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.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Rest in peace

My beloved father died on the 10th November 2011. It was an expected death, of natural causes, but still a blow to us all. He was an amazing man.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Tweet tweet

Since I am tweeting far more than I am blogging, I thought I'd compile some of my tweets since easter. Please read from the bottom up :-)
  • Still following Paul McKenna's eating principles. Feels like second nature now. Combined with the running, I feel really trim & fit.

  • 2 chapters left to write and draft 2 of my novel will be written. Will have to a draft 3 though...

  • Still doing my Couch to 5k runs three times a week but have had to repeat a few weeks as I find this running lark a bit tough.

  • Lil P is having a Halloween party with her childminders this afternoon. From 7pm bedtime my lights will be off & I'll be ignoring the bell!

  • I was (am) so lazy & NEVER wanted kids as I liked my life but Mr P persuaded me & am so happy he did! It's an adventure

  • I am thankful for the time change and am looking forward to running in daylight again tomorrow (I am an early morning runner)...

  • Clocks went back in the early hours of this morning but we still got a lie in and had to WAKE Little Planet up. Hurrah!

  • Little Planet dressed all day today in her Halloween witch's dress & hat, running around like a crazy loon with her magic wand.

  • Kali puja yesterday, pheasant & pumpkin pie for dinner tonight, slow cook venison stew on hob for dinner tomorrow, preschool starts again.

  • I am naturally lazy so follow the "benign neglect" school of parenting. Little Planet seems fine inspite of it :-)

  • Besides, you're not with your kid all day long - they go to school, sleep loads (hopefully). You DO get time for you.

  • Yes, kids a lot of work but LIFE is a lot of work and that makes it so much more rewarding. Think about the longterm.

  • I love fireworks but not when they keep 3 year olds, recovering from colds and still coughing, awake when they want to be sleeping.

  • finished A Village Affair by Joanna Trollope amzn.to/s3Serk #Kindle

  • I've actually stopped watching it (Downton) as I've lost interest in the plot. Sunday night is now just Curb Your Enthusiasm :-)

  • finished The Photograph by Penelope Lively amzn.to/mXO0hc #Kindle

  • We're back from NYC. Will post photos soon.

  • finished The Summer Without Men by Siri Hustvedt amzn.to/etWgfG #Kindle

  • Today we're off to check out diners, galleries and boutiques in Williamsburg. But first, brunch at Freeman's. The weather is glorious!

  • Saw the great Sam Shepard as Butch Cassidy in Blackthorn last night in a fab indie cinema on the Lower East Side. A great Western for 2011.

  • Great NYC eating: strawberry milk & bagel bombs @ Momofoku Milk Bar, pizzas @ Keste, burgers & sausages @ DBGB, coffee/cake @ Ground Support

  • Little Planet happy w. Grandma back in London but I am missing her like crazy. I admit I shed tears leaving her at nursery before flight.

  • Lots of shopping in NYC - DKNY, JCrew, Barney's; biscuits & gravy at Peels in the East Village; De Kooning retro at MOMA.

  • Momofoku Noodle Bar (NYC) in two words: Delicious, NOISY! I'm getting old.

  • Off to NYC. Back next week.

  • We have such great weekends. Love having Mr Planet home so we can enjoy life as a family. Must blog about our weekends again but time lacks.

  • Lovely day today: Morning in Hyde Park, lunch at Rowley Leigh's very child-friendly & elegant Le Cafe Anglais, book shopping in Piccadilly.

  • Countdown to our trip to NYC next week begins. Yippee!

  • finished An Experiment in Love by Hilary Mantel. superb story of growing up in 60s england. amzn.to/rtxra5 #Kindle

  • Lovely day today: Yang Fudong films at Parasol Unit, beef/bone marrow & pork/apple sliders at Spuntino, home for fun in paddling pool.

  • Will stick to Anne Rice I think. Silly me for reading a teen book and thinking I might enjoy it. Oh, wait, Judy Bloom was awesome...

  • Only a third of the way through the teen novel Twilight but really, it's quite poorly written isn't it. Still not understanding the hype...

  • Struck down by food poisoning AGAIN! This time Mr Planet too. Will give eating out a wide berth for a while...

  • finished Every Last One by Anna Quindlen. intense and detailed account of a family tragedy. amzn.to/m0wCS3 #Kindle

  • There is something strangely meditative about ironing name tags to tiny pairs of socks.

  • I've been ironing name tags to socks. I used to be so fun. (Actually, I really enjoyed it, ironing, listening to music loudly!)

  • Really loved Great House - so beautifully written. Only issue I had with it is that all the characters had the same "voice".

  • finished Great House by Nicole Krauss amzn.to/qI0b2D #Kindle

  • Been ill for a week with food poisoning and a cold. Feel better now but am so glad I don't have to go into an office: I feel a bit skanky.

  • ......And Twilight for when Little P is careening around me and reading concentration is not required.

  • Currently reading 2 books: Nicole Krauss' Great House for the hours I can read without interruption (usually after Little P's bedtime)......

  • As the "I Don't Know How She Does It" film is released SJP is annoying the hell out of me. Yes she's a mother but she has HELP & LOTS of it!

  • At last, a reason to watch TV on a Sunday eve: Curb Your Enthusiasm & Downton Abbey return. Hurrah!

  • finished Black Album, The by Hanif Kureishi amzn.to/rdYDNF #Kindle

  • Week three of Couch to 5k completed. Still finding it hard though.

  • It's time to apply for a September 2012 primary school place for Little Planet. Currently surrounded by OFSTED reports and SATS results.

  • This little program (Mac & Win) forces me to turn off the Internet for a specified amount of time, forcing me to work: macfreedom.com

  • 1st run of week 3 of Couch to 5K completed. Phew! It was hard. Can't believe I'm supposed to be running non-stop for 25 mins in 7 weeks?!?

  • finished The Pile of Stuff at the Bottom of the Stairs by Christina Hopkinson amzn.to/gL2vGF #Kindle

  • finished The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood amzn.to/pgtMJJ #Kindle

  • I am spending so much time reading novels on my Kindle that I'm no longer surfing the net so much. Result!

  • Da Polpo do delicious Nutella pizzettas. Also this weekend, a trip to the Childhood Museum in Bethnal Green.

  • We had a pizza weekend. Saturday lunch at Da Polpo in Covent Garden and Sunday lunch at Pizza East in Shoreditch (the best pizza ever, IMO).

  • I managed an afternoon nap today too, albeit with Little Planet bouncing around on the bed singing. The things mothers get used to!

  • Holiday Monday spent at Hampstead Heath fun fair (candy floss!) then long lunch at Burgh House (showing Little Planet where we got married).

  • Sunday morning in fabulous Clissold Park. Now a lazy afternoon at home: Little Planet playing, Mr P gardening before it rains & I'm reading.

  • Mr Planet transforms the humble pork chop with buttery mashed potatoes & cabbage stir fried with onions & juniper berries. Comfort food.

  • Lovely Saturday spent in Hyde Park & the very Zen Serpentine Pavilion with beautiful flowers. Survived the freakish downpour under a tree.

  • Have bought a Kindle. Arrives Tue. Have already downloaded Siri Hustvedt's latest & Hanif Kureishi's The Black Album to my iPad Kindle app.

  • Week 2, run 1 of couch to 5k done! Yipppeeee!

  • Final week 1 run of Couch to 5k completed this morning. Hurrah! Week 2 commences Saturday.

  • Finished 2nd (W1R2) Couch to 5k run today in the pouring rain. Feeling terrific!

  • Actually, Little Planet's 3 and the "Whys?" have already started. At least she keeps me on my toes and my brain ticking over.

  • Maybe I need to start tuning out occasionally... We want our kids to be bright & enquiring but we also want them to quiet down!

  • Bliss, she's totally absorbed in playing. Peace at last... for now...

  • Argh, why can't 3 year olds come with a mute button?

  • Week 1, run 1 of Couch to 5k completed. Feels good!

  • ... enjoy some art (Richard Long, Chapman Brothers). Blog post coming. Also bought beef & bone marrow burgers from Ginger Pig. Yum!

  • And Mr Planet & I had Friday off to shop (DKNY, UNIQLO), eat (Nordic Bakery, So Sushi), buy books (Anita Desai, Julian Barnes) &...

  • Great morning @ V&A Museum of Childhood, delicious pizzas @ Pizza East in Shoreditch then stroll through & play in Finsbury Park (the park).

  • My new exercise regime: Couch to 5K - Live Well - NHS Choices - nhs.uk/LiveWell/c25k/…

  • All appears calm here. Loads of locals protecting the streets it seems & most businesses open as usual.

  • Police all over here too, but hoping it's precautionary rather than expecting trouble.

  • Every time I hear a police helicopter over the house I think Shit! We're not in the thick of it but we're close so we could be #londonriots

  • So first #londonriots and now #birminghamriots? Crazy.

  • Walking barefoot in wet grass after dark. A most blissful meditation.

  • I am Little Planet's PA. So far I have arranged her first playdate & booked her ballet & gym classes for next term. She needs her own diary.

  • Early birthday present from Mr Planet: an iPad 2. Bliss! Though I'm spending more time downloading apps for Little Planet than for me.

  • Recent outings - Southbank and Portobello Road Market. Photos soon.

  • ... drink and eat out in the garden!

  • I've prayed all day for rain because I'm not good with the heat, but Mr Planet has bought home beers & is making tonkatsu & I want to...

  • Animation exhibition at Barbican (disappointing), pizza, Carter's Steam Fair at Clissold Park, lots of gardening. Lovely weekend & weather.

  • ...I distracted her with a story about a giant dollshouse where Mr Moon lived in the attic and soon she was trotting nicely beside me. Phew!

  • ... she had a little tantrum at the beginning and I thought "Uh oh, it's wet and she's on the wet pavement refusing to move!" But

  • Weather like this makes me wish we still used a buggy. Fortunately she managed to huddle under the umbrella next to me and run along... but

  • Mr Planet is making pasta ribbons with chicken livers for dinner tonight. Can't wait!: bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/p…

  • Since Lil Planet turned 3, we've ditched the buggy altogether. She's walking absolutely everywhere now & building up her stamina. So proud!

  • And excellent shops on the Blackstock Road - so much better than I remembered it. We found a Scandi '70s armchair there for our living room.

  • The new & improved Clissold Park is really great - can't wait for all the improvements to be 100% completed.

  • We're now thinking of introducing Little Planet to sushi. Perhaps at one of those conveyor belt places first.

  • A three-parks-weekend this w/e: Finsbury Park, Clissold Park & Highbury Fields, plus delicious Mexican food at Mercado Cantina in Stokey.

  • A weekend at home doing nothing and everything but most of all chilling. Taking walks, baking, cooking, gardening, playing, reading. Bliss.

  • Got my hair done @ Aveda tday. It's no longer cascading down my back but barely skimming the top of my shoulders. Looks stylish but... gulp.

  • Lovely day: boat on Thames to Greenwich, pizza for lunch, Maritime Museum where Little Planet made paper pirate ship, dinner chicken & figs.

  • Attended a sublime Rabindra Sangeet (Tagore songs) concert today. Voice like honey. I'm in love.

  • This "eating when only genuinely and physically hungry" makes food taste even better than before. Loving intuitive eating & am still losing.

  • Sunday: Church (very good for training Little P to sit still-ish for 45 mins and try-not-to-talking) then Islington (Highbury end) shopping.

  • Dinner was tuna steak, very lightly grilled, with wasabi mayo, watercress rocket salad w. orange zest made by Mr Planet.

  • Grt wknd: sci-fi @BritLibrary, sliders @Spuntino, Phil-Lorca diCorcia @SpruthMagers, shopping @APC,Albam,Fenwick,RLauren,OliverSpencer,Folk

  • Little Planet particularly loved the samosas, aloo chaat, uthappam and sag & paneer dosa at Ravi Shankar. She loves spicy food. Hurrah!

  • Natural History & Science Museums then Hyde Park yesterday; Church, London Zoo then lunch at Ravi Shankar on Drummond St today. Lovely days.

  • Ok, am getting all gushy but for a woman who once didn't care whether she had children or not, I sure am so so happy Little P is in my life.

  • Then both Mr Planet & Little Planet crashed into sleep at 7.15pm - all that fresh air & chocolate! I'm left alone to surf the Net in peace.

  • Fab Easter, made so special by having Little Planet :-) Church, brunch, Easter egg hunt, gardening, roast lamb & chickpea mash & asparagus.

Happy Halloween