Thursday, 22 July 2010

Oh la la!

Had you noticed that through the end of term craziness and now through the school holibobs (YIPPEE!!!!) I have managed to blog on a frequent basis? Shall I tell you how and why? Can you guess?

No, it is not because my Beansprouts just go off and play magically together from sun-up to sun-down (although I am very lucky that they do occasionally have a right old laugh together), or that I am so so organised that I have activities spread out all over the house for them to choose and do from dawn til dusk. No. I will let you into my little secret. For the last two months we have had an au pair share. And the most exciting thing is that she is from Paris. So my friends, living here, well, next-door-but-one, is.... FrenchBean!!! Oh how I have longed to type that!
(photo borrowed from here)

She helps to look after my Beans and GodsonBean and his bro and sis. She is amazing. Her energy levels are ten squillion times bigger than mine. She actually wants to play schools and babies and lego and playmobil and puzzles and doctors and go to the park and football and playdough all the time. All the Smalls love her. She takes herself off to concerts and cafes and colleges and Open Studios and bikes around doing all sorts of Cambridge Things. She knows more about my city than I do. She is gorgeous. And fun and well read and interesting and happy. But we only have a week left with her. She is back off to Paris to see her family for their holiday in Brittany and see her boyfriend and then return to college so she can carry on doing her drama course. We will miss her terribly but for the moment we will carry on eating crepes and dauphinoise potatoes and speak our franglais and make the most of her time left.

Monday, 19 July 2010


SmallBean turned six yesterday and had his party on Saturday. We had a bit of a tattoo parlour going and look what happened when SmallerBean got her sticky mitts on the left-overs...

I think we may have trouble with her when she hits her teenage years. What do you reckon?

Monday, 12 July 2010

New Decade

Well, from now on you'll read my posts and think 'Mmmm. What a mature and lucid person that MagicBean is.'. Do you know why??? Because yesterday I had a birthday and now I am forty! Yes folks, I am in a new decade and so far loving every minute of it. (Mostly, I imagine, because I haven't stopped drinking delicious drinks since Saturday lunchtime.) Dinner with family and friends, Beany picnic and neighbourly birthday cake tea have all happened over the weekend and I have had GREAT FUN.

Do you want to see a couple of my generous presents???

A gorgeous little jug from SmallerBean's godfather. It has the name Sue Binns stamped on the side and I'm off to do a little investigating later...
Some fab flip-flops from Martin and Vanessa who makes lots of scrummy things here. As you can see, I won't be lending them to anyone and I'll know if anyone 'borrows' them. Read well SmallerBean...
I almost cried when I opened the door to this bunch. Isn't it spectacular? It is from my gorgeous neighbours and put together by the oh so talented Lucy who lives down the road. She has chosen so so well and I wish you could smell them.

GodsonBean's big sister made this for me- and I wish you could smell this too. It is a large lavender bag with a lovely message on it and when Ihave finished admiring it, it will go into the wardrobe. BigBean loves his clothes to smell of lavender don't you know!

And here is what has been going down in quite large quantities by yours truly. I have been thoroughly spoilt. Thank you everyone who has helped me to celebrate. If you are not yet forty, you have a real treat coming your way.
See? Mature. Eloquent. Grown up. Yeah right.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010


Back in the 1970's, when I was a wee girl, I loved playing with dolls and teddies. Schools, hospitals, dressing them up in hand made clothes made from scraps, prams, picnics and shopping all featured frequently and were the games I played most, both on my own and with my friends (particularly Emma Charlton, where is she now??). Pippa dolls were my favourite dressing up dolls. Remember them? They were brilliant. Small enough to put in a bag with a couple of outfit changes, long hair to twiddle and style and not a totally unrealistic body shape (no finger pointing at you Barbie).

Then, when I was about seven, I walked into our dining room and found this on the table.

It was made by my grandfather who was a carpenter by trade. It was supposedly made for my ma, HasBean, so that my sis and I would not argue over it but we all really knew that it was mine.
Just take a little tour would you? (Excuse the dust...)

The front door opens into a splendid hallway- with herringbone floor and cornicing. To the left is the formal drawing room with open fire, views to the front and back of the property and original features, including picture rails.

Down the hall to the right is the kitchen, again with front and rear aspects.

Up the stairs with (knitting needle bannisters) there are two double bedrooms with more original features.

Oh me, oh my, did I love this house. It got played with so so much. And it was the envy of my friends. The Pippa Dolls fitted in it like a dream. They lived their rather Regency life with the cornicing, architrave and parquet flooring in complete harmony with their 1970's plastic Pippa tat, sorry, furniture and cardboard DIY jobs made by me. I am very sorry to say that when Has Bean moved house about fifteen years ago I got rid of all my Pippas. And their clobber. Her loft needed emptying and downsizing does not include finding space for old toys. And we had no space for such nostalgia either.

When I was somewhat older, I started collecting rather more tasteful furniture for the Mansion. Some old things, such as this table and dovecote (dovecote, wasn't I getting above my station?) came from a shop near where I used to work in Notting Hill. Other bits and pieces were given to me or bought from various shops specialising in miniatures. Some wooden gobltes were from the market in Pont l'Abbe in Brittany. It has been a lot of fun remembering and rummaging through the bag with furniture in it.
Cream cake anyone?
Or perhaps a chocolate digestive...

Now. As you can quite clearly see from the photos of the mansion, it is empty and very grubby. I want/need to give it a good old spring clean. I want to put furniture back in and make it a home again. What is the best way toget rid of the yellowed paint? I really don't want to redecorate. I am bad enough at doing it on a big scale, but 1/12th??? No no no. The whole place needs a little tlc and I would love some advice on the best way to do this. Then, when it is finished I will be able to show you the smartened up house with all it's biscuits and chairs and pictures in place. And I might have to find a couple of Pippa's to live there.