I bet you were hoping for a picture of the Royal Barge, or the concert goers on The Mall last night or the flag waving crowds outside St Paul’s this morning but we didn’t do any of those things. There might have been photos of the street party we were invited to or the Jubilee Tea party in a local gallery, but both were rained off and the girls have colds and Mr Rush Hour is recovering from a bug, so instead I bring you our rainy Jubilee weekend makes in the form of the Royal Family made of loo rolls. It rained a lot this afternoon so there is quite a gathering.

Less original but essential for our home based celebrations, there is hand painted bunting and the red, white and blue themed window box is at least doing white and blue.

And of course there were cakes

I’ve been working long hours over the last month settling into my new job so it’s been lovely to have five days of family time.

But a Jubilee post deserves a bit more pomp and circumstance so here are some corgis, in this case in the window display of our lovely local sweet shop  Hope and Greenwood.

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It’s weeks since my last post and so here I am at not yet 6am on a Sunday morning, which I have discovered is the best time for writing – no else is up, there’s no Cbeebies noise and I’m just about rested enough after a Saturday off to feel fresh and focussed. Life’s been oh so busy with a new full time job, a house to sell and a string of other, very overdue commitments.

It’s all good change. The new job is great, or will be once I’ve fully mastered the names of everyone, learned the lingo and acclimatised to rush hour on the tube five days a week. The house, after a couple of months of living in a state of ever ready clutter free cleanliness (I cheated and put about 50% of the girls toys in the loft) is fingers crossed, sold. We’re also under offer on the house we want to move to which has a proper garden but is, as they say, a major project and the thought of living on a building site for six months with a full time job and two children is going to be mightily stressful.

I know we’re lucky and whenever I feel stressed about all this change, I remember the conversation I had with the lady who looks after Eve and Leah after school, who after I grumbled our house was getting too small for the four of us, told me that her flat and family home was half the size. The fact is that living in a tiny house has been fine, the thing about small children is that they only want to be in the same square metre of space that you are in anyway. Plus it’s easier to look after and afford a small house. But lately the girls have been coming home from play dates and yearning for the trampolines and outdoor play houses their friends have. I’ve also now crammed every part of our tiny back yard with herbs, vegetables, flowers and seating and had a lot of fun learning about gardening in the process. Now I’m ready for a proper garden with a lawn and trees and the words ‘raised vegetable bed’ are very exciting words indeed at the moment.

So that’s what I’ve been up to, everyone’s awake and  it’s time to make pancake batter and tea. Have a great Sunday everyone.


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National Trust kitchen

Our Easter plans for beach picnics where scuppered by the rain and cold so instead Mr Rush Hour made us visit every National Trust property in South Norfolk. Once they’d ransacked the dressing up box and visited the tea room Eve and Leah made it clear that stately homes were booooooorrrring. Except the experience has clearly marked them because since we arrived home the kitchen has been turned into a NT property, complete with tea room, officious barrier, portraits, a shop and even a ‘tapestry’ draped washing machine. Eve and Leah are almost as pompous as the real NT Norfolk volunteers and are fond of telling me the kitchen will be closing in five minutes. Nor am I allowed to touch the tapestry in order to put a wash on and the cost of the cakes is really astronomical. All in all its been the most fun rainy day activity since the kitchen became a swimming pool.

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I have been reading Jane Brocket’s Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer which has inspired readings of Milly Molly Mandy and The Wishing Chair at bedtime and making these post boxes, which are a reference to the post system the March sisters set up in Little Women. These were all books I adored as a child and it’s been a delight to read them to my own daughters.

I’m hoping the post boxes will inspire some letter writing for the remainder of the rainy Easter holidays and it made me feel that the ruinous £80 quid plus I just spent on Summer term school shoes has at least had some fringe benefits.

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good times at grandma’s

Do you remember last Easter when it was so hot all the Easter eggs melted? No chance of that this year up in Norfolk, it was freezing. Lulled by weeks of London sunshine I seriously under packed and I suspect Eve and Leah’s abiding memory of Easter 2012 will be that I didn’t bring enough socks.

Besides organising the best Easter egg hunt ever in her lovely garden, Grandma also serves Rice Krispies in individual boxes for breakfast, this is the epitome of culinary sophistication for Eve and Leah.

Eve and Grandma sharing a moment.

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birthday dad

Mr Rush Hour celebrated his birthday this week. Usually it’s a tradition of ours to both take the day off work and escape into town for an exhibition and swanky lunch sans the children. Except this year Mr Rush Hour’s birthday fell in the Easter school holidays so Eve and Leah joined in too. They were exceptionally good (the hot chocolate bribe still works) in the Ben Nicholson and Mondrian exhibition at the Courtauld, which is really excellent and although not in any way child friendly is only two small rooms, so do-able with even the whiniest of small children.

A sunshiny picnic lunch in St James’ Park  pleased everyone

Then later on we took the girls out with us to dinner. They were very, very excited about this which was sweet but the words ‘romantic’ and ‘relaxing’ could not be used to describe the experience. Then again after two martinis we were numb to their naughtiness!

Happy birthday my love x

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The joy of five

Have I mentioned recently how much I am loving the girls being five? It’s the sweetest and most interesting age so far. 0-1 is still a sleep deprived, anxiety filled blur, 1-2 had more sleep but not much less anxiety (two mobile babies was like having two Capuchin monkeys), 2-3 was the nightmare that was potty training, 3-4 was the age of the tantrum, but five is almost always delightful. My top three favourites right now are:

1. they are bestest, best friends
2. they are very funny and I love that they never, ever talk in clichés (“my fingers are sparking Daddy“, Leah with cold hands)
3. they are turning into kind, caring people with the morals of an Enid Blyton character in Mallory Towers. House merit points and their ranking for Star of the Week in school rule their world.

A few days ago I was flicking through their baby photos and found this, taken when they were a month old.  At the time I had a notion to pose them every month with the bears to show their growth, but being almost deranged with sleep deprivation back then, never did.  Five years late I had them lie on the floor with the same bears. They were adorable as tiny babies and I’ll treasure this photo forever, but now is even better.

This morning we met a woman who has eighteen year old twin girls. I asked her nervously what having teenage girl twins was like. She looked me in the eye and said ominously, “two can plan and then egg each other on to execute that plan, just remember that. They can plan.

 Which just made me appreciate the simple joy of five even more.

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The Great East Dulwich Bake Off

Eve and Leah entered their first ever competition today with their healthy take (well let’s be honest, mine really, they can’t even say glycaemic index, let alone give a stuff about it) on blueberry muffins. And here they are,

They spent the morning writing and decorating the recipe and baking the muffins. Then we had an anxious wait for the results

Not to mention the stress of keeping two excited five year olds quiet and still in a vintage clothes and furniture emporium. A display case of cocktail glasses and coffee cups very nearly overbalanced

At last the results were announced. Eve and Leah didn’t win first or second prize but they did get a runner up prize. Here they are with the judges, Palmerston Chef Jamie Younger at the top and Jilly Goolden of ‘Britain’s Best Dish’ fame. At this point Leah just had to sample her blueberry muffin!

It was great fun, all in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society, and we’ll definitely enter again next year.

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This week the girls came home with very graphic letters about an outbreak of headlice in their class and careful instructions about how to use a delousing comb. I’ve been scratching ever since but have yet to buy the actual comb and check if they do in fact have headlice. In the meantime here’s a photo of some entirely different knits. I do love it when my Mum sends a parcel of home knits, especially when they are in such gorgeous Hockney colours as these. The big hats might be especially useful although then we will have nits in our knits! Better stop now as I’m itching too much just thinking about it.

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World Book Day

There was much excitement this morning as school uniforms were abandoned for World Book Day celebrations and Eve and Leah were allowed to go to school dressed as  characters from a favourite book. There was a carnival atmosphere at breakfast club and I left Dorothy and Frog eating Rice Krispies with  Pippi Longstocking and Tintin.

Here’s another photo because you can’t quite see Leah’s frog eyes in the one above!

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