In hope of Spring I’ve just changed my main blog photo to bright yellow daffodils. The picture was taking a couple of days ago using my Sony Cyber-shot camera phone on macro setting and I’m quite pleased with it. The photo was taken in the same park my last header photo was taken in back during last autumn when the leaves on the trees had changed colour. When summer arrives I’ll have to see if I can take a suitably summery photo there to. But for the moment just looking at those yellows and greens just cheers me up
After semi-boasting to a friend recently that my battered, mud streaked, clap track of a buggy was the same one I brought 4 1/2 years ago when pregnant with my oldest, Girl Lacer, and that I hoped it’d last me until Boy Lacer no longer needed it, well of course the brake would have to literally snap off with plastic fatigue. And so after hearing a particularly alarming story involving a pushchair, a baby, the river, a slope and gravity, I concluded that of all things on a pushchair the brake is the most important, so we ordered a new one and it arrived yesterday (Urban Detour Vesta if anyone is interested). And compared to our old crusty 4 wheeler, the new pushchair is rather swish, as you can see from the photo, it’s black and bright yellow and more importantly is a 3 wheeler, I’d always said that if we’d known we were going to literally move next door to a National Park nine months after Girl Lacer was born we’d have brought a 3 wheeler in the first place. It’s also considerably lighter, so I keep on over-compensating at curbs and I can almost keep up with Girl Lacer on her scooter now. It’s also thinner when folded, which is very useful with our limited pushchair storage space, regular readers (if I have any) may remember my post about another pushchair calamity of mine, here (this post proved surprisingly popular for a long time, I suspect because it made me look so darn stupid). The only downside is that although the basket underneath is a reasonable size (compared to some) it isn’t as big as my old pushchair, so that’s going to cramp my shopping style a bit.
Now onto the new shoes. A quick recap, Boy Lacer amongst other things has hyperextension in his legs, which meant that he only started walking 2 months ago (he’s 2 1/2 next month). He had physio for almost a year and was prescribed Pedro boots, which helped keep his ankles steady, however now he can walk he no longer has physio but the physio said that she thought he still needed the Pedro boots and that I could just ring and leave a message when he needed a new pair. I actually left a message in person about a month ago when Boy Lacer’s boots started getting too small but I never heard a thing back and when it got to the stage this week of Boy Lacer not even being able to get his right foot into the boot properly I knew we had to get him some shoes, Pedro boots or no Pedro boots and that any good Pedro boots supposedly could do would be minuscule compared to the damage done by wearing ill fitting shoes. So we went shoe shopping, I still wanted him to wear boots though, so specifically should I say boot shopping. I went to Clarks first, were Girl Lacer gets all her shoes, heck even I get my shoes from there, we’re a brand loyal family but they didn’t have any boots (we discovered after getting his feet measured which he hates). So remembering that I’d seen that the child shoe department in the uber-expensive local department store did boots we went there instead, Boy Lacer had his feet measured again, hated it but was virtually flirting with the pretty blonde assistant by the end of it and we were presented with a wide variety of choice. We went for a pair of Ecco boots, you can just about see them in the photo and they seem to be almost as supportive as the Pedro’s and more importantly fit, when I held his old shoes up against his new ones the size difference was how shall a put it, guilt inducing. Only down side, well the shoes cost almost half as much as the new buggy cost, it was one of those places were you just don’t ask how much, so when the pretty blonde shop assistant got to the till and told me the price as I handed over my debit card there was certainly a faint tremor in the card as I did so.
It wasn’t the only shopping we did today though. Girl Lacer is turning into quite the party animal and has another party invite, this time for a princess party, I had suspected that this moment would come, the time where we would have to bite the bullet and improve Girl Lacer’s rather shabby dress up wardrobe (previous contents: doctor’s coat, fairy wings that don’t fit, bat girl outfit) specially as it seems de rigour in her ‘social circle’ to be decked out in as many Disney Princess outfits as possible. Now I am quite proud that I am probably one of the few parents in town who’s children arn’t desperate to get into the local very prominently placed Disney store the moment they walk past, we just have Freeview and we just watch CBeebies and they’re not into films (unless it’s Star Wars, they have their daddy’s blood) so Disney so far has pretty much passed them by, sorry Mickey. However in my brief bit of market research, they do do the best princess outfits, if the most jaw droppingly, come in their own suit protector, expensive. However as I browsed (and Boy Lacer having got into the shopping bug and was rather worringly keenly checking out the glittery shoes and the girls underwear) I spotted a Cinderella dress for £20 (as compared to the other £35 – 45 dresses) so not caring which of the panoply of Disney princesses it was I brought it (there were only two £20 dresses), got it home and of course Girl Lacer loves it.
So kids home, fed, in bed and fast forward to feeding me time (the final thing I’m rambling on about today), I’m still on this diet (lost 1lb in 2 weeks wey hay! (not)) and I’m still hating the ‘fake’ food (Learningwoman who commented on one of my other diet tagged posts about Slimming World – that sounds interesting). Thursday night is of course Jamie night and of course the stuff he normally serves up always looks nice anyway but as I sat there with my pasta bianca (a Jamie recipe actually) made with low fat spread instead of butter making it virtually inedible and my flourless / sugarless crumble which was inedible, I almost felt like eating that cr*p I shouldn’t even me allowed to watch Jamie at the same time. When he made that chilli preserve I could almost picture myself dancing around the kitchen with a spoonful of that on my tongue, even his cannelloni looked nice and I can’t stand cauliflower and broccoli!
Oh and sorry, one last thing, I have been thinking about my book selling, prompted by the thought of book selling (don’t make me laugh) at the children’s cafe next week which I don’t want to do and by a catalogue from another book selling company sent through the school (which don’t by the way want to know my book selection). The catalogue through the school had much cheaper product, far more well known titles and probably far more popular titles, unlike the ones I sell which are expensive and in some cases the sort of books parents think their kids ‘should’ like. I can never compete against selections like that. As for the children’s cafe, well considering I only sell one or two books at a time if I’m lucky, if I don’t want to sell there I shouldn’t. I’m not completely giving up though, I made money last Christmas and I suspect I could make more next Christmas, my stock is also a good source of very cheap (for me) birthday presents for all the parties Girl Lacer goes to and I’ll be able to use the books as ‘payment’ for the last two terms of Boy Lacer’s playgroup place. I just think for now, it needs a rest.
Anyway, wow that was another excellent episode. When Owen died last week, I somehow suspected that would not be the last we saw of him. Resurrecting the resurrection glove thingy from series 1, they bring Owen back, laughable for the code for the alien morgue but of course things go wrong.
This was one of those episodes which packed so much in, at a pace that kept me on the edge of my sofa, at one point, my nerves grating from being scared witless I glanced at the clock thinking the episode must be nearly up and it was only half way through! The performances from Owen and Jack were excellent and although Martha wasn’t really in this episode much I’m loving the new maturer Dr. Martha Jones. I think (from the trailer) it looks like Owen’s going to be really going through the mill next week.
One last note; what is it about the weevils? They’ve featured I think in every episode so far this series, in either a major way (as tonight) or just a quick glimpse, I’m feeling a possible overall series arc about the weevils, everything is going to be pieced together.
Argh! COME ON MARCH! This may be the shortest month (even with the addition of an extra day) but this month is dr…a…gg….ing. As I’ve said before I am not good with post-Christmas winter and as spring gets ever tantalisingly closer I just want it to HURRY UP! It does not help that dear Mr. Lacer has given me a cold, I’ve got pms, I’m on a diet which I hate and we have absolutely nothing planned this week or money to do it with anyway.
On the subject of the diet, I had ‘turkey bacon’ last night for tea and is there anything possibly less appetising than turkey bacon? I doubt it! I had to buy it from Sainsburys as Waitrose didn’t stock it, I’m not surprised now, I always see Waitrose as more of a foodie supermarket which sells ‘real food’ as opposed to preformed mashed up bits of tastless meat. I brought two packets of the stuff and I don’t care if I can eat as much as I want of it on this diet (Weightwatchers core plan), I quite simply don’t want to. After yesterday’s Sainsburys visit, sigh I much prefer Waitrose (I always have really), Sainsburys is full of non-food at so called ‘bargain prices’ all designed to part you from more of your money, whereas Waitrose beside a little bit of gift wrap and some newspapers sells nothing but food, now that’s what I like.
Roll on March, March we have a birthday party, a new music group for me and Boy Lacer to try on Monday afternoons, a psych appointment for Boy Lacer to (not quite sure that counts as entertainment though!), more so called book selling, a new group on Tuesday afternoons with the speech therapist for Boy Lacer to and of course Easter where %^&* the diet, I’m eating as much chocolate and hot cross buns as I like!
Back to nursery today, boo hoo hoo, I like having Girl Lacer around all day and no dreaded nursery run but I know too much Girl Lacer at home and things start getting tetchy and she loves nursery to, so I think she thinks we’ve had a nice week (certainly a busy one) and she’s excited about going back, they’re doing shoes this half term, an important subject in any girls heart.
So back to normal for me to, the house is a mess and needs spring cleaning even more now, I’m still trying to diet, using Weightwatchers Core Plan (and I tell you I’m sick to death of porridge with blueberries already!) but it is giving me a housework incentive, I’m counting spring cleaning as a low intensity exercise, so half an hour counts as 1 point, that’s a Cadbury’s Low fat chocolate mousse, certainly worth half an hour of housework!
Also back to normal for me in that I’m working tonight, just a revision session though and although in some ways I like them as they’re minimal prep in other ways I hate them thoughbecause I’d much rather get my teeth into a subject rather than do endless exam papers and also I worry that I’m going to run out of papers before the hour’s up, whereas if it’s working from notes I’m reasonably ok at working out an hour’s amount of work before hand.
Finally I’ve been meaning to post a picture of my latest plush toy that I finished a few days ago.
This one is for my sister. I’m really pleased with it, I think it’s my best plush yet (not hard). I enjoyed doing the flower embroidery on the dog’s body. This one is from Softies by Therese Laskey, the pattern, Dorian the Dog. I have to admit I’m loving Softies more than Plush-o-Rama, the book I’ve been using for my previous projects, I’m appreciating the included full size patterns. I’m going to be making Treeling next (far right on the book cover below).
I’ve just finished reading Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones, the eighth in the Richard and Judy’s Book club list. Set on a tropical island under siege, it tells the tale of Mr. Watts, the last white man on the island, attempts to educate the village children, using nothing more than a copy of Great Expectations and the collective wisdom of the children’s parents. I loved most of this book, you could almost feel the scorching sun on your skin and the sand on your bare feet. The book itself feels nice to hold (unlike the arm breaking The Glass Book of the Dream Eaters which I still haven’t got round to finishing) and the cover art is beautiful. The climax (which I of course won’t tell you what it is) is incredibly moving but I felt what let the book down was that the story continues for about 20 pages after the climax, following what happened to the child narrator afterwards, I would have preferred to have been left with my imagination. Due to those last pages, in my own personal ‘best of Richard and Judy list’, Mister Pip fell from first to third place.
- A Quiet Belief in Angels by R.J. Ellory – every page grips you, scares you and tears at your heart.
- The Rose of Sebastopol by Katherine McMahon – a very close second, it is deeply and beautifully researched invoking the sites, sounds and smells of the Crimean War.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones – a lovely little story of bravery and island life, let down in my opinion by it’s final 20 pages.
- Random Acts of Heroic Love by Danny Scheinmann – the description of the journey across Siberia is epic.
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – a very vivid description of life at a terrible period of time in Afghanistan’s history.
- Notes from an exhibition by Patrick Gale – just not my sought of book, far too ‘cosy’.
- Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris – argh this is hard, I liked this book but Notes from an exhibition was more flawlessly written in my opinion.
- The Visible World by Mark Slouka – I’m sorry, but for me this book dragged.
Last proper day of the half term holiday today and we went to Tate Modern. I’ve been meaning to take Girl Lacer for a while, I’d always thought she’d like it. So I braved public transport, with two small children on my own. Now I’m not foolish, although I count myself extremely lucky to live in London with all these wonderful things to do, I am not the sort of person who tries to lug my pushchair and small children everywhere, I always take into account accessibility for four wheels (my pushchair) which thankfully has improved in recent years, courtesy to improvements for wheelchair access, although it’s still not brilliant, so consequently there are some things we just don’t do, although it is easier with the muscles of Mr. Lacer in tow. However, one of my local train stations has recently improved it’s access (and they’re working on the other), so that and the fact that our trains go to Waterloo, which goes straight onto the disabled friendly Jubilee extension which is the nearest line to Tate Modern, meant I could do Tate Modern, on my own, with two kids, reasonably easily.
In practice the journey wasn’t too bad, I’d forgotten the ‘challenges’ of trying to get a pushchair on and off a train and was reliant on strangers for help. We opted to go via London Bridge, although I think Southwark is nearer, as the walk from London Bridge to Tate Modern is along the river which is nicer. We had to retrace our route several times as we came across steps, but it was great to show the kids the river, with the Gherkin (which Girl Lacer knew as Dr. Juno’s hospital from Me Too), St. Pauls, Golden Hinde, The Globe and the
Wobbly BridgeMillennium Bridge.
Once we got to Tate Modern (after a quick detour for a quick photo opportunity on a very windy Wobbly Bridge), we went straight to check out the crack
Girl Lacer was fascinated (as was every other child in the place), staring down deep into the crack and declaring there was “fluff in there” (which there was, quite a lot), she then made me go and read the notice so “see how it was made”.
At lunch, which was shortly afterwards, me and Girl Lacer had an interesting conversation, led by her about “what art is”, I gave the uber broad definition (considering where we were and what we’d just seen) as “art is something you like”. So we discussed whether In the Night Garden was ‘art’ as they liked that (I said yes, I think it is in a way) and Finley the Fire Engine (which I also said yes, as it’s a cartoon). We then talked about people who’s job was to draw things (artists) to which both Girl and Boy Lacer pointed to the group of art students sitting at the other end of the sofa “Like them you mean?” said Girl Lacer, I nodded, Girl and Boy Lacer spend the next 5 minutes staring at them. We then talked about my mum who was an artist and was questioned whether she’d been at the ‘art gallery’, I said no, they hadn’t made it then, but she spent alot of time painting people with no clothes on.
So after an enlightening, philosophical lunch we went to check out the art galleries and it felt like I was taking around my own little piece of performance art, as I followed Girl Lacer around the galleries, watching with interest which pieces she was attracted to and her pointing at each (or in some cases everything in the whole room) “That’s art, that’s art, that’s art that is”. I think it was enlightening to her to see these pictures on the wall, some of which to the untrained eye looked like she (a 4 year old) could have done them.
I think our family favourite (other than the crack) was ‘The Colour Box’ by Len Lye, a GPO film where they painted directly onto the film, creating a musical riot of colour, we watched that several times.
When we finally saw everything (that was free anyway), we popped into the shop there (which I’ve always loved and has an absolutely fantastic kids section, with fantastic kids books and art stuff). Girl Lacer got a collection of different scraps of paper for her art work, Boy Lacer got an Eric Carle book, the kids both got to choose a lovely printed melamine plate (we like collecting melamine plates) and I got a new craft book.
Going home, even though I told Girl Lacer that if we returned via Southwark it was probably shorter (she was the ‘map reader’, I showed her on the map), she wanted to go via London Bridge as long as we were ‘careful’ and didn’t get lost this time. We detoured this time through Borough Market which I miss terribly as it’s a fantastic foodie market which I used to go to regularly when I lived closer to the centre of London. The smells from that market are amazing and we stopped off at Flour Power City’s stall, who do the most sinful chocolate brownies (which I had to have, I start a diet tomorrow after all ) and I let Girl Lacer choose a loaf of bread from their mouthwatering variety, she of course chose a plain white loaf, which was still absolutely divine, as testified as there being now ‘not much left’.
Once home Girl Lacer settled herself immediately to make ‘stickers’ with her new collection of paper and some sticky tabs (the result a really nice layered collage) and Boy Lacer busied himself with his current favourite activity of Hama beads. So that’s half term over and done with and I’ve had two lovely children (specially today) all week and we’ve done lots of nice activities (unlike one of my friends I bumped into who seemed to have spent the entire holiday in a coffee bar). It’s been an expensive week, even though I’ve deliberately gone for free activities, just unrushed shopping, lunches and travel expenses, I can get now why our finances have improved in recent months, before Girl Lacer started nursery and after playgroup closed (May to September, it was like one long holiday as we had nothing to do), even though we tried to stick to free activities and cheap lunches (slightly embarrassing moment of the week, a play date in the morning with a friend, followed by a joint walk into town, friend and her children were heading for lunch at a cafe, just a plain old sandwich / salad type cafe, where I made the mistake of going into once and when I took my tray of three sandwiches and drinks to the till felt literally weak kneed at the cost of it, I haven’t been in there since, honestly the big chain coffee shops are cheaper, so anyway I did not have the money to go there, so we said our goodbyes and went to the supermarket and then onto M&S foodhall for some bits for an inside the shopping mall picnic lunch, so there we were sitting on the floor (everyone else had had the same idea) eating our M&S cocktail sausages, bread rolls, crisps and mango and there walked past my friend fresh from the cafe). So, I’m already looking forward to future holidays, Easter we’re at my dad’s (which is what counts as a ‘holiday’), then there will be the next half term where hopefully the weather will be a bit better and then there is the summer holidays and then school, it’s getting sooo close. It seems a shame that just as they’re getting interesting they have to go to school, I can sort of see that as one of the attractions of homeschooling (which I would never consider for Girl Lacer, she’s too sociable but I would possibly Boy Lacer). Girl Lacer has already asked when are we going to the art gallery again. I think when Girl Lacer is at school, me and Boy Lacer will have a chance to do more things like museums etc., I think he will be very keen on the Natural History Museum (he’s mad on dinosaurs) and although I’ll feel a little guilty that Girl Lacer won’t be there, I sort of see it as a trade off, Girl Lacer had me to herself as a baby, so when Boy Lacer did not have the same as baby I always knew that when he was 3 – 4 he would have me to himself during the school day, one of the reasons why although I am broody for a third (Girl Lacer is broody to, she said yesterday she wanted me to have ‘hundreds of babies’), there is going to be a large gap between no.2 and no.3.