All posts by abbiosbiston

Hi, I’m Abbi. I grew up in South Africa and moved to London in 2004 because I didn't have anything better to do. It turned out to be the best decision I ever made. I live in Wandsworth with my long-suffering British husband, Paul and Spider-Pig and Angry Bird, our surrogate pets… don’t ask. I divide up my life between my day job as an email ninja (not my actual title), obsessing about all things cinema, experimenting in the kitchen, reviewing random crap and spending too much time on Instagram. This blog is a diary of my adventures, an outlet for my rants, and a window to my obsessions. Welcome to the dark side… we have cookies.

The baby chronicles #39: 9 month update

Weeks old: 39
I like: Biting everyone, boobs, the fireplace, my activity table
Mummy is learning: That if she can just get me to taste my food, I might have some more

This week Little O is officially 9 months old and on Tuesday he had been out in the world 274 days, which is how long he was inside my body. For some reason this seems like a major milestone. In many ways I felt like I was pregnant for an eternity but now I have been a mother longer than I was pregnant.

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Things I have been cooking lately #172: Super food salad

Last week it was really warm so I got very excited and decided it was spring. I was so excited that I decided to buy a whole lot of ingredients to make salads. It turned out it was not spring. It was basically spring teasing us and then deciding to hold off until a yet to be named date. Fortunately even though it was cold and windy when I made this, it was still delicious so we didn’t feel too sad that we had to eat it wearing jumpers.

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The baby chronicles #38: First week back at work

Weeks old: 38
I like: Water (but only out of someone else’s cup), standing up, biting mummy, boobs – especially if I get to put the boob in my mouth myself, dancing to Shake Your Booty
Mummy is learning: That I am going to constantly injure myself for the next 5 years…

I have survived my first week back at work and it was okay. These are some things that happened. Read more…

The baby chronicles #37: Last week of maternity leave

Weeks old: 37
I like: Standing up in the bath, standing up in my cot, pinching mummy, boobs, slides
Mummy is learning: That even if I sleep in my cot, she can’t sleep because she is programmed to listen for me waking up

This week was my last week of maternity leave before I go back to work full time… on Monday. As I have mentioned several times in this blog, I have mixed feelings about returning to work but ultimately I know it is the right thing for me and for my little family. I love and enjoy my job and it pays me well enough to enable Mr O to work part time and share daily care of Little O with Mrs O Senior. Of course, I have become very accustomed to being Little O’s number one person and it is hard to imagine not spending the majority of most days with him or to manage my fear that I will become a secondary person in his life. Read more…

The baby chronicles #36:On the move

Weeks old: 36
I like: Everything I am not supposed to touch – especially wires, boobs, biting people, bubbles
Mummy is learning: To find the balance between letting me explore and stopping me from injuring myself

In the last week Little O has become fully independently mobile. While he’s been able to move around by himself up to a point for a while, in this last week he’s taken it to a new level. Read more…

The baby chronicles #35: 8 month update 

Weeks old: 35
I like: escaping fast, shouting, “dadadada” at the top of my lungs, farting, boobs
Mummy is learning: that dressing an 8 month old is like trying to put an Octopus in a string bag

Unbelievably Little O is now 8 months old (didn’t I just have him last week?) so I reckon it’s time for a bit of an update.  Read more…

The baby chronicles #34: Food, glorious food

Weeks old: 34

I like: having my head tickled, boobs, biting my toy monkey’s face

Mummy is learning: to put a bib on me

For the past couple of months we’ve been experimenting with giving Little O solid food with the intention of slowly transitioning him from a milk based diet to a food based one.

There are a few different ways that people do this and lots of different theories but essentially there are two camps: “traditional” and “baby led”. Traditional weaning starts with spoon feeding your baby pureed or mashed food that gets slowly thicker and chunkier until they graduate to finger foods. You can do this from about 4 months.  Read more…

The baby chronicles #33: Falling in love

Weeks old: 33
I like: Humus, putting my fingers in mummy’s mouth, shouting, “ooooh” at everything, boobs
Mummy is learning: To sleep in ever weirder positions, to try and get me to pace myself when she’s been out all day

When I was expecting Little O I often wondered if I would feel the great rush of maternal love that is so often talked about. Half the conversations seem to be people talking about experiencing it intensely. The other half seem to be people talking about not experiencing it at all. It seems those are the only two extremes available. I was really rather scared of falling into the second camp. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #171: Tortilla quiche

I really love a good quiche (plus they make good baby led weaning food) but making crusts is tedious, especially when you are trying to wrangle a little person. When I spotted this idea on the Tesco website of using tortillas to make a crust I was skeptical. I figured the tortillas would go soggy and the filling would go everywhere. I was pleasantly surprised that they actually went lovely and crispy. I have already made it twice and Mr O and Little O are big fans.

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The baby chronicles #32: On leaving Little O

Weeks old: 32
I like: Making an array of strange noises for interpretation, chewing on the bars of my cot, boobs, showing people my teeth
Mummy is learning: That I will be okay for short periods without her

Before I had a baby I thought leaving my baby would be no big deal. I figured even if I was breastfeeding I would just express some milk, leave a bottle and swan off. I pictured heading into London for the day with friends, going out in the evening for dinner with Mr O and possibly even going overnight to my company’s annual conference in Berlin, which happened in January. I figured that I’d just leave him with Mr O or the O Seniors or even a babysitter.  Read more…

The baby chronicles #31: Vomit

Weeks old: 31
I like: Talking to myself, the telly, my breakfast…
Mummy is learning: To keep the antibacterial wipes close

This week’s post was supposed to be about leaving your baby (because I actually successfully left Little O with Mr O for a whole day) but that’s going to have to wait a week since our home has been hit by a stomach bug.

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The baby chronicles #30: The return of Aunt Flo

Weeks old: 30
I like: Green Day, talking to myself, boobs, peanut butter
Mummy is learning: To move her coat/scarf away from me if I have been eating something messy and it’s all over my chops

Warning: I am going to talk about menstruation in this post. I personally don’t think periods are anything shameful or dirty and that normalising talking about this totally natural bodily function that half the human race experiences at some time or another is something we should do. However if you are not mature enough for this, stop reading now. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #170: Jan Ellis pudding

Growing up in South Africa, you wouldn’t think we were very good at wintery food. However in Johannesburg, where I grew up, while the winter days are sunny and warm by Northern European standards, the temperature drops dramatically at night and it can get very chilly. One of my favourite wintery things that my mum used to make was warm baked puddings, always served with lashings of cold custard, which Mr O finds bizarre.

When our friend N (who is also South Afircan), visited a couple of weekends ago I decided to make a classic baked pudding to warm our cockles and he confirmed that cold custard was definitely the way to go. It must be a South African thing.

This pudding is named after some chap called Jan Ellis. I have no idea who he is but it has a subtle spicy, slightly orangey flavour and it took me right back to my childhood.

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The baby chronicles #29: Socialising with a baby

Weeks old: 29
I like: Biting mummy, Sophie la girafe, boobs, shouting
Mummy is learning: Patience, not to let her fingers get too close to my chops

Before Little O arrived I am happy to admit that my partying days were far behind me. However, I did enjoy popping out for a meal or a film with friends or Mr O, occasionally having a drink after work with my colleagues or inviting friends around for dinner. I think I would consider myself to be a very social person. One of the things I think I failed to anticipate was how much having a baby would impact getting together with other people. Read more…

The baby chronicles #28:A rapid change

Weeks old: 28
I like: Rolling around, throwing my food on the floor, boobs, jumping so hard in my Jumperoo that mummy worries I am going to take off, being thrown in the air
Mummy is learning: To be a bit more careful with the throwing in the air to avoid head-on collisions

It was only two-ish weeks ago that I wrote Little O’s 6 month update and I can’t believe how much has changed. As adults we get used to things in our lives remaining the same for years at a time and changing very little in ourselves so I think it comes as an amazing surprise how quickly our little people can develop completely new skills and physical characteristics. Read more…

Things I have been cooking lately #169: Spinach and feta pies 

A couple of weeks ago I bought some spinach and feta rolls from the bakery stall in the food market that pops up in the centre of town on Fridays and Saturdays. They were delicious but a little pricey so I decided to have a go at making my own. They were so tasty we’ve ended up having them as a quick meal on several occasions since. They’re particularly good for when Mr O is working in the evening as he can just pop one in the oven for 5 minutes to reheat and have a fresh, hot snack when he gets home.

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Spinach and feta pies

1 small onion, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Olive oil
200g frozen chopped spinach
200g feta cheese, crumbled
150g ricotta cheese
Salt
Pepper
2 sheets pre-rolled puff pastry
1 egg, beaten

Preheat your oven to 200 C.
Saute the onion and garlic in olive oil over a low heat for 5 minutes in a saucepan with a lid. Add the spinach and put on the lid. Cook until the spinach is completely defrosted and hot through  (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat and stir in the feta and ricotta and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Unroll the pastry sheets and cut each one into six (in half lengthwise and then into thirds). Place some of the spinach mixture in the centre of half the pastry rectangles. Don’t put it too close to the edges because you need room to seal. Brush all four of the edges around the spinach mixture of each rectangle with egg and then cover with another rectangle and press down the edges to close. Take a fork and press down all around the edges to make a nice pattern. Then use a sharp knife to make a few slashes across the top of each pie. Brush with more egg.

Place on a baking tray in the oven and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 6 pies 

The baby chronicles #27: My breastfeeding journey

Weeks old: 27
I like: Games involving me being bitten (very gently of course), my new toys, boobs
Mummy is learning: Never to turn her back on me, to jump around in front of me like a loon when I am in the Jumperoo so I join in

Recently some of you might have seen stylised pictures popping up on Instagram or Facebook depicting breastfeeding mothers and babies. This is part of a “movement” called ‘Tree of Life’ that aims to normalise breastfeeding and to show the connection between mother and baby through the roots of a tree representing milk ducts and a tree the nourishment being received by the baby. You can read more here. Read more…

The baby chronicles #25: 6 month update

Weeks old: 26

I like: Mushing up food, boobs, being tickled

I guess some of you will notice that there was no 25 week blog. As much as I try to update weekly, sometimes things just get too busy and with Christmas coming up and me once again having the genius idea of making loads of presents, I’ve either been exhausted or had “work” to do in the evenings.

As of Monday, Little O is officially 6 whole months old… a half a year. How did that happen? In some ways it feels like an absolute eternity and in other ways I am pretty sure that I gave birth about a week ago. But how are we getting on? Read more…