Frivolous February Friday

What a lovely Friday it has been so far. I took Jessica to a Bach To Baby concert this morning. We used to go often, but haven’t been for a year or so, and it was so much more relaxing now she is a little older. The programmes was a lovely piano recital, and she recognised one of the songs from watching Melody which was a nice connection for her. We took her patchwork blanket for her to sit on, and she just loved it. She sat and listened, she got up and danced, she clapped excitedly. And for one dreamy song she came and put her arms round me and just swayed from side to side. I think we will make a point of going again next month.

And now she is at preschool, what an afternoon I have had to myself. I walked into town and got a new mascara (as advised by the lovely Janine from In Love With Colour in this post) and as there was an offer on, got a new red lipstick too…even better I was in Boots somI paid with my Advantage card points, so they didn’t cost me anything. Then I walked to the covered market and bought a potted snowdrop for our seasonal table. On impulse I dropped into the library and found an Elizabeth Jane Howard that I haven’t read yet, and also a Rosamunde Pilcher. I also caught up with several old friends who still work there. On the way home I dropped into a couple more shops, and then when I got home I set up the coffee table with a tray and pot of steaming hot tea, a beeswax candle, and a vase of daffodils. Now I am sitting and drinking my tea and watching Nigel Slater and thinking it has been a very indulgent Friday…and I feel very good for it.


Triple Rainbow

After two and a half years, three lost angel babies, and many, many days when I lost hope, I feel blessed to share that if all continues to go well, in August we should be joined by our rainbow baby.

If you are reading this and struggling to conceive, missing your own angel babies, or have an aching heart…you are in my heart and thoughts, and I hope that one day you will be as lucky as us.

Snowdrops, Daffodils, And A Surprise

This weekend it was cold but bright, that perfect combination that we are so often blessed with as the end of winter slowly turns into the start of spring. We really don’t have enough names for the seasons. Their blurring as two seasons dance together, as one fades and another blooms is more perfect to me than one season in full glory.

In the park, the green shoots of the daffodils are starting to appear. I have had vases of them in the house and on Jessica’s bedside table since January, but it is lovely to see the first harbingers of them growing outside.

The bank on the far side of the river which winds through the park is covered with tiny pinpricks which the coming days will see become crocuses.

On the way home from work, I walk through and underpass which goes under and through a roundabout. At one point, just above your head there is a patch of grass. When I glanced up last week, the snowdrops were out. How I love the snowdrops. They seem to me to herald so many lovely things.

Chilly cold walks, steaming pots of tea, air that smells of snow, those first stirrings that spring will be along soon.

On Sunday, Carl went out for a walk. Then came the phone call…to say he had done something impulsive…

Here is the impulsive thing he did!

This is Amy (Jessica named her), a little blue budgie who is singing away as I write. Jessica was delighted to see her! And once over the surprise of having Amy come to live with us, I have grown rather fond of her too.


Ten Years On

Mondays are our lovely day, we have no obligations or appointments, just a day to fill with happy memories together. We often start our morning at story hour at our branch of Foyles (and today was no different). It is lovely to have stretches of time to say ‘yes’ in rather than ‘not this morning, we have to be at preschool in half an hour’ or similar. So when Jessica asked to paint and bake today, it was a pleasure to say yes. I had just the recipe in mind for baking…an apple scone ring which I learnt to make at secondary school. (Scarily that means I have been making it for over twenty years!). I was sure I must have posted the recipe before on here, and a quick search revealed I had…almost ten years ago to the very day. Here is the post if you would like to have a go at baking it. It makes me smile to think of me baking it then as a newlywed for my husband, and now standing with my blue eyed golden haired girl at my side, baking as a mummy with her little girl. Where does time go, I wonder…and what does the future hold? Will I have the urge to make it again and look up the recipe and find I posted this ten years ago?


Slow, Simple Saturday

Yesterday was blissful. I had been dreading the weekend a little, as Carl has to work the entire thing, and entertaining a three year old without a break in bad weather when you cn’t drive to go anywhere indoors and interesting. However, Jessica was invited for a sleepover with her Nanny and Grandad from lunchtime Saturday to this morning.

She was very excited to go, and I have to say that the thought of some time for myself. After I waved her goodbye, I made a pot of tea, lit some candles and sat down in the quiet.

It was a proper Januaryish Saturday, chilly and overcast, which quickly turned to drizzle. The perfect weather for not going out if you don’t have to.

The perfect weather for hunkering down and snuggling under a blanket, reading Country Living Magazine and watching A Vicar’s Life. Then for turning out a cupboard or two, and settling to knit and watch Little Women which I had recoreded over Christmas.

I am knitting a little dress for Jessica in soft grey. I started it a long time ago but abandoned it, so I ripped it all out and started again in the next size up. I know how easily I get distracted, and I have a few exciting projects for this year which will give me less crafting time than usual, so I am working it up in age 4-5 with the idea of it being worn from Autumn onwards.

I put a beef stew into the slow cooker which we ate in the evening with jacket potatoes. It was a new recipe and I was pleased with how it came out, so I will be making it again.

Carl had to work from home on the evening, but luckily it is the kind of task where I could sit with him and watch a film. We watched Miss Sloane which is a political thriller and I really enjoyed it. It was an interesting story with some good twists and turns, but it was also really refreshing to have a strong female lead without a romantic subplot.

And so to bed with a hot water bottle and book. Although I always miss Jessica when one of us is away from home, I also really enjoyed the solitude in the day.

This morning we have had sleety snow and Carl is working (although from home today) so we are going to bake soon, do some painting later, and for now she is playing in a quickly constructed den.


Little Things

One of my greatest joys is seeing the pleasure Jessica takes in the little things. A month or two ago, I bought her a little bedside table from a charity shop. I want to replace it with a wooden one eventually, but for now it is just the job.

Usually it holds her own little box of tissues, her sleepy time aromatherapy oil and a torch. The shelf underneath holds a basket of bedtime stories. For now the cupboard is empty, but I sometimes find a collection of soft toys hidden in there.

The other day I added a jam jar with a few daffodils in it and she was so pleased. Last night when she saw that the mornings tight little buds had opened to reveal their trumpets, she was just astonished and delighted. She has seen daffodils many times before, but I dont think she had realised how they start as buds.

Mum kindly looked after Jessica for the morning yesterday, and they had such a nice time together. Mum gave her Christmas cards to cut out to make gift tags for next year, and to use to stick onto paper to make a collage. They used normal scissors and fancy edge scissors and a hole punch. Jessica solemnly showed me how to punch holes of my own.

She had been allowed to stand on a stool to reach the worktop to make her very own sandwich for lunch, and to stuff some dates with marzipan.

Little things, but aren’t they really the big things after all? Mum sent her home with a tiny jar of blood orange marmalade to try, and I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am with my Mum, and how lucky Jessica is with her Grandma.


New Days

There are things I have wanted to share with Jessica since the moment I found out I was pregnant. But I am a great believer in letting them unfold at their own pace. They get so much more out of things when you meet them where they are (at least that is what I believe). So while I could have done this with Jessica much sooner, I have waited until now and seeing her imagination captured has been magical. I have been reading her The My Naughty Little Sister stories which were old fashioned but sweet even when I was a little girl. I am a bit uncomfortable with some of the language (‘naughty’ and ‘bad’) and some of the mischief the eponynous character gets into wouldn’t happen with better parenting (who leaves a toddler alone with scissors?!). My memories from my childhood reading of these stories is the lovely old fashioned life, the party dresses and trifle, the cutting up christmas cards to make a scrapbook, just the lovely cosiness of it all. I plan to introduce her to Milly Molly Mandy soon too, and to try out some of the activities from the stories. I came across a lovely blog recently, written by Hannah Bullivant and called Seeds and Stiches. At the turn of each season, they give their daugjter who is slightly older than Jessica some books for the new season and perhaps a new warm coat/welly boots etc. They are things she needs anyway, and the books have been put away from the last season, and she reuses the fabric wrapping and ribbon so it isn’t extravagant. But how lovely…and something I would like to adopt with Jessica. We have a few spring books already, but I ordered yesterday the Spring Flower Fairies book and a pack of Usborne Flower Spotters cards. It is so lovely that she is reaching an age where we can explore things like this together. Inexplicably Usborne have discontinued most of their spotters cards, so I am scouring the charity shops. I hope to find birds, trees and possibly the garden set too. And as for me, today I felt a bit wobbly when I woke up, so instead of the long walk up to the museum, I have taken Jessica to soft play for the first time in ages. She is playing and I am drinking hot chocolate and reading a book of short stories by Rosamunde Pilcher. How had I not discovered her writing before now? Oh and yesterday I had to take Jessica for a blood test as the dr thinks she may be anaemic. She held out her little arm, sat perfectly still, didn’t flinch and didn’t cry. I was so proud of her.