Sunday, 12 December 2010

Cocktails with your legs closed

If you thought that I was getting just a little too smug and organised in my last post, fear not. The following day I made this for dinner.



Thankfully, the toilet ate it and seemed to enjoy it.

This morning I’ve awoken with that empty alcohol feeling. Last night I met up with some friends for Christmas drinks and needless to say took the whole thing very seriously. Six glasses of wine, two rum and cokes, the obligatory cigarette and two cocktails later and I was imparting life lessons to a young man and pushing my hands down Bushman’s pants in a crowded bar (not all at the same time – I might add).

“I think you need to get out more” said Bushman, “you’re a bit wild.”


Of course it was precisely this kind of behaviour which got me into trouble last year and resulted in me needing to take a pregnancy test in the toilet of a department store, on the Holloway Road, in the middle of January.


So when I stumbled home with Bushman at god knows what time and got into bed to find that he had no clothes on, I put him straight.

“There’s no way I’m having sex with you.” I said “I don’t care how many precautions you take – I’m not doing it. I don’t even think I’m capable right now.”

This morning I feel fucking hungover, a tinge of shame at some of things I did, a touch confused about what I did and didn’t do, but the one thing I can be absolutely sure of – is that I am NOT PREGNANT. I must say, overall I’m rather pleased with myself.

All of this leads me rather nicely on to my Christmas Cocktail Menu courtesy of my rather fabulous sister. If you couldn’t give a fuck about cocktails, look away now. If on the other hand you want to get pissed in the most exquisite, delicious way, pay attention! On the menu are Toffee Apple Martinis, Amaretto Sours, Chocolate/Expresso Martinis and for the sober judges amongst you, Authentic Cream Soda.

This is my little sister in her own words:


Toffee Apple Martini


There are a lot of different versions of this depending on whether you want to have a stronger, quicker, more expensive drink, or a softer, homemade and more satisfying one.

With a Martini I always recommending experimenting with what works best for each person, some like a really dry strong Martini (For instance the Julie Andrews Martini which we used to serve at The Star was 30ml gin, 30ml vodka and 15ml vermouth) or the more sweet versions that a lot of bars serve now.

Version 1

40ml vodka

15ml apple schnapps

15ml butterscotch schnapps


Pour the ingredients into a shaker with plenty of ice, shake or stir depending on how strong you want the drink (remember Bond always had his stirred as shaking a martini causes the ice to bash against each other and dilute the drink more, Bond has his stirred because the Martini would be cold, but as strong as possible). Strain the mixture over a martini glass -and be very chic by chilling it beforehand.

The other version sees you making your own apple and caramel syrups in preparation. I'm not going to give blow by blow accounts on how to make these, there are plenty of recipes, but for the apples I would peel and core, poach in a little vanilla extract and a dash of apple huie and then blitz as much as possible at the end to get a smooth syrup. Add a pinch of cinammon if desired. For the caramel either boil up some sugar with a little butter the old fashioned way, or even buy some from Fortnums or Waitrose if you are feeling slatternly.


Version 2

50ml vodka

10ml apple syrup

10ml caramel syrup

Put the ingredients and ice in a shaker, bang the hell out of it. Pour and serve. Perhaps with a little sugar and cinnamon on the rim.



Amaretto Sour

One of my favourites and perfect for consumption by the fireside with a cat, or prostitute on your lap - yes, it's that versatile.

50ml Amaretto

half the juice of a lemon (although I like mine really sour so I add either another half, or half a lime)

a dash of plain gomme (see recipe for Cream Soda, but don't use the pod)

*optional: an egg white (I can never be bothered, I never have anything to do with the yolk and just end up finding it festering the next morning)


Put a handful of ie cubes into the shaker, add the amaretto, citrus juice and a dash of gomme. Give a couple of short, gentle shakes, you don't want this one too watery because the amaretto needs to retain that slightly syrupy consistancy. Pour the whole lot into a tumbler and add a wedge of lemon.

The sour is a fairly cheap, quick and easy cocktail and packs a punch. Try all the variations you can think of, vodka, gin, rum etc. Sometimes, I like to make one with bourbon, put on a pencil skirt and pretend I'm Joan out of Mad Men.


Chocolate/Espresso Martinis

As far as a chocolate or espresso martini goes this would be my advice. Work out if you want a gin or vodka martini and remember that some flavours suit different ingredients more than others. For an espresso martini I would go with 40ml vodka or gin, a shot of espresso and then 15ml tia maria, 15ml kaluha. Chocolate martini would be 40ml of vodka or brandy, 15ml chocolate liquor, and 15ml creme de cacao.


Joe's Authentic Cream Soda

50ml Vanilla gomme*

Juice of half a lemon

Dash of cream

Dash of fresh soda water

Fill a shaker with ice. Add the gomme, lemon juice and cream. Don't worry if the mixture appears to seperate. Put the other half of the shaker on and give a damn good hiding. Get a highball glass, put a few cubes of ice in and pour the mixture over the top. Add a small amount of soda water to the cocktail shaker and gently swirl it around to get the remains out. Pour gently on the top of highball (soda water can froth up quit a lot depending how vigorously you shake it). Add a large slice of lemon to the top and serve with a straw.

* I make gomme by mixing sugar and hot water in equal parts (best done in a pyrex jug), stirring it until the sugar dissolves and then pour into an empty bottle and add a vanilla pod. This should be ideally done a day before. If this all seems like too much work, just add a blob of vanilla ice cream instead of the gomme and cream, it's a half decent substitute. This drink also works well as an alcoholic version with a shot of vodka!

Take a bow little sister - girl knows how to get trashed in style.

Now go forth and start mixing.

Friday, 26 November 2010

I'm not Nigella, or Martha, or Kirstie....but.....







Meet Nigella, Martha and Kirstie. I assure you, I am none of these women.

But Christmas always turns me into baking, crafting homebody and Christmas, people, is upon us.  Like it or not.

Every year I try to make as many gifts as possible. Firstly, because I always want to spend my dough on dining out and drinking with friends; and secondly because Christmas has got to be one of the most wasteful, environment bashing, times of year.

Here’s what’s currently ‘trending’ in my house.

1) PAPER


I have so many fucking kids in my matchbox flat I can’t even squeeze in a tree this year. This has got to be the first time since I lived with ‘Mr. Wasted Years’ that I haven’t had a tree. Of course trees don’t go up until the few days before Christmas in my house, but creating decorations can start whenever. This year poverty and space constraints mean that we will be hanging paper snowflakes. I found this webpage with super templates which I am going to try this weekend.

2) CHUTNEY


Every year the Sponge family and I trade chutney. Last year my offering was ‘Green Tomato Chutney’ made with the discarded fruits from a certain prison garden. I mean how many times have you received ‘Her Majesty’s Pleasure Chutney’? That was a coup. This year I’m going to try this recipe from Abel and Cole.


3) WOOD


What to give my 3 month old daughter? Let’s face it – she doesn’t give a fuck about Christmas, no point in splashing the cash on her. I found this great shop on ebay where I can get wooden discs to make a mobile. I’m going to use some of the Christmas decorations that would have been on my tree this year. I’ll post the finished product when I’m done. Cheap as chips and useful. This shop also has loads of other products to help you craft Christmas decorations. They combine postage and post quickly. I love them.


4) DOUGH

If I confess that I’m not really into the whole baby hand imprint kit thing, I know loads of you will think I am just a miserable cow. True enough. However the grandparents love all that cutesy stuff so last night my son and I practiced with salt dough and glitter to make these stunningly tacky homemade keepsakes. A bit rough around the edges because he actually made them almost entirely by himself, but I'm sure you could do a better job.....


My two year old son has feet which are almost a size 9. This fact alone is worthy of the tackiness. Guess I will have to do baby girl’s too. If you don’t know how to make the dough see the end of this post.


5) SWEETS


A short while ago when I was incapacitated and sent Bushman out for some dessicated coconut he came back with a kilo of the stuff. Everyone’s getting Coconut Ice for Christmas – I don’t even care if you like it or not. You'll find loads of recipes on the net for chocolate truffles, peppermint creams and the like.


6) ONIONS


My parents love Pickled Onions and Sherry. They’re getting Onions pickled in Sherry Vinegar. See recipe here.


7) BOXES


Lastly, I’m having a no wrap Christmas. Customised boxes and all those gift bags I seem to have accumulated will be the thing. I’m also going to make a few boxes from the templates on this website. I just love the shit you can get for free on the internet.

With the weather due to take a turn this weekend and whilst nearly all of us in this household have the lurgie, it will be an indoorsy few days – perfect for some Christmas preparations. Twenty-nine days to go, so get to it folks!!

Next time, I will be back with my sister’s Christmas Cocktail list. She used to work in a Soho Cocktail Bar and has just left Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen’. Now the family’s official bartender; she’s also a bit of a lush - like her Sis.

******************************************

Salt dough for Hand/Foot imprints



The recipe is:


1 cup salt


2 cups flour


1 cup water (add gradually, might not need it all)


1 tbsp oil (optional - makes dough easier to knead)


1 tbsp lemon juice (optional - makes finished product harder)


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Tip out and knead into a dough. Leave wrapped in clingfilm in fridge for 20 mins if you have time. After using, leave to air dry or bake at 100 deg C for 2-3 hours.


Friday, 19 November 2010

Parents Anonymous



As Troutie I write anonymously and only a few people know my real identity. My family certainly don't read my blog and neither do many of my friends. My partner, Bushman, knows my blog exists but has absolutely no interest in it. He can't work a computer either which is just as well.

Lord knows what I'll do in the years to come if my children read my blog - but I'll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it. In the meantime though my anonymity is a luxury that I've come to treasure.

I'll admit that when I first started blogging I didn't really think about it very much - after all - you can always 'out' yourself if you change your mind and I've always kept in mind that if people really want to know who you are they can find out quite easily. As such, I try to maintain a balance between saying what I really think without causing too much offence. After all, who knows what the future may bring?

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to float an idea. A fellow blogger (and she's not the first) said sometimes she wished she had stayed anonymous. For some people however, its just not possible. So I thought how about guest posts where the blogger is anonymous?

If you wished you had kept your anonymity and want to get something off your chest drop me a line under the title 'Parents Anonymous'. As regular readers will be aware swearing, controversy and smut are all welcome here. I can't imagine there is much I wouldn't be prepared to post unless its trying to convince readers to join the BNP or something......

Equally if you aren't already a blogger and would like to dip your toe in the water then 'Parents Anonymous' could be for you.

I have no idea if this is already being done somewhere else but here are my rules.
  • Send me an e-mail with the title 'Parents Anonymous'
  • Give yourself a nickname/ghost name
  • You should really be a parent or a parent-to-be although the post does not have to be child-related.
  • THERE ARE NO OTHER RULES!!!
And for my part:

I promise faithfully to keep your anonymity and any secrets you may impart (you could always use someone elses e-mail or set up a separate hotmail account if you want to be 100% anonymous). I promise to e-mail you a copy of the post before I publish it. It may be necessary for me to edit the post, or to only use part of it but I promise not to add anything or change the meaning.

I may have to add some rules as we go along but for now I think that's about it.......

So what are you waiting for?

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Its All Worth It......Yeah like fuck it is


Last week, a lady called Potty Mummy posted this and suddenly I found myself in a rage. It’s not that I didn’t agree with what Potty Mummy said, on the contrary, I made all the right noises of agreement whilst reading her post. What sent me on the feminist rampage is that I don’t think men feel like this.

I've been mulling over two theories which are entirely subjective. So let's cut the bullshit and get down to it.

Theory 1: You can love your children whilst hating motherhood. (Maybe 'hate' is a little extreme but you get my gist). I love seeing my children laugh and saying funny stuff but I fucking hate being a captive house-slave whose uniform consists of leggings and baby puke, who gets out of bed to be greeted by the same fucking chores, day in, day out. I need more than a fucking walk in the park people.

Theory 2: The 'swap' question is unanswerable, unfair and pointless. 

Potty Mummy sparked my thoughts when she said this:

"I walk upstairs and look in at two perfectly-formed heads asleep on their pillows. I look at the life that my Husband and I have made together. And whilst it would be trite - and untrue - to say that the sight of them makes everything alright all the time, I know that if I had the chance to swap - them or him - for what once was, I wouldn't consider it even for a heartbeat."

 I like the fact that Potty Mummy acknowledged that it is a little simplistic and sentimental to suggest that one look at your family is a 'cure all'. I can imagine that many share her opinion. The more I thought about this, however; the more I felt "Would I swap my life?" was a really unfair question.

As I put it (quite eloquently - I thought) in Potty Mummy's comments section:
 
"It's like asking whether you prefer champagne or perfume. They are entirely different; incomparable - except for the fact that they are both liquids."
 
I loved my BC (Before Children) life, although there were moments (usually when my head was down the loo) when I asked myself if it really was as much fun as I thought. I also love aspects of my new life but, let's get a couple of things straight.
 
Firstly, very few people, if given the chance, would genuinely swap their lives. Secondly, its never going to happen so it's a ridiculous question anyway and essentially I'm wasting my time on it.
 
But lastly, I ask myself "Do men think like this?" I'm willing to accept the fact that relationships come in all shapes and sizes and yes, there are single fathers out there and stay at home dads, and gay couples and polygamous families and all kinds of shit going on but..... really?
 
Do men really feel that BC/AC (Before Children/ After Children) gap? Do they really look longingly at skinny jeans and trendy jumpers with shawl necks and wonder if its appropriate for a 'father' to stay out late and french kiss on the underground? Do they really get up to the same chores that greeted them yesterday and feel the weight of the drudgery around their necks and worry how on earth they are going to lose that baby weight when all that gets them through those morning hours is the lure of a chocolate biscuit? Do they really spend time thinking about how much their lives have changed and whether they would swap it?
 
Not really, is my guess.
 
Everything (in this country anyway) is set up for women to be the child rearers. This makes the change in women's lives before and after they have children, very marked. In a lot of ways men carry on as normal.
 
Know what I want? I want 'Parental Leave' not Maternity Leave. I want more changing facilities in men's toilets. I want more men at 'Parent and Toddler Groups'. I want the role of 'stay at home' parents to be valued and respected. I want social policies in this country to encourage equal parenting because I don't want to sit around thinking about whether I would swap my before and after lives. I want both of those lives at the same time!

LIKE MEN DO.
 
And on that heavy note we will finish off this post with something incredibly shallow - a modelling competition. See here.
 
Hopefully I'll be back soon with the story of how I almost smothered my newborn (accidentally) and set fire to the flat with my microwave - all in one week! Did I say that the life of a "stay at home mother' was dull or do you think these events might actually be a cry for help?
 

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Confessions: I did a bad thing.....




“I did a bad thing” I say to Bushman

“Yuh give her rum?” he asks

“No!” I said

“Yuh smoke weed with her?”

“No!” I said and cleared my throat

“I gave her a dummy”

Bushman sounded disappointed in me but I didn’t care, almost instantly I had revolutionised my life.

Here’s the thing I’ve realised. Try as we may, not to be judgemental, I’m sure its a human instinct. Whether in my childless days or even more recently, I will admit that I have looked at others parental practices and thought “God! I would never do that!” At the time I also felt that my way of doing things would be superior.

I feel shame and pride in equal measure when I tell you that many of the things I thought I would never do I have found myself doing and that many of my aspirations and ideals proved to be utterly ridiculous. Here are a few of them.

I swore BC (Before Child) that I would never sniff a bottom in order to discover the contents of a nappy. Tick – done that.

I was utterly convinced with my second child that she would sleep in my bed. Cross – never happened.

I seriously thought that I might be able to use washable nappies and thus have my son potty trained by one. What the fuck was I thinking? Cross - didn’t happen still in nappies at two years old.

I watched a child screw up a family photograph once and thought “I would never let my child do that.”. Wanna know the truth? If either of my kids give me five minutes peace in the day so I can mix a cocktail they can set fire to the whole fucking album for all I care. Tick – done that.

And don't even get me started on the hours of TV my child watches or processed food or how I thought I could continue being a glamourous socialiser and have kids.

I’m sure that mothers everywhere have similar confessions. Please feel free to share them with me if you so wish. I know I’m not alone.

As my friend Cupcake (Champion Breastfeeder) said to me the other day. “I’ve chilled out about the whole breastfeeding thing. I know so many amazing, strong women who I respect that don’t do it or couldn’t do it. What does it matter?”

Being judgemental about other people’s parenting choices is so instinctive. Of course you think your way is the best way. But the interesting thing about having a second child is that what worked for your first doesn’t necessarily work with your second, and those parenting techniques that you perfected and prized before are worth all but nothing now.

So now I got that off my chest we move on to my chest. I’m approaching dieting. I need to shake off some pounds before I embark upon all those Christmas indulgences. So here are my vital statistics.


Chest: a matronly 40”. Forty fucking inches. Both the tape and I were mortified. There not even big in a sexy way, more like in a Hattie Jacques way.



Waist: 35”. There no use pining over that 27 incher I used to have (albeit some years ago). Just no point.


Hips: 44” at their widest point. Making me, like most British women ‘pear-shaped’. I am worryingly wide.


Tops of legs: 24”. A wobbling wave of cellulite working its way down to my knees. I try not to think about the fact that 24” is near enough what my waist use to be.


I need to weigh myself but the last time I did I was 11st 9. I worry that I may weigh more than that as I stopped the breastfeeding and continued eating cake weeks ago.

Let’s see how I do.

Lastly, I want to share something useful with you. My laptop was near death a few days ago groaning under the weight of information I had loaded on to it. Then someone gave me a hot tip. Here’s the link to LBC’s gadget guru page where you can download a free program to help clean up your computer if it is running slowly. Read the instructions carefully, is my only advice. Now go clean up your act!!!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Turning Leaf

Yesterday, at 5am, after exactly two and a half hours sleep I was scrubbing sick out of the carpet. Sadly, it was not my own. Throughout the day every time I tried to get some rest, one of my two offspring thwarted my attempts. By the end of the day when the trick or treaters came out I was sat behind my door with a gun, wide-eyed and wired from lack of sleep. I ignored the first five attempts to get me to answer the door. Couldn't they hear the screaming baby? Didn't they realise I had already been well and truly 'tricked'? I opened the door on the sixth ring as I was introducing the bullet to the chamber. There she stood with an oversized witches hat at a jaunty angle and blonde ponytails poking out from underneath. Face paint adorned her cheeks and she smiled nervously to reveal a gap toothed grin. She couldn't have been much more than 7.

But I was really pissed off so I shot her anyway, perhaps it was the crack that tipped me over the edge?


However; just to show it's not all guns and drugs in Hackney......... here's the proof that we're also home to some rather lovely autumnal foliage.






 




Thursday, 21 October 2010

High on coke in a kaftan, earrings in the washing machine and wino babysitters

   


It’s Thursday night and I’m facing the weekend again. It’s hard to believe that it’s nearly two weeks since I was out. I was OUT. In fact, I was OUT two times in a row. There’s just no keeping a good woman down.

On Friday night I had dinner with Chanel No. 5. where baby talk was politely off the menu. I wanted to drink myself into oblivion but I had a quiet word with myself and decided to save it for the following night.

I joined Cupcake and some of her friends at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club. It was 60’s Go Go night and I made the effort even though I was slightly “off-scene” in a short kaftan (the only thing that would hide the lumps) and my knee high boots. I had pulled my once-glorious afro out of my mum’s loft, but even after I attempted to beat some life into it, it still looked like a bad joke. My son watched me with glee and confusion as I tried on the huge ratty wig and then began beating the floor with it.

We started off in Liverpool Street with a few rum and cokes before making our way to Brick Lane. A group of young black boys tried to coax us into some photos they were having taken. Knowing Cupcake as I do, I knew she would be tempted by their invitation but I reminded her that whilst the twilight may be kind to us now, those boys would be looking at the snaps in the cold light of the following day and wondering who the fuck the old birds were. A few more drinks and then we made our way to the club, joining the short queue outside. One of our party checked her pockets and was dismayed to find the remains of an egg mayonnaise sandwich and an Ikea pencil. How very rock and roll.

“In the old days you’d probably have found an old coke wrap.” I told her.

Inside we watched a couple of Asian women throw off their clothes and Miss Ikea Pencil proceeded to tell me about a friend of hers who just got a new boyfriend. The boyfriend stayed the night and sleepwalked out of her apartment wearing a few vintage scarves and a couple of handbags and boarded a bus going through Old Street. He woke up naked, bar the aforementioned accessories, standing up on the night bus, holding on to one of the poles. Eh-hem. Awkward.

At somewhere around two we left the club and ended up at a party in a late night café in Mare Street, Hackney. It wasn’t really the place to be seen in a kaftan wearing fake eyelashes but my fears were soon allayed when I realised everybody (and they were an eclectic bunch) was utterly fucked and could barely see straight. They probably thought I was some kind of colourful hallucination. I felt strangely sober and tucked away another couple of rums.

It wasn’t long before I was getting into a taxi. My drug induced nights well and truly behind me and my back was aching. I reached home around 3.30am. Bushman was dozing, all children looked contented and ‘Blue Velvet’ was playing on the radio. It was then that I realised I had drunk way too much coke. My eyes were wide open until about 5am. I didn’t even have a hangover the next morning. There was a sense in which I was disappointed in myself. Since then I’ve had countless sleepless nights all of them due to baby and none of them due to coke.

Today at 7.45am a man came to fix my washing machine. This is what he discovered in my tubes.


and this pair of earrings



I think my son put them in there.....

It has to be said that things have been little tense in our household of late. Baby Trout keeps us up most of the night which makes everybody tetchy. I count any extra minutes Bushman gets to sleep, keeping them on some kind of mental ‘I do more than you do’ list. I get pissed off that he gets to leave the house everyday and behave like a real person and that our children seem to fit in around him whilst I fit in around every body else. As you can imagine, I’m no shrinking violet and the feminist inside me is constantly shaking her fists, counting the ways in which I am oppressed and shouting about it. In fairness to him the social policies in this country don't help. I should have moved to Denmark.

Because of all this drama, Bushman keeps going on about hired help. Fine, as long as they are neither thinner or better looking than me and he pays for it. It seemed like fate when a rather professional looking leaflet dropped through my door advertising childminding services.


As I looked at it more closely I realised that nobody had run the spell check over this leaflet - "Childmimding" being a favourite. The layout was hideous, nothing was justified and it was clearly written by someone with little command of the English language. The website was even weirder.

Then I wondered.... 'Donysieus' was that supposed to be 'Dionysus' - the god of wine?

Now I like a drink like the next girl,  but really I'd say you had one too many love.......

Thursday, 7 October 2010

A Truckload of.....



Bushman, and I have been romantically involved now for over six years. Until we had children there was little cause for our relatives to meet. Now of course, the annual event of my son’s birthday party has thrown up a regular date for a slightly awkward, if good-spirited, clash of cultures.

Seeing as we live in a tiny, two bedroom flat in Hackney, there is no way that we could hold any kind of event here – not even cat-swinging or tiddlywinks. So, my parents with a rather larger abode, have agreed to host my son’s birthday party for the last two years.

My mother likes plans. The only thing she does spontaneously is break into song or tears – sometimes simultaneously. When she is planning any kind of event she likes lists of people, lists of food, lists of drink, lists of things she has got and lists of things she hasn't got. She likes to know exactly what she is doing, at what time and with whom. Hell, she even had a crisp system at her summer barbecue this year which involved numbered bag of crisps and plates so that the flavours wouldn’t get mixed up. It’s fair to say she borders on anal, but only because she wants to make sure that things go smoothly and everybody enjoys themselves. Bushman’s family on the other hand are very relaxed. About everything. Both approaches to life have their pros and cons.

In the run up to our son’s second birthday I had a number of discussions with Bushman making two main points abundantly clear.

1) No last minute decisions about food. My mother needs an accurate list of food. The food that is on the list is the food that we serve. No turning up with a hundred fried fish and a coconut at the last minute.

2) Try to give an accurate number of people who will be attending. My mother will be panicking about making sure there is enough food and drink. (She once famously made 100 yorkshire puddings one Christmas, for a family dinner of approximately 10 people.) We plan for this by having a 'maybe' attending list.

I attempted to mediate between the two parties explaining to my mother that she shouldn’t expect RSVP cards from the laid back Jamaicans and that she would need to ‘go with the flow’ a little. I also relentlessly bashed Bushman over the head with the idea of a more organised approach. After all, if it all goes wrong Bushman and my mother will just smile at each other whilst I’ll be the one taking the shit.

The party kicks off at 3.30 and soon descends into a chaos of sorts. My mother is frantically trying to serve up food which must all be at the correct temperature. Just as things seemed to have reached a plateau of chaos Bushman comes up to me with a sheepish look on his face.

“Me need fi talk to yuh” he says nervously gesturing towards the toilet.

For those of you that need the translation, this means he needs to talk to me in the toilet.

“In the toilet?” I ask in disbelief. This had never happened before. That we should need such privacy can only mean excruciatingly bad news. I follow him in.

He proceeds to tell me that his cousin is coming with his wife, mother and three children and he’s bringing his brother along too. Some of these attendees were on the 'maybe' list and some of them were distinctly never on the list. I take a deep breath and say in my calmest, but most serious ‘don’t-fuck-with-me’ tone

“You can go out there and tell my mother.”

His eyes are begging me for mercy but I do not give an inch. After all, this party was the culmination of months of UN style diplomacy and THE RULES had been made abundantly clear to both sides. I repeat my command with the utmost clarity.

He knows there is no use in arguing with me and slopes off to find my mother, most probably with his heart in his mouth. I watch him deliver the news and a look of panic spreads across my mother’s face before she pulls herself together with an enormous fake smile and the show goes on.

It’s not long before the doorbell rings. I send Bushman to answer it and in come his cousin and his wife and the mother and the children and then…….

……they just keep coming, more and more and more of them. People I’ve never seen before in my life and their children and their girlfriends and their children from a previous relationship. Several huge 'blended' and overlapping families. It’s an entire truckload of Anglo-Jamaicans. The cherry on the cake is one of Bushman’s cousins, a notorious party girl still, at 47, who shouts “Awright ladies!!!!” as she enters and waves a bottle of brandy above her head in a ‘let’s get this party started’ kind of way. I am utterly crushed. My mind cannot even begin to imagine the conversations she will be having with my conservative aunt, known affectionately to the family as 'Margot' after the character in the 'The Good Life'.

“Jesus Christ. It’s like the fucking United Colours of Benetton in here.” says my friend, Mr. Sponge, quietly in the corner. It’s true. Every shade on the mixed race spectrum, from Espresso to Latte, is suddenly represented in my living room.

“ You owe me so much cunnilingus you don’t even want to think about it!” I spit at Bushman quietly when I am next in proximity to him before being thrown into a whirl of coat-taking, drink-pouring (including pouring drinks down my neck to numb the pain) and dishwasher filling, which is how I stayed for the rest of the night. My children had to fend for themselves while myself and my family ran round after our invaders.

Bushman looked as stressed as I was and it soon became clear that his cousin was the culprit, having taken it upon himself to invite his entire branch of the family to the event. Although the place was awash with excitable children, nothing seemed to get broken and as my mother pointed out, all the children were polite with their pleases and thank-yous when asking for drinks. Nobody let the f-word slip. All smoking took place outside and butts were neatly placed in an ashtray. There was even a couple of shots left in the brandy bottle after they had departed. The families mingled. My mother and notorious middle-aged party girl even seemed to share a couple of dirty jokes together. Considering the train crash that had taken place, no-one was fatally injured.

On the Monday morning after the party I arranged for a bouquet of flowers to be delivered to my mother and started looking for somewhere else to host my daughter's first birthday party next September.

"I'm never doing that again!" I shouted at Bushman "and I don't care how much it costs! Now where's my fucking cunnilingus!!"

Monday, 4 October 2010

It's an eventful life......

Today was my son's second birthday. I have this great post that I'm going to write about his birthday party which took place on Saturday. However; it deserves due care and attention and right now I'm so tired I feel faint and nauseous. Plus I'm feeding my daughter by bottle with my left hand and typing with my right.

Since I last blogged, life has been quite eventful. I was almost knocked out by a conker yesterday, proof, if it were needed, that Autumn is definitely here. I bagged a promotion at work. I have still not given up breastfeeding (entirely).  I have finally registered my daughter's birth. I have flooded my bathroom, hosted a birthday party and mastered Japanese.

OK, so the last bit about Japanese was a lie. Nevertheless, I am aware that mostly I sound quite awesome. Except that if you saw my house and my face you would know that all of this, plus the sleep deprivation, is taking its toll.

So, because I have nothing better to offer right now. I thought you might all enjoy a lovely cake sandwich.

My partner is a chef, but even he is partial to the odd cake sandwich. I have never eaten a cake sandwich, not even when I was REALLY stoned in the nineties. However; to Bushman, a cake sandwich is a perfectly viable and valid snack. 

For those of you wanting to recreate this culinary delight, I thought you might need a picture to help you.

Here goes: The Bushman Cake Sandwich. Made with hard dough bread and Caribbean cake. Bon Appetit.



Saturday, 25 September 2010

Dairy Queen


Yesterday morning I was hunched over a jam jar, massaging my breast so that with each little droplet of milk I released, my pain would be eased.

"I know this is really unattractive..." I say to Bushman, who is possibly so deeply traumatised by the birth experience that I could cut of my own leg in front of him and he wouldn't flinch.

"....but these breasts are so painful"

I really cannot believe that I am doing this. There are a number of things about this situation that my brain cannot comprehend. Firstly, that I am even able to touch my breasts in this manner considering my nipple phobia and secondly that the reason that I am having to do this is because I am going for an interview this morning. Yes, you read that right. My daughter is not three weeks old and I am going into work to see if I can bag a promotion. I sound like some career-crazed superwoman. I am not. I just need a bigger house to put all these goddamn children in.

So that I could put in a good performance, my mother persuaded me to hand over both my children to her so that I could get a good nights sleep. I sobbed as I handed over my new daughter and wasn't really sure why I was sobbing. It was just all too much.

So here I was, Friday morning, tits like rocks because I hadn't breastfed and images in my mind of me, all serious-faced in the interview whilst gallons of milk seeped from my breasts, soaking my breast pads and creating rings on my dress. I wiped the image from my mind, pulled on a variety of suport underwear, covered my face in so much make up that I looked like a waxwork and charged into battle.

I put in about as good a performance as I could and rushed back home to my daughter so that I could get the milk off my chest. Now only time will tell. I should find out early next week whether my efforts were in vain.

Anyway, talking of getting things off my chest this breastfeeding malarkey is really getting on my tits. The mild sense of success I felt when I got past day three, my nipples having bled, scabbed and practically dropped off and the pain had started to ease, has subsided. People kept promising me that it would get easier.

"You'll do it in your sleep" they said.

Bollocks.

I mean, could you sleep if a mouse was gnawing and clawing at your toes?

No. Of course you couldn't.

This isn't getting any easier. I'm bored, sore and tired and on the verge of giving up.

I am not a dairy queen.



Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Big Doula Guns Part Two A.K.A A Rum and Reggae Homebirth Story



So, my daughter is almost two weeks old already. It’s the same shitty story any ‘new’ mother will tell you. Lack of sleep, lack of sleep, lack of sleep……

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m mulling over the events of the last few weeks before Cupcake descends on me and we drink the champagne we didn’t get round to drinking the night my daughter was born.

For those who want the gory details it went something like this:

Mucus plug, water then contractions somewhere around 12.30pm while Bushman was out buying lunch. I start making calls to arrange childcare and birth companions. Cupcake jumps on a train from Brighton and the Doula starts gathering her potions in a rucksack. Totally unfazed by events, Bushman comes home and starts making a prawn curry.

“Baby ah come?” is about all he manages to say to me.

At half past four, shortly before Cupcake and the Doula arrive the pain is getting serious. I have thrown a tot of rum down my neck but coupled with lack of food it makes me feel a touch woozy and I decide not to overdo it. I turn on some loud reggae instead and start heavy breathing through my contractions. Bushman starts to look concerned but keeps on cooking.

At a quarter past five my reggae playlist comes to an end and I’m in too much pain to give a fuck. The Doula arrives (or ‘The Dealer’ as Bushman likes to call her) and makes me some god awful drink with cider vinegar and cayenne pepper. Cupcake arrives and laughs at her own suggestion that I take paracetamol for the pain when she sees just how much pain I am in.  Soon I am crouching over my sofa almost biting into the lovely owl cushion that Miss Stitchie made for me. Bushman is rubbing my back as requested with labour oil which I found by chance in the cupboard. I am grateful for his enormous strong hands. It is only after the birth that I realised he has possibly bruised me internally – but then I only have myself to blame. I had been demanding “Harder! Harder!” after all.

After this period events become rather blurry. Somehow, somebody calls the midwives and the student midwife who had requested to attend my birth. I decide I would be much more comfortable on my bed on all fours and forcefully tell Bushman "There's nothing dignified about this bit I'm afraid - you just have to get on with it."

At 7pm on September 5th 2010. I bite into the gas and air inhaler and give one final push. I remember being quite surprised that she came out so quickly. According to my post natal notes (which I perused a few days later) this period of my labour took just 5 minutes in total.

As I felt the instantaneous relief of a child exiting my body I threw the inhaler across the bed and shouted ‘Fucker!’ with triumph. And if that wasn't bad enough the next few words, I’m sure, mean that my name is on some social services list somewhere.

‘Get me a drink!” I shouted to Bushman who appeared, as if by magic, with a healthy, home-measured glass of rum and two ice cubes bobbing around inside. I gulped it down. I had not even looked at my baby yet.

To be painfully truthful, in those first few moments I was totally uninterested in her. I was just enjoying her absence from my body.

Soon enough I was holding her and all that went through my mind was “I’m breathing rum fumes on my baby….”

“ah well,” I reasoned with myself, “she’ll have to get used to that.”

Sadly, giving birth was the easy part. I had decided to try getting rid of the placenta naturally. To be honest, in hindsight, it was one hippy step too far for me. The blasted thing did not want to come out and I lay there, gooey, groggy and uncomfortable while various women tugged at it and asked me to push.

“Push?” I couldn’t feel a fucking thing down there.

‘Graphic’ was how Cupcake described it afterwards. Even after the damn injection the bugger didn’t want to come out. Then I heard a midwife whisper that word that made me want to yank it out myself “Hospital…”

Right, I thought, time to take action. In a very bizarre scene and after a misunderstanding between myself and the midwives I ended up pissing endlessly on some medical pads on my own bed (the bed was well protected with a variety of plastics – of course). I had gone from being a woman who couldn’t piss to a woman who couldn’t stop pissing. I can sincerely vouch for the absorbency of those medical pads.

All that pissing certainly cleared the path for the placenta which came out shortly afterwards. Total time for third stage of labour. 1 hour 35 minutes. I just wanted to get a shower, a drink and tell my parents to come over with my son, Natural delivery of the placenta is overrated in my experience.

Lastly, just as I thought I was over the worst, I finally had an internal examination (which I had resisted throughout the entire process) only to be told “You have a second degree tear which needs stitching”

The adrenaline had worn off, so had the gas and air and the euphoria. Now it was just me and the needle in a grit-your-teeth-and-bear-it situation until the local anaesthetic kicked in.

“Pump it in - give me as much as you're allowed to” I told the stitcher “I was a recreational drug taker in my youth, I can take it. Just don’t stick your finger up my arse without asking first like the last one - she was a real cow.”

Finally, after all the indignities and watching the midwives pick over my placenta like hungry vultures, I was able to enjoy the benefits of a homebirth: my own shower, my own food, my own visiting hours, my own bed, my own family. And unlike last time, when I couldn’t close my eyes without enduring traumatic flashbacks, this time I felt peeky but perky and slowly over the next few days I discovered that I felt very pleased with myself. OK, so the pissing moment wasn't great but I could laugh it off and besides, there were other things to be pleased about. I took pride in the hospital bag laying on top of my cupboard which was never packed and I marvelled at the fact that my daughter did not require the hospital tag to be snipped from her ankle. I had achieved my goal.

The only one who was traumatised this time around, was Bushman.

It had all worked out perfectly.



Sunday, 12 September 2010

Its not breastfeeding its milk slavery........

Disruption in service due to very hungry baby girl and general chaos. Will be back soon with my 'Rum and Reggae Homebirth Story'.

I have never breastfed before. I feel both triumphant and resistant at the same time. I have only persevered with it out of stubborness of character. This is not something that comes naturally to me.

Another round of visitors are due to descend on us any moment so I'd better get a shift on.

Thanks for all your lovely messages, I'm hoping to be able to lurk around your all blogs again soon.

Troutie
xxxx

Monday, 6 September 2010

Back Soon


Born: One baby girl, 7 lbs 6 ozs. Born at 7pm at home on Sept 5th 2010. No name. Lots of hair. Bring on the cocktails!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Nothing to see here....

I am two pounds shy of thirteen stone. I have a 45 inch waist and whilst a week ago the baby felt as though it was going to drop out of me, now it seems to have retreated.

Sorry folks, but there's nothing to see here........I've been nowhere and done nothing, except go to my Mum's yesterday for a spankingly good roast dinner. I'm hoping that if I overeat that lack of space might force out my daughter?

One small bittersweet note to add here should be that I have finished my second and final tapestry cushion. Once I have actually sewn it together I will be posting a picture of my efforts so you can see what I have been toiling over for the last six months or so. And then suddenly I realise that with this final stitch I feel like I have lost a good friend. I may have to start another tapestry project.........

I may have lost a good friend but in the last few weeks I also reclaimed a couple. Two dear friends returned from Australia for a long holiday. Mr Townsville is a very old friend of mine and has carved out a second career for himself in Australia as a Reggae DJ. On coming round to my house he was shocked to find that I had no form of speakers in my house and listened to music through my computer. The next time he visited me he brought with him a small set of speakers which I plugged into my computer and which increased the volume of my music (and in particular the bass) to an incredible extent. It lifted my mood substantially. It also occurred to me that finally I might be able to annoy my upstairs neighbours.

So whilst I may be trapped in the house, unable to shake my booty at carnival, we can at least replicate carnival in our house. My son's top two tunes at the moment can be found here and here. Whilst I have been playing this very loudly out of nostalgia for the days when I lived in Tobago and also this which helps me to get through sticky mud of life that I find myself in at the moment. I am hoping that a good boogie might shake out the little lady.

Oh, hang on I felt a twinge....maybe today will be the day?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Misery and Deforestation


I don’t use tampons because I can always feel them. It doesn’t matter where or how I put them in  - they’re always there. I’m having a similar sensation at the moment except with a full size BABY.

I have lost my identity. I am merely a vessel. A baby carrier. Like a Baby Bjorn except with wild hair and a lot more self pity. Really – it cannot be much longer now. COME ON baby!

Can I remind you that I am weeks away from my due date but have convinced myself that its coming now?

Since my nostalgic trip to Weymouth I managed to heave my great carcass to the New Forest to the fabulous Careys Manor Hotel where I experienced an interesting massage in the double treatment room with Bushman (a massage novice) who, when asked by the masseuse, accidentally gave the impression that he had no pants on. Typically I was massaged by Miss Piggy in human form while he had a hot, slim, blonde rub him into a snoring slumber. I can’t say it was the most relaxing massage I’ve ever had but it was certainly entertaining and expensive.

Other highlights were the breakfast and spa facilities at said hotel and a rather tacky goth wedding where the mother of the bride looked as if she had just got out of her coffin and in a dress almost identical to the brides just even cheaper looking. It was all very weird.

All holidays/fun/sex/smiles are now over. I cannot imagine that I will be having sex for the foreseeable future. I did indulge in a holiday mercy fuck but I couldn’t relax because I was convinced my water would break and I didn’t want to miss out on breakfast. You can tell things are bad when you trade an orgasm for breakfast. The breakfast was really good though.

Every time I stand up I feel as if this baby is going to drop out. (If only it were that simple). Bushman has no concept of what I am going through. He is unable to act on any kind of nurturing instinct or empathetic initiative. He complains that I am miserable. I keep reminding him that I don’t actually give a fuck what he thinks - he just has to put up with it, take out the rubbish, lift heavy items and do as he is bid.

Yesterday was spent preparing the bed with its many layers of plastic and old sheets and new sheets and sheets for now and sheets for after and sheets for later etc.etc. I feel like the princess and the pea or the princess who might pee, as every time I put weight on the bed the plastic makes that horrible sound which makes one think of incontinent people.

And so I must bid you good day because in preparation for this impending birth I need to put a mirror between my legs and apply some hair removal cream. I hate hair removal cream (and putting a mirror between my legs at the moment) but I have it on good authority that a midwife likes a clean slate and there is no way I can make it to the salon for a Brazilian. I'm hoping to achieve a happy medium. I don't want the pre-pubescent look but the New Forest has to be dealt with.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

A Nostalgic Holiday in Pictures

I spent a huge chunk of my childhood holidays at Weymouth Bay, Dorset. Every Whitsun week 12 members of our family hired a beach house on the seafront. I have many happy memories of donkey rides, streakers on the beach, walks along the promenade, the smell of salt and vinegar on chips, lardy cake, cornetto ice creams, the vile mixture of suncream and sand, wormcasts, brightly coloured windbreakers, and of course.....rain.

As it turns out, my 2010 retro trip did not disappoint. Here it is, in pictures....


The sun breaks through the window of our below par B&B, Friday morning. Things look promising....

A mixture of sunshine and clouds and a beautiful, freshly raked beach at 10am. The kiosks look the same as they did 20 years ago.

Weymouth Bay - just as I remember it.



The vintage windbreaker. This has appeared in countless photographs and is still going strong. This windbreaker and I are approximately the same age however; having been well looked after, in a bag my grandfather carefully made by hand, this windbreaker is looking a lot better than me. Twenty years ago this windbreaker was one of many on the beach. In 2010 it is the only one.


The only part of me fit for public consumption. My recently pedicured feet.

A brooding sky which can only mean one thing.....
The inside of the kids tent as it rains. We pack up and go home.

Colour along the promenade helps to lift the gloom.



More gloomy skies with sudden bursts of sunshine.


And yet more gloomy skies....the beach which had been packed to full capacity hours earlier, is now deserted.



I still don't think I have ever been on a pedalo. Yet again they look the same as they did twenty years ago.



Sitting in the car by the harbour on a very rainy Saturday.



During a quick dry spell I managed to snap the very first holiday home we stayed in, in Trinity Street. Previously next door to a funeral directors and with a stinking brewery at the end of the road this cannot , at the time, have commanded the highest price for a holiday let. Today however, the brewery has been turned into a small shopping centre and the area gentrified with swanky bars and a bistro in the building where the funeral director used to store dead bodies..... One of the only signs that times have changed.


In just a few hours I will be off on my last holiday alone with Bushman, to the New Forest. After that the baby is allowed to come out but certainly NOT before I have had my very expensive pregnancy massage.