Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Brooklyn, reccomendations

Brooklyn; give me your lunches, your breakfasts, your dinners and your cocktails. Give me your artisanal pickles and your small batch bourbons. Give me your pierogies and your tacos, your burgers and your tapas. Your cappuccinos and your espressos, your bagels and your doughnuts. Give me indigestion and trousers that won't close.

I have one week and I want to eat and drink the whole of Brooklyn and maybe a little of Manhattan too.

Please can you share your best of the above with me? I know Manhattan well enough but Brooklyn is a mystery to me. I'll be staying in Park Slope but I'll be willing to wander in the pursuit of gastronomic satisfaction.

That and yarn shops. Thanks.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Thoughts, doings.

Thank you for all of your comments on my (latest) post about the futility of blogging. I swear I don't just write them so I can hear you ask me not to quit. Well, not entirely.  I won't quit, I don't think I can. I've been writing here for almost seven years; longer than I've been married. I'm not saying that I'm more committed to my blog than my marriage, But . . .

(Aside; Ellipsis. Did you know that there is supposed to be a space between each dot? I did not until my mum told me recently. We can put that up there with the fact that fresh herbs can be frozen as the most ground shaking things I've learned from my mother.)

We are just back from seeing my in-laws in France. It was quiet and relaxing and the wine was SO CHEAP, which was exactly what we needed at the end of the summer. The girls spent the week butt naked and discussing boar hunting (“I would hit it with a big stick and see if that deaded it then I would wipe its bum and cut a bit off and EAT IT FOR MY DINNER.” Guess who.) and fighting with their Grandpa over the last peach. It was a real test of his love, fruit vs grandchild, happily for all concerned grandchild won.

Then we went to Glasgow for a wedding. Each time we've been there recently the sun has been shining, we've had dinner with friends and eaten brilliant food; this time at Stereo and last time at Hanoi Bike Shop, (which OMG, GET IN MY BELLY.) It wasn't like that when we lived there The city is buzzing with talk of the referendum and we were kicking ourselves for leaving before we could be a part of such an exciting time for Scotland and as everyoneelse is just starting to realise, the rest of the UK too. (I'm too tired for talking politics in any depth, but this just about sums it up. And this. Wait, and this too.)

Two weeks tomorrow I'm going to New York, all by myself. All. By. My. Self. For a whole week. A whole week all by myself. If I say it enough I might start to believe it. I've been planning it for months but it still doesn't seem real. I'm going to be guest/photographer hybrid at a friend's wedding (a photoguestrapher? A guestographer?) and I'm not sure quite how I'm going to take photographs when I'm crying all the tears. I'm staying in Brooklyn this time. I feel a post about Things to Do/Eat in Brooklyn coming on. I'll maybe limit it to one post this time, not 74 like last time we went. 

Then when I get back it will be one month until the girls turn four. Four is big. The girls are big, so I guess it kind of makes sense. I like them more now than I've ever done. I mean, I've loved them all along (obviously, but you know, the internet . . .) but they finally feel like a joy to be around. Now that they've stopped trying to kill each other (sometimes quite literally). And with that, it's time to get them out of bed. Cheerio. 

*image by Robin Edds/BuzzFeedGetty Images/Wavebreak Media Wavebreakmedia Ltd. The best Buzzfeed page that I've ever seen (Not a difficult category, if we're honest.)

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Camping in Dorset

The summer holidays are over and I'm about to wake the girls up to send them back to nursery after a looong break (six weeks? eight? thirty two? I lost count a while back). It's been a really good summer holiday actually and the return to nursery sort of sneaked up on me. I have really enjoyed spending time with the girls who are not nearly as trying as they were during the easter holiday, which nearly killed me. It helps that they've stopped trying to kill each other. For a while (about six months) we were woken every day by their fighting before they had even got out of bed and it just continued all damn day, descending every five minutes into screaming, sobbing, hitting and gouging. Thankfully they are going through a truce period and life has become a lot nicer around here. (Notice how I didn't say 'thankfully that has passed'? Mama ain't no fool.)

At the beginning of the summer we took the girls camping in Dorset. Some of you might remember our last attempt to go camping with them; 'a fiasco' would be an apt way to sum it up. This time was better. For a start we let a good two years and two months pass (HAHAHA to our plans to introduce W&P to camping young, for it to be a regular and cheap family holiday, to buying a new tent when they were a year old under the justification that 'it will get so much use'.) For another, this time we were visiting a friend who has land and on that land she has a large, semi-permanent tent with two sleeping compartments - one for each kid. Meanwhile we slept outside it in our three man tent; absolutely no trying to sleep all four of us in one space. It did feel like cheating, I'll admit it. Our friend's tent had sleeping platforms, mattresses and curtains around each bed and a kitchen area... it was far removed from our wild camping of yore. My guilt that we were 'doing it wrong' was short lived though, it dissipated the first night that we put the girls to bed at bed time and they stayed put, and slept! To our credit we didn't use the kitchen area once, we cooked all of our meals outdoors on either a camping stove or a barbecue. 'All our meals' translates to '174 burgers and 68 sausages'. It was a good week. 

The little corner of Dorset that we were staying in was pure heaven, it was England in perfection - fields, forests, rivers, farms, cliffs, beaches, tiny stone houses, villages with twisty streets, fruit farms... there were definite murmurings about leaving London and starting an orchard or a flower farm or a camp site, or pretty much anything that would let us live like this all year long and let our children grow up tanned and wild and free, like my friend Flora's beautiful, funny, wild and free kids, who live a mere handful of miles from where we stayed. A life of beaches and barbecues and axe skills and eating peas, raspberries and (in W&P's case) courgettes straight from the plant.

Here are some pictures. Sorry they're a bit shit, they're all from my phone. I took a film camera with me but the film has been added to the 10 year old pile of unprocessed rolls and goodness knows if it will ever make it to the lab. I suck at photography.