Follow up: March’s Amusement

March was a big month; tutorialtastic closed, I nearly had a mental breakdown because of work pressure & whilst driving, I gave way to a sofa for the very first time. However, it was going back over Easily Amused that struck a chord with me most today, purely because Isabel hasn’t changed at all.

Today, for example, we were driving back from seeing my niece & nephew (and their very pregnant mum) and Isabel started laughing…

Me: “What are you laughing at darling?”
Isabel: “The trees!”
Me: “Are they funny?”
Isabel: “Yes [giggling]”
Me: “Are you crazy, Izzy?”
Isabel: “YES! [more giggling]”

And then this evening, completely randomly and unrelated to nothing that was happening at the time she pokes Karl and says “Daddy’s got his willy on!”

I just … yeah. There isn’t a day goes by where I don’t laugh at something she’s said, or something she’s done. She’s insane. No idea who she gets it from, Karl and I are completely normal. Ish.

Follow up: February’s Move to WordPress (Again)

In February, I made the decision to move back to WordPress after over two years of using my own blog system / Habari. It was a combination of lack of time to keep things secure (compared to WordPress which has single-click upgrade) and the need to have somewhere I could quickly “just write” without juggling maintenance + toddler.

So anyway, follow-up. How do I feel about it now? Great decision, looking back. Don’t get me wrong, I miss Habari. It was quirky, fast and simple; a well-coded system. The path which WordPress is taking though is fascinating. It would be no exaggeration to say that WordPress stuff has formed the bulk of my work for clients this year, and I have had the opportunity to learn/try out so many awesome things.

One project I’m currently bringing to completion is the migration of an existing e-commerce store to a WordPress backend, using custom post types to power the product section and custom taxonomies to tag/categorise products. This tagging, and the power of WordPress’ built-in queries/functions, has allowed me to create a massive bespoke faceted navigation (think Amazon where you drill down the options on the side … Shoes > Size 7 > Brown > etc) in just a few hundred lines of code.

How is this related to my blog? Well, I’m excited by it, and I don’t get excited by code that often any more. :P I can’t wait until the project is live and I have the time to share some of the neat stuff I’ve written / what WP can do & improve THIS site too. Watch this space…

Weird Dream of School ‘Chums’

And by chums I totally mean the assholes that tormented me for 5 years.

I wasn’t a “popular kid” at school (I know you’re not surprised by this). I was different before it was cool to be different. Short boyish haircut, knackered old Doc Martins, purple tights and mismatched socks. I didn’t listen to the “in” music, or watch the “in” TV shows. Nerdy and smart but with a big gob and the ability (and willingness?) to stand up for myself. Didn’t let any fucker push me around, but you know, I think that just made things worse.

Anyway, I had a bit of a weird dream last night in which me, and many from my year at school, were doing a weird quiz thing in a huge gym/assembly room (stand on this side of the room if you think X, move over here if you think Y … I don’t know). Someone got in my face so I put her up the wall and suggested she back off before I did something we might both regret. (Incidentally, this actually happened, but with a different girl in a different place and for a different reason. It worked, though.)

Yeah. I’m not sure why I’m writing this down … I guess I just thought that at the grand old age of not-quite-26, that I wouldn’t give school a second thought now. Pregnancy makes you dream strange things.

Follow up: January’s Separation Anxiety

In January, I talked about Isabel’s (normal) separation anxiety and how that impacted upon her start to nursery. I was worried about how she would adapt to being cared for primarily one-on-one to a) having to share a carer and b) not have free access to the boob.

She settled quicker than I anticipated and seemed to enjoy ‘Baby Room 1’. In February, they moved her up to the next room with the slightly older babies. This transition was fairly smooth, because the leader of ‘Baby Room 2’ was someone Isabel had been fixated on her since her first morning. The trouble came towards the end of this year when they began transitioning Isabel from Baby Room 2 to ‘Toddler Room’. When moving up to a new room, the nursery take the kids into the new room in advance with someone they know from their old room for an hour or so, increasing the time/frequency of the visits and gradually removing the old carers from the situation for a couple of weeks before the actual move. It’s supposed to settle the children more quickly and allow them to adapt to new carers etc.

During Isabel’s move to Toddler Room she became more clingy in the mornings, getting upset at the thought of going to nursery etc. I originally thought it was because she’d be leaving the room leader behind, but in reality once the move was complete Isabel really came out of herself at nursery. She now asks to go in, asks about nursery on Fridays (our day off), toddles off into her room leaving Karl to sort her coat and bag, etc. In hindsight I think that Isabel was that desperate to move to the new room (she’d “lost” an older friend to the bigger room a few months previous) that it was not going up that bothered her, but coming back to the old room each day!

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all roses and unicorns. I still think about Isabel’s introduction to nursery a lot, and beat myself up over not reinforcing that I should have been called rather than her being allowed to cry for an hour (I don’t care that it was in someone’s arms – they weren’t my arms!) I can’t change the past though, so focus on what she gets out of it now. No regrets.

Following up on…

While I was in the shower the other morning (all my best posts come from in-shower or on-toilet bursts of inspiration, FYI) I realised that I’d posted several things lately and not followed up on then. This means that my dear readers could be sat there in mental turmoil about what the hell is going on in my life! (Or you’re getting on with things like I don’t exist, whatever.)

Anyway, in an attempt to at least pretend that my life isn’t an endless stream of wake->work->Isabel->sleep (it is) I thought I’d write a follow-up to something I posted from each month of this year. How exciting is that?

Weird Food Aversions

I guess it’s hard to sum up my food aversions with Isabel, as I had problems with all food. This time it’s different though… I’m having some particularly odd cravings and, at the opposite end of the scale, food that turns my stomach just thinking about it.

I’ve already mentioned that I’m eating a lot of meat at the minute (way more than is usual for me). Alongside this I just can’t get enough home-cooked food. Don’t get me wrong, I cook the majority of my meals from scratch anyway, but there are days when all I’ve got the energy to do is come home and chuck some chips and a burger in the oven but I can’t even do that. It has to be a home-made curry, or spaghetti bolognese or mince n’ tatties or lasagne … but mostly curry (not doing the heartburn any favours mind you). The idea of a big roast dinner right now: pork belly with roast potatoes, honey roasted carrots, cabbage, apple sauce, mash n gravy — someone stop me before I leave dribble marks on the sofa!

I would love nothing more than to satisfy the fatty in me by nipping to the chippy right now and fetching home a big fat greasy bag of fish & chips, but the very idea has my stomach performing somersaults. I ordered pizza to celebrate passing my driving test last week and didn’t manage more than a slice and a half.

I enjoy good food but this shit is hard work. Anyone want to be my personal chef for a few months?

Beansprout Scan

Finally got ’round to scanning this in:

[img: ultrasound scan 12w 6d]

Dates spot on (unsurprisingly; such is the benefit of having a very predictable cycle) — due 02nd June 2012 as mentioned previously.

The morning sickness is, thankfully, backing off. As long as I eat every 1.5hrs I don’t get nauseous/spew. The downside is that this is way more frequently than I’m used to eating and I can imagine me weighing 20 stone by the end of this pregnancy.

Not Impressed by The Well Hung Meat Company

This post has several follow-ups:

I am also now a regular customer of Well Hung Meat.

Minds out of the gutter, please. I’m referring to Well Hung Meat the organic meat box delivery company, nothing more sinister.

I don’t think I’ve talked much about my ‘food beliefs’ before but I generally try, as in most things in life, to be ethical. When it comes to meat, that means buying good quality cuts from animals that have been looked after; generally free-range and/or organic (although these two are not mutually inclusive). I would rather buy less often and support good farmers than eat meat every day. With that said, pregnancy has given me a huge appetite for meat and so I need to explore my options.

I did a little research and happened upon Meat in a Box, the blog of one Jenny Lau, who is on a mission to cook and eat meat sourced only from UK meat box delivery schemes. She had blogged about an offer on Well Hung Meat and, not one to resist the pull of a freebie, I set about ordering a small selection. See here, a screenshot of my order receipt including reference to the “free roasting joint with first order” promotion:

well hung meat order

You can imagine my disappointment, then, when my meat box arrived on Friday last week with no free roasting joint. The “seasonal cuts” (sounded mysterious) was little more than 300g or so of diced pork. Further, I was worried that my inexperience with cooking a good steak would get in the way with the rather expensive (even for organic) rump steaks, so I sought advice from an expert which made absolutely no difference whatsoever; because the steaks were badly cut/uneven they ended up overcooked and chewy on one end and virtually raw on the other.

I contacted Well Hung Meat on Friday about the lack of roasting joint and await their response. In the mean time, I’ll be placing my next meat box order with Riverford who’ve been providing my veg since I signed up in 2008.

Update (29th November, 2011)

I cooked my final steak last night and found the result much better (more tender, more taste). I don’t recall doing anything differently, but the meat itself was cut much more evenly than the first piece so I think I got a more consistent result. Unfortunately, this does little to improve my overall impression of the company having now received a reply regarding the missing roasting joint:

You do need to be set up as a regular customer to have received that promotion. If you would like to do this I will ensure the free joint is included in your next box.

As this was not made clear on either the website or the blog entry pushing the promotion, and indeed the cart accepted my code without problem (as seen in my receipt above) I feel somewhat misled. I am not impressed with my experience of ordering through the website, or indeed the meat I received. I somehow doubt I will be placing a regular order with Well Hung Meat any time soon.

Server Downtime – Planned Maintenance

Clook are having a planned server move thingy this weekend which means my site will be unavailable from 10pm-6am GMT on the 26th November (Saturday). I have no idea what that is in foreign times, but probably smack bang in the middle of the day. My email should be fine because it’s hosted elsewhere.

This will also affect:


..and a few other hosted sites who may or may not post their own bloody notice :P

Apologies for the dreadful inconvenience.

Isabel is Weaning

Except by weaning, I mean weaned. But if I write weaned all official like that in my title it’ll mean it’s true, and I don’t think I can handle that at the moment :(

Truth be told she’s not had a feed that involved actual milk transfer in well over a month (early October). She’s nursed a few times since then but usually for a few seconds, before announcing “finished” and toddling off… not long enough to stimulate let down, never mind actual milk flow. Thus, my boobies have all dried up.

I wish that I could say it was because I’m pregnant, at least then the guilt I’m feeling would be rational. Instead I feel like I’ve let her down but can’t put my finger on why.

You’re all probably thinking I’ve lost my marbles about now. She’s 2, she’s not a “baby”. I guess my problem lies with the research that tells us babies typically self-wean around the age of 4, and if my baby hasn’t lasted that long, then what did I do wrong?

It all started ‘going wrong’ when she began sleeping through the night around 6 months ago. I’d wanted her to sleep for so long, and when she did (no influence from us) … well, I had no idea that it would be the beginning of the end of our nursing relationship. From there she was down to 2 feeds a day (after nursery, and before bed). She replaced the first with a yoghurt — her choice; tantrums if we had none in — and the last with cuddles.

I did everything as I “should”. She never had bottles or a dummy. She slept sleeps in our bed. We didn’t night wean or sleep train. She had on demand access to the boob when she wanted it. I didn’t restrict her feeds to certain hours or enforce rules about “only at home” (not bothered about feeding a toddler in public). I guess I went back to work. But I only work 4 days, so why didn’t she compensate over the other 3?

I don’t have answers, and I don’t understand why I’m so bothered about something so totally out of my control. Maybe it’s the hormones. Maybe it’s normal to feel this way when something so special comes to an end.



I, err, wasn’t going to post about this for a while… but given that I’ve gone into hibernation mostly and people are questioning wtf I’m doing with myself these days, I might as well.

I’m pregnant (bundle of cells currently cheesily-nicknamed Beansprout, thanks Katy) — currently 9 weeks 1 day &#8212 due 2nd June 2012. The good news is that the hyperemesis has not returned. The bad news is I have just regular morning sickness/nausea, which is still fairly gross and exhausting. I’ve been going to bed at 7pm just so that I make it through the next day without crashing in a tired heap. It doesn’t help that I have a cold/cough, which as you can probably imagine, is not conducive to keeping food down.

So anyway, there you go. Scan pics as and when they happen, should everything stick around.

Ultimately failier than you

So, I had my second driving test yesterday.

Perfect drive – probably one of my best. Remembered all the mirror signal manoeuvre crap, pulled off a perfect parallel park, avoided several knobbers driving over my side of the bloody road, wasn’t affected by the rain. All going GREAT.

And then it’s the independent driving part, and I read the sign as straight over the roundabout. Got in lane, approach exit, suddenly worry I’m going the wrong way and instead of doing the sensible thing and leaving at that exit and assessing the situation I decide to carry on around the roundabout. But I’m in the wrong lane and haven’t signalled.


What a stupid cock-up. I mean, yeah, I felt like crap and thought I was going to hurl, but it’s no excuse for such an amateur move.

Oh well, third time lucky.