And then there were four. Well, three and a bit anyway. Four and a bit including Ian (although Dave would say Ian doesn’t count, but I’m pretty sure Betsy would say he does very much). Yep, I’m pregnant, 12 weeks gone and all going well due mid May. It’s been a bit rough for the past few weeks, looking after a toddler while feeling like you’re about to spew is hard, and there’s so much that’s happened that I’ve wanted to tell you about (holiday! Betsy’s birthday! Pumpkin picking! Some bread that I made!) but it’s quite hard to sit at the computer in the evenings when all you want to do is lie in the fetal position on the sofa. It’s getting easier though, although it’ll be a while yet before I’m blogging really regularly again.
The scan on Monday went well, we saw Amazertron’s arms waving about and it’s heart beat. I had forgotten just how magical it is to see your child for the first time and I may have shed a few tears of relief. It’s very exciting. Betsy didn’t seem so bothered, she was more interested in what the sonographer was doing to my stomach, but then she doesn’t quite get what’s happening at the moment. Dave, of course, is thrilled and has been a total rock and a general superman this last month and a bit and has looked after me and Betsy (and put her to bed, and generally did most of the caring while I was in a corner whining) amazingly.
It’s so exciting to see our little family almost completed. Although, if I’m totally honest, right this moment, I think I’m looking forward to not feeling sick all the time the most.
Oh, hello the future! I’m writing this in the middle of September as we will be on holiday in the (quite probably rainy) Lake District for the last half of the month and quite frankly, there will be enough photos of the Lakes in other posts to need to put here.
Above, lovely Forty Hall. Below, watching the ducks at the Wildlife Rescue centre in Trent Park.
Drinks at a weekend away with friends.
It’s starting to feel like a month isn’t complete without a trip to Whipsnade Zoo and September was no exception . Betsy and I spent most of our time going down the big bumpy slide in the soft play area (I think Betsy almost had as much fun as me..), but we did catch a steam train ride and caught the elephants having a walk around the zoo. They walked right by us, it was pretty magical. Betsy was entranced.
I would have got a nice picture of the elephants, but I just stood and watched.
Coming up in October: mountains, lakes, books, bread, bunting and a certain someone’s second birthday. . . *gets a bit weepy with how quickly time is moving*
Happy wedding anniversary to us! We’re on hols in the Lake District at the moment and Betsy is visiting an attraction with my folks while Dave and I have a fantastic lunch in the pub we fell in love with last time we were up here. Planning on rowing a boat around Grasmere later on. Today is a good day.
You know when is a really good time to visit an attraction? Just after the schools go back after their summer break. Bonus points if heavy rain is forecast too. Which is how Betsy and I managed to have Lee Valley Park Farm to ourselves on Friday*.
It’s a very nice way to spend a few hours. We’ve been twice now (last Friday and earlier on in the summer. I used three pictures from the summer here, can you tell which ones?) and both times we have had plenty to look at and do. There is a slew of play areas for children of all ages including a giant inflatable pillow-thing (which we still haven’t been on. Next time!), a tractor ride to a dairy farm up the road during holiday times (Betsy loved this when we first went, best thing of the day for her) and of course, lots of farm animals to look at. You can even buy a bag of animal feed for £1.60 to give some of the critters a snack.
The best thing about having the feed though is that it brings all the animals much closer to you. While we were feeding the lovely and docile zebu (above) we heard quite the racket behind us, turned round and discovered the entire drove of pigs had broken through one of their fences to get to us. The sheep were the least nervous sheep I have ever seen and ran towards us like a horde of zombies.
Shortly after taking the photo of this lama – and giving it some food I might add! – he spat at me leaving me covered in half eaten grass. Ungrateful sod.
There are also some super cute baby meerkats in residence too.
Just look at his little face!
Lee Valley Park Farm is open all year round. There’s a very reasonable cafe on site too with a lovely decking area overlooking the sheep’s field. As it’s part of Lee Valley, there are walks to and from the farms along with a bird hide and there are other attractions nearby like the Olympic White Water Centre and The Royal Gunpowder Mills.
*Oh alright, there were two other families there too. And the people who work there were around as well, we weren’t completely on our own, that would just be spooky. Or trespassing.
Gosh, what a busy month again (I suspect though that what with having a child and all, I’m not really going to have an unbusy time, am I?). We have been out and about a lot and I even managed a few child-free trips into London too which pleases me no end. But we had a lovely family dance at the beginning of August when we popped over to Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco for the second time. We love it there.
I had a photo day with a couple of friends at Columbia Road market. I have wanted to visit this market for years and I am so glad that I finally got to do it. The market itself is fab, some of the bargains are unbelievable, the atmosphere buzzing, brilliant shops and it’s all very photogenic. More pictures soon (once I get round to processing the films).
The highlight of the month was of course a week spent down south with my folks. We did a lot, and it usually involved water.
Had a paddle at Bournemouth even though it was a bit drizzly and windy, but you know, we’re British and will try to have a good time whether we like it or not (we had a GREAT time).
Waving goodbye to the train that took us home from the brilliant day out in Wey-hay-mouth, as my sisters call it:
We discovered a fantastic splash park in Christchurch, and of course we forgot all our swimming gear, but no matter.
..it was also a little distance away from the all the swans along the quay, which was good, because they’re over-fed, greedy, aggressive buggers.
But Betsy loved them
The next day I popped over to Hamble where my sister Becky lives and took the delightful pink ferry to Warsash for a slap-up lunch in the local pub.
Beck revealed this month that she’s preggo! She’s due in Feb. Well done that girl.
Lovely finish to the month in which I had a very nice lunch at Roux at Parliament Square followed by drinks next to the Thames with a lovely sunset:
There’s a few things happening this month, mostly a busy couple of weeks at work, a holiday (hooray!) and if I can find a few more pound coins down the back of the sofa, a brand new camera lens too. Nice. All of this will probably be done with deep breaths of air and exclamations of “gosh! Isn’t it AUTUMNAL?!” and tutting at the christmas decorations popping up in shops already.
Two weeks ago, when I was staying over at my parents for a week, we caught a train down to Weymouth for a day of paddling and exploring. Weymouth is a brilliant seaside town. Surrounded by beautiful Dorset countryside – it’s flanked by the isle of Purbeck and the Isle of Portland (not real islands) – the bay is long and shallow with golden sands and is perfect to visit with a little one. There is the traditional seaside fun with donkey rides and sand sculptures, but walk five minutes west to the Quay and you have charming houses and yachts to look at with lots of crabbing opportunities and a fort to explore.
We really must come back here for a family break. Dave likes Weymouth because he came here a day before our wedding, bought a milkshake and sat on the beach while he wrote his speech. I remember watching ooh Gary Davies at a Radio 1 Roadshow here many years ago too (or was that Lyme Regis?).
Betsy loved the day out. She loved paddling in the waters and picking out interesting looking shells to give to Nana (although she seemed a bit put out there weren’t any big waves like there were at Bournemouth or Milford) and refused to nap because everything was too interesting to look at. Finally though she fell asleep in my arms as we walked back to the train station and slept for most of the journey home while the rest of us drank tea and ate candy floss. It was a perfect day trip to the seaside.
This is the last post on my series about Parkside Pick Your Own. I’m pretty impressed with how much I’ve managed to string this out! Although I’ve just checked the farm’s website and sweetcorn and cherry tomatoes are now available. So there might me more posts (there won’t). Vegetables at the PYO are dead cheap and I took advantage of that when I was there. I cooked and froze all the broad beans that I harvested and they will last me months as a go-to frozen vegetable to add to dinners. They are especially nice pan-fried in a bit of butter and sage with some shaved parmesan on top.
The beetroot and courgettes got made into relishes. You can’t beat a cheese sandwich with crusty bread and a nice relish. Or a burger with a dollop of sweet relish either. Both the recipes came from my little bible, The Preserving Book by Lynda Brown. You can find the courgette recipe here at Making & Living.
I had a little try of it once it was cooked and there was a bit of a kick from the chilli flakes, but I’m leaving the rest to mature for a bit before I sit on the sofa with a jar of the stuff and an entire wheel of Ticklemore. Likewise, the beetroot relish needs a bit of time to mellow before that’s eaten with some gooey Wigmore.
I think about cheese a lot.
For the beetroot relish you need:
- 3lb Raw beetroot
- 1lb Onion or shallots, finely chopped
- 1 pint cider vinegar
- 1tbsp Pickling spices, placed in a muslin bag
- 1lb granulated sugar
Boil the beetroot in a large pan with a teaspoon of sugar for about 45 min or until the beetroot is soft. Drain and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice into small pieces. Put the shallots and vinegar in the pan and cook for 10 minutes on a low heat. Add the beetroot, bag of spices and sugar. Give everything a good stir and cook gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, cook on a rolling boil for five minutes and then simmer for 40 minutes or until the mixture thickens. Remove the bag of spices and ladle into warm, sterilised jars.
It’s been a good couple of weeks here. I’ve just come back from a week away with my folks down south. We’ve done nothing but swim in the sea and play in playgrounds. Bliss. More on that soon. Meanwhile, a week before that I popped down to east London for a haircut and had a look around the gardens at the Geffrye Museum. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while after visiting inside the museum earlier this year and this was my first chance to do so. Like the inside, the outside of this museum is separated into different eras so as you walk through, you move through time and see the changes of gardening styles. It’s really quiet too. Even though I turned up on a hot day during the summer holidays and there were lots of people having picnics on the main front lawn, there wasn’t an awful lot of people wandering around the gardens themselves. It’s well worth a visit.
Part of Mammasaurus’ excellent How Does Your Garden Grow? Linky.
Once in a while a group of friends of mine all get together and we spend a day or two taking photos. It’s a nice way to help improve our photography skills, visit some pretty pictures and have a good old meetup. One cold May weekend we all camped down to my folks’ village of Milford on Sea and took a day trip to Hurst Castle, a fortification at the tip of a mile long shingle spit. Built by King Henry VIII, it was used for defence purposes up until the Second World War. It’s a fascinating place to visit and you can really see the various ages it has lived through thoughout the building. There are huge cannons to gawp at, battlements and windy staircases to explore and superb views of the Isle of Wight. You can even get a little ferry from Keyhaven to take you there. Needless to say, it’s a brilliant place to bring children.
I was a bit disappointed with my photos, I didn’t really take any that I was really pleased with, but here are a few that are ok. I mainly used my Holga which gives quite nice photos with a whole load of vignetting which is fun, and it’s film, which is a novelty these days.
The walk from Milford to Keyhaven is rather lovely too, lots of boats and birds to spot.
Hurst Castle is open all year round. You can get to it by walking along Hurst Spit starting in Milford, or you can catch the small ferry from Keyhaven. For information here http://www.hurstcastle.co.uk/index.html