Monday, April 30, 2012

alligator, buffalo, caterpillar...

It's not something that people tell you but kids mostly don't care about toys. Not as babies anyway. They've been into books for a while but that was about it. A couple of months ago they started (very occasionally) giving a cuddly toy a quick squeeze before hurling it across the floor. Over the last few weeks they've got really into playing with a ball and we can get a pretty excellent game of 2-a-side football going these days but mostly the things that they really like playing with aren't toys at all; fridge magnets, tea bags, remote controls, usb cables, pine cones. 
Except. These animal cards that we were given by one of our best ladies. The girls LOVE them. (They love Rooster so much that they ate him). For ages we were kind of precious about them, trying to stop the girls from sitting on them and squashing them a little in their enthusiasm but then we just let it go, sat back and enjoyed watching them have an absolute ball with what has to be one of their favourite presents ever. 

(we get their pyjamas on ebay where they're ridiculously cheap. We would never ever dress them this pinkly if we were leaving the house. Just so you know.) 

Friday, April 27, 2012

two years ago today.

Looking back at the photos all I can remember about this day two years ago is that Nye and I had a huge fight about turtle sex in the middle of Central Park. And that I felt so sick. I was 10 weeks pregnant. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

January, bits and pieces

january, my birthday, 27, a subscription

new bicycle

a friend who sends jam is the best kind of friend

inaugural voyage

The cake shop, closed, on my birthday. It was the saddest thing.


Our book keeping. Whoops.

so pretty, so utterly useless.

she snores. 

The London Coffee Festival

It's probably for the best that we're not living in London yet. This looks incredibly amazing/lethal.

Monday, April 23, 2012

French Children Probably Throw Food, Sometimes.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that I don't think I know of any parent who wouldn't benefit, even just a little, from reading this book (this book in America). 
It's fascinating from an anthropology point of view (I think that it might even be interesting to the No Babeeez crowd, but I could be wrong) but also hugely inspiring as a parent.  
I've read a lot of reviews, quite a number from people who haven't actually read the book, and they seem to fall into three camps: 'well, this seems very sensible' from people who don't have children and from people who do have children: 'yes, this is how we do it' from people who do have children (colour me sceptical) or (and this is mostly from Americans) 'how dare the French tell us how to raise our kids?'.   
Personally I don't understand the vitriol, but then I'm quite willing to contemplate the idea that I don't have a clue what I'm doing when it comes to parenting and admit that I don't have a plan, I'm just making it up as I go along. I can understand that people who do have a plan might not like being told that they're wrong.  
But that's the thing, the book doesn't tell you to do anything, it's just one woman's experience of being an American raising her kids in Paris and trying to figure out why her kids and the other English-speaking kids she knows don't behave like French ones. She's not a Francophile, in fact she seems distinctly unsettled by the notion of her daughter 'growing up French', which is why the blanket reaction of 'I'm not reading that book. The French smoke too much and they spank their kids, why should I listen to anything they have to say about parenting?' is a little puzzling, the French aren't telling you to do anything, they're too busy being French to give a damn what anyone else is doing.  (FYI, I've never seen a French kid being smacked and I've never seen a French parent smoking while looking after their kids. I predict we'll be spending a lot of time in French playgrounds in the future and I'm pretty excited about observing and taking notes. No, really.) 
I'm not going to tell you what I learned from it or in what ways it changed how Nye and I parent* I'm just going to ask that you think about reading it. I don't think it's too dramatic to say that I found it a game-changer.  

I would be really interested to hear what you thought of the book if you've read it, what you think about it if you haven't read it and why you think people are so resistant to it.

*Not in this post anyway. Depending on how the comments go I might write a follow up post in the future. and to talk about what I thought in more detail in the comments though. 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

great mysteries.

Marks and Spencer. They can create a foam pig that is more addictive than crack cocaine but they can't design a plastic bag that doesn't spew edamame beans everywhere. 

Thursday, April 19, 2012


it's pretty cool having a florist for a bestie. We didn't have to pay for any of these babies.  
(and these ones did not smell like a weed farm, which was nice.)  
(the skyline print is by Sheepshead Design. We bought it in New York and squeezed it into our hand luggage to take home. It's one of my favourite things in our house.)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


A lot of the time I'm not really that big on talking (I have two kids, they're loud, I'm tired, my brain hurts, shhhhhh.) But mostly I understand that other people like to talk and that I'm the weirdo here so I do my best to play along. However. There are three situations in which I'm pretty certain that it's not okay to talk to me, like ever;
1. during the cinema
2. while I'm on the toilet
3. when I'm reading a menu.  
Non-negotiable, don't do it, I won't forgive you.  
I'm aware that I'm a grumpy arse but these seem reasonable to me, right? Have I missed any other truly non-negotiable no-chat situations? 

*Russian 'FFS, stop blabbing our secrets to the enemy ' poster. 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Edinburgh, November.

Nye: 'Bloody hell, Edinburgh's so cold.' 
Cara: 'Yeah, and the weather sucks too. Badaboom!' 

Every time. (yes, I actually say 'badaboom'. What? I'm cool.) Being rude about Edinburgh and how unfriendly it is (not universally, just mostly) never gets old. But it's okay, I'm allowed to be rude about Edinburgh because truly, deep deep down, I love it. It's my home, the one place that I feel unerringly safe and protected and.... home. I went to primary school and university in Edinburgh, it was the place of my childhood and my first independence and I love it. But it's freezing and when you hold the door open for people they look at you like you're about to steal their handbag. Aside from that, I love it. 
There is a route I used to walk in Edinburgh, from our flat in the south side, when I felt anxious (which was a lot in those days, art school's a bitch) that took me around my favourite places. By the end of the day I was exhausted/calm and ready to go home again. I've been in Glasgow for five years and I've never found anywhere here that does that for me. 
Whenever Nye and I are in Edinburgh I try to arrange it so that we take in one or other of those places. The most child-friendly of them is the National Museum of Scotland. It's somewhere that I've loved since I was little, somewhere I've loved for twenty years, somewhere that I would willingly spend a whole day, just walking and looking and sitting and leave feeling completely relaxed. (Maybe it's all the death? Dead things comfort me. An aside: once the art college took us to the Anatomical Museum at the medical school for a drawing trip. Most people were creeped out by the human heads and stuff but I found it kind of reassuring, like 'look how relaxed they look! One day this shit will be over.' Like I said, art school was a dark time.) It's been almost completely overhauled since my day and for purely sentimental reasons I kind of miss the moth-eaten, Victorian exhibits. The new ones are amazing though, the whole place is beautiful. 
All of that was to say: we went to Edinburgh in November, we took the girls, we went to the museum and some other places I love, it was really nice. We went to the museum again last week, before a wedding we had in Edinburgh, all of our weddings should start with a trip to the museum.