Monday, 28 February 2011

Fairtrade Fortnight 2011 is here!

It's Fairtrade Fortnight! The time when the whole of the UK gathers together to shout about Fairtrade, and in general think a bit more closely about what we buy and the effect it has on the people involved (growers and everybody else).

Work is of course very busy, and this evening we held our usual reception to celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight and galvanise us all to further action in future. Andrew also attended, and I was grateful for his help in carrying my multitude of bags home. He also hung around for a cup of tea and a chat which was nice, pleasant to speculate about Fairtrade and our respective work at a time of transition (for me, at least).

Sunday, 27 February 2011

Another Shower

Charlie and I jumped on a train to Horley to see Danni, Keith and Mattie for Danni's baby shower, despite many delays on the train line down there. She still seems really great, and ready to go. Lovely to meet a plethora of her friends, and good to chat about babies and kids so freely. Mattie is even taller, even having seen her only a month or so ago, and she is a delight!

Friday, 25 February 2011


Just wanted to tell you about an excellent book which I am still enjoying. I have a slight interest in the world of self-help, how to make onesself become more fulfilled, happy, confident, etc etc.

In the past, one of my favourite finds has been 'Who will cry when you die?'. A random find in Sri Lanka when we visited Laura in Colombo, and an absolutely dreadful title, but full of very fundamental ideas about leading a more constructive life.

But lately, having found myself enjoying his Guardian column, I was compelled to buy Oliver Burkeman's book 'Help! How to become slightly happier and get a bit more done.' . Not claiming to be so enormously helpful that it will transform you life, it does instead dip into almost every self-help book ever written, giving a pragmatic appreciation of each fad, craze and tip.

With lots of easily digestible snippets about topics from limiting procrastination to stress management, it is a fun, easily accessible and realistic guide to sorting some simple bits and pieces out.

And, if you are not yet convinced, have a look at the freebie tips in his Guardian column.

Monday, 21 February 2011

GIANT Cupcake!!

So pleased that the GIANT cupcake came together for our expectant mothers tea party at work today. As there are so many of us (7 in total, I believe) leaving over the next 6 weeks on maternity leave, it made sense to have a joint celebration. OK, so I may have pitched the 'Tea Quiz' questions at a slightly challenging level, but it was still tremendous fun.

And I overdosed on cake so much that I was still eating it when I arrived in the kitchen to find an unexpected birthday celebration for me with even more cake!

Luckily I went for a swim this evening to work off the many doses of cake, and then came back home to relax, watch Glee and get through some of my accumulating Internet based jobs.

And am now in bed, blogging away, with Azuzu pootling round me trying to do serious damage (bless!) to our bedsheets, every now and again coming to nuzzle me as I type ...

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Hitchin a Ride

Up earlyish as we had Ruth, Wela, Jon and Jess staying over, so happy to chat and be lazy with tea , toast and choc chip brioche. So great to see all of them!

Then to the Hive for brunch with Charlie, Jon, Alex, Andrew and Jason, before heading up to Hitchin for Cat's baby shower. Was good not to have any time pressures on me, so I didn't need to aim for a particular train and could amble through Hitchin, following my map, at my own pace.

So good to see Cat happy, rested and clearly ready to pop. At 39 weeks, she makes me feel teeny tiny, even though I feel bigger, heavier and less mobile day by day. Great to catch up with her, to share tips and generally be happy and positive about what lies ahead for both of us. And she kindly gave me a lift back to the train station, which was well received.

Then back to Brixton, where Charlie was having a film fest (True Grit followed by Inside Job, phew!). In anticipation of the expectant ladies tea party we planned for work tomorrow, I felt the need to make a cake, and after being presented with the giant cupcake mould by Ruth I couldn't not try it.

It eventually came together, though took more mixture and more cooking time than I anticipated. And, what with less sleep than I would usually like of a busy weekend and having had a bit of an active day, felt pretty spent both physically and emotionally at the end of the day.

Yet another sign to take care of myself, as I now sneak into my 33rd week of pregnancy!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Birthday Bliss

Woke at 9am, couldn't get back to sleep, so snuck out of bed so I wouldn't disturb Fish. Watched Saturday Kitchen with a cup of tea, buttered crumpets and two lovely kitties ... bliss!

Then to Drink, Shop, Do to chat, eat cake and drink tea with some lovely ladies, Norris, Kirsten, Erika, Natalie, Becky and Mink ... so lovely to see them all, and in such beautiful surroundings. Apparently an old bathhouse, they have filled the space with old style tables and quirky chairs, and serve tea in china cups and facsinating teapots. We even had some sherbert, sugar overdose!!

Then met with lots of others at Sen-Nin Teppanyaki for dinner, which was lots of fun. The chefs were as entertaining as at our last visit, with omelette throwing and egg tossing ... being the birthday girl I had try try tossing the egg into my chef's hat twice ... and I did it both times! What a miracle!

Food was delicious and fresh, though I became full very quickly after the afternoon's grazing.

Then we fortunately found an empty pub (The Famous Cock) right by Highbury and Islington tube to have a couple of drinks, and where I was presented with a beautiful jigsaw which everybody had drawn. Then back to ours, where the usually absent Azuzu responded favourably to the floods of people by being super-sociable and friendly, which confused Charlie-Fish no end!

Late to bed, very happy and pleased all the plans came together. Thanks to all who made it such a special day!

Photos will be forthcoming ... watch this space!

Friday, 18 February 2011

End of the Week

After work had a leisurely sort out of the house ready for the weekend. It has been a busy and tiring week, so grateful to reach a weekend of generally relaxing fun. Met up with Alex, Jason and Norris in the Trinity Arms to celebrate Jason's birthday from Wednesday, and we were later joined by Charlie, Andrew, Liam and also Big Dave!

Charlie submitted a very promising entry to the 'what should the Trinity look like after the summer refurb' competition, and it was a fun evening all round. After what seemed like infinite pineapple juices, tiredness washed over me pretty quickly, especially as Thumper was in a particularly rib-stretching place. It is wonderful when she moves, but sometimes really quite uncomfy.

So went home and happily in bed by 1am to find a little birthday present under my pillow ... what a sweet Fish!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Swimmy swim

Felt part invigorated and part exhausted after going to the pool for a swim after work. Fish kindly made me pasta before an early night ... the strains of Trimester 3 really kicking in now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Phew ...

Another early start to get everything in place for another very positive day of handover. I feel great that we seem to have covered everything, and really pleased that it all seems to have made sense and been taken in.

Exhausted, after a busy few days, gratefully went to yoga (pretty sure I feel asleep at the end of the final relaxation), and now having a restful evening in. Feeling very indulgent after eating the remaining chocolate fondant pudding, and incredibly full as I accompanied it with a pint of milk.

The tummy is very round and full, especially at the moment. Really great, and still feeling very geared up for the birth ... please can this feeling last!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

10 Years of Fish

Charlie Fish and I started dating 10 years ago. Wow, how time flies! And I feel deeply and fundementally happy and grateful, for him being in my life and for what we have together. Good, fun times.

Thank you Fish!

Today was a non-stop day, getting in early to get everything ready for handover, then to the pub for a quick celebration of a colleague being promoted, then to NCT (via Subway), then to the pub with NCT compadres, then home for a little more work before bed and blissful sleep.

Vibrant and exciting times, before the world changes completely

Monday, 14 February 2011

Getting bigger ...

Feels today like my tummy is going to burst, it is getting so big. Even leaning forward slightly is getting uncomfortable. Stayed quite late at work to finish off my handover prep, as about to undertake 2 days of emptying my brain to the new BDM taking over from me while I am on maternity leave.

So, got back fairly late and indulged by watching Glee, and taking great pleasure that Azuzu was happy to make friends again. Also finished off the lovely beef in red wine casserole from the weekend with dauphinoise potatoes, delicious! Finished off with a relaxing bath, and Charlie Fish has come back happy and refreshed from Go club.

Sunday, 13 February 2011


A very relaxing weekend which, apart from a swim today, seemed to consist of fairly forced relaxation due to feeling more wiped out than ever. More interrupted sleep meant having a nap this afternoon, and in general feeling even more that I need to take things more slowly.

Anyway, as part of my relaxation, indulged in some TED videos, which as usual made me feel inspired to completely improve my life but not 100% clear as to how. But fabulous presention, all the same, and lots of very good lessons, this particular one about work/life balance:

And also watched my favourite 3.5 minute video on how to be successful. Easy peasy ...

Friday, 11 February 2011

Lost Lovers in Battersea

A busy day at work, pleased to come home to a more relaxed Charlie Fish, a nice hot bath, some very welcome guests (Norris, Alison and Andrew popped by) and all with an exciting evening still to come.

As a birthday/anniversary present (our official 10 years of dating anniversary is next week), Charlie had got us tickets to the Lost Lovers Ball, being held within Battersea Power Station.
Run by the same people who create the wondrous spectacle that is the Secret Garden Party, it was full of little vignettes of entertainment (slide shows, a bad idea bar, hot tubs and Asstrology, where you could photocopy your ass and have your fortune told from it).
It was fabulous to see such an iconic building from the inside, with the smashed art deco windows and the rusty supports to the towering chimneys. All offset nicely by various people dressed up in the glammest most beautiful costumes, playing within the various tents and outside in the cool evening air.
As I was feeling a bit more delicate than usual , we even treated ourselves to a taxi back, which we never do! A magnificent evening, and as always so lovely and inspiring to share it with my Fish.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Birthday Tapas

A lovely evening with Keats and Sundts and Economous to celebrate Erika's birthday at La Tasca in Covent Garden. They do have excellent food there, and we indulged (though slightly less than when we went last time, when we overdid it!).

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

The Golden Thread Breath

Quite tired at work again today, think this is going to be a continuing theme from now on. Was relieved to start the relaxation at my preggie yoga group at St Thomas', think I needed it. Then home to rest ... phew!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ups and Downs

Slept a bit more last night, but could probably have slept the whole day through quite happily. Also had a bit of a sick tummy this morning, which can't have helped. And after a tiring day, and having witnessed 2 separate sets of strangers bickering on the Tube (probably due to tensions caused by the delays, can't people be more patient and tolerant?) I was feeling a bit sick again by the time I got home.

But, after a bowl of pasta and a walk to our NCT class, eventually felt a lot better and enjoyed the relaxation exercises we went through ... should be very useful.

And decided to try and coax Azuzu out of hiding. He is still not very sure, but hopefully he will feel a bit happier to explore now, maybe when we are out of the house during the day.

And, just to finish off, a lovely pic of myself and Danni when we went to see her in Jan, courtesy of Erika:

Monday, 7 February 2011


A really baby brain today, my most noticable yet, I think. An interrupted night's sleep meant I was dozy all day, seemingly misunderstanding everything and just finding it so hard to engage and deal with things properly.

Picked up a beautiful John Lewis moses basket from Collier's Wood, along with a few fitted sheets. Always a source of cheer to pick up another piece of kit!

And now, after I have made a yummy spaghetti carbonara for me and the hard-working, screenplay-writing Fish, considering going to bed at a stupidly early hour to get back to normal service.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Being pregnant

I will be 31 weeks pregnant tomorrow, and thought I would take a little time to reflect on how it feels as Thumper is kicking firmly at my ribcage (keep kicking Thumper!)

I genuinely feel very lucky. Despite a couple of small hip twinges and the mild sickness at the beginning (par for the course with most successful pregnanies, I understand), it has been just wonderful. Feeling the baby move, knowing Charlie and I are going to go into this incredibly physically and mentally demanding adventure together, imagining what life might be like after the birth (I am sure I cannot even imagine) ... all of this has been so inspiring.

As I mentioned at last week's NCT class, I feel a bit like my body is finally being used for what it was supposed to be used for. After all, what is the point of having childbearing hips, a ridiculous chest and bleeding once a month if it doesn't get used! This is partly why I will be disappointed if I cannot breastfeed, I will feel somehow cheated, but i'm sure I will cope (and of course try very hard to make it work)

And so good to be proud of my tummy for once, having spent a lifetime mildly despising the wibbly pointlessness of it. I am now feeling heavily pregnant, even though I know I have a long was to go (grow). And everything all feels very sorted in preparation for both the birth and the baby, though looking forward to getting some more NCT classes under my belt and also starting yoga next week so I can get my breathing exercises sorted out.

And I am nervous about the birth, of course. But I will be giving it my best shot, keeping fit in preparation and staying focussed on just doing what is needed to get the baby out. Not long now, 2 months away ...

... and in the meantime, Elle and Marion are popping round this afternoon with Azuzu and Frazzle, Elle and Matt's cats who are persona non grata since Matt developed allergies. Marion and Robin will be looking after them soon enough, but as they are working out the sale of Robin's house over the next few weeks, we have agreed to take them in in the meantime.

How exciting!
3:20pm update
So lovely to have cats in the house again. Frazzle is very friendly and already very chilled out. Azuzu has been somewhat hiding under the bed in the spare room, but we expected this. He has been out to investigate (as per the photo of him sniffing my foot), but I think it will take him a little longer.

Frazzle, the chilled out lady

How does my foot smell, Azuzu?

Saturday, 5 February 2011

A pristine house ... well ... almost!

Had a well needed lie-in, seems like there is an ongoing sense of re-energising needed. After a couple of crumpets, a lovely hot shower and some slight Saturday Kitchen perusing, made a start on the accumulated chaos that is our bedroom.

Made a good start of clearing the shelves on my side of the room, and simultaneouly sorting some well needed bits of the spare room (clearing space in the wardrobe, consolidating videos etc) before meeting up with Caroline and Nathan in San Marino cafe (as the Hive was full, and The Rest is Noise is now sadly completed gutted). Now married for over 2 months, they were on good form. Good to hear about their honeymoon in India (sounded very luxurious) and they asked lots of questions about Thumper. Really pleased to have caught up with them properly, we are all so bad at meeting up, especially considering we live so close.

Back to the tidying, and sorting out the drawers and shelves and shoes on the other side of the room. It is joyous to have such a clean and tidy room now, though still more to do. Also picked up the lounge a bit as it was starting to be a bit crazy with all the 'to be sorted' piles.

Charlie eventually came back from his Business Analysis course, and we had a lazy evening with pizza, tv and more tidying (in my case).

Friday, 4 February 2011

Food by the Barrel

Feels like I spent the whole day eating, and Thumper spent the whole day growing. Was wearing my lovely and comfy black Next maternity jersey dress, which I think made the bump look even bigger.

As Charlie is still in a cinematic frenzy (while he still can be), and was off watching The Fighter, I had a relaxing evening getting through some little tasks and eating even more!

Overcome by tiredness, fell asleep under a blankie on the sofa. Exhausting!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Another George Pub

To the historic George pub on Borough High Street after work for Hannah's leaving do, as she is going to Nairobi on Sunday. I will miss her, but good to feel so confident that we will stay in touch.

Then went for a swim, which was pretty peaceful, then back home with Fish where we happened to watch a tv programme about a tribe who live in the treetops. Really well made and fascinating!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Big Belgian Bump

I am sure she is even bigger ... I mean, she is growing all the time, but I am sure she has had another spurt.

Managed to fix our squeaky step today, and then met up at George IV just off Kingsway with Charlie and Lucy, who was giving us her expert opinion about Charlie's job situation, as well as having a lovely chat about babies, as she is only a little less pregnant than I am.

Then we went for an indulgent dinner at Belgos, with yummy garlicky Steak Frites, before heading back home for another game of Scrabble. Lots of Scrabble going on at the moment, and I am definitely holding my own , despite endorphin fuelled baby brain.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Baby Days

Lots of baby activity today.

Went to see the Midwife, which went well. Although yet another different person, she was very nice and communicative. Blood pressure fine, wee fine, baby heartbeat fine. She took some blood, which hurt a bit, in order to check my blood group and to check to iron levels apparently. And she told me that the baby's head was down, which is exciting. Not necessarily permanently, which is no surprise as Thumper is a consummate wiggler, but good to know she knows which way 'out' is.

Then in the evening went to our first NCT class. Lots of south London couples, everybody very jolly and pleasant. Discussed pros and cons of pregnancy, all the extra weight women have to carry around, and how to do pelvic floor exercises properly. Very straight forward and pleasant instructor, Maria. And a nice bath when I got home, with some Glee and Charlie Brooker thrown in for good measure.