Thursday, 30 August 2012

Kew / The Clapton Hart / This Bright Field / Pyrrha

8:04pm, baby asleep, Wig at Cinema, me hunched over laptop with a scalding hot  M+S Chilli Con Carne ready meal. I am living the dream. Or possibly 'a' dream. Just not a very glamorous one.

Anyway, my vision of being able to write regularly whilst bringing up baby has sadly not become a reality. I really don't know how J.K. Rowling managed it. Not that I'm comparing myself to her, I know nothing about Witches but on the flip side I'd like to think I'm a bit less up tight. Baby is now 3 months old and no longer considered a 'newborn' but is instead an 'infant'. I was horrified when Wig told me this and am continuing to refer to the baby as newborn. And I shall do so for the rest of his life. He will always be my little baby and that is that. But he really is the most dreadful time vampire, I don't know where the last few weeks have gone. The bigger he gets, the more entertaining he requires which although is extremely painful in one way, (I'm finding it harder each day to lug him up and down the front steps outside and my back is totally knackered) in other ways its brilliant as it has meant lots of nice trips out and about.

We are still keeping everything crossed in the hope that we can move out of Hackney asap, so we are trying to make the most of what may be our last couple of months in London. A couple of weeks ago we met up with some friends in Kew Gardens. I hadn't ever been before despite it being really easy to get to from Hackney. Its a direct train from Hackney Central and now the lift's have been installed at Hackney Central Station its an absolute dream getting over the track to the correct platform. No more waiting at the bottom of the stairs in the vain hope someone might offer to help lift the buggy. You know they wont.

Kew is very posh. As I have said previously, London is only for the rich or the young. If I could afford to buy a house in Kew I would stay in London but they don't tie bunting round the lamp posts in Hackney. They tie Police Signs asking anyone if anyone knows anything about a murder.

Kew Gardens. Sadly not part of the National Trust as we discovered to our dismay, so will set you back £16 per adult. VERY expensive in my humble / skint opinion but a lovely place to go if the weather is nice.

Walkway through the trees. I made it up in the lift to to the top then came straight back down again.
I hate heights and apparently the floor of the walkway was moving. Forget it.

Massive palm tree.

We've also had a couple of trips to the Clapton Hart, a new pub that has opened up by the Lee Bridge round about. As I have said many times, Clapton will need a bit more than a pancake shop and a weekend market to make it a nice place to hang out but this pub is definitely a step in the right direction. The location is a bit 'no mans landy' but well worth a trip. I've only been on the weekend and for food (obviously not for massive binge drinking benders) but have been very impressed each time. The staff are very friendly which is almost unheard of in the pubs round here, the food was delicious and reasonably priced (£12 for a roast) and there is lots of room (great for big gatherings and buggies). If you wanted to make sure you got a table though I would advise calling ahead and booking. It gets very busy on a Sunday lunchtime and sometimes the roast dinners sell out! Mortificado! The outside space is still a work in progress but I'm sure will be great when its finished if the interior is anything to go by.

But all the paints peeling off... 
It's meant to look like that Grandaddyo.

Loads of old stuff, just up my alley.

We have also ventured along the Cambridge Heath Road to a cafe called This Bright Field. Its only been opened under this name for 8 weeks (it was previously called something else), but has had a revamp, and oh my goodness what a super job they've done! It looks awesome inside, the staff were super nice and the food was something special. To be fair I only had a mocha, a bacon sarnie and some marmalade on toast  (that's right I had 2 breakfasts, so what) but the sarnie and the toast were something to behold. Bacon that actually tasted of something (ie bacon), a delicious tomato relish, lovely bread and beautifully presented in paper. I would highly recommend this place and I'm definitely going to go again as soon as I can get the Wig to drive me. I think they do lovely seasonal dinners here too so maybe we'll be able to come and sample one of those one day but most likely we wont be able to because evenings out together are currently off the menu.

Finally, last but not least, I bought myself a 'push present'. I was not aware what a 'push present' was or that I needed one until I heard about them on "The Housewives of Orange County". It's an American thing like baby showers and grits and is basically a gift that a lady receives from the father of her child to say thank you and well done for pushing out their baby. Its a pretty tacky idea, I'm aware of this, but a great excuse for me to buy something I didn't need and shouldn't have really spent money on. I know the father is meant to buy it but I'm all for equality so I didn't mind buying it for myself.

Anyway, I bought this. Its a necklace with the dear little baby's initial on from a Canadian Jewelry Company called Pyrrha. They make their jewelry using old wax seals, such  a good idea I cant believe no one else has done it. I'd seen their necklaces in Liberty and always wanted one, then I found them online being sold by a shop called Union for a much cheaper price! So I ordered my necklace on Saturday and it arrived on Tuesday, beautifully wrapped with a hand written note from Union thanking me for my purchase. Lovely touch.

Lovely necklace.

So there you have it. A bit of a random collection of topics on this blog but I guess now you know where to go if you want to see a massive tree / eat a roast dinner / enjoy a bacon sandwich wrapped in paper / buy a necklace made from a wax seal.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Baby V Adult

This post has taken me 2 weeks to write, but I was determined to finish it. Reason's for the delay:

1. I have been ill. Just surviving each day and keeping the baby clean, fed and happy has been my main priority. It was only a throat/cough/cold but sweet jesus it didn't half wipe me out.

2. I have broken my new rule of no telly on during the day. Olympic fever has well and truly gripped me so I have been slightly distracted by all of the medals we have been winning. Go Team GB! You are an inspiration!

3. I was keeping a slight low profile due to a small "Dubious photo circulating the net" incident. Not of me I hasten to add. In the film / book or even straight to DVD of my life I hope to include this episode in its full gruesome glory but sadly I am not at liberty to divulge in here.

So here goes with my slightly out of date post:

I have some bad news to report. The magical voodoo powers of the hair dryer are slowly disappearing. Basically, the baby is not an idiot and has realised the noise of the hair dryer was a lame distraction tactic by us adults to buy more time. This is pretty disasterous, not only for me but also my neighbours I think. Sorry neighbours. Although maybe they prefer the sound of a baby to the Braun 3000. Who knows, I haven't had time to ask.

This is not the only battle that the baby is winning unfortunately. The bigger he is getting the more he seems unimpressed by my efforts at entertainment. Last week he learnt how to punch a purple and blue cow on the baby playmat. I thought/hoped this new trick may keep him amused for hours then eventually tire him out for a nice nap. Not so. The cows got punched, he got bored and I panicked. What do I do now? I am slowly running out of weapons in the war against the baby. The wepaons in my cache consist of:

BabyBjorn bouncer - good at the start of the day and strangely helpful with the morning 'movement'. Baby not impressed with bouncer at any other time of day.

BabyBjorn Carrier - very helpful mid morning to nap him off but gets quite ratty if you try it later in the day. Obviosusly this is not an ideal weapon as then I can't do much else with him strapped onto me but pretty effective as a sleep inducing device. This Carrier only works in conjunction with me constantly talking the baby to sleep with my boring voice or slow dancing around the flat to Magic FM. The Carrier does not work on its own. You might ge the baby to sleep but he will humiliate you first into dancing like your Dad on a really bad day.

Playmat - likes a good cow punch early afternoon, but again does not fancy it at any other time of the day.

Pram walk - very hit or miss. Sometimes he'll sleep for hours other times he can not abide it. If he does sleep for hours in it you will ultimately pay for it when you get home with hours of cluster feeding and impossible to get out wind.

Basically, I have to accept that the baby is growing and wanting less sleep and more stimulation. It's obviously awesome that he is getting bigger but I suppose I still don't feel like I know what I'm doing. How on earth do I know what to do with a 10 week old? I didn't know what to do with a 1 week old, a 2 week old etc etc And the reality has finally hit me that not all babies are the same. It's a bit pointless looking up advice on the internet or asking friends since what one baby likes another one may not. And what one baby might like one day, he'll almost certainly not like it the next day.

However, an upside to the growing baby is that his communication skills have developed at an alarming rate. As well as him mimicking me to almost being able to say "hello" (honestly, its amazing. He does sound like a kitten meowing but I know he's trying to say hello), he also does very good sign language. A downward stroke of the hand from mouth to tummy means "wind me woman and make it snappy!" and both hands going up and down in a sort of knife and for eating fashion means "feed me". I havent quite worked out the dirty nappy but a quick sniff usually does the trick.

I think what would help enormously would be trying to establish some sort of routine. That way I could plan things a bit better and not feel so all over the place but I don't know how this works with the demand feeding we were advised to partake in. My life feels like it's currently being run by a baby's stomach at the moment but at some point the adults need to take control back. That wont happen today though. Today I have submitted to the tiny tyrant and have decided that all I am going to do is watch the Olympics on telly, eat Dairy Milk, drink Coca Cola, feed baby and cuddle baby. We shall be sofa bound all day, the outside world will have to be dealt with another day.

Talking of being sofa bound, I was sofa bound on Saturday but for an entirely different reason. I went out for alcohol for the first time in almost a year. Sure I've had a couple of glasses of wine during the last 11 months but I could count them on 1 hand. However, on Friday night I went out with the sole purpose of drinking a lot of wine.

Wig has been saying since I had the baby that I needed a night out. The only problem was that I was worried how I would manage looking after the baby with a hangover, frankly it's crazy enough without one. But it was a great night to be out - the opening ceremony for the Olympics. Now I know I poo pooed the Olympics the other day but I've actually got right into it and am thinking I might sign the baby up to baby gymnastics if such a thing exists. He would make a great Olympian and we already looks very snazzy in tight all in ones.

Going out was extremely liberating though, much more than I ever imagined it would be, it also coincided with the baby's grumpiest day to date so by the time I was let out of the trap I was raring to go. Just walking to the station was a thrill. And thats a sentence I never thought I'd write living in Hackney. I didn't have to wait for the green man to cross the road, I ran across on a red man! Woooooh! Freedom! This is not meant to sound rude to my delicious baby whom I love dearly with all my heart, but I hadn't realised the importance of a night on my own, away from my new role just for a few hours. I actually thought the reality would be I'd have one glass of vino collapso, cry and be home by 8pm. Instead, I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony on a big screen at a South African (I think) bar on the Southbank, drinking bottles of wine with my friends while sitting on the floor and stumbled home at 1:30am.  Still got it.

Amazing ride along the Southbank. 
I obviously didn't have a go. I didn't want to waste valuable drinking time. 
And I am terrified of heights.

The Thames! Long time no see!

The Propstore pop up bar by the National Theatre. 
My first port of call for the evening while I waited for my friends. It's a temporary bar full of 'props' which basically looks like the house of someone who works in the Art Department and has taken a load of old bits and bobs home after a shoot just in case they can use them again. Bizarre bar but it had grog which was the main thing.

The back of the fly by for the opening ceremony. I was too slow to get a better picture. Annoying.

God Bless you Ma'am, you were AWESOME! What a great sport.


It was almost like going out in London for the first time, I had turned into a complete tourist. Not only did I take an umbrella out with me in case it rained (the old me would never have done this, I know my hair is bad, a bit of rain might actually make it look better), I also wore a sensible flat shoe, a watch for the first time since May and hid my purse in the zipped pocket of my over the shoulder bag. Screw you pick pockets!

However, a glass or two later of the old white stuff and I was back to my old self again. Twas a great night which was typically pieced together the next morning by a series of texts on my phone.

21:42hrs   Text to Wig from me "I think the baby looks like Daniel Craig! He's got the same nose! xx"
00:52hrs   My friend to me "Got my train!!! Full of women screeching at decibels only dogs can hear".
01:04hrs    Text to my other friend from me "This taxi driver is a right old misery guts xx"
01:27hrs    A saved text with the number 12245 in it.

This basically means I had a row with the Taxi Driver (probably for being a misery guts), threatened to report him and took his cab number down. Ahh, good old Friday nights out, how I have missed thee! Although I have not missed my dreaded enemy the hangover who appeared with a vengeance the following day, so even though it was a great night, I don't know when I'll do another one. And after all no Friday night beats one with my dear little boy on the sofa even if he is thrashing me in the war of Baby V Adult.