Originally posted 7th February 2019
Orange by Wendy Cope
“At lunchtime I bought a huge orange The size of it made us all laugh.
I peeled it and shared it with Robert and Dave—
They got quarters and I had a half.
And that orange it made me so happy,
As ordinary things often do
Just lately. The shopping. A walk in the park
This is peace and contentment. It's new.
The rest of the day was quite easy.
I did all my jobs on my list
And enjoyed them and had some time over.
I love you. I'm glad I exist.”
In the past three months you have given me the most incredible gift - your arrival has given me the much needed permission to be content. Content to be a stay-at-home mum, content with the physical fabric of our new home and even a little bit more content in my own skin. The words of Wendy Cope's masterful poem, intended as a love poem for her partner, also perfectly apply to my feelings of the past few weeks as I have gone about doing the very ordinary, extraordinary jobs of motherhood day after day. 'Peace and contentment. It's new.' Your arrival has made me slow down. Notice things. Take time out and appreciate that I cannot do it all. Something I have grappled with this past two years since Alice's birth, often struggling on some days to see being a mum as 'enough' when compared to a previous life in a career that demanded certain unrealistic levels of perfection and the hustle bustle London life. Because with two babies you simply can't do everything. You can't. Something always has to give. But, extraordinarily, you have given me permission to find peace with this. To adjust my expectations, to be kinder to myself and to take time to breathe. In those moments of calm you have allowed me to see clearly through the fog of the mundane necessities of stay-at-home life and see clearly the magic that is you and your sister growing at astonishing pace - flourish into spectacular little people.
We made this tasty marmalade loaf on a pretty perfect snowy in January. Having two parents at home for a change made the baby wrangling seem a relative doddle. We lit a fire, snuggled, watched tv, built a snowman & baked this cake. With a shiny marmalade glaze it was the perfect snow day treat. It tasted cosy. Tasted of home and reminded me of Wendy Cope's perfect 'Orange' poem. Baking is my happy place. It has a calming influence. Ingredients in, cake out. It’s reassuring, affirming even and baking with my children is my favourite activity. I can't wait until you can get your hands floury and learn to lick the bowl. Your sister will teach you.
This simple recipe was perfect to make between bouts of snow play. A chance to warm up, chat & share some quality time. Thanks to you, my lovely little boy, I’m learning to treasure these ordinary extraordinary days and accept that every day doesn’t have to be triple layered with hand-crafted sugar flowers & the posh frosting. Some days can marmalade loaf and they are just as good if not better.
Mummy's 3 Step Marmalade Loaf
125ml olive oil
Grated zest of 1 'huge orange'
200g caster sugar
200g wholemeal flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1 tbsp marmalade to warm & glaze 1. Whisk eggs, orange zest, oil and milk followed by the sugar and dry ingredients.
2. Pour into 900g loaf tin & bake at 160 for about an hour.
3. Once cooked immediately brush the top with warmed marmalade then allow to cool in the tin before removing.
P.S.Having just discovered a hunk of this in tinfoil in the bread-bin that had been forgotten about (and secretly eaten it in the utility room so your sister didn't see) it seems that this cake also keeps brilliantly well. Therefore I am earmarking this one as perfect for sending with you both when you leave home to make sure you have a little piece of contentment to take with you, whilst simultaneously vehemently praying that time will stand still, that your head will smell deliciously newborn forever and that such a day will never come. #perfectday #motherhood #marmalade #cake #cosy #comfortfood #wendycope #orange #content #mumlife #bakefulplay #bakingwithtoddlers #bakingwithkids #contentment #mumblog #marmaladecake #mumsrecipes #mum #lettertomyson