Breakfast of champions: the egg muffin

Egg muffin

Ingredients

1 breakfast muffin
butter
1 egg
3-4 cocktail sausages
ketchup

Equipment

Small frying pan
Egg ring
Plastic slice
Bread knife

How to make

Split the egg muffin in half lengthways and pop in the toaster.

Meanwhile, stick a bit of heat under the frying pan. Put the egg ring in the frying pan ( you don’t need any butter or oil) and crack the egg into it. The egg will flow into a beautiful disc shape. Kick off your preferred coffee making routine. If you live in London, this will mean ordering a Starbucks via Uber Eats to be droned in through the kitchen window. Or stick the kettle on for a cup of instant.

Split the cocktail sausages and place, cut side down, next to the egg ring to heat through.
By now, the muffin should be toasting nicely. Hoik it out and butter it.
Arrange the cocktail sausages on the muffin and top with the egg once cooked through (2-3 minutes.)
Place the top half of the muffin and voila, a breakfast that will get you through an entire day of any number of children firing questions at you relentlessly.

Summer holidays

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Pleased to report I’ve survived day one of the summer holidays.

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It’s lovely around here. We moved in November but I don’t feel like I’ve had time to breathe for the last six months. Ferrying the kids backwards and forward to school, unpacking a million boxes and registering with local doctors and so on seems to have taken up all the time.

It’s nice to get to the point of having moved the kids to a school around the corner, albeit not until September.

Today we discovered a ‘secret passage’ which runs along the back of several houses next to ours. Excited to find a blackberry bush ready to be picked, the weather has been so good lately that they’ve all fruited early.

img_2563I’ve been walking every day, looking at people’s window boxes and hanging baskets and beautiful doors and so on.

This area of London is super urban yet right behind the high street is a beautiful village complete with church, playing fields and loads of gorgeous old houses.

The children seem to be enjoying a chance to relax after weeks on end of me screaming “COME ON!” at them at 8am, trying to usher them into the car in time to get to school before the bell rings.

My alarm clock will be set to 7 rather than 6am on Monday, and let me tell you, that feels like a holiday.

How are you getting on? Are your kids off school yet? What plans do you have for the holidays? If not, what else is new?

New digs

Wow, it’s been a long time. My last post here was December 2012. Since then we’ve moved a few stops down the tube line to Morden, had another baby and quit my job at the BBC to become a full time Mum. Lots of change.

I feel like I’ve been moving house for a year, but today marks the end of that process. The kids will go to their ‘old’ school for the last time this morning. They’ll be round the corner from September. Once I pick them up today and bring them home I’ll feel like we’ve finally landed.

I’m hoping that over the summer break I’ll pick up the blog again. I find writing relaxing as well as a good way to process things. So many times in the process of writing I’ve found out what I really think. Thanks for being my therapists!

Big cities are simultaneously overwhelming and isolating, so it’s good to have a outlet to connect with people. If you’re overseas, please say hi. If you have a blog, let me know where I can read it. I’ve been out of the loop for a few years so need to build up my reading list again.

Thanks for sticking with me through the mega-outage! What’s new with you?

Knees

They really are everywhere. I know I mentioned this before, but it is astonishing given that it is now, *checks watch* December 11th*.

The builders don’t have much choice, mind. Their boss, a no-nonsense Kiwi who took half a meter off our bathroom when England beat the All Blacks 38-21, has told them in no uncertain terms that ‘long pants’ are a sign of weakness, and that anyone wearing them will be sent home to change. So I see knees wherever I go. Knees climbing past my living room window, knees dangling at eye level as I duck into the kitchen… knees, knees, knees. Slightly shivering knees now, it has to be said, but they show no sign of wavering on this one. I wonder whether the depths of Winter will inspire a change of heart.

The builders on top of the knees are very pleasant, convivial types who swear like dockers but bellow ‘language’ at each other whenever they think I might be in earshot. One of them even says ‘pardon’ which I thought had entirely slipped out of general usage.

Anyway, the good news is that the loft is nearly finished, and we should soon be free of dust, more dust and not being able to find a teaspoon for love or money, which seems to be a daily occurrence at the moment.

The boys are enjoying the chaos, thrilled that we’re building them a naughty step and have ramped up the behaviour accordingly. In case this is my last post before Christmas, wishing you all a very merry festive season and all the best for 2013.

*Must write Christmas cards.

New projects

Two new and exciting projects are in the offing. Firstly our loft conversion is finally going ahead, the flat is covered in scaffolding and there are builders’ knees just, everywhere. They are brilliant and it’s all happening mighty quickly. More news on that soon.

Secondly I have been helping to write a comedy podcast called 4amcab. It features sketches set in the small hours of the morning, which have become frighteningly familiar over the last few years what with getting up at 4am to go to work, tend to the baby, the other baby etc… it’s a strange time of night and the podcast reflects the weirdness of nocturnal activities. Anyone with small children, insomnia or shift work to contend with will know what I mean.

The 6 shows we’ve made for the first series are up on our website at www.4amcab.com, and then rather wonderfully Mike Kelley has made one of my sketches into a cartoon.

4amcab has been nominated for a European Podcast Award, so please click through and vote for us if you have a second. Thank you!

All the boys are doing well and we’re doing our best to keep all the plates spinning whilst our roof is taken off and everything descends into complete chaos. I hope the gap between this and the next won’t be quite so wide.

Hope you’re all well.

The Old Manor

On a recent visit to a friend’s house, Him Indoors and I thought we’d swing by a place we used to rent in Battersea. We were curious to see whether the fruit trees we planted in the front garden had survived.

I say front garden. A strip of earth a metre by 30cm barely constitutes a window box, but still. Undeterred, we had planted a couple of apple trees, knowing that they would probably outgrow the space. To our astonishment they were still there, carefully pruned and trained by the current tenants.

“I wonder if Connor still lives here,” I muttered to Him Indoors. Connor must have been 5 or 6 years old back then. He spent his days tearing up the neighbourhood on a three-wheeled scooter, only to be occasionally apprehended by his mother. She would slam an uncompromising hand on the young man’s shoulder as he hurtled past, spitting expletives at the residents, to shout, “Connor! Stop being so f***ing rude!” Or, at a slightly further distance (multiply the matriarchal decibels by a factor of 50), “Connorrr! Get out of that f***ing tree!”

“He’s probably old enough to go twocking by now,” sighed Him Indoors darkly as we parked nearby. Twocking, for the uninitiated, is a slightly mangled acronym of ‘Taking Without Owner’s Consent.’ Essentially car theft, of which there is a fair amount in south London. Luckily, the car survived the evening and we saw neither hide nor hair of young Connor. Perhaps he was inside. His house, or possibly prison, we just don’t know.

It’s difficult to disassociate names from the named. A bad experience can put you right off, leaving an unshakeable conviction that you will never, ever name your child Alison because of that awful girl you went to school with (names have been changed to protect the innocent.) Consequently, choosing a name for a baby tends to result in going through those of everyone you’ve ever met and avoiding most of them.

There’s no reason why naming a child after an old nemesis would make you love them any less. It might even redeem that name for you in the future. Connor however was a pretty pervasive influence. Two couples I know have named their first-born after him, and I eye these lovable infants with utter suspicion against my better judgement. For those awaiting the news of number two next week (hello Mother), I can tell you one name that is definitely off the list.

How did you choose the names of your children/pets?  Did you avoid the names of old nemesises (nemisi?)

Putting food on the table

Most evenings around 8pm, Him Indoors and I embark down a well-trodden conversational cul-de-sac. He removes his head briefly from the Guardian comment threads to ask, “What’s for tea?”

An innocent enough question, you might think. My heart sinks. Luckily my brain rises to the occasion – racing through the full range of options suggested by the contents of the fridge. James Martin would be proud of me.

“Pasta and hummus?” No response.
“Spinach and milk?” Nothing.
“Egg – lette?” One eyebrow imperceptibly rises half an inch.
“What do you want to eat?” I ask, hoping to brilliantly volley the dilemma back into his court (and that the answer will require only eggs, hummus, pasta and milk to make.)
“Tapas.”
“That’s like saying you’d like a buffet.”
“Ooh, I WOULD like a buffet.”
“Soup?”
“That’s a drink.”
“With bread?”
“Still a drink.”

A brief discussion follows about my taking the question “What’s for tea?” too personally, and we go our separate ways. I to write a blog post about my inability to produce a basic meal, he to pore mournfully through the freezer. By now he will have discovered that that particular cupboard is also bare.

Who are these people who keep a freezer full of past triumphs anyway? Who has the foresight to cook for their kitchen appliances? Should I make the toaster a portion while I’m at it? Even assuming I had the organisational skills, I just don’t have the vision to look at a lump of frozen guano and see the chicken casserole I made last Wednesday.

My excuse, and I’m sticking to it, is that the freezer is full. Full of peas, ice, croissants, mince and fish fingers. The idea of shoe-horning a couple of lasagnes in there as well is laughable. Perhaps Alpha Mums have a chest freezer in the garage? Not that I’d be any better prepared if we did have the outbuilding required for such a thing. In that scenario the food would be there, but I’d lack the emotional resolve to reconstitute it.

Thank heavens for Tooting, the curry nirvana of the Western world. I couldn’t possibly move to the actual countryside, we’d surely starve.