Thursday, 31 March 2011


Spent a lovely day in Battersea with Erika K, first meeting up to have manicures and pedicures (very indulgent!), then back to hers to have soup. She very kindly gave me a relaxing hypno treatment, and then some reiki, and we basically spent the rest of the day chatting. Really good to spend proper time with her, just hanging out and drinking tea.

Gilly came round for dinner, good to see her, and Charlie also joined us a bit later. He had a day with lots of news, as he found out that a good friend of his' house had burnt down, then he found out that he has been offered a secondment at TfL (which seems to be for 18 months, much longer than expected) which he may well accept, and also that the novel he wrote at the end of 2010 was not shortlisted for the Terry Pratchett prize.

Lots of news of varying impact in one day!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Yoga and a Tidier House

Called Matty to wish him happy birthday, and sang to him on his voicemail.

Spent most of the day tidying our bedroom, sorting through making things, painting under our new radiator and other little sorting jobs (whilst of course having Starkey's 'Monarchy' on in the background), then to Brockwell Lido for antenatal yoga which again was hard but v worth it.

Charlie and I also sat down to figure out the TENS machine I rented to help me through the labour. I was a bit scared of it, not generally keen on putting electricity through my body, but we looked through the instructions and Charlie was happily acting as my guinea pig, "it just feels like an insect has landed on my arm ... now it feels like a little mouse ..." etc. So at least I know how to work it confidently now.

And then, to celebrate a lazy evening in together, we watched the film 'True Lies' ... pure cheese!

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Finished it!

Very proud to have finished the beautiful quilt, can't wait to show it off when the baby comes!

38 weeks and nearly cooked!

A good docs appointment today. Blood pressure and wee normal, and the head is even more engaged, now at 2/5. I am not surprised as the baby has been feeling much lower lately, and I have had achy hips and more waddling. Even though the head is so engaged, it is no indication that the baby will come early or even on time, but it definitely helps!

And, from having lots of energy, have been taking it easy today as was a little more tired, so indulged in a bath and an afternoon nap whilst listening to my latest indulgence, David Starkey's fabulous series on the UK monarchy which is all on 4OD.

Now spending the evening resting and trying to finish off the patchwork.

Have added a Queen of Games pic to last Saturday's post, and below are the beautiful results of Norris' kind evening of drawing yesterday:

Patchwork Progress

Finished the front, most complicated, side of the patchwork quilt at the end of last week, and have been pondering the practicalities of how to finish off the wadding and seams by hand. Hoping to make more progress this evening!

Monday, 28 March 2011

The Naked Truth

Tired this morning after a busy weekend, so relaxed while chatting to Mum and Dad as they gathered their bits and pieces together to head back to Lincolnshire. Very good to see them, and somewhat strange to think the next time I see them should be with baby in tow.

Met up with the NCT ladies in Brockwell Park, was really good to see them (and none of us have popped yet!)

Then back home to do some sorting out before cooking dinner for me and Norris, who came round to chat and importantly to draw my round preggie body to capture this unique moment. She did some great sketches, and I will be sure to put them up here soon (once I can figure out whether it is best to photograph them or scan them).

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Remembering Erika

As Charlie's beloved grandmother, Yaya Erika, passed away at the end of 2010, his mother held a memorial day for her today at her house in Brighton. Yesterday would have been her 85th birthday. Around 40 people were there as we chatted (in my case, mostly about impending baby!), heard about the experience of the Jews in Thessalonika, and shared precious thoughts and emotions in celebration of Erika's incredible life.

It was overwhelmingly emotional, and I was very proud of Charlie and little Erika for speaking and sharing their thoughts too.

Lovely to spend time with the family and seeing such a wide group of people before the baby comes along, though it was a long day. We fortunately didn't need to wait too long for our train at Brighton, and even skipped on to a faster train at Hove when meant we were back home at 10:30 rather than midnight.

Andrew popped round to say hi to Mum and Dad, as they head off on Monday, and then we all fell exhausted into bed.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

King of Games V: Queen of Games

A very busy day competing (and helping out a bit) with the annual King of Games competition. Was a very well run day, even though a few people dropped out at the last minute which is always challenging, especially as compiling the schedule is a difficult task even for Charlie's brain.

A strong performance from me at Fictionary (Absolute Balderdash, though I came second to a v compelling performance from Liam), Scrabble, Mafia, though let it slip a bit with Jenga and Pictionary.

Very pleased and unsurprised to award Liam with the trophy this year, and was also pleased to find myself declared the Madre of Parlour Games, how appropriate! Louise, Jonathan, Mum, Dad, Matty, Greg, James C and Kirsten came back to ours for pizza, beers and more games, with Ingenious, Mafia and Go all being played throughout the evening ... turns out a full day of games is not enough for some!

Bed at midnight, knowing we were going to lose an hour, and knowing that tomorrow would also be a full and busy day!

Friday, 25 March 2011

First Aid and Peace of Mind

Charlie and I headed down to the Red Cross in Croydon today to participate in a babies and toddlers First Aid course. From CPR to choking to burns to stings to shock, it was all very useful and although we hope never to use it, it makes me feel better knowing what to do in an emergency when Thumper comes along.

Then, after a short time making further good patchwork progress and having a nap, we met with Mum, Dad, Matty and Andrew at Il Posto for dinner. Lovely to have a family dinner together and, after a cup of tea and some chocolate at ours, we were all clearly zonked out by our respective days and went to bed early.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

An Ideal Home ...?

Had a bit of a lie in this morning, fortunately Fish caught up a bit on his sleep as he has had a very busy week, what with Queen of Games prep for Sat and various bits and pieces at work.

Then went to the Ideal Home exhibition with Mum, where we saw loads of crazy crap! Made me feel like a boring cynic, "Mum, do you really need that?", and it was very entertaining, but so many of the stalls were filled with pointless rubbish. From the Wonder-Shammy to various different mops, food mixers etc, they all seemed to promise happiness and I felt unconvinced that they would deliver! Maybe if one of them could change nappies automatically I might be interested ...

Anyway, we finished off by pootling round Peter Jones on Kings Road and having a cup of tea and a cake, and then went back to Brixton for a relaxing evening ... more patchwork awaits!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Blissful Sunny Day in the Park

After some sorting out, and a bit more patchwork in front of Mysteries of the Universe, was very happy to welcome Mum and Dad back to Brixton. They seemed on good form and we had a spot of lunch (including homemade bread) before I headed off to yoga at Brockwell Park Lido.

As I got there early, was bemused and massively entertained to see a room full of mums and babies greeting me when I arrived, apparently the previous class is a postnatal one. And they were all lovely, very quiet and good, one of them crawling around following his mum and the others feeding, being cuddled or changed.

Yoga was hard but very worth it, and enjoyed a walk up the hill to Brockwell Hall for tea and a small cake while reading my book in the sunshine ... bliss!

Then back to Brixton to set up for Norris and Liam to come round for dinner with the parentals, to share tales of South America and London life now they have returned.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Nursery? Tick! ... Rest of House? *Tumbleweed*

So, the nursery is finally finished! Everything looks fantastic, and I am so pleased. Below is nappy corner:

Felt a bit more wiped out today, probably after the prodigious efforts of yesterday. Made an attempt to watch the breastfeeding DVD, though had an emotional outburst as soon as I saw one of the babies being born ... after 8 months of happy hormones, seems fairly reasonable to have a bit of an outburst now and then. And as the DVD seemed to repeat what I learned in my NHS and NCT classes, thought I would give myself a break and just keep it in case needed as a memory booster.

Sorted the nursery, and went into the city to get my nursing bras. Hold onto your hats, as my nursing size is apparently 34J. Thanks to Bravissimo managed to find a couple of lovely bras, but their sizes didn't go any higher than that, so slightly thanking my lucky stars. Popped into John Lewis, and Morleys and Mothercare once back in Brixton, so pleased to get home and sit down for a bit.

NCT tonight, the last session, though the mums are meeting up next Mon and the dads are meeting next Tues, so will be almost like it doesn't stop!

Constructive Criticism

The below really made me laugh when I saw it stuck to a pedestrian crossing button in Brixton yesterday, so I took a pretty bad photo.

Although not entirely constructive, it reminded me of the documentary I saw recently which looked into how both the government and opposition are filled with an Eton/Oxbridge educated chunk of society with a vast personal wealth ... are politicians really for the people?

"These millionaires are pissing on us because we let them."

Monday, 21 March 2011

Fitter, Happier, More Productive

An incredibly energetic and productive first day of maternity leave, including:

- Washing
- Cleaned and sorted half the kitchen
- Rubbish and recycling
- Carpet man fitting the new nursery carpet, and vacuuming
- Groceries from the Ocado man
- Swimming 20 lengths
- Tidying the lounge
- Putting all the cat stuff away
- Shopping
- More patchwork progress
- Cooked 2 large dishes of veggie cottage pie

Also I weighed myself on the Wii Fit, and I have indeed put on the obligatory 2 stone (and maybe a tad more) that seems to be the standard preggie amount. Wowzers!

And this evening a couple of kind boys (Andrew and Alex) have offered to help get the furniture back into the nursery, which then means I can sort out the spare room for Mum and Dad's visit on Weds and collect together the games for Queen of Games on Sat.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

South Ken and Poker Face

All the best of intentions to get up and swim, but we arose at 11:30 knowing we needed to get to South Ken by 12:30 with no Victoria Line ... oh well!

We were therefore a little late, but was so lovely to see Robin, Marion, Dan and Erika. Robin has grown a 'gramps' beard, or maybe a captain's beard as they are now transitioning to canal boat life now the house in France has been sold. But after a busy 7 weeks, they both look really well. Had a fun lunch and then Erika, Dan, Charlie and I indulged in milkshakes and a sticky toffee waffle. Then Charlie and I took a quick walk around the V&A, before heading back to Brixton for a quick rest before going round to Alex's.

He had kindly cooked pasta as he hosted a poker evening for 8 of us, me, Charlie, Andrew, Norris, Liam, Fi, Kirsten and of course himself. Was really quite fun, and Charlie ended up winning, though was a v close thing between him and Andrew, and Norris came an extremely respectable third place.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sunny Day, Everything's A OK!

Woke up after a nice lie in to a pristine blue sky and beaming sunshine. Read through Charlie's script in bed and shared my feedback with him then, after a spot of lunch, met with Caroline in Brockwell Park. It was a lovely spot in the Lido cafe, next to the unspoilt blue of the empty outdoor pool, and good to have a proper chat.

Then we walked at my standard slow pace up the hill, around the pond and the landscaped garden, then to the next cafe for tea and cake which Caroline kindly treated me to as I seem to be completely rubbish at carrying cash with me these days.

Back into Brixton to meet with Charlie and Kirsten for a drink at the Ritzy, then back home with them both where Kirsten kindly made us a sweet potato curry while we watched the film 'Into the Wild'. It was incredibly immersive, though the ending was not what I expected (not that I really had any expectations as I had not heard of it before).

I also managed to make some good progress on my patchwork now all the pieces are ready to be sewn together ... am excited to see the finished product when I get there!

Friday, 18 March 2011

The Last Day and the First Day

My final day at work, and everything came together beautifully. Was also Comic Relief day, so there was a lot of wearing red, general jollity and raising money. My colleagues were all lovely, it seems I will be missed! And overall it feels so right, mentally, physically, personally and professionally, to be taking a hiatus now.

Then, with flowers and prezzies alongside me, I went round to Erika's for a girly night with her, Jocelyn and Jodie. Was a lovely indulgent evening with lots of curry and chatting, just a perfect way to end the week. Got back to the flat feeling wonderful, and was also shortly joined by Fish who was also feeling wonderful after making good progress on his script (and having had a couple of beers). Recorded some video footage and took photos for posterity ... a new chapter begins!

So now, for the foreseeable future, I am a full time Mum ... bring it on, baby!

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Fat Hands, now Fat Ankles ... and No Cats!

Ok, so for about a month now I have had stiff hands and fingers from fluid retention, especially on first waking up in the morning. And I was hoping I had escaped the same happening to my legs and ankles ... but no. Have just taken my socks off and lo and behold, puffy legs and really pretty podgy feet! Am now putting them up in the hope it will help, but in the meantime I feel a bit like an inflatable Emmy.

Elle came round to pick up the cats, who were very sweet and clearly quite suspicious that the food and litter tray had been cleared away. I will miss them a lot, it has been lovely having them in the house.



Wednesday, 16 March 2011

My True Colours ...

Spent a fun night out with a bunch of work colleagues at a music quiz, where they all discovered I am a big quiz fascist with a freakish ability to 'beat the intro'. Was great fun, especially when they started singing Bohemian Rhapsody to Thumper ... "Mama ... ooooooooh, didn't mean to make you cry ..." etc.

We were in first place halfway through the quiz, but only due to playing our joker at an early stage, so we were lulled into a false sense of success through the remainder of the night and we ended up ninth (out of twenty-six). Also had a fabulous plate of BBQ ribs and chips, yum! Got home just before midnight, quite likely my last evening properly out on the town for a long while now.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Happy Midwife, Happy Baby, Happy Emmy!

I was right ... Azuzu did his meowing trick again last night, but it is incredible what shutting the right doors can do :)

Went to see the midwife this afternoon for my 36 week check up and all is well, blood pressure, wee etc. Baby is head down still and 4/5 engaged (which apparently doesn't mean much except it is a good thing and it makes me waddle and visit the bathroom more than ever!)

NCT tonight, final NHS class tomorrow, all good to go!

Monday, 14 March 2011

The Best Laid Plans of Kittens and Emmys

Up from about 5am, as Azuzu was pretty put out that we had closed the door to his favourite room (the spare room), and he wanted us to know it. So a bit dazed and confused at work today, but got through it ok. Strange but good to know I have only four days left before maternity leave. The commute can be a bit nerve-racking now, especially when lots of people pile onto the carriage. And even when it is supposed to be less busy, as soon as the train gets held up at a signal that means more people pile on at the next stop.

So, popped into the Fairtrade Fortnight gathering, but then went straight home to rest and get some jobs done. Cleaned the now empty nursery (which looks massive with no furniture) and retouched the walls all ready for the carpet to come in (once I have decided which carpet should go there ... interior designer I am not ... must try and get in touch with my inner Miranda!

Then packed my hospital bag, as I am now 36 weeks. Then cleaned the ensuite bathroom, which was sufficiently knackering to merit a bath afterwards. And did some bits of sorting out too ... and managed to watch a strangely festive episode of Glee.

So, now TOTALLY pooped, but feel like I have had a productive evening.

And Azuzu, if you want to try it on again tonight, you will not win ...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A Sunday of Rest

Met up with Alex and Andrew for a swim, where I found myself ever more trying to keep myself up out of the water, never mind propelling myself forwards. Still managed 20 lengths, though not even worth thinking about the speed I swam at.

Met Charlie for brunch afterwards. He had shaved off half his impressive beard, the left half to be precise, and was a bit late as he had been chatting with Jehovah's Witnesses at the door. Whether he was enjoying freaking them out with his facial hair weirdness, or was genuinely interested in the discussion, I don't know ... but the whole thing seemed to amuse him.

Beard now fully gone, the guys (now joined by Rich, Charlie's friend from work) very kindly took some furniture of ours to the charity shop, a long overdue job. And, as Charlie and Rich have been working on his website all afternoon, I have been taking it easy and making more progress on my patchwork project below. Am very pleased with it so far ...

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Charlie's Birthday!

Had a lovely lazy morning in bed, which included bringing in crumpets and a smoothie for my little Fish who has just turned 31. Forgot to eat lunch, for after meeting Theresa, Demitres, Erika and Dan at the Battersea Arts Centre, we nipped off to fill up on pie and chips at the next door chippie.

The play, The Red Shoes, was the usual excellent Kneehigh production, though with an ounce of extra weirdness than the other plays we have seen them do. Brief Encounter still ranks top, being the best play we have both ever seen, and Don Juan I think takes second place because it was so intensely passionate.

We all wandered round Battersea Park afterwards, will a little stop for the birthday cake I made last night ... ginger cake (to Alex's mum's recipe) with lemon icing, which went down very well despite the breeze blowing out the candles before Charlie could get to them. We then wandered to the Prince Albert pub for a drink or two before having dinner at Galapagos, our favourite restaurant in London south of the river (maybe except for the Hive, which wins on location being just around the corner). As always exceptionally good food at great value, plus the pudding was incredible ... warm spiced plums in a caramel sauce with crumble and cheesecake cream ... yummy!

Back home then to fit in a film before bed, Raising Arizona, which was silly and cartoonish ... so quite good to finish off the day!

Friday, 11 March 2011

Catharsis and Curry

A good day, recovered from the immense exhaustion of yesterday. Visited Harriet at her walk-in session, and went for a good lunch with Rachel. Then home to make more progress on the patchwork.

Also felt a massive urge for take-away curry and managed to make my way through a massive chunk of it ... Prawn Rogan Josh, Onion Bhajis, Poppadom, Naan, Rice and Bombay Potatoes ... niiiiiice!

Also made a cake for Mr Fish's birthday tomorrow .... shhhhh!

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Felt pretty wiped out today, likely as a result of going to antenatal aquarobics at lunchtime. It was a funny session, which looked fairly tame, but working against the water made it difficult. Plus I squeezed in a few lengths before the session started.

But this led to me feeling exhausted for a lot of the remainder of the day, especially in the evening.

So, managed to make some more progress on my patchwork project, plus Andrew joined us for some lazy tv watching, including 10 o' clock live which continues to entertain (in my humble opinion).

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Italian Feast

Met up with Caroline, Lucy and Julia at Il Posto, our favourite Italian restaurant at Victoria. Great to see them all, and all on very good form with Caroline freshly married, Julia about to get married and Lucy only a couple of weeks behind me in the pregnancy stakes.

Oh yes, and had an excellent breastfeeding class in the morning, so if baby is not keen to start with, at least I have lots of tips and tricks to see if I can get her to latch.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Baby Day

With 2 hours of NHS antenatal class this morning, plus another 2 hours of NCT class this evening, feeling baby-fit today. A nice bunch of ladies at the NHS class, though pleased to feel confident that I have a broad and accurate knowledge base (i.e. I reckon I pretty much knew everything before I went in). Felt a bit like primary school, where you sit smugly because you know all the answers, but the teacher has to go at the pace of the slowest pupil ... not great for keeping my ego in check!

Realised today how much the sun makes everything feel better ... welcome back sun! Just glorious to be outside and feel bright and chirpy, rather than cold and drizzly.

NCT was even more jolly than usual, as we are now 6 sessions in we are all getting to used to each other, and went for a drink after the session. Again, a great group who I hope we will see more of ...

Monday, 7 March 2011


A restless night, found myself unable to sleep at about 5, and so got up to read the Waitrose animal welfare leaflets I had picked up ('Why Waitrose Pigs are Happy') and to watch the early birds take the bus up Stockwell Road. We had gone to bed quite late too, so we were both pretty shattered in the morning.

Ran into Jo, one of the NCT bunch, on the tube, was good to chat to her. Though because the District and Circle lines were down, had to take a very convoluted route to work and so got in pretty late. But all in all a productive and good day, juggling impossible diaries and embracing the energy of Fairtrade Fortnight.

Feeling really massive now, and hating the tube more than ever having been (not too hard) hit in the tummy by someone's bag as they pushed out of the busy tube carriage door today. Deep breath ... not too long now till commuting stops (9 days). Have realised that I talk softly to the baby sometimes when I am out and about. I don't mind if it makes me seem like a crazy person, it makes me feel all cuddly and happy.

Then home for a restful evening and starting on my new patchwork project ...

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Early Pancake Day

A swim with Alex at 11, where I felt ever more like the weight strapped to my middle was dragging me down more than I could propel myself forward. Yes, being in water is nice, but slightly unnerving to lose pretty much all my buoyancy.

Met with Charlie and his work friend Rich in the Hive for brunch, then went for a wander round Brixton and for a relaxing Chai and caramel shortbread at Morleys. It is an odd, liberating and simultaneously challenging feeling to have effectively reached the end of my 'to-do list'. Yes, of course there are still a few more things to do, but nothing too pressing or critical. So a novel experience just to relax ... properly relax, and not feeling like I need to multitask all the time.

Met with Andrew to have a wander and a chat along the Kings Road, then to Norris' for a Pancake Day spectacular. Some very dedicated pancake delivery, along with endless yummy fillings (have you ever tried raspberries, golden syrup and lemon juice?) made for a really cosy and fun evening.

The practice contractions seemed to come back, so was a bit uncomfy at the end of the night, so was pleased to get a bus home.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

A Cut Above ...

A lazy morning in bed, even despite the immense sleeping of Friday evening. As soon as I finished work on Friday I felt exhausted, and at 5:30 slept for 2.5 hours! Unlike me, even as sleepy as I am. I guess Thumper is still growing more than ever and it is just tiring. Alex and Andrew popped round to say hello and I went to bed early.

So, a relaxing morning in bed with Fish, with a quick phone call to Dad to say happy birthday. Then to Balham for a haircut. More off than usual, but only medium-drastic. Kind of a bob, bit below the chin, must post a picture!

Then visited a couple of supermarkets to see how they are selling Fairtrade Fortnight, whilst also popping in to see Fish as he was writing away in the Ritzy.

Home to put the roast lamb on, and then spent most of the evening compiling new playlists on my shiny new Mac, as I have nicked all of Charlie's/our music. Really satisfying to revisit good music.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Bathtime with Kittens

After a fun Fairtrade Fortnight style day, went to Balham for what is likely to be my last Hydrotherm massage. Was so relaxing and lovely, I am pretty sure I fell asleep at least once.

Now in the bathtub, and grinning having had a lovely chat with the parentals and being surrounded by 2 cats perching on the edge of the tub ... mad cats!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Recuperating and a Giant Egg

At 34 weeks, pregnancy is now firmly upon me to the extent that I can really see the end in sight, as per the embracing of the practice contractions yesterday. However, what with the cough/cold and more limited sleep, I have been feeling more delicate than usual.

So, instead of my scheduled NHS antenatal class (which was cancelled) and store visiting for Fairtrade Fortnight today, I worked from home and looked after myself a bit. Still coughing a bit and feeling like I need to rest more than before, this was the right thing to do. And had a productive day too, so was pleased to make progress.

Spent the evening relaxing, catching up on a few outstanding jobs (birth plan first draft ready!) and watching a programme about David Attenborough and a giant egg ...

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Babies and Mucus

Seems I did not get away unscathed from the cold I thought I had last week, as found myself coughing up some interesting things. Also still getting fairly interrupted sleep so felt rotten on my way into work.

Saw the doctors in the afternoon for my latest appointment. All is well, strong heartbeat (baby), good blood pressure (me), and it seems she know which way 'out' is as she is head down (baby, not the doctor).

Then, although I was feeling a bit rotten, still made it to the NCT class. They are a great bunch of people, very entertaining, and all realistic and positive about getting through the big unknown that is childbirth. Actually felt much better after the class, maybe the fresh air, and was very pleased to set up my new Macbook gleefully. Was a little unnerved by what I am pretty sure were practice contractions, but was good to feel that I am genuinely ready for whenever the big day comes (though would be good if you stay in for a bit longer please baby!).

Also got the internet working wirelessly again, which has been the main reason for limited blog posts recently.