Tuesday, May 31, 2011

someone, please?

Somebody please get married wearing this, yes? 
  And maybe you would like to do it here
 And have these guys cater it? 
And these guys play at it? 
And Sophie will do the flowers? Yes? That would be nice. 
And maybe we could photograph it? 
It would be lovely. 

Pinky swear.

* photo of the dress via ASOS

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Weekly.

It's Sunday morning, the babies are asleep, Nye is asleep, I am sitting at my desk, panicking. There is no smell of bagels or steam from freshly made coffee, just the hum of my hard drive and the sweet scent of anxiety. Oh and the growling of my stomach for an ikea biscuit does not a breakfast make. But there's So. Much. Work. To. Do.  I'm on top of it really. Sort of. I think. Probably. And yet here I am, editing wedding photos at 8.30 on a Sunday morning. 
This week Ella has mostly been growing teeth (two at once, the girl's hardcore), learning to bounce, not sleeping, screeching quite a bit and making odd noises with her tongue. She has also been doing solid poo. Only someone who has stood at a changing table, immobilised by the dilemma 'do I wipe the liquid shit off my head or my daughter's first?' can appreciate the beauty of a solid poo. 
Amelia has been mostly just hanging (she doesn't bounce), splashing, rolling and learning to eat. It seems all I needed to do was blog about how she wouldn't eat at all.  Oh, and the night after I wrote this? Slept all night.

Nye has mostly been adjusting to a life where finishing fixing up the flat isn't his number one priority. As such he has moved into the living room cupboard where he has set himself up a desk, two computer screens and has tacked a Sisters of Mercy poster to the filing cabinet. Yes, that's right, my husband has a Man Cave. 
Aside from panicking (see above) I have been  mostly sniffing the babies. And rubbing my face against their heads, which are getting fluffier.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


'When I first started telling people that Aiden and I would be moving to Aberdeen the most encouraging response I got was from our Swedish philosopher friend who informed me that I would love living in Aberdeen because being there felt like being inside a black and white picture. 

Another man told me that if I wanted to know what Aberdeen was like I should go into a shower, paint it grey, turn the tap on cold and just stand there with my clothes on, "...That's Aberdeen" he said matter-of-factly.'

Aberdeen.  We've been there once. We did not love it. 
It didn't come as much of a surprise, no one who has grown up in Scotland expects to love Aberdeen. Very few people even expect to like Aberdeen.  Aberdeen is grey, it's wet and it's full of people who work in the oil industry. Who are universally acknowledged to have no souls.  My oldest friend, Dancing Girl, calls it Aberdoom. We thought that was just her being Dancing Girl (she lives in the West End. Once when she was looking for a new flat I suggested she try the looking south of the river, she laughed at me. I WAS BEING SERIOUS) and we went to Aberdeen with an open mind. We rented a sweet flat over looking the docks, we went to a nice wedding where there was even a rabbit and then we went to the cinema to see the worst film ever made, and then we left. As fast as we could. It's not just that Aberdeen is grey, it's GREY. Seriously, add saturation to Lauren's (gorgeous) photos of it and the only thing that would change would be the colour of the cars. And it smells funny. And perhaps this was just the fact that we were in town on a Friday night, but it felt kind of menacinng. There was tension in the air. The kind of tension you get when boatloads of over-paid young men who have been at sea for four months in a big metal container with hundreds of other over-paid young men are poured out into the streets and allowed into bars to spend all of that (over)pay before they climb back into their container and head out to sea again.
And yet.  Lauren is starting to like it.  So maybe it's not all bad?  Google tells me that 171 people came here from Aberdeen last month, I dunno but maybe some of you tell me what there is to love about Aberdeen?

 *photos by Lauren McGlynn. A Texan in Aberdeen (really.) 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Of course.

Saturday afternoon: 
C: "Ammie ate!  Lots!  All I needed to do was blog about how she refuses to eat, at all, ever." 
N: "Maybe tomorrow you could blog about how she won't sleep after 3am? 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Scenes from Scottish weddings

C: 'Sometimes your photos of the groom getting something out of his sporran look a lot like photos of the groom fiddling with himself.' 
N: 'Sometimes they are.'

More photos of grooms fiddling with themselves here. (Not really. Well maybe.  A little bit.  Sometimes.)  

 * photo by Nye. 



The boy is a very clever boy and loves boats. Unfortunately he's also a very silly boy and hates cushions. 
Otherwise I would be buying this for him right now. 

*image courtesy of Fine Little Day.  

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The week past, from Saturday morning

It's Saturday morning, the babies are asleep, Nye is asleep, the washing machine is running, the kettle is boiling and the smell of cinnamon bagels drifts from the toaster.  A week ago we were moving to London (or maybe Brighton) at the end of the year, now we're not.  

I hadn't talked about it here but in February Nye and I decided we were going to move south, that we were going to be brave and uproot everything and carry it all with us and live our lives for a little while at least in a city that has whispered sweet words of enticement to us for years. We were going to leave the city that we Don't Love. We were going to have A Great Adventure.   
Now we're not.   
Our roof is sick and it needs fixed and we live in a communal building and it could take many years and thousands of monies to make it well again and in the meantime no one will buy a flat with a sick roof so we can't move.  So we're stuck.  In many ways it's a good thing (sort of.) We're tired, we just had babies, before that we spent a long time trying to make babies, and starting a business, and renovating a flat. Before that there were family upheavals and fights with educational establishments. Before that we hadn't met.  It would do us no harm at all to Just Be for a while.  The problem (apart from the thousands of monies, much mess and the fact that we don't really want to live here) is that we don't know how to Just Be. We've never Just Been. We've always (see above) had a project/battle to occupy/consume us.  But it's something that we need to learn and so begins Operation Just Be (The No Project Project) (subtitle thanks to Meg who has a way for noticing and illuminating the ridiculousness.)

In the last week Amelia has learned to talk. She says 'ahbahbahbah' 'adahdahdah' and 'ahgahgahgah'.  She has also discovered that she has volume control (thank the good lord) and it's more than a little hilarious when she says 'AHBAHBAHBAH ahbahabahbah AHBABAHBAHB ahbahbahbabah AHBABBAHBAH.' Just to practice.  Her new-found vocal skills seem to have released some of her frustration with the world.  Much like with the rolling, Ella did the whole talking thing a couple of months ago, for a couple of days, and has been pretty quiet ever since.  She's now fully occupied with eating.  That girl can eat moosh faster than we can get it in her and her enthusiasm kills me dead.  Sitting in her little seat on the table she spots the spoon, lunges for it, often misses entirely poking herself in the eye or cheek, then tries again. There's no point in me trying to guide the spoon to her mouth as her lunging for a moving object as opposed to a still one only increases the risk that she is going to swallow the spoon too.   

Amelia will not be fed.  Nuh uh, no way, not ever.  She sees the spoon coming and clamps her mouth shut so tight ain't nothing getting in there.  But.  Give her the spoon herself and she will put it straight in her mouth. Well not straight in her mouth, and therein lies the problem.  The process goes something like this: mouth open, spoon in ear. Mouth still open, spoon in eye.  Mouth open, spoon brandished through the air. Mouth open, spoon finally in mouth. By which point there is carrot in her ear, on her eyebrow, splattered across the walls and the baby is sucking on an empty spoon.  It's entertaining but I'm not sure how long she can last on milk and an empty spoon. Nye thinks that her determination to do it herself is a good thing. I'm going to remind him of this when she's 4 and we're running late for school and she wants to put her shoes on BY HERSELF DADDY.  

* Ammie, Ammie, Ella. For those of you who STILL can't tell the difference.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Babies are people too....

"Starting a relationship with your children is just like starting a relationship with anyone else (except it's a shitload harder to get out of if you decide you want to bail)."

Remember when I told you about Hank and Lucy? One of my favouritest blogs by two of my favouritest people? Celia and Jamie asked me to write about something no one told me about motherhood so today I'm over there, talking about babies and what it's like getting to know them.  I would like it if you would maybe go and read. And maybe also read the rest of the Guest Mom series. Especially maybe Lisa's post. Thank you.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

small bear

just before the babies were born we bought a tiny video camera. We used it intermittently through the first 12 weeks. And then we didn't.  Last night we finally dug it out and sat and watched all the tiny little snippets of our first few weeks together, and Oh. My. God.  TWO BABIES. 

At the time we were so overwhelmed but now we can see that they were just Amelia and Ella. Just as they are now but smaller, more confused, but essentially the same.  Ella watches while Ammie vents her frustration the only way she knows how, by crying and waving her tiny little hands around.  And then she stops and frowns.  My girl. 

And a lot of the time they sleep.  This is my favourite.  It's my bear, my Ella bear, asleep. And around the world hearts explode. 

(nothing happens. If you're waiting for something to happen, it doesn't. It's just 29 seconds of sleeping bear.)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday morning

It's Saturday and we don't have a wedding to go to. I'm tired and the babies have a cold and turning six months seems to have marked some sort of transition from exhausting into BLOODY exhausting. Ammie has discovered rolling. And it sucks. After thirty seconds of being held or of sitting in the swing or the pushchair she starts squirming to be put down. Five seconds after she is put down on her back she has rolled over onto her face. Ten seconds after that she screams and screams and screams until we turn her back over. And then we repeat. And repeat and repeat and repeat. At first I thought she was pissed off to be on her stomach but she's perfectly capable of turning herself back over. I think she's just pissed off not to be crawling.
That kid is so physical, so desperate to be on the move, so bored to be sitting still. And so. damn. strong. Dressing her is not unlike trying to put clothes on a springer spaniel (there's a reason you see very few springer spaniels in clothes) and has started to involve the use of elbows to pin her down. I don't really understand it. I'm not physical. At all. I like to look and touch and taste and smell but physical activity? Nuh huh. In my head is where it's at. Which isn't to suggest that I'm thinking anything very clever: often I will disappear mentally, I will be at the table or sitting by Nye in the car and I will be staring into the middle distance and it's been 5 minutes since I've said anything. Nye looks concerned,

'what are you thinking about?'


'really? You've been quiet for a long time. It looked like you were having a difficult thought.'

'I wasn't.'

I think Ella might be kind of similar. She lives in her head. She will happily spend 20 minutes examining her toes or a wooden spoon or the pattern on her sleeve before she looks up as if just remembering that there are other things in the world than her toes or her spoon and gives the biggest, happiest grin ever. She's not interested in rolling over. It's not that she can't, she can, we've seen her. One day, while Ammie was determinedly trying to move from back to front as she had been for a week, Ella just did it. Just rolled over, no practising. She lifted her head up, looked around, smiled then rolled back over. And that was that. A week later Amelia managed it too and she's been doing it every 30 seconds ever since.

*photo of Brighton, just because.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Rainbow Layers

Fuck macarons, this is the prettiest cake I've ever seen. 

beauty, brilliance and bollocks.

She didn't warn me. Cate didn't warn me that if I listened to Hollie McNish while I was making dinner I would find myself standing still, bent over the green beans, pasta boiling over, heart bursting in my chest. She told me I would find it funny but she didn't tell me that I would have to remind myself to breath, not because laughter was choking me but because for a few moments truth was laid bare in front of me and it was overwhelming. She didn't tell me I would have to stop half way through Hollie's spoken word album Push Kick, because sometimes there's only so much truth you can handle while you're making dinner. 

Push Kick is 'a journey through the beauty, brilliance and bollocks of having a baby' but even if you have no interest in babies at all I think you might like it.  Hollie is a 'spoke word artist' but that's just fancy-talk for 'poetry read aloud. Really good poetry that people who've never been into poetry will enjoy.' You can listen to it here, you can even download it for free, but if you choose to pay for it (any amount you wish) Hollie will donate the money to a charity that educates girls worldwide.


Monday, May 09, 2011

This camera phone thing.









{peaches and creams}

{mama + bubbie}

{blue monkey}




{blue eyes}

Like I said in my update to my last post, I got myself my very first camera phone last month. I'm inordinately in love with it. Yes I'm a photographer, yes I have big fancy cameras that cost A Lot Of Money and yes I shouldn't really love crappy, small, clich├ęd vintage-effect jpegs, but I do.  Snapping away over the last month has satisfied me in a way that taking photos with my big ole' SLR hasn't done for years. 
The phone I bought is...well....let's just say it's no iphone.  The camera's pretty rubbish.  But I downloaded an app called Retro Camera which I love. It has 5 different camera options and makes pretty decent little pictures.  I particularly love the polandroid and pinhole features.  Sure they don't quite have that magic something that actual polaroid or pinhole pics do but equally they don't cost me £1.50 each or take hours to set up and process.  So I'm sold.  

Legal Shiz: Whoever made Retro Phone app isn't paying me for this post.  No one ever pays me for posts and I will never accept payment or products in return for writing posts.  However I have absolutely no issues with accepting thank you gifts. Just saying.  

(the subjects: ella, ella, ella, ella, ammie, ammie, ammie, ammie, ammie, ammie + ella, ella.) 

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Six months.

Six months old.  Today.  Six months. 

That's half a year.  HALF A YEAR. 

I don't really know how that happened. Much like I don't really know how we had no babies and now we have twins. Life is weird like that. 

There are so many things that I haven't told you yet.  I haven't told you about when they were born, about how I was induced, fell asleep, woke up 8 hours later to pee and discovered I was having a baby RIGHT THEN. How Ella popped out before I'd even realised I was in labour.  How 2 hours and 3 litres of blood (all over the walls) later and with 12 people standing watching, Amelia was encouraged out butt-first. How she was a little floppy and distinctly blue and was sent to live in a plastic tub for 5 days.  How those 5 days that I spent in hospital were the worst ever.

I haven't told you about the seven cirlces of hell that is trying to breastfeed twins or how my bones have changed shape. I haven't told you about how we cope day to day with two babies and one business and how routine is the absolute, unequivicol key. I haven't told you about how Nye does so much more than his fair share and how I haven't had to stay up through the night once since they were 5 days old because my husband decided the day that we got home that that was his job.

I haven't told you about Ella and Amelia.  That they are so very different. That by some twist of fate we have found ourselves with one baby that looks just like me and another that is quite definitely a small Nye creature. That we call them Ellapod and Ammiechoo. That one tries ever so hard at everything, that life seems to come a whole lot easier to the other. That already they are my best people in the world. ever.

But I will.  One day. 
In the meantime, six months.  Thank you for being there.  

* yes, there are a whole lot of shitty camera-phone pictures going on on this blog these days. You're going to have to get over that. I have two babies and no time.
* for those who asked, the photo take with 'polandroid' on the retro camera app. I recently got my first camera phone and I'm So. Effing. Excited by it. I tried a few androidy camera apps and Retro Camera was by far the best one. They are not paying me to say this. But I'm open to gifts. Just saying.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

a mother's prayer

A Mother's Prayer

First, Lord: No tattoos. May neither Chinese symbol for truth nor Winnie-the-Pooh holding the FSU logo stain her tender haunches.
May she be beautiful but not damaged, for it’s the damage that draws the creepy soccer coach’s eye, not the beauty. When the crystal meth is offered may she remember the parents who cut her grapes in half and stick with beer.
Guide her, protect her:
when crossing the street, stepping onto boats, swimming in the ocean, swimming in pools, walking near pools, standing on the subway platform, crossing 86th Street, stepping off of boats, using mall restrooms, getting on and off escalators, driving on country roads while arguing, leaning on large windows, walking in parking lots, riding Ferris wheels, roller-coasters, log flumes, or anything called “Hell Drop,” “Tower of Torture,” or “The Death Spiral Rock ‘N Zero G Roll featuring Aerosmith,” and standing on any kind of balcony ever, anywhere, at any age.

Lead her away from acting but not all the way to finance. Something where she can make her own hours but still feel intellectually fulfilled and get outside sometimes and not have to wear high heels.
What would that be, Lord? Architecture? Midwifery? Golf course design? I’m asking You, because if I knew, I’d be doing it, Youdammit.

May she play the drums to the fiery rhythm of her own heart with the sinewy strength of her own arms, so she need Not Lie With Drummers.

Grant her a Rough Patch from twelve to seventeen. Let her draw horses and be interested in Barbies for much too long, For childhood is short – a tiger flower blooming magenta for one day – And adulthood is long and dry-humping in cars will wait. 
O Lord, break the Internet forever, that she may be spared the misspelled invective of her peers and the online marketing campaign for Rape Hostel V: Girls Just Wanna Get Stabbed.

And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, for I will not have that shit. I will not have it.

And should she choose to be a mother one day, be my eyes, Lord, that I may see her, lying on a blanket on the floor at 4:50 A.M., all-at-once exhausted, bored, and in love with the little creature whose poop is leaking up its back.
“My mother did this for me once,” she will realize as she cleans feces off her baby’s neck. “My mother did this for me.” And the delayed gratitude will wash over her as it does each generation and she will make a mental note to call me. And she will forget. But I’ll know, because I peeped it with Your God eyes.

by Tina Fey Via figs and feathers
* me and Widdle, 5 hours old. By Nye.