Friday, 28 May 2010

I am back!

I had a bit of enforced rest at Luton and Dunstable Hospital from Sunday... 2 1/2 days of feet up. No major drama but they were concerned about a calf cramp which was lingering so wanted to check for DVT (!!) All clear now after an ultrasound on my leg. Here is a fetching photo of my support socks (note the smart pedicure from champneys poking through)...

I got through nearly 2 novels, and some mags from the lovely husband. And it gave me the impetus to get on and get the bag ready. After poor Keith had to hunt far and wide in the house for the essential kit.
And then I had a lovely day in St A getting a few bits and pieces, including some new clothes for the baby. Inspired by the birthday gift we had for Keith, there is this... how cool?

Plus these (not the easiest to find unisex stuff...)

So all is well back home. The boys are little treasures and hugely thankful to Keith's mum and dad for coming straight down at short notice to hold the fort.
My challenge now is to elevate the legs as much as possible and rest. mmmm. Easier said than done, methinks.
I met some lovely mums in hospital. Hi to Kelly if you are logging on... I would love to catch up at some stage. Make sure you try and rest, too.
It also got me thinking... how nice would it be to be through these late pregnancy stages, past labour and be taking home a lovely little baby? Well, I can dream.
Just had the 32 week midwife appointment and it looks like this baby is big. Freddie was 10lbs5, Harry induced early but still 8lbs6. So it isn't a surprise. I would rather not be induced again... my diet is good, blood sugar absolutely fine, I am active (couldn't help but be so with the boys).
I guess no point worrying about it all, I will keep you updated.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

george pig

Harry-bloke doesn't get quite the number of invitations to parties as his older brother... it's a second child thing, I think. But he is off to Alfie's party in the village today. And I have added George Pig onto one of my linen apron.

It is an idea that seemed a good one at the beginning. But as I progressed onto machine stitching tiny eyes and getting knotted thread, I had second thoughts.

It still came out nicely, and makes a great gift for a little boy who likes Peppa. The other favourite is Chuggington, but I looked at the trains and despaired over the amount of lines and control I would need. So George it is. I think the gingham dinosaur looks great.

Beautiful sunny day today, and for tomorrow. Off to a National Trust property after the party and Freddie's swimming lesson. I will let you know which one we choose. x

Friday, 21 May 2010


there is a giveaway well worth commenting on, to be found over here , at andi's english attic.

lovely fabric from the v & a quilt exhibition. no, i haven't quite got there... there's still time, though! and just a reminder to visit there yourself if you are remotely local! sorry mum, that leaves you out.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

small scrape

A couple of weeks ago I passed my 'life in the UK' test. Hurray! I can now go through the pile of forms to apply for British citizenship. Useful, it would be. And I do appreciate being here in the UK... I also feel I contribute to the society in my own special way. I just have to suss out the £735 it costs to go through to the next step. Right then...

Anyway, as I was taking my test, I parked up outside the Co-op in Luton. And someone scraped the car. As we are in the market for a new car - one that will actually fit 3 car seats across the back - I just thought 'bugger'. And then I saw a hand written note on the windscreen. The fellow human being had left her details. Ahhh. it restores your faith.

Or maybe it is karma for that car I dented at Tesco's in Hatfield, left the note and then coughed up around £160!

Either way, we can get the car sorted in case it is used for the trading up... although how rubbish are the trade-in offers??? For a great '04 SMax it seems so little.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

recipe sharing

As I am stuck here for the time being, I am throwing myself into a recipe share found at this beautiful blog, maggie and sparrow.

Here is an offering for a yummy soup recipe...from the New Covent Garden Soup Co. It is quite substantial and very warming!

Smoked Haddock Chowder
25g butter
1 small onion
400g potatoes, peeled and chopped
725ml fish stock (the stuff in pouches is good)
200g undyed uncooked smoked haddock, skinned and flaked
75 ml single cream

to garnish - 1 hardboiled egg, chopped and flat leaf parsley

Melt the butter and cook three quarters of onion and 225 g of potatoes gently for 5 minutes in a covered saucepan, without colouring. Add the stock, cover, bring to the boil and simmer gently until tender. Cool a little and then puree in liquidiser. Return the soup to pan, add the remaining veg, cover and simmer gently for 10mins until they are tender. Add the fish, stir in the cream, and add salt and cayenne to taste. Take care as haddock will be salty already. Add more water if necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Serve with garnish.


It looked like I would have two options today.
  1. supply teaching (just had offer of lovely school in harpenden)
  2. quilt exhibition at V & A (no I haven't been yet...).

Now there is a third... and unfortunately it is this one I am encumbered with...

3. resting twisted ankle.


weekend away

I booked a lovely hotel for Saturday night - Keith's special birthday surprise. We had his mum and dad in to look after the boys and we headed off to London. 10 Manchester Street is just fab. The hotel was re-fitted at the end of last year. The service was excellent - I asked for some Pale Ale to be left in the room for Keith and it was greatly appreciated. And, as it was a birthday treat, plus probably our last visit before the baby, they upgraded us to the Grand Suite. Wow! Rain shower, designer bath, lounge area, kitchenette (!) and fab bed. Apologies for the less-than-good photo. It really doesn't do the hotel justice!

The position was fantastic, too. Just back from Marylebone High Street with its lovely shops although we didn't do much browsing, there is a VV Rouleaux ribbon shop (feather ribbons pictured - closed on Sundays unfortunately), Cath Kidston, Conran... plus lots more. And then only a 10 minute walk to Oxford Street. If you are visiting London, I would sooo recommend this place. I booked directly through the hotel and it was slightly cheaper than And obviously, with the upgrade it was fantastic value.

And this is where we ate. Fine dining, a bit too full on as far as service goes... but Keith loved it. I really enjoyed the punch of flavours with a gazpacho shot and then creamy thing before pudding. Little extras make all the difference! I used top table to check out the reviews and went for a meal offer - £30 for 3 courses plus a bellini cocktail (I had non-alcoholic version!). Next time wouldn't bother with the cocktail.

Monday, 17 May 2010

glass mountain

There is a beautiful blog with this purse to giveaway at the moment. Go over and have a look at glass mountain.

The lovely purses, bags and stitched-pictures are so inspiring. And if you get the opportunity to buy anything from the folksy shop, everything is incredibly reasonably priced.

I need to post about our stupendous weekend treat to London (for Keith's birthday) and will do that ASAP.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

art projects for kids

I saw this website an age ago... and loved it. Subsequently it was forgotton. But what a great resource for parents. There are all sorts of ideas, which will be loved by boys and girls alike. I am looking forward to trying this fortress-like image with Freddie.

Take a look yourself, here.

I am really feeling 29 weeks (eek) pregnant at the moment. Tiredness setting in. Managed to get to the pool this morning for the first time in ages, and I find it really helps with my sore legs - veins once again really painful.
And it is still full steam ahead for the Robbie Williams Tribute night fundraiser at the school tomorrow night. I was hoping to be around for set up during the day, but all of a sudden, there is hair, swimming lesson for Harry, house to get ready, plus usual pickups to do. There will be little time left...
I have a nice surprise for Keith's birthday on Saturday, will let you know how it goes.
I think it is another early night for me now. X

Monday, 10 May 2010


I have heard about orienteering, geo-caching and all sorts of other map-reading type activities before. Was not 100% on what what they actually involved....

And I rashly suggested that something like that would be a fun fundraising/ sport-related day for school. There are regular events in Hertfordshire... you can check them out at happyherts.

Unfortunately, Freddie's swimming lesson times have recently changed, so when I wanted to have a look, it was just Harry and me. But what a brilliant, well-organised thing to do! You pay a small fee, hire an electronic 'dibber', are given a map and helpful advice. Then you head around a course, beeping in at allocated points.

We did the very easy 'white' route. But there were more serious orienteerers (?) who raced around with a compass and followed other routes. There were 4 stages of difficulty.

This event was hosted in Highfield Park, very local to us in St Albans. There is also a set course at Rothamstead Park in Harpenden, just a matter of buying a map from the Leisure Centre apparently. That will be the next stop, I think.

Harry loved the interactive nature and the beeping (!), spotting the flagged points was great fun and off he would trot.

cath kidston

I do like a bit of a retro feel and spotted the Easy Living magazine offering a free tote bag today. And it included this ad-mag. Well, I couldn't go wrong.

I think this high street store is really appealing. And there is enough innovation each season for me not to tire of the products. And the fabrics. Sorry, rubbish photo.

And how about this, a make-a-sandwich competition?

I have my eye on a few of the overnight bags for a special 40th present for a friend... but which one to choose?

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

the weekend... part 2

On Monday we had our Markyate May Fayre. The pics are from the school's 'Peter Pan' themed walking float. I have had a stall at the fayre for a couple of years now, and it is usually well attended. Ahh but the weather this year!! Ominous looking rain clouds could be handled but the gusts of wind were impossible.

After setting up 3 separate times, I gave up. Bundled the, now broken, gazebo into the car. Caught the flying bibs. And shook off the dirty aprons. And it all went away in a rather haphazard fashion.

But what a disheartening afternoon! It was physically really tiring to sort out the table and gazebo, it meant (only a little) money wasted for the table but a fair bit of organisation to make sure the boys were sorted for the afternoon without me. Mmmm.

So I joined the boys and Keith. And manned the school cake stall for a while. (Our offering is always a great hit - search for Nigella's Rocky Road and give it a go - we always add sweets for that extra appeal). And chatted to lots of the lovely people who make the village so special.

Thanks so much to the Diggines boys for sharing thier croc costume for Freddie and pirate accessories Harry. We did find the missing swords... I'd put them away safely, probably after too much 'play'!

and a weekend round-up... part one

Not exactly quiet. I have thought a few times that maybe we try and cram a bit too much into the long weekends. And I am really feeling the pressure of being 28 weeks expecting at the moment!

Any way. First event was the craft fair in the beautiful village of Kimpton. Everyone seemed to be out (even in the not-so-good weather). The fair was set up in the school hall, a very sensible alternative to the field (!??). And the fabric buckets went really well. I need to get sewing again...

Here is my stall. And yes, I do need to iron that poppyart banner.

Sunday we headed to celtic harmony, as mentioned in an earlier blog post. It was fab. But freezing. Lots to do - a whistle made from sycamore, a rhythm stick, storytelling in the round house, a green man appearing from the woods and the winter witch captured. All the adventures of an iron age village. And some apple pressing! But very cold... did I mention that?