10 things I love about London

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Ok so you may have seen my earlier post which was a slightly tongue in cheek look at being a Londoner, so in contrast I thought I would share with you some things I really love about London, because I do love it, I really do…I’m not moving and you can’t make me.

 

  1. The weather – seriously, London has better weather than anywhere else in the UK* FACT.  It’s always* warm and doesn’t seem to bear the brunt of some of the worst rains and storms even when they pass close.
  2. Public Transport – yes it may be expensive, smelly and hot, but on the whole it’s reliable and runs at reasonably good times.  At my mum’s if you don’t drive you don’t go out…seriously, there’s actually a bus route that only runs one way into town…
  3. The people – it’s always said that Londoners are so unfriendly, but I don’t think it’s true.  I’ve always known my neighbours really well, after all they see you in your PJ’s, you often live on top of each other and we’ve rarely had any issues**  But it’s not just neighbours, during the aftermath of the 7/7 bombings there was a real comradeship amongst strangers, directing people how to walk to places they have only seen from underground before, offering lifts, sharing support.
  4. The shopping – Forget your Bond Street or Kings Road (well don’t forget exactly…) we have our very own high street in one borough of London, if I want something a bit posher I walk to the posher high street.  Not just chain stores, but the boutiques, little nooks and cranny’s and more recently farmers markets which are popping up all over.
  5. The art – you might find it hard to believe but there’s some amazing street art in London, you can do your very own tour around.  Sadly my local Banksy has recently disappeared, but the splurge of art that has replaced it is really interesting.
  6. The parks – I don’t care where you live your parks cannot beat ours.  In addition to the big ones (I love St James’ and have spent many happy lunches in there…back in the day when I used to not desk eat) I can walk to 5 lovely parks within a short walk, it’s pretty darn amazing.
  7. The pay – yes ok so everything costs more, but I get a little uplift for working in London and it makes me feel special…
  8. The centre of attention – strange as it sounds I get a little bit excited when something close to me happens on the news.  If it’s local news then only if it’s proper close, but anything London on the national news has me talking about it like an expert using my “local” knowledge.
  9. The variety – who needs to eat in the same place week after week or drink at the same watering hole?  Not me*** when there’s such a wide choice around not only my local area, but the next area too; and the next; and the next (get the picture?!)
  10. The opportunity for culture – ok so a confession is that I am not really a culture vulture, but a broad narrow  poll of friends a friend put this at the top of the list.  The museums, the theatre, to be fair even if I don’t use them I do like the idea of being able to get to them at a moment’s notice (plus have done impromptu breastfeeding & nappy changing in many a random museum or gallery…)

 

 

 

*based on no scientific facts ever…FACT

**apart from the neighbour that stole our bike computer thing, and that time we had to save our neighbour from her abusive husband and then me be stuck inside calling the police when he tried to break in…and the Turk sat outside in the snow round the corner…oh or the morning of my birthday one year when we got woken up by a drunken man continually pressing our buzzer to get into our drunk neighbour’s flat….and that noise complaint we had about loud music.

***this is mainly because I have a child and no childcare, but that’s not helpful to the point I’m trying to make

 

 

Returning to work – the plan and how it worked…

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I am a domestic goddess…

I am a supermum…

I can handle ANYTHING….

This is my plan:

Now that we are a few months in I thought I would update you on how it’s going…or not…or maybe it is…

The first couple of weeks went really well, I left work on time, convinced that I would overcome the mahoosive workload pretty quickly, returned home, dinner was on the table and after the boy was in bed I prepared the next day’s meal.

The Turk took to housekeeping like a duck to water, laundry was done, he coped well with Wednesdays (the day he cooks) and after the first fortnight we had a fab first fun Friday (I have every other Friday off work) in the park with our NCT friends in glorious surroundings, sun, and wine 😉

 

My motivation did start to drop off rather, by week 4 the Turk complained that I hadn’t cooked a meal all week, I managed a night out and was staying late one day a week at work.  My formerly flexible employer who had allowed ad hoc working from home and provided a laptop was no longer so flexible.  My workload was as large as it had previously been, which I have no complaints about, but whereas I had always worked an extra 1-2 hours a day I was now pretty much restricted to my working hours, I work through lunch every day and was gaining about an extra hour a day but when I added in the much needed second hour I missed the boy’s bedtime.  By week 6 after finding out that I wouldn’t be allowed a laptop to work the additional hours at home I had my first ‘crying at work’ incident since I was a trainee.  I have no objection to working extra, it’s the nature of my job, but I had relied upon the former flexibility I had experienced.  I negotiated with the Turk that one day a week I will not be coming home and I will need to decide if this is to go out or to stay late at work, it seems fair to me, I know what it’s like to be stuck at home all day.  This relieved my mind somewhat but I still find the unfairness of the decision is so frustrating that part of me doesn’t want to do the extra work, although I know this will put my job at risk.

 

In the Turk’s world he is also finding it difficult, keeping up with the boy is tough particularly when he is so cleaning focussed and wants to do other bits and pieces – it is getting easier as he is able to entertain himself more and more but I know he finds it frustrating.  Jem has developed a real love of CBeebies over the last few weeks which I don’t know if I am entirely happy with having managed to entertain him without tv for the first 14 months…but I know how difficult it is to get anything done.

In short, it’s going pretty well despite the glitches.  I am spending far too much time in the evenings working on my blogs and not enough time cooking, doing housework or with my husband.  The Turk is spending far too much time doing housework and not actually playing with the boy (I’ll tell you about the locking out of the house incident another time).  He is taking him to singing once a week and playgroup every week though which is going really well, he let’s Jem be much more adventurous than I ever would and that’s great.  I don’t have it all, the house is still in the same state as it was in April, I am stressed about work and sometimes Jem misses me.  These are all solvable with a little more flexibility from my employer so I am going to keep working on that and not just give up, nothing ventured nothing gained…maybe I need to become a full time blogger lol!

Does your baby lead weaning…?

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Well weaning got off to a difficult start in our house, you may have read a previous post about the poo issues we had when away in Turkey, after several attempts at the Dr to fix this the only suggestions we stuck with were to try and get Jem to drink water.  Jem doesn’t drink water.  He only drinks breast milk.  I tried to reason with him, it didn’t work.  Anyway despite having read a friends BLW book from start to finish it became obvious that the only way to force him to ingest some extra fluids was to mix various foods with water in a puree and spoon feed him.

At the time I started weaning we were still squashed into our carpeted loft room with all our belongings.  Our beautiful new wooden highchair was given pride of place next to the sofa and we began the process.

Jem didn’t take to spoon feeding.  He did take to throwing his spoon and it’s contents on the floor and then rubbing any leftover puree into the crevices (of which there are many) on his highchair.  Not impressed.

Poo or no poo I decided that puree was not the way forward for us, and I reverted to large chunks of food, perhaps way beyond what was meant by BLW.  I was always told that BLW was far messier than puree, but when your baby is a food monster, like mine, it’s actually far easier.  From 6 months Jem has managed to devour whole pears, skin, seeds and all in a matter of seconds.  I treated it as somewhat of a party piece as people couldn’t believe it of such a tiny baby.

For the first couple of months he ate everything he could get his hands on (yes, including cat food, shoes and elastic bands…) and only after this he became more choosy.  Green vegetables are strictly off the menu at the moment, and whilst I of course want him to have a wide range of healthy food I don’t think that this is the age to have the argument (“food is for fun…” and all that jazz).  I keep trying, and Jem steadfastly gives me a look as he dispatches the offending green item over the side of the highchair.

To this day he has a voracious appetite, no one may eat within his sight unless he has a ready supply of ricecakes/bread/cheese/grapes or blueberries, but woe betide the person who attempts to give him broccoli…

On a recent trip to Turkey he discovered the joys of eating fruit from trees…that’s interesting when you walk through the park now!

 

If you would like to read some great posts about BLW please do check out the Red Head Baby Led blog which features some great guest posts on this topic.

I think pregnancy broke me…

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So I’ve noticed some things since I was pregnant, whilst they’re nothing fatal I’m slightly concerned that they might be with me as a lasting reminder of my pregnancy for life.

Now I’m not talking stretch marks (on my boobs…WTF…ok they’ve gone now but still I was shocked)…or the everlasting damage I did to the ligaments in my knees (and hips but don’t ever tell my yoga teacher, she taught me to get up properly so it’s my own fault).

I’m talking taste…

Before I was pregnant I adored cheese, wine and pate, and taramasalata.

During pregnancy I avoided cheese and pate (and wine of course) but guzzled taramasalata (which is allowed and apparently high in vitamin D, I ate it at my desk…with boiled eggs…that’s possibly a bit antisocial with hindsight…)  I looked forward to getting the baby out purely for the opportunity to gorge myself on Brie, Gorgonzola and Stilton.  Having a baby was a bit of a shock so I didn’t actually get round to buying any of the delights I had been dreaming of, but never fear at Christmas my parents had stocked up (we’re not a family that is ever ‘over-cheesed’).  I was looking forward to my boozy Christmas too, but I had a shock, I didn’t want it.  The thought of blocks of cheese made me feel quite unwell, bleugh it’s basically solidified fat, no?!  The same for pate…

…ok so the wine hasn’t been quite such a horror to return to, but I am even more of a lightweight than I was before, and I am not that bothered about getting totally legless any more (note to self: that’s a good thing).

As for taramasalata (I hear you asking…) well whilst I ate my body weight of this during pregnancy, I can’t stomach the sight of it any more.

…I think I may be broken…perhaps if I have another baby my original tastes will come back…?

I’m a shouter not a lover…

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Ok so I have admitted to myself and others that I’m a bit short tempered at home.  I’ve read a lot about disciplining babies and the types of behaviour that they pick up from their parents since I became pregnant (but have yet to find a consistent conclusion…)

The most persuasive thing I read was about not saying “no” to your child at a young age, because realistically they don’t know what it means and as they grow into toddlerhood they will simply accumulate more and more things that you need to say no to.  I agree with this…although the article didn’t give any tips on what to do instead of saying no, myself and a friend who have children of a similar age recently concluded that the trick was to distract them.

This is what I have been trying:

“Don’t lick that cable Jem, come and play with this *shakes toy*”

“Don’t chew that table leg Jem…here’s a ricecake”

“Jem, you’ll fall, stop it, stop it…come here…I’ve got bread…please come and eat the bread”

“Jem, Jem, Jem…grapes?”

…it’s not really working for me, and given the building site that we live in (which has vastly improved in the last 10 months don’t get me wrong) there are times when I just can’t find fruit in time to distract the food monster boy.  Sadly at these times I do resort to shouting, screaming, dragging him away, finger wagging.  I can see now why some parents find it irresistible to smack.  Now whilst I don’t agree personally with smacking (I was smacked as a child, it did me no harm, it’s not for me though) and in any event at 10 months Jem is waaaay to young to be acceptably smacked, I can see that he is old enough to know the difference between things that he’s not allowed to do (which appears to make the activity irresistible) and boring things that he is allowed to do and will be left quite alone whilst he is doing it.

My parents both shouted a lot at me when I was a child and I have always wondered what the point was, it didn’t make any difference to my behaviour (I remember distinctly) but always left me with a horrible and unpleasant feeling, so I had decided I didn’t want to go down this route…but I can’t help myself…

It’s almost therapeutic to tell the boy off when he does something irritating or naughty.  It makes him stop, immediately burst into crocodile tears…then do it again…lather; rinse; repeat.  More importantly it makes me feel I am being an “effective parent“.  Recently I’ve found myself shouting more and more and I think this is simply a symptom of my own boredom about being a stay at home mum.

Today I am having a day of not shouting, I feel I need it to try and build our relationship, but it’s hard!

Nicely telling the boy not to do dangerous things has had some advantages, I’m pretty sure he’s been a little calmer today than he might otherwise have been, and so have I.  We haven’t had any worse accidents or falls than we might otherwise have had on a shouty day.  Interestingly he’s still having his grotty hour at the moment which he gets everyday, although I just managed to stop the whine for 5 minutes by drumming on the sofa (he wanted to do it, didn’t want mummy to join in…moved mummy out of the way…) but I have noticed that in maintaining this I have spent much more quality time with the boy today than I might otherwise do.  On days when I am working or have something of my own to focus on I find the frustration boils over.

That said he has just cracked the screen on my laptop as I ineffectively stopped him yanking at it…it resulted in a shout of “why do I have to tell you every day not to do that?!”  clearly the answer is I should be focusing on my son rather than simply things that I want to do…