Archive for July, 2011

6:  The number of weeks old Celia is now.

3:  The number of dinners out I’ve eaten since Celia was born, the furthest away of which was less than a mile from my house, in Clerkenwell (Bistro Bruno Loubet, if you must know, and yes, the boudin blanc is still delish and the time limit on tables seems to have disappeared).

Jon and I are lucky to have babysitting right now.  Unfortunately, it turns out that even with babysitting readily available, it takes a lot of effort to go out to dinner because (a) we’re pretty tired; and (b) it seems that feeding the baby isn’t easily done without yours truly if you’re following all the medical and social “recommendations” to breastfeed.

You’d think that, being well educated and generally confident, I’d find it easy to do what I want to do.  But like most new mothers, I’ve been tying my sanity and quality of life to the “goal” of breastfeeding Celia.  Although the food scene is the last thing on my mind right now, I’m still constantly thinking about food — Celia’s.

Here are several now-obvious things about feeding Celia that I hadn’t realized before bringing her home from the hospital:

  1. She eats little but often.  Whether you’re giving her the boob or the bottle, someone’s got to be up and feeding her, say, every three hours around the clock.  Subtract out the feeding time from this 3-hour period, and you’re looking at maybe 1.5 hours to yourself, max.  During this 1.5 -hour period, you’re supposed to do things like sleep and feed yourself.  Good luck.
  2. Giving her the boob is incredibly tedious.  Is there such a thing as hands-free Internet?  Because watching TV or listening to audiobooks or radio isn’t my thing.
  3. Giving her the boob hurts.  As another new mum said to me this week, babies are practically feral when they’re eating.  Now picture this ravenous little animal on your boob for 30 minutes at a time, 8 times a day.  (It sucks.  Ha ha).

I’ve got Celia on a mix of boob and formula now.  The formula gives me a lot more freedom to get out of the house, mostly because I couldn’t get the hang of busting out a boob when out and about.  (Even at “baby-friendly” places like John Lewis, which have a dedicated space for nursing mums, the nursing room is depressing and unpleasant).

I hear that breastfeeding works great for a lot of women, but for me, not so much. Don’t ask me why I haven’t given up the breastfeeding altogether, though.  I guess all the medical and social pressure to breastfeed worked me over more thoroughly than I suspected.

I take Celia out with me for lunches these days, but not for dinners, and lunch tends to be within a 1/2-mile radius of home and at places you wouldn’t consider a destination.  I’m trending towards creating a lunch-only restaurant blog, but wondering if that’s worth the time and energy, both of which are in desperately short supply these days.

I do love my blog and hate to see it go, hence the dilemma.  The traveling-with-baby blog idea sounds fun except that even the most ambitious travel-loving parents I know will travel only every two or three months.  I’d be short on content, I reckon.

Long story short:  I’m still figuring out what to do with this blog.  It’s just one of the many parts of my life I’m trying to adjust post-baby.  Thanks to everyone who’s still with me.

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Celia, very concerned about the clouds rolling in at Jamie Oliver's Feastival this weekend

I’ve been supremely distracted these last two weeks.  I’m now a parent.  Celia is two weeks old, and all I can say is that while labour is pretty rough and breastfeeding even rougher, I’m a fan of this parent gig so far.

Celia came into the world via emergency C section.  Thumbs down to the midwives who didn’t identify that Celia was a breech baby until after I’d labored for what felt like forever.  Thumbs up to the surgical team at UCH for being great communicators and total pros.

Feeling restless and with Jon on his last day of paternity leave, we spent this afternoon at Jamie Oliver’s “Feastival,”  a three-day music-slash-food festival this weekend on Clapham Common.  While I’m no music connoisseur and therefore generally characterise the bands performing this afternoon as fun for a sunny day out, I was pleasantly surprised that the food stands were as good as they were.  The restaurants represented are pretty legit from a food lover’s point of view, and the mains sold are all priced at £5.  It was good value once you forgot about the sunk cost of admission to the festival (£35 at the door, but do some googling and you’ll find a few half-price deals on-line).

porchetta muffuletta sandwich from Fifteen

popcorn shrimp from Redhook

chicken satay and roti from Awana

roast lamb and minted yoghurt sandwich from Providores

I enjoyed the food we sampled and am happy to report that La Fromagerie has its own large-ish tent selling freshly-fried donuts and chocolate chip cookies for £1 a piece, and enormous brownies for £2.50 (all of which I’ll vouch for because, umm, I ate one of each).

"cocktail bar" at the Feastival on Clapham Common

Peter Gordon (The Providores) does a cooking demo

In the “cocktail bar” area, we snagged seats on comfy outdoor sofas and enjoyed Pimms (a somewhat-pricey £7.50 a glass) in the sunshine, and then we checked out the Providores‘ Peter Gordon doing a cooking demonstration (winner tip of the day:  cook couscous in cold or tepid water so that it doesn’t get claggy).

Overall, a relaxed and tasty experience for a sunny weekend.  If you’re at loose ends tomorrow or Sunday, give the Feastival a try.  All proceeds go to charity, so even if you find the admission price a bit high, just remember the money goes to these good causes.

As for me, I’m going to take a break from this blog.  I’ll be back in three weeks (on Monday, 25 July), hopefully with an idea of what to do with this restaurant and travel blog now that I’ve got un bebe.  Suggestions welcomed!

Jamie Oliver’s “Feastival,” on Clapham Common from Friday, 1 July through Sunday, 3 July.  Admission is £35 per adult, and food and drinks are additional (but generally reasonably priced) once you’re admitted.

Half-price tickets were available earlier in the week via LittleBird, TimeOut, Lastminute.com, and Groupon, though I’m not sure which of these offers are still available.  Closest Tube station:  Clapham Common.  Look for the tents when you exit the station – it’s less than a ten-minute walk.

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