Friday, 21 December 2012

Happy tonight



Tonight we are off to the Vendée for a big Canteau family Christmas, and I am so happy I can't wait. I hope that your Christmasses will be merry and bright and that you will all enjoy a magical Winter (or Summer...) Wonderland.

See you in 2013 :)

Much love xxx

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

(Mini) Greedy Bird Decorating Enterprise: Snow-capped fairy cakes


Something a little Christmassy from here. They looked fab and were yummy. They're actually super orangey. And I desperately want to make a joke involving crows but that would just be too naff, right?

We also went to listen to a Conte de Noël at the Médiathèque this morning and visited the mini-ferme that has been set up in the square near our house to do a craft workshop and pet the teeny tiny baby goats this afternoon. Followed by a walk around town, and a whirl on the merry-go-round. All of which sounds lovely but in between all these activities the mini-beasts were pretty feral. Matilda took herself off to bed early! Note to self: you may finally be feeling up to doing more than wallowing in self-pity on the sofa but your mini-beasts might be missing the lazy days of the Morning Sickness Film Club.


What is goin' on 'ere then?

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Dark Ages


A couple of weekends ago we spent the day at the Stephs. It was lovely. The next day, Steph sent us a message to let us know that my niece Elise had scabies. Scabies! What are we, nineteenth century slum-dwellers?! What next - cholera! I did some research into scabies, otherwise known as mange. Uuurrghghghrhghh. Sometimes Google is not a good thing. Google Images should place a ban on all medically-related searches. Turns out the little scabies creatures can take four to six weeks to reach the point at which you start itching (so Elise has had plenty of time to pass on her infestation to her nearest and dearest) and then the really good news, even after you've blasted the mange mites with insecticide (yes, insecticide, which means not for pregnant women, I presume there's some alternative*...) because they cause an allergic reaction you still go on itching like hell for two weeks. That's on top of feeling like a scrofulous vagrant. Oh and then, then, you have to wash/disinfect everything close to the pestilent one (bed linen, towels, clothes, toys... oh god, how many soft toys do my kids have in their beds!) at 60°, or place everything in hermetic bags for two weeks. Yes, folks, scabies is really a whole lot of joy. I don't remember anyone having scabies when I was a kid, I thought scabies was extinct, but it's always been pretty clear, the more we blast these creatures with treatments, the harder they'll come back at us. Be sure to stay tuned for further updates. And be glad you all live a long way away...

To add to potential scabies woes, for the last three months I have been without hoover. Diligently sweeping up like some demented Charlady Macbeth. And this week our dishwasher has downed tools.

So a little recap on the current lie of the land in the crumbling state of Pilbeam-Canteau. Floors are getting cleaned and dishes washed by the sweat of my relunctant housewife's brow. And we have the plague. Possibly. We only need the washing machine to give up the ghost and I'll be trekking down to the river to beat my laundry against stones before heading back to my trusty mangle. I love a bit of Dickens at Christmas but this was not quite the kind of Dickens I had in mind...

*A quick trip to my gynaecologist this morning confirmed that, yes, there is an alternative. An extremely unpleasant locally applied cream that burns. So that's alright then.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Papi Mike's Pellier

Waiting for the tram

Last summer the grandspoilers took the mini-beasts on a day trip to our local metropolis, Montpellier. Later that evening in a mother-daughter chat...

Me: So, you went to Montpellier today?
Matilda: It's not your Pellier it's Papi Mike's Pellier.

Obviously the kind of amusing anecdote that I will be boring her with when she's 27 and definitely blogworthy (we don't have high standards around these blogparts) but somehow I never got round to it.

Yesterday the grandspoilers took us all to Montpellier to see the Christmas decorations. The previous morning in a mother-daughter chat...

Me: Papi and Nana are taking us to Montpellier tomorrow.
Matilda: Are we going to your Pellier or Papi Mike's Pellier?

I think it is due to the same impeccable logic that Owen calls Matilda, Tilda.

Anyway, a grand day was had by all.

And in other fun with words news, I realised recently that when Owen refers to his "bummy" he is not in fact talking about his bottom, which he very correctly calls a bottom, but his tummy. As in "Hurt my bottom, hurt my bummy, need do poo".

Wearing his "Princess gloves"

Wearing his pyjamas

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

(Mini) Greedy Bird Baking Enterprise: Banana cupcakes with cream cheese frosting


I haven't felt much like baking, blogging... breathing much of late. Early pregnancy, contrary to both my previous experiences, has been all kinds of horrid. Number 3 has already cottoned on to the fact that he/she is going to have to shout extremely loudly to be heard above the general pandemonium. However, my new little squatter seems to feel they've made their point and would quite like some chocolate and cake now, so the motherbeast henceforth can stop feeling sick and start stuffing her face. Why thank you number 3.

So today we relaunched the GBBE with something sort of proper healthy (there are bananas in it) and something sort of faux-healthy (do you know how much icing sugar there is in cream cheese icing? The right amount actually, but still...). The best thing about these little mouthfuls of yum is that both the cake and the icing have just a dash of lime added to them, to take away the sweetness. Such a great idea. I love a bit of citrussy zing.



Both mini-beasts are now keen bakers/kitchen destroyers. Although as ever, what they love best is licking the spoons.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Three...


...is the magic number :)


I had to bribe them with marshmallows to get the shot...

Monday, 3 December 2012

Making spirits bright


Spirits have been anything but bright round here recently but things are looking up and the goose is getting fat and 'tis the season to be jolly and I finally feel like I am!

So on the programme this weekend: advent festivities.

The tree was energetically decorated by the mini-beasts.  It is not a real tree, which makes me a little sad. But we will be up in the Vendée for Christmas and Fanf most reasonably pointed out that with a budget of zero (that's for everything, not just for Christmas frivolities) a real, sweet-smelling tree was out of the question. So we have our little fake but friendly tree, donated to us by the Stephs. I tell myself it's not the tree it's the people around it that matter... And round our tree we have excitable mini-beasts doing the "We just decorated our Christmas tree and we think we're body everyself" dance.


Papi Mike's lovely Advent calendar returned, stuffed with goodies, making getting everyone out of bed in the mornings that bit easier.


I made chocolate marshmallow fudge from this ridiculously easy recipe to take to a little Advent celebration with our friends, Stéphane and Helke.


There was Stollen and mulled wine and children upstairs having fun behind closed doors. Where we couldn't hear them. Aaaahhhhh. When they came down they claimed to have been having a party with beer. Hmmmm... but by that point we had all had a generous helping of mulled wine so no one felt overly-inclined to investigate. Or reflect upon the fact that children of such tender years should already have the impression that a good party needs beer. Where do kids pick up these ideas?