Posted by: raker | 4 September 2011

First day of school!

Kitty started at St Mary’s Infants on Thursday – the younger ones (she turned 4 in July) had 2 halfdays last week, with the rest of the class starting tomorrow morning. So far she loves it – good, we said, you’ve another 14 years of this ahead of you!


Tommy’s lost in the house without her, lots of plaintive “Kitty”s, and huge excitement at the school gates when they have a big hug again. Sweetiepies


Posted by: raker | 5 January 2011



Originally uploaded by raker_blog

Testing. Having huge issues with Flickr tonight – have had to return to an email account last used in 2001 for posting on popbitch. Check out the memory on me!!

Posted by: raker | 17 October 2010


Ooh, it’s been a while – I have about 7 draft posts hiding around somewhere that will probably never see the light of day, covering finishing chemo, life after chemo, craft, crawling/standing/gurning toothy babies/more craft, frustrations with the hospital/BUPA who are covering some of my costs, and general disorganisation of everyone else but ME, open days at Infant Schools, etc., etc.

But mostly I’m being amazed by this: Hair regrowth patterns.

Head – coming back really quickly. All new growth is dark and fluffy. The stragglers that held on during the chemo are white and long. Simon is going to clip me this week to sort it out. I will be out without the Buff within a week or so, just in time to get amongst the winter hats. Have my eye on this trilby (Jigsaw website currently down)

Eyebrows – I swear I have a 5 0’clock shadow in a perfect eyebrow shape, arches and all. Some short stubbly hairs near the bridge of my nose, so they’ll be back within a couple of weeks I’d say.

Legs – I have the hairiest legs in the world normally, so no surprise that things are stirring there. I’m going to be moaning about waxing costs again in a couple of weeks – yay, normality!

Down below – nothing

Now, this is where it gets infuriating

Eyelashes – NOTHING. Not a thing! My eyelashes were my best feature, and I really miss them. Kitty and Tom have both inherited them, so I’m reminded of them every day. I’ll  not feel myself until they return.

BUT, in lieu of any lovely long dark luscious eyelashes, what has come back is my fecking chin hair. Why? WHY? two little dark hairs, right side of my chin. First things to spring back after body trauma.  God it’s annoying. And it’s going to feel pretty weird getting tweezers out again after all this time…

Anyway, my surgery is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, 23 October – removal of lymph nodes, mastectomy & LD reconstruction on the RHS, reduction to match on the left. Can’t wait to have the surgery – finally draw a line under this, the shittiest of years.

Posted by: raker | 28 August 2010


… for the fact that this is from the reviled Daily Mail, but look, Nigella has a new book out next week.

And how fabulous does she look, if a bit over done/slightlyharsh in these pics? I saw a bit of the first series of Nigella Bites last week, and couldn’t believe how young she looked in it – I didn’t think she’d aged at all, but I suppose we all do.

I’m sure there’s an accompanying TV series in the works!

Posted by: raker | 17 August 2010



Everyone should have the chance to be a glittery tiger for a day!

Kitty @ Bowood Wiltshire Game & Country Fair 8 August 2010

Posted by: raker | 16 August 2010

And on a completely different note

Why oh why is THIS fabulosity not available on Food Network UK:

Posted by: raker | 13 August 2010

The ‘still missing’ women (via The Anti-Room)

I read this excellent post yesterday evening by @junecaldwell, and it has haunted me all night.

The 'still missing' women Summer 1995 and London was fast draining of charm. In my last year at Middlesex Uni, a young psycho was sauntering about North London slashing women’s throats. Anthony Peter Roach, age 24, from Hornsey, had stabbed a woman to death as she walked home from Turnpike Lane Tube station. Hours later he attempted to murder a woman a couple of miles away and over the weeks before he was caught, there’d been several attempted attacks on students. We were … Read More

via The Anti-Room

Posted by: raker | 10 August 2010

Recovering from chemo 5…

…and I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck – it’s the steroids not the chemo, but nevertheless am taking it v. easy today. Kids are at nursery, MIL is here, we are watching His Girl Friday, drinking tea, and munching a big bag of sweets from the new sweetshop in town.  I’m still in my jammies…

Anyway, yesterday I had a little burst of energy and did something fabulous with the home-grown cucumbers MIL brought up with her/ From the late Elspeth Thompson’s fabulous Reclaim the Weekend book, Cucmber & Dill pickle. Absolutely GORGEOUS:

Courgette and dill pickle

for four 450g jars

  • 3 large cucumbers (or 6 courgettes)
  • 2 large onions
  • 50g coarse salt
  • 450g soft brown sugar
  • 600ml cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp whole mustard seeds
  • a large handful of fresh dill

Thinly slice the cucumbers and onions, using a mandoline if possible. Layer with salt in a dish, and weight down with a plate and some tins. Leave it for at least four hours, then drain and rinse really, really, well in a big colander. You want to get all the salt out.

Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar, then add the vegetables, mustard seeds and dill. Bring to the boil. After one minute, drain, reserving the liquid. Boil to a syrup (reduce by around one third). Put the vegetables in sterilised jars. Cover with juices, and seal. Refrigerate once opened.


Posted by: raker | 27 July 2010

Big boy!

Tom started nursery today.

Tom discovers sweet potato!

I was heartbroken about Kitty starting nursery, wanting to stay at home with her, but unable to afford it. Took me weeks to settle, but she only needed a couple of days. But I know she loves it, I love the staff,  love the nursery – am on the management committee, so had no qualms about Tom going at all. But after I dropped them both off, got him settled, left him chomping on some play food, I strode purposefully back to the car and bawled for 20 minutes – I just didn’t see that coming.

He’s only going to go for 1 day a week for the next month, then I might up it a bit. I was supposed to be starting back to work next Tuesday, but will obviously be on long-term sick leave for the foreseeable future. But nursery have offered to take Tommy so I have an additional child care option for my rough days – which thankfully are few and far between.

(Last week’s “rough patch” turned into a hideous cold, with full on temperature monitoring and lowering, and antibiotics to prevent further lung infection, and has resulted in me not being able to have this week’s planned chemo session.)

So I’m rattling around the house, trying desperately to remember all the things I planned to do when I had some time to myself. I’ve done a little bit of hoovering,  and made the most fantastically easy quick blackcurrant jam. I have a huge bag of clothes to ebay (monsoon/boden type things that don’t fit any more and certainly won’t come the day of surgery!), and I really need to iron them before photographing them, but my right arm is aching from where I had my blood taken this morning (my veins are starting to “flatten” according to lovely Ruth the phlebotomist) and I don’t think I have the energy to wield an iron this afternoon.

Easy blackcurrant jam recipe

  • 2 punnets of blackcurrants (300g)
  • 150 ml water
  • 270 g preserving sugar
  1. Sterilise large jam jar (I use a 650 ml Kilner jar, and this quantity half fills it)
  2. Put saucer into freezer to test setting point.
  3. Wash blackcurrants and remove stalks (but not frilly bottoms!).
  4. Put in stainless steel saucepan with water, bring to boil and simmer for 5 minutes until fruit has burst.
  5. Pour fruity gloop through a nylon sieve into a bowl and push as much pulp through as possible (leave seeds and anything unpleasant behind in sieve). Rinse saucepan out.
  6. Pour gloop from bowl back into clean pan,  add sugar and stir constantly, until it starts to boil.
  7. After 5 mins start testing for setting point (should not take more than 10 mins). When reached, pour into sterile jar.

There you are, gorgeous taste of summer in a jar.

Must make some more for Christmas presents!

Posted by: raker | 14 July 2010


Feeling a bit rough at the moment – all kind of non-specific under the weather/almost flu-ey type feelings. The kind of thing that in a, er, more innocent time, would be rectified by a large bar of galaxy, early bed time and Midsomer Murders or something equally untroubling.

But 7 month old loud boys just don’t care about that. So Tom has free range in one of the many toy boxes in here while I sit here in neglectful mummy mode, reading the internet and playing snood. He had his first settling in session at nursery today, just for an hour, and he loved it! So that’s an extra childcare option if necessary – not that I’ve not been inundated with offers to help, from everyone!. Still have hideous taste in mouth so although starving just don’t fancy anything. Mother-in-law left this morning, so it’s just us,

Hopefully this is just a temporary set back, everything has been so good (relatively, obv.) and I’ll be back to my annoying glory within the next couple of days…

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