Since she was born, we've settled Little Planet into a conventional 7am-7pm routine because it suits us. M and I are both early birds. Even before our daughter was born, morning lie ins rarely went beyond 9am, no matter how late we went to bed. We also have to get up at 6.30am every week day for work, so 7pm bedtimes are a must for Little Planet if she is to get a good quota of night time sleep for her age.
People often remark on how much M and I manage to pack into a day, but aside from personality, much of it is to do with the fact that we start our day so early! So making a hair appointment for 9am on a Saturday morning isn't unusual for me, especially now I am a mother. To Aveda in Holborn I went and spent two hours being pampered whilst M and Little Planet relaxed at home.
Afterwards, I picked up two bags of whole beans - Indonesian and Indian - from the Monmouth Coffee Company in Covent Garden, and soap and a black top from Muji. Then I caught a bite of lunch at the Portuguese-Brazilian cafe Canela off the Seven Dials. I had an oven-baked dish of salt cod cooked with potatoes, onions, herbs and cream and accompanied by a leaf salad with a simple citrus dressing. My drink was a freshly squeezed lemonade and my dessert, of course, was a Brazilian creme caramel.
Then I detoured north to John Lewis on Oxford Street to pick up a plastic dinner set for Little Planet decorated with pirates and pirate ships (a plate, a bowl and a cup) then walked south down Regent's Street to Piccadilly where I bought Gourmet, New Yorker and Time Out New York magazines from Waterstone's. This is forward planning for our holiday to NYC in the Autumn - just getting a feel for the things we want to do and the places we want to see.
Back at home, I played with M and Little Planet in the garden. After her bed time, M and I ate roast chicken and steamed broccoli for dinner.
On Sunday, my mum came early to our house to play with Little Planet. Then I took my mum out for the day into Central London. It was my parents' wedding anniversary on Saturday. My father is ill and has been in a care home back in East Anglia for the last year. I've not really written about this on my blog because it has been a painful experience for all, but we are all getting used to it now. Now that my mother has moved to London to be nearer her granddaughter, she is in the process of transferring my father down to a care home near her new house. It means that we should be able to celebrate Christmas together as a complete family again. It means my parents will be able to celebrate their wedding anniversary next year together. But this year, my mum was alone in London and so I wanted to make sure she wasn't too sad and lonely.
I treated her to a cab ride into town where we spent a few hours wandering around the Indian garden, the South-east Asian room and the Garden And Cosmos exhibition at the British Museum (photo above). Then we went for lunch at South Indian restaurant Malabar Junction. My favourite South Indian restaurant is any of the Rasa restaurants, but I like the laid back, genteel, old-fashioned atmosphere of Malabar. It's not trying to be trendy and it suits my mother's personality perfectly.
We started with parippu vada (split Bengal gram mashed with red chilli, curry leaves, ginger and onions and made into patties) and aubergine slice fry (with chickpea batter). Then we had mains of Kerala mutton curry (lamb pieces cooked with turmeric, coriander, chillies and black pepper), meen manga puli (white fish with green mango cooked with fenugreek, onions, tamarind, curry leaves and coconut milk), and Malabar kichadi (beetroot with curry leaves and grated coconut).
Back at home, my mum enjoyed playing with Little Planet for the rest of the afternoon in the garden. After Little Planet had gone to bed and my mother had returned home, M cooked us macaroni cheese with bacon and spinach. Dessert was homemade apple flan. No, I did not refuse dinner; yes, I am a glutton.
Poor Little Planet had an incredibly restless night last night due to intense nappy rash brought on by teething her molars. She woke up every two hours. She's always been such a good sleeper since her 12th week... we can count on one hand, in fact, the number of restless nights she has had in her 14 months. So last night was difficult for her and for us. We didn't really know what to do but we finally managed to settle her at 2am with lots of cuddles and a little bit of Calpol. She fell fast asleep eventually, but of course, M and I slept fitfully until morning as we kept waiting for her to wake up again. I hope tonight is a better night for her.
Today, M had the day off to oversee some tree pruning work. We have two very tall and overgrown trees at the back of our garden which, apparently, are obstructing one of our neighbour's satellite reception. We chortled when we heard this, but in fairness it must be annoying for them and the trees are too big. So today the tree surgeons were very busy. M was busy also: we have four bookshelves in our living room but more books mean we needed more shelf space. So we ordered two more bookshelves and M put them up today while the tree surgeons were at work: one more in our living room and another on our upstairs landing. My favourite form of interior decoration is books, books and more books, so I love the way our home looks and feels now.