Saturday, 15 November 2014

Chocolate pie and lemon tart

I've decided I quite like taking photographs of food. With the chrome setting on my iPhone.
Please find below a selection of my latest offerings.

French fancies and Peter Rabbit at Tommy's first birthday.

Chocolate pie at our local pub.

The pie stall at the food market one Wednesday evening.

Fruit and veg at said food market.

The flour station, another stall at the food market.

A trio of desserts at the wedding. Hubby and I had a fab time together.

Thursday, 6 November 2014

When dreams turn bad

Mark had a bad dream.
I know he did because after opening his eyes, he said to me, “I had a bad dream.”
“I did too!” was my response.
So we both had bad dreams. This did not bode well.
We took it in turns to explain our dreams.
Mark dreamt I terminated our relationship. There was all sorts of other weird stuff, but the main point of the dream was his feeling of abandonment. And no-one wants to feel abandoned, even in dreams.
I dreamt I forgot Tommy. I placed him in the bath and left him. It wasn’t until ages later that I remembered my son, when his skin was pink and shrivelled like a bad prune. The remainder of my dream was focused on my over-whelming sense of guilt, and wailing like a baby that I could do such a terrible thing.
Therefore, my dream was focused on guilt. And no-one wants to feel guilty, even in dreams.
I regularly analysis my dreams, do you? Particularly if they are reoccurring ones. I figure my brain must be trying to tell me something if it insists on repeating itself.
Alas I have the Tommy and the guilt dream fairly often. As does Mark with the abandonment, it’s been a few times now he’s awoken and said crossly to me, “You dumped me again.”
Which means I have decided to face my self-condemnation woes and conquer Mark’s separation issues.
How does one stop feeling guilty?
And how does one convince one’s husband that they will never, ever, leave them? Unless of course he did something awful, such as conduct sordid affairs with every single female I know. Or heaven forbid, he sold Tommy to a passing gypsy for the price of a fast car and a huge ego. But that’s hardly likely, is it?
It’s healthy that Tommy realises I am not the only person in this world who idolises him. When I visit the office he is thoroughly spoilt at his nanny and grandpa’s. He receives love, attention and food. What more could he possibly want? He needs to know he can not be 100% dependent on me, he can play and sleep without my presence and this is fine. And when I work from home he can cuddle granddad and knock cubes down that granddad piles high for him, and chase a brightly coloured ball which granddad throws around the room for him. I’m going to try and stop feeling guilty and continually remind myself of this.
Now I need to concentrate on Mark. I always vowed to never leave my partner out when a child came along. You read about it, you hear about it. But guess what, no one can really prepares you for it. When a child does come along, no one can prepare you for the love that consumes you. At least I wasn’t prepared. It almost knocked me off my feet, and still does.
Sometimes I am so wrapped up with Tommy and his needs I forget about the outside world. And sadly, maybe this is reflecting on Mark.
Life has changed so much, we can’t go out at short notice, in fact we don’t go out at all unless it’s with Tommy, or to take Tommy to my parents so we can work. We no longer have date nights where we dress up and visit a fancy restaurant. Even when Tommy is sleeping in his cot I’m anxiously checking the monitor and running up the stairs most of the night to comfort him (he STILL doesn’t sleep well, can you believe that).
However, tomorrow we are attending a wedding - the ceremony, the meal, the evening disco and buffet. Tommy, and no other children, are invited. Mark and I will spend almost twelve hours together. Without Tommy. This filled me with dread at first. Will Tommy be okay? What if he cries when his mummy and daddy are not there to put him to bed? What if he wakes up and wonders where I am? Will my parents cope this long with him? Will Tommy be okay?
Mum and dad are coming to our house, where Tommy can be in familiar surroundings, to be loved and played with, and taken to the park if it’s not raining. And if he wakes up a million times? My mum and dad and their capable soothing voices and reassuring arms will be there.
I have to keep telling myself this!
Plus it will be lovely, and long over-due, to spend quality time with the man that quite frankly, rocks my world.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

When Peter Rabbit visited the Circus

If Peter Rabbit decided to visit the Circus, I'd like to think he would have appreciated the theme for Tommy's first birthday party. Am I making any sense? No? Oh well, let me show you my pictures instead.

Happy first birthday, Tommy.

It's tiring reading birthday cards.

I've decided I like birthdays.

And I like my new garage.

Which ball now?

Has anyone ever told you, you look like that postman off the telly?

I hope I'm a better at parking than mummy. Sssh, don't tell her I said that.

I loved my Peter Rabbit birthday themed lunch. Thank you nanny and auntie Wendy.

I even had a Peter Rabbit carousel.

With matching plates and napkins.

Tommy's Circus themed birthday party, at the local village hall. It's this way!

I'm getting the hang of this walking lark.

If only I'd used conditioner.

The man being launched from a canon photo prop was a hit.

Help yourself, kids. There's drinks and lots of food.

Tommy and granddad.

There were bubbles and circus games at Tommy's first birthday party.

Peter Rabbit, a Circus, and Tommy.
Guess which one I love the most?
Clue: He shares his birthday with me and I'm very proud of him.

Friday, 24 October 2014

A week to view

Arriving in London, to catch my train out of London, for my working day to begin.

Too much time spent inside the train station in London, due to delays on the public transport. Still, it's a rather trendy looking place, with a few good shops to browse in, so all was not lost.

Lemon cupcake. A day with lemon cupcake is a day with happiness. Need I say any more? (That's Tommy's lunch box, he had grapes, he's the healthy one.)

What a great feeling - looking at the clock leaving the train station in London. No more travelling for 3 days.

After working from home, me, Mark, Tommy and father-in-law ventured to the local pub for an early meal. Doesn't Tommy look grown up, sitting at the table waiting for his ice-cream.

I'm so rock and roll. A welcome early night with my book. The Telling Error by Sophie Hannah. It's a real page-turner, I haven't worked out the plot yet so it's intriguing.

My very special friend and her boys visited us for lunch. I love this sunshine card she brought me. I'm the blonde one, and she's the red haired one. And most gorgeous necklace accompanied the card, with Tommy's name and date of birth. Expect pics in another post.

That was my week to view, dear readers. Hope you liked it.

Monday, 6 October 2014

The saga of the chocolate bar and other such things

There was a time in my life when my biggest concern was the size of chocolate bars. I just couldn't understand why they, the important chocolate makers, did not produce them in generous portions. Of course I was ignoring the family size offerings in my gripe, my pocket money did not cater for such flamboyancy. I was concerned with the average chocolate bar in the local newsagents and why it wasn't larger.
This was also around about the time I would frequently discuss with best friend, if she or I would be the type of person to become A Career Woman or A Stay At Home Mum.
Isn't youth great, you can be so naive it's ridiculous.
Sometimes in life you simply don't have a choice. And I'm not talking about those chocolate bars, because let's face it, you can always buy two when you are A Working Woman. Or realise they are that size for a reason - they can make you very fat and when you are An Older Person it's too easy to pile on the pounds when the old metabolism finally slows down.
I've returned to work after my maternity leave because I have to. Not so I can climb the career ladder, knocking people off on my way, ruthlessly heading towards the top, and for my reward I can occupy my own office and have someone else ordering my Starbucks coffee.
Fortunately I kinda like my job. Currently I am sort of in charge of a contract worth a little under a million pounds. It's for the international mailing of the publications, for a three year period. I've held meetings with potential suppliers, arranged site visits, and written reports and spreadsheets of my evaluations.
However, I would rather be with Tommy. This is the brutal truth but it is literally not possible. We have to also earn my wage to be able to afford our home, our bills, our car, our food.
So I regularly feel guilty. Especially in the mornings when I kiss Tommy goodbye, before he spends the day with my parents. I know it could be worse, he's with my parents who adore him and my boss is flexible - I'm allowed to work from home one day a week and book one day off per week. I treasure this extra time I can spend with my son.
Weekends are precious too. I love the fact I can play with him all day long. I don't want to miss a moment, I want to be there when he points at his book and says, "Car!" at the blue car. I want to hold his little hand when he tries to walk/stumble towards me. These are the things which money can't buy. These milestones are worth more to me than a million pound contract.
Therefore, I rarely venture out without Tommy at the weekends, why would I when I can be with him.
Apart from last Saturday. Last Saturday afternoon I met my best friends for lunch. It had been nearly a year since we last all met on the same day, which is a shame. I do miss our catch ups but circumstances are very different these days, for all of us.
I hated leaving Tommy. It wasn't really practical to struggle with a pushchair on trains and a boat, and expect him to sit still whilst I gossiped and drank. My friend saw my sad face when I walked up the pathway to her house, before we travelled by train together for our lunch date on a boat. She was hanging out one of her windows and asked me what was up.
"Oh I've just waved goodbye to Tommy, I feel guilty again."
"Hey, it's not for long. Besides, he'll have fun with his daddy."
I immediately felt better, and we did have a lovely afternoon.

Moussaka, joy on a plate.

Chocolate brownie, another guilty pleasure.

Me and the girls (a rare glimpse of me, and black and white can be more flattering, wouldn't you agree?!)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Dirty socks

I was sitting on a fast train, lost in a million thoughts.
Hmm, well maybe not exactly a million, as this is a very high number when associated with thoughts. It was a fair few anyway. Nothing life-changing, like a medical breakthrough for Cancer, or a solution for world peace. Just, you know, stuff.
I was actually thinking about Tommy’s dinners for the week, the International Mailing Tender in the office, I was also wondering when I’d have time to make cards for forthcoming birthdays, and reflecting on the book I’d purchased to read during my commutes.
It was only when an American voice disrupted my thoughts, I was brought back to present time.
And to be honest, I was a little disappointed.
Because I like thinking. I like sitting on a train, staring out the window and processing my thoughts. I also like reading. If I’m not thinking, I’m equally as happy submerging myself in a fulfilling book.
Not that I’m complaining, but I rarely have time to myself these days, life revolves around Tommy and the office. Therefore, train journeys are my luxury, they provide me with the time to think. Or read.
So I’m a little unsociable when I’m travelling. Is this an impolite thing to admit? I would rather sit by myself and loose myself, which is not something possible when in company.
Back to the American voice.
I’m not against American accents, in fact, I am partial to a southern accent which was the origin of this one. I am not an enemy of the person the voice belonged to. The American was my new publisher in the office, and she happens to live literally around the corner to my parent’s chalet bungalow.
You know what this meant, dear readers? It meant I had company on the train. All the way. All nearly two hours of my commuting. No thinking or reading allowed!
This is why I was disappointed. I had to actually participate in a conversation in my carriage, and I was out of practice to say the least.
However, the new publisher is the friendly type. We were soon dissecting our lives and chatting away like old friends.
The most difficult part of the journey? Apart from sacrificing my thinking or reading, the trickiest part was trying to discreetly text Mark about his dirty socks.
I’d decided it would be considered rude to not offer the new American publisher a lift home. She did live literally around the corner to my parent’s chalet bungalow after all. It was approximately twenty minutes walking as opposed to five minutes driving.
But I was concerned about Mark’s socks. Let me explain that I am the neatest, tidiest, cleanest (well to the best of my abilities within the time frame), person at home. But in car it’s a different matter entirely.
I suppose you could say I’m always in a rush in our automobile. In a rush to get somewhere, and always pre-occupied with Tommy. The car suffers. It is not very clean or tidy. I was also aware of the pair of Mark’s worn socks on the back ledge.
Our car was not a great impression of our personalities.
So I was panicking slightly, during this mentioned train journey. The nearer we became to our destination, the more I worried about our personal care and carelessly strewn objects.
Somehow I managed to text Mark: Dirty socks and car, will offer publisher lift!
He got it. He knows how I stress about these things and so he cleaned and tidied our car, before the train arrived and before I walked around the corner, with an apprehensive look on my face.
And he removed the offending socks.
But guess what happened next?
The publisher politely declined my offer of a lift. Said she had her trainers and enjoyed the walk and peering in people’s gardens.
After all that worrying.
Still, the car finally got cleaned. And we have decided to keep it tidy just in case this should happen again.
Sort of.
Let’s not expect miracles, hey dear readers.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Nikki and the green polka dot fingers

Do you have green fingers?
I know it's not considered normal to possess green fingers, unless of course you were to paint them green, or you are actually in fact a lizard.
Now, I think it's safe to assume you are probably not reading this whilst dipping your hand into a pot of green paint. I also think I could be correct in saying, you are not a rare species of lizard, the type who switch on a computer and read blogs.
Green fingers are generally associated with someone who is a keen and talented gardener. Therefore, I do not, metaphorically speaking, have green fingers.
Maybe if my days were longer and my time was unlimited, I might be a keen and talented gardener. For in my parallel universe, I grow tomatoes, carrots, runner beans, potatoes and prize sunflowers. I also must mention that in this idyllic universe, lilac trees provide a splash of colour in my whimsical sanctuary. And my rhododendrons are a horticultural dream.
Let's get back to reality.
It's not as if I don't care about my outside living space. Every time I gaze into the back window of our little cottage, or fling open the barn door, I feel calm and blessed with our patch of paradise. Luckily for me, it's rather low maintenance.
We have no lawn to mow, which is just as well as we do not own a lawn mower. We have tiny stones, and a winding quaint pathway to the barbecue area, with colourful bunting hanging from the wooden bars. We have green trees and shrubs whose names have escaped me. And we have a decking area for Tommy's circus tent, a decking area which also hosts our table and chairs, and lots of tubs with dainty looking flowers poking out.
Oh and let's not forget my shabby chic watering can, the carefully painted distressed looking white stool, the green wicker chair, my new 'in the garden' sign, and the white wicker wine carrier/candle holder weather and occasion permitting. Plus all the other bits and pieces which decorate our oasis, when the sun is no longer hiding.
You see, I might be clueless when it comes to cultivating, robbed of time for reviving roses, but I am particular when it comes to presenting things in a pretty manner.
So I guess you could say, I have green polka dot fingers.