Post Office, which gloriously did not have a queue, and then met up with Matthew (who was in town for a conference and a James concert) for a cup of tea, before going to Balham to get my hair cut by the lovely Rachel. She was very pleasant, and easy to talk to, and of course I enjoyed being pampered. Thinking now that I should have asked her to take a bit more of the length off, but no worry. She has made my hair look neater, more interesting and slightly shorter. Almost bought a moses basket at the Farah shop, but as it wasn't quite the bargain I was seeking (it didn't include the stand) decided to pass.

Back to Brixton to go to Kirsten's for her Danish Christmas-fest. Charlie was a little hungover after a night out with Keith and Andrew and others, but by this point in the day was coping better (hangovers are nice not to worry about at the moment for me).

There were lovely candles, traditional Danish decorations, traditional Danish paper-crafts, and various different cooking triumphs (including about a million biscuits). Had a lovely fun chilled out afternoon, and then Kirsten, Zoe, Charlie and I stayed up very late to play Lord of the Rings Risk. A strategically great game, but I was a bit too tired to appreciate it when it passed Midnight. A thankfully short 2 minute walk to get to bed.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Pink can be beautiful ...

Just had to capture the spectacular view from our kitchen this evening ... or should I say afternoon. Just stunning, nothing like a crisp winter sky, with the bare silhouettes of trees contrasting boldly, andthe endless chimneypots spreading off into the distance.

Had a constructive day working from home, and looking forward to my massage this evening, though not particularly looking forward to going out into the cold to get there.

**** UPDATED AT 11pm

The massage was WONDERFUL and totally worth the trek out in the cold. Baby was kicking strongly in the middle, which actually helped me to relax. My back has been getting a bit sore, so it was a complete relief.

Bit disappointed re the news on tuition fees ... can't bode well for access to education, social order or other future legislation.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


Just couldn't bring myself to report my latest cold. The worst has now passed, but still snotty, sore throat, coughing etc. Hopefully creating lots of good antibodies for the baby, who has been kicking lots.

A very festive quiz yesterday, probably my last attendence as substitute, where I helped with knowing the 3 headed dog in Harry Potter is called Fluffy, that the Darling children in Peter Pan had a dog called Nana (though I may have said Nanny, oops) and that Doc Brown in Back to the Future had a dog called Einstein. Yes indeed, my specialist subject is pointless ephemera.

Working from home tomorrow, then looking forward to my preggie massage at Independent Mind, Body & Soul in Balham in the evening. Joy! Especially with a fun but not too busy weekend ahead.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

The Baby Moves ...

Woke up this morning with a throat like a gravel dirt-track. Lovely Fish got me a Lemsip and some chocolate brioche to help fix it before heading out to play on Boris Bikes with Jon and Miri.

Before he went, we both stared at my tummy for a few minutes, as I had seen for the first time a little bulge become visible and then disappear. It was quick but definite, she is getting stronger by the day! But she doesn't seem to want to perform for her Daddy ... will happen soon enough :)

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A Thoughful Day and a Cosy Evening In

Had a well needed lie-in this morning, especially as I seem to be coming down with scratchy throat illness. Had a fun time at my work Christmas party last night, Bollywood themed with delicious curry and a dance performance/lesson. Great fun.

Spent some time with Fish, talking about his Grandmother. Her death has affected us both, especially him, quite profoundly. Not surprising, considering how close they were.

Anyway, as Jon and Miri are over from Madrid for the weekend, took them with me to see Emma H from work at her flat, where she had soup, mince pies and mulled wine. Also, the studios near her house were having an open day, so had a wander round there.

Cooked garlic mushrooms, beef stew and M&S cheesecake for a cosy dinner in for us all, including Alex and Andrew, before spelding the evening playing indulgently on the Wii together.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

A wonderful woman and the circle of life

A sad day. We found out this morning that Charlie's grandmother, his beloved Yaya, has passed away. An incredibly inspiring woman and a loving and gracious individual, she taught us both many things about life.

I almost can't believe it. Having been to Greece almost every year to see them since 2001, and for Charlie for the whole of his life, she seemed so timeless. I am so pleased she made it to Erika & Dan's wedding this summer, to be a part of such a happy occassion.

And for her to know that we are having a baby, apparently she had been told it was going to be a little girl before she died. So now we have to be sure we are passing all those values she taught us to the new little one, making sure she grows up with the spirit and fire of Yaya Erika in her.

A video Charlie has made, with some lovely pictures of her.

Being interviewed in French, one of her many languages, on the veranda of their beautiful house.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Our Little Girl ...

... is very well, growing nicely. She hiccupped a little when we were looking at her, so cute!

Have been feeling quite emotional all day. For some reason, knowing the baby will be a girl means that I can see much more clearly her whole life stretching out in front of her. I think about what work she might do, who she might date and, even before I go through it myself, what children she might bear.

I feel a strong and very positive pressure to be a great role model for her, for her to grow up in a fun and free environment, and to feel an unbreakable bond with me and Charlie. He can teach her 'Go' and 'Carcasonne' and I can teach her how to bake bread and brownies.

And she can be whoever and whatever she wants to be.