Friday, March 30, 2012


Thank you all so much for your comments on yesterday's post, they helped a lot (blogger won't let me reply to them, because it's an arse). I went to the doctor this morning, she diagnosed pre-menstrual syndrome and prescribed me.... a leaflet. I love my doctor so I'm not going to bitch about how that Really Wasn't Helpful.  
It's a good job this was waiting for me when I got home.  

Happy weekend.  

(it's beetroot salad, not blood.) 

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Be Kind To Yourself Art Print 2

I'm in the middle of an anxiety sort of a thing, and it sucks. I don't mean right this minute (right this minute I'm kind of okay, which I can tell because I'm sitting writing this and not hyperventilating into my pillow or whimpering 'is it all going to be okay?' into Nye's armpit), I mean right this month. It started when we put the house on the market, which may or may not be related, and it's continued constantly for the last fortnight, a gripping feeling in my chest that is there as soon as I wake up and just gets tighter and tighter throughout the day. It eases for about 15 minutes while I'm drinking my morning coffee and half an hour when I first fall asleep, before the dreams about maths exams I'm not prepared for and shopping centres full of zombies kick in. (Just so you know, tripling the strength of your morning coffee does not triple the length of anxiety-free time you get. Who would have guessed? Also, maths exams beat zombies in the nightmare stakes.) Being outside helps, the girls screaming half the night long doesn't. 
I just wanted to put it out there. I hear that March can do this to some people (those of us who are prone to insanity), be reminded that it's the month that's the problem (it's not been unheard of for me to freak out at this time of year) made me feel a whole lot better and stop being quite such a bitch to myself about my inability to cope with stuff at the moment.  Maybe you guys can be kind to yourselves to, okay?

image by My Little Buffalo, for sale here

Monday, March 26, 2012


FYI, these orange guys with the spiky leaves smell exactly (and room-fillingly) like weed (not the good stuff, apparently) and may not be what your estate agent had in mind when he said to get some flowers in before viewers came to see your house. 

(ain't they gorgeous though? We pilfered them from a photoshoot we did at the weekend. They're by Sophie, obviously.)  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

doing it incorrectly never ends well

“One of the more unusual (but still fascinating) exhibitions at Bletchley Park is all about the role pigeons have played in the First and Second World Wars. Aircrews used them as rudimentary black boxes, writing their coordinates on a message and releasing the pigeon if they had to ditch or crash land.
There was also a cull of birds-of-prey all along the south coast during World War Two to ensure the pigeons could get back safely.”
via (title, to quote Meg

Nye's Grandpa worked at Bletchley Park, something to do with radios and code breaking. He didn't make the movie. Nobody knew he'd worked there until after he'd died. One day his wife was walking down the street and someone stopped her to ask after him. She told her that she had been very fond of him when they had worked together at Bletchley. That was the first anyone in the family knew of it. Grandpa was good at state secrets. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

monday morning.

It's Monday morning, the girls are asleep, Nye is working. I'm guzzling coffee in an attempt to prepare myself for a client meeting in a couple of hours. A client meeting that we're taking the girls to. Said client is also taking her one year old and I'm praying to all of the gods of all that is fair that her kiddo is as mental as ours are right now because I don't know that I can handle being shown up by my offspring at work. Other things I don't know: why I thought taking the girls along was a good idea at all. I heard 'I'll be taking our one year old with me to the meeting' and thought 'how cool! I'll take ours and they will be great friends and it will be so cute!'. That was before yesterday.  Ella was a total monster yesterday and got sent to her room for the first time in her short life. Ten minutes of yelling and throwing toys seemed to calm her right down after a whole day of being a shit. I really thought that this tantrum stuff was supposed to happen later, something about 'terrible twos'? (Which now that I think about it is as obnoxious and annoying a phrase as 'double trouble'.)

We had a wedding at the weekend, it was an emotional one. I mean, they're all emotional to a degree, but this one was Emotional. I don't know about other photographers but I totally ride the wave of the couple's emotions all day. It's not a conscious decision, I couldn't detach myself if I wanted to and it's what makes me good at my job but I don't half end the day feeling wiped out (let's end the surfing metaphors there, shall we?)

Oh, we're moving to London. FYI.  I'm a little bit terrified a little bit never been so excited in my life. Anyone want to buy a flat in Glasgow?

We also had a bit of a makeover, with new shiny logos and stuff. I kind of like it.

Okay, now I need to go wash, dress and sedate my children.

Byes for now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Helen Fay

Last week I found myself in the city centre with the girlies. We'd been at the bank pretending to be grown ups. Instead of getting the train home  we went for a walk and before long I found myself passing a gallery, not one of those family friendly ones with crayons and interactive displays, a trendy gallery. It was empty. Looking in the window I was immediately drawn in by the (frankly amazing) photography exhibition and when we were done with that we wondered next door into the connecting print studio. Looking through the racks of prints thinking maybe I would find one for our house (ha! Maybe if I sold a kidney. Or a baby.) I came across these prints by Helen Fay and I could not stop coming back to them. In theory you wouldn't think that prints of dogs and penguins shouldn't be much more than 'kind of cute' and then passed over for something a little grittier, but these penguins and dogs really grabbed me. There's something so moving about them, so soulful. There's nobility and strength and perseverance; solitude, struggle, dignity. For reals.  The Glasgow Print Studio only had a couple of pictures but when I came home and looked up Helen Fay's website, her etchings of apes and monkeys quite literally made a lump rise in my throat. How can they be so emotive? I don't understand. All I know is that they might just be worth selling a kidney for. Any takers?



All images copyright of and reproduced with the permission of Helen Fay

Monday, March 12, 2012

Sixteen months.

(apologies to anyone who got half of this post in their google reader earlier today, I hit the wrong button.)


It's Monday afternoon, the girls are asleep, Nye is working. I'm enjoying 10 minutes of quiet.
There is a river of snot flowing in our house and a constant cacophony of coughs (nice alliteration, huh?) It's that time of year when we notice it's starting to get lighter in the evenings after months of interminable darkness, then exactly 24 hours after the observation: BAM, the lurge. It happens every single year. 
I don't have words for how amazing Widdle and Puke have been (we call them Pickle and Moo now. Sometimes Spickle and Moomin). The last few weeks they have gone through so many changes and have become so much like people. And I have fallen in love with them three hundred million times more. 
They have words now. Not many but enough to make them distinctly Not Babies. Babies don't talk, kids do. Ella's words are: doh (dog), duh (duck), baba (baby), ahbee (Ammie), nana (any type of fruit),  noh (nose) and Azerbaijan. Ammies are doh (dog), duh (duck) and noh (nose). Ammie doesn't need words because she has the most expressive range of noises in the world. She jabbers away all day, chirping and chirruping and babbling and squawking and bellowing and yelling and snuffling and exhaling. Ella chats too occasionally, but Ammie's commentary is near continuous. I didn't know that anyone could express so much with a purse of the lips and a vigorous exhalation. 
They walk. Ammie start in November, a couple of weeks after their first birthday. In a move that seems to have released a tonne of frustration and irritability Ella caught up last week. And she is so pleased with herself. Every time she stumbles across a room she is all 'look at me! look at me! I rock!' Yes kid, you totally totally do. 
They kiss and they hug too. Mostly Nye and I (which is nice after a year of being yelled at) but as of last week, each other too. I can't tell you how huge this is. Since they were only a couple of months old people have been asking us if they interact and play with each other and we have been snorting back laughter. Up until nine months they barely acknowledged each other's existence, why would they? When you're a baby another baby is of absolutely zero use to you and their 'interaction' was limited to waking each other up and competing to cry the loudest. Then at nine months they added pushing each other over and stealing each other's food/toys/milk, the natural conclusion of which was scratching, bashing and eye gouging. Sometimes they did scratching, bashing and eye gouging without the precursor of theft, sometimes it was just fun to whack your sister in the face. After that came wrestling over my lap or arms, depending on whether I was sitting or standing, and then recently some much more sophisticated fighting. Ella quickly became a master of swapsies: instead of 'you have the  toy/food/parent I want, I'm having that and I'll poke you in the eye when you resist' it became  'You have the toy/food/parent I want, here, have a chewed up piece of cardboard and while you're contemplating its worth I'll have that toy. Bye!' Amelia caught up with that game eventually and now they are both excellent at it. Of course they don't fall for it with each other any more but anyone else is fair game. Recently in the airport Ammie toddled up to a teenage boy and in a truly admirable move attempted to swap her complimentary (and thoroughly dribbled upon and ripped up) airline magazine for his iPad. I was so proud. 
Over the last few months they've started interacting in a way that is actually nice though and it's been incredible. It started with Ammie lying down beside Ella while she was in the middle of a tantrum and patting her on the head. When that didn't work she got up and left to play with some toys but still, it was the first time either of them had shown any sign of empathy towards the other and that was HUGE. It took a few months for Ella to return the favour but now they're all about patting each other on the head, offering cups and occasionally even toys or food and as of last week, hugging. Guys, they actually like each other! I won't pretend that we weren't starting to wonder... 
They also hang up laundry, pat dogs, make animal noises, dig in soil and wear shoes (which they bring to us to put on their feet, even when they're in their pyjamas). They eat curry and chilli and chickpeas have a bizarrely high currency in our household. They've started trying to put themselves into their sleeping bags at night and occasionally they show signs of knowing that sleep and bed are good things and not the work of the devil. They dance, although more Ella than Ammie, man that kid has some moves. She likes 80s pop and 70s reggae. 
I don't want to give the impression that they're perfect, I know how much I hate all those perfect blog babies. They are also still occasionally mental. For the first five days that we were in France they were both teething and both cried almost constantly. Ella developed an instantaneous and unprecedented bath-aversion the night we arrived and went absolutely ballistic daily when we so much as approached the bathroom. . I had stopped drinking wine 3 months earlier because I thought it was making my endometriosis worse. Yeah, that didn't last long once we hit France. Tantrums are daily and they are extreme: exorcist extreme. Sometimes when we go out for lunch one will only eat crisps and the other will only eat ice cubes. Every night for three months they screamed and kicked and writhed while having their pyjamas put on. They are now down to doing it 4 nights out of 7. Their nappies stinks like they live on a diet of microwave burgers. At least once a week Ammie head butts me so hard I wonder if she has broken my nose. 
Whatever, I still think that they're the most amazing kids that ever lived. 
And with that I'll leave you, it's time to go and play with my most excellent kiddos.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

on life with twins AND triplets

(Together. At the same time. FIVE babies.) 
(Bridget Richardson, the Guardian) 

It makes our house seem kind of boring. 

*image by Junkaholique 

Friday, March 09, 2012

France, continued

Yellow slides, bare vines, woolly hats, soft heads. 

Blue skies, warm walls, crispy berries, pink shoes.

Golden light, silent churches, yellow birds, empty chairs. 

Closed cafes, drawn shutters, quiet beaches, 

Did you know that they close France in the winter? Nothing is open. At first it's kind of cool and then after a few days you just really want some lunch and to see that view from the top of the cathedral that the guidebook promises is spectacular. 

The vines are bare. In September they were aching with fruit, huge purple grapes dusted in an icing sugar bloom, dripping into your hands as you passed the vines. In February there are only the bones of grapes, occasional skeletons left unburied among the endless rows. I love bare vineyards, they have a hint of the war cemetery about them, rows of graves marked by dead sticks. Except they're not. Dead, that is. They're resting, give them time and they will burst into life again. 

Also, baby horses. With long, spindly legs and fluffy heads. That's all.