Bruno’s (exceedingly tasty) Bakes and Coffee

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Macarons (photo by Julian Haler on Flickr). Sadly not Bruno’s, although he does make them!

∗∗∗∗ (out of 5)

I visited Bruno’s Bakes and Coffee last week with a friend, plus Babymouse and my friend’s little son. It was my first visit. I’d heard great things, and I wasn’t disappointed. Sadly, I hadn’t thought of doing a review at the time, so I failed to take any photos, but needless to say the cakes we ate looked as delicious as they tasted – which was very delicious indeed.

I had a slice of Créme Brulée Cake, which was possibly the best cake I’ve ever eaten. It was really, really light, so I didn’t feel like I’d eaten a massive slice of cake at all…tempting to go back for seconds, but I resisted! My friend had a piece of Triple Chocolate Cake, which looked lovely, and apparently tasted great as well. I also has a cup of tea, which was actually (unlike in a surprising number of places) served sensibly – in a mug, with a receptacle for the tea bag, something often lacking and I do find it very annoying when you have to put your tea bag in the saucer and make a mess, or, worse still when you have nowhere to put it at all! So well done to Bruno’s!

…possibly the best cake I’ve ever eaten.

Bruno’s usually has a very tempting display of cake in their pastry display case. Unfortunately, this was broken on the day we visited, but there were menus provided, so all was well. We sat in the back room, which is comfortably furnished with sofas and dining-style chairs – good for space with small children. There is also seating upstairs. The one downside of the place is that there are no toilets – this is due to the fact that the café is in a listed building and they are not allowed to make sufficient alteration to the layout to fit in toilets. Also, there are narrow spaces to negotiate, which may prove a barrier to people in wheelchairs, which is a shame, but something out of the proprietors’ control, unfortunately.

Talking of the proprietors, we met Bruno and Rick (I hope I’ve got his name right, I’m not good with names), both of whom are very friendly, Rick serves at the counter while Bruno bakes his delicious cakes etc. I should have mentioned, there are many cakes on offer, as well as fruit pies/tarts, and the café takes some inspiration from Rick’s American roots, as well as Bruno’s French ones.

In short, a visit to Bruno’s is definitely recommended! You can also visit Bruno’s French Bakes online.

Bruno’s Bakes and Coffee
10 High Street
Rochester
Kent
ME1 1PT

I think I failed my MOT

Not completely, I’m still working, but at my appointment on Monday my cardiologist said my heart muscle is gradually getting weaker (still only mild-moderate weakness), so she is going to put me on some medication – ACE inhibitors (I tried to think of a Doctor Who pun to put in here but I couldn’t think of a good one. I loved Ace, she was my first Assistant/Companion). It’s not just having Babymouse that’s weakened the heart muscle, there are 6 or 7 other factors that haven’t helped, e.g. getting older (!), the operations I’ve had, and even the pacemaker, which apparently my heart “doesn’t like”, which is a bit unfortunate as it needs it to keep me going properly!

I have mixed feelings about going on medication. I’ve always been sort of proud of the fact that I’ve never previously had to be on long term medication – I like telling people I’m not on any when they assume I am. I know that’s a bit silly. So, in some weird (or maybe not so weird) way, it feels like a step back – like my health is getting worse, which, I suppose, technically, it is. I just don’t really want to accept that, especially as I’ve actually been feeling quite well recently and thought I was coping alright with all the extra exercise looking after a baby entails. I think it was reading the words “heart failure” (as in ACE inhibitors are used to treat heart failure (these words were, wisely, not used by my cardiologist!) that was a bit distressing. Unsurprisingly, I don’t really want to think of myself as having heart failure. It seems so…final.

But, coming on to the positive side of my thoughts, it’s not final, precisely because there is medicine to take, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a place where I can take it! Hopefully it will prevent my heart getting worse, or at least it will get worse at a slower rate, and there are other things that can and will be done, apart from the medication (new pacemaker, another new valve, both a few years into the future), so I’m hoping I’ll be fairly well, even if my heart isn’t working at full strength. Well, it never has worked perfectly, and, thanks to the NHS I’ve been (relatively) OK, so hopefully I’ll continue in the same way.

Anyway, I will leave you with a lovely clip of Ace and the Doctor. It’s sort of appropriate…

September

  • We (me, Mr C, Babymouse and my parents) went to Broadstairs for a few days. We mostly had a good time. Ice cream was eaten, beaches were walked on, Hornby factories (well, the original one near Margate) were visited. I enjoyed all these things. The Hornby Visitor Centre is well worth a  visit if you are at all interested in model railways. They also have a Scalextric set you can play with, which brought back some childhood memories.
  • Babymouse has been teething again for a few weeks now, so she has been a bit grumpy – crying lots more than usual, chewing hands and anything else she can get her hands on, and not sleeping as well as she usually does. Poor Babymouse. I hope these teeth come through soon.
  • I went to the CILIP Cataloguing and Indexing Group Conference in Canterbury, just for one day. It was a  very interesting day, and reminded me why I enjoy cataloguing so much. I need to write a proper report about it soon, before I forget what we did!
  • Babymouse is attempting to crawl. She has now mastered crawling backwards, but she can’t manage to go forwards, which is frustrating her, so that’s not helping her mood either! She has been trying new foods. So far she has sampled baby porridge, cheese, the inside of chips, pears, ice cream, and bananas. That doesn’t look like a list of very healthy foods, does it? I’ve meant to make her up a few lots of cooked and blended up fruit and veg, but of course I’ve not got round to this yet.
  • I’ve managed (thanks to the efforts of ladies at the knitting group/on Ravelry) to knit some more of the Shawl of Doom. I might actually finish it soon. I also started some crochet, on the advice that it’s easier to undo and redo if it goes wrong!
  • We had several visits from various librarians, all of which were very enjoyable.
  • I tried to read Bleeding Edge, by Thomas Pynchon, but gave up. I also tried to read Longbourn, by Jo Baker, but someone requested it before I’d got very far with it!
  • I bought another cushion.
  • The weather was mainly lovely.

Some things we did in August

  • Babymouse started doing lots of new things: rolling, making more sounds a lot more often, being more alert, sounding like she’s talking to dolphins (she used to do this when she was younger, then stopped, but seems to be doing it again now). She managed to roll of the bed while having her nappy changed, giving Mr C an awful fright (and a guilt complex), but she was fine, despite the loud bang when she hit the floor!
  • Babymouse has her first tooth!
  • We sorted out Babymouse’s room, and she has now moved in. She doesn’t seem to have noticed the change…
  • We went to Mr C’s cousin’s wedding. They had a superhero theme. We were on The Incredible Hulk table. Here is a picture of one of the bouquets:

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  • Babymouse and I went to stay with our in-laws for a week after the wedding, with mixed success. It was lovely to see family again, especially the extended clan, who we rarely see. BM met lots of in-laws and coped quite well with being handed round to be held by lots of different relatives.
  • We have been rearranging the house, mainly so we could move BM into her room, but also because I still seem to be in nesting mode. I think it’s mainly good, though, as we’ve managed to dispose of a lot of unused stuff and make more room by tidying other stuff away and, I must admit, buying more bookcases…It was inevitable – too many books. (It could  be, and has been, argued that there is no such thing as too many books. I think this is probably true, as long as they are accessible and preferably in some sort of order, but that latter is probably just my librarian side coming out.)
  • I have gardened! It looks a lot better now, but I fear I’m fighting a losing battle with weeds, slugs and snails.
  • I read The Necropolis Railway and Chinatown Beat and started Bleeding Edge.

Things that happened in July

  • We took Babymouse to Mr C’s workplaces to meet his colleagues. It was a really wet day – we got soaked several times – but we had fun meeting everyone.
  • I did quite a bit in the garden. I bought some new lavender plants, plus some Platycodon (AKA Balloon Flower) and a daisy-type plant and planted them in the garden. I hope they all survive, but the daisy plant has already been mauled by slugs. We’re also growing a few edible things.
  • Babymouse and I have been going to the Salvation Army and library groups on a regular basis. The Salvation Army group has now finished for the summer and for the last session we went to one of the local parks, which was nice.
  • A few friends came to visit on various occasions, which was lovely.
  • I did some knitting! The Shawl of Doom is progressing, and is slightly less doomy now I’ve found a method of knitting it that doesn’t involve counting.
  • My dad came to visit on Monday. It’s unusual for him to visit on his own. It was nice to see him, and I think he enjoyed playing with Babymouse.
  • Babymouse has been a bit weird this month. I’m not sure whether she’s going through a ‘Wonder Week’ (a theory that suggests babies go through periods of time when they make big developmental leaps and it makes them go a bit stranger than ‘normal’ – thanks to @evil_jen for telling me about this) or whether it’s just the heat, but she has been very grumpy and clingy (for her) recently. She has been doing some new things, such as pushing herself up when she’s on her front, and grabbing and holding onto things (including my hair!) much more often and much more successfully. She also likes ‘standing up’ with someone holding her (obviously) and ‘walking’ around the living room. She is a very active baby – even in her sleep she moves around – we hear her in the night, and she ends up at a very different angle in her cot to where she starts from!
  • I finally finished re-reading the Lord of the Rings triology of books, which I started reading in January!
  • I also read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, which I enjoyed.
  • I invented a new curry: courgette, quorn pieces, beetroot and leek in a tomato-based curry sauce (also including a spoonful of Tesco Value soft cheese).

Songs for motherhood

Despite the somewhat grandiose title of this post, I just wanted to make a note of these two songs that were playing a lot on the radio around the time of Babymouse’s birth, and which struck a chord (excuse the pun) with me then, and still do now in my ongoing journey through the delights and stuggles of parenthood.

I put ‘motherhood’ in the title because the first song is specifically special to me, not to Mr C as well – mainly because he wasn’t listening to as much radio as me (the Tune In Radio app on my mobile was a godsend when I was in hospital, especially at night and when I was spending lots of hours expressing milk, which would have been even more of a lonely and boring time otherwise). Also, I didn’t really share this song with him at the time because, well, it is a bit soppy. I did tell him about it but I’m not sure I ever made him listen to it. Anyway, the song is ‘How Long Will I Love You’, the Ellie Goulding version (the original was by The Waterboys, in case you’re interested). When I listen to it I think of Babymouse.

 

The next song is one Mr C and I have both adopted as Babymouse’s anthem. It suits her, we think.

Also, tiger mothers and all that. Not that I am one, but I think being a mother has given me a bit more confidence, mainly because I don’t have much choice if I want to look after Babymouse as well as I possibly can. I can’t be a mouse anymore. We’ll see how that goes… :)