Earlier this week I ventured down to Brighton with seven week old Joy, leaving Nino in the hands of his ever-adoring grandparents for day of swimming and Gruffalo hunting. Not wanting to negotiate London rush hour with the buggy, I bundled her into a snowsuit then stuck her in the sling, quietly congratulating myself as we met with a wall of commuters twenty deep on attempting descent to the tube. Maternity leave has removed me so completely from central city life, I’d forgotten the silent grey sea that is the London rush hour, office workers hiding behind papers and iPhones, unspeaking, their clothing muted and gaze cast low. Navigating the crush with a child swathed in bright pink unicorns attached to my chest, I felt like an imposter, unable to imagine having done this twice a day, every day, for almost all of my adult life.
Making raw and/or vegan desserts is a little like going on maternity leave. Your point of reference changes. Crisp-edged cookies become soft and dense with dates, cream tastes of coconut and jam is held together with chia seeds. As a seasoned lover of butter and flour and sugar, I’m perfectly aware that the recipe posted here is not a cookie as we know it, but these treats are no less delicious for it. Just as hanging out in the playground in leggings is no better or worse than going suited and booted into work, it’s just different, each to be enjoyed and appreciated on their own merits. Continue reading
Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between a rut and a routine. Weekday toast or oats plus topping on repeat. Saturday pancakes. Sunday brunch. Meals which comfortably turn from favourites to familiar but run the risk of crossing that extra line towards boring.
In the interest of mixing things up, I made a big batch of granola for the first time in forever. It’s great for breakfast but also serves for snacking purposes. Luke swears by it as an after dinner mid-week treat. It’s as good on oats as ice cream and can adapt to infinite variations depending on what you have to hand.
Last Monday we transferred Nino into his own room. Six and a half months is a little later than we’d originally intended, but what with three weeks in Italy and then a wedding in Lithuania, it felt like moving him before all that upheaval might just be more trouble than its worth. And while he’s not quite yet a twelve hour sleeping beauty (do these babies really exist, or are they an invention to make us buy books and tear our hair out at ungodly hours of the morning?), I’m pleased to report that our nights are – touch wood they stay that way – a whole lot smoother. I guess if I had been sleeping next to the fridge I might be more inclined to indulge in a midnight feast or two too . . . Continue reading
As of today, I’m officially 39 weeks pregnant. Research has shown that babies with this particular heart condition have the best rates of recovery if born between 39 and 40 weeks, so on Wednesday afternoon we’re scheduled for induction (or, to use Luke’s grandad’s spoonerism, seduction, which I much prefer the sound of). Something of a hippy at heart, I’m hoping to limit the drugs put into both our bodies so I’ve told our baby boy he has a strict eviction deadline of Tuesday night. There are plenty of punctual genes in the family, so it might just work; if not, then I’m counting on this virgin piña colada. Continue reading
To my darling boy,
Today your Dad and I celebrate our eleven year anniversary. Not of getting married – we did that just over two years ago in Kew Gardens under blazing sunshine and surrounded by all of our favourite people in the world: I’ll show you the photos when you’re big enough to roll your eyes and be bored and embarrassed by them – but of meeting for the first time. We were twenty, at university, fresh faced and with no idea what would happen in one year – let alone eleven – except that we seemed to have fallen in love.
We talked about the future from fairly early on, not marriage and kids and mortgages in any sort of sensible grown up way, just a mutual understanding we needed to be together, and that everything would turn out all right if we had each other in our lives. When conversation did turn to children, we knew we wanted lots of you, couldn’t wait to see what would happen when our features and personalities combined (my eyesight, Luke’s ears please) and even had a favourite boy’s name long before you first appeared as a kidney bean-sized heartbeat on the ultrasound scan. Continue reading
‘If we don’t change, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, we aren’t really living.’ – Gail Sheehy
The past few months have been marked by rapid change. My growing belly and the increasingly present little person inside it are testament to the physical, we’re doing up the nursery and spending inordinate amounts of time in John Lewis and on Pinterest, but beyond that there’s a change in attitude too. In eight short weeks – give or take, I’m aware most babies have a habit of arriving on their own terms – we’ll be parents to this living, breathing being. Life, as we know it, will never be the same again. Continue reading
Back in March we spent a week in St. Lucia. As well as making it a blissful place to flop flat out and drink cocktails, the blazing sunshine gives the island the perfect climate to grow sweet bananas, pineapples, papaya and coconuts. Every day at the beach the same elderly man would walk past touting the ‘best water in the world’, and each time he cracked open a fresh coconut and inserted a straw I felt like we’d escaped into a Bounty advert (minus the dodgy ’80s hair and make up). Continue reading
I spent our first twenty four hours in St. Lucia tearing through Joanna Blythman’s Swallow This, interrupting an otherwise serene scene of beach basking holidaymakers with regular exclamations of ‘did you know this?’ and ‘can you believe that?’ The fact that I was reading a book about the horrors of food processing and production on a 100 acre ex sugar plantation, surrounded by coconuts, mangoes and bananas (whose skin serves as much better natural packaging than any plastic ever will) was not lost on me. Continue reading
The last time I celebrated a fourth birthday, I was about 3 feet tall. My party took place at the brilliantly named Roly Poly Club, a room made up of what I remember as wall-to-wall bouncy castles where my friends and I careered around, fuelled by the heady mix of excitement and mint choc-chip ice cream (there are rosy-cheeked, chocolate-covered photographs to prove this). My mum reminded me recently that I wrote her a shopping list beforehand ‘in case you get it wrong’, consisting simply of ‘mus bus’ (Mars Bars) and ‘sossighes’ (sausages). All the essentials then. Continue reading
This time one week from now I’ll be hundreds of miles from home, sitting by the side of the pool at my parents’ house in Italy. We haven’t left the country since our honeymoon in Bali last year and I’m itching to get out of London, away from my daily commute and into the holiday swing. This year we’re spending the week with both my parents and big brother as an Italian family warm up to my 30th birthday at the end of July. There will be barbecues and sunbathing, amazing food (made by both my Mum and restaurants like this) and plenty of wine enjoyed over meals where we wonder for the umpteenth time if we might prefer a permanent life in the Tuscan hills over London. Continue reading