Monday, 24 May 2010

A Baby-Free Weekend (moo)

It is a very very strange feeling to board a train with only your bag (and a chocolate brownie) in your hands, sit wherever you like, read a magazine and have a little doze. At least it is when every trip for the last nine months has required military grade planning, careful selection of the only spot on the train with space for a pushchair and a journey spent bouncing, cooing, feeding and generally doing anything in your power to prevent baby meltdown. 

This time there were no silent looks of "oh no" from my fellow passengers, I was pleasantly anonymous on the 15.50 from Waterloo and it was wonderfully liberating.

The reason for this little adventure was that I was off to a hen weekend! A whole 48 hours of grown up conversations, fizzy wine and maybe even a lie in or two. Bliss! Oh and a jolly good send off into married life for a very lovely friend.

Of course in reality I hadn't just chucked my best drinking shoes in a bag and headed for the station, these two days had required several months of planning. The main issue being that Evelyn is still breast feeding. Fred is a pretty good hands on Dad, but there are limits, so I have spent weeks gradually building up the supplies in the freezer and although I am very grateful to the little yellow breast pump for all the help it gave me with feeding Evelyn in the early days, getting her taking boob or bottle and allowing me this precious weekend away, Oh My God I am sick of it! I really can not tell you just how very sick of it I am. It is about the most gratingly boring and undignified thing you can imagine, and this really isn't helped by the noise it makes. It moos. 

It did the job though and off I went, except you can't really escape that easily from the moo. To keep up supplies and my comfort levels the pump had to come along too so I was very grateful to discover that I was not the only one in this situation. Every so often me and another of the Hens broke off from the spa/gossip/wine/phallic drinking straws to turn our little corner of Centre Parks into a milking parlour. Classy. Is that TMI for this blog I wonder? It's amazing how you just stop noticing that line.

Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed the hen do and was impressed with Centre Parks, although it was so full of little ones, many the same age as Evelyn, that once it was time to head home I was pretty desperate to see her. I did wonder on the train back if she would remember me or show any sign of being pleased at my return but I shouldn't have worried. When I met her and Fred at Waterloo on their way home from an outing to Great Grandpa's I got a great big little grin and some very excited arm waving and that more than makes up for all the mooing.


Meanwhile back in London....

                             Evelyn has her first go in a paddling pool

                         And makes another (failed) attempt at crawling

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Vote Evelyn!

Tough on Parsnips, Tough on the Causes of Parsnips

With the election imminent we thought it was time to break out Evelyn's Boris pants, (Thank you Auntie Jo!)  She may be a little too young to vote but she can still try to demonstrate her opinions, although it is a bit unclear from this if she is throwing her weight behind the Tories or thinks they would be a bum deal for the country *insert additional pun of your choosing here*. Whatever your political affiliations, you've gotta wish you were in the meeting where someone pitched Boris Johnson baby pants. 

Disclaimer: Other political baby pants are available (although no Lib Dem ones I notice. I guess however well Nick Clegg did in the TV debates he'll never be as funny on a pair of pants as Thatcher).

Of course I should remind you all of just how very important I am to this election. If the media are to be believed *insert sarcastic comment of your choosing here* then this is the "Mumsnet election", the future of the country resting squarely in the chapped hands of the nations web-literate mothers. For the uninitiated, Mumsnet is one of a number of websites where parents can ask for advice from their peers, share experiences, form friendships and viciously attack any complete stranger who slightly disagrees with their opinions on dungarees. (In a variation on Godwin's law you can pretty much guarantee that a discussion thread will end in a torrent of vitriolic abuse as soon as the words "breastfeeding", "private education" or "Gina Ford" appear). Mumsnet has more recently become famous for the number of politicians begging to jump on the bandwagon come on the site and discuss their policies and choice of biscuit (or not) with any Mother who has time to listen to them. Supposedly this has all been very influential. 

So, has becoming a parent influenced my postal vote? Is my motherly self more invested, more knowing and more questioning of the political process of our great little isle? Have web-forums shaped my opinions in new and unexpected ways? Well no I don't think so, but then this time round I have actually posted said postal vote and won't have to shamefacedly take it to the polling station on election day, so maybe there is something going on after-all.


Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Have Baby, Will Travel

Having successfully dodged rail strikes, airline strikes, heavy snow and a very stroppy volcano we are now returned from our first proper family holiday with no drama what so ever! 

                    Evelyn plays bite Daddy's nose in the cottage

We spent a lovely week on the Island of Seil just off the West coast of Scotland near Oban. We had a couple of ulterior motives for this location, a wedding in Glasgow and visiting Evelyn's Auntie Helen and Uncle Bryn who have recently moved to Oban (and who's flat provided a handy mainland pit-stop for nappy changes and feeds). They also put us in touch with a family on a neighbouring island who very kindly lent us their off-road buggy and baby backpack and pointed us in the direction of some lovely walks. The Mum of the family actually writes a guide to buggy walks so I shall now blatantly plug her website: Actually while I'm at it this is where we stayed: our little house was ideal, coming complete with high chair, cot, lots of birds to stare at and (and this is the most important bit) fruit cake.

     Evelyn goes off road

In addition to the walking, general pottering and massive consumption of honeycomb ice cream, we also slotted in a visit to a sealife centre where Evelyn got her first sight of otters ( squeal! bounce!), seals (suck suck, oooo Seagull) and a giant octopus (snooooze) It was a shame she slept through the giant octopus as she missed it grabbing it's poor keeper and trying to drag him into the tank. 

After a lovely week on Seil we headed to Glasgow where we met up with Granny Angela and Grandad. Evelyn behaved herself pretty well at the wedding, my choice of a halterneck dress was however, with hindsight and breastfeeding in mind - not the cleverest! Oh well, a good time was had by all and attending a wedding with some handy grandparents was great as it meant Fred and I actually managed to get in a bit of dancing. That said our efforts were rather poor. We are enthusiastic but very amateur ceilidh dancers and were entirely put to shame by the folks in kilts! We used the excuse of a very tired baby to head for our hotel at 9.30pm, in truth I think all three of us were beaten at that point!

                         Some quality parenting in the Glasgow hotel

So that was that and it was time to head home. We travelled to/from Glasgow by train. First class - get us! I think I can leave it to you to imagine the look on our fellow passengers faces when we boarded the non-cattle carriage with backpacks and a baby, but Evelyn behaved herself very well, apart from being terrified of the changing table in the disabled loo.

                        Evelyn has fun in first class

Actually the only traumatic bit of the travelling was the London bus from the station to our flat, but I think I could do a whole post ranting about buses at the moment so I think I'll leave it there.


Monday, 3 May 2010


We gave Evelyn her first proper go on a swing a couple of weeks ago, and caught it on video. She absolutely loved it. Can you remember the last time you found something so exciting that you shook all your limbs with glee?