Up | Down

Blog Archive



Home again

~ ~
Last night Tom did the night shift at the hospital so I spent my first night away from my boy. It felt very strange to be at home alone. I didn't have to wait long to see them though because Tom called at 8am to say they were coming home. Thank you to everyone who sent their love, Kevin and Julia for the gift of curry, Dee and Marghe for the gift of entertainment and Libby for the gift of cake!

At last the snot demon has been exorcised and I think he may have actually got cuter. See for yourself...


~ ~

Elliot and Sophie are on the mend!

~ ~

Another day or two in hospital. Fingers crossed.

Beige Food Revisited

~ ~
What a day! We're spending the night back at St Tommie's. The little man has had a cold for the last few days but this morning he turned into Snot Monster Extreme with a fever and trouble breathing so we called our good friends at NHS Direct. They called an ambulance (which we though was a bit over the top but that shows what we know!) and we got to ride all the way here with the lights on and everything! It turns out he has bronchialitis  which is common for babies under one. It's basically a normal cold that goes down into their lungs and because they're so tiny they can't cough it out. Poor little monkey. After some oxygen and a snot vacuum thingy he's feeling better and we should be home tomorrow. He's been a real little trooper. I'll be sure to post a picture of the breakfast buffet tomorrow.

Sent from my fancy new iPhone 4


~ ~
Andy and Bella are packing up their flat this week to go travelling. Along with the usual odd socks and weird old keys they found this extra from Village Of The Damned.

Elliot's First Meal

~ ~
Mr Hungryface has been grabbing and chewing on everything this week so we've been testing out Baby Led Weaning (BLW). Basically you don't puree anything, you just let them gnaw at various vegetables and the baby decides what they want to eat. Elliot seemed pretty excited about it, but he's pretty excited about putting anything in his mouth these days, so it's hard to tell what he actually thought. Here's a video of the littlest food critic...

My new power animal is a sardine

~ ~

A few posts ago I mentioned new year's resolutions. Every year I try to be less extravagant, nocturnal and carnivorous, and more healthy, organised and hydrated. I thought this sounded like a battle between an extravagant Mr Fox and some highly motivated sardines so this is my weekly illustration. I think I know why the fox always wins, looks like more fun.

Dad skills: Dad jokes

~ ~
Tom: Did you hear there's a new talent show for eagles? It's called Britain's Got Talons.

Exhibitionism No2: High Society

~ ~

High Society 
The Wellcome Collection 
On until February 27th 
Free admission

The Wellcome Collection is a fabulous museum of medical curiosities and art inspired by science and medicine and this exhibit is a showcase of all sorts of drug paraphernalia from tribal cultures to Victorian opium dens and of course a good dose of 60s psychedelia.

Unfortunately you can't take photos in the exhibition so I can't show you the things we saw but highlights included, beautiful engraved snuff boxes, American prohibition era posters and original etchings from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. They even had some bottles of old Woodward's original Gripe Water for babies, which was basically a baby gin and tonic as it was 3.6% alcohol. We're big fans of gripe water, although these days it's all pretty tame and reasons for its effectiveness are often questioned. It might just be down to the belly warming effect of sickly sweet liquid. Babies would probably also like B52s, Jagerbombs and any other grotesquely named shot served at a hen party. Which once again strengthens my argument that babies are very small drunk people.

The whole message was put into perspective by an excellent wall graphic from the clever chaps at Information Is Beautiful. I love well done info graphics, they are design porn at its best. They showed a huge chart of how many billions of dollars a year are spent on pharmaceuticals, rehab, drugs and the US government's futile war against them. Oh sorry, did I say futile? Where else would you get a cheap workforce to manufacture the American Dream if prisons weren't full of petty criminals? ...Anyhoo... I'm ranting.

Once again the bookshop was awesome. If anyone wants to shower me with gifts this would be ideal.

Fancy lights made from chemistry bottles

Elliot and Mr Robot Head

Lovely buildings near High Holborn

If I ruled the world

~ ~
1. Foot Locker would realize that ending kid shoes at size 2.5 and starting adult shoes at 4 leaves a small but important gap in the market that I seem to have fallen through.

2. News agents on Clapham Common would realize that some people want to top up their oyster card to catch a bus without taking their pram down all the steps to the tube station.

3. iPhone's would realize that realize is spelt with an S!

Ugh. I need a coffee ...and some sleep. How's that going to work?

Sent from my fancy new iPhone 4

It's not you, it's me

~ ~
You know what it's like. Each year you have a friend who comes to stay for christmas, they get all dressed up in christmas gear and look quite flash. By New Year's Day they've outstayed their welcome and start to smell funny so you tell them to shove off and you're pleased to get some floor space back in the loungeroom. But there's always that awkward feeling as you bump into them again on your street. You used to be friends, but it's over. And they just sit there like a loveable drunk, messing up the neighbourhood and you look down and keep on walking.

(Ok, so I know I said I would design or illustrate something each week and this is neither design nor illustration, but this week a certain little monster decided his bedtime was somewhere around midnight, so Me Time is at a minimum. Luckily little monsters fall asleep while being pushed around in prams so my creative offering this week was completed during these walks.)

A London moment

~ ~

Women laughing alone with salad

~ ~
Sometimes I fantasise about going back to work. Wearing something fashionable, maybe some jangly jewellery because there's no danger of anyone choking on it, talking to adults about other adults like those guys who do that thing and have a new magazine about it and using words like engaging above-the-line forefront peer targetted useablity strategy (not necessarily in that order)....then I remember a good portion of my time would be taken up looking for images like this....

This is my new favourite blog and 'women laughing alone with salad' is up there with my favourite stock image searches. Others include women at home alone with mugs, multicultural colleagues with laptop and calm wet woman.


~ ~
Elliot and Spencer play Scissors, Paper, Rock in matching stripes.

Exhibitionism: Shadowcatchers: Camera-less Photography

~ ~
Shadowcatchers: Camera-less Photography
The V&A
Adults £5, Babies free

Adam Fuss
From the series 'My Ghost' 1997 (Christening Dress)
I went to this exhibition a few weeks ago and I particularly liked this image so I thought I'd share it. The exhibition shows works by artists who use photographic processes without cameras.

Making photograms is a staple of year 7 art classes. I remember messing about with lace and leaves to make fairly tragic pictures. We were all more focussed on squeeling as the lights went out in the darkroom and tripping each other over. This takes photograms to a new level though, here Adam Fuss has used a christening gown to make an amazingly delicate photogram. We have a family heirloom gown that I was christened in. This would be a beautiful way to display it without causing harm to the actual object. Now... I just need to find a giant enlarger, a dark room and a year 7 student.

Exhibitionism No1: Saatchi Gallery

~ ~
Elliot joins in with Group Series No2 - Space Program, Jonathan Wateridge
Look! We did it, I stuck to one resolution so far. (I'll get that washing out of the machine after I finish writing this. ) We walked to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea to see some fancy art. The Saatchi Gallery features contemporary art by upcoming artists who wouldn't otherwise be shown to a mainstream audience. The work is generally quite accessible. It's very pram friendly with lift access and not too serious so when Elliot chucked a strop no one really cared.

At the moment the exhibit is Newspeak: British Art Now, which is basically a big jumble of contemporary installations and paintings over four floors. Elliot was a big fan of Mustafa Hulusi's paintings because of their hypnotic, high contrast graphics.

Exstacy Almond Blossom 8, Mustafa Hulusi
I was a big fan of Robert Fry's paintings. If was a painter, I'd love to paint like this...

Drawing Room Study 4, Robert Fry
The shop is also fantastic, I'm such a sucker for a gallery gift shop because I perv on lovely books and use my favourite impulse shopper line "It's a tax deduction!". Unfortunately Elliot had other plans and demanded we go home with a full scale tantrum the moment we set foot in there. So I didn't get a chance to buy this awesome bag...

Shopping bag inspired by 'Portrait of Mao' by Qui Jie £15

Resolutions Shmesolutions

~ ~

Every year I make the same new year's resolutions which is testament to the fact that they never work. This year I'm going to do things differently. I'll still continue my quest to become more healthy, organised and hydrated and less extravagant, nocturnal and carnivorous, but I'm pretty sure my success rate will remain steady. For 2011 I'm going give myself three tasks each week and because I have a blog, you can all remind me when I slack off. The tasks will be the same every week and cover three categories...

1. Creativity
Design or illustrate something each week, no matter how small

2. Physical and mental fitness
Once a week take advantage of London's two best assets, free exhibitions and flat topography, by walking to a gallery or museum and fill your mind with cleverness instead of couching through a wasteland of reality television. This includes shows like Grand Designs and The Family which are just regular trashy reality TV dressed up in smug, middle-class, Channel 4 cardigans. Don't be fooled!

3. Organisation
Remember to blog things as they happen instead of waiting for a while and then blogging five posts at once.
...and in a subcategory to this task remember to take laundry out of the washing machine when it's finished instead of leaving it in there. Nobody likes a family that smells like a pond.

Wish me luck!

4 Months into parenthood

~ ~
Tom and I watched this video the other day and it felt like a hundred years ago...

Firstly because Elliot has changed so much. When he was a few weeks old Mum said he looked 'like ET'... which I didn't take too well at the time, but with a bit of hindsight I can see it, he does look like a little alien... the most beautiful alien that ever there was, but certainly alien. Secondly, Tom's panic at the beginning of the video "We need all hands on!". These days bath time is far less reverent, there have been times where he's just been chucked in a bucket...

Maybe it's the fatigue or having your daily routine completely dismantled but it's true what they say about the time just slipping away. The last 4 months have disappeared so fast. Not only has Elliot doubled in size, he has also developed a pretty cool little personality and accumulated an army of fans across the globe. I thought it might be nice to write about all his accomplishments by the end of 2010...

Elliot 4 months
Weight: 8kg (17lbs 10oz)...double his birth weight
Length: 64cm ...he was 58cm at birth
Head circumferance: 45cm ...in the 99th percentile!
Favourite things: boobies, his own hands, Daddy's silly face, Rihanna
Talents: comic timing, Irish dancing
Cuteness: Off the chart

The first step to understanding the world is to discover how your own body works. Elliot's skills are mostly confined to this relm. His hands are the main thing in his life right how, both his favourite toy and his favourite food. If he can't get to his hands, he gets quite upset. 

For the first month Elliot had tight little fists that could only by pried open after a few minutes on the boob. This would make him relaxed enough for you to unfurl his fingers and remove the little lint collection he'd been storing in there. Gradually he has become more relaxed and he now opens his fingers up wide and grabs at everything. Now a good way to calm him down when he's screeching is giving him a familiar finger to hold.

He has developed a sharp little set of talons by being increasingly resistant to having his nails bitten off and I'm too terrified to use the teeny weeny clippers because a childhood incident involving a pet guinea pig and some over zealous clipping so he's beginning to look like a 70s pimp.

Arms are particularly hard to understand. He still flails about like a mad little conductor but he has more control over his arms than he used to. He no longer whacks himself in the face while he's sleeping so we don't need to swaddle him anymore and the random black power salute has disappeared from his reportoire. He can now see something he wants and reach out for it and make a grab for it. When he's lying on his baby gym he uses a carpet bomb approach by grabbing at everything furiously and occasionally catching hold of something. Once he has caught it he'll just hold on for as long as he can, or until he gets distracted by something incredibly interesting like the ceiling. I find him madly clutching his dangly toys with the face of a villain, "Haha! I have you now Monsieur Frog and Multicoloured Shape Man, you will no longer taunt me with your dangly ways. I will drag you back to my.....Oooh! Ceiling!"

He also uses his arms to communicate. From about 3 months he figured out that when I pick him up I need his arms to be outstretched in front of him so he started to do it when he wants a cuddle. I've seen toddlers do this but I had no idea that a baby of 12 weeks would have figured this out. It must instinctual, it's pretty cool, it'a almost like sign language. Once I figured out what he meant by it, I really felt like we could understand each other. It felt like a breakthrough.

Another moment that felt like a breakthrough was his first smiles. (I say smiles because you can never be sure of the first few, they could be farts and I wouldn't be surprised if, like his dad, he let a fart steal the show at a beautiful moment!). The first 4 weeks are hard mainly because even though you're doing everything you're supposed the fact that they occasionally stop crying is the only positive feedback you get from them. And then they smile, and it all falls into place! You realise what you had dared to assume is true... they actually like you! That all the hard work and lack of sleep and endless feeding and fretting is the right thing to do because this little person is happy. You're doing it right! And that means everything. From then on we turned a corner, at about 5 weeks we got the first really great smiles, our confidence swelled and suddenly parenting became really fun. Now we're starting to get the odd giggle from him. Especially when Tom blows raspberries on his tummy. It's a real treat.

Parenting, you're doing it right!
He has yet to master sitting up or rolling over, but he's giving it his best shot. He can lift his head and upper body up by his arms when he's lying on his tummy like a little sphinx, but only for a few seconds which is fair enough given that his head size is almost off the charts! He can roll over onto his back from his front and mainly rolls to the right ...we tested this out by creating a baby betting ring and placing bets on which way he'd go with Quality Streets on Boxing Day. Tom cleaned up.

He loves standing up and is starting to do it all the time, obviously not on his own, but on our laps, testing out the strength of his little legs. And boy are his legs strong, I've let out a few yelps after the odd kick to the bosom!

The boob milk seems to be treating him well. We've started giving him an occasional bottle of formula when I've had a few drinks, and luckily he's not that fussed by it. Some babies are quite particualr about bottles or different flavours, he's very chilled out.

The next step is going to be tricky, we're about to enter the world of weaning and teething. He's chomping down on teething rings and chewy toys but there's no sign of any teeth yet. They can take months to come through. Just before christmas he started sticking his tongue out in a little point. This is a sign that his newborn tongue reflex has gone and he's ready to start swallowing things other than milk. We tried out some baby rice and he was quite impressed by it, but not overly fussed and after a few spoonfuls he started coughing so we're going to do a bit more research before we continue with the weaning. Stay tuned!

And finally: a glimpse at His Royal Cuteness...

Happy 4 month anniversary little man!

Parents say the darndest things

~ ~
Me: Happy new year!
Mum: Happy new year. I thought you should know, there's been an outbreak of rabies in Bali.

Welcome to 2011!

~ ~
Elliot wears his friend Joseph's baby tux from H&M, Moet from Auntie Bella, and a cheeky grin. Happy New Year!