Thursday 29 November 2007

a woman scorned

Well. I'm glad that we went to the "New Angel" restaurant in Devon when we did, 'cos otherwise...
Fresh from facing bushtucker trials in ITV's I'm A Celebrity, John Burton Race is now confronting a more serious challenge in real life.

After being kicked off the reality show last week, the celebrity chef woke up yesterday to the news that his estranged wife had closed down his restaurant and sacked all the staff.

The Michelin- starred New Angel has closed its doors for good, with the loss of 20 jobs, after an emergency meeting called by Kim Burton Race. [source]

That'll learn ya to go off and have a love child, mister.

Wednesday 28 November 2007


Following on from the main blog, this site has had a much-needed redesign. The links at the top don't work yet because I still need to create those pages, but everything else should be business as usual.

It's hard work doing stuff like this in between catnaps (Mia's, not mine) and cluster feeding. Feh.

it's beginning to taste a lot like christmas

Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

I fully admit, I'm not terribly adept at baking. Baking requires precision and the ability to pay close attention to the recipe. I tend to cook by taste, I get bored and my mind starts to wander when I read lengthy instructions (which is why I can never edit my own writing at work), and I'm prone to deviating from the recipe. To add to the frustration, I always need to set the temperature on my oven lower to than indicated in the recipe because its thermometer must be out of whack, and it cooks things on the edges much more quickly than in the middle. It makes for some interestingly-shaped Yorkie puds. There are so many ways in which baking can go wrong. This is why I stick to the easy stuff.

As we approach the Christmas season, I feel the urge to bake. The warmth of the oven, the smell of something sweet baking, sitting on the sofa under a big duvet and stuffing my face with whatever came out of the oven...the perfect cure for winter. So this year, the Christmas season has begun with cranberry white chocolate chunk cookies courtesy of Nigella Lawson's book "Feast." They're good for you because they've got nuts, dried fruit, and oats in them. They are so.

Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies

140g flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
75g rolled oats
125g soft unsalted butter
75g dark sugar
100g caster sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
75g dried cranberries
50g pecans roughly chopped
140g white chocolate chips*
*(I used two Green and Black's white chocolate bars chopped into small chunks)

Preheat oven to 180C.

Measure out flour, baking powder and rolled oats into a bowl.

Put the butter and sugars into another bowl and beat together until creamy then beat in the egg and vanilla. Beat in the flour, baking powder, salt and oat mixture and then fold in the cranberries, chopped pecans and chocolate chips or white chocolate, chopped into small dice. Set the bowl of biscuit dough in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Roll tablespoonfuls of dough into a ball with your hands, and then place them on a lined or greased baking tray, and squish the dough balls down with a fork. Cook for 15 minutes, when ready, the cookies will be tinged a pale gold, but be too soft to lift immediately off the tray, so leave the tray on a cool surface and let them harden for 5 minutes. Remove with a spatula or whatever to cool fully on a wire rack.

Monday 26 November 2007

do not adjust your set

Hi. It's me, Lisa - the blog from: a broad lady. How have you been keeping? Lovely, me too.

You may have noticed some slight site changes. I've been meaning to redesign this page for ages, but I kept running off to give birth and stuff. So, we've rebranded (sorry, all of those broad mugs and frisbees are now out of date) with the hope of actually writing on this blog again. It'll be about food, random observations about my life, and food. And maybe something that isn't about food. Not sure yet.

What's up with the new name? It's the name of the font in the title graphic and I thought "Hey...most people think that I'm a bit weird!" and the new blog name was born. It's probably pretty apparent that I haven't slept well for a very long time.

So yes, a new name, new graphics (created by my RSI-crippled fingers), and a new colour scheme. Baby blog will also get a rebrand as soon as I come up with a hilarious new blog title.

I may be some time.

Sunday 18 November 2007

how to save a tree

Jack held his hands together, as if in prayer. He said, "It's my book. I read it to you." and opened his hands. "One read your book, mummy." "What's it called?" I asked. "Animals," Jack said.

Me: Okay. [opens hands] One day, a lion - what was the lion called, Jack?
Jack: Eddie.
Me: Eddie the lion went for a walk in the jungle. Then he met up with a great...big...giant...HIPPO!
Jack: No, he was little.
Me: A little hippo, called...?
Jack: Eddie, I think.
Me: ...Eddie the hippo. "Hello, Mr. Lion", Eddie said. "ROOOOWWWWWRRR!!" said the lion. "Oh!" said the hippo, and he ran away back home. The lion kept walking through the jungle, and then he met a parrot. The parrot was called...?
Jack: Eddie, I think.
Me: ...Eddie the parrot. "Hello, Mr. Lion", Eddie said. "ROOOOWWWWWRRR!!" said the lion. "Oh!" said the parrot, and he flew away back home. The lion kept walking through the jungle, and then he met a big, tall giraffe. The giraffe was called Jeremy.
Jack: [slight pause] Okay, Jeremy.
Me: "Hello, Mr. Lion", Jeremy said. "ROOOOWWWWWRRR!!" said the lion. "Oh!" said the giraffe, and he ran away back home. The lion kept walking through the jungle, and then he met an elephant. The elephant was called Ella.
Jack: No, Eddie.
Me: Eddie the elephant. "Hello, Mr. Lion", Eddie said. "ROOOOWWWWWRRR!!" said the lion, but the elephant didn't run away. He wasn't scared at all!
Jack: No, he was scared. He did run away.
Me: Oh. Right. he ran away back home. [stumped for further plot development] The end.
Jack: [with a huge grin] Read it again!

Monday 12 November 2007

that'll show me

A surefire way to ensure that things will go tits up is to brag about how great things are. Like talking about how easy breastfeeding is and how you've got a baby that sleeps through the night - stuff like that.

For over three weeks now, Mia's been waking through the night for feeds. At first, I chalked it down to a growth spurt (because anything odd that happens in the first 3 years of a child's life is due to teething or a growth spurt when you have no clue what could be going on) but by the third week, I figured that something else must be up. Somewhere in a dark, dusty corner of my mind, I retrieved a memory about babies waking for a feed but not actually needing to be fed. I remembered reading something about how babies wake because they're used to being fed, so if you wanted to drop the night feed, you should try to settle them instead feeding them - we did this with Jack when he was around the same age as Mia.

Bear with me, I do realise how idiotic this all sounds in hindsight.

So, I decided to settle Mia when she woke rather than feed her. I did this for a couple of nights, but gave up when it became obvious that a) she wasn't going to settle and b) her crying kept waking Jack up, so we had two kids getting rotten nights. I did a bit more reading and went with the advice to feed on demand and try offering both sides. Mia only ever fed from one breast each feed and never seemed to need or want more, so it never occurred to me to offer her the other breast. Back we went to the 2 hourly night feeds, from both sides this time. I took her to the baby clinic the following week to see how her weight was doing, and was completely shocked to discover that she had dropped from the 9th centile to the 2nd. My little girl had only gained one pound in 8 weeks, and all I could think was that it was all my fault. I couldn't feed her enough; all the fears and anxiety about breastfeeding that I had with Jack came flooding back. Did I need to supplement? Pump? How the hell would I know she was getting enough to eat? Could I produce enough? So much for simply following my motherly instincts and trusting my body to do as nature intended.

I phoned Paul and burst into tears, berating myself for underfeeding Mia and denying her food during those nights I chose to settle instead of feed her. He offered to come home to be with me, but I knew I just needed to have a mini meltdown so I could think more clearly. A huge bouquet arrived later that afternoon with a card that said "To the best mummy EVER!" from the best husband ever, and everything started to feel less daunting. A bit more reading (I *heart* Kellymom!) and a few posts to some mummy web boards later, and I came up with a plan: keep feeding as often as possible and always from both sides, pump after each feed to help increase my supply, drink tons of water, and take some milk-boosting measures (take fenugreek, eat certain foods, avoid caffeine, etc.)

I know that weight charts and centiles mean diddly squat, but it was impossible not to feel awful when I learned that my already tiny baby had dropped even further down the chart. I even entertained the thought of starting solids before I remembered that babies don't (and shouldn't) eat enough to "fill them up", so it would be an exercise in futility. I just wanted to keep Mia's belly full, and I was starting to doubt my ability to do so - I was clutching at straws trying to make things better. Sleep deprivation and mother's guilt will do that to you.

So far, I think it's working. She's still waking for feeds every 2-3 hours (I have now entered Zombieville) but I'm fairly sure that my supply is keeping up with the demand. I've hired a hospital grade electric pump (after a few days with my old hand pump, I quickly remembered why I hated the bloody thing so much) and trying to stay positive. If things get rough again, I'll call the NCT breastfeeding helpline and pick the brains of my wise friends. It just pisses me off that things have to be difficult after such a great stretch.

So the next time I spout off about how grand things are, remind me to keep my big mouth firmly shut.