08 The ides of March – updates from March 2016

31 March 2016

So so so rainy

Today we woke up to rain. 

I gave the twins yesterday’s baguette for breakfast. It was totally stale but they could chew on it for ages.

We then took a rainy walk to the shops and got Apple popovers, more bread (!!) and food for us.

Got home and had a playZ the. Off to the local bar for lunch.

We had:

The awesome soup

A small selection of charcuterie.

Steak frites (amazing)


Chocolate mousse (gorgeous but a little strong for the babes)


We went back home and I took a nap. Patrick the had a nap with the babes.

It rained. All. Day. Long.

To quote The Cat in the Hat ‘We could not go out. It was too wet to play. So we sat and we sat all that cold cold wet day’.

The babes made their own fun.

30 March 2016

A bright, bright, sunshiny day

We all had a pretty good sleep last night. The babes woke up in a brilliant mood. Full of cuddles and giggles. 

We had breakfast – porridge with banana, but also some of the bread we were having and some kiwis. They also managed to play independently while Patrick and I took turns taking showers. I actually got to read some of my book. Unheard of!

We then drove into Pau to return that trench coat and stopped for some brunch for us at about 11:30. We had croque Monsieur at a cafe. Again held the babes on our laps and gave them chips and salad to eat / play with. 

As the four of us were sitting there a woman smiled at us and said ‘tres jolie tableaux’. 

We then drove into the mountains to a town called Laruns. It’s a funny thing but the drive there is incredibly flat – the mountains start rising up around you, but the valley floor continues for ages.   

Once there we took a little walk around until finally we stopped at a park and gave the twins lunch. 

Then we drove back to Ogeu and went on a super long walk. Cross country…

The views were truly amazing. We kept fantasising about buying a plot of land and just living ‘off grid’. 

Then we found a hunting blind. 

So maybe not the safest place to live.

Also we found these tiny flowers we reckon are wild daffodils.

The babes were a bit clingy and fussy this evening. Their dinner was a bit of an ordeal. But they do seem to be getting better. And they are just wonderful babies. Curious and so funny. I didn’t realising they would be masters of comedy. But they are. 

29 March 2016

The holiday (and colds) continue 

Yesterday started off with a pointless drive to Oloron to try and buy groceries. But the big supeemarket was still closed. Luckily the small super market in Ogeu was open and they have the most amazing bakery. I had a pain au raisin bigger than my face. The babes enjoyed it too.

After lunch we drove into Pau on a quest for a tench coat for me and a pharmacy. The babes eyes had become completely gunked up with cold and I had been awake coughing for over an hour in the night. 

Most of the city was closed but the big department store was open… I spent a bit more than I meant to on a gorgeous trench (it was 50% off!) but when I got it home I realised that despite having wanted a trench for years… It’s just not the right cut for me. I’ll b returning it tomorrow.

We then walked all over town finding several closed pharmacies. I was really starting to panic as Isaac’s eyes were particularly bad and he was even more clingy than usual. Finally we found an open pharmacy and I got my first taste of French pharmacists. They are notoriously bossy and this one was no exception. She INSISTED we buy this contraption:

You use it to suck the snot out of the babes’ noses (given how much they hate having their faces wiped I was not confident). Then we also had to buy little saline solution capsules, and some medicated eye drops.

When we got them home Patrick held Isaac while I sucked out the snot and applied the drops. The whole preoceedure only lasted about 3 minutes but he screamed blue murder. All the while, somewhat bizarrely holding onto a maraca he’d been playing with. The terrible thing about twins is that when you’ve survived one ordeal you then have to start with the other. Margot was no more saguine and if anything has even stronger eye lids.

We then took them out for a nice long walk in their slings for cuddle purposes. After we put them to bed and we’re making dinner I got a message from Mom that Grandma is dying. Spent the rest of the night crying, drinking red wine, and remembering happy times with Grandma. It’s a strange thing but having the babes has made me so much more conscious of mortality. 

Last night the babes slept well. And I would say we had a really really good day. This morning it was raining.

What shall we do today Margot?


The same thing we do everyday Isaac, attempt to take over the world!
But we don’t speak French yet
Then we shall just have to survey our kingdom.
I sent these photos to Mom, Jim and Uncle John. John showed them to Grandma – through her morphine haze she smiled and said ‘how precious’. I continue to be so glad she got to meet them. 

The rain stopped so we went on a super long wake to the next village, Buziet. It was about an hour and a half, and about 15 minutes from the end it started raining again. So we went to the little bar in Ogeu for lunch. This place is amazing. All the local workers and farmers go there. It has a menu which is €13 and they only serve one thing per day. Today we had:

Basques soup (potatoes, courgettes, a little ham, white beans) 

A slice of gorgeous air cured ham (and bread)

Spaghetti Bolognese – very garlicky, very French. 

Then we could have also had a cheese course AND fruit cocktail. But by that point we were all stuffed.

And coffee (which of course we had)

The babes behaved beautifully. We held them on our laps and gave them bread and soup. I’ve never seen Margot eat so much! 

When we got home we all collapsed onto the bed and had a cuddle and a play. It was genuinely one of those moments that makes your heart break with how wonderful it all is. 

Then we went to the big supermarket because we needed to get a hand blender to finish making the week’s worth of babe meals (this week it is courgette, carrot, green lentils and rice with an apple, pear, kiwi purée for dessert).

We got them home, fed them supper about 5, and then into bed by 7. I suspect we won’t be long behind them. 

27 March 2016

Happy Easter Egg

It was a strange week. Largely filled with having a cold and finishing work for our two week holiday in France. 

Tuesday I worked from home – Patrick was still pretty ill so I managed to do most if my work first thing in a cafe for a few hours, then was able to take the babes on a walk with Virginia and Hettie while he rested. Then more work in the late afternoon. 

Wednesday Juliet came over and took them for a walk to the swings. 

We also discovered that Margot has object permanence. We out a phone under things and she would lift the things and get the phone. 

Thursday I had a super early train to Manchester and then back again. Worryingly I got a text from Mom while I was in the train saying she was rushing up to Kansas (driving over night) to see Grandma who’s not doing very well.

Friday started off right by watching Teletubbies.

What I love (aside from the fact that it’s the religious right bating Tinky Winky) is just how grey their world seems compared to Teletubbies… 

Then we got ready for France in outfits Juliet made!

Also had quite a lot of fun with the treetop adventure. 

We drove down to Chichester which is a gorgeous Cathedral town for supper with the Maddens. Then boarded the Ferry to Santander at midnight.

All things considered the babes (and we) slept really well. 

In the morning we explored the ship.

And Patrick solved Lego Tetris. 

Not long after I took these Isaac had a slip and cut his lip on his bottom teeth. No lasting damage but lots of blood. 

The seas were choppy but that made everyone pretty snoozy.

  We spent another night on the ship. The babes slept from 7-6: unheard of! But somewhat undermined by my having an hour long coughing fit from 3-4.

We drove through truly stunning countryside and got to Jago’s around lunch. Then a walk in the sunshine and now just settling in for the evening. 

A pretty good start to the holdiay! Now we just need everyone to get over their coughs and gunky eyes and we can really enjoy it!  

21 March 2016

Well… What a weekend. We went down to Hove to see the cousins. Al, Liz, Charlie and Ella and we all went to a pub lunch and Margot in particular was excellent. She sat in the high chair and nibbled foods and was generally adorable. 

Rebecca and the girls came to the house and we finally all had all six cousins together.

Then on Sunday we came back to London early and saw Jon, Jo and Arthur for lunch at an Italian place in Stroud Green – then swings in Finsbury Park.

Today I went into the office early – only to discover that there was no power, heat or Internet… So I went and got a coffee and vaguely hoped that the office would reopen. But about 9:30 I gave up and came home. Good thing too! The cold that we’ve been fighting all weekend finally settled in this chest. So I had a bonus baby day. 

It was a mixed day. We are trying to move them to three meals a day. So morning breastfeed at 5(ish) then porridge at 9:30, lunch at 12, dinner at 4, and then another breastfeed at 6. 

This morning they were not keen on porridge but we shall see. By the time I got home there was some pretty adorable behaviour. I had the two of them on my lap and was rubbing noses with them as they were shrieking with laughter. 

Then we went off on a walk. When I got home at 12 we had lunch. Margot is still only really taking a bottle. And Isaac screamed his way through his meal.

We played in the living room for a bit (Patrick was still sleeping). At about 2:30 he came down because the babes were being so fussy. 

We ended up then snoozing on the sofa till 4. Margot took a bottle then, and then Isaac ate all his lunch, and then some. But though he wolfed it down he basically screamed between bites.

So then at 5 I took them for another walk. We then had a nice feed and bed. They are exhausting. But kept snuggling and clambering so they are at least quite winsome. 

16 March 2016

Nine months old. So hard to get my head around. It feels like a ridiculously long and short time all at once. 

Yesterday they were a bit fussy all day. I think in part this was because I was working from home and kept coming in and out of rooms so they never felt settled. 

We built their treetop adventure. Unsurprisingly they were super keen on the box.


Juliet made them some really rather adorable outfits for our trip to France next week. 

13 March 2016

It really does feel like spring is happening. We went on a long walk to an old cemetery near Stoke Newington. It as just gorgeous.

Also for the first time I realised just how flooded with light the nursery is…


12 March 2016

Last night was exhausting. Isaac was cutting another tooth… Which led to him all out screaming for about an hour from 10-11… It was not a restful night. But this morning they seem much better.

Chimney sweeps!


Today we went on a lovely walk into Stoke Newington and went to the pub with Kate Jones.


Isaac mainly enjoyed eating the table and Margot enjoyed playing with knives…
11 March 2016

Yesterday was plain awful! I woke up early as I had to get a 7:20 train to Birmingham to chair a conference. But I wasn’t feeling great. Took a shower and then just started throwing up. Patrick wasn’t feeling brilliant but managed to keep food down. I basically spent the day asleep or throwing up. Luckily Claire came over to look after all of us. 

Today we all felt a lot better. But had to have quite a lot of cuddles.

We did make it out for a walk. Planning to take it very easy this weekend!!!

Happily the babes are on good form.


9 March 2016

The old saying goes that March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Let’s hope that’s true! It’s been an epic start to the month.

Last week was a reminder of what my life was like before babies. But with the added bonus of actually having the babies…

Tuesday (1st) I had a work dinner and didn’t get home till 11… Then Wednesday I went to my first Urbanistas in over a year. It was amazing and exhilarating but again didn’t get home till 11.

Still we were in a room with quite a view 

Thursday started with a walk through the park on my way to a meeting and it really felt like spring was in the air.

I was so exhausted that I came home at 2pm and had a sleep with Isaac and Margot on the sofa. That evening we went to see In The Heights and Juliet babysat.

It was an incredible show!! I feel so lucky to be able to still go to the theatre.

Friday… Brenna and Andy came round but I was basically asleep by 9:30.

Through all of this Patrick and the babies were amazing. Isaac’s crawling is coming on by leaps and bounds and everyday Margot gets quicker and more agile.

Saturday we took a walk down to Stoke Newington and met up with Ciaran and Aiden for a pub lunch. Then we all went back to our place and played guitars.

Margot was particularly keen on guitar playing. Isaac was interested but Margot HAD to be involved.

Sunday was UK Mothers Day – my first since the twinpocalypse… So we went to Juliet and Iain’s house and Camilla, Mark and Tess were all there. We had an amazing lunch of salmon, pilaf, fatoush and stuffed roasted butternut squash. Iain got out his violin and again Margot was entranced. Isaac, I think, prefers the piano. 

This week is flying by. But we’ve had some rough nights. Sunday night we were up at 2, 3, 4 and (finally) 5. Isaac had a rough time getting to sleep that night too… Screamed for about half an hour. We were having Will and Esther over to talk about a house they’re looking at and it was just exhausting.

Monday night Amanda came round for dinner as she was working in London Tuesday morning… So we were up having dinner with her till quite late.

Last night I went to bed at 8:30 and read 101 Dalmations till I fell asleep at 9.