A visit to the park in the morning, where we met up with friends for a little while and managed to grab a decent family photo of the four of us. I’m quite pleased with it anyway, think we’ll have to print this one and get it on the wall!
After getting home in time for lunch, we were expecting Olivia’s friend from nursery who was coming to visit, and had a few nice activities lined up to keep them both entertained. On top of painting, and making biscuits, we also had some time in the garden with the slide and the trampoline, and Olivia’s push along Mini Cooper was a big hit with everyone. It was good to see them playing together so nicely again, they are both so alike in their temperaments, so well mannered and easy going. I’d like to think they are both a credit to their parents, but this could just be where nature vs nurture comes in, as child no.2 seems to making up for all the easy times we had! It does make me wonder how two children brought up the same way, in the same home, can be so different! Olivia is definitely just a lot more passive in her nature, I don’t think its anything we’ve done as parents. Or does the simple fact of having one child in the house change the dynamics of how the second baby sees the world, compared to the first one?
We finished the day off with a slightly different twist, our Saturday night curry wasn’t ordered in from the local restaurant, or picked up from the ready meal section of the supermarket, or even poured out of a jar… Clare had gone and done something that I was too nervous to do before now, she cooked up her own curry. It was nice, although we had to keep it a little plain and spice-free for the girls or they wouldn’t have eaten it, I prefer mine with a little more heat. It was perfect for them though, but it has inspired me to give it a go, especially as a) I enjoy cooking anyway, and b) I own a highly recommended curry cookbook, which has done nothing but sit there and gather dust since it arrived!
One thing we have been talking about doing is trying to vary our weekly menu a bit. We have been planning our weekly meals for a few years now, and it really helps with shopping costs, the amount of food we no longer throw away, and making sure anything frozen that we need is defrosted the night before. The only down side is that you can often find yourself in a bit of a loop with cooking the same meals time and time again. I like trying new dished from time to time, and certainly need to get my hand back in the kitchen, as Clare seems to have adopted the role of chief cook since she has been off work.
For anyone that doesn’t use a weekly food planner and is fed up of looking through the cupboards and feeling uninspired, I’d recommend it.
Yes, that’s black pen around her eye. Yes, she put that there herself. Friday, for the most part, was a quiet day at home, of which we’ve had a few this week, but work was recommencing in the garden and I had promised to be around to help with any heavy lifting, as our gardener Leigh had injured his knee last time he was here. As it turned out, he managed to get a lot of it done without any help from me. It meant a lot of time at home and trying to keep the girls entertained. Unfortunately Chloe is getting to that age now where you dare not take your eyes of her for a second, as she is bound to end up hurting herself, making a mess or breaking something!
The only real significant event of the day was that this evening an old school friend was coming over for dinner, someone I hadn’t seen for a number of months due to some personal circumstances on their behalf. I managed to cook up my personal favourite, I guess you could call it a signature dish, Milanese Chicken Risotto. Its not a hugely difficult dish to create, but it does take a little time, and is totally worth it. It seemed to go down well with three empty plates at the end of the evening. I enjoyed catching up with my friend over a few drinks, but unfortunately got slightly carried away, and stayed up a little too late, and drank a little too much. Its so easy to lose track when your catching up with friends. At least with entertaining at home, when your guests leave you can just crawl up the stairs into bed.
Ah yes, Friday is here at last. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when I was working in retail and Friday was just another day, as I always worked Saturdays, and working Sundays wasn’t uncommon, so big shout out to anyone reading this who has to work this weekend!
Here in the UK the weather is set for a heatwave this weekend, and once I am home from work, Friday afternoon kicks off with some fun time in the garden whilst the girls are free to run about without getting burnt. Olivia’s car came out for yesterdays walk back from nursery, and now Chloe has fallen in love with it too. Thankfully Olivia is fantastic at sharing and such a good big sister, she was happy to try and push her little sister around the garden, although the steering was a little more tricky.
With the girls in bed it was time for us to eat, although dinner was a bit of a later one as we’d decided to have a delicious risotto, from a recipe I found online a few years ago. I printed the recipe and have fallen in love with the dish, even though its not the quickest dish to prepare and get right. Its totally worth it though, and although risotto sounds tricky, if you can follow simple instructions, you can make it too. The recipe can be found here.
“When you celebrate, there is sure to be cake.”
A bit of late night baking before bed was not what I had in mind today, although I did consider it may end up being a possibility! Tonights photo won’t win me any awards, but its all part of my day, and thats what i’m documenting!
The day started with a pleasant ride into work, a pretty solid effort as it only took me 22 minutes to get from the front door to work, even in the early morning rush hour traffic! Not bad considering that on some of the worst mornings it has taken up to 45 minutes in the car! The weather forecast was pretty clear, come lunchtime its rainin’… and it ain’t stoppin’!! It came as no surprise to me that it was a wet ride home, and I have a feeling that this summer is going to see many more of them! Recent weather discussions on tv have mentioned the jet stream which affects the weather in the UK, and its current position relative to us… which is sadly in the same position as 2012 and caused us to have one of the most miserable summers I can ever remember! This does not bode well for the months ahead, I have dreams of family bbq’s in the back garden whilst watching Olivia crawling around on the grass in the sunshine… I just hope that they don’t just end up staying as dreams, we finally have a house and a garden instead of just a flat, I want to make the most of it this year!!
I got home today to find one of my sisters still here, a bit of a surprise as she’d popped over for lunch and I wasn’t expecting her to still be at ours, but I know how she loves spending time with her niece which is lovely. I had planned to go and visit my nan again in hospital this evening though and so had to eventually send my sister on her way so that we could cook dinner, eat and then tidy up before the mother in law came round to baby sit and would tut disapprovingly at the state of the place! I had also planned to make a cake to take into work, but as my sister was here when I got back from work I couldn’t really start it before we went out and so had to wait until I got back from the hospital. Its not finished, but it is at least cooked now, so I only have to decorate it in the morning. I just hope I can get it to work with out destroying it in my rucksacK! I’d made it for the staff in my class, one of whom had gone for an interview this week for a higher position in a different class. I was hoping this cake would be a celebratory cake for her, but sadly the competition was stiff and she didn’t get the job, so this cake will hopefully be an excuse to cheer her up then and celebrate the fact that as a class at least we get to keep her!
It was nice to see my nan tonight when we got to the hospital, and I’m glad we made it over. I know she appreciates the company, even though she understands that people are busy and don’t always have the time to get over. She’s not actually on a ward, but a new unit that is a post discharge recovery unit for elderly people, which for her means communal areas, her own room, decent food and 9am – 10pm visiting hours! Last time we went we took Olivia with us and she slept the entire time we were there, which is why we left her at home tonight with the grandparents. Next time we go we’ll try and get over in the afternoon so that hopefully my nan can see her great granddaughter awake instead of catching flies!
“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”
After treating myself to a couple of beers last night, I spent most of today feeling exhausted. We had a lovely start to the day when more family came to visit, Gary and Margarita brought their little baby daughter over, who was absolutely gorgeous with her dark hair and dark eyes, and they brought some beautiful gifts with them for Olivia. We had a spot of lunch and a lovely catch up, as we don’t see them very often and a few hours disappeared in a flash! With no plans for the rest of the day, I made the most of a quiet couple of hours and put my feet up for a bit. As evening started to set in, I remembered I still needed to pick up more loft boards from B&Q, and picked up a few bits for dinner while I was out. I stopped off and grabbed this photo before I headed home, this cinema has been here for years, with a variety of different company names over its doors, and it never seems busy, yet it never closes down! Glad i’m home again now, the weather has turned again, much like it did last night, strong gales and pouring rain after a reasonably calm day. Still, after cooking what I think may have been one of my best chilli’s, its time to put my feet up again with a glass of rioja, and a good film with the wife!