Author: Lara Ruffle Coles Page 2 of 13

A Glorious Day in Greenwich

After last Saturday’s walk by the river, and my walk through Oxleas Woods yesterday, I’m getting fired up and excited to be out and about.

Whatever you think about last Sunday’s video presentation from Dear Leader, the fact that we are now allowed out more for exercise fills me with nothing but joy.

Obviously this is ridiculous, no police officer is watching you through a set of binoculars just in case you step outside more than once a day, but the removal of the social pressure is certainly helpful.

And I think the announcement has lifted some of the fug I’ve felt around myself since lockdown began in March. I’ve definitely had a good week with no low moments, and given I’ve not had any errands to keep me busy, I think I’m doing alright. 😊

I woke up in a great mood today: we had some nice family time before the husband started work, and then I did some writing for another blog while Rafe played with his toys (intermingled with cuddles and Mummy chest raspberries). And once showered and dressed, I went to Greenwich for the first time in 7 weeks, yay! πŸ₯³

It was a BEAUTIFUL day today, and we had a wonderful walk through the park with some chill time on the grass during Rafe’s nap. The buggy also rolled down the hill because I didn’t put the brake on properly. It was pretty funny, and it didn’t bash into anyone so YAY!

A little later I ‘picked up’ some lunch via Deliveroo and we sat in St Alfege Park while a squirrel watched us eat. Rafe did some running around, and then we went down to the river for additional running plus climbing. I missed the river so!

After a play by the Cutty Sark we circled back to the park where Rafe pretty much gave up walking and climbed in his buggy. There was a brief bit of running away and hiding in some tall grass after a breather, but by about 4.15pm he was ready to head home via Daddy taxi. πŸš•

A wonderful trip out, and keep scrolling for photos!

Blackheath Avenue free from cars, lovely!
Spot the buggy
St Alfege Park
The Sherpa hard at work
Greenwich Foot Tunnel

The Blog That Didn’t Really Work

I started writing ‘Odd Things I Like To Do’ on Saturday, and I’ve officially given up 5 days later. My conclusion? It was a shit idea.

But as I spent a fair amount of time thinking about it, and I don’t want to waste my electro-chemical reactions… here’s a shitty half written blog!

Organising my son’s Duplo

The photo below demonstrates the ‘in use’ state. When not in use, the bricks, and the people, animals and themed elements must be separate.

We have two yellow Duplo buckets for this… but as we add to the collection, there’s nearly not enough capacity to keep things separate. 😲

Also, the pesky blue brick with helicopter propellers doesn’t really fit in either category. 😲😲😲

My little kitchen knife

We bought a set of knives from John Lewis a number of years ago (very similar to these) and I have a favourite. The wee fella below is perfect for chopping salad and vegetables and is our go to knife for most things.

It is so light and ergonomic and it just makes me very happy.

Separately eating each element of my dinner

Note how the chilli on the left isn’t entirely obscured by the sour cream and spring onions? I don’t like mixing flavours. But as he spent an hour cooking my birthday dinner I thought I had better acquiesce to his presentation request. In part anyway…

Another example? A rice wall. Whether it is a Chinese or Indian takeaway, do not blend the dishes! You will spoil the flavours! A rice wall please.

Placing our bedroom coasters at a 90ΒΊ angle

This is essential to my well-being. That’s it.

And the only reason I can cope with Sam’s coaster not matching mine at all times is… at night it is used to obscure the evil blue light emanating from Sam’s mobile charging pad.

It’s my dad’s fault. And be sure hit up my aunt Jeanette for an even better example of Ruffle nutcase behaviour. Just ask her about the swans.

Happy 36th Birthday to Me!

It is my birthday, hurrah!

I am at home doing the same things I’ve been doing for 7 weeks, hurrah!



Anyway, I bought myself a cake yesterday so yay. And it is far too big, but it tastes great, so WHO CARES. And it was made by the lovely people at Boulangerie Jade, a local chain for local people. I [used to] frequent the Blackheath Standard branch, and I very much recommend all that they do. Support them if you can!

Below is a photo, woo hoo!

So what have I done with my birthday you ask? I have sorted some washing for the line, done some washing up, and shortly I will be taking the washing off the line and folding said washing. Marvellous.

However, we did go for a pre-nap walk and I took the photo below when the wind briefly calmed down, and the sun came out. The view is looking north towards Severndroog Castle – completely hidden by the luscious greenery, and was taken standing on the foundations of Castle Wood House (torn down in 1922).

We walk this way at least once a week at the moment as we live just opposite. Unfortunately for the husband, there wasn’t much walking from Rafe today, Sam had to carry him most of the way… and he’s getting really heavy now!

And what was my birthday present? It was a meal of my choice!

I went for buffalo wings with celery, carrot and ranch dressing, plus chilli cheese fries. Sam cooked up a storm – he’s such a brilliant cook, and as expected, it was very tasty! And we have chilli leftovers too, woo hoo!

And then we had more cake… we really need a salad tomorrow. πŸ™ˆ

Happy birthday to me! πŸ₯³πŸ₯³πŸ₯³

A Walk by the River

We found a screw in our back tyre today, so down to the nearest Kwik-Fit we went. And luckily for us, it was a 5 minute walk from the river, so we had a lovely walk while we waited for the tyre change.

It felt like such a treat to see the Thames, and on such a sunny day as well. We used to live about 20 minutes walk from the river, and before Charlton, we lived in East Greenwich for 4 years – lots of riverside walking back then!

The stretch we walked is between the Anchor & Hope pub and the Thames Barrier, and we did a quick-ish loop back to the pub before we found ourselves a quiet spot on a patch of grass by the Sainsbury’s depot. Very salubrious.

We enjoyed listening to a man ranting on his phone about having to wait for his colleague by the depot exit gate. πŸ‘

However, the view was heavenly.

And we now have a fixed tyre and a new lovely memory to keep us positive and upbeat.

Silly Love Songs

As lockdown gives us more time to think, I’ve been thinking about my Dad more than usual – a lovely and a sad topic.

Some of the happiest times we had together were when we listened to music, particularly Billy Joel, but also Chris de Burgh and The Beatles.

I don’t remember us ever really listening to Wings, but I’ve discovered them as an adult through Spotify and their wondrous not Christmassy but definitely Christmassy song Mull of Kintyre.

And then there is Live and Let Die, a song I knew through the Guns N’ Roses cover, and its use in the epically fantastic 1997 John Cusack film Grosse Pointe Blank – listen carefully as the cover morphs into muzak as Blank walks into the Ultimart. Pure class.

Jet, My Love, Let ‘Em In, and of course Band On The Run, have also been hiding somewhere in my subconscious for years because that’s how Paul McCartney works – he’s everywhere (in a good way), but my ultimate favourite at the moment has to be Silly Love Songs.

I’m a complete romantic and I love a good tune. And what a good tune it is. The funky groovy driving and thudding bass – I just love how high in the mix it is, the joyous dancing horns, the violins, the way it slows and speeds up as the song transitions from one section to the next in an entirely natural waltzing way. And of course the lyrics, so entirely happy and merry and delightful. I just love it, it makes me fizz and dance about.

And I love that it was written as a gentle riposte to John Lennon and others for being a bit sneery about McCartney’s music.

Turn it up loud (but not right now as it is 22.23 and I should be going to bed), dance about and give someone a good squeeze and a cuddle after.

Diggy Diggy Hole

There is a lot of digging going on in our garden at the moment as the husband is planting enough vegetables to feed the 5,000.

Due to this, Rafe is fairly keen on digging. There is a lot of “diggy dig” and “diggy hole” being said, and lots of copying of his Dad.

I would also like to thank the joy that is Peppa Pig for its informative episode on digging. And that is not sarcasm. It is a brilliant show, and it will definitely guarantee you a bit of peace and quiet. However, I do have to pause it if I need his attention, as he’s a complete zombie with it.

Another “diggy hole” in our lives at the moment is the dwarf mining song Diggy Diggy Hole by Italian heavy metal band Wind Rose. This joyous symphonic tune is also a big hit with the Rafe.

Enjoy the lyrics below!

Brothers of the mine rejoice!
Swing, swing, swing with me
Raise your pick and raise your voice!
Sing, sing, sing with me
Down and down into the deep
Who knows what we’ll find beneath?
Diamonds, rubies, gold and more
Hidden in the mountain store

Born underground, suckled from a teat of stone
Raised in the dark, the safety of our mountain home
Skin made of iron, steel in our bones
To dig and dig makes us free
Come on brothers sing with me!

I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole

The sunlight will not reach this low
Deep, deep in the mine
Never seen the blue moon glow
Dwarves won’t fly so high
Fill a glass and down some mead!
Stuff your bellies at the feast!
Stumble home and fall asleep
Dreaming in our mountain keep

Born underground, grown inside a rocky womb
The Earth is our cradle, the mountain shall become our tomb
Face us on the battlefield, you will meet your doom
We do not fear what lies beneath
We can never dig too deep

I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole

I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole

Born underground, suckled from a teat of stone
Raised in the dark, the safety of our mountain home
Skin made of iron, steel in our bones
To dig and dig makes us free
Come on brothers sing with me!

I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, diggy diggy hole
I am a dwarf and I’m digging a hole
Diggy diggy hole, digging a hole

Wind rose, wintersaga

Next step, Lord of the Rings!

Unfair Mini Meltdown

Feel like I’m having a mini meltdown right now.

And the only thing that happened was him finishing work 10 minutes later than the standard.

I’ve run away to hide in the car while Rafe whines for his dinner. It’s a bit chilly in the rain.

I really wanted to go out in the car for a drive at 17.30 exactly so I could just be free for a bit and the 10 minutes difference was just too much.

It is thoroughly unfair of me. He hasn’t done anything wrong, I’m just fucking fed up.

I spent 30 minutes watching the government press conference and nothing has changed. I thought something was going to change. I’m so fucking bored.

But I know what the R0 number means now. And I’m fairly certain the video narration was done by Lorraine Ashbourne. What a lovely accent.


Time to give him a hug and say sorry.

Then a drink.


The husband has three hobbies: programming, painting miniatures and fishing. It’s a pretty tame set of hobbies, and none of them involve going out on the piss, so I’m pretty lucky.

We’ve been together for over 11 years, and over this period I’ve been night fishing twice, plus a fly fishing lesson when I got caught up in the romance of Salmon Fishing in The Yemen. LOLz all round, but who doesn’t love Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt.

So, for the most part I am the dutiful spouse who listens and responds when there is fishing chat, but I don’t partake.

However, I do love holidays. And I love planning. And because I love him, and he loves fishing, every year I plan a fishing trip for us.

We often go on these trips with the in-laws (his Dad fishes as well), so they have become a really lovely way for us to spend a full week together with the added fun of being on holiday. And now we have Rafe, we get extra time to ourselves, and they get a lot of time to stare adoringly into his eyes.

So far we have been to:

And for this year:

  • Phocle Lake, Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire (2020)

There’s a theme emerging…

Sumners Ponds

We fished at Sumners for a week in spring 2016, and stayed in Moorhen Lodge with my in-laws. I’m told that even though the fishing was good overall, it was too busy at the weekend with the fish not feeding in their usual places due to the extra noise and activity.

However, the lodge facilities were excellent and we had plenty of space for two swims off the decking next to the lodge. Pretty swish, and very excellent for the mother-in-law and I as we got to chat to the men instead of being abandoned for the fish.

There was also a good restaurant/cafΓ© on site where we had a lovely meal while watching a band one evening, and there are a number of other lakes and ponds to fish on. But if quiet isolation is what you are after, Sumners is a little too mainstream.

Would recommend, but you might want to go mid-week.

Mill Farm Leisure

We went away on our own this time as I was pregnant and we knew it would be our last fishing trip before the baby. We hadn’t told anyone at this point, and my first scan wasn’t due until a fortnight after the holiday, so it was a lovely special trip just for us.

Mill Farm is quite isolated and sits in the middle of cabbage fields with very little else nearby. Staying in Willow Lodge, we had our own jacuzzi and sauna, and a large decking area with private swim to enjoy. I could chat with Sam from the tub while he fished, and we were fairly hidden from the other lakeside lodges across the water.

Sam’s Mill Farm report is as follows:

Caught tons of small carp, 1lb – 3lb ish, and some little rudd.

Lots of fun, easy fishing.

sam ruffle coles

We took a trip to Skegness one day, and then visited Batemans Brewery another. The weather was lovely the entire time we were in Lincolnshire, and we really enjoyed the peace and quiet of the flat cabbagey landscape.

Would definitely recommend!

Phocle Lake

The River Wye is famous for barbel and chub (or for trout and salmon if you fish for game), and Sam has had it on his fishing bucket list for a while now. After googling ‘river wye holiday cottages’ he found Phocle Lake, a perfect spot for lake fishing, with an easy drive to the Wye for river fishing.

The cabin we’ve stayed in twice has two bedrooms with en-suites, a large open-plan living area, a jacuzzi, and even more importantly… an enclosed decking area with lockable gate! This was essential in 2019, not so much in 2018! πŸ˜ƒ

All three lodges have private swims, and ours also has a little shaded island with a wee bridge to walk across. And I could watch the fishing from the hot tub while Rafe napped in the adjacent bedroom. Perfect.

For both holidays there was lots of lake fishing success, but nothing on the two 2018 Wye day tickets. Sam’s Dad caught one fish, but Sam caught diddly squat:

The water wasn’t very well oxygenated because of low rainfall. They actually closed a lot of the Wye for fishing a couple of weeks later because of this.

Sam ruffle coles

That’s his defence anyway. πŸ˜‰

In 2018 we also visited The Whitebrook to try their tasting menu (they don’t do Γ  la carte), it was our first evening away from Rafe and I was still breastfeeding, so there was lots of pumping prep for the night out!

Just over the border in Wales, The Whitebrook is a Michelin starred restaurant hidden in the woods, and luckily for us, it was accessible by taxi from Ross! It was an epically long meal and I was so knackered by 10pm, and we didn’t leave til 12.30am, but it was great! And we were ‘us’ for an evening. ❀️

2019 was a better year for river fishing, and Sam and his Dad caught the following over two days:

I hooked and lost two barbel, but then caught one. Dad caught a bigger barbel, and maybe one or two chub.

The second day we didn’t get a sniff, and decided to just call it a day and come home early.

SAM ruffle coles

Back at the lake, the fishing was excellent as expected, and this year Rafe got to meet his first fish. 🐟

We went out for another date night too, this time to the Moody Cow Pub in Upton Bishop, only 20 minutes walk from Phocle Lake. We had a lovely and casual – but really excellent meal, and enjoyed a walk home down the dark lane back to the lodge. We even met a toad on the way. 🐸

And as you can imagine…

We would definitely recommend a stay at Phocle Lake!

And we are crossing our fingers for our trip there in July. 😬🀞

A Report on This Week

This week is the fifth week of the national lockdown, and as every day fades into another day, and every week fades into another week, I thought I would document what I’ve actually done this week.

Dunno if I can be arsed to do this every week though… it’s not like there is actually anything exciting to report…


  • Two loads of washing done first thing, then hung out to dry on our super duper rotary washing line
  • Music class via Zoom at 3.15pm 🎺πŸ₯πŸŽΆ
  • Post-work walk for the 3 of us through a bit of wood between Severndroog Castle and Eltham Common. I discovered it last week with Rafe, and the wood has lots of open space with various paths snaking through leaf covered ground. Gorgeous.
  • Searched for a BBC Good Food cabbage recipe for dinner to ensure we were eating our fresh fruit and veg delivery in the right order. Haricot beans substituted for cannellini with no negative consequences. Husband even approved, and was actually impressed with my research and implementation


  • Breakfast was my first ever frittata: ham and mushroom with Comte on top. Yum! Feels a bit excessive using 4 eggs at a time, so I might hold off on making any more for a while
  • Rafe’s Health and Development Review was done today, he turned 2 the other week and it is a standard check. No issues raised!
  • I had a second interview for a job, hurrah! I showered, wore a dress and spoke to someone on Zoom
  • Our IKEA Busa was delivered, very exciting
  • Caught up with my aunt Jeanette in the afternoon – an old fashioned phone call this time


  • Drove my pregnant friend to the hospital, it was me and the husband vs two Ubers. Nice to be useful too
  • MEAT delivery! πŸ₯©πŸ₯©πŸ₯©πŸ₯©πŸ₯©
  • Rang my 96 year old aunt, she’s fine and hasn’t fallen over again… while walking in her flat… 😬
  • Another friend left Rafe’s birthday present outside the house, he is now the proud owner of a bright orange lobster bath towel, it has sticky up eyes and everything. Fabulous!


  • A chilled day where the main activity was water play in the clothes basket. Couldn’t be arsed to get the big swimming pool out, and I completely forgot about the little one we were given last year. Woops!
  • Caught up with aunt 3 of 5 too. She is also known as Yvonne.


  • Spoke to another friend for the first time in forever. Her, her husband, and her son have all had a really crap run of non-Corona illnesses, and they are finally nearly through it all. On top of running a business from home! So good to catch up with her! ❀️
  • Julie from my chamber choir rang for our first video call, we sit next to each other in rehearsals and she’s such a fun and cheery sort to sing and chat with. She’s also really experienced at sight singing – which I’m also a big fan of!
  • Pre-nap walk with the husband and child, this time to Severndroog Castle itself
  • (then) Rafe napped for 2 hours and 40 minutes! Marvellous!
  • Prepped Tom Kerridge’s ‘Short ribs with horseradish dumplings’ from Best Ever Dishes. I’m not doing the dumplings as we have fresh veg that needs working through, but I had great fun sorting the rub. It is wonderful having more time to cook, and to be able actually enjoy the process. A lot of the time you just feel like it is an endless cycle of prep, cook, eat, wash up*. Obviously this is nothing new, but it is definitely more YAWN at the moment.
  • Dinner was tagliatelle bolognese with a vat load of carrots, celery and mushrooms. Sam is a bolognese purist (or fascist) and usually just whines about my bolognese – but even he just ate the bloody thing this time. Thanks to HG Walter for more excellent MEAT.

Special Rafe Update

We’ve been talking to Rafe about a move from his ‘little boy bed’ (the travel cot he’s been in since he was 5 months old), to his ‘big boy bed’ for a few weeks now, and he’s been using a duvet instead of a sleeping bag with no complaint for the same amount of time.

On Monday I asked him which bed he wanted to sleep in, and he pointed to his proper bed and said “bed” – weeeeeee!!!!! OMG! Amazing! Fandabidozi! Etc.

We laid him down, tucked him in and said good night as usual.

He slept through!

And then has done for the past five nights!


He slept in his bed all the way through til 5.30am, 6.15am and 6.30am 3 times. And then woke at 11pm-ish on 2 nights and then came into our bed til and 6.30am.

It’s a work in progress… but I’m still so impressed with him! Love him! ❀️

20 Things I’m Missing During Lockdown

Inspired by Alistair Campbell’s recent feature in The New European, here are my ’20 Things I’m Missing During Lockdown’ – listed in priority order per the rules. Mine are a mix of existential and tangible, but all sorely missed.

  1. The excitement of researching, planning and booking trips. This really is my favourite thing of all time, and the husband will definitely confirm this to be true. Usually I am mentally planning the next thing while on the current expedition, so to have no plans is quite unbearable. And to have no clue when we can visit another country again is quite vile. We are really hoping that our fishing trip to Ross-on-Wye in July can go ahead. 🀯
  2. Meals out. Not that we regularly go out for super grand meals now we have a Rafe, but even Nandos is out of the question – the perfect place to relax and eat while the child noshes his way through a giant corn on the cob. Also missing Rosa’s Thai, The Old Cottage Coffee Shop, Boulangerie Jade at Blackheath Standard, and McDonalds (obviously). Instead, I shall cast my mind back to the pre-Rafe days of fancy hotel restaurants, and weekends away spending lots and lots at swanky Michelin star eateries.
  3. Nights out / Date nights. Not the food per se (that has its own category duh), just the act of getting ready to go out, not being with our son, being free for a bit. We used to go out a lot with my in-laws, and now they are our main babysitter, we do that rarely. We were quite lucky to see Paul Carrack at The London Palladium with them just before everything closed. Just like old times. ❀️
  4. Driving to places new. I learnt to drive in 2015 and I absolutely love it. I love driving in France, I love discovering new parts of our nation, I love driving on motorways, I love listening to music and podcasts in the car, I love escaping somewhere with the family. It is the best. But right now, I feel guilty driving to Catford where my aunt lives to drop things off for her, and it is only 4 miles away! I keep waiting for the police to pull me over and tell me off, but then I remind myself that they have better things to do… but I am trying to stick to the speed limits a little more carefully now…
  5. My mother and father in law. Some people reading this might be aware that both my parents are dead, and as such, I am particularly close to my in-laws in a way that might not have happened if my parents were about. So, we really miss them, we really do! And Rafe absolutely adores them, and they him. My husband is also super close with his parents – it is so lovely to see. I was very close with my Dad, but he was such a different character to Sam’s parents, so I have such a different but equally wonderful relationship with them. Waaaaaaaaaah, stupid lockdown!
  6. My aunts. I have 5 aunts, and I’m quite close to 2 of them. My aunt Jeanette is particularly in love with Rafe and is missing him oodles, and I am missing her. Jeanette helped raise me during the school holidays along with my nan, her mum Brenda and we’ve been making a big effort since her early retirement and my pregnancy to see each other every 6 weeks or so. Luckily my aunt and uncle sneaked in a previously delayed visit (due to Storm Ciara) the day before lockdown – hopefully we will all meet again soon. My aunt Yvonne is my only local aunt, and it has been lovely to say hello when dropping things off at her front door. My dad’s job took us out of London when I was 5 and we lost touch for a while, but I spent about 10 Christmases in a row at her house until I met Sam when I was 24. She’s also a big part of my life, and I’m so happy that we get to see each other nearly every Monday as she finally joined my choir (after a good prodding) 5 or 6 years ago.
  7. My friends. I’ve never had a huge group of friends, but I have 6 or so good friends I can definitely rely on if needed. I’ve made 3 of them since having Rafe, and it is really wonderful to keep making friends the older I get, and the extended network of partners and children is fantastic. I’m also pretty lucky that the 3 friends and their children all love spending time with my son (and hopefully me πŸ˜‰).
  8. Singing. I’ve already written about this in detail, but bloody hell I miss it. The neighbours were treated to some very loud singing along to Kate Bush last week. Lucky them. And thank you to Julie and Cinzia from my chamber choir for their little notes about what they are doing, and how they are missing choir and me (!). ❀️
  9. The structure of life. I need structure. I needs it hobbits! Hence the blog… some sort of mental structure if no actual structure bar cleaning, feeding, dressing and playing with the child.
  10. Being near people. Not at the top of the list because I do like my own space, but this is too much! I miss people. I miss the buzz of a pub or restaurant. I miss Rafe meeting random children and having a chat. Ho hum.
  11. Pubs. Not that I’m getting pissed every five seconds, but I do love a good pub. Especially since the smoking ban. It was a fair bit smoky and smelly at university, but whiling away time in a pub is wonderful. I went to a pub with my friend Rebecca in February and the child slept for 2.5 hours, it was amazing. So much lunchtime chat.
  12. Central London. Man it is the best. Getting a tube, a bus, a train, a whatever. Pootling about seeing the sights, going down to the river, getting some lunch, taking Rafe somewhere fun, occasional nights out. Love it so much. Really really glad I moved back here in 2007! The last time I was down by the Thames was in February, I popped up on the train for lunch at Rosa’s Thai while he napped, and then we saw the water fountains by City Hall, and looked at Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. It was beautiful, sunny and cold, and he had a lovely run about. I’m so excited that he will get to experience all that London has to offer the older he gets. Miss you!
  13. Canary Wharf. I love buildings, I really really do, and there is something simply magnificent about walking about the place, and seeing new and old rubbing up alongside each other. Alternatively, get on the DLR at Lewisham or Greenwich and snake your way up the Isle of Dogs to any one of the stations cutting through the middle of the area. Pre-Rafe we loved a cheeky trip to Canary Wharf for a drink or dinner, and although that has changed, we now visit for completely different but equally wonderful things. One of my favourite days out with Rafe is the Crossrail Place Roof Garden followed by Mudlarks’ sessions at the Museum of London Docklands. During his nap (long may it last), I get a wicked lunch out somewhere overpriced and fabulous, and he gets a super fun day out on the bus, the DLR and Canary Wharf itself. Heavenly!
  14. The local playground and other activities. I’m pretty lucky to live opposite Oxleas Woods where there is plenty of opportunity for exercise and a good run about for Rafe, but I do miss his usual haunts quite a lot. We had the local playground, or the one in Greenwich Park, which has loads of water and sand play and is super awesome. There was the soft play at Sutcliffe Park Sports Centre, and the ‘hard play’ at Ahoy! and Mudlarks. They really provide so much fun and a lot of interaction with other children – I’m sad for him! But also lucky he’s only 2! I’ll be back at all with a vengeance as soon as I can.
  15. Music class. We’ve been going to music classes at Charlton House since Rafe was 7 weeks old and I’m a big big fan. I’ve written about this in more detail on The Charlton Champion, but it was a great way to get out of the house and meet new people in the early days of the new mum haze. I’ve made actual proper friends through the class as well. AMAZING. And now we don’t live in Charlton, I super miss Charlton Park as well as the regular Monday routine.
  16. Nursery. I originally wanted him to start at 1, but I just didn’t want to let him go. 😭 By the time he was 18 months I was ready, and I could see that he was running and charging about enough to have a lot of fun in a new environment. Also, most of my mum friends had gone back to work so making mum dates was getting harder. We pushed it back a few months as Sam took a break from work to be a full time Dad (I went to work instead), and we started settling in sessions just before Christmas. This was again delayed slightly due to pesky hand, foot and mouth, but by the end of February he was really happy to be going 2 days a week, and he did not give one shit about us once he was at the nursery door. Sometimes he comes home covered in paint, it is brilliant, and I bloody miss it.
  17. Swimming class. We started swimming at 2 months as I had this bee in my bonnet about wanting him to learn to swim as soon as possible. It is ace, absolutely ace. I love ducking him underwater, I love him learning all the different techniques – even if he hates some of them, and I love being in front of him as he jumps in the pool at the beginning of the class. Half the kids do a standing leap from the side, but Mr Sensible always sits down first – here’s hoping for some nutty behaviour WHENEVER WE GET TO SWIM AGAIN. 😭
  18. Commuting. It took me about an hour and twenty minutes to get to work before the Corona, and in that time I could get through an entire podcast, or even two a day if I really wanted to push the boat out! I could also use my laptop to do work or life admin during the 35 minute bus trip to/from the tube, and in the morning I would have a KeepCup cuppa too – exciting times! The ‘me’ time twice a week was excellent and I miss it. Hopefully another job will come to me soon, and at some point in time I will be enjoying a bus and tube ride to town again.
  19. Work. I went on maternity leave in March 2018 and went back to work in October 2019. I did and didn’t miss work, but I was ready to be something other than Rafe’s mum. I was proud of my earnings, and I miss financially contributing to the household. It has taken me a little while to get used to being a full time mum again, but we’ve settled into a routine now, and it feels good using this blog to mentally structure myself.
  20. My living room. A very ‘woe is me’ final point… we started re-doing our living room in February, and we had nearly everything done before lockdown. The final puzzle piece was a carpet order, and we took a gamble on the 12th of March as there was a 30% discount offer expiring that day. The gamble did not work out. No carpet = no living room. Grumble grumble grumble.

And if you made it this far… here is a picture of us in town.

Looking out at the Tower of London, 14th of February 2020

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