In The Balance

It is another typical January day today. Endless grey skies and a cold which gives half hearted nips rather than the steely bites it can be capable of.

I came home after the school drop off today. I didn’t want to walk I to town. I knew I would feel tired after last night at WI, and I feel apprehensive about the political world today. A day of debates and then a huge decision to be made, and there is no way of knowing what it will be or how it will affect us.

I cannot help but have the news on, but to cushion me I have a candle alight and have drunk endless cups of Earl Grey tea today. Lunch was a jacket potato with beans and cheese. The potato was particularly good; the variety is Melody. Mum gave it to me to try having bought some and enjoyed them. Comfort food. Dinner is homemade food from the freezer. I think I will crochet this evening, and have an early night with my hot water bottle.

I need to wake Alice up soon. Wake her up! What an I thinking?! She has been asleep for 3.5 hours which is fairly unheard of, and will be furiously hungry when she wakes.bun

How funny, as I wrote that, I heard a little wail and she woke up! One quick nappy change and she is happily enjoying her milk.

I needed a quiet gentle day today. I fear we may need many more in the days to come. In times of unrest all we can do is make our homes as cosy as can be. All we can do, but the most important thing we can do.

No matter your thoughts or feelings on the EU and our relationship with it, I think we may all need some gentling in the days to come.


An Evening At WI

Last night was my WI’s fifth birthday. It feels so much a part of me, it is hard to believe it has only been five yeara. I remember our very first meeting in the back room of a pub down the road from where we used to live. We filled all the rooms in the pub and queued out the door! I was pregnant with Jessica and I remember vividly standing trying not have my bump squished.

I was very lucky to have a lift to and from the meeting. Since WI moved venue and we moved house I can’t get there in my own any more. The speaker last night was really interesting and engaging. She is a handwriting analyst and started with an impressive party trick. She asked four of us to come up to the front, have us each a business card, and asked us to write one word of our choice on it. She could not see, and we shuffled them before giving them back to her. She did a mini analysis of each of our writinf, and then correctly matched each card to us. I was really impressed both with her getting it right and her insights into our characters from our handwriting.

It was so good to catch up with friends, and the tea and came at break time was delicious. I haven’t had a butterfly cake for a long time. Along with fairy cakes they have been somewhat ousted by cupcakes. I think I it is high time they made a comeback, along with little bun cakes. There is much to be said for the pleasures of a simple cake. Madeira and Victoria sponge remain favourites of mine.

And so I got home a little after ten, feeling as I always do, more complete for being part of our and the WI. We learned last night that in our five years we have raised over £27,000 for charity. That is quite apart from all the things we have knitted, the Easter eggs we have donated, the bras, the stamps, so many things. It feels so satisfying to be part of something which does so much good.

The Pleasures of a Platter

Just before Christmas, Mum gave me a couple of platters from her collection of vintage china. There was a slightly smaller one which is coloured a kind of turkey red with an embossed pattern of turkeys on it – perfect for Christmas dinner. The other was larger but plain cream, and probably a but more versatile.

I used it today when I fancied doing something slightly different for lunch. Rather than making a round of sandwiches each and serving them on a plate to each person, I cut them smaller, getting eight triangles out of each round rather than four, and put them all on the platter. I also put a shallow bowl of yellow and red baby plum tomatoes, and a small cup of cucumber sticks. 

With the jug of daffodils on the table and my beeswax candle alight, and the platter, the table looked just right for a grey January lunch time. It made everything feel a bit more special. 

Jessica had a touch of the Sunday grumps and initially announced she didn’t want ANY lunch she was going to BED….but when she saw the platter she thought she would sit with us while we ate ours…but she wasn’t going to eat ANYTHING. It wasn’t long before a little hand snaked across the table, and she ended up eating a really good lunch.

I will definitely be doing lunch platters again, and I am wondering about perhaps a fruit platter for dessert one night, and what other meals I could serve like this where you serve yourself.

It is a simple thing, but I do love our family meals around the table. We didn’t leave Alice out, she had a cucumber stick to gum, and then a crust of bread.

Wherever you are, I hope you have a lovely Sunday afternoon,




Tales of a Toast Rack

Yesterday, I arrived at hospital in the half-light of the early morning, ready for more investigations into my digestive system. As I mentioned, I recently got diagnosed with gallstones, which I had hoped meant I no longer needed a gastroscopy. My consultant still wanted to go ahead, so I presents myself just after half past seven yesterday morning. My father-in-law took Jesica to school, and my mother-in-law drive me to hospital and looked after Alice for me. It is so strange being away from the girls, especially Alice.

I was expecting to go into a waiting room, but instead I was taken to my own private room. I am incredibly fortunate to be covered by Carl’s medical insurance which he gets through work, and it is a private hospital, but I was still surprised. I had a huge tv which I ignored in favour of my book (A Passionate Man by Joanna Trollope) and looking out of the window, watching the squirrels chase each other across the grass and up the trees.

If it wasn’t for the reason I was there, I could have really enjoyed the quiet time! I opted for sedation for the process and I am so glad I did. I remember gagging violently as they put the camera down my throat, but the next thing I knew I was waking up from a deep sleep.

After spending some time in the recovery room, I was taken back to my own room. I was asked if I would like something to eat and drink, and as I had been on nil by mouth since midnight, I said yes please. Although I was a bit sore and sleepy, the bed was very comfortable, the duvet was snuggly and warm, and then a lady arrived with a tray with a pot of tea and a toast rack with toast, butter, jam, and marmalade.

There was one of those special tray tables which fits across the bed, and I sat eating my toast and reading my book in the quiet feeling peaceful.

It struck me that the toast rack made the simple meal very civilised and pleasant indeed. I liked how they tucked the napkin in the last slot of the toast rack. I decided to order a toast rack for myself. I have a fair few fallings out with amazon these days, with missed deliveries and bitched orders, but I used my phone to order a toast rack there and then…and it arrived later that day!

And so this morning I made a pot of tea for us to share, filled the toast rack with fresh toast, and poached some eggs. We had our beeswax candle on the table, and the first daffodils of the year in a jug. A simple breakfast made so much nicer by the pot of tea and the rack for the toast.

I had my results too…it appears I have a hiatus hernia and oesophagitis as well as the gall stones. No wonder I haven’t been feeling great for a while. I am going to be focussing on doing what I can to make myself feel better. I have been given medication and been told to eat little and often. 

I do feel slightly frustrated that I had the first attack of what I now know was gallstone pain in hospital waiting to have Alice, but once they established it wasn’t the baby,mthe pain was cured with morphing but ignored. I told the GP at our six week health check that it had happened again and she told me it was indigestion (it wasn’t). Because it has been going on so long, my gall bladder has been badly damaged. I wish someone had listened a little sooner.

I have ordered some cook books about eating for good gut health from the library, I will share my cooking adventures with you.




Sniffly Morning

This morning finds me gritty of eye, foggy of mind, and sniffly of nose. I had another difficult night with Alice…I have an endoscopy under sedation booked for tomorrow and I am actually looking forward to four hours of uninterrupted rest!

It is the kind of January morning which is cold but not crisp. Instead everything feels damp, almost dank. Having walked to the shops after school, I have come home to feed a grump baby and snuggle on the sofa under my mustard coloured throw. I have a warm milky coffee to sip, and I am delaying sorting out the kitchen in favour of watching The Bookshop on netflix. We haven’t gor to the bookshop part yet but I am really enjoying the costumes.

Having had a feed Alice is all smiles again. I am hoping to have a nap if and when Alice does. I am making watercress soup for lunch.

I follow the lovely Sarah Clarkson on instagram; yesterday she wrote ‘yesterday was one of those days when just living through the normal rounds of existence was work enough’. How beautifully she puts it. It has taken me two children to realise that sometimes this and no more is enough. To live through the normal rounds of existence.

So today I shall sip tea, snuggle my baby, gaze at the brave green daffodil shoots in the garden, and let it all wash over me.


When I went to bed last night I was tired and cold. The kind of cold which creeps into your bones, and the kind of tired which makes you feel drunk. I was ready, so ready to let go of the day, rest my head on my pillow and fall asleep.

But first, Alice needed feeding. She fed for a long time, and then wouldn’t settle. I tried everything but she was inconsolable. Carl got up to help me, even though he had a busy day at work coming up. Together we tried to soothe her. At a quarter to two I made us tea and toast. Finally at about a quarter past two, she slept.

When I awoke this morning I felt colder and tired-drunker than ever. Carl was so lovely, he went to work without a hint of resentment or grumpiness. My brain felt muffled and I don’t quite know how I got us all fed and dressed ready for the school run.

Two minutes down the road, a red car pulled up next to us. It was Jessica’s godfather, who then took her to school. I shufflef back home feeling very grateful, and managed to get a load of washing on and to fill the dishwasher too.

After some jobs in town – library books which had to be returned today – I habe come home to sit for a while in the quiet (Alice is asleep) drink tea, and watch Marie Kondo on netflix. I feel so thankful for the people in my life who support me and make life a little softet and kinder when the nights or days have been hard. I feel so thankful that although 2:00am was hard, that I have a little baby to hold and try and comfort. If there is a better reason for exhaustion, I don’t know it.

Impulsive Scones For Breakfast

I don’t know if it is teeth, a cold, the cold, or why, but we have hit a sleep regression with Alice. The last week ir so has seen her awake at night more than usual, and for two nights it was almost every hour. I wake with my brain foggy and feel disconnected.

The girls are both still asleep when I come down to kiss Carl goodbye for the day, so I sit on the bottom step and have a little flick through instagram. I am drawn to a photo posted by a homeschooling mama in Australia of her scones fresh from the oven. I am not likely to buy from an instagram advert, but I found myself taking flour from my cupboard and heating the oven.

Twenty minutes later, on a grey January morning, Jessica awoke to smell of fresh scones for breakfast. The house was warmer, not just from the heat of the oven, but with homely cheer. It is hard I think, to start a day badly, while eating scones warm from the oven and drinking Earl Grey tea.