Saturday, 30 April 2011

Hangin' out with the Jacksons

A fabulous day on the Southbank with the Jacksons, at The George, the Tate Modern and Nandos. Great fun to introduce Penny to Bettie and Mattie, good to see how well Danni and Keith are doing, and hilarious to see Charlie playing with Mattie, especially the tree climbing.

Found myself eager to see Dr Who when I got home, maybe this is the start of something. And also indulged in a bit of vacuous Britain's Got Talent, a mixture of the trite, the 'stirring' music and the downright crap.

Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding

Let's be honest, we all love a wedding. And today's was no different. Penny and I were up a bit before 9am, and started on the TV coverage, perfect for getting the best views. Penny was having brunch during the ceremony, and I quite liked that we spent this memorable occasion at home together as a family, eventually also joined by Uncle Andrew.

The dress was perfect - simple, elegant and distinctive.

And I think they will be a very sensible, undramatic couple, who will have little controversy in their lives ... a bit of stability for the royals after a decade or two of upheaval.

The Queen needs to practice her smiling face though, she can look v miserable sometimes!

Thursday, 28 April 2011


It feels very normal to have a baby, a small person relying on me (well, us) to feed, change, dress and wind her. Maybe because we planned to have a baby, maybe because of all the preparation that happened through the pregnancy, maybe from feeling the incredible bond of having birthed said baby ... who knows! I hope it always feels this normal and natural.

So, spent the day relaxing with Penny, watching my new 'Sherlock' DVD and a documentary about Darwin as she slept on my chest.

Also sorted out my ever growing list of jobs, though with such a full diary not sure when they will get done ... sometimes I feel a bit like Penny's PA or entourage, rather than her mum!

Took a second go at expressing, managed to get 50ml out. Was actually nice to feel my breasts were emptier. Just need to do the next bit now, how to get the expressed milk into the baby :)

Next task ... baby haircut, to avoid an 80's style mullet ...

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Her First Dress

My hip managed to cope very well on the 1.5 hour walk to pick up some baby bits and pieces this morning. And finally got round to setting up the pram which worked very well.

Decided also to experiment with putting Penny in a light cotton dress rather than a babygrow ... so cute!

Then to Brockwell Park to meet the new NCT babies ... they all looked so small, cute and delicate. Made Penny look robust and noticeably older than them. Good to see them all, and pleased everybody seems so positive and recovering well (though everybody seems to have one thing that is taking a bit longer, e.g. in my case, my hip)

Back home to make stuffed tomatoes dinner, and to have a lazy evening in with Fish and Norris (who was finishing off some art projects).

Oh, and for the record, yesterday's film quiz was VERY hard ... though at least we didn't come last!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

A Ritzy Day

A thrice interrupted night clearly made me more tired than I realised, as I had at least two random and disjointed conversations with staff at the Ritzy during our long session there today.

Met Ruth for lunch, then Charlie and I spent the afternoon writing, eating and drinking and finished off by attending the Ritzy film quiz to check it out. Impressively, Penny's third pub quiz and she is only 3 weeks old! Verdict TBC, as we are now waiting for it to start, and may even need to leave part way through as the Ocado man is coming at 9pm!

Monday, 25 April 2011

The Youngest Planetarium Audience Member Ever?

Spent the day with Ruth and Wela who are down from Birmingham for a couple of days. Went to Greenwich, had a relaxing lunch in the sunshine in Greenwich Park, then went up to the observatory to enjoy TIME and to play with the exhibits, including a cool one which models how gravity makes moving bodies interact.

Ruth kindly got us tickets for the planetarium to see an excellent show about the night sky at the moment, and Penny was very well behaved. As I was simultaneously feeding her, there were a few dinosaur noises, but nothing obtrusive for the rest of the audience. The staff there felt that she was probably their youngest visitor yet to the Planetarium ... :)

Then back home with them for dinner with Norris, Liam and Kirsten ... tagliatelle with 2 sauces: broccoli and blue cheese for the veggies and chorizo, tomatoes and red wine for the meaties. And Andrew came round for drinks too, such a fun laid back evening spent talking baby nonsense, watching silly You Tube vids and eating. Kirsten kindly made a raspberry chocolate torte and we also had some of Ruth's delicious truffles with our post-prandial tea.

Sunday, 24 April 2011


So good to get so much time with Charlie, hanging out with people and not feeling the pressures of time, work or even any particular tasks.

Spent yesterday afternoon and early evening drinking and eating our way through Charlie's £50 bar tab at the Trinity Arms, which he won with a picture he drew, with Andrew, Alex and Kirsten. Played a lot of Dixit, which I absolutely love! Then back home for pizza, and for Charlie and Andrew to investigate another one of Charlie's new games, Heroscape.

And today was not too different ... Charlie watching a film in bed while I caught up on my sleep from being up in the night. Caught up with some house jobs (washing, tidying), then round to Andrew's for an evening of food, Dixit and (unexpectedly) Catan which (even more unexpectedly) I won!

Penny good as gold throughout, she is so amenable!

Saturday, 23 April 2011


In full bank holiday swing, after a day of pub, board games, holiday planning and films. Trying to catch up on a bit of sleep where I can, and taking every opportunity to relax between ever longer feeds.

Penny is so much bigger already, weighing in at 8lbs 10oz on Thurs and I am pretty sure she is around 9lbs already! Her head is massive, her legs are stretching out with so much strength, and her eyes are wider with more inquisitiveness.

Penny also has a bit of baby acne ... doesn't bother her, but I hope it goes sooner rather than later! She is spending lots of time in just her nappy to keep her cool in the blazing heat, so she seems quite happy.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Inspiring Envelopes

Wow and thrice wow! This collection of envelopes from childrens' illustrators in the Guardian just blew me away. Both the beauty and intricacy of the work, along with the fabulous lettering, make me long for the days before email where I used to send letter after letter after letter ... each one unique and so personal.

The joys of the nighttime breastfeeding session ... the things you discover!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Cool Wedding Cakes

Ok, so we cannot avoid the wedding fever, it is everywhere ... and in the Telegraph they have compiled some of the coolest wedding cakes they could find. Though the Torygraph decided to use the word bizarre rather than cool.

Have included some shots of my favourites below, including a Mario cake, the brill web comic XKCD in cake form, and of course a cake dedication to our favourite game, Scrabble!

Mario Cake


Scrabble Cake, genius!

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Hips, Tulips, Tarts and Pizza

Another night of interesting dinosaur style noises from Penny, though still managed to get enough sleep to cope.

My hip felt a bit better, but of course I still wanted to keep my docs appointment to see what they can do for me. And the verdict was that I need to give it a bit more time, in case it clears up by itself, and take paracetamol in the meantime. And as I feel some improvement, I am happy to see how it goes.

Then to the Ritzy to meet with the lovely and heavily preggie Emma H, who kindly brought me tulips and half a banana and chocolate loaf ... what a treat! She seems to be well prepared, well as prepared as you can be, for the birth.

Then lunch with Mum at the Ritzy, where I had a delicious mushroom and goats cheese tart. After some shopping, back home for a relaxing afternoon, where we were also joined by Theresa and Dad.

Then to Pizza Express for dinner, where Penny was so very well behaved, and then a quiet end of evening at home ... including a relaxing bath for me! Joy :)

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Package and Park

Had a lie in due to Penny squeaking and just generally being a bit restless in the night. Mum came round and we had another restful few hours at home cuddling Penny and waiting for the collection guy to pick up Charlie's parcel.

Then went went out to Brockwell Park Lido Cafe, packed as always with mums and babies, for a drink and generally to watch amazed at how many people there were in the pool. Easter school holidays, I guess.

Then back home where we had dinner with Charlie, Andrew and Dad who is also staying with Andrew for a couple of days. Penny was a bit hot, but looked so cute in just her nappy!

Monday, 18 April 2011

Back to Work ... Temporarily!

Visited work with Penny today, and she was good as gold! Great to catch up with Sam on all the latest, though people pointed out to me that I had only been gone for 4 weeks which hadn't occurred to me. And so everything is quite the same as I left it.

Bit late meeting Mum, and we had a relaxing afternoon at home with Penny.

Then we went to meet the NCT group (or at least the half who still have bumps rather than new babies) at the Commercial for the pub quiz and we won! Part proud and part ashamed of my contributions, from knowing Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville's duet 'I don't know much, but I know I love you' to recognising the original Beverley Hills 90210 theme music.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Games All Afternoon

A lazy morning cuddling Penny in bed with Fish.

We met with Alex in the Hive for brunch, and we didn't leave till much later as we decided to play Scrabble (twice) and Ingenious ... and we each won one game each, how equitable. Penny spent the whole day eating, she is getting so big so quickly!

Arrived home, and had a quick visit from Alison and Norris.

Made lasagne for us along with Andrew and Mum, who had come down to visit Penny, then watched a painfully depressing film The Assassination of Richard Nixon.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Top 5 songs ...

Another slightly grumpy day, feeling too limpy to join Fish in the pub, so watched High Fidelity while cuddling Penny instead. Was lovely to see Fi though, and to join Erika and Dan and friends in Battersea to celebrate Dan's birthday on Tuesday.

Friday, 15 April 2011

Indoors with Family

A v relaxing day, and a great opportunity to rest my hip, as Erika popped round for lunch. Turned out she also joined us and Theresa for dinner, and Dan and Andrew also joined us for the evening. Good to have lots of tea, bubbly, food and chatting going on (although not v conducive for Fishy to write).

A further relaxing weekend ahead beckons, all good to help the recovery mission!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Showing off the Baby

As Penny is feeding much more now, had a couple of long awake sessions whilst feeding her overnight, so was pleased to have a couple of extra hours sleep this morning to catch up. Then did a couple of jobs before heading into town.

Was lovely to bring the baby into Charlie's work, lots of cooing from his colleagues. Then met with Robin and Marion, really nice to spend some time just chatting with them. They are making good progress with their boat which is now much more than a hull, and had been in London on a London walk through the back streets of the City.

Then to Nell of Old Drury to introduce Penny to Charlie's Nomads writing group. Unfortunately the barmaid informed us that Westminster Council does not let any child under 14 years in Westminster pubs, so Penny had a quick visit upstairs before we headed home on the 59 bus.

Some quick visits from Andrew and Norris while we watched the ever fabulous 10 o' Clock Show, and I fell asleep in the lounge, still clearly catching up.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Fully checked over

Saw both the Health Visitor and the Midwife today, and both are very pleased with Penny's progress. She has grown from 3.3kg on the 8th to 3.52kg today ... not half bad, though I am not very good at converting that back to 'old money'.

Also met with Sophie and Sonia from my NCT group at Brockwell Park Lido cafe. They are due a bit after the rest of us, so kind of funny to be there with Penny when they still have lovely big round tummies. Two others had their babies today though, Hermione and Betsy Ruby ... so many girls!

My hip almost behaved itself, but then flaked out when I was walking back from the Midwife. But I was patient, took it slowly, and tried not to let it get to me. And so spent the evening resting again, in the bath again and attending to my dear daughter's ever increasing appetite.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Recovery Postponed

A more challenging day, as my speedy recovery seems to be be slowing down, mostly due to my dodgy hip ... and the docs can only see me next Weds at the earliest.

Had a chilled out day with Fish, his last before going back to work (though he will be taking the 3 days between the bank holidays off, so we will get another lovely big chunk of time together).

We sat in the Ritzy cafe with laptops, though I felt too grumpy to write and preferring to cuddle Penny instead.

A relaxing evening at home, had my first post-birth bath (which was lovely, now I can bend forwards properly as there is no tummy in the way) and we watched Breakfast at Tiffany's ... one of my favourite films. And Uncle Andrew popped round for a quick 'Penny fix', and even changed a nappy under supervision ... he has already come so far!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Quiz Night

Had a great visit from Elle and Matt at lunchtime today, they seemed both fully enamoured of Penny and also clearly a bit broody on their own! Then a lazy afternoon.

Need to get my hip checked out though as, once I had been to the post office, photo shop, Traid and seen the closed Registry Office, it sort of gave way just by Sainsbury's. Sigh ... I want to get properly better!

Anyway, we made it out to the Commercial near Herne Hill station for the pub quiz with our NCT crowd. They all seem well, with all the girls blooming as they reach their due dates. I felt a bit like I couldn't quite be a part of the preggie ladies conversation (having not been one for 8 days now), though so lovely to see them all and hopefully useful to answer their birth questions. And they were all v sweet about Penny, holding her and saying how good she is.

My hip went a bit AWOL in the way home though ... grrrr, must call the docs tomorrow!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Dungeons and Dragons and Goblins

Greg, Kirsten and James C came round to play Dungeons & Dragons all day. I took the opportunity to have a lazy day with Penny, watching the final episode of Downton Abbey, having tea with Andrew and Patrick, and also catching up with Liam and Norris.

The little goblin is still doing well ... now one week old!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Family Life

Another good night, and we explained the nature of a lazy Saturday morning in bed to Penny when she woke up and she seemed to get the idea.

Another beautiful sunny day, and we were visited by Caroline and Anna. V good to see them, and to be able to pass on big hugs for Nathan's 30th b'day celebrations this weekend.

Then off to the Hive to meet with Alex, Andrew and Sarah for 'brunch'. Just incredible that we are back in our usual weekend routine already and Penny is only 5 days old ... can't wait to be a bit more healed up so I can also go for a swim!

Then walked around sunny Brixton to get some shopping done. Charlie has been carrying Penny as my left hip is a little sore, Midwife seems to think some sciatica from the birth, hope it clears up soon (may be looking for an appropriate massage therapist if it doesn't clear up soon).

Theresa and Demitris popped round on their way to an event in mid-London, good to see them. Penny seems to operate on some kind of magnetism basis, especially for her grandparents and also really anybody she meets. We have had a few emails that seem to start something along the lines of "Holding your daughter seems to be addictive, I don't suppose you would mind if I popped round ...". So sweet to see that everybody else falls in love with her, just as we have done.

Had a beautifully domestic evening in, watching various bits of Mamma Mia, Legally Blonde and then Knocked Up (quite vivid to me, given recent events) on the tv whilst I wrote thank you cards and Charlie played Go ... a vision of chilled out family life, we already seem to be in such a wonderful groove.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Out and About

We pushed it a little yesterday, going to Brockwell Park Lido and having a drink at the cafe, and I felt tired as a result and was suitably sent to bed by my husband. And in the evening, Penny met two more of her uncles ... Uncle Matthew, who was very doting and had come down to say hi from Chichester, and also Uncle David who eventually managed to get Skype working so he could say hello. Aunty Erika, Uncle Andrew and Ryan were also round so we ordered pizza and generally had a lovely time.

After a reasonable night, up in the morning to spend a little more time with Uncle Matthew. And then we had a visit from Aunt Jane, who seemed suitably delighted with our new arrival, despite her tiredness on her previous day's excursion to Bury St Edmunds.

Then, after dealing with 2 phone men and having a little nap, we visited the Midwife at 4, which went v well, and then to the beer garden at the Duke of Edinburgh. Ever the favourite of Brixtonites on a sunny day, was lovely to see Norris, Erika, Dan, Patrick, Nik, Christine, Becky, Andrew R, Mink, Dave, Andrew and Alex. Another fun social event to wet the baby's head!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Penny - Our Beautiful Daughter

Penny at 36 hours old

Wow, I don't think I have ever had such a long break between posts before! No better reason than to give birth to our gorgeous baby daughter, Penny!

My waters broke on Saturday morning, quite amusing seeing what I said about Charlie having one too many in my last post (he of course came back from the stag do asap). And by Sun eve she was born. It was by no means straightforward (I won't bore you with the details now), though with only gas and air and lavender oil I do have an element of pride in getting through it.

Though it didn't feel much like a choice at the time as it all went so fast, and I now realise that you make your choices when you write the birth plan ... so unless you write EPIDURAL in massive capitals all across it, they are not going to give you one unless it really becomes necessary. And I am totally part of the 'woman's choice' camp ... if someone wants an elective caesarian, I say it her absolute right to request one.

So Penny has already met all her grandparents and many of our friends, and it was great to see them all holding her ... it has been such a celebration!

And she has been so good, always (so far) having a deducible reason for her grizzles. And I even got around 8 hours of sleep last night, by far the most since Fri night. Happy to be interrupted by feeds, as my milk is now properly in and so my breasts are enormous, hot and desperate to be emptied.

And how about Mummy? Mummy is still sore from pushing a whole person out of her, walking like John Wayne and sitting so gingerly. But everything is fixing itself slowly, and will be helped by getting a bit more sleep. And we are enjoying this time so much, with every new expression, new glance, new smile and new poop we are beaming with joy at our new daughter.

So now we are 3 ...

Friday, 1 April 2011

Sorting Out

A day of more sorting, as needed to wait in for the Virgin phone man (who, big surprise, didn't turn up). Spare room is now in a much better state, and my drawers have never looked so tidy, though I was a bit sad not to be out and about in the sunshine ... I hope it stays!

Charlie accepted his secondment which is fabulous news, especially given our impending arrival. Am so pleased and proud of him. He is now off to a stag party in Brighton to celebrate, might try to cross my legs so Thumper doesn't meet her daddy after he has had one too many ;)