September 26, 2012

clear the decks

Redecoration update:  We're on track, if slightly ahead of our schedule to get the house refreshed before summer.  Last weekend we sanded the decks and oiled them, something we haven't done at all since moving in 6 years ago.  I think you're meant to do them every year?

It was a mammoth job, one that I wouldn't have suggested had I remembered the importance of the weekend.  There was dust and sticky oil everywhere, and pressure to get everything done so we could get the equipment back to the hire shop, but boy do they look good.  I put the second coat on earlier this week (and then it promptly rained - dang it) and the merbau colour is luscious, dark, just glossy enough with a few cute little puppy paw prints thrown in for added character.

Feeling rather proud that we've done this massive task and quite well at that, and with only the hallway and kids' rooms to paint (doable in one weekend I think), this weekend (a long weekend) we have planned nothing.  Nothing at all.  We are going to take each day as it comes.  Maybe pitch the tent in the garden, do a bit of pruning here and there, have a little family barbecue, sit around and put that frozen breast milk to good use while we drink a little gin and tonic here, a glass of chilled white wine there and really enjoy being with the kids and this weather before it gets too hot.

In the mean time, however, there is work to be done, parties to create and babies to feed.  Life... is good.

September 25, 2012


Time. It's flying by.  It's now over 10 weeks since Hugo was born (he has become the marker of time in our lives) and we are in a rhythm of sorts, where most things seem manageable, although that could be because I've stopped trying to do the hard stuff.  Hugo is now sleeping through the night (sort of).  We wake him for a feed at 10pm, and he's making it through till any time between 5-7am, though if he wakes at 5am he's asleep after a quick feed.  The other night, I couldn't be bothered expressing for his 10pm feed, and just fell asleep.  At the risk of jinxing our luck, I'm going to share that he slept for nearly 13 hours straight.

That was last Saturday, in fact.  The day I did something unmentionable, something I'm not proud of.  I forgot our anniversary.  Not our wedding anniversary, but the anniversary of when we first went out for that date in Covent Garden 11 years ago, the anniversary that we both feel is almost more important than our wedding anniversary.  After all, there would have been no wedding without that first day.  His first words to me were 'happy anniversary'.  His second: 'Did you really forget?!'.  Er, yes.  Which is hard to believe because (a) I've never ever forgotten anything like this before, and (b) all I think about is him, especially when he's not here.  I do things and think 'I must tell Will about that', I see things and I think 'Will would like that', I hear things and think 'he's going to find that so funny' and every now and again, I think about him and get annoyed because he didn't put something away where it belongs/threw his daks at the laundry basket and they ended up on the floor/forgot to mention he'd be working when I thought we'd be spending the evening together.

Truth is, with the boys, a baby, the redecorating, planning Ollie's 4th (FOURTH!) birthday party, and trying not to look in the mirror at this tired, withered old face, I just forgot.  And these aren't excuses, because I don't think you can blame anything on the busy-ness of life, especially not busy-ness that you've created yourself, but the anniversary just fell off the list of things on my mind.  Which is ironic really, because the first thing I think about in the mornings is him, and the last thing I look forward to at night is how he puts his arms snug around me before we fall asleep.

Anyway, he didn't forget.  He was his usual, sweet, thoughtful self, making me this beautiful card and giving me a well chosen and fitting gift, and writing to me a note that reminds me why I chose this man to be my husband.  He didn't once bat an eyelid that I forgot, which shamed me somewhat because I can only imagine what I would have done if it had been the other way round, right?  So all was good. Love was in the air.  And then I found his daks on the bathroom floor.

Happy anniversary.

September 13, 2012

lentil samosas

Last week saw my first full day at home with all three of my little boys. Will has taken a few days off so that when the boys aren't in kindy, he's been home with me, providing an essential extra pair of hands.  He went back to his normal working week last week, and I guess it marked the start of my normal working week too, because this is how things are going to be for a little while.

Anyway, I survived. We actually had a pretty good day.  Somehow, I managed to get all three boys to sleep at the same time, so I had two hours to myself.  I didn't do anything exciting with the time but I did finish painting our ensuite, which looks crisp and fresh and new.  Starting next week, I'm reducing the amount of time the boys are at kindy.  It's a decision driven by economics more than anything but also by my realisation that this is most likely my last ever period of maternity leave (I am not ruling anything out), and so making the most of spending time with the children while they are still preschoolers is pretty important.  We thought about taking them out of kindy altogether but we don't want to lose our places and it's nice for me to spend one-on-one time with Hugo.  It's also nice for the kids to have variety in their week and for me to not lose my mind trying to look after three kids on my own without any break.

In other news, we've been cooking new things.  I found this recipe for lentil samosas via Pinterest a few months ago and I've been keen to try it.  A couple of weeks ago, we did and it was good.  We modified the recipe slightly (details below) and they also fried well from frozen, making them a good, quick nutritious supper with greek yogurt.  The only changes I might make would be to add some chopped, cooked mushrooms, maybe.

Ingredients for about 40 little two-bite size samosas:
A couple of cups of dried lentils.  I used those round brown ones (not split) which kept their shape whilst still being tender.  I expect puy lentils would be great in these, as they too would keep their shape/texture and next time, that's what I'll try.
A couple of big handfuls of finely chopped baby spinach leaves
A big handful of chopped coriander
A big handful of chopped mint
A handful of chopped spring onions
A couple of teaspoons of garam masala
A teaspoon of cumin
Sea salt (to taste)
Spring roll pastry (found in the freezer section), unless you are a real hero with hours to spare and you have made your pastry from scratch*
Flour and water paste (for sticking the pastry together)

Cook the lentils.  To my mother's horror, I boiled mine rather than cooking them using the absorption method.  She believes you should only use as much water as is necessary so you don't need to drain them and all the nutrients are kept in the pot.  She has a point, but I didn't do it that way.
Drain the lentils and combine with the other ingredients.
Fill the spring roll or home made pastry with the mixture, using these instructions or however you want to fill them.  Triangular samosas are traditional and cutest. You use a paste made from flour and water to stick the pastry together.
Fry in hot canola or sunflower oil for a few minutes until golden and eat them straight away.  You can eat them with ketchup, or do as we did, and combine thick, full fat Greek yoghurt, chopped cucumber, chopped avocado, lime/lemon juice and seasoning. Spritz them with lemon juice just before eating.

This weekend, I'm going to make paneer samosas.  After I've consulted my mother of course.  I wouldn't want to get it wrong, you see.

*I have watched and helped my mother make the actual pastry for samosas.  It's delicious but it's also incredibly time consuming, and unless you have an abundance of aunties and cousins around to watch your kids for a couple of hours, it's probably not worth doing, as the frozen spring roll wrappers, which consist of the same ingredients and no additives work just as well.  I'm a convert.

September 3, 2012


Hugo.  Little Hugo.  Not so little Hugo.  He's growing by the second but he's still my baby boy.  It won't be long before he's huge-o.  Hah!
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