Yesterday the three of us were hanging around Sydney Road in Brunswick and went to the Brunswick Bound Bookstore. It's an incredible place with many unusual art books, heaps of literature and a great children's section that includes a lot of Charlie Harper stuff. They even have Belle and Boo prints! We found two awesome things there, (three actually but the last one we couldn't quite afford so I might have to wrangle a way of getting it for Josh for Christmas).
Firstly, 'I ♥ macarons' by Hisako Ogita is a beautiful cookery and photography book all about French style macarons. Macarons were one of those major things I never managed to perfect while apprenticing at the patisserie. The number of bad batches definitely outweighed the good. But I love eating them. Especially chocolate filled with ganache. Heaven.
This book is just superb. Photographs accompany every instruction and there are also pictures of macarons that have gone wrong and explanations why, so you'll never be left with a mystery tray of ugly things wondering what happened (I really could have used this during my apprenticeship). Ogita also suggests different buttercream and jam fillings for every different flavour macaron; some are pretty unusual but most seem spot on and look amazing. But my favourite part of the book is section with a handful of recipes for using up the egg yolks that you don't use in making macarons. Genius! The creme brulee and caramel ice cream recipes look fantastic.
Our other purchase has become a sort of baby bible in less than 24 hours. I blew my trumpet far too early when I said I'd managed to put Wolf down for a nap without rocking him in my arms the whole time. After that he tried his hardest not to sleep all day and has been taking 30-45 minute naps getting crankier each time. A lovely friend suggested the Tweddle Sleep School and just after we made a call to them for an appointment, we came across their book Sleep Right, Sleep Tight.
I'd previously been pretty wary of books like this, thinking they were just crackpot stuff that didn't work, or just variations on the 'leave your baby to cry it out' sort of thing, which I just can't bear. Truthfully the Tweddle method does involve crying, but not abandonment. To summarise (though it absolutely worth getting and reading the whole book) you need to give your baby some downtime, ie. cuddles, story, singing, before you put them in their cot. Following that, give them a pat, say 'Goodnight' and leave them to it. If they don't fall asleep and cry (which he/she will of course do), you go in and use your settling action of choice (patting, rubbing back, stroking forehead, singing) for at least 5-20 minutes, until your little one shows signs of sleepiness. Don't let them fall asleep to your ministrations, the point is to teach them to get to the point of doziness and learn to fall asleep themselves.
Obviously we're not there yet, seeing it's only been 24 hours, but usually Wolf needs a good solid rocking and singing to before he'll even deign to be put in his cot, and he has no idea how to fall asleep by himself. I'd had to pat him through some very anguished crying for about half an hour this morning, but he's asleep and that in itself is amazing. I'm trying the method where he is rolled on his side, I hold his shoulder with one hand and pat his bottom with the other. It seems to work and though he sobs and kicks, eventually he calms down enough to be rolled onto his back. He looks around, snuffles a bit, then closes his eyes and tries to sleep. It's a big step up for us. I hope that continuing this program will work!