Sunday 17th May
Despite falling asleep knackered half an hour earlier than normal, the kid was up at 1.30am and took a while to go back to sleep, though when she woke up again at 6am she came into my bed and we both slept til around 8.30am which was nice. After breakfast we got in the car and went back to Port Meadow, this time to meet a couple of friends from London who haven’t left the city since lockdown began. Was SO lovely to see them and go for a socially-distanced walk (we stayed 2m apart the whole time). It felt so normal to finally be able to see friends again, and go for walks etc.
It was a lovely day, and we got to see all the horses and cows up close this time which the kid loved.
Back home for lunch, but I had a killer headache again so went to lie down for a bit. Couldn’t sleep so just lay there for a while and then came back down. I can’t tell if these headaches are from stress, tiredness, or my sinuses as my hayfever has been really bad this year. Or maybe because I often clench my jaw at night and grind my teeth – who knows, but it’s annoying.
Mum kindly took the kid out for a walk and left me to chill out for a bit, and I made some more bread (I am VERY pleased with this one – my breadwanker status is getting worse….).
Sunday 10th May
Apart from being up briefly at 2am (she went back down very quickly) the kid actually slept through in her own bed until 7.15am. Which meant that for the first time in ages I woke up naturally to the birdsong outside, instead of being punched in the boobs. It’s amazing how quickly you can start to appreciate something as simple as waking up in a normal manner.
It was hot last night, so I slept with the windows open, which meant apart from the bright morning light at 5am, I also heard the 2am shouters further up my street, the 5am birds and the 6am ducks that my neighbours keep. And the 3am cats caterwauling, which sounds a lot like my kid screaming for me, so my body was up and halfway down the stairs before my brain realised it was coming from outside and I could just go back to bed. Continue reading
In amongst all the grim lockdown drama, here are a few more little snippets of things that have happened over the last few months, odd little anecdotes from our lives. Spoiler alert – these are mostly boring stories about some adorable thing my precious baby girl did – I’m aware that when most parents get in the zone droning on about their little darlings, most people reach for the sick bag or nod politely while fantasising about pulling the fire alarm to make it stop. In other words, these anecdotes will be mediocre at best, and you have been warned – read on at your own risk.
Here they are, in no particular order:
Sunday 3rd May
Slept ok last night though the kid woke up and screamed in my face and kicked me at 7am to wake me up which was unpleasant. She also had a nappy mishap last night so I had to strip down the bed at 10.30pm and change all the sheets but she barely woke up while I changed her. I’ve woken up with another headache this morning. Feels like I’ve had a low-level headache for days.
Mixed morning – the kid played happily with her cars for a bit, and read some books to herself. Then she screamed and melted down for a while. I made the mistake of digging out her Tiger Trunki suitcase thinking it would be a fun new thing to play with, as she can put things in it and ride it around. She packed with with toys, carried it to the front door and said “Put it in the car! Go Grandma’s house!” which of course I had to say we were not doing. Hence more meltdowns. Eventually we compromised and took the tiger suitcase for a walk down the street. It’s incredibly noisy and not really designed for outside, so I’m pretty sure it will have woken up and annoyed all my neighbours, but nevermind.
Overall the day was tough. The kid was knackered and kept melting down all day. I realised I was also knackered and struggling to play with her – I am glued to my phone or my laptop at all times, desperate to interact with the rest of the world, or to escape from the monotony and boredom, so I am constantly reading the news, checking social media, texting people, and am just too bored and tired to play incredibly dull toddler games over and over. The kid has shouted at me several times to put my phone down, which is telling. I wish I could, but haven’t got the energy or patience to sit and do nothing or play with her. I’m tired and bored and missing all the social interaction and I need to be occupied (by my phone). Ironically a couple of friends texted me today to see if I wanted a chat, but was too knackered to talk to anyone. Can’t work up the energy and don’t have anything at all to say, though I did have brief calls with my mum and my dad in the morning to say a quick hello
I made some more bread dough for tomorrow. I’m looking forward to my remote sourdough class on Thursday. I’ve fed my yeast starter and it’s bubbling away nicely in the fridge. Had some lovely feedback on my pottery catalogue and have sold a lot of pieces to friends already which is nice (I haven’t made it public yet as I wanted my friends to have a chance to buy things first if they wanted, and frankly I’d rather have stuff that I’ve made go to friends instead of strangers. It was hard enough to decide what to sell in the first place, as my instinct is to keep it all, so knowing it’s gone to people that I love really helps…).
My hayfever this year has been really crazy – far worse than normal, with constant running nose and sneezing. I suspect it’s the fact that no-one is cutting back all the verges and parks so the grass and wildflowers are rampant, which is lovely but annoying if you get hayfever! We are seeing so many butterflies that I’ve downloaded an app to start learning how to identify them, which is adding a bit of extra fun to our walks. Continue reading
Sunday 26th April
Feeling tired and sluggish again this morning. Kid was up at 2.30am-3am and again around 5ish, and then got up at 6.30am, so it was quite a broken night. Had a nice video call with the family and then we walked up to the garage to get more milk. Started another batch of dough off to rise that we’ll cook tomorrow, though my waistline is not loving the new addiction to bread… Might take half a loaf over to the neighbours tomorrow so we’ve only got half a loaf to eat…
Swept the floors, had lunch and then went off for another mega-long walk as the weather is so lovely and it’s due to rain next week.
This time we went down another new path and discovered an amazing local nature reserve that I had no idea was there! It was beautiful, and I reckon the kid walked nearly 4km! She was walking for almost 2 hours straight which is astonishing. One really positive thing about this lockdown is that she is getting much better at walking further and further distances and we have pretty much given up using the buggy now that she’s not napping anyway. I am really enjoying discovering all these amazing spaces right on our doorstep. If there hadn’t been a lockdown I’m not sure I would have ever discovered them!
Sunday 19th April
Forgot to mention that we finally started getting post again on Friday, after nearly two weeks without, though still no letter from Boris as yet.
Today we are trying bread attempt number 2: A packet of ready-mixed bread dough from the shop (tomato and cheese flavour) that you just add water to. They ended up spreading out but not rising upwards much, so we got some very wide, flat rolls, but these ones were much lighter and fluffier than the last attempt!
The weather is lovely and sunny again so we managed a little bike ride round the park this morning and another nice walk in the afternoon up to the golf course. It was definitely busier today – we saw a lot more people out for walks, not sure if it was the nice weather or the fact that it’s a Sunday or a bit of both. But everyone was very good about distancing and staying well away from each other. By the time we got home I realised I had walked 6km today (though she did some of that on her bike) – which is probably more than we’ve done for a week! We are both tired out, and hopefully will sleep well. Continue reading
Sunday 12th April (Easter Sunday)
After crashing out utterly exhausted at 9.30pm last night, the kid was up at 1am and took an hour to get her back to sleep. Crept back up to my bedroom at 2am and 15mins later she woke up again and started screaming so I caved and just brought her into my bed, but we were both restless and slept very little the rest of the night. Woke up knackered again, but some good news – my lovely neighbour had her baby yesterday!
I managed to place a few easter chocolates around the living room and garden before I went to bed last night so we started off the morning hunting down chocolates (with a lot of help and pointing from mummy!) followed by the inevitable argument about how many she was allowed to eat for breakfast and by 9am a full scale sugar crash. We had a nice group call with some family and then a little bike ride round the park, and thankfully after that we both napped which helped a lot.
In the afternoon we ate lunch (and some more chocolate!), bounced around on the trampoline a bit, and called a couple of friends to say hello, and then dug out the paddling pool and drove it over to a friend’s house, as she wanted one for her daughter and we haven’t got space for ours now that we have the trampoline in the garden anyway, so I dropped it off for them to use (hoping it doesn’t have a puncture!).
Been watching the live stream of Jesus Christ Superstar on youtube this weekend, and it’s really good. Plus Mary Magdalen’s theme song is my perfect anthem for this lockdown – it’s catchy and has exactly the right message – “Try not to get worried, try not to turn on to problems that upset you. Don’t you know everything’s alright, yes everything’s fine, and we want you to sleep well tonight….”
Went to bed at 10.20pm so the kid decided to wake up at 10.30pm. Got back into bed at 11pm and the kid woke up again at 2am. Back into my bed again, but might need a new strategy tomorrow night – maybe I’ll move back downstairs again or sleep in her room for a bit and see if that helps. I just can’t be bothered with all the stumbling up and down stairs half asleep at the moment, much as I have been enjoying sleeping in my big comfy bed again.
This is adapted from my friend’s recipe, which itself was adapted from a Heston recipe, so apologies to Heston!
- Shallots (approx 5 or 6 or 250g ish), finely chopped
- 100g butter
- 150ml wine (the recipe says white, but I think red, white or sherry would all work)
- 1tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp cider or white wine vinegar
- 500ml Beef stock (you can either use fresh stock or make it up from a cube or pot)
- 2 or 3 cloves garlic (not in the original recipe but I bloody love garlic in everything), crushed or finely chopped
- 20g parsley, finely chopped (I just used a handful)
- 20g chives, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Melt the butter on a low heat and gently sweat the shallots and garlic for 10 mins or so until golden brown (you need them starting to caramelise to get the sweetness)
- Add the wine and boil until reduced by about 3/4 volume.
- Stir in the mustard and mix well before adding the beef stock
- Boil and reduce it further by about half
- Reduce the heat, and add in the herbs, lemon juice and vinegar
(Note at this point mine was tasting very sharp as I had not got much sweetness from the onions so I added a tiny bit of sugar, and then used a hand blender to zhuzz up the onions into a smooth sauce. It made it a slightly odd greyish colour but brought back all the sweetness and oniony flavour.)
At this point you can check if it needs salt or pepper, but bear in mind stock can be very salty so taste it first! You can also use cornflour to thicken it, though I think whizzing up the onions with a hand blender makes it thicker anyway so you may not need to thicken with flour.
Then all you need to do is add in any meat juices from your roast chicken/beef/lamb etc and voila! It’s the best gravy I’ve ever made, and now I have a load of little tubs in my freezer so I can have it any time I want! Yum!