Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Just because I can: photos!

Well, the robbery incident turned out better than expected, in that I have been reunited with my camera and phone, albeit after an exchange of a moderate amount of money...yes, thanks to a boyfriend with a good hardman act and a reasonable knowledge of the area's seedy underworld, and the incredible stupidity/guilt of the kids who robbed us (seriously, who steals a phone and then answers it?!), we managed to buy my things back. From a lad who said he bought them and then felt guilty after seeing the baby photos on the camera, and claimed he was selling them back at what he paid for them, although we have our suspicions that he did in fact steal them himself, and got a nice £45 for his troubles. But still, £45 is a lot less than we would have had to pay to replace them, and I am so grateful to have all my phone numbers back, because that would have been a tremedous pain in the arse to deal with. It was a weird little turn of events, but I guess it turned out as well as being robbed can do, really.
I'm horribly full of cold now, and Cara's little nose is pouring with snot. But this has not dampened her happiness at finally being able to crawl! On Friday, after so many months of looking like she was about to do it, she finally decided enough was enough and now she is unstoppable. I am really regretting how anxious I was about her being a late crawler-firstly because it was such a silly attitude to have when she is clearly developing perfectly, on her own timetable, and secondly because now I have a bazillion times more tidying up to do as she can throw everything everywhere, and very much enjoys doing so. It's lovely though.

I have been on a serious bread baking kick recently, mostly due to the fact that with Cara still being less than 12 months, we are trying to keep her salt intake as low as possible, and it's pretty much impossible to buy bread with no salt in it. And damn, she loves bread. But bread making can be really time consuming (I don't have a bread maker), and I'm often quite disapppointed with the finished result (my oven is really really crap). So I've been trying some easy, no knead, bread type recipes. This week I made oatmeal soda bread on Monday:
And yesterday, Pepper and Pesto Buns (with homemade vegan pesto!):

The soda bread is very good, although a little bit soggy (my fault), and the buns are fantastic, although I can barely taste them thanks to my cold. They were so easy to make, and yet they taste like a proper posh bread thing. Cara loves them with hummus (extra garlicky hummus). Err, if I were a real blogger I would now post the recipes here, but I really don't think that enough people read this for it to be worth doing that.

OK, I'm gonna go and make popcorn and watch Desperate Housewives now, my weekly Wednesday night ritual whilst Mark is at a band practice. I am becoming worrying addicted to popcorn. So cheap, so easy. so smothered with butter and salt. Mmmmmm. I love it.

One more photo, because I want to. Me and the lil'un snuggling on the sofa after her nap yesterday:

Look-she's a real person now! A bald person, but so much a person rather than a little baby. Awww.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Wow, I've not posted anything here for ages. Or on the internet in general really-I've still been reading plenty, but I've been kind of feeling that internet discussions and blogging aren't the greatest use of my time. I have been crafting and cooking plenty though, and I was feeling the urge to blog some of it with lots of pretty pictures...and then my camera got nicked. And my phone. And 2 bags of Mark's filled with books and random stuff. We are stupid, we were really tired and went to bed without checking that the front door was locked. The area we live in is more than a bit dodgy, so unsurprisingly, someone walked right in whilst we were sleeping, and took what they could see. Actually, it could have been so much worse, they left all the big things (TV, stereo, DVD player), and several shelves of DVDs and CDs, and my house keys and passport which were on the coffee table, and they didn't come upstairs and murder us in our beds or anything, so we were lucky. Lucky and stupid. It was just silly opportunist kids, so it's more annoying than anything. Especially because all my phone numbers are lost, and a load of photos that hadn't been uploaded. And also, we are skint beyond belief so I don't see how we are going to be able to replace the camera. Which is a right pain in the arse, because it's somewhat useful.
Oh, and it was Mark's birthday. Yeah, we got robbed on his birthday. He was a bit upset. But, I did make him a gigantic vegan fry up (veg sausages, veg bacon, scrambled tofu, baked beans with sauteed red peppers, fried bread and hash browns, mmmm) for his breakfast, and then an enormous feast for dinner (Sweet potato fries, fancy garlic bread, homemade vegan pizza, spinach salad, vegan choc mousse AND vegan cheesecake). I would like to post photos but never mind hey. It was nice, anyway.
Ah well, we'll see if I can somehow get my hands on a camera before too long. Cos if I can't constantly bombard the internet with pictures of my kid and my cooking, however will I cope?

Monday, January 28, 2008


One of my new year's aims is to make this blog more about the cooking, crafting, and general creativity that make my life a bit more fun, give me some non-academic 'down time', help keep the threads of my sanity just about hanging together, that sort of thing. Basically, to make it more like the blogs I love to read and find inspiring, as opposed to the 'random unknown internet person ranting incoherently about life' that probably doesn't have widespread appeal. However, those sort of blogs need loads of good photos, nicely shot with a decent camera...oh, and loads of good crafts and cooking done by a talented person who puts time and care into her work, rather than some crappy, fuzzy point and shoot snaps uploaded a week after the crafting took place, and shoddily done acts of not very original creativity thrown together when the author has a moment where she can justify doing something she loves rather than WRITING HER EFFING DISSERTATION, and done by someone who is clearly distracted by Italian foreign policy during the collapse of Yugoslavia and the thought of writing 12,000 words in 6 weeks plus a bucket load of other academic work and a language that she's not very good at that she needs to become fluent in before May and, ya know, a baby to raise. And, as you may have guessed, I fall quite firmly into the latter category.
However, sometimes (probably too often), I have days where all I can manage is housework and some interesting cooking, and maybe a bit of light crafting too. Especially since all of these are much easier to achieve with a baby on one's back or at one's feet than dissertation writing is. They probably are what is managing to (barely) hold my sanity together, so I won't beat myself up too much about them, and even though my pictures are shoddy, I'm going to blog about them to make them feel even more productive and nice. Yesterday was particularly nice.

I had a real comfort food lunch, thrown together in minutes:
Lettuce and cucumber with niiiice sherry vinegar and olice oil, seedy bread lightly toasted, spiced onion marmalade that we bought at the farmere's market a week ago and is now reduced to a few smears at the bottom of the jar, and best of all, totally unhealthy wrong on so many levels VEGAN BACON. Yes, I am one of 'those' veggies who loves fake meat with a passion. I don't care if it's wrong, I love everything I can remember about the taste of meat, I just don't like the fact that it comes from an animal. So I will continue to occasionally treat myself to trashy indulgences such as this. Hmph.

Much more healthily, I then baked some nut and seed bread. The recipe is from a Boost Your Childs Immune System, one of the many books I bought off Amazon whilst Cara was ill in order to make sure that such a terrible thing as as cold never befell any of us ever again... The book has lots of really good healthy recipes in it for all ages, but has also made me spend ridiculous amounts of money on flaxseed oil and the like, and freak out that Cara isn't eating two portions of homeground millet a day. However, this bread recipe is good so never mind. I thought about posting it here, but I don't know the rules about posting recipes from books... Anyway, here's the dry ingredients-I thought it was rather purdy for uncooked bread:
And here's the finished product: It's quite tasty, although it has an unusual flavour due to the ground coriander seeds in there, and I really didn't cut the onions finely enough (because my knives may as well be butter knives and I can't justify the expense of fancy new ones), so that can be a bit stringy. But it feels like you're eating health when you tuck in, so that's a bonus.

I also made lovely healthy lentil salad from a recipe that Shannon sent me whilst I was pregnant.
However, I left the lentils boiling whilst I was upstairs with a teething baby (second tooth cam through last night I think!) who would not let go of my boob for long enough to go turn the hob off, so it is more of a lentil mush than a lentil salad.
But it is still very tasty, and, together with the bread made a good, healthy feeling lunch at uni today, although I did also drink 3 cups of strong coffee and scoff a Bounty and a big piece of carrot cake and a bag of bombay mix, so all the health was cancelled out and I crashed and burnt by half past three, thanks to the teething last night and the early library-ing this morning. Anyway, good salad. Plenty more to eat tommorow. Jolly good.

Miss Baby ate (smushed) her millet and avocado whilst we ate (non photographed) roast veg and cous cous:
Bless her little pixie ears.

Then we had hot cups of this gorgeous spiced winter cordial which makes it almost worthwhile suffering through evil January:
And that was my kitchen creativity for the day, for once captured by camera and blogged about incoherently. There was also sewing room creativity, after Little Miss the-sewing-machine-makes-the-noises-of-a-baby-eating-monster had gone to bed, but that has not yet been photographed so I will save that excitement for another day. And of course, there's always knitting needle creativity whilst I watch crap telly, but I never do get round to photographing that. I will though! And blog it for all to be underwhelmed by! Off to bed now, more early morning library going is necessary tommorow or else I shall fail miserably. Woohoo!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Budding Pianist

I wonder if this will work....

We went to stay at Mark's mum's earlier this week (you can hear her talking in the background!). Cara was exteremly taken with the keyboard, as you can see. I particularly like her mouth playing technique.. She also adores watching the video of herself. Bless.

We're all a lot better round here, thankfully. Lectures start again on Monday. Bugger...

Friday, January 11, 2008

My poor baby

Cara's cold has been getting worse, and it is absolutely breaking my heart. She's still not horrendously unwell, or completely listless, but she is much grumpier and generally less spirited and outgoing than usual, as well as dripping with mucus from every orifice. She's waking up at all hours of the night crying her little eyes out and screaming with discomfort (she's also just cut her first tooth on top of it all, poor love), which has never happened before. The broken sleep, the crying and the not being able to put her down I can live with, but the experience of seeing her feel unwell is just awful. This is her first proper illness of any sort (she got a bit of a sniffle around the time I had mastitis, which felt like the end of the world at the time but I was all kinds of delerious). I know we are blessed to have made it 7 months without experiencing any sort of baby illness, and of course I know that a cold is nothing in the grand scheme of illnesses, but not being able to just take away her discomfort is agonising. I feel so crappy when I've got a cold-and I know what's going on, and can moan about it to people, and take all sorts of chemical filled cold remedies. She doesn't know why she can't breathe through her nose any more (poor love can barely feed, it's awful), or why she keeps throwing up mucus, or that she will ever feel better than this.
I dread to think what I will be like if (well, when, it's an inevitability) she gets really ill, or injures herself. I just want to protect her from ever feeling anything unpleasant, and I know that that's stupid and impossible, but I can't help it. She is my perfect little person, and it's not right that anything less than perfect should ever happen to her.
Here's the little snot filled love:

(At least she's got cool legwarmers-I made these yesterday whilst Mark took her to the doctors, using my old socks and this tutorial. I've made about 6 pairs now, they are incredibly useful for avoiding trouser putting on and taking off when in the house, or under trousers for outside, because trousers always ride up in slings. And they add a bit of much needed colour in this miserable winter)

We've finally got t'interweb fixed, so I'm in the process of putting all our Aussie pics on Flickr-there are a lot so it's taking a looooong time (I even upgraded to pro to fit them all on). Here's a Cara in Australia picture to contrast with the above misery:

Darn, can't resist so here's another:(there is summat really weird going on with my cheekbone there. I am really not that gaunt...)
Oh, my happy little love. I am so desperate for her to be back to her sparkling, outgoing, slightly hyperactive and a little bit looney self once again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Bleh. It gets worse. Went to the doctor yesterday, I've got a chest infection on top of my stinking cold and am now taking antibiotics, which make Cara even more grumpy than the vast amounts of snot in her nose. She is OK still, not properly ill although occasionally having screaming fits the like of which I've never ever heard since she was born. Calpol puts a stop to them though so I guess she's feeling a bit achy/feverish. My poor little bunny. Most of the time she's her usual happy self though, just with more snot, so I guess we're doing OK (thank you boob juice). Being this stinking ill with a grumpy poorly baby on top of it all SUCKS, and I am very close to the brink of nervous breakdown (have tipped over the brink a few times in the last few days but been dragged back). And just to make it even more fantastic, I have an exam this afternoon. Hoo-effing-ray, 2 hours of writing bullshit about Gadda's use of free indirect discourse, just the thing to make me feel fantastic. I have done very very little revision and it's all going to shit, basically. Never mind, I've submitted a medical note as evidence of mitigating circumstances so they will hopefully take that into consideration.

Oh, the beach seems such a long way away.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Back home

Well, we are back. We had an AMAZING, truly amazing time. So fantastic and fun and warm and sunny and just damn good. And then an unbelievably crappy journey home. And now it's freezing, everything's broken (including internet, I'm cutting into essay writing time at uni to write this, bad Beth), I have a stinking cold, and I've got a shitload of uni work and a jetlagged baby. Woooooooooooooh!
It was so worth it though. What an amazing Christmas and New Year. I really, really want to move out there. Gently applying pressure to the other half. We'll see. Maybe little Cara will end up with an Aussie accent! But for now it's back to the cold cold Leeds winter and the daily grind of uni and all the rest of it. Well at least I have a tan...
Since our internet isn't working I can't put my 750 odd photos on t'interwebs for now, but here's one a friend out there took and put on Facebook of the three of us mucking around in her (very rich) friend's (very fancy) swimmng pool;

Aaah, good times...