Down & Out In A London Kitchen

Esther Walker started a food blog called Recipe Rifle in 2009 when desperate and unemployed. In 2010 she married restaurant critic Giles Coren and far, far too quickly had a baby daughter, called Kitty.

If you haven’t got company, you haven’t got anything

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 15 May 2012

For the last two and a half months, we’ve all been living with my parents, while we have a kitchen extension built.

At first it was a bit tricky, a bit of a culture shock. It felt like camping, we didn’t know where anything was, couldn’t seem to get anything done. My parents’ house is large, chaotic, a bit ramshackle and curling at the edges. My mother believes very strongly that unless something is utterly broken and beyond repair, buying a replacement is morally outrageous. I, on the other hand, give lorry-loads of stuff to charity for such crimes as being “slightly the wrong colour” or “a bit annoying to look at”.

The huge benefit of living here, of course, is that the house is full of toys and its ramshackle nature means that Kitty can make a terrible mess and no-one cares. The other major plus is how many people there are here, all the time; my mum, dad, my cousin, (who rents out a room upstairs), my sister who comes here most mornings with her two and a half year-old and my other sister who sometimes turns up with her three boys under 5. There’s always someone around to talk to or play with. Any evening that my husband and I want to go out, we can because there’s someone to watch the monitor for a few hours.

So it’s turned out to be actually sort of blissful.

And yet I was still surprised that I burst into tears when I went back to my house to view the completed works. The building work went without a hitch and the new space – a larger kitchen and a new play area, ought to be incredibly exciting – what could I possibly be upset about?

...

The boring truth about motherhood

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 08 May 2012
My life is quite dull at the moment. Actually I will go out on a limb and say that it’s actively boring. Up at 7am every morning, tend to Kitty, try not to ignore my husband too much, try to eat something other than toast, try to keep everyone in clean clothes, try to get work done on days when I have childcare and not just stare into space.

As a special treat on the days when someone else is looking after Kitty, I get in the car and go for a drive. Sometimes, I will go to a shopping centre and have a poke around in Topshop. Then I get home, bath and bed Kitty, make dinner, watch some telly, pretend to listen to my husband while actually internet shopping on my iPad, put pyjamas on as early as decently possible, try to be asleep by 10pm.

Sometimes I talk to my friends, occasionally I will actually see my friends. But most of the time it’s me, Kitty, my husband, the people in the coffee shop, a few other mums...

And that’s it, or variations thereon, day in, day out, week in, week out. Whenever I find myself in my car on the A406, listening to Capital Radio and musing on the fact that doing this, driving and listening to the radio by myself, is a treat, I remind myself that this life is not forever. It is just a stage, a rather boring stage, probably the same amount of boringness as secondary school. And, just like secondary school, it will end.

...

A "non-blanching" rash, a fever and a scared mummy

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 01 May 2012

Kitty has been ill again. This time it was quite scary. There was a temperature of 104 and a rash that didn’t disappear when you pressed it – the technical term for this kind of rash is a “non-blanching” rash and it’s a symptom of meningitis.

But Kitty didn’t have meningitis – of course not. She wasn’t ill enough for that. But she was ill, no mistake. Day after day of fever cascaded in on us, accompanied by the horrible rash and glued-up eyes. Sitting on the sofa rocking and soothing a boiling hot and miserable toddler went from being a novelty to being my entire reality.

When your child is sick, it is impossible to gauge how to react. On one hand, you are acutely aware that you are a new mother and that every new and different illness is going to be frightening. On the other hand, that vision looms in your head – you know the one I mean, the one where you are in hospital at the bedside of your child, who is comatose possibly on a drip, while a serious man in a white coat turns on you and barks “Why the hell didn’t you bring her in sooner?”

...

The rage

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 24 April 2012

My husband and I had a row the other night. Nothing unusual about it – it happens from time to time. It was about something small, I can’t remember, something to do with Kitty’s bathtime. But it got slightly out of control. I lost my temper, which I don’t do often: I was doing that thing, that shaking, hissing, boiling-rage, finger-jabbing thing.

Usually we calm down, sort it out, apologise. But we had to go straight out to dinner. We arrived at Mr & Mrs’s house slightly shaken. My husband announced, typically, as soon as we got through the door that we’d just had a row.

“Oh!” cried Mrs, “We had the most terrible row the other day. Mr didn’t come home until 4am and didn’t text or anything. I called the police! I thought he was dead.”

...

Pride and joy

Posted by Esther Walker
Esther Walker
Esther Walker has not set their biography yet
User is currently offline
on Tuesday, 17 April 2012

At all times, in public, I try to maintain a critical distance from Kitty. If she is ever paid a compliment, I suck my cheeks in, raise one eyebrow and say: “She’s okay” as if I am talking about a mid-priced pair of trainers or a last-minute hotel room.

My husband has no such reserve. He will walk into a room holding Kitty and say “I feel so sorry for you all that your children aren’t as brilliant as mine.”

That sort of thing, alas, makes people hate you and wish bad things for you and I need all the good karma I can get, thanks. So any nauseating bursting-with-pride stuff I do in private. “You’re so BRILLIANT,” I hiss into her ear when we are alone. “You’re such a GOOD GIRL.”

...


Forgot your password?
Click to read our digital edition
Place-Classified-advert-336
TLR-advert-May2014-336

Boarders Dormitory Master-Mistress
We are looking to appoint a Dormitory Mistress/Master for 5 nights per week, weekday evenings and nights only, term time. (35 weeks). [...]

APPLY NOW


Housekeeper to Headmaster
We have an opportunity for an experienced live-out housekeeper. You will provide a cleaning and hospitality service for the Headmaster and his guests and help to ensure the household runs efficiently. [...]

APPLY NOW


Full Time Housekeeper, Nanny
We are looking for a full time, live-out housekeeper/nanny. We are a relaxed young couple living in a large country house, and will have one newborn baby. [...]

APPLY NOW


Experienced Carer, Companion, Housekeeper needed
Our elderly mother needs a live in carer/companion on a part time basis. Must be warm hearted, calm & compassionate, with a good sense of humour. [...]

APPLY NOW


Live-in Housekeeper
Our client is looking for a very capable, experienced individual to become the new housekeeper at their 6 bedroom, rural home. [...]

APPLY NOW



MORE JOBS LIKE THESE
Lady-directory-button-NEW

Horoscopes

What the stars have in store for you this week.2017

Capricorn Aquarius Pisces Aries Taurus Gemini Cancer Leo Virgo Libra Scorpio Sagittarius

Sign up to receive our weekly newsletter