Thursday, 30 June 2011


Andrew has 'no doorbell', and I 'like boys'!

After a chat with the kitchen man and a day of catching up with my to-do list, said goodbye to Charlie and Penny at 6pm having left them plenty of milk, and joined Andrew at the O2 where he had kindly secured tickets for us to see Glee Live from his executive box.

Very comfy seats! Nice not to feel like cattle at such a big arena. And the night was fab, with a supporting act consisting of the most incredibly acrobatic dancers. Then the 'Don't Stop Believing' kicked in and the crowd went wild!

I can honestly say I have never seen such a loud, bright and peppy show, so loud that it even managed to turn my stomach a bit. The audience was also incredibly vocal, singing along and loving every second. And it was a great show, they have great voices and a lot of energy. Andrew had heard from a friend of his that the cast are staying at the Savoy, and were looking a bit tired ... not surprising really, such a tiring tour.

It was everything we were hoping for, a fun easy night out. Got back to the house exhausted and everything had gone well. Penny happily fed from the bottle, and apparently had had a fun evening of book reading and chilling out with Daddy.

I was exhausted when I got back, but felt much better ... even when I woke up at 3 feeling like my right breast was going to explode. So bit the bullet and got up properly and expressed it all out to get my comfort back. 120ml later (wow, no wonder it hurt) and went happily back to sleep ... on my front :)

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Cats and Kittens

A second night of 8 hours uninterrupted sleep .... mmmmyeeaaaaaahhh!

So felt pretty breezy this morning as Penny and I listened to the radio and I started on the notes Charlie has made on the first draft of my book. All useful and very pertinent.

Then to Mums and Babies yoga in the afternoon, where I finally met Emma H and little Hamish. Yoga was good, and Penny was reasonably well behaved. She liked a lot of the baby stuff, including Cats & Kittens (making purry noises), Row Row Row Your Boat and Wind The Bobbin Up ... it is lovely that she giggles so much when I sing to her.

A little indulgence in Mothercare on the way home, as well as the 3-6 month sleepsuits (a necessity) I also got Penny a pink dress and pink gingham sunglasses.

A relaxing evening spent watching the tennis and doing a few jobs. Then a little Ferris Bueller before bed.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Jabs Again

Poor Penny had another odd day, beginning with a couple of booster jabs in her legs ... tears and screams trickled throughout the morning.

Had a little wander around Brixton, and spent much of the afternoon soothing the little one. Then a swim and dinner with Fish ... relaxing and calm ... especially enjoyed the watermelon!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Too Freaking Hot!

As I write this, my face is radiating a toasty pink glow. Fortunately I was smart enough to totally cover Penny so, although it has been a hot and trying day, it is only me who got a bit burnt and not her ... phew!

Anyway, happily went out in the sunshine to pootle round Brixton before heading to north Camberwell and Burgess Park to join the NCT ladies in the sensory room there. The bus was excruciatingly hot, so when Penny started to scream I decided to feed her to try and hydrate her a bit more.

Then out into the Sahara, sorry ... Burgess Park, to find this needle in a haystack. Fortunately Sophie called me just as I was about to pass the place. Once in, the babies had a lovely time staring at a large pretty coloured bubble tube, but then quickly got hot and grouchy. Had a very chilled out lunch together before trudging back out in the sun to get home.

And Penny spent the whole afternoon pretty unhappy, stripped down to her nappy and trying to explain to me that she was hot and please could I turn the temperature down a bit please ... no really, it is quite uncomfortable ... no REALLY, why aren't you listening to me Mummy? Why won't you fix it?!!!?! Waaaaah!

So, spray bottle and damp flannel at the ready, she finally fell asleep in the early evening which was a blessed relief for us both.

Uncle Andrew popped in before bath and bedtime and so, given Charlie is out, I can now have a bit of peace before another day begins. Hopefully a cooler day :)

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sunny Sunday Smiles

Up for a swim at 11:30 with Andrew, Alex and Norris, then to the Hive where we were joined by Charlie, Penny and Liam for brunch.

Had half a game of Dixit with Charlie and Alex, before Nathan and Caroline came along. Great to see them and to catch up.

Had a bit of a tummy ache all day, but much improved by a long bath whilst watching Mumford & Sons at Glasto.

Then we decided to exercise the pram and take a family stroll in Brockwell Park. The sun was still bright, but the evening was cooler than the afternoon and so it was lovely to join the masses who filled the park - guitar players, tennis players, picnicers, dog walkers and many others. Good to stretch our legs and enjoy the glorious weather.

Finished the day off with Beyonce's powerhouse of a set at Glasto ... Tina Turner, eat your heart out!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Oxford Cream Teas

Just managed to get to Paddington and plough through the annoyingly slow ticket machine queue to catch the 11:50 to get to Oxford. Despite a little 'wee-wee incident' on the train, all went fine and was very happy to see Jane at the station.

We met some new parent friends of hers for a leisurely lunch, and then walked round the meadow near Corpus Christi. SO much like the countryside, but right in the middle of the city. Kind of like the college is saying, 'we are so rich we are just going to hold this land and do nothing with it, just the spite you all'! We stopped for tea and cake in a cafe, which was a bit hot so Penny got a bit grumpy, but was fair enough really.

Headed off about 6:30pm, and was very hot and sweaty by the time we got home. Totally worth it for such a good catch up with Jane though!

We were joined by Andrew for pizza, and we went upstairs for a quick beer with the new residents of Patrick's flat, as they were having a housewarming. He really did do wonders with the place, though it is slightly sterile, as all rental flats are/should be. The three new tenants seem very nice though, jolly good!

Back downstairs for some Glee before bed. Indulgent!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Cats Revisited

It has been a year now since our beloved little girly kitty Poppy passed away, and about 18 months since Max left us. Although we have had some visitors, I think we will not be having any more cats with us while we are in this flat. Sad, but practical.

And finally I have put together some of the footage we had of the cats in a video ... enjoy!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pummelling and Point-scoring

Still feeling a bit behind on my sleep, but duly got up at 10 in time to see a man about a quote for the renovations we want to do on our flat ... and he didn't turn up. To be fair, he did text and reschedule at about 12, but a bit annoying all the same.

So karma did me a favour. When I called the IMBS Mummy & Baby clinic to book in a massage, they had a spot free this afternoon, which I took them up on. What with carrying Penny in the Baby Bjorn, breastfeeding and doing breaststroke when I swim, I think my back is strong but tense at the moment. Was a lovely massage, despite some grimbling from Penny who was in a travel bassinette. Amusingly and annoyingly, she fell asleep when the massage was finished ... maybe she just missed me.

We wandered round Balham for a while, always good for charity shop browsing and posh grocery shopping in Waitrose.

Back home, Charlie and I decided to go out for dinner at the hive. He has kindly been reading the first draft of my book and wanted to give some proper commentary. However when we got to the hive, we found Andrew there catching up on his emails. We had also invited Mink to join us as she was at a loose end. So instead it was an unexpected social evening, and we threw in a game of Dixit (which I won) for good measure. Yay!

Book feedback delayed to another time, but for a very good cause.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Pincushion Penny

Waited 40 minutes for a pleasant nurse to jab Penny this morning, it is frustrating that they are usually running late. And not just late, but without apology for being late. Sigh! So we had the usual red face and big tears, though a big feed made sure that Penny recovered quickly. Though she has boosters next week so she had better brace herself!

Then to Erika for a soup lunch, lots of chatting and tea with some beautiful cream & jam scones from Sainsbury's. Good to see her, and good to have a lovely relaxing afternoon.

Finally got round to switching Penny's clothes over from the 1-3 month bundle to the 3-6 month bundle, kind of fun that she gets a new wardrobe all of a sudden. The pile of vests is enormous, thanks to gifts and the big pile of stuff from Elle, Matt and Eva.

Then a swim before bedtime ... freedom!

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Visitor from Wales

A bit tired after interrupted sleep, but all in all a restful morning gathering some lunch together as Mum popped in to spend the afternoon with me and Penny on her way back from Cardiff to see her old friend Elinor.

We chatted, ate and drank tea all afternoon ... good to relax when feeling a little tired.

Decided to try and put Penny to bed early as she has been grouchy in the evenings of late, but to no avail. Alex and Andrew popped round and we all booked flights for our bike trip later in the year ... hooray!

Sunday, 19 June 2011

First Fathers' Day

Left Charlie to have a bit more time in bed, before Penny insisted on giving him his Fathers' Day card and present ... fridge magnet scrabble tiles!

Then managed to get from our house to Redhill via Victoria in one hour, the train definitely beats the car (as shown from the drudgery we drove through yesterday) when travelling through London.

Had a lovely lunch with lots of Sundts and Keats, basked in Marion's beautiful garden, and chatted about everything and nothing. A proper lazy Sunday!

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Being Three

Decided to take it a bit easy in the morning, therefore intending to maybe be a little late to Matilda's 3rd birthday party in Surrey. Jumped in the car club car without a care in the world, embarking on what ended up being a 2.5 hour journey down there ... very late!

But once the baby was fed and changed, she had slept all the way bless her, we had a wonderful time. We were passing the babies round, admiring Mattie's new fairy outfit and, in Charlie's case, springing around on the wet bouncy castle. The weather couldn't decide what it was doing, once minute torrents, next minute beaming sunshine. All in all a lovely afternoon, great to be outside, and great to be fed so much cake!

Headed back via Ikea to have a look around, and managed to come away with only a set of new glasses and some serviettes ... not bad! Also had a bit of a better idea about cots and kitchens.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Green Friday

Met up with Sonia and Clara at the Ritzy to watch The Green Latern at the Big Scream showing, which you can take babies to. The theatre was practically empty, and the fim was entertaining but nothing special ... though Ryan Reynolds is quite pretty.

Had a lovely lunch in the cafe, then headed off home.

Andrew and Alex came round in the evening for pizza, all of us seemed a bit exhausted!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Chilli Success

Went to see the health visitor in the rain, all very straightforward. Penny now weighs 12lbs 7oz, she is doing so well!

Hid from the rain back at home, then went for a wander round Brixton.

Had a delicious dinner of chilli con carne at Erika and Dan's, where they were hosting Sam. As we waited for the guys, Sam and Erika were both fantastic with Penny. They put so much energy into entertaining her and lulling her to sleep, it was nice to take a backseat for a short while.

And the most important news of the day? Charlie interviewed for, was offered and accepted a permanent role at TFL. After 13 months of being pushed from pillar to post, there is now some stability on the horizon ... am so proud!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Back to Work II

Penny slept/was quiet for 7 hours consecutively last night! Was blissful, though led to a bit of leakage given that the milk supply was geared up for a middle of the night feed.

Then slept until about 10 mins before my docs appointment, oops! Dashed into the shower and hastily managed Penny before running out of the house. Was not too late, and good thing too as the doc was very nice and reassured me that all is ok.

Then off to work to visit my colleagues and catch up with Sam. Good to be reminded of the complexity of working life to let me reindulge myself in the very different challenges and opportunities of maternity leave.

Had some great fun playing with Penny in our new door baby bouncer, so cute! I am sure pics/video will be along shortly. She seems so much more grown up all of a sudden, she has wisdom in her eyes and a cheeky grin in her smile.

Then a quick swim when Fish came home, and when I returned he went off to spend the evening with the NCT guys which sounded like it went well.

Fleeting visits from Andrew and Norris, great to see people still drop in despite the baby.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Heighbournood Watch

Exhausted this morning as simply couldn't get to sleep last night.

But got up at 8 anyway, and had a semi-productive morning receiving Penny's passport, making cards with beautiful butterflies on, getting Fish's suit to the dry cleaners and sorting out the house.

Then had a wander out in Brixton, visiting Traid for their £2 sale, getting some photos printed and picking up some food amongst other things.

Then back home to book some fish for dinner, before heading off with Fish to the Neighbourhood Watch meeting. Held in a neighbour of ours' beautiful garden/house, we covered roads, violence, break ins, building works ... the whole lot. Penny was very good so we stayed for the lions share of the meeting, so we had a good bit of Pimms and nibbles too.

Then back home, where Andrew dropped in on us during bath and bedtime.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Old MacDonald had a Farm

Another bleary morning, possibly because Penny managed to wake me in the middle of 2 vivid dreams ... one about a former colleague of mine who was wearing strange glasses that had super powers, and another where I was driving a car but couldn't manage to control it. Whatever could it mean?!

Trawled through my emails and to do list to try and feel a bit more on top of things before meeting the NCT ladies for tea and cake in Streatham. It is good that we have such a positive vibe in our group of 6 mums and 6 babies. We come up against similar and different challenges, but everybody is open minded and happy to give their well balanced view.

Penny had been grumpy, but she brightened up on the bus back to Brixton, and was very entertained by my rendition of Old Macdonald had a farm ... what noise do rabbits make?!

Back to do a bit of shopping before an evening of sorting out with Fish, and some peace and quiet after bedtime which was well spent watching the last episode of the Glee season ... sniffle!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Grumpy Grumps ... but Me or Penny?

Exhausted on waking, for reasons I couldn't quite fathom.

Charlie whisked Penny off to his writing meeting to let me go swimming, and it was refreshing not to have to think about her or anything really for a few minutes, before getting my swimming togs together.

Was a bit later than intended in going to the pool as I asked Co-op to cancel my card as thee was an unrecognised transaction. Fortunately it was only for a small amount, but best to get it cancelled just in case.

Then tried to sort the house out for guests in plenty of time for the evening, bit didn't get much done before Charlie brought his writing compadre Joachim round for a cup of tea.

Then we dashed off to see our old NCT teacher to recount our respective birth stories, which brought it all back. Then scurried back to Brixton to cook and prepare everything for an evening with my Dad, Alex, Andrew, Noz and Liam.

Despite constant interruptions from a grizzly Penny, it was very nice to see everybody, to chat and to hang out. And after a week of Penny grumpiness, I keep asking myself whether it is her, or me?!

Even at bedtime tonight she wouldn't go down, even after a week of success in this new venture. Maybe she senses my frustration when she grizzles, and then that just makes her grizzle more.

Ho hum ... tomorrow is a new week! And at 10 weeks old, the only constant is change, so we shall see how she changes next.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Guildford Ahoy

Tried to catch up on sleep in the morning, not helped by some strange dreams about househunting and finding it hard to drop back off to sleep again after changing/feeding Penny.

Then watched a fascinating programme on IPlayer about the beginnings of Hollywood.

Off to Guildford to hang out with James and Clare F for the rest of the day. Went round to their house to play a cunning new version of Trivial Pursuit where you can bet on whether your fellow players will answer questions right or wrong, thus helping your own chances.

Had dinner at a lovely French place, apparently a chain, called Cote Bistro. Penny was being a little grumpy at the end, as she has been all week really, so Charlie kindly took her out for a quick walk while we finished off what was a delicious meal. Steak Tartare followed by Chocolate Fondant ... yum!

Then we all went for a walk round the castle while the sun set around us. The whole day did manage to rekindle my love for Guildford a little, with hills and facilities and countryside all wrapped up in one place.

Friday, 10 June 2011

America and Eritrea

A fruitless visit to the US embassy, as it turned out Charlie needed to have spent 2+ years in the US over the age of 14 for Penny to have a right to a US passport. Oh well, didn't bother us very much, and Charlie managed to make the visit worthwhile by picking up his Social Security number.

Stayed in town to have a relaxing brunch just off Piccadilly, and battled the thunder and rain to get back to the tube which was all bunged up with people who couldn't bear to go outside in the wet.

Relaxed at home until 6:30 when we met up with Alex and his parents, Malcolm and Margaret, at the Asmara in Brixton for an Eritrean meal. Andrew joined us a bit late, was a fun and spicy evening. Then Andrew joined us back at ours for an ice-cream Mars and a few Glee episodes before I fell asleep in the armchair.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Kitchen Attack!

Another day mostly spent in the house doing jobs. Finally cleaned the fridge, it looks spangly, beautiful and new! Have extracted all the fridge poetry, will dig it up again in a few years time.

Popped out for a quick shopping trip, and as Penny is still a little grizzly monster, had a very interrupted afternoon trying to sort out the kitchen ... throwing away food that was years out of date and clearing out the piles and piles of ramkins that clutter up the back of our cupboards. All storage space is precious! So there is still a bit more to do, but it has come a long way.

Norris came round for dinner, lovely to see her. She is a busy bee, though she does thrive on her many busy projects, kayaking etc.

Off to the US embassy tomorrow to investigate Penny's passport!

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

A Day In

Visited by Yaya Theresa, who is in the UK between her many epic trips. Good to have a relaxed lunch with her, she is very cute with Penny. Then instead of being super-productive like yesterday, managed to fall asleep with Penny which was lovely but made the whole afternoon disappear.

So then went into the city for dinner at Thai Silk with Ruth, who is in London doing some research, Erika, Charlie and Andrew also joined us briefly. Very good food, I have not had Thai in a long time, and nice to have a little drinkie. And although we did it all a bit later than usual, bedtime still worked.

Also, Penny is much stronger now and pulls herself to the side of her crib, thus banging her head in the process ... bless the silly little munchkin. So, every now and then in the night, I hear a little whimper and I need to adjust her position for her to fall back to sleep. Need to get a couple of cot books to cover up the bars so she doesn't hold on quite so tightly.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Bedtime II - This time it's personal

Though Penny didn't really settle yesterday evening, I thought I would try again this evening. Starting earlier this time.

In truth, Penny has been grizzly all day with me, and in the evening with Fish when I went for my swim. After an interrupted dinner, she cheered up for her bath and went to bed without a peep. Although I had managed to fit in some long outstanding jobs in the day, given my plans were cancelled at late notice, we had 2 hours of blissful peace beforewe went to bed that I could get used to!

Monday, 6 June 2011

In search of bedtime

Met with the NCT ladies at the Earl Grey and Rose again for tea and cake. So a relaxing day conducive to getting chores done, Penny permitting.

Also, having discussed and pondered giving Penny an earlier bedtime than midnight, spent the evening with Fish writing and Andrew observing trying to initiate a 'bath and bed' routine. Seems so arbitrary the first time you do it.

She settled a little at first, but soon became unsettled. Turns out she was a bit windy, but even getting that sorted was not enough to console her. But I will persevere!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Catching Up on Sleep

Couldn't get back to sleep after the excitement of Fishy's return in the night, so woke blearily in the morning. He was pretty spritely, having slept on the flight and with the benefit of being 3 hours ahead.

Skipped out while he was helping Penny exercise her lungs, otherwise known as having a bath!

Another blissful swim!

Then rejoined the clean offspring and prodigal husband at the Hive for brunch with Alex and Andrew again. Talked Bike Trip, which is now coming together, and popped into Sainsbury's.

Then Charlie whisked Penny off to Kirstens to have a quick peruse of the D&D situation, while I drew some butterflies and had a well needed nap. Then we spent the evening putting up the new nursery decal, which has a fun outlook on reproduction.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Bumble Bee Busy Saturday

Met Alex and Andrew for brunch at the Hive. Good to catch up, and to talk south London property as Alex is now flat hunting.

Then quickly home before heading out again to the Miro exhibition to celebrate Natalie's 30th birthday. Underestimated how far away the Tate is from Waterloo (why oh why did I not go to London Bridge?), so was hot and feeling a bit late when I arrived, especially from more horrible sneezing. Fun to pootle round the exhibition with Penny, running into Norris, Nat, Keating, Kirsten and Steve as we all were remarking, interpreting and pondering about what we saw.

Had a lovely sit and chat outside the Tate before they all went off for the birthday dinner, which I declined as large groups and dinner can be hard with the baby. Instead, we dashed into the house, picked up our Greg masks, loud shirt & babygrow, and met some people at the Trinity before heading round to the Duke of Edinburgh to gently (and briefly, in our case) celebrate Greg's 'stag don't'.

The beer garden was packed, though spacious and pleasant. Was good to have a little drink and chat with the stags, especially as I believe it was both Penny and my first stag do (or 'stag don't'). Penny was a bit grimbly after such a busy day, needing a few feeds in a row, maybe due to dehydration from the heat. Possibly went home a bit later than I should have, as the group went inside and it got busy and loud pretty quickly, but all was well as soon as we got out of the pub.

Finished off the night with toasted muffins, tea and Glee with Andrew back at ours.

Well, I say finished off ... at 3am (Sun) I burst with joy when I woke up and realised Fishy was home. He had a fab time in Israel, and it is so good he is back!

Friday, 3 June 2011

Back to the Pollen Lands

A delicious lasagne and a last minute rush to get the baby harness I forgot to round off a wonderful stay in Spalding with the (grand) parentals. Was pretty useful needing to carry Penny back in the carseat as, although train and tube were both sparse with people, it was excruciatingly hot, so good for us not to be heating each other up as it can be when she is strapped to my chest.

Really lovely to get some good quality time with them, and especially as we also saw so many visitors who doted over Penny.

Found myself sneezing like crazy as soon as I came off the Tube in Brixton, damn hayfever. And also came back to the news that Fishy would be a day delayed getting back from Israel, boo! So my sense of urgency to get house jobs done was diminished, and Penny and I had a quiet and happy night in together.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

More Visitors, More Vino!

Another very relaxing bath this morning, as Granny and Grandad cuddled and entertained the little one.

Then after lunch we were joined for tea and cake by the very lovely Pat and Ken, my grandparents former neighbours. Pat was very taken with Penny, and it was good to hear all their news, told in full technicolour by Pat.

So, Penny has met lots of the Lincolnshire population, and it has been a pleasure to show her off. And it has also been a welcome and very relaxing time for me, and always fun to hang out with the folks for a bit.

Now I am just hoping that Penny doesn't save her impending pooSPLOSION for the train journey home tomorrow ... eeep!

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Visitors and Vino

A full 5 hours in a row from Penny overnight, a record!

Then up for a relaxing morning, with porridge and making progress on my sock monkey. Had a wonderful roast pork late lunch with Sue and Barry, followed by Mum's spectacular Lemon Meringue Pie. Then Mick and Penny popped in later, so good to introduce Penny to Penny, and they got on famously!