Monday, 31 January 2011

Cambrian Fiddle

After a day of back-to-back meetings, met up with Fish, Norris and Liam at the Cambria in Camberwell to watch Ryan play his fiddle with his new band. Very good and very rousing!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Crib Ahoy!

After swimming with Mum and Alex, then being joined for brunch by Charlie and Dad, went back home to do some sorting out. Was feeling somewhat bothered that we had had a massive influx of stuff, that made everything in even more disorder than it was previously.

So, nesting instinct kicked in, piles of stuff in different categories were made, baby clothes were sorted and put in piles, crib was assembled, and all became right with the world again.

Mum and Dad kindly treated us to dinner at the Ritzy Cafe, then we had a lazy evening in. So lovely that they came to stay, really good to see them.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Shepherds Pie and Babygrows

Up at 10ish to sort the potato for the Shepherds Pie base I made on Thurs. Then jumped on the train to Redhill to meet Robin, and to take possession of lots of eeney weeny baby clothes and other wonderful things from Elle and Eva.

So helpful, just so many babygrows and bits and pieces. Tried to sort them into sizes to ensure we can store them as efficiently as possible. Also a lovely crib, baby gym and little seat too, just so useful!

Made it back to Brixton where Mum and Dad had already welcomed Aunt Jane in for dinner, as we were running a bit behind due to traffic. Shepherds Pie worked very well, as did the ultra-luxury (cream and proper vanilla) rice pudding. Good to catch up with them all, now somewhat sleepy after a fun and food filled day!

An alarm keeps going off outside ... I hope it stops soon!

Friday, 28 January 2011

Lasagne and Cakes

A busy day working from home, trying to get some big chunks of work done. Fishy still has a hurty tummy, but is now feeling much better. Also we received our new snazzy red pram, which you can see below from one of the Ebay photos. VERY pleased with it!

After work made some bread for the evening's festivities, being joined by Erika, Dan and Andrew (and of course Mum and Dad) for a lovely lasagne dinner, with lots of cream cakes for dessert. Yum!

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cooking like fire!

As having a few people to dinner on Fri and Sat evening, did my usual 'cooking for the masses' this evening, with various IPlayer treats on in the background, including 'Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys run Britain'.

So, the Lasagne is ready for Fri and the Shepherds Pie mostly ready for Sat. Joy!

Mum and Dad had had a full day down in Chichester visiting Matty, then watching La Soiree back in London. Charlie unfortunately has a tummy ache, so good that he has gone to bed early and has a flexi-day off tomorrow.

Oh, and the fabulous Ebay pushchair I won should be delivered tomorrow ... very exciting!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Parents in Brixton and an Ebay Rumble

Met up with Mum and Dad at lunch to give them house keys and to have a yummy Pizza Express meal. They are on good form, and have lots of plans as always.

So went for a swim after work, and had a relaxed evening catching up with the parentals over dinner.

However on my return from swimming had my most stressful Ebay bidding experience ever, but managed to successfully secure what looks like the perfect red pushchair ... bring it on!!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Once Bitten ...

Met with Fish at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond after work to see one of his writing group friends in the play Once Bitten. It was an excellent farce, performed in the round, and has been well received critically.

A splendiferous game of Scrabble on the way home, where we both kept getting 7 letter words. Our joint score, over 850 points, was the highest joint score we have ever had. Although I won, it was not quite my highest score ever, having scored a mindblowing 499 during one of our games in Paris.

Not keen to go to bed, as wanted to play more Scrabble ...

Monday, 24 January 2011

Insomnia, baby!

After going to sleep at around 12:30/1am was perplexed and slightly irritated to find myself awake at 4 and unable to get back to the dreamless. And, when I woke up, baby also woke up to give me a kick, as if to say "go on, go back to sleep, go on!"

So, when the clock ticked around to 7:15am, decided to go into work early. Good to be back, though many of the same bits and pieces to pick up that I left behind me, felt like I had been away longer than a week and all reasonably chilled.

Intended to leave early and go swimming, but a few things cropped up. So decided I was too tired for my 3rd day of swimming in a row and went home, spending most of the evening with Norris who popped round after her swim.

Also, have added photos to my Paris entries:
A Paris!
I need to go to the Louvre ...
Orsay and Beyond
Sacre Coeur!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

To Horley and Back

Up to meet Alex for a swim at 11, yet another 20 kicking lengths. I am feeling quite fit, energetic and well, quite likely due to all the cycling and walking. Then, after a quick crepe, back home to make Minky a birthday card before dashing (slowly) to Victoria to jump on a train to Horley along with Erika and Dan to see Keith, Danni and Mattie (and Bump Jackson).

They were all very well and on excellent form, with Dannie clearly doing very well being both heavily preggie (about 33 weeks now, I think) and still coping well with the demands of a smart, gentile and strong-minded 2.5 year old. Popped into Wetherspoons for some food before heading back to London.

As the District line was misbehaving, got on a bus from Clapham Junction to get to west London for Minky's birthday dinner. After a few errors and annoyances, eventually made it to Turnham Green and the yummy Thai Budsara restaurant just in time for starters.

Also managed to squeeze in the premiere of the Boat Trip video back at Mink and Dave's, which was excellent and well-received! Well done Fish, roll on the Bike Trip!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Saturday of Sauntering

Up fairly late, though Fish was up early for his course. Picked up a very kind parcel from Ray-J in the States containing Oreos and Reeces Pieces, did 20 kicking lengths at the pool, then met with Alex and Andrew for brunch at TRIN.

Back home to chill out watching 'Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith' before doing a bit of sorting out of our room and the spare room.

Then to Norris and Liam's 'Back to Blighty' party, really good to catch up with Nat, Fi and Becky especially, as well as seeing a few other friendly faces I haven't seen in a while.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Sacre Coeur!

Up a little earlier to ensure we could have a restful morning before check out at 12. On leaving our bag at reception, we headed to the Metro (via our favourite local bakery, of course) to head for Abbesses, Montmartre and Sacre Coeur.

Such a beautiful building, rising pure and supreme above Paris as if on a higher plane. And, once up the many steps, we gazed back over Paris and the misty sillhouette of the Eiffel Tower and then went in to see inside.

Again, I was really pleased to see how well a church manages respectful tourists who are allowed to quietly and peacefully enjoy the church, while worshippers can pray in peace in the main body of the church. We wandered round outside for a while, and wandered into a handy creperie for a nibble, and then back to the hotel and on to Gare du Nord to head home.

Another easy journey back to Blighty, though a slightly stalled Tube train and a slight contretemps greeted us when we got back to London and Brixton respectively. But good to be home after such a lovely holiday.

Indulged in Steak Frites with lots of blue cheese sauce to mark the end of the holiday, and now ... oh look, my bath is ready!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Orsay and Beyond

Having decided not to set an alarm after our demanding day in the Louvre, we both woke to find it was 12:20pm! So, we did indeed need to catch up on our sleep after such a busy day.

No matter, we headed out to our friendly local boulangerie again to pick up breakfast (well, early afternoon breakfast style snacks) and a sandwich to eat later for lunch. Then we wandered to the south bank of the Seine to the Musee d'Orsay, the former train station now dynamic art gallery, presided over by a massive splendid golden clock.

After a quick explore, we took a tour which took us round the sculptures, the neo-Classicists, the Realists, the Impressionists and the Post-Impressionists. Was very pleased to see Millet's 'The Angelus', which hung in our family lounge for a couple of decades during my childhood and is so very familiar to me, and was lovely to see in reality. Also enjoyed Van Gogh's hay bales!

After a quick wander round the upper floors, we had our sandwich lunch on a cold bench outside and began our walk towards the Ile-de-la-Cite, before sneaking into a cafe for a hot drink and a little game of Scrabble. As darkness fell we hit Notre Dame, such an imposing and strong edifice. Wandered round inside to see the end of one mass and the beginning of another, so it seemed. Familiar smells of Catholic incense wafted round.

Then we chose French fast food for dinner, after the over indulgence of yesterday's meal choices. 'Quick' was unfortunately not very quick, and was pretty indistinguishable from MacDonalds to be honest. After popping into the Pompidou, we then decided to call it a night and jumped on the Metro at Chatelet for a relatively early night in the hotel.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I need to go to the Louvre ...

A lovely lazy morning, got out of the hotel just before the afternoon came round. Popped in to a bakery for sweet yummy breakfast boulangerie delights, before heading towards our target for the day (if not for the whole trip) ... the Louvre!

What an incredible museum/gallery/palace!
So much to see, and we really tried our best. Started off with a masterpieces tour where we took in Victory, Venus de Milo and the Mona Lisa, all of which were actually better than I expected.

Then a lunchbreak at the beautiful and very smart cafe in the collonade of the Richelieu wing, Le Cafe Marly, where I had the best cheeseburger I have ever eaten.

Then back in for a more meandering tour talking about the building itself, taking us round the Napoleon III rooms and many other places. And the rooms themselves are so opulent, magnificent ceiling paintings and gilding, never mind the splendid contents.

A quick calorie intake at the Angelina cafe where we tried the much lauded hot chocolate l'Ancienne which was thick, gloopy and sweet, such an indulgence.

Then after a little more wandering we decided to go ... but on purchasing our guidebook, we noticed 2 pictures we wanted to see, 'Jeune Homme Nu' by Flandrin (which I had on my wall for a few years at university), and the Vermeer. Both were exceptional and I am so pleased we spotted them.
Really, so many outstanding pieces that it is impossible to give them all the attention and credit they deserve. And not just the masterpieces, also various unexpected 'wow' pieces.

Then out in the fresh air at 9:30 to have dinner at Au Pied de Cochon, where Charlie bravely ordered the pigs trotter speciality of the house. Maybe not quite as yummy as the confit de carnard I ordered, but at least we both enjoyed the creme brulee.

Full and exhausted we walked back west to the hotel ... maybe a slightly more restful day tomorrow, we can barely feel our legs!

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

A Paris!

Up not too early to catch a leisurely tube train to St Pancras and arrived in Paris at lunchtime. It is just so easy to get there by train, and (IMO) so much more enjoyable than flying. Lots of Scrabble on the way and a little sleep to buoy us along.

Metro to Madeleine, then a short walk to our 4 star hotel. Luxury indeed! Settled in, and then went for a random wander ending up at the Champs Elysees side of the Tuileries gardens. The sky was overcast and a bit drippy, but we had a good walk in the fresh air, stopping off for lunch on Rue de Rivoli. Then a quick look at the Louvre, where we are intending to spend a bit of time during our visit, before heading up to the Opera.

Then into Galleries Lafayette to gaze dreamy-eyed at the magnificent coloured glass dome ceiling and opulent balconies. Charlie-Fish encouraged me to come all the way to the top so we could see the dome from on high, and even above, but neither of us were expecting the open terrace roof which (as Charlie had informed me), due to the limited height of the Hausmann architecture, meant we could see the whole of Paris in the twilight. Amazing!

Then stopped off for drinks and some more light Scrabble playing at a little Brasserie before wandering back to the hotel. An obligatory flick around the tv channels entertainingly brought up the dreadful karaoke game show that we found on UK tv on new year's eve, but this time in French! And after a sample size of 1, the French can sing better than the English!

Monday, 17 January 2011


A day off, in anticipation of a week off!

Eventually went into town for a wander round Mamas and Papas to spend my £5 voucher on a couple of cute baby toys (joy!) before being fitted for the world's most comfortable maternity bra in Bravissimo, which I bought with the voucher Erika kindly gave me last summer.

Then to Notting Hill to spend the Retro vouchers I have had in my wallet since last summer. Immediately as I walked in one of the shops I saw the most beautiful necklace, it just sang to me as I walked by. Also found the fluffiest most cosy lambswool jumper in the world in Oxfam.

Also got Fish a little present, a T-Shirt that pulled me into the shop, somewhat like this one.

An evening spent sorting and preparing for the week to come! Oh yes, and watching the 'Britney' episode of Glee ... *blush*.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Sawing through

Met with Alex for a swim at 11am, 20 lengths of kicking legs and a float. Nothing makes you feel more like a child than swimming with a float. It is mostly because my hips were getting sore and I have read that this can be to do with swimming breaststroke during pregnancy. Sigh! And really starting to burst out of my swimsuit now, hope my maternity swimsuit gets delivered soon!

To the Hive for brunch, given TRIN was not open yet. Then spent the afternoon making more progress on the nursery ... sawing up our Ikea pigeonholes as Charlie winced. But it worked, so we now have a changing table! And the room is mostly sorted, just need to get rid of the old furniture to the charity furniture shop and ditch all the old wood. Not quite sure why I love sawing up Ikea furniture so much, but I seem to do it quite a lot!

Next project, spare room!

A and A came round in the evening for dinner and to try out the new Rabbids game on the Wii.

Charlie ALMOST finished the boat trip video in time, but not quite, what antici ......... pation!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Rings and Kings

A lazy morning in bed with Pish. We then met up with Andrew, Alex and Sarah at The Rest is Noise for brunch, a very good veggie breakfast. Well, not really brunch if you eat at 1:30 I suppose ... maybe lunch! A laid back start to a relaxing day.

Then a quick wander round Brixton before heading home.

Then Charlie, Kirsten and I all went to see The Kings Speech. An excellent film, uplifting and sympathetic, just right to win a best picture Oscar in a royal wedding year.

Then to Alex's where the others played Lord of the Rings Risk while I drank Appletiser and read my new 'Help' book by Oliver Burkeman, who writes the fab 'This Column Will Change Your Life' in the Guardian. Kirsten won the LOTR Risk, and I had a little sleep ... rockin' Saturday night!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Iron out those Knots!

Back to Balham for another wondeful preggie Hydrotherm massage by Diana at IMBS. So my back feels as fresh as a 5 year olds' and I am full of good feelings.

Came back home to prep homemade bread for tomorrow and to make homemade mushroom pate ... hurrah for lunch when working from home! Also indulged in the Big Bang Theory.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


After 30 lengths of swimming, Laura and Gary kindly treated us to dinner at the Eritrean restaurant on Coldharbour Lane, the Asmara, as a thanks for letting them stay. Unnecessary, but they insisted. Was good food and company, and we were also briefly joined by Norris so she could see Laura quickly before they jet off to Malaysian Borneo next week.

Then met with Alex and Andrew in The Rest Is Noise for a couple of drinks, discussing amongst other things potential options for our annual group holiday in Sept. Intrigue ...

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Pallindromic Dates

I.e. 11/1/11 ... :)

To Erika and Dan's in Battersea after work, as they were kindly cooking dinner for us and also Charlie's cousin Anna. Was lovely to see her, and spend a cosy evening chatting about her artistic endeavours and some of the more random baby names one could choose.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Hive of Activity

After 28 lengths of swimming, met up with Charlie, Andrew, Laura and Gary at the Hive, along with Gerald (old friend of my brothers' from Spalding) who I have not seen in a good few years.

Was a lovely evening of good food, drinks, hive playing, chatting about childbirth and other ephemera.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sunday Rest

Didn't sleep too well last night, was awake for 2 hours from around 3:30, then decided to get up, have a drink and some chocolate chip brioche while scribbling down some notes on the sequel to my somewhat stalled first book. So felt pretty wiped out when I get up to meet Alex for a swim at 11 (or more like 11:10), but was pleased to get another 24 lengths under my belt.

We then did some more exploring of Brixton Village, going to a very pleasant pancake place for gallettes ... yummy!

Then ran into Kirsten in Gamesmaster, and we went back to mine for tea, brownies and a general catch up, as I hadn't seen her since Danish Christmas. Then Norris arrived, ostensibly to write a job application, but she was happy to chill out for a while, especially as we all had a yummy waffle from the waffle iron that Theresa kindly dug out for me a short while ago.

So, K headed off, Alex and Andrew then arrived for some more Rabid Rabbids, K came back and then Charlie came back from his course ... so all in all, a pretty sociable day! Only, not much tidying done *blush* ... never mind! Laura, Gary and Matty all staying tomorrow, but the house is presentable enough.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Brixton Village

Woke up a little when Charlie left for his Business Analysis course at 8, but then the next thing I knew was at 11:30. So speedily got up and met with Norris, Liam, Alex and Andrew for a cup of tea at the Ritzy, followed by an exploration of Brixton Market in search of brunch.

Ended up in the Brixton Village part of the market, quite smart with some unoccupied spots. Decided to make Noz and Liam feel at home by plumping for a Colombian place, a good choice, with delicious mango juice, and I had a cheese omelette and fried yuca ... joy!

Then a lazyish day, doing a few bits and pieces ... washing, having a lovely long bath.

Friday, 7 January 2011

The Wanderers Return ...

A wonderful evening, eating mushroom risotto, freshly baked bread and chocolate brownies with Andrew, Norris, Liam and Charlie, then being joined for drinks by Alex, Mink and Dave. So good to eat well, then sit around chatting lazily. Joy!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Baking, baking ...

Just made chocolate brownies for tomorrow's dinner with Noz and Liam, along with some extra for work. Everything set up to make bread tomorrow, and all the ingredients in the fridge for a lovely mushroom risotto for tomorrow evening.

Domestic bliss surely, when the house smells of freshly baked brownies, and will soon smell of freshly baked bread ... yum!

Oh, and managed another 40 lengths at the pool ... tiring, and still needing the odd break, but definitely worth it. Especially to offset the brownies :)

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

A Smattering of Things

Still feeling holier than thou after swimming 40 lengths yesterday evening. Also walked the longer route to and from work (walk to Stockwell, walk from London Bridge) today, which for some reason I try to find every reason to avoid (surely it is raining, snowing, I have a cold, the bridge has mysteriously disappeared). Not sure why, though as I am carrying so much extra weight, maybe it is just the sheer effort ... or maybe being pregnant simply doesn't make you any less lazy than usual (*blush*).

Also went to the docs yesterday for a routine check up, and all is well with little Thumper. Had my blood pressure taken (possibly for the first time) with the old school handpump and mercury equipment ... a little surreal, but made it a bit more interesting. Bump was measured and found to be 25cm, all good as I am now 26 weeks, and we also listened to her heartbeat which was pounding away happily as per usual.

Back in the office today, having worked from home yesterday. All very much the same, and still hard to get things done as people are still off. Before Christmas I was drinking ginger, lemon and honey tea to soothe my throat, and after a couple of weeks of neglect, a colleague of mine noted that the remaining ginger chunk had sprouted. We agreed that I should plant it, and it seemed to be pretty well rooted before the Xmas break. Now it is at least 10cm of luscious green ginger plant, hooray! Also, it remind me of the plant in Wall-E - all verdant and full of hope for the future.

On the way home today was giggling lots, as listened to the Radio 4 Friday Night News Quiz which never fails to make me laugh. Also, both to and from work, indulged in the fabulous Mumford and Sons. My favourite song has shifted a few times now, showing how great the album is if my appreciation can evolve so readily. Initially brought to my attention by The Cave, I then moved on to Sigh No More, the title track of their album. But now I am infatuated with the fourth track of the album, Roll Away Your Stone ... even though most of the track is just ok, the bit near the end when the tempo slows right down and the beat changes is just magically wonderful and makes me want to shut my eyes and fling out my arms!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

#There's Nothing I Can Say ... a Partial Eclipse of the Sun!#

Wondered why it was so dark this morning when we got up, presumed it was some kind of pathetic fallacy relating to us both going back to work today.

Turned out it was a partial eclipse of the sun, albeit through weighty cloud cover.

Some great pics in the Guardian here, and one for now below.

Monday, 3 January 2011

The Future ...?

A very interesting piece in the Guardian about what the world might look like in 25 years time, in various different areas.

A great end to a lovely Christmas break, finishing off some of the hasty study clearing from last night. Storage boxes have all been sorted and the room is pretty clear now ... now we just have to decide on how we are going to decorate it ... countryside? Super Mario? Space theme? All ideas welcome ...

Also came 3rd (out of 4, not as bad as it sounds) at Lord of the Rings Risk with C, A & A, whilst eating a delicious chicken casserole. Curse the Mirkwood invaders!!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Salvator, the Very Adventurous Bear

Having a lazy day today, catching up on quality IPlayer tv and getting lots of electronic jobs done ... and relaxing lots at the same time.

Also, thought it was about time to let you know where Salvator is. As you may know, we have two bears, Cornthwaite and Salvator, who are destined for our children one day. Cornthwaite is a very peaceful bear, who likes to take it easy and currently has taken to wearing a dress.

Salvator, however, is a Very Adventurous Bear and has recently gone missing. Having found himself gainful employment, he was bearnapped and taken to a variety of destinations, some shown below. We are not too worried, as he is a resourceful chap ... mostly wondering where he will go next ...

Salvator in his work outfit

Bearnapped and in Vegas (for the second time!)

In Mexico

At the Amber Palace, Jaipur, India

Saturday, 1 January 2011

New Year, New Position

Thumper (the baby's name, now that she is regularly using me as a punching bag, and co-incidentally she will be born in the year of the rabbit) has shifted into a new position today, and seems to be using my cervix as punching practice. I suppose she is getting even bigger and stronger, and figuring out new ways to be as comfortable as possible in her confined (but I hope comfy) environment.

Had a lazy lie-in, and eventually got up to meet Alex and Andrew for brunch, picking up Patrick on the way. He seemed to be very grateful for a break from his endless house renovations.

Then back home to tidy up after last night, with Fish tackling the mammoth washing up pile and me sorting the lounge. Had a little play on the Wii Fit (it now thinks I am very overweight, ha!) and Super Mario Galaxy 2 before we headed into town to meet with Theresa, Demitris, Erika and Dan for dinner at La Tasca, and then seeing 'Onassis'.

A very interesting play, with Onassis superbly played by Robert Lindsay. To me, it felt very classic in style, a proper Greek Tragedy in many ways. And I felt the 'Greekness' was very thorough and well done, even if the accents were sometimes a little off. It showed the heartbreaking costs of power and immense money, and what happens if you run in such circles ... no compassion and no love.