Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June Book Club

Alone in Berlin is set during World War II and centres around several characters whose lives are intertwined amongst the streets of Berlin.

Otto and his wife Anna, devastated by the loss of their son, decide to dangerously 'protest' against the Nazi regime. The book is beautifully written and poignant when understanding the influence of the narrative.

The greatest book ever written about German resistance to the Nazis. --Primo Levi

This novel is far more than a literary thriller. Fallada's vivid novel gives us the true, concentric circles of lives in a Berlin apartment block under totalitarianism. Michael Hofmann should be congratulated for bringing this work with all its immediate clarity to the English language.
--Hugo Hamilton, Financial Times

I loved it. I was captivated by the strength and stoic nature of Otto and Anna and the brutality of others. If you are a fan of The Book Thief by Markus Zusak you will probably enjoy Fallada's novel.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

5 in 60 seconds... Cities

My favourite cities/places to visit... to explore... to drink up... to know.

Paris ~ London ~ Byron Bay ~ Florence ~ Cape Town

Monday, June 20, 2011

Happy Father's Day to ROCKdad et al

   My Dad, G & A, November 2010

 Father's Day card

A's first painting.

Our Tapas feast, fit for an awesome Dad.

Here's to all the great and wonderful Dads out there- the ones who are present and involved, loving and supportive- and a special mention for those that can't physically be with their children on this day or many days.

A toast to you all!... on this day... and every day.

Tell your Dads (and partners) what they mean to you- I know I don't do it enough.

Thank you Dad... and thank you my darling... for all that BOTH of you do.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

We are all Habiba

In solidarity with Habiba, whose daughter was forcibly taken from her because she was still breastfeeding her.
My sweet Avalon is 15 months, the same age as Habiba's daughter... The thought of the separation from her (and the forced wean) is more than heartbreaking... it is sickening and a violation of her HUMAN RIGHTS.

Here is the story of Habiba's plight, taken from 'The International Day of Action for Habiba- UK', an event taking place globally today:

Habiba is a young nursing mother of a 15 months old girl. She is from Morocco and has an adverse socio-economic circumstance. Four months ago she accepted to live, along with her daughter, in a residence for young mothers in Madrid, with the hope that it will make things easier.

On the 30th of May, the Minor and Family Institute of Madrid (IMMF - Instituto Madrileño del Menor y la Familia) decided to separate the child from her mother for not accomplishing the goals of a program of psychotherapy and ‘maternal skills’ that involves abandoning extended and on demand breastfeeding, as they consider it to be ‘chaotic and prejudicial for boys and girls’. By this considerations, that lacks scientific and legal basis, mothers are forced to take a medication to dry up their milk.

According to the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, breastfeeding should be on demand and can last for as long as mom and child desire it. No legal procedure has been followed to separate this mother from her daughter, she not allowed to say goodbye to the child and she was not told where they were taking the child, provoking severe helplessness. Habiba has her breasts swollen with milk, at the verge of mastitis and with a broken heart, anguished for not being able to be with her baby. This mother has been evaluated by a psychologist and a psychiatrist and she doesn’t present any sign of mental illness or drug use or anything that justifies being the victim of such aggression.

Habiba was thrown to the streets in the same moment that her daughter was taken, she was told there was no more a place for her as the residence was for mothers and she did not have a daughter anymore. A humanitarian aid foundation has given her protection, shelter, sustenance and legal aid.

We are deeply concerned by the pain of Habiba and it hurts to imagine in what circumstances the 15 months old girl is, separated from her mom, forced to be weaned, probably without having being explained a thing.

We consider the case of Habiba to be a severe violation to Human Rights and Children’s Rights. The damage is already done, but if mother and daughter can reunite, it can be healed. For all of this, we ask you that you sign the petition to ask IMMF the immediate release of the child, to her mother and/or to send letters to the authorities that can make it happen.

You can sign the petition here: immf-give-back-habiba-s-baby

From one Mother to another x

******************************* U P D A T E *************************************

Habiba & Alma have been reunited after 22 days... Sleep well in mama's arms... and SHAME on the IMMF!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

(Jamie Oliver's) Big- Daddy's Beer Butt Chicken

G has now made this dish twice on the BBQ and both times it was a success... the chicken roasts so succulently and the meat falls straight off the bone- it is so moreish and a hit with guests. 

We have served it with corn on the cob and fresh salad. Perfect fro a summer BBQ.

I have included the recipe below, published as Jamie Oliver's recipe.


Serves 4

1 large whole chicken (approx. 1.5kg) preferably free-range or organic
1 473ml can of Budweiser or other lager

For the rub
1 heaped teaspoon of fennel seeds
1 level teaspoon cumin seeds
1 level teaspoon smoked paprika
1 heaped teaspoon brown sugar
1 level teaspoon milk chili powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
olive oil

Preheat your BBQ or oven to 200 degrees celsius/gas 6. take your chicken out of the fridge while you make your rub,. In a pestle and mortar, bash up your fennel and cumin seeds and mix with the paprika, brown sugar, chili powder, salt and pepper. Stir in about 3 tablespoons of love oil until you get a nice paste. Drizzle this rub all over the chicken, inside and out, using your hands to make sure you get it into the nooks and crannies.

Crack your beer open, have a couple of good swigs so your can is about half full, then lower your chicken's cavity on to the top of the can so it looks as though the chicken is sitting on the can. A bit undignified, I know, but trust me- it's going to be delicious.

If your using the BBQ, try to strategically move a small amount of coals to the sides rather than directly underneath the chicken, so the heat radiates around it and cooks it from all angles rather than grills it. the same principle applies to roasting.

Carefully sit the chicken on the bars of your BBQ or in a tray on the very bottom of your oven. Cook for around 1 hr 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until it's golden and delicious and the meat pulls away from the bone and the juices run clear. If this isn't the case ) all BBQ's and oven's are slightly different) just cook for a bit longer.

Once done, remove the can and loosely cover your chicken with foil and a tea towel while you get some grilled veg, salad or warm breads together- trust me, it tastes so good you won't need much else.

*recipe taken from Jamie's America by Jamie Oliver, published by the Penguin Group, 2009.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reason #274 why I should stay away from Etsy.

I am absolutely loving the i-heart-u ring from Smiling Silver Smith on Etsy.

I can assure you I do not need any more jewellery to add to my collection but sometimes a girl just needs a new  pretty.

Hopefully G-Daddy will see this post... swoon.... <3


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Red. Patent. Mary. Janes.... NOT

Ok... so this was supposed to be my new blog header but as usual, Blogger is having a 'frips out' about how many photos I upload... So... Here it is. As a post.

I realise that my pink Chuck Taylor high tops are vastly different to red patent mary janes but I thought it a cool photo (Avalon, my Mother & I)  and I wanted to include it.

I am still finding my way with this blog thing, the graphics change, the focus changes, but hey, That is me.

I want, I need, I have to have... again.

I admit I am a little obsessed with babywearing. It is one of those loves that just developed through having my daughter- like breastfeeding, if you said I would be PASSIONATE about this pre-Avalon I would have laughed in your face. 

Why do I love babywearing? Well for starters, I LOVE having Avalon close to me- she sleeps better and settles on my chest. I love having my arms free... I don't have to find the elevator when we are out and about... I feel like a I have a lighter 'load'. I would also say I put the 'unco' in uncoordinated when it comes to using a pushchair-- yes we have one, and no I haven't used it in about 8 months--- when I did I was forever getting the wheels stuck in door ways, running into people...  do just as well with a shopping trolley. It aint pretty.

Now... I also like to spend money (I know, I know) and with a wealth of carriers out there it was a hard task to decide which one to go with; wraps, soft structured, slings... We started with the babasling, then moved on to the baby bjorn (before we knew better) and then got our beloved Ergo.

Now... I really do love my Ergo. I recommend it to anyone that will listen, but hey... it is not as pretty/funky/trendy as this little beauty I stumbled upon ~

Behold the The Rebel by Rose & Rebellion. Isn't it lovely??

I saw a babywearing Dad in Guildford when Avalon was about 7 months old and he was sporting this carrier but in the Jolly Roger. I had to stop him and ask where he had got it! Carriers as awesome as this, like the Ergo are not found in stores (and will probably explain why new parents gravitate toward the baby bjorn.)

Can I justify a new carrier... mmmm... probably not. But I will covet this beauty from affair and keep in my mind if we have any more kiddies.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

awesome because... 2

Frank the Bunny Coffee Art from Fremont Cafe, Seattle WA.

I would be chuffed to look down and see this on my latte.


14 months.

14 months ❤

You say "Oh no" & "Oh Dear"... you pull funny faces for a laugh... pepper the cat in kisses... Read your books to yourself... Sing when you should be sleeping... Think your chair is a toy and climb up and down and up again... You ran at Dad and I for a hug, throwing your arms enthusiastically around our necks and laying your head on our shoulders... You love your goat toy, your wooden whistle, Gary the monkey and Stanford Monkey--- you adore Mickey Mouse, Jake & The Neverland Pirates, Handy Manny and of course, Peppa Pig. You help Daddy with the gardening, playing with the watering can and your bucket. The swing is your favourite and you go higher and higher with an enthusiastic 'Woah.' You scramble for the stairs if we leave the gate open- I turned my back and you were all the way to the top! Giving me a cheeky grin and beaming with pride... You LOVE to be outside.


May Book Club

Jack is five. He lives with his Ma. They live in a single, locked room. They don’t have the key.

Jack and Ma are prisoners.

'Beautifully written, this moving and ultimately uplifting novel is Donoghue's masterpiece.'
--Gay Community News

'Emma Donoghue's bestseller pulses with fierce intelligence as much as powerful emotion . . . Room seeks and finds a common truth, about the private worlds of language and feeling that we all inhabit.' --Independent

I LOVED this book. I have started back at Book Club with a few women from my work and this was the first book for our year.
Written from the perspective of Jack who is 5 years old, it portrays the innocence of a child and how different the world is from their perspective, so literal and in this case, his world is 'Room.'

On a personal note, I also loved the relationship between Ma and Jack- so natural and survivalist. It reminded me of this quote by Jennifer Coias:

"In all my time and effort spent researching the best ways to mother, I have come full circle to realize that in almost all cases, the best choices for the health of children and mothers are the ones you would make if stranded on a deserted island and forced to follow your instincts. Trust birth. Breastfeed. Keep your baby whole. Sleep by your baby. Wear your baby. Communicate with your baby. Listen and respond to your baby's cues and cries. "

If this was the kind of blog that rated books (it isn't!) I would give this 4 stars out of 5.

A dose of life...

The last two weeks have been lovely having Grant at home.

I toddle off to work two days a week and feel very calm and reassured that Avalon is with her Dad. Naturally I do not trust anyone as much as I do him so it puts my mind at great ease to know they are spending the day together. Avalon absolutely adores her father and I feel so content seeing them together; playing, cuddling, making dinner, being couch potatoes. I listen to her sing as he puts her to bed. I have said it many a time how grateful I am for the sort of father (and husband) Grant is. He has all the attributes of a perfect partner and for that I am always grateful.

Our days with Grant at home have been filled with trips out and about in our local area. Surrey and Hampshire has such beautiful countryside that we love nothing more than a day in the fresh air, walking, feeding the ducks and seeing what the south-east has to offer. In the last week we have visited both Winkworth Aboretum and Farnham Scultpure Park. Cream teas enjoyed at both. We had hoped to go away but with my friend due her baby any time we are at home.

At the same time I have found myself a little overwhelmed with commitments I have made.
I am coming up to my first homebirth meeting for the NCT, my very good friend is due to give birth any day so am on call to attend that, I have continually been slack with helping my friend with her birth choices website/business venture, I have parcels to send, letters to write, emails to type and so on. I have the opportunity to be part of a network in the local area of doulas, midwives, and alternative therapists (I cannot put a name to it at this point but it is VERY exciting stuff.) Another friend of mine has given birth last week to a beautiful girl at home and has struggled with breastfeeding. I have been to see her twice in the hope to offer my support. My attendance at La Leche League meetings, baby group, sling meets and the natural parenting group have fallen to the wayside in the past 2 to 3 weeks. I have found myself totally disorganised, feeling tired and also just wanting to seclude myself with my little family. I am working on my time management and learn that 'No' is not a dirty word. I create these problems myself. I have all of this in the back of my mind-- needing 25 hours in each day and yet, I feel so in limbo with what to do as we wait patiently to hear whether Grant will have a job offer.

He traveled to San Francisco to meet with a company 2 weeks ago and so far so good. This one company has been close to a 6 week process/interview and I have my fingers crossed that maybe, just maybe, we will have some clarification of where we might be within the next few months.We are at a crossroads with this job-- if Grant is given an offer, if it is what he wants (salary, opportunity) we could possibly be moving... which would leave me in limbo with my job? the homebirth role? My doula work/studies? This Libran is rubbish at making decisions. We have been thrown a curve ball and assumed there would be little disturbance to our day to day life with the role (to some degree)... but...  a big shake up may be in the works (cryptic I know-- but I cannot say more for now.)