I have pterodactyl earrings

It’s Mother’s Day in several places in the world today; admittedly not in this one, but it is in the place where I’m from. So I get a second bite of the cookie, as it were.

First up, a chance to lounge in bed with a coffee and the Sunday papers, followed by the sounds of busy, important feet trotting up the stairs, and bright little faces chorusing “Happy Aussie Mother’s Day Mama!!”

There were lovely cards from local gift shop Emporia, where 1st birthday celebrations this weekend meant that there was cake and a 10% discount into the bargain. There was a huge Lego construction on which they’d collaborated, a kind of pseudo-cake, bright, multi-layered and completely carb-free. And there were pterodactyl earrings, which I adore.

I first spotted them when I was gift shopping at Magi Gifts in Brockley a month or so back. A local designer uses plastic toy animals and makes them into quirky (I hate that word, but you know what I mean) pieces: lugubrious bulldogs as pendants, lizards dangling down, in a friendly way, from your earlobes. I loved every piece of it and kept meaning to go back and ‘treat myself’ at some stage.

However, my lovely family took matters into their own hands and I am now sporting prehistoric winged beasts on my ears. It’s been a sweet day: nothing fancy, but the chance to go for a long, relaxed run this morning, followed by my favourite breakfast of sheep’s yoghurt, raspberries and fresh mint. We’ve planted bee and butterfly-attracting seeds in the garden, been for a bike ride and checked out the new gelateria, Oddono’s in East Dulwich (verdict: “Can we come here every day now that it’s summer, Mama?”)

I’m more than happy to go back (they do great coffee) but summer? Might be too early for such grandiose statements. Today I wore, in honour of the day, the Splendid tank top that my brood bought me from Net-a-Porter a few years ago for Mother’s Day (the English one). My photo doesn’t show the fabulousness of its colour well enough; this Outnet link is far better. I adore it but alas, unfriendly temperatures meant that it was soon concealed by a sweatshirt. But I wore my hair pulled up so that my earrings, at least, were on show.

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we chose the friendly, familiar cafe option

There was a lot of faffage about where to eat lunch today. I had both of the boys with me and they had all sorts of fanciful ideas about what they wanted and where they wanted it. Jamie’s Italian was mooted at one point, as was the Horniman Museum cafe. I’ve been wanting to check out Rocca, as it’s a popular Friday night post-school dinner hang out, and I always like to do a recce before committing to plans with others and their kids, since what I can and can’t/ will and won’t eat can make such arrangements tricky. But bear in mind that both boys have been afflicted with off-colouredness this week (less vague in the case of my 3 year old, who threw up, spectacularly, no less than 3 times earlier in the week and has been off his food ever since.) I figured we should probably go home, but they, euphoric with the ‘treatiness’ of being together on a Friday, insisted on lunching out.

Eventually they expressed a desire for a lunch that I thought sounded feasible and I took us off to a place where I knew we’d get it. The Dish and The Spoon is one of our favourite cafes, and the only reason I’d not suggested it earlier was because I knew we were going to be there for a party on the weekend.

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There are no words to describe how glad I am that we ended up in this sunny den of familiarity. Almost as soon as we sat down, my eldest son, already with a certain dullness in his usually bright eyes, started to look even more listless, leaning his head on the table and taking little interest in the food he’d been so excited about. I’m a major league scoffer,  especially since my preferred form of Intermittent Fasting means that I rarely eat before 2 or 3pm, so I patted him soothingly on the knee while wolfing my salad (the cauliflower, in particular, was amazing – really simple and tasty) and hoped for the best.

“Shall we just take this home and have it later?” I asked, gesturing towards his still-full plate at the side of my all-but-licked-clean one. He nodded. And then – eugh, that noise, that gurgly choking noise, you know the one, whether you’re a parent or not! – he vomited. I grabbed the nearest thing – a completely useless flyer, as it turned out – and tried to contain it, but to no avail; in desperation, I resorted to my bare hands. Youngest son, still off his food despite the fact that he’d been so keen to eat out, was goggle-eyed; no hope of him eating now.

I turned to the people at the next table – thank goodness we eat late, so the lunchtime crowds had dispersed somewhat. “I’m so sorry this is happening as you eat,” I said, lamely.

Within minutes, the lovely owner of the cafe and her staff had clocked the situation and materialised by my side with rolls of paper towel and plastic bags. I was so mortified; they were so sweet. My son seems much better tonight. And I know these things happen, and it could’ve been worse and all the rest of it. And I’m sure that anyone in any of the other places we thought about today would’ve been kind and helpful in the same situation. But I’m so glad that, if it had to happen at all, it happened in a place where the owners know us by name and made us feel one hundred times better about it than we would have felt if we’d been somewhere unfamiliar or – even worse – stuffy and disapproving.

And – strike me down for my greed and selfishness – I’m glad it happened after I’d finished my sald. Seriously, that cauliflower was good. 

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I have lilies in a tall vase

Stargazer lilies are, no question, my favourite flower, as anyone who was at my wedding might have been able to guess.

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I used to buy them weekly; huge, exuberant, unnecessary blooms that lifted my heart and, with any luck, detracted from my less than stellar efforts with making the house look nicer in any more of a lasting, meaningful way. But a while back my vase, my one suitable vase got broken. I think it was my eldest son who was responsible and I think I’ll have to probably dock his pocket money, if I ever get around to actually giving it to him and not just fashioning vague plans involving star charts and chores.

Anyway, since then, my trips to the florist have gone one of two ways: I either remember the absence of a suitable vase and end up grudgingly buying something that I love less than lilies (I mean, any flowers are good, obviously; well, unless they remind you of someone bothersome or odious that is…) OR I exercise my talent for wilful ignorance and buy lilies, only to get irritated on my return home by the lack of a suitable vessel, and by the poor display made by jamming them all into a defunct-by-virtue-of-its-missing-lid spaghetti jar.

Today was a special day in our household; an anniversary, one that deserved lilies and deserved to have them properly displayed. It’s not a hard thing to buy a vase, and I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to get around to it; nor do I know why it took a mention of Emporia on a local blog to get me through the door, since I’ve gone past them a gazillion times when out running. Anyway, today I was determined that my Stargazer lilies would be comfortably vased, if I may fabricate such a word. So to Emporia I went, and a vase I bought, and a treasure trove of gifty goodness I found within a short jog of my front door.

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It’s funny, but little things like shopping locally give me quite the happy glow these days; one that I think will add to the pleasure I take in my flowers as they unfurl over the course of the week, as my daughter hovers at the ready with the scissors to “snip out the stainy pollen bits that would’ve ruined your wedding dress if the flower lady hadn’t done it Mummy.”

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It’s all Good

Nope, I haven’t been perusing the new Gwyneth Paltrow book. It’s just that today is good, Good Friday, to be exact.

Which means no school, and consequently no nagging this morning; kids loafing about in PJs eating fresh berries and pancakes (made with Dove’s Farm gluten free flour because, like Calgary Avansino in last weekend’s Sunday Times Style, in article that referenced – positively -Gywnnie’s approaches to feeding her family, I’m not fanatical about what my children eat but try to balance out inevitable gluttony – well, it’s Easter, isn’t it – with some less toxic choices) until their sparkling insides were so far at odds with the slatternliness of their exteriors that I had to chase them upstairs and into clean(ish) clothes.

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Next, there was the joy of opening yesterday’s post. Not a bill to be seen but instead, the my-wardrobe SS13 Style Guide and best of all, a lovely, heart-warming card from my friend Rachel with some adorable Mibo paper animals for my children to create.

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And the sun is shining! What an auspicious start to the holidays. I’m off out for a run to soak  it up while it lasts – admittedly, I am running to Ayres the Bakers to pick up Hot Cross Buns for our Easter lunch and egg hunt with friends this afternoon. But like I said, it’s Easter. Gluttony is inevitable. And for grain-free me? Would you believe that the lovely, thoughtful people at my local Budgens saved me the last Inspiral raw chocolate egg? I heart them.

Really better go for that run though….

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Not about to buy 2 for 1 supermarket Hot Cross Buns when Ayres are cranking out babies like these!

Not about to buy 2 for 1 supermarket Hot Cross Buns when Ayres are cranking out babies like these!

we bought our daughter a desk

So the loft conversion has finally been completed and the Great Big Room Changeover has been effected. We’re in the loft, the boys are in what was our room, our daughter is in what was the boys’ room and I am writing this post from her old room, which is now the office/ guest room.

I well remember being six, and the pleasure I took in arranging everything just so in my own bedroom, so I’ve felt bad for my daughter that she’s been squished into the small bedroom for so long, with little space to display her treasures or hang out with her friends. Naturally enough, now that she has a big bedroom, she wants a bunk or trundle bed and sleepovers every night of the week. But a desk was also on her wishlist (blimey but they get a lot of homework already!) as she’s totally into the whole writing in journals/ writing notes to friends/ jotting down ideas phase. Tidying up the other day, I came across two separate notes, one saying “I love my Mama so much I would do enething for her,” and the other reading “my Dada is a DIY disaster and relly relly relly cuddly.”

Anyway, picking up the lamb from Flock and Herd on Bellenden Rd last week, I caught sight of a 50s-style school desk a few doors down at Worn Not Torn, the kind with the flip-top lid. I love these desks; so much more personality and charm than something from the likes of Ikea. It looked like it would fit perfectly within the ‘nook’; we measured, it would. So here it is, in all of its newly-arranged-with-juvenile-stationery-glory. Now she just needs a chair.

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