Saturday, July 28, 2012

A new home

I have moved. Please update your feeds and bookmarks. New home

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Spring has sprung

• Planting hardy perennials in the flower beds

• Filling terracotta pots with seasonal pansies and primroses

• Feeding the roses

• Scarifying the lawn

• Watering the garden after the morning's first coffee

• Knitting in the garden as Little Planet plays

• Devouring gardening magazines and websites

• Opening all the windows and the back door to let fresh air course through the house for several hours

• Hoovering behind cupboards and sofas

• Emptying and cleaning kitchen cupboards

• Eating roast spring lamb with homemade mint sauce then stewing the leftovers with pumpkin and pomegranate molasses

• Preparing Easter school holiday activities for Little Planet

• Planning Easter weekend activities for house guests

• Trying not to get too angry with the birds who wake me up with their dawn chorus

• Watching two resident robins nuzzle our lawn and flowerbeds for worms; seeing their fledgling learn to fly

• Booking refresher driving lessons as I haven't driven in ten years; a fresh start

• Sorting through my Spring and Summer wardrobe and wearing short sleeves outside

• Looking forward to the heat of Summer

Friday, March 02, 2012

Reading matters

Mr Planet has been working long hours over the last few months (he's a lawyer and a case of his is coming to trial) so once Little Planet is in bed I have found myself with a good couple of hours in the evening to read. Here are some of the books I've loved and want to re-read:

Unfortunately, some of the books I've read have totally sucked: Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child (the writing was wooden and the plot simply plodded along, though perhaps I should give this another chance as I usually like Hollinghurst), Amanda Addison's Laura's Handmade Life (which I only bought as it was about a woman who sews, more fool me!) and Stephanie Meyer's Twilight (because I wanted to see what the fuss was about, again with the "more fool me!").

I'm currently reading Gil McNeil's Divas Don't Knit, which is is a light, chick-lit read and which I only bought because it involves knitting. Also, Haruki Murakami's most excellent What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Out and about

One of the many reasons I love living in London is the endless opportunities to do things. Yet I am always taking this forgranted and forgetting to blog about them. So to recap on some recent activities...

Mr Planet and I have celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary by dining out on fantastic Polish food at the restaurant and vodka bar Baltic in Southwark.

We've collected bark, twigs and leaves and chased pigeons in Russell Square, taken Little Planet out for burgers and fries at Byron near Holborn and shopped (in Marylebone) for bedding and photo frames at The White Company, children's books at Daunts and steaks at The Ginger Pig.

We've gorged on ice creams (green tea, orange, chocolate) at Lick in Soho.

I've been to the cinema to watch the fun and quirky Young Adult.

Over the next few weekends and months, we've booked or plan to see... Complicite's production of The Master and Margarita at the Barbican, Robert Wilson and Philip Glass's Einstein on the Beach at the Barbican, English National Ballet's My First Sleeping Beauty at the Peacock Theatre with Little Planet, David Hockney at the Royal Academy and Yayoi Kusama at Tate Modern.

And with the weather picking up, there are the Royal Parks and, closer to home, the Heath to romp around in again. Winter has been spent shrugging one cold or tummy bug after the other off so I am looking forward to Spring.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Days like these

The re-writing continues, slowly but surely.

This picture frame allows me to rotate Little Planet's artwork.

Little Planet made a combined Valentine's Day and 5th Wedding Anniversary card for us.

I got this cute little knitting counter free in a magazine

My mother bought this cushion cover in Assam, India.

A light snack.

Little Planet's breakfast plate.

My first cable scarf; my first ever attempt at cable stitch.

I finished sewing these linen tablemats yesterday.

Little Planet is so into her princesses these days that they marry each other, have children together (only daughters), and men are strictly not allowed to enter their world.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Popping in and out again

Life is busy, life has always been busy, yet right now I am not bothered about blogging any of it. For now. A summary then: Week days are filled with looking after Little Planet and arranging endless (but very fun) activities for her (gym, sports) after preschool and playdates rotated among four of her little friends. Also sewing (linen placemats, patchwork quilts), knitting (more scarves). And the big activity: The Novel (third draft now). Weekends are spent with Mr Planet and Little Planet going out to museums, galleries, eating out and generally enjoying London. Plus Church (for me and occasionally Little Planet).

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Weekend chilling

This weekend, we visited Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park...

And ate an Argentinian lunch at Garufa in Highbury, North London...

But the rest of the weekend was spent at home. Painting...

Jumping on the bed whilst the sheets were in the wash...

Going to Mass...

Eating Paul A. Young artisan chocolates...


Preparing to sew a patchwork cushion for Little Planet's bed...

Putting up Christmas decorations...

Finishing the second draft of my novel. Hurrah!

Quilty pleasures

Here are my recent fabric bundle purchases for making quilts and, later, a few dresses, skirts and blouses for Little Planet. From All The Fun At The Fair, Cath Kidston and Liberty.

And a bag to stash it all away.

My Janome sewing machine is arriving next week - Mr Planet's early Christmas present to me. Yippee!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This weekend, we visited a lot of art galleries, including Irrational Marks: Bacon Rembrandt at Ordovas / The King, The Island, The Train, The House, The Ship (Paul McCarthy) at Hauser & Wirth / Forsaken (Marlene Dumas) at Frith Street / Jeff Wall at White Cube, Mason's Yard. But it was Robert Motherwell's Works on Paper at Bernard Jacobson that blew us away completely.

Gallery hopping makes for very tired feet!

We queued round the block to get into Meat Liquor in Marylebone, but the burgers and fries were so good that the wait was certainly worth it.

Little Planet attended a very pink 4th birthday party...

...That had a very pink birthday cake.

And this weekend, Little Planet finally moved from her cot to her very own pink bed, which she absolutely loves.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feeling crafty

A couple of years ago, I took up knitting for the first time and have been knitting ever since. I haven't yet progressed beyond scarves for Little Planet and myself.

I find knitting a wonderfully meditative activity, to do when I can no longer read or write, for example when Little Planet is playing but still needs me around to chat with her.

But now I have the urge to do something more. Little Planet is reaching an age when she doesn't need me to play with her all the time and yet she still needs me in her presence. Sewing and knitting are perfect activities for moments such as these so I have made a list of craft activities I want to complete over the next 12 months:

- Finish the scarf I'm knitting for myself
- Knit a hot pink cushion for Little Planet's new bed
- Sew a quilt for her bed
- Sew some linen placemats and napkins for our kitchen table
- Make a wooden bead necklace for myself

I've never sewn before so I'm really looking forward to this.

What craft projects are you engaged in?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Eulogy to my father

My speech at my father's funeral:

Many who met my father for the first time must have thought that here was a friendly, gentle and unassuming man. And yes, he was these things, but he was also much, much more. My father was a passionate, curious and intense man who saw life as a rich map to explore.

As soon as he completed his degree in India he was off to explore the world. He travelled to China, alone and against his parents’ wishes, leaving them and his twelve other brothers and sisters behind. Soon after, he decided he would board a boat to Germany, where he lived, studied and worked as an accountant for several years. Wanderlust kept him restless and he decided he wanted to see what Britain had to offer him. The rest, of course, is history - a history that soon became entwined with that of my mother and myself.

My father was a passionate man who wooed my mother with love letters that criss-crossed their way from London to Calcutta and back again. After they married in India, they returned together to London and the first meal he cooked for his new wife was trout curry with cauliflowers and potato.

My father loved cooking and was always experimenting. We would look aghast as he added apples or fruit yoghurt to a curry. But it tasted amazing! When I decided to become a vegetarian, he took it entirely in his stride and prepared as my first ever vegetarian meal a dish of curried lentils and spinach.

He was an exemplary father, far ahead of his time. When my mother started working as a hospital doctor when I was 8 months old, he took over all the parenting duties despite also having a fulltime job. He took me to the childminder’s house, he bathed me, fed me, changed and washed my nappies, read me stories and put me to bed, prepared a meal for him and my mother when she returned from work, then got up in the night whenever I woke up, and tended to me when I was ill.

A loving, caring father and yet a strict disciplinarian too - he certainly was no pushover. My mother spoiled me with presents and with her I was able to get away with a lot. My father, though, was the one who punished me and taught me right from wrong.

He believed education was the key to freedom and drove me on and on and on. Oh the arguments we had! He always said, “Studies first, career second, husband third!” When I didn’t choose the A-level subjects he wanted me to choose, he didn’t speak to me for 6 weeks. Yet when I collected my DPhil certificate from Oxford, he cried tears of joy.

My sentimental father, who kept all of Mum’s love letters and all my school books, school reports and my letters to him. He even printed out and kept all the emails I wrote to him.

For he treasured relationships. He was a sociable man who loved spending time with people - laughing with them, listening to their stories. When he visited me in South Dakota in America, he not only managed to find the only Bengali in South Dakota but managed to befriend him and his wife and get us all invited back to their home for dinner!

He loved his work as a Chartered Surveyor and valued work so much that he started his own business and then also became an Independent Financial Advisor. The work drove him, certainly, but work was also a way he could spend time with other people. After retirement he continued to work by volunteering for the Citizens Advice Bureau and Age UK where he visited elderly people just to chat with them and give them company.

With them he shared a joke, laughed about the comedy programmes he always enjoyed watching and debated politics. My father always had a twinkle in his eye and it looks like his quirky sense of humour has been passed down the generations to his 3 year old granddaughter.

Dad, you are the best role model a person can have. You have taught me never to give up and to always retain passion for and curiosity about life. I love you. May God bless you forever. I am sure you are making them all laugh up there in heaven.