In recent weeks the kids have become obsessed with watching me put on make up.
Every morning when I’m getting ready for work, I seem to end up with a companion. Someone will happen to need to brush their teeth at just the moment I start to slather on cosmetics. They pretend they’re concentrating on their own task, but standing beside me I can see their eyes tracking me in the mirror.
As I grab a new tube or pencil, toothpaste starts frothing everywhere and they’ll spout, “what’s that for?” Or “What do you call that?”
I explain concealer. “This makes mummy look less tired.”
I explain eyeliner. “This makes mummy’s eyes look nicer.”
Even as the words roll out I’m aware of how weird they sound. And how strange the whole idea of make up is. How trivial.
The kids just look at me quizzically. Bewildered that a mummy would even have ‘looks’ or should care about them. I’m just their mum, after all. I look pretty much the same to them every day.
The toothbrushing facade gets totally forgotten as they just stand and gape. After my entire routine is done (it takes about 2 minutes), I’ll say, “do I look better now?”
They shrug in that we-don’t-get-it way. If my companion is Mr M&P, he’ll eventually pipe up, ‘Yep’. Ever the charmer, he knows that it’s always worth complimenting effort, even if he doesn’t quite understand it.
Old fruit tart
Use up excess stone fruit with these tarts.
2 sheets puff pastry
3-4 nectarines, peaches, apricots (or a combination)
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp almond meal
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 egg, lightly whisked, for sticking & glazing
Ice cream (to serve)
Preheat the oven to 180C. Line an oven tray with baking paper.
Separate the frozen pastry sheets off the block. Score one into quarters and snap it apart. Leave to thaw while you chop the nectarines (chunks or pretty slices are all fine). Toss them with the maple syrup and lemon juice.
Brush the pastry quarters with egg, sprinkle the almond meal and sugar over the centre (leave a 1cm border).
Slice 1cm strips from your spare sheet and layer them around the edges of your squares. Brush with more egg.
Divide the fruit between the squares, reserving the liquid. Scatter a little more caster sugar or raw sugar over the entire tart and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
Serve with icecream and the reserved juices drizzled over the top.