My New Hobby

I have a new hobby which is bringing me a lit of pleasure. I don’t know what to call it, so I will show it to you instead.

A few weeks ago we started eating our meals with a lit candle. Then I added a few conkers which we had found on our walk to school. Then came a bud vase with a particularly pretty oak twig.

Last week I bought a tray to sit my treasures on and contain them a bit, and I love it even more.

I bought one of the squash (39p in Aldi!) and the chrysanths especially for the display, but evetything else has been snipped from the garden, found on walks, or given to us (grandma gave the girls a baby pumpkin each).

I take off a few dead flowes here, add a pine cone there…it is just as and when, with no plan on mind, and it comes together very pleasingly indeed.

I don’t know what yo would call this exactly, but I love doing it. Here is another photo taken at breakfast time.

I treated myself to Wolfy’s spiced pear porridge, and there is darjeeling in my beloved autumn mug. Mum sewed the little felt pumpkin brooch for Jessica, and just behind my mug is some more work from her needle…a velvet acorn and oak leaf.

Now I have shared my autumnal kitchen table with you, it is time for me to eat my porridge.

Have a lovely autumn Monday,

Love

Mimi

Xxx

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Apple Day 2018

Last night when we came home from an impromptu Turkish takeaway at a friends house it was bone chillingly cold. The kind of evening when a hot water bottle is welcome and hot tea is a necessity.

As a result we prepared for the cold when we got ready to go to Apple Day at Lathcoats Farm this morning. Laden with coats and blankets for the girls we stepped out of door…into glorious autumn sunshine!

We had such a lovely day…it is one of my favourite days of the year. I didn’t enter the baking competition this year as our oven thermostat is wonky (in the blink of an eye it can reach 300 oC) and I had my hands too full with Alice to try for the longest apple peel.

Mum came with us for the first time in years. We had to park in the overflow carpark which was in fact an orchard! You could smell the apples. New this year was a pumpkin patch. I so wanted to recreate my favourite photo of Jessica, taken on apple day four years ago, nestled in amongst a pile of pumpkins. Alice was having none of it as you can see.

However I did manage a few nice photos…

Jessica and Carl won apples on the William Tell stall by shooting apple picture targets with arrows, and Jessica painted using apple halves.

We enjoyed ice creams and later on a much needed cup of tea. We tasted apples and came home with quite a few…Jonagored, Lord Lambourne, Festival, and Chivers Delight to name only a few. I love the names of the different apple varieties.

We came away with an enormous nobbly pumpkin, chosen by Jessica.

Alice fed and snoozed through much of the day. I was feeding her on a hay bale when the photographer asked if she could snap us…I was happy to say yes.

I have so many appley recipes I want to try…hassleback baked apples, apple crumble pie, apple dumplings….

Wishing you a happy apple day,

Love,

Mimi

Xxx

Quarters and Halves

And so it is that this week holds two milestones for our little family.

Tuesday saw Alice become twelve weeks old…at three months she is somehow a quarter of a year old. It seems an entire lifetime since I heard her first cry as she was lifted from me, and yet it could have been last week.

Today is a non-pupil day at Jessica’s school, and so she has completed her first half term. We have parents evening in a fortnight, so we will hear how she is doing, but the important thing is that she is happy.

My girls are changing day by day before my eyes. Alice is getting bigger, she has finally passed Jessica’s birthweight and is just under ten pounds. She holds her head up well, she gurgles and coos and babbles away to us. She loves music. Yesterday she played with a toy for the first time. She was laying on her changing mat with her soft toy pumpkin hanging above it. She batted it with her hand, smiled as she watched it spin, then batted it again several times.

Jessica is growing so tall, she seems all arms and legs and her eyes are just huge in her face. Taming her hair for school is a daily challenge for me! She loves to have a candle burning at mealtimes, adores Alice, and pretends to be puppy Chase from Paw Patrol (she watches it rarely but it is a great favourite).

I feel so blessed to have these girls of mine.

The Best Laid Plans

More or less every other week for the last eight years, my lovely husband has attended supper club – dinner with a group of his friends from school. There have been fallow periods here or there where life has got in the way, but I love that they keep this tradition up and are in touch so regularly.

It sounds grander than it is…they tend to frequent budget/fastfood outlets so that it is affordable for everyone to join in. I think part of the charm of it is calling it supper club whilst eating a burger!

So every other week or thereabouts I have an evening at home alone. I’ve slipped into the cosy habit of having boiled eggs and soldiers for dinner, at eaten when Jessica has her dinner. Then when both girls are in bed (or at least Jessica is) I head up to bed too, taking a flask of tea (my flask looks like a lighthouse!), my book, crochet, and ipad.

The plan is to have a little cosy time then catch up with some sleep. But oh, last night although started promisingly with Jessica tucked up by 7:15, the evening did not go to plan.

Alice needed one last feed to sleep, but every time I settled her she was awake within five minutes and wanted to feed to sleep again. All day she has been like a querelous little old lady, wanting to sleep but not quite managing to settle deeply. And so it was some two hours later that finally it was my time.

I decided to watch the Bake Off on my ipad, but I discovered you have to download the app, and my ipad is too full of photos to download anything new.

So I watched The Apprentice instead…and fell fast asleep within minutes.

And so A Little Princess went unread, and my crochet poppies went unhooked. Jessica’s school asked us to knit poppies for a rememberance display which would then form part of a bigger one at the town hall. I crocheted some as they are so much faster to work up.

I then decided I’d make a few more, one each for me, Mum, and Jessica to wear (I will of course be donating to the poppy appeal). I think I’ll find a few minutes today to work on them, then buy the buttons for the middles tomorrow.

Tomorrow is a non-pupil day at school and the start of half term. I can’t believe we are at half term already!

On Creating

Sleep is elusive these days; perhaps it would be more accurate to say the opportunity for sleep is elusive these days. There always seems to be some reason why I can’t come home from dropping Jessica at school and go to bed and try and reclaim some of the sleep which remained out of my grasp the night before. A list of jobs to be done, a baby who isn’t ready to nap, places to be.

Some of the especially bad nights, where I manage perhaps three hours or so leave me reduced and depleted to sleepwalking through the day. It feels like miming my part in a play. I hear my voice as though someone else is speaking the lines.

Other nights, where I am blessed with as much as five hours sleep still leave me tired, but feeling more alive.

It would make sense to do less, as little as possible, the minimum required to see us through. But I can’t. I need to read as surely as I need to breathe, and so I find myself cramming little penny pieces of time with a page or two of whatever I am reading at the time. Always a paper-and-ink book and one on my phone at least – the latter for reading in the dark nighttime feeding hours.

My hands do not want to be still. As well as unpacking from the move and creating our home, preparing meals and cleaning, changing nappies, pushing the pram, dressing a little body, and most importantly holding that sweet baby of mine, they need to be creating.

It is almost as though I have passed through a mirror of tiredness into wonderland, and keeping creating is what is keeping me going, is what is tethering my sense of self (which at times seems to ebb away or teeter out of grasp) to my physical sense.

I have a post I am writing and rewriting in my head, about several powerful pieces of writing I have read recently, which have really changed the way I see myself in the world (for the better) and my creative side. I want to write it properly though, so for now it must wait.

I want to write here more often. I have spent many a walk back from school composing posts in my mind which never quite make it onto the page amidst the busyness of life. I must make it an evening habit to take a few moments to be here. I don’t ever want to forget these days. I am conscious that one day, Jessica and Alice may read this and have an opportunity to know me in a different way. I want to leave them treasures to find, for them to see their lives as they unfolded through my eyes.

Deep thoughts for a dark October evening, but not dark thoughts. I am just very aware as I start to share more of my makings and doings and readings and thoughts that I don’t want anyone to think they should do these things too, or that I am doing them out of anything other than a need to do them, a need to create, and to fill my own cup. I am not here to make anyone feel bad…I just want to share the things which are bringing joy to my days in the hope that they bring some to yours too.

Love,

Mimi

Xxx

Autumn Days

The forecast said heavy rain today, and while it held off, it has been damp and mizzling all day. The blustery wind carries the scent of autumn leaves on it. At only a quarter past six, I am sitting at my kitchen table watching the dark settle outside. It is as if Monday has decided to have an early night and has pulled the blankets up around her shoulders.

Carl and Jessica are upstairs; he came home early from work to collect her from school as I had to take Alice for her health check and first vaccinations. I closed my eyes so I couldn’t see the startled look on her face or watch it crumple as she registered the pain. I gave her her first dose of Calpol as directed by the nurse, and promptly dropped the new bottle where it shattered on the pavement.

My hands have been busy the past few days. I’ve crocheted rainbow striped pixie bonnets for the girls and poppies for a community display at Jessica’s school. I am feeling the creative urge keenly these days.

Alice wouldn’t let me take the photo I wanted to, which would have properly captured the pixie point of her bonnet, but here are my best attempts.

Our autumn days have fallen into a pattern of walks to and from school, meals by candlelight, the quiet of the evening and then our long wakeful nights together. It all goes too quickly, although at 3:00 am it doesn’t feel like it.

The leaves are falling, the skies are darkening, the air carries the whisper of chimney smoke. Autumn days.

Things That Make Me Happy

…This little baby, and these little leggies. How does she escape them from her babygrow? When I find them all warm and bare when I unzip her growbag I can’t help but plant kisses on them.

It is a good job she is cute this morning, we were awake together more of the night than we were asleep.

…My mustard yellow throw. I bought it in Sainsbury’s a few weekends ago and it is so soft and warm, and adds an autumnal splash of colour to the living room.

…Tea, and a friend to drink it with. A fat red little teapot to pour it from.

…Lucy Worsley’s new book, Jane Austen At Home. I bought it for 99p in the kindle sale. I don’t love ebooks but in this season of my life, they are easy to read one handed while feeding a baby in the dark. I love Lucy Worsley’s writing, and I adore Jane Austen, so this will be a real treat.

…Cooking. At last I seem to have my cooking mojo back. I’ve been making slow cooker pulled pork, filling the freezer with bolognese and chilli. Tonight I am making chicken and tarragon casserole.

…My autumn ripple crochet blanket. Stitch after soothing stitch.