Monday, 24 December 2012

December 24/25

I wrote the December posts so I could be reminded about what Christmas is really like.
Thinking back on it, it's been depressing!

The good thing is that I've shrugged my shoulders to a lot of it and thought, I am just not going to worry about it and for someone who suffers from monumental anxiety that probably is not a bad thing. Annoyingly I have had two nights of terrible sleep and feel pretty ropey today with a floppy neck and a sore cough. There is much to do, like run the hoover round and change the last bed. I will probably give the bathrooms a once over and then call it a day.

G has popped out to pick up the Turkey and taken the girls with him, which means they will get some much needed fresh air. T is still with a temperature at some points during the day and P was complaining of a sore tummy before her brioche at breakfast.

I've just opened the windows to air the place and I was lying quietly on the girls bed and could hear the gulls in the distance. It reminded me of when I first moved in and the house didn't have heating. I was thinking about the clothes I wore and what smells were around. I love those rare nostalgia moments.

This has been doing the rounds on some of the other blogs I read and I think it is the best version of a well know story and the music is just divine.

So it is a Happy Christmas from me, I am super excited about the girls opening their gifts tomorrow and generally looking for ward to it all.
I have a list of New Years Resolutions and I might get some Beta Blockers after boxing day that is if we survive the broken oven and the big bird that G will attempt to cook in it!

Have a cheery one.


Sunday, 23 December 2012

December 23/25

So I don't feel well today, achy joints from trailing the shops yesterday, usually I'd take a taxi home but the girls got piggy banks for their birthdays and stripped my wallet of change. So no coins to pay the bill, it was a nice walk. Also there seems to be a lot virus around and my head feels like a hangover in a vice and I got very little quality sleep last night as both girls were in with me watching the Strictly final and I didn't have the strength to carry them into their own beds when they fell asleep.

Did you see this circus gym themed show dance?

In the bag Flav!

Anyway feel really ropey which is annoying because today was the day to clean the house and then relax tomorrow but I feel really hot and cold and not very happy about getting the hoover out.

T keeps telling me that it's however many days and sleeps until the big one and is really excited I only hope she has a nice day.

When we were at that party in town the other eve a rather nice man was telling me about an event that had happened on the Tube involving Kim Wilde.
He went on to say how fab he thought she was back in the 80's and now, I couldn't see it. I remember as a teen she was just that little bit different and I could never put my finger on what made feel uncomfortable but having watched this to the end I think I am in agreement she is pretty awesome.

Right off to try and put things in the right place and find a shot of Vit C


Friday, 21 December 2012

december 21/25

A Day Late

Happy Birthday PL

I asked you in the morning if you could spend your year being easier to look after and you said yes.
Then I said Happy Birthday! You are three!

NO! I want to be 2 or 4 came the reply.

You are fun and you are full of life and you are definitely/defiantly making your own party and at the moment it is purple.

You are a girlie girl and your best time of the day is very early in the morning if you wake up next to me and you couldn't be more cute and cuddly if you tried otherwise you look like you have a hangover that is taking you a while to come round from.

Over the next couple of months I will work hard getting you ready to start your new preschool. I will try and fill your time with good things to make you happy and I will do my up most to keep up with you and not shout unless you are in danger.

If you could help by not hiding behind pillars etc or opening the front door on your own to put out the empty milk bottles.
I know that you are here to shake things up a bit but if you could go a little easier on your sister it would make life a lot calmer.

I love you, you are funny and 3, is the magic number.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

December 19/25

So I can hardly manage to remember what has happened this month unless I look at my phone photos.

Standing still and thinking about it I still have not taken the fairy lights back to the shop, the house is unbelievably untidy STILL and I have not posted pics of the new kitchen because G is painting every night AND the lovely new Italian oven doesn't work and the engineer can't repair it till the new year when the part arrives. I have an achy hip and I don't know why?
Oven needs a thermostat. I cooked P's birthday cake in it last night by watching it like a hawk, let it heat up, turn it off, turn it on and so on for about an hour. In the end I baked a biscuit with cake in the middle.
It is P's birthday tomorrow she will be 3
When I finally caught the news I cried a lot.

We had been invited to a party in London to celebrate the wedding of a friend who I went to college with, she is uber cool and I think I had been secretly worrying about the event since September  as I hadn't seen all these people in 4 stone but wasn't going to miss it.

I rang the uncles and asked if they wouldn't mind baby sitting on the Saturday and they jumped at the chance. We would head to theirs in Dartford and then catch the train to South London. After a long day of hairdresser, supermarket, Christmas shopping and children' s parties we set off. I believe the girls were taken to a Winter Wonderland, before coming home and then having a joint birthday party it was a late night but that's what memories are made of.
Me and G headed to Brixton.

You get out the train station on the corner of my old street. I took G on a tour.

The address was 24 Electric Mansions, Electric Avenue Brixton.
It was the first place I lived on my own and it was £120 a week for a two bedroom.
I couldn't find anyone to live with me and it was such a fab flat.
The market would roll out about 5 am six days a week and my mum said the stairwell looked like something out of Cagney and Lacey.

So I lived above the food store, the four/six windows on the first and second floors. The bathroom was at the back it was an avocado suite and really let the place down.
The first week I was there I was questioned by the police as the previous tenant had been found headless in Leytonstone and they were trying to pin it on the landlord who sat downstairs in the shop wrapped in a blanket.
I was 20!

Anyway I wasn't there long, I moved in the winter and was gone by the end of the following summer, the place was over run by mice, you've never seen anything like it and I didn't want to get a cat.
It wasn't going to work.

There is a new shop on the block
And so much has changed it is no longer 70 pence to get the bus 3 stops.

This is the view from round the corner and the rubbish is the end of the day behind me the bin lorry it's making it's way up the street and people are clearing up and yelling etc.
In the middle of the photo you can see there is a silver car blocking the way of a veg cart waiting to roll home.
As we came along side them I believe the cart holder told the driver to move the car or he'd dent it and if she didn't move quick enough he'd dent her face as well.
Obviously he included the F Bomb loads.

G said it was time to leave and I laughed, I do miss it all a bit.

Then a long walk close to Oval brought us to a fancy party.

With handmade decorations

It was nice to visit a home I've not seen for a while and catch up with those that I've not seen since moving away. Made me make the decision that when P starts preschool after Easter I will make more of an effort to pop to town.

I love this photo of the host and there is no permission to post it! Shortly after it was taken we all went in to the foyer, the piano playing beautifully and delightlfully and a sprinkling of twinkly lights for the newlyweds followed by great applause and the most wonderful cake.

So lovely.

So much to do and I am dead on my feet.

Tomorrow is P's birthday.
Three is the magic number

Monday, 10 December 2012

December 10/25

Had a small list of stuff to do on Saturday like get new bras and buy stuff without the kids hanging off me. None of that happened because G and I had a heated conversion about how I think that he is unsympathetic and sometimes takes too harder a line not only in the home but also with matters on the world stage.
I apparently don't know what I am talking about but I think I do.
Off schedule - I cancelled my bra trip to town and he took the girls to the pub to buy the Christmas tree and they all came back and T and P were beaming I think he became the greatest dad in the world because they got to help carry the tree home.
There are no pictures of this event because it might have been stressful, I think T had a conversation with the tree man and P took the opportunity to play hide and seek.

I saw this advert on TV for Asda and despite never really shopping there this is more like my Christmas than M&S.

Today G told me who was coming for New Year and I too will be propping the table from upstairs with books so everything is level -  Tips!

We spent the rest of the morning and lunch moving the furniture around to best accommodate the season.
I remembered we needed new lights for the tree. We went back to the DIY store and spent a bloody fortune. I am not happy with our decision.
We bought LED's instead of bulbs I've always thought they looked nice on display. The clear set are nice but the colour ones are a bit in your face, the blue is piercing I think I am going to dot the tops with some pearly nail polish which I will have to buy!
I think I wanted a more natural Christmas this year it has not gone that way because I let the girls go and buy tinsel.
On Saturday afternoon we headed over to G's family to drop off a baby gate and lots of toys that belonged to my two they were over from the Isle of Wight they have a little girl and I have to keep reminding myself that I am an Aunt and I so want to be a cool Aunt.

Then friends over for dinner and I ate the Chinese food again.

Sunday was decorating the tree, watch a movie then head over to my mum who took the girls to panto and they had a great time.
G and I had some time alone and picked up all the shopping for Santa.

It was really nice to be back in my home town and it was no where as busy the city.

This bit is all for Mrs B in Madrid.
The house has just been sold again if you lived at no 34, I always thought that you were at no 36 but I don't remember it being double fronted.
The service in the shops is awful we were in an 'Olde' sweet shop opposite the turning from the pub and I asked the young girl (she was wearing braces) if she had any more of the thing in stock she didn't really look at me and said of there weren't anymore then probably no.  
Probably no!
This was not the first time I had this reply during the afternoon, I nearly ripped her head off.

Probably no!
Show some respect, this town was retired and dead as a doornail and girls like you used to stay in with their families on weekends and lived in the big houses on the outskirts of town studying for their travel and tourism exams dreaming of inter railing waiting for the right guy to come along so you could shop in NEXT and wait until your mid twenties before you'd 'fit' in any of the drinking dives available to you. Everyone I knew was dying their hair purple, swanning around in fake fur spending their money on vodka helping the town find it's pulse.
Now get your orange face out the back and find the sherbert

Instead of saying that on the way out I said Happy Christmas and mentioned to the customers coming through the door that the sales assistant was very miserable which got a laugh and that is always worth it.

T is off to her school disco and she is wearing the purple ball gown that my mum has made for her, I am looking at the time now and hoping she feels just magical.
I am picking her up at five!


Friday, 7 December 2012

December 7/25

I had a huge list of stuff to do in one day but it took three to get anywhere near the end of it and I still feel lost at sea.

I've been to the tip - I have to go again
Clean the lounge - but again that is on going
Sort the kitchen cupboards - yep but a huge amount of painting still to be done but G seems to have that covered whilst I put away mountains of washing and try and keep up with everything else.
I got the 'Week 1 Christmas' box down - the contents were not that exciting and I thought it would be.

T won this at school

for baking these with me - in a borrowed oven - thank you Google images for inspiration

Her name was announced in assembly and she missed that because I had kept her off school with a pesky cough. She won a hat and apron, which she calls a cloak, both made from red felt how unpractical.

P dropped her first F BOMB in the DIY super store, she was out with G, I think that is two for two for him and he takes full responsibility!

There have been no Christmas cards delivered as yet and I started writing some yesterday but I have lost my address book so I am not sure what is going to happen. I blame G completely as he tried to be helpful by cleaning the house one weekend, the address book is the one item still AWOL.
I realise that I have probably missed the international post dates for those friends of mine that live in remote corners and it might take me a couple of days to think about what I am going to do about that one.

These glitter specs have been banished for a week because the girls couldn't manage to play nicely.

I feel in a state of limbo
The electrician is coming on Monday maybe we will have a working oven, I feel a batch of biscuits coming on and I have a year old mince pie mix waiting to be used.

Tomorrow I want to nip out for new bras and trousers, some Lego for the kids, new lights for the Christmas tree, a Christmas tree, new Pj's for T (that won't wait till the 25th), get my glasses adjusted, buy plastic tubs to put things in, write all the Christmas cards and do the full present list.
Change the sheets on all the beds and hoover the house from top to toe and clean the bathrooms.
Do T's homework and do more reading with her.
Not to mention cut back the roses and sweep through the garden. There are leaves out the front that could do with clearing as well.

We have friends over on Saturday eve must remember to get some nice bits in - will have to make a list for that.

We have been woken very early by the girls most mornings this week and it has been painful. T will remember that there is a window on the Advent Calendar to open and off (they have one each) they go together downstairs to see whats behind the door and it is super cute.
Last night P couldn't sleep even though she was in bed for 7 is was 10:10 before the lid was shut.

Clearly bored she has no more windows to open on her calender.
Live and learn hopefully


Sunday, 2 December 2012

December 2/25

This has to be worst time of year for me, I am constantly loosing my head in confusion.

Both my girls have their birthdays in the festive season, T in the last days on November and P on the 20th of December.
T's birthday gets quite a lot of input because I want to make an effort.
It's a time for handmades and thought about gifts and throwing a party with lots of details and events to remember.
I spend my working time here at home it is important to me that the girls see me put effort into something else other than cooking and cleaning but at the moment anyone would struggle to see my success in a homely home.
So as I get geed up in party decorations the whole house pretty much has descended into chaos adding to the fact that the contents of the kitchen is still scattered as we try to paint The weather is so cold the piles of washing are towering as we wait for the last load to dry without turning the house into a damp asthma inducing hotel.
AND to top it, all the effort of beautiful party bags goes over her huge head but I keep on keeping on.

I wanted to try a natural birth with P because I believe that my children had to be born on the day that came naturally, ten days over due and a c-section and I've got a girl with party requirements at the most annoying time of the year but goodie bags are filled and invites are on their way out.

Of course I try to be organised and have all the prep for both birthday's locked down before September and I didn't do to badly this year but it was all stored in the brain and not much actually put into practice but I knew which direction I was going.

So I decided today December posts would be an advent calendar to myself to read back over next year.
Listing all the magical hopes and dreams and owning up to all the triumphs and fails that actually happen.

December 1st.

I didn't wear my red ribbon because I thought I would find it in time for Sunday which is in fact the day after World Aids Day and I've always made an effort.
T went out and tried to ride her bike, not badly but she is not peddling solo but it won't be long.
We then went to the School Christmas Fair and I got tearful over a Rwandan orphan charity.
When those kids get their new home there will be two bricks with my children's names in it and I now own these.

We had a wonderful visit from friends that I wish lasted longer but I made me think that the house doesn't flow well for kids or is it that I am not comfortable with them playing in it, I thought I was.

The girls ate left over pasta for dinner and I ate too much Chinese food and vowed to only drink water for the rest of my life as I went to sleep.

December 2nd

To say that I have been angry today might be playing things down and I ate the remainder of the take out.
For the first time I put a little tree in the girls room, I think I did it because I leave it quite late in the month to roll out Christmas and T finishes school in about 10 days so she is 'Christmas' now.
It looks really cute.

P had just been told she wasn't allowed near the plug socket to turn out the lights in case you wanted to know.
I ate soup for dinner and I am about to have a herbal tea and half a pint of water before bed.

Tomorrow I plan to start deep cleaning the house and re organising the kitchen back into it's shelves and the girls have coughs I am wondering if I will get a call from the school in the middle of the week and T will have miss the Christmas disco for a second year.
I have to send out the family thank you cards for T's birthday and for the fist time I am going to send them out with the Christmas cards, I feel sloppy but with the cost of stamps and I can think of the environment and the poor postie in the weather to make me feel better.

I will also seriously think about what presents to by and I want to exfoliate myself.


Friday, 30 November 2012

Happy 6th T.

It's a long time in posting, apparently I have used up my photos memory/storage and I now have to pay to blog.
Those pics must be not bad because the stats say that there are over 12,000 views to the hilltop, I feel quite special about it.

Things have been a bit chaotic here and it's a shame because there is still no working oven but we are grouted.

This week was T's birthday.

I have been saving these pictures for a while though I am sure I am missing lots or maybe I started photographing them a long time in to her habit.

T ties things in knots. In fact anything wrapped round anything is taken away and re used and any toy will probably at some time or another be secured to a house hold object.

She just can't stop herself.

Cashmere feather lined - look how tight she has tied it!

This is T as a Sciencer, job, to turn animals into other animals. Deadly serious.

Recently I found this saga in her room

At this sight I wonder if Red Minnie is flat out on her back in hysterics at the mess Pink Minnie has managed to get herself into.
(actually its the Disney version of me and FMH)

What a year you've had, first year at school, genuine health scare in the spring, studying furiously and trying really hard to win at everything and everyone seems to want to be your friend (which I find rather annoying because you are not a rental), a fantastic active Olympic summer, a small issue with you wanting to be 13, you plat your own hair and now back to school to year 1.
Tomorrow you are going to learn to ride your bike.
Daddy thinks you'll be fine without stabilizers.
Lets watch this space and I'll get the first aid kit ready.

You are not my chunky preschooler anymore, you are growing fast, your head a little quicker than the rest of you. I think sometimes you might be a driod because some times my emotions really go way over that big head.
You still like everything plain and simple and bedtime is still your choice at 7 although your dancing is becoming far out.
You are my big girl and show me so much love every day. I am jealous of school they get to hang out with you more than I do and I so wish to spend more time in your company.

Maybe I can ship evil P to boarding school and we can go out for milkshakes and cake.
At this point you are generally happy to play and be with P who thinks the world of you as do we.
Happy birthday my smiling T.
I love you round the universe and back.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Image Issues?

Been a while, so much going on, the kitchen, kids not well, G not well and just trying to focus on stuff.

Found this great little you tube today, I am saving it for when T is a little older and starts worrying about the size of her bum.

If you have a daughter or worry about your dark circles, dull complexion or how shinny your hair isn't then this one is for you.

I bought a magazine to read in the bath last month, it looked Christmassey. I am sure it was my first fash mag this year.
I thought it might perk me up
It had 'Flat Deeley' on the cover.
What a waste of money!

Things are brightening up at the Homestead and it's T's birthday next week, thankfully a friend has loaned me her oven to bake T a cake for her party this weekend. The pass the parcel is wrapped and the party bags are ready.

Happy Thanksgiving

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Dream Holiday?

Did I mention in a post before that a dream job would be to sweep out cluttered front gardens and make everything look presentable?

Mmm think so.

Found these whilst secretly looking at the Daily Mail online, the shame.
Have cut the addiction again last night, remember I don't actually read it, it's all about the photos.

But in another life I would kill to take on this Japanese Resort abandoned in the 1970's.

The photos are taken by Thomas Jorion and you can read the article and see more amazing pics here.

Message to FMH - Lets go!
I will bring the broom, rubble bags and damp cleaning cloths and then we can shop for textiles.

Happy Weekend

Wednesday, 7 November 2012


Another four years!

We are a bit nuts for American politics in this house and have been following anything we see on TV
I think all that West Wing we repeatedly watch rubbed off on us.

This picture was the morning after the results of the previous election.
This morning I was in Topps Tiles.

How life changes.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Manganaro Kitchen Inspiration

We went to NYC four years ago.
I remember because T kept UK time all week and then got sick, finally I got some sleep but slept through Barack Obama wining the Presidential Election.
Earlier in the same week I made my way to New Jersey to see a good friend who has married an American and settled very happily and is making herself a family.

I love New Jersey and want to go back there more than anywhere on the planet actually.

I walked down 9th Avenue to Penn Station to get the train out, on the way I found a gem called Manganaro Grosseria Italiano.
Worried that I might miss my train I only stayed long enough to scan the place but ended up going back in on the Sunday with a hungry NJ in tow to get her a sandwich.
The reception was frosty, tomato and mozzarella was going to be difficult because the proprietor had only just switched the grill on.

You apparently can't get everything you want in NYC neither can you park except in the
Croatian Church car park in Hells Kitchen although you might have to wait for the congregation to go home for your space to become unblocked.

Whilst looking for kitchen inspiration I searched Manganaro's, over the years better photos have appeared on line, for a long time there was nothing.

(Ken Mac - apologies I can't make contact for permission so I am just going to jump in)

This is the front of the store and then at the back you can eat.

Can you see on the back wall there are white tiles with black tile shapes. do they say FISH, no? you can see more if you go to a You Tube interview, and I watched both English and Italian which wasn't necessary.

G is so not going to go for that look at all.

Jeremiah Moss knows what is really going on with the traders of old New York and I gasped to find out that after 119 years Manganaros has served it's last pate of spaghetti and red sauce.
Selfishly my heart skiiped when I read that what contents weren't sold were chucked out into the skip

Not the big Toledo Scales?!

He then goes on to talk about The Elk Hotel. Follow the link it really is a page turner.
We stayed next door to the Elk in the big bad Orion Building with its 50 floors of shiny windows and Olympic concierge service (that would be another Obama related tale).

The Elk Hotel was like something out of a movie set and any information that I might have tried to gain was cagey.
All questions now very well answered thank you very much Mr Moss.

Anyway this post was supposed to be about tiles but I think went off a bit.

I finally spoke to New Jersey today via Skype. With no power and a freezing cold burst following in behind Sandy she has gone to stay with relatives.
I knew she would be alright although she was worried about the tall trees in her garden, I suggested she put a helmet on the baby, jokingly but as the news reports went by I began to think that wasn't such a bad idea.
Maybe she could write a guest post here about all that happened?

Very tired and looking forward to the weekend

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Kitchen Details and Blurred Photos

We went along the coast to choose some worktops, G likes stone I like Formica.

My choice

Dogbone Storm

Midi Mode White on Folkstone


Amber Burl

I think Midi Mode White on Folkstone looks like a punch card knitting pattern and Amber Burl....that would just be too fabulous.

But there isn't the time to make a decision about what colour, what thickness and have it delivered before the fitter comes, and, sometimes you get the feeling the sales staff at the builders merchants are making things difficult for you because you are unsure of your needs at this time.
So that visit paled

On the same day the stone masons.
Mostly pale stuff for G.

I got on board with the following terrible photos.

This Verde Marinace comes in a red and it is awesome and we even priced it up and I may have talked G round before deciding it was way out of budget and secretly thinking that we would have to move if we ever went off it.

This was the best pic I could find on Google images, can you imagine!

At home previously G suggested these on the wall behind where all the cooking action happens I flatly said no, to which there was a rage eruption, I yelled something back about them being lovely but imagine cleaning them.

WHY did I always have to bring hygiene in to it?
I'll tell ya!
Because I am the one trying to keep on top of the house work but if he was offering to clean them I would gladly buy him the tooth brush that he would require and he could clad as much as he likes.

The lovely man in the stone shop agreed with me, completely impractical and the argument was closed.

Back at home I managed to say that as we both came from design back grounds it would be nice if we didn't plump for predictable wooden worktops and that it would be nice to imagine the alternatives, I think sometimes the engineer in G comes out and he just wants the job done and WTF's wrong with me.

So we started looking at copper, brass and pewter.
I can't even begin to up load some of the 100's of images I have saved to my phone.

We almost made a decision but I have an under mounted sink and I kept thinking what the return would look like in a metal and before you know it I am knackered and there is now a wooden work top delivered and ready to go in the hallway.

We went with Zebrano.

Funnily enough, Formica do a print just like it.

The oven G has bought has to be handmade in Italy, probably a bit of an over exaggeration, but it won't be shipped to the UK till mid November and then be delivered to the dealer and then on to us.

So with much disappointment we cancelled the re fit and it is now booked for the end of November.

Now G and I are discussing tiles, it is the last thing we need before paint colour.
I like antique mirror.

It has been half term this last week and a half and the girls have been full of fever and snot hence the big break in blog postings and Mrs B in Madrid from the previous post also put the fear in me by suggesting that she would link the Homestead into her Facebook page.
It sent me into hiding, freaking me out that people she knew might think 'what is this crap?', I couldn't do it to her.
I have analysed those thoughts mixed them up them up with a memory of an email from her regarding an Alexander McQueen jacket, taken a deep breath and decided to get a life.

None of that will make sense except to me so until next time

It's getting really cold out there.