I have turned a baking-related corner. It may have something to do with the new baby and the urge to nest, or the onslaught of a dark and windy autumn, or just that I am greedy and think about food all the time. But since the eventful beetroot cake, I have managed an apple strudel AND pikelets! And the pikelets were most excellent and we all gobbled them up as a pre-dinner dinner with jam and greek yoghurt and I now feel like I can move onto SCONES! Or something. So it is all win-win, except for the fat family part.

Anyway, today was cold and rainy and so we decided to go to Portobello Rd for coffee and market food and fresh (wet) air. We got so far as Pedlars, that overpriced but lovely shop filled with vintage train signs and pointless witty mugs and maps and egg cups and old shop cabinets and then we got summoned inside by Miss Balloooniverse. Miss Ballooniverse is a startlingly attractive and spookily talented balloon twister. We have come across her before when she made the kids Notting Hill Carnival-themed balloons – a monkey in a palm tree holding a banana, a rasta-coloured balloon hat, etc. Anyway, today she went Chrismassy. And behold her balloon-twisting-genius:


Rudolph; and


Santa; and (the very best of all)


an ELF! A slightly garrotted elf, but you get that.

And here is Miss Balloooniverse herself with my worried-looking balloon-trussed children:


Ha! They were the talk of the town. Well, of Pedlars anyway, as was our large family. “Oh, are they all yours?” “Yes – we just don’t stop!” Polite smile, point to enormous belly. Cue looks of barely-hidden shock, some weak comment from me about us being a bit mental, and we shuffle out. Of course, balloons being what they are, they didn’t last long in the howling gale and so there were tears soon after. SIGH.

Luckily, there is an antidote to all this motheriness. It is called SHOPPING. On Friday, Sue and I ducked out of the, er, office (we have a shared nanny on Fridays, dontcha know, while we work on Secret Genius Project That Will Make Us Very Rich) and went to a designer sale which was supposed to have “affordable Chanel”. I now know there is no such thing. But there was a very nice Alexander McQueen tuxedo jacket which fitted me (although the upper arms are more snug than I would like to acknowledge) and which now hangs in the wardrobe waiting for me to bring it out and astonish the world with my two-seasons-late adoption of the tux trend. I am hoping for audible gasps. I may only manage to arouse some concern at the way the arm seams are straining dangerously. Ah well.

P.S. For the record, the crotch of maternity tights end up hovering just above the upper knee. Do not wear a denim mini skirt with them, ever, even if you have No Other Clothes That Fit. I can vouch for it.

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4 Responses to Balloons

  1. calann621 says:

    LOVE your blog. I have two, one about gardening but more. If you drill down as they say, I get quite confessy. The other, an old-style southern U.S. remembry, I guess:

    One day I’ll truly learn how to insert a link.

    Although yours is exactly the kind of blog I’d like to write-aspire to, etc.

    I was tracking the second blog and yours popped up on a google alert because you said “astonish” in the balloon post. And I’m glad. Funny how these things work! Bests, Cece

  2. Dad says:

    On that happy note, Jodi , we have once again enjoyed another exciting story of ” Life with the Fray’s” It must be interesting to watch the faces of the general public as you courageously take your boys out to Portobello Road for the morning. Then some will ask the obvious question!

  3. Hi Jodi,
    What a delicious blog you write – I am truly honoured to be mentioned in such a complimentary fashion. Sorry to hear they were swept away in the gale so quickly, but hey-ho – it’s job security for me I guess. Make sure you swing by Pedlars again soon and I’ll re-Balloonify the whole brood again as an entirely different cast of characters (with lead weights attached this time perhaps?).

  4. theharridan says:

    Apologies to HB.

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