Been a while…

Well, it’s been a while since I was last here. I keep starting posts and then losing my train of thought. It’s been a funny old month – but a good one.

In the spirit of adventure, I’ve climbed the Yorkshire 3 peaks, been on a more relaxing holiday and shot another short film – not The Swimmer, we have 2 months to go on that!. It would have been a good idea to blog about each of these things as they were happening, but there has been another factor at work here.

Baby 2 is on the way!

aka 'pickle', eta 28.01.11

To be honest, I’ve just not been able to write, and I’ve let that take over. I felt I had to wait until the scan to mention it on here, but then couldn’t write about anything else.

It’s a funny time. I feel I should be at my most creative, but actually, the eyelids start to feel heavy as the afternoon progresses and by 7pm I’m useless. Often I’m useless sometime before then, operating purely in auto-pilot, day-dreaming about sleeping. I just about create dinner, nevermind a well-articulated blog post. I sleep through my peak blogging and tweeting time, waking the next day, promising to try and write something – and so the cycle continues. I’m excited about ‘Pickle’, but I’m just not very good at being pregnant. I don’t make it look easy, and it doesn’t agree with me. I’m prone to awful morning sickness (does anyone know why the hell they call it ‘morning’ sickness???!!! – I feel a campaign is needed to have the name changed) and just want to hibernate.

I’m 14 weeks in so I imagine they’ll be a change soon. There wasn’t with Little One – that lasted 22 weeks, but this time it does feel different and more manageable. I remain optimistic.

And so I’m back. I think I needed to get over the hurdle of writing this post before going any further. I’ve been building a barrier, an irrational fear of returning to the blog and what to write, free-falling through cyberspace, but I think I’m on my way back. Feeling much more positive just by being here again. I’ve turned a corner – maybe I can trick the morning sickness into leaving early!

Posted in Being a mum, Filmmaking | 5 Comments



Well, it’s been a busy couple of weeks, hence the lack of posts. I was going to tell you all about that as there’s been quite a lot going on, but feel i must mention the mummy blogging event of the century first: CyberMummy.

I’d been away from the laptop and blogosphere, so was completely behind on any plans to meet beforehand and the feeling of going was not unlike heading off for the first day at school. This continued when i got there and couldn’t find the right queue to stand in. Anyway, one name badge and a wonderfully huge bag of goodies later, i was in!

Oh, and the goodies were good. Friends will know i love a decent freebie, and there was pretty much everything, including some swim nappies – perfect for my little swim enthusiast! Had fun sorting through it all back at home.

A mark of the world we now live in, i suppose is that we know so much about each other’s lives but have never met, so it was fab to put faces to blogs. I spent most of the day with a heavily pregnant Nina, wondering if we were going to get to the end of the day without a baby being born. Special mention also to Jane, one half of twoambitiousmamas for good conversations and encouragement to grab more cake (all very important advice!) and to Ella as quite frankly, i don’t know what we would have done without you on the pub quiz!

So nice to have lots of encouragement on the Swimmer project from everyone and all in all a really encouraging day. What i imagine will be the first of many as mummy bloggers slowly head for world domination and maybe even start a political party…now there’s a thought.

Best bits? The keynote blog post readings didn’t leave a dry eye in the house – gosh what an emotional bunch! Also, i won a big voucher, which means my little lady is about to get spoilt with Leapfrog toys.

Regrets? Should have taken a bigger bag, with wheels, to get everything home afterwards.

Any other important tips? Maison Cupcake makes flippin’ good flapjacks!

Right, now for the job of visiting all those new blogs, and catching up on my own posts…

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Toddlers: you couldn’t make it up!

A few weeks ago we were treated to a day at London zoo by my husband’s parents and his Nana.

We had a lovely day. Little one was in her element.

This weekend she’s off to spend some time with my parents. I thought it would be nice to see if she could say ‘Grandma and Grandad’:

Mummy: Who are we going to see this weekend? Grandma and Grandad? Can you say ‘Grandma and Grandad’?

Little One: (complete with under the arms impersonations) Monkey. Oo oo oo (beams with achievement).

It’s going to be an interesting weekend.

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Proud Mummy Day

At the same time as acknowledging the desire for my little one to grow up and be free to choose to be whoever she wants to be, there’s always a part of me that gets more than a little pleased when she starts exhibiting characteristics that I recognise as my own. It’s like an unspoken score chart i have.

When I became a mum, I had those dreams of things me and my daughter could spend time doing together as she grew up. As regular visitors will know, I like a swim. My OH doesn’t and the few times i’ve actually made it to organised ‘wild swims’ I’ve hoped that there would be a time when i could go with my own little companion. Not so much wishing my life away, just hoping that i would have a son or daughter that would enjoy the same things as me. My little girl is quickly approaching two and we abandoned swimming ‘lessons’ after a few weeks when she was 5 months as she just wasn’t enjoying them.

Suddenly over a year has flown by and I decided to brave the local children’s pool a month ago. She loved it! In fact she’s recently become completely obsessed with water and pouring games. I’m in a constant battle to rescue my garden from drowning.

This weekend, we had a family outing to Tooting Bec Lido. I’ve been experiencing a bit of a swimming drought of late and was very excited at the outing. OH was on toddler duty – they have a paddling pool, whilst I could indulge in a swim. Slightly enthusiastically, we were there not long after 9am, to discover that the paddling pool doesn’t open till 10am – why? It’s next to the main pool.

I swear I’m cursed when it comes to pools and opening times. As well as previous posts here and here, we turned up on a scorcher of a day in May, (which means pushing a pram 2 miles uphill) with a picnic packed, to discover the whole thing was closed to the public until the week after. We sat on the green outside the shut gates watching the members going in and out. There was quite a collection of the ordinary public and their children sat, disappointed, eating picnics outside the gates, so at least i wasn’t the only one!

Anyway, I digress. Little one knew she was going swimming, she’d been shouting the word and doing swimming actions all the way there. Once inside, she bolted for the big pool. It’s freezing. Completely devoid of any heat. Probably a bit like sitting in a freezer. I thought the easiest way to prevent 30 mins of distracting her from the edge was to let her dangle her feet in. She’d soon realise it was freezing and wait for the paddling pool. She settled down on the edge – complete with psychedelic UV suit, arm bands and a rubber ring – and dipped in her toes. I waited for the scream.

But none came. She loved it and five minutes later she’d made it fully into the pool and was splashing around. It was quite a moment for me, and I admit to enjoying the smiles of onlooking swimmers. I could suddenly see us in years to come ploughing through lakes and rivers, racing in the lido. Just us, the water and the sky!

Posted in Being a mum, Swimming | 4 Comments

Homebrew and other important life skills

Did any other parents out there decide that maternity leave was going to be the perfect time to learn new skills? As if the whole motherhood experience of 24-hour caring for a baby wasn’t enough? I did. Baking, growing my own veg, knitting, perhaps I’d make some clothes, or at least start with a pair of curtains, certainly learn a language…hmm just a matter of choosing which one. The list goes on.

New in the knowledge of impending motherhood, I went to the local craft superstore to buy my knitting needles, ‘How-to’ guide and wool. As I write, they are still sitting on the shelf behind me where I popped them that very day, about two years ago.

Needlework, for both clothes and curtains. Nah, not happening either.

Language learning. I did manage a few weeks home tutoring from a learn yourself French CD set last summer before going to deepest, darkest France for a wedding and a holiday. Found it a little difficult to keep the momentum going once we’d got home though.

Baking, growing my own veg, and of course homebrew. Much more successful. Yes, it hasn’t escaped my notice either that the things i’ve achieved are all to do with food and drink. I have mastered quite a few recipes, and last year managed to grow some herbs, 14 tomatoes, 6 strawberries, 22 peas and 3 courgettes that were more the size of gherkins. I even got creative with the courgette flowers in a bid not to waste anything I’d managed to grow. I have a very understanding OH, who suffers silently as these gems are served up each night, masquerading as a proper meal. It’s about quality not quantity…

Admittedly, it will be a while before I’m self-sufficient, but the joy I felt at each one of those miniscule vegetables was almost the same as listening to my little one say a new word. They’re all growing again this year and I’m hopeful of breaking my record for produce, though it might still be a while before I have enough to start making jams and chutneys.

And that leaves the elderflower tree at the back of the garden. Hmm, what can I make with that? After some googling, I’d decided that the best idea was Elderflower Champagne, and the recipe was by Mr Hugh Fearnley-Whittenstall. It was the only one I could find that used all natural simple ingredients (others use citric acid). I used these bottles and they arrived quickly and worked a treat.

Last year was my first go at this and what the recipe doesn’t mention is that it is SUPPOSED to grow a layer of mould on top. Thankfully, I discovered this before throwing it away. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of enjoying something you’ve made yourself – especially when it works.

Our only mishap, was only filling the last bottle by about a third, as we’d run out and couldn’t fit anymore into the other bottles. Somebody more scientific will know that the rest of the bottle fills up with gas, so when we opened it, the top flew off and hit the ceiling, narrowly missing damaging us and the kitchen. So heed this as a cautionary tale and fill those bottles right up!

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Spirit of the Brits

The optimism of this island and its inhabitants never fails to make me feel proud. We may moan about the job scene, the increasingly desperate state of the housing market, the tories, the weather, but that never stops us getting out there, and showing that underneath all this moaning is a resilience and optimism that has kept us strong.

Picture the scene, if you will: the beautiful Norfolk coast on a bank holiday, crowds of holiday-makers and day-trippers pouring into the little coastal port of Wells. The family and I were amongst them.

After a pleasant ramble around the town, complete with a quick run for shelter from a passing storm, we’d headed for the beach. We were on holiday, after all, a passing torrent of rain wasn’t going to stop us. The way to the beach involved a fair walk along a path by the side of the harbour. It took a good 20 minutes, but finally we were greeted with an incredibly pretty scene of multi-coloured beach huts, pebbles leading out to softer sands and the sea.

We played. Little one had a great deal of fun digging in the sands and little one and her daddy had even more fun watching me run around after various items that were blowing free from the pram. Did i mention the summer breeze (think gale) that had blown us there?

Then we heard it. The unmistakeable crack of thunder. “It’s a way off”, “It’ll never get here”. We stood our ground, along with most of the other families there. Another crack. “Hmm, ok. Maybe we should start to head back.” We could see a few others were thinking the same. We dragged the pram to the edge and got back onto the path. I should mention perhaps, that this was a very exposed path, fairly high up and with absolutely no shelter.

If you looked up, you could see the black clouds quickly over-taking the fluffy white ones. The storm was definitely heading inland. We picked up pace as another crack was heard.

Now, the thing about this path, was that as far as I could see, it didn’t go anywhere else but the beach, yet there were as many people headed up it as there were running down. Armed with picnics, windbreaks, tents, buckets, spades and determination people were still heading to the beach. No thunder storm was going to stop them.

I loved the optimism, the strength of character exhibited on that path that day. It’s one that many British filmmakers have in order to get anywhere. Yes, i know it looks fairly diabolical out there, but we’re not giving up. We have a film to make and that’s what we’ll do!

Seconds later, we got absolutely, totally, completely drenched.

Posted in Filmmaking, Just one of those things | 1 Comment

Night at Bafta

Some days, you just can’t complain.

Yes, it was another day of play-dough, activities, play dates and general mess with a frantic hour of blogging/tweeting/emailing over the lunchtime nap, pretty much as any other, but then i got to dress up and go to a film screening at Bafta.

The film was “Bad Day” and stars Claire Goose, Donna Air, Sarah Harding and a good friend of mine, Riana Husselmann. She plays the baddie! Always the fun role – and she’s great in it by the way. (No I’m not biased, watch it and judge for yourself).

It’s a ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ type affair, but made with a budget of £40,000. The screening was to mark it’s release onto DVD. As you can imagine, there’s nothing left for publicising the film, so i’m trying to do my bit here.

A high-action crime thriller that takes place over 24 hours. Undercover agent of fictional organisation, Organised Crime Division, Rebecca Ryan (Claire Goose), is out for revenge when her daughter is shot. Her hunt leads her through the seedy crime underworld of London and it falls to wise, world-weary OCD agent Darius Cruise (Anthony Ofoegbu) to track her down with newly assigned assistant, Abby Barrett (Donna Air). They need to move quickly as things spiral out of control and the line between right and wrong starts to blur.

It was written and directed by Indie British Filmmaker, Ian David Diaz, and is his fourth feature. There’s plenty of good ideas in this script and some nice one liners, and Diaz has been resourceful with his meagre budget. There’s a lot of strong female characters which makes this film stand out from the usual male worlds of these stories, where us ladies are generally used to decorate a few scenes in the role of a mistress. Here, the mistress character is played by Sarah Harding.

However, this is still a very male film, and I suspect Diaz had a great time making it. There’s lots of girls fighting, shoot-outs, and graphic deaths. There are some warmer moments with Goose’s character, but generally this is a hard, violent world where anything can and does happen.

BUT, there is one big problem with the film and that is the script and it’s a real shame that time and money wasn’t spent developing this further. It’s never going to be easy to shoot a film on £40,000, but a good script will carry you far. Bad Day shows a lot of promise with some good ideas but ultimately suffers from too much dialogue; long scenes of exposition (biz word for scenes telling the backstory) make it too static in parts, and at times it is often still hard to keep up with what’s going on.

Having said that, go and watch the DVD, (its widely available, including lovefilm) as the moments when it succeeds are a testament to the struggle of a hard-working, persevering filmmaker.

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