Friday, 5 November 2010
Last night was Bonfire Night and we went, as we do every year, to our lovely friends. They provide fireworks and delicious bangers and mash and I take homemade gingerbread to contribute towards pudding. An evening packed full of fun and laughter, it was the perfect antidote to the drizzly, isn't-it-getting-dark-early gloom.
This morning I am awake first. I come downstairs and make a pile of recipe books, mail-order catalogues and previous year's planners. I settle down for an hour or two with this pile and a tray of tea and toast. It's time to start thinking about The Big One.....
Monday, 25 October 2010
To continue on the literary theme, I've been to hear two writers speak about their latest books too. First Best Friend and I went to hear Lionel Shriver speak. She reads brilliantly and speaks with such erudition and intelligence, I could have listened to her for hours. Then on Thursday Lovely Husband and I took the Beautiful Girl to hear Anthony Browne speak about his role as Children's Laureate. We met him afterwards and he was very sweet to the Girl, signing a copy of his latest book for her.
I now find myself in a strange state of limbo, having read everything on my shelves at least once and am at a bit of a loss as to what to choose next. What have you been reading recently? Any recommendations will be greatly appreciated!
Edited to add: I went with the new Lionel Shriver, "So Much for That" and I loved it. An incredible beggars-belief story, masterfully told. Highly recommended. The good book karma continues....
Saturday, 16 October 2010
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
Sunday, 26 September 2010
I heard someone say once that the cello plays the sound of the human heart. It seemed to be both a beautifully apt and utterly true thing to say. After all, the cello produces one of the most perfect pieces of music ever, Bach's "Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major".......
The Beautiful Girl has just started learning to play the cello and brought it home for the first time this week. Apparently it can also make the sound of a cat being tortured by a lusty warthog, at the bottom of a very deep well....
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
Monday, 13 September 2010
The time since has been one of change for all of us - the Beautiful Girl has a new teacher and a new classroom, the Lovely Husband has a new role at work and I am working full-time for the first time in - eek - six years! Already, the juggling act that I'm required to do as a working Mum has threatened to overwhelm me. It seems less of a juggle and more of a stagger, under the weight of everything I've got to do (have given up on the idea of a To Do list and now have a To Do book!). I think it'll be sheer bloody-mindedness that will get me through - I'm determined to do a good job as Mummy and as Teacher but also to live a life that is not just busy, but one which is full. So in the week and a half since term started, in between the Hoovering and the planning lessons, the sewing on of name tapes and marking books, the making of beds and the making of resources, I have carved out time for fun stuff too. I've been to my Book Group meeting (we read Carol Ann Duffy's book of poetry "The World's Wife" - wonderful, read it!), strolled round the farmer's market to buy sunflowers, crocheted a row and a half of the Heirloom Blanket, read a fantastic "literary thriller" ("The Bed I Made" by Lucie Whitehouse), been to a folk music concert at the Symphony Hall and baked lavender shortbread. The shortbread, by the way, is divine. I've used a recipe from "The Vicar's Wife Cookbook" and it is the best shortbread I've ever made - buttery yet crisp, lemony with just a fragrant whiff of lavender. And, as I tucked a foilwrapped piece into the Beautiful Girl's lunchbox this morning it made me think, maybe I can pull this off, after all. Watch this space..............
Sunday, 15 August 2010
Tuesday, 3 August 2010
Sunday, 25 July 2010
In the midst of the madness though, there have been moments of loveliness. Lovely Husband and I had a rare night out, just the two of us. We went to Winterbourne House again, only this time instead of blazing sunshine and cream teas there was live jazz, by candlelight, on the lawns. It was a very special evening.
Then there was my birthday. Lovely Husband is officially World's Best Present Buyer and I've started life as a 34 year old (eek! How did that happen?!?) with a fantastic pile of books, perfume that makes me smell like peonies, series 1-5 of "House" (Hugh Laurie joining my Older Men I Have A Crush On list) and the most, most beautiful flask for picnics, camping holidays etc. On the day itself he was poaching smoked haddock at 6:30 a.m. for my favourite breakfast (omelette Arnold Bennett - yum!), complete with chocolate birthday cake. He's not called Lovely Husband for nothing, you know. In the evening friends arrived, laden with thoughtful, generous presents and we scoffed homemade rocky road and drank strawberry bellinis. All in all, I had a wonderful day and, without getting too cheesy, felt blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.
Now we are all three finished with work and school for the summer and have very quickly found our holiday mojos. Only the second day in and we have already spent a lot of time in pyjamas. Got lots of lovely plans though and hope to blog a bit more often, as well as catching up on all the wonderful blogs I've not had time to read recently. Right now, bacon and eggs are calling though. (Another great thing about the holidays... plenty of time for greedy breakfasts!)
Saturday, 10 July 2010
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
Tuesday, 8 June 2010
Monday, 31 May 2010
Saturday afternoon. Beautiful Girl has her crayons, a pile of blank paper and Cbeebies. I sit on the sofa with a little project..... and sit..... and sit..... Lovely Husband comes home, baths the Beautiful Girl and puts her to bed while I sit..... and sit.....
(By the way, am very excited about the project and looking forward to posting a few pictures very soon.)
Thursday, 27 May 2010
Then on Sunday we had a day out here at Winterbourne House and Botanical Gardens. The gardens at Winterbourne are wonderful (naughty blogger forgot the camera, so I can't show just how beautiful) and the house -a stunning Edwardian building - has just been refurbished too. To celebrate this the House held an Edwardian Fete. There was Punch & Judy, croquet on the lawn, a coconut shy and teas to be taken on the wisteria-bedecked terrace (jam and cream-laden scones, de rigeur). Best of all, for Beautiful Girl at least, there were donkey rides too. She has long held a love affair with all things equine - unicorns being her most favourite thing in the entire universe - with ponies and horses coming a close second, but after two rides on a donkey she was absolutely smitten. When she won 3pence on the roll-a-penny she solemnly announced that she wasn't going to spend it at the fete but would instead save up for a donkey of her very own. After a visit from Nanny yesterday, to watch her dancing in her school Maypole Assembly, the Donkey Fund now stands at a healthy£1:03. Maybe we should start looking into stabling options.....
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Thursday, 13 May 2010
Monday, 10 May 2010
Thursday, 6 May 2010
Saturday, 1 May 2010
1. This morning I finish "Fingersmith" by the brilliant, compulsively readable Sarah Waters . This afternoon, at the library, I find the new novel by the brilliant, compulsively readable Douglas Kennedy.
2. The brownie, which I tutted at having to pay £2.50 for, turns out to be completely worth it; perfectly gooey and - oh joy - packed with walnuts.
3. Beautiful Girl makes friends with a girl she happens to be sitting next to. Their conversation - based on teacher's names and admiring each other's colouring in - is utterly sweet and sincere.
Thursday, 29 April 2010
Monday, 26 April 2010
At the moment I have fallen deeply, desperately in love with Dorothy Whipple. Not actually her, you understand, but her books. I have just finished "The Priory" (one of those beautiful Persephone editions, which shouldn't make a difference, but it does) and now will not be happy until I have devoured everything else she has written. Beautiful Girl understands this feeling. She sobbed bitterly after we finished the third book in Enid Blyton's "The Magic Faraway Tree" trilogy because "th-th-there's no Faraway s-s-s-stories left". At least I can tell her that, in about twenty years time, she's got Dorothy Whipple stories to look forward to.
Saturday, 17 April 2010
Monday, 15 March 2010
* celebrating the arrival of Friday by meeting friends and their children after school. Enjoying a large G & T, followed by yummy courgette and mushroom pizza, while our kids find a corner of the restaurant to run wild in, without disturbing anyone else.
* spending Saturday morning at the Farmer's Market with lovely Best Friend and my Beautiful Girl, followed by delicious Irish breakfast at the cafe.
* taking Beautiful Girl to the ballet on Saturday afternoon. (We are so lucky to have one of the best ballet companies in the country in our city and they are currently doing a production of Sleeping Beauty - utterly, gorgeously, breathtakingly beautiful.)
* being woken up on Sunday morning with a card and tissue-paper flowers, all made for me by Beautiful Girl along with tea and toast with honey.
* a long lie-in, followed by an even longer soak in the bath - with a good book, of course.
* spending Sunday afternoon having tea and cakes with my mum and oh-so-pregnant-she's-surely-about-to-burst little sister.
Lucky, lucky me then..... because that's exactly the weekend I got! Hope you had your own version of a Perfect Weekend!
Friday, 26 February 2010
"To laugh, often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch...to know even one life breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded!"
Saturday, 20 February 2010
Sunday, 14 February 2010
Edited to add: It is an exaggeration to say that Beautiful Girl talks endlessly without stopping. She is actually utterly silent for her daily viewing of "Mary Poppins".
Sunday, 7 February 2010
Saturday, 6 February 2010
Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Monday, 1 February 2010
Yesterday Beautiful Girl and I went to the park. While she whizzed around on her bike (well, as much as you can whizz when you have got stabilisers which you'll NEVER take off, even when you're a grown up) I trailed after her, desperate to spot signs of Spring. I was hopeful for a few early crocus shoots, maybe a couple of buds on the trees - even a snowdrop or two. Nothing doing.... All I could see was frost on the ground and the ducks skittering around on their, mostly frozen, pond. On the way home it even started to snow. I felt cold all evening and went to bed early, with a cup of tea, a hot water bottle and the Sarah Raven seed catalogue, to dream about Spring.
Sunday, 31 January 2010
Plas the string on yor lap
get yor stik
Bgin to croshy
twerl the wul
If that dus not werk tri puling it".
It doesn't do much for my crochet, but does wonders for my mood.
Saturday, 30 January 2010
Thursday, 28 January 2010
This morning, as I was distractedly handing Beautiful Girl her tights, before she had put her pants on:
"Mummy - I am NOT a superhero!"