Thursday, 25 February 2010

Into the Wild

This evening the husband and I will be preparing for the week ahead. The excitement is palpable in our house as we are going on holiday for a whole, glorious week on our own. Our week will be spent walking, kayaking and camping along the Abel Tasman track, spending the night in Nelson then driving down the west coast, seeing where the will takes us, staying with some friends and flying back home. So the first job is to set out all our kit to see what we need to go and buy. The husband showed me the tiny stove he has zipped up in a neat little pouch and the spanking clean cooking pots designed purposefully for camping. I can barely contain myself at the thought of chatting, making tea and beans in the morning, walking through paradise, swimming and sleeping out in the open.

I have even bought the kind of shoes I have always laughed at people for wearing. Check them out. In the true style of being a mum, even though I know there is nothing wrong with leaving my children in the infinitely more capable hands than my own of my parents, I feel guilty about not taking them, guilty that I can't wait to relinquish all responsibility for a week and sad that I'm not going to see them for 7 whole days.

Thursday, 18 February 2010


You learn something new every day.

There are a million things I would like to write about . I'm not sure why but I don't feel like committing the last week to print. Except for this which really tickles me.

For the last two years I have been party to most things my brother's family does as we live very near to each other. I love it. We are extremely close. Our life is as open to them as theirs is to us. I know exactly what my sister in law like and dislikes. Or at least I thought I did. It turns out she has a prediliction to fishing magazines. You learn something new every day.

Thursday, 11 February 2010


The day before Christmas Eve I saw this painting. I felt a pull and knew that I could look at it forever. Having brought it home for the night to see what the husband thought of it and how it would look in the house I began to panic. What if he didn't like it? What if we couldn't afford it? What if SOMEONE ELSE ended up buying it and I couldn't suspend my mind before its inky silence ever again? The husband feigned indifference then hid it and gave it to me as a surprise on Christmas Day. What a kind and loving superstar he is.

The artist Ellie Lawler painted it. I have met Ellie a few times as she lives next door to one of my friends. She is an amazing soul. Deep and gentle with wonderful insight. I liked her very much from the first second I saw her. To discover she was the artist made me love the painting even more. When I look at it I can feel a serenity steal over my mind. I love the togetherness of the jellyfish as they slowly pulse through the mystical, magical world of black water. Jellyfish have no brain and yet they congregate on their wandering journey. No purpose, no rush, no sadness, no arguing, just beauty. The hypnotic effect this piece has on me reminds me that nothing else is important. Just be.

Aside from the energy of the Moonjellies there is another reason I love it. For the last 2 years the lad has been interested in the natural world underwater. We often find jellyfish on our beach, watch the fantastic 'Blue Planet' series on DVD and chat about jellyfish, squid, sharks and all the other things which so fascinate little boys. The Finding Nemo scene featuring a pink, waving mass of pink Jellyfish ignites further talk of their tentacles, what happens when you touch them, what they eat and where they live. When the lad set eyes on the painting he smiled and pointed to it. He loves it too.

This afternoon Ellie came over to chat about the painting and tell me about its story. I'll write about it tomorrow.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Me and Nigella's chocolate frosted nipples

Tomorrow night the husband and I are going to a party. A proper glam one with a marquee and a DJ. Can you imagine my excitement? As I am well versed in the Kiwi etiquette I duly rang the host to ask what I could bring. All New Zealanders reading this should be nodding sagely at my appropriate behaviour. My English compatriots will be wondering what the hell I had in mind to bring to someone else's party (apart from perhaps lashings of booze). Let me enlighten you. When you are invited to someone's house for dinner in these southern climes it is customary to offer to bring something to add to the meal. "Yes we'd love to come, shall I make pudding?" would be a standard response to such an invitation. The offer to make pudding/salad/whatever is usually gratefully received. So when you are dining out, instead of kicking back and thinking how brilliant a night out of the kitchen will be you are back under the spotlight to rustle something up which will be under the scrutiny of more eyes than just those of your ravenous husband.

The first few times I invited friends over for dinner I was almost offended when someone turned up with a random dish to add to the menu I had already planned and cooked. I was shocked that they had had to put in some effort when all I wanted them to do was turn up with a bottle of wine, drink plenty of the stuff, eat the food I'd cooked and be fun company. Having been here for a while now I can fully appreciate this joining together of effort. For a start, New Zealanders are delightfully, singularly unsnobby. If you offered to make pudding then turned up with a slab of ice cream and a pack of maltesers then no one would bat an eyelid. They'd be just as grateful for your contribution if you had spent the last few hours sweating over a handmade millefeuille of frothy cream, buttery pastry and mascerated strawberries. These days I hang somewhere between my fairly strict, British upbringing and my more relaxed, adopted New Zealand approach. If someone brings food or offers to make something then I gladly work it into dinner. However there is nothing I love more than to spend an afternoon mucking about in the kitchen knowing that when my guests arrive no one has to do anything more than eat and enjoy themselves. I hasten to add I'm not a Nigella wannabe salaciously licking meringue off my fingers (although I do love the woman).

Back to that phone conversation asking what I can bring to the merry gathering. The answer? Absolutely nothing. Perfect. Tomorrow evening I can shovel spaghetti on toast down my children, slather on a bucket load of make up and divert my attention to wrapping up a gorgeous engagement present for the happy hosts.

Thursday, 4 February 2010


Aching limbs, head full of stamping horse hooves, stomach an industrial washing machine, thank the universe my parents are here to sort out the ankle biters.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

From nought to nightmare in a few short minutes

5.36pm: The lad, twin1 and twin2 are happily finishing off their tea with a piece of chocolate cake. There are crumbs and the remnants of sausage casserole all over the place. Because my gorgeous mother folded all my washing today I am planning on sitting by the bath and chatting to my littlies, enjoying the last hour or so of their waking day by fully devoting my attention to them and soaping their soft bodies. In my role as homeopathic, eco-mother I brew a large pot of very strong redbush tea and pour it into the running bath to help with twin1's eczema. Feelings of wellbeing are running high. The house is tidy, tea is over, bathtime should be sweet smelling and suffused with maternal love.

5.40pm: twin2 exudes a strong smell of excrement so I neatly dodge her and undress twin1 at her seat in the kitchen. As I carry her out into the hall to the bathroom I notice the slurry of mud and tea smeared all over the carpet running the length of the corridor. At the foot of the landslide sits the lad with fistfulls of wet mud. The red mist descends, my eyes pop out of my head and I put the naked twin down so that I can march the naughty lad into his room, scream at him and then clear up the mess.

5.43pm: A cursory rub of the floor later I unpack the less than savoury smelling twin2 from her highchair. As I carry her into the hallway the smell of shit hits me from a different angle. My gaze reveals the addition to the poorly cleared up mess of several wet lumps of turd. I follow the trail into the lad's room to find the final nugget being laid by naked twin1. Now what? I am holding twin2 while twin1 roams about in the pooh obstacle course and the lad is sobbing sadly after being reprimanded and now more so that he realises that there is shit in his room.

Needless to say as I type this both twins are gorgeously clean and happy, tucked up in their pits while the lad sits centry on his bike at the gate, waiting for his Daddy to come home from work. All in a day's shitastrophic work.


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