Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Summer chilling

Wasn't it a glorious May Bank Holiday weekend? The sun here in London shone and shone and everyone tried to make the most of it by being out in the sunshine and hot air with bare arms and legs.

We spent Saturday hopping from one gallery to another courtesy of many black cabs due to my advanced pregnancy: the voluptuous, almost edible paintings of Howard Hodgkin at the Gasgosian in Kings Cross (above); the haunting, mysterious, highly charged interpretations of Edgar Allan Poe's works at the White Cube Hoxton Square and the atmospheric, dungeon-like interior of the Shoreditch Town Hall and featuring the stellar cast of such luminaries as the Chapman Brothers, Cindy Sherman, Anselm Kiefer and Harland Miller; and the filmic photos of small-town life by Gregory Crewdson at the White Cube Mason's Yard in Piccadilly.

Saturday was also spent ordering big ticket items from John Lewis for the baby, including a red and black Bugaboo Bee pushchair/pram and assorted accessories, a black Maxi Cosi car seat/carrier, a white wooden chest of drawers and matching fitted changing top, a classic wicker moses basket and stand, a digital baby monitor, BabyBjorn sling, breast pump, Baby Einstein activity gym and assorted basic clothes, sheets and blankets.

We lunched at our favourite Fernandez & Wells in Soho and later bought assorted food, including fresh tuna steaks, from the buzzing John Lewis Food Hall. At home, we ate the tuna steaks with a simple salad of rocket, beet and chard leaves and cherry tomatoes dressed in a homemade (by M) orange zest and balsamic dressing. Then ended the night eating Presat chocolates (mint wafers and chocolate covered apricots) whilst watching Heroes, Season 1 on DVD as we never caught it first time round.

Sunday and Monday were incredibly chilled affairs spent largely lazing around at home: laying in bed until late in the morning; breakfasting on freshly ground coffee and bagels with Camembert and apricot jam; reading the FT and Sunday Times outside in our garden; cooking and eating Spanish tortilla with sides of fresh tomatoes and grilled asparagus with Parmesan shavings, and also roast chicken with sides of chicory gently sauteed in butter and a rocket salad; tidying up the garden; doing laundry and hanging it out on the line.

Since yesterday, Tuesday, M is back at work, but as I am on maternity leave I am doing much the same - simply chilling. I have four weeks to go and am making the most of this time off. In honesty, it feels like a wonderful, extended vacation - the kind I've not had since my university days (and even then I usually worked during the holidays).

My favourite moments over the past few days? Feeling Little Planet's teeny weeny foot pressing against the side of my stomach and into my hand. She's head down now - her head in my pelvis, her back against my lefthand side, her legs curled across the top of my stomach and her feet pressing into my top righthand side. She's apparently around 6lbs in weight and is a tiny bundle of energy. I am so much in love.


Bombay Beauty said...

It's been great hasn't it? I admire your energy to get out to galleries at 8 months! I've just put on an extra kg (ok perhaps 2) over the winter from too much of everything and it makes me feel sluggish. But I ventured back on to my terrace this w/e and was so happy! BB

Olivia said...

Following on BB's comment about extra winter weight, I'd love to know mine, as my tum's poochier than ever!

And now about you, M and Little P. A proper midsummer baby you will be having!

Yummy food you've been eating. It reminds me of the dishes at the John Lewis Brasserie. Have you ever eaten there?

This warm weather is amazing. I can hardly remember how to dress for it. And I'm baking in my loft room now.

So you like Prestat choc. Have you ever tried Pierre Marcolini or have I bothered you about that before? ;)

Olivia said...

Oh, and that new food hall in John Lewis is great, but you simply cannot go wrong with Waitrose.

Planethalder said...

Summer is perfect for many reasons, particularly for all those salads we can eat that help us lose winter weight!

I used to lift in a loft space at university and it was so sweltering hot. I am really feeling for you Olivia.

Thanks for the tip about the Marcolini chocolate - where can I buy it, what's it like?

BombayBeauty - as per your previous comment, I didn't buy any Grobags for Little P's initial few months as even though they have summer togs I think it will be warm enough just to wrap her in a baby cotton sheet at night.

Olivia said...

Pierre Marcolini is an official "chocolatier" - savouring his chocolates is like wine-tasting, in short. In fact (just remembered!) they do hold choc and wine tasting evenings on the second Tuesday of the month, I believe.

Used to get it at Selfridges but they stopped stocking it. Now just in his London boutique on Kensington Church Street. Pierre is Belgian so he also has branches in Brussels and Paris.