Make do and mend

So here is my first try at not buying anything new. My jeans have worn. When I was at uni, I had next to no money. Well. I had savings. I also had a father who checked my savings book monthly and demanded to know why I was taking money out regularly. “Food, books, that sort of thing. Nothing exciting like weed.” I think he was a little disappointed that i has not developed a drug habit. I did a lot of mending my jeans, just to hold decency together.

This time, I went for a nice cheerful blue embroidery thread to sort out the hold. So every time I catch sight of my inner thigh, I am cheered up.

Not too shabby? I do like a good darn.


Today, I remember Szyja Waisbrod

He was Born in Tarnopol, and he worked in import and export. His wife was called Neta. Their son was Khaim. He was murdered, aged 57 in the ghetto in Kupczynce, because he was a Jew. Neta was 45. I don’t know how old Khaim was. They’re recorded in Yad Vashem’s database by their cousin, Lea Shteinvurztel, along with 29 other members of Lea’s family.

On Holocaust Memorial Day, I light my candle, and decide to be more proactive about ensuring that it never happens again. And to keep being proactive. Regardless of how scary it is.

Standing up, speaking out. It’s important.

So, this is the challenge

Can I get through 12 months without buying any brand new clothes (other than knickers and tights) for myself and LK?

I think I can. I think I can also make 12 months without new yarn if I unravel LK’s slightly too small shark hat and use the yarn for her next size up hat.

Worth trying…


I did some running

I did the Box Hill Knacker Cracker again, having missed it last year owing to a badly time cold. I nearly missed it this year, owing to a badly timed upset tummy (we all had it. N had it worst, but only for a week. Then LK and I seemed to drag on for weeks after he’d finished. It was not pleasant). The day before – suffice to say, I did not want to go out. And I deployed Immodium (having established that, yes, I could take Immodium and breastfeed).

It was easier than last time I did it, in part, I suspect, because I had not run 10 miles the day before. It was fabulous. It was hilly. It was cold. It was a long way from the carpark to the start, and even longer to get back. There was soup in a mug at the end. And a tshirt. And medals. I loved it. I love all the Trionium Races – my next is the Leith Hill Half at the end of February. There’s a cooked breakfast to be had at the end of that one. Superb.

Running has been vital. Work has been very up in the air, hard going with compressed hours (but so worthwhile to have a day to do housemin, which means the weekends can be all about LK). LK moved up a room in nursery. In some ways she’s thriving, in other ways – I’m not happy with her key person. There’s been issues with nappies, issues with nappy rash, issues with food (she got covered in yoghurt yesterday, and it wasn’t because she was waving the spoon around. Apparently they were trying to feed her, and she wasn’t having any of it. Tip. Don’t force feed the toddler. It makes everyone unhappy, and just makes for battles at mealtimes. Give her time, and encouragement. You don’t get yoghurty socks that way.) Yes, I shall be complaining. I’m really unhappy about this one. I want to change her key person. I never see this key person anyhow, I always see one of the other assistants, who is, hands down, lovely. It’s bad enough leaving her at nursery each day, but to think that she’s fighting food – that’s not fun at all.

So running, is vital. And I’m about to have a lunchtime run date with N, in this nice cold weather. 10 mins warm up, 7 x 2 mins at 8 min/mile, with 2 min recovery. I have a new to me Garmin Forerunner 220. It’s awesome. I can programme in the intervals! And it just goes beep-buzz to tell me when to change. I can see the laps easily (and I have learned I don’t need to press a button between laps), and it’s just so much nicer than my old Forerunner 15. There’s still a bit of life left in that, so I’ll be popping it on eBay at some point, as it’s a lovely beginner watch. It just doesn’t have the battery life in it anymore to get through a whole marathon with a HRM. And, since I’m doing Tallinn in September, I need that.


Like Mummy, Like LK…

Last night I headed into London, to go to a Holiday Mega Meetup as part of a Women in Technology Network Thing I’m a member of. It was grand fun. I won LK a rubber duck by dint of wearing my Terribly Tasteful Christmas Sweater (it’s from Boden). I drank two glasses of wine and ate an heroic quantity of festive sushi. We were rubbish at the quiz, and I had #metoo Mansplained to me (which was annoying). I missed the penultimate train home, and managed to leave my hat on the underground. Realising this as I exited the drain, I shot back in to see if the train was still there. It wasn’t – but my hat was sitting on a chair on the platform. HURRAH!

I got home, and heard all about LK’s day. This involved sandpits, rejecting her Christmas Lunch, playing with pompoms and bits of sparkly silver lametta and toddling everywhere. I learned that she, too, had lost her hat on the way home. Fortunately, she managed to drop it out of the buggy (despite being hermetically sealed in the raincover) onto the path and someone very kind had poked it into the chain-link fence which borders the path. I retrieved it, very soggy, on the way to nursery this morning. HURRAH!

Her hat, however, needs washing. Less hurrah. It’s very soggy and muddy. Which is a change from covered in cheese and snot, I suppose.

Seriously. How much snot can one small girl produce? And wipe on everything?


But of course…

LK was ill on Elf Day so didn’t get to wear her elf costume (and it is too cute: if you’re on my Christmas Card list, you may have received a picture). I’d been ill with an upset tummy the night before (very short lived), she appears to be coming out of the poonamis in the last 24 hours (nursery have very kindly called them ‘teething poos’), but N is currently suffering rather worse than either of us, and has been since Monday. He’s got a tendency to a gyppy tummy ever since he has campylobacter four years ago.

It’s been draining. I’m on call all week, I’m more-or-less solo-parenting, N’s holed up on the sofa looking awful. I’ve had to work every single evening this week culminating in a call at just gone midnight last night because someone had unnecessarily disabled a backup job. It took me two hours to get back to sleep. LK was up at 5:30am.

Hopefully N’s digestion will clear soon. Hopefully I’ll get into London on Wednesday for a day’s volunteering, and an evening at the Women In Technology thing with one of my colleagues. And for dinner with some friends on Friday next week. I’m not holding my breath, mark you. I’ve missed both Christmas events at work this week. Being on call, I can’t go into London – I’m out of signal for too long. I’m supposed to answer and be online within 15 minutes of being called. This makes the nursery run somewhat challenging – I could, I guess, use the running buggy to speed things up, but that involves getting changed into and out of running gear and breast feeding just isn’t very easy when you’re encased in slippery nylon and a running bra. LK is always frantic on her return from nursery, even with emergency cheese being applied en route.

Oh yeah. Vote (we have postal votes. It saves trying to get out to a polling station).



Damnit. Costumes at nursery are neverending in the winter.

We’ve had Halloween. LK was ill, so didn’t get to wear her ‘I am an apple’ costume – which was all the green clothes she possesses, with a knitted hat (green stash yarn) and a felt ‘Granny Smith’ label sewn onto her dress. I wanted her to be comfortable, rather than swathed in nylon. Plus, I object to buying something that’ll only be worn once. Total additional outfit cost to me: 50p.

Then we’ve had Children in Need. LK is at nursery full time. There were two dress up days that week. Day 1 was pyjama day. Nice and easy, could send her in wearing the night before’s pyjamas, and a pair of bunny socks with rattles in the toes. She was rather taken with the socks, and apparently spent some time wiggling her feet to make them rattle. All hand-me-downs. Nice and cheap. The second dress up day – I sent her in wearing her apple costume. And shoved some money in the box.

Next week, we have Elf Day, in aid of Alzheimer’s. Off comes the Granny Smith label from the green dress. On goes a felt collar (leftover from making felt poppies with the Guides) and a belt (had to buy some brown felt. Had some yellow felt leftover from making Zombie Duckies at Towersey Festival about 10 years ago). Bells to go onto some random red slipper shoes that someone passed on to us (had to buy the bells. Couldn’t find bells). Currently knitting another hat from stash yarn, onto which a bell will be sewn. I feel we cannot have too many bells. She’ll wear her red longsleeve vest and her Christmas Tights (more handmedowns) Additional cost £2.75. Plus the charity contribution. Took about an hour to sew everything on, plus the time to detour to Hobbycraft in town when I was buying the veg for the week (I like to get in on my compressed day, so I can get veg that isn’t swathed in plastic bags).

The week after it’s Christmas Jumper Day. She’s got a red knitted jumper with a star knitted into it. A handmedown, which fits. I may add some sparkly pompoms from Poundland if I’m feeling energetic. Christmas Elf hat again. May as well. Additional cost is thus £1 for the pompoms.

But, just think. If I’d had to buy costumes because I wasn’t able to adapt? And buy a Christmas Jumper this year (I will admit, I swooped in Sainsbury’s just before Christmas when they had their epic reductions and Christmas clothes were £1-£3 instead of £5-15, and bought up Christmas Gear for nursery, but it’s definitely of the grow-into variety, and she’ not grown-into yet. She’s not in 18-24 months, but I suspect it’ll fit her next year. Hope so.)? I know we’re lucky: we have enough to be able to send her to nursery and have extras easily. What if nursery was taking pretty much all my salary, and she was in there simply so I could keep my job going?

And, quite apart from everything else: just trying to assemble all of this, however one is trying to assemble it, is an additional task that I could really do without. Would it not be possible to make cardboard elf accessories at nursery for them to wear? We got just over a week’s notice about that one. Halloween we had rather more time…and most kids will have a costume for trick or treating anyhow (I keep seeing one little girl in her witch’s outfit at nursery. She’s evidently very fond of her sparkly black and purple regalia!).

Why does charity have to involve buying stuff from big businesses?