M spent Wednesday shopping in central London. He went to Liberty, Jil Sander, Foyles, House of Fraser and the Sony Centre on Tottenham Court Road where he bought me a small Sony Bravia TV for our bedroom as a birthday gift. He lunched at So Sushi in Soho.
Meanwhile, Little Planet and I spent the day with my mum - first at her house and then at mine. For dinner that evening, I made Goan king prawn curry with cumin and coriander powders, turmeric, garlic, ginger, shallots, green cardamoms, red chillies, coconut milk and tamarind paste. It was tangy, sharp and hot - just as I like it.
Thursday began with bacon butties and then we went to the local council offices to replenish our stash of parking permits. We went to the park where Little Planet played in the swings and the sandpit. Then I went alone into central London while M looked after Little Planet for the day.
After the park, M took her to the local shops and then home for lunch. He spent the afternoon playing with her, sorting out the study, made sourdough bread and New York-style mini cheesecakes, plus beef stew with potatoes and green beans for Little Planet.
I went to the Brunswick at Russell Square, where I sat outside at Carluccio's and lunched on pork escalope wrapped in Parma ham and sage and served with sauteed potatoes and garlicky spinach, plus freshly-squeezed lemonade. I was in no hurry and my lunch was long as I also enjoyed people-watching - lots of parents (mainly mums) and their babies, toddlers and children at the Brunswick.
I popped into Gap Kids for red, grey, navy and dark brown little socks for Little P, then headed down into the Renoir Cinema to watch Claire Denis' latest 35 Shots Of Rum (photo above). The film depicts the close bond between a train-driving widower and his adolescent daughter living in a rundown suburb of Paris - a bond that is complicated by the affection and attraction of two neighbours: a young man for the girl and a middle aged woman for the father. The movie is beautiful and subtle and I'd love to see it again.
I walked over to Oxford Street to buy footwear from Office (Havaianas flip flops, Converse sneakers and Keds sneakers) and blouses and wool cardigans from Gap. Then it started to pour down with rain. I returned home in time for Little Planet's bath and bedtime. For dinner, M made Maryland crab cakes with spring onions from our garden. He also made some tartare sauce to go with the crab cakes. Dessert was his delicious cheesecakes.
And today, Friday, is technically the last day of our week off. We spent the morning getting Little Planet's hair cut - her third. The first two times she had her hair cut, she was perfectly calm. But this time, she was a little more nervous and had to be distracted a lot more. It's definitely her age: she's a lot more aware and can anticipate things now, and she's also a lot more assertive.
Her assertiveness and growing independence is now showing itself in her eating. The past two days she has resolutely refused to be spoon fed - clamping her teeth shut tightly, shaking her head, and raging "Na! Na! Na!" Poor M made her beef stew yesterday but because it is a little sloppy, it can only be eaten with a spoon - which Little Planet cannot do for herself yet and so can only be spoon fed. Ditto her cauliflower and cheese dinner tonight. But as soon as we gave her plates of toast with Philadelphia cheese, sliced peaches and little chunks of cheese that she could feed entirely by herself... well, then she ate everything. It's frustrating for us as parents, but on the other hand this is terrific in terms of her development.
Anyway, we did a bit of shopping after her haircut while she napped in her buggy and then came home. We spent the rest of the afternoon thoroughly cleaning the bathroom and kitchen, hoovering and dusting the entire house, and M changed some of our curtain rails and re-hung the curtains. I also had a work conference call with my French client for an hour.
Little Planet is asleep now (it's 7.30pm) and there's sea bream in the oven which M will serve with a samphire and asparagus salad. Then fresh papaya, blueberries, peaches and oranges for dessert.
I am sad our week at home is over - it's been very relaxing. Never, in our entire adult lives, have we ever taken holiday and stayed at home - a "stay-cation". M and I are going to New York later this year, but this time we wanted to chill out with our daughter and enjoy home and enjoy London a) because we both work long hours and needed full-on quality time as a family and b) because we've both travelled quite a bit for work this year and simply didn't fancy it.
By the way, Little Planet turned 14 months today xxx