Lovely Shops has been updated including Yvestown + Shinzi Katoh, an amazing exhibition of creatures, the new Cath Kidston site and some rather delicious body creams at Beauty Expert.

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Did I mention I now have a terrible cold? This is on top of losing my voice a few weeks ago, not to mention the nocturnal vomiting and daytime nausea of last week. As Lorraine said this morning as I dropped the newly emerged devil-child off – “Welcome to London”. I’d forgotten my New Zealand immune system took some building to get back to UK levels. Astrid got the cold last Tuesday. I got it on Saturday. And yes, Astrid is now totally grown up and doesn’t need the highchair which means she can run around whilst eating dinner, or, if we do decide she does after all *have* to sit in the high chair, she can scream at a pitch that rattles the rafters until she’s nearly sick, pause to ensure she isn’t sick, then resume screaming.

We know this will only last a week or two – as did the “I’m never ever ever going in the pram again I am going to walk everywhere, no, no actually you are going to carry me everywhere even if you are six months pregnant” phase. You see she does get her stubbornness from somewhere, and for now grown up fish beats baby goat – although I will not be rating my chances much when she’s got a bit more heel-digging practice in. Did I mention babychops ii is also destined to be a little goat?

This is all a lot of fun with a cold and a huge bump that is now requiring quite a bit of effort to carry around all day while we walk across the Heath – up to Kenwood – up through the woods to Hampstead. To buy lovely paperwhites and hyacinths for the kitchen. At a lovely little shop in Flask Walk, who so loved my little card purse they would now like to stock some please. Then down the hill a bit for coffee from Carluccio’s and three slices of ham to go with the baguette bought earlier from Forks in Swain’s Lane before we got our morning coffee from Kalendar – home of the divine redcurrant cheesecake.

So much coffee I’ve decided to buy an espresso maker after I left mine – along with some very beautiful handmade plates I bought at Liberty back in the late 90s when Liberty Had Really Good Sales – at my old flat over the road. For some peculiar reason I forgot to pack properly and left all sorts of nice things behind. Or was it that I did a bit of shedding, some leaving-behind on purpose of many worldly posessions, of reminders of my previous life. I even left a name behind when I left that flat. While I’m in random thought mode I have in fact been thinking about that phase of my life a lot lately. I was talking to Kevin about it as we walked over the heath to Swain’s Lane. But that really is a story for another day. In fact it’s a thousand stories. It’s another blog. With another name. The name that got left behind that day. The day I left my plates behind. The day the espresso maker was abandoned, along with nearly everything else bar a few boxes of fabrics and clothes and photos. The day, dare I say it, the day I grew up.

So where were we? Yes, baguette and ham, paperwhites and hyacinths. And now while I miss Auckland a bit – I do – I miss our friends and the beach and I miss that they are now having Spring and we’re not. But I love that we can walk one way to one little village, then through what is in effect countryside in the middle of London, up to another lovely village – and it’s all marvellous and civilised and pleasant and pretty. And we are all quite content on our little walks. Us and the bump.

And all that delicious coffee.