Thursday, 30 September 2010

Basket case

A switch was flipped in my brain when I had K. I call it the basket switch. I never had the desire to buy or own baskets before, but now whenever I see a reasonably priced basket in a shop I can't wait to snap it up, the theory being that it will keep the house clutter-free.

I now have a basket which lives at the bottom of the stairs full of things to go upstairs (but never do), a basket in every room for K's toys, a basket full of nappy stuff in the bathroom, a basket full of random DIY stuff in the bedroom (of course! I mean, where else would you want it!), a basket full of paperwork on top of the dresser where I can forget about it, a basket on the cupboard on the landing with things to go in the loft, and two newly acquired baskets from Paperchase because they were cheap. I'm sure there are others around that I've forgotten about, probably as they are hiding in another basket like some kind of Russian nesting basket.

I've been working near Tottenham Court Road this week (and I'm doing my first full week since having K next week, eek!). For anyone not familiar with this area of London, the bottom half is full of dodgy looking electronics shops but the end near to Goodge Street, where I'm working, is full of lovely homeware stores and the huge flagship Paperchase. My tip is to head to the top floor and go to the back left-hand side where all the sale items are. It's fantastic for cheap artists materials, handmade paper and gifts. Oh and baskets, I got a pack of 2 reduced from £10 to £1.50. Like crack cocaine to a basket addict!

Photo from John Lewis website: basket woven from Chinese newspapers

Monday, 27 September 2010

Curse of the cold sore (and the cure!)

Yesterday I got a tingly feeling on the right side of my lower lip and knew a cold sore was on its way. I used to get cold sores regularly, maybe once a year, and anyone that suffers from them will know how miserable it is to have something resembling a crusty old cornflake hanging off your mouth for days. The snide comments about having 'herpes' don't help either (I'm tempted to plant a slobbery disease-ridden kiss on anyone who brings up the subject).

According to BBC Health, cold sores are technically caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and are passed on through close contact with someone who has a cold sore. Infection usually occurs in childhood when someone's kissed by a family member who has a cold sore. The virus passes through the skin, travels up a nerve and hides in the nerve root until it's activated.

Common triggers are:
* Illnesses, such as colds and flu
* Menstrual periods
* Emotional upset
* Fatigue
* Bright sunlight
* Cold winds

I'll blame this cold sore on fatigue and the weather! Thankfully I've not had a cold sore develop past the 'tingle' stage for 5 years now. The secret was passed on to me by an Aussie friend who used to get them too. The miracle cure is... Lysine, an amino acid which interferes with replication of herpes viruses.

I bought some L-Lysine tablets from Holland and Barrett and I take one if I'm feeling run down (be warned, these tablets are bloody huge). Yesterday I took two with liberal applications of Zovirax cream and the cold sore hasn't appeared - yay! I'm still playing it safe though and not kissing K or Mr which is hard. Did you know that you can't catch cold sores from cups, flannels or towels though?

NB. Obviously I'm not a doctor, and while this information might be helpful to any other other cold-sore sufferers, if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or just unsure it's best to check with your GP

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Supermum medal of honour!

I was going through a box of bits and bobs and found this old badge that I'd forgotten about. My Mum had found it at her place (it must have come off an old Mother's day card) and given it to me. I love the retro type!

Anyway, after reading a post from Muddling Along Mummy who said she would like an award for her mummy multitasking skills (read her post to find out more) I thought I'd scan in the badge for her and for all the mums and mums-to-be out there. It's the hardest job there is and I'm sure there are days where we all feel like we deserve a medal (or at least a nice big fat glass of wine).

So please help yourselves to this award and feel free to pass it on to other (super)mums!

Free beer!

You can get a free pint of Guinness at O'Neill's pubs by using this voucher. Only valid today though! (Thurs 23rd Sept).

Guinness always makes me think of my favourite tv show, Spaced...
Tyres: Mine's a pint of the black stuff
Mike: You can't drink a pint of Bovril

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Sloe time

We've been to the local county park today to check out the sloes in the hedgerows, fly a kite and to take K to the playground. The sloes seemed pretty ripe, and by the look of it a lot have already been picked, so we collected a bagful and now I just need to get some cheap gin to make yummy sloe gin. You aren't supposed to pick the sloes until the first frost but you can cheat by sticking them in the freezer overnight. I used this recipe last year but found it a bit too sweet so I'm going to try less sugar this time round.

Next to the sloes were this pretty little flowers. I don't know what they are but they look like tiny, bright pink Chinese lanterns, so pretty!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Necessity or luxury?

I'm back from the hols not quite as rested as I thought I would be but it was good to get away all the same. Things got off to a bad start when K woke up on the morning of departure with a swollen, weepy eye. Mr got her an appointment with the GP at 9.20am, we were supposed to be catching the train to Gatwick at 10am and if that wasn't enough to be getting frantic about I still hadn't packed and my printer ran out of ink meaning I had to write out all the email booking references by hand.

Bags packed and K given the all clear and some antihistamine medicine we got to the airport in the nick of time only for the flight to be delayed by three hours. One and a half of these was stuck in our seats on the plane with a wriggly K on our laps. I actually shouted "Noooo!" when the cabin crew announced they would start serving refreshments while we waited for a slot to take off but that they couldn't serve alcohol. I was practically dribbling over the photo of the ice-cold Magners in the brochure.

Mr had the rest of this week off work, so today K went to the childminder's as usual and we headed into central London. We visited Alfie's antique market near Baker Street for a browse. It's full of retro furniture and lighting with lots of fantastic stuff mostly from the 60s and 70s, then on to Prezzo at Marble Arch using our trusty Tesco vouchers to pay. Oxford Street was just round the corner so I bought some jeans from Gap - they have 30% off denim at the moment and I badly needed a new pair. I considered this purchase a necessity.

K is fast outgrowing her shoes so we popped in H&M and found some new ones, again a necessity. But H&M is dangerous place to shop if you like Hello Kitty. Suddenly these were in my hand and after a moment of cooing they were at the checkout...
Hardly a necessity but I'm sure I can invent some excuse for buying them. I wonder if they come in adult sizes?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Summer holiday

Thankfully Sir Cliff will not be coming along to serenade us on our last minute holiday* We are meant to be saving towards the wedding next year but I think I'll go crazy if I don't get out of London and go somewhere other than to a relatives for a break. K's passport turned up just in time; I'd taken her photo myself and was worried it might not meet the guidelines.

I spotted a deal on (does anyone still use teletext? and does it still look like it was created on a ZX spectrum?) It was £220 each for a weeks bed & breakfast in Menorca. I phoned up the travel agent who explained that the £220 did not include airport transfers or baggage check-in costs and that the flight departed at 5am. Ah. The price jumped to £400 with the extras added on, plus an additional £50 to change to a more sociable flight time. In the end I booked the flights direct with easyjet and found the same hotel from It's saved about £100 each but we still have to pay easyjet an extra £18 for the privilege of taking a suitcase, grrrr. It's either than or we all wear all our holiday clothes at once and fill our hand luggage with nappies.

We also did a car boot sale yesterday to raise some extra cash towards our spending money. It was great to get rid of so much junk, we even got a few offers to buy K – they obviously hadn't heard her screaming fits – but we decided to hang on to her. One bloke was having a really good nose about, he grabbed at a green bag just behind the table and was about to look inside until I pointed out that it was my daughter's lunch (I wonder how much he would have paid for half a banana and a squashed sandwich?)

So I'll see you in a week!

Newsflash *** K took her first steps yesterday, I'm a very proud mummy! ***

*The photo above is from the *ahem* classic film Summer Holiday in which Cliff steals borrows a London bus to take on holiday and picks up a girl who is disguised as a young boy. At least that's my memory of it.

Friday, 3 September 2010

And the winner is...

...number 5, who is Whatdidyoudotodaymama. 
Congratulations, and from your comment it sounds like you really need the prize! Please contact me with your address (if you click on my profile there is a link to my email).

Thanks to everyone who entered.


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