Sunday, 27 December 2009

Happy holidays

What do you give the neighbours who, such is their capacity for etiquette, present you with a card printed "You're Great Neighbours" featuring a picture of a peaceful snowy alpine village (just like our hood, init)? They also sent flowers during weekend building work, and champagne on the birth of D-Bubz. They are impeccable. So how did we, their shambolic alter-egos, react? By giving them a cheapo card and a half-eaten box of chocolates, and oh how I wish I were joking, but on the bright side they didn't catch me shoving the dubious booty through their letterbox.

Apart from that, it was a lovely crimbo, though now traditionally a time for whisky and despair as throughout the land the whirring of cashpoint mini-statements reminds folk just how much cash they've wasted on being festive instead of saving it up for the season of drear, unless you're one of those peeps for whom life really kicks in with the January sales, in which case enjoy being trampled by the masses in competition for that ghastly DFS sofa on spesh...I wish I had your iron constitution.

Sorry. Its just that I saw the advert for, whose services I shouldn't really be advertising unless I want to endorse His Ronsealness (aka Dale Winton)'s cadaverous appearance urging all the rentachav, overdraft-mired types to start flogging their jewellery by mail to receive an alleged couple of hundred or so 24 hours later, like some blinged-up Ghost Of Christmas Just Past. The contrast between this grubby cashing in and the fabulous lives of those celebs I envied so much in the December issue of Marie Claire (if you must know, Kimberley from Girls Aloud featured heavily, and yes I KNOW about the accent but still suffer from the jealousy), couldn't be more poignant. It makes me angry in the same way seeing Anthea 'Sugar-flavoured snot' Turner advertising GMTV Bingo to desperate housewives - if your career is on the slide, can you really justify espousing such shady causes just to relight your bank account? But of course you can. Of course. Anything goes these days, and to be fair if I had any gold right about now, I'd definitely be thinking of flogging it, such is the power of dreadful advertising (and craggy-faced TV has-beens).

But sod all that, getting v excited re our incredible freebie holiday which was increased when lovely friends round the corner lent me their baby beach tent. So now Dylan is free to indulge his fave pursuit (grappling with a blanket, or in this case lightweight sarong) while being hopefully less likely to get sand in his eyes. Yeah! Although I am still gripped with night-time terror re dropping him off a boat, or accidentally sending him to sea on a lilo. Not that I 'do' lilos, but there was this one incident in Thailand where we acquired one blown along the beach which we fought over for several hours until karma made it blow away from us too, and I can report that it was excellent for lazy snorkelling, although there may not be so much of that in the Canaries, given that a) there is no coral reef, just lots of lovely sand (I think) and b) I will not have my mind on the job, worrying about my baby sitting innocently on the beach prey to every passing mossie and mistral (no, not the painter in the televised melodrama of yesteryear, but rather a sudden mini-tornado the likes of which I don't know the Spanish word for but had better find out).

In other holiday news, I am wondering how we will pack five islands into seven days, and whether that means we have to be ready to go at all times (probably a good idea considering our penchant to spread chaos across any hotel room in a matter of hours, but a bad one for the same reason); as well as anxiously waiting delivery of my two purchases from Bravissimo of their uplifting swimwear, and wondering whether I should have gone for the very tailored, slightly boring yet undeniably St Tropez-esque one piece number instead of the disco Barbie, less supportive, belly-baring numbers (a leopard doesn't change its print) - but only time, and their delivery service, will tell.

So eek, I am going on holiday in two weeks and that is still not enough motivation to force out a single sit-up. Not even J's daughter's helpful assertion that I still look a bit preggers can make me buy a Wii fit, that new shouty Davina workout DVD, or consider joining a gym. Plus am so bored of the park that my daily trip there (which I promised myself as way of getting back in shape) has turned into a weekly event. I am too fecking lazy to exercise unless it happens accidentally (sex, housework, lifting baby, stressing out). Even when I worked in a gym and had access to all free facilities, I didn't exercise. Am a lost cause!

Anyhoo, another exciting postal development was the arrival of D-Bubz' passport - collective aaaah! - he looks so sweet and serious in his pic and more than ready for some fun in the sun, as befits one born in the swish district of Westminster with a mother who listed her occupation on his birth certificate as 'writer', based entirely on this blog. He's a bohemian rhapsody, a west Londinium dandy, and now he's even got a top that says dude (although true to babyish form was more taken with the wrapping than the actual pressie, and quite right too).

I did quite well on the present front - for a start, I won't be needing to purchase handcream until at least 2012, and managed to control my gift envy (beware of assisting one's partner too well in the buying of presents for other females, else you'll find yourself in the same predicament, ie wanting to rip said gift from recipient's hands on basis of underwhelming response), but have now entered the realm of being just as happy with gifts for my son as self, although this may not be a lasting state. And something else now I am a parent - this is the first year that NYE has been a cause of zero anxiety, planning, or even headspace - I think we're just staying in with some booze and the breast pump, Jools Holland may even feature - and that in itself is very, very strange....but strangely calming too. No tickets, no guest lists, no drama....WTF?!

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Ding dong merrily, I'm high

We won! We are going on a fabulous trip to 5 of the Canary Islands on the 13th-20th Jan, and I'll be telling you all about it as it happens. 5* accommodation, loads of activities, and average January temps of 25c. YAY!

It still feels unreal as generally I do not win stuff, esp stuff I really want, so somehow the good karma fairy has found us and done her swishy wand thing: you rock, fairy. Its going to be amazing, and J's 6-yr-old daughter is coming too, making him really happy and completing the familial picture. So its going to be a very merry Christmas for us all...ho ho ho!

Normally, I hate January. Now I've got Dylan, its a bit different, as its hard to hate anything when you've been blessed with such a beautiful, smiley, joyful baby, but I still wasn't exactly looking forward to it, and suffer from SAD, which is rubbish when you live in the UK. So this really is the shiz, and I'm sure he knows that something is up, as he's being even more happy than norm. And I've kick-started the post-baby holiday wardrobe (always a tricky one) after impulse-buying a gorgeous ruffled navy shift and hot pink faux-Chanel clutch (I'm all about the practicality, but as I'll be clutching a baby too it luckily has a tuck awayable, over-body strap) from New Look - if it's good enough for Beyonce, its good enough for moi:, so I'm feeling not only festive, but fabulous too. Tackling the swimwear is another issue, however: I can theoretically still fit into my old bikinis, and they'd look great on a Pirelli calendar shoot, but as I'd like people to talk to my face, not my chest, and be able to swim without fear, I think I'd better go find the budget version of cruise collections pronto...

Right, I'm off to do last-minute panic shopping! Christmas, doncha love it?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Beat the winter blues (if we're lucky)

So Wednesday was rather exciting, because we went to a casting to become ambassadors for the Canary Islands, which would involve taking a 5* trip there in mid-January (oh, dear, the things one does to be an ambassador!), under the banner of 'Say no to winter blues', which we certainly would. We dressed Baby D as a Christmas elf, and it even helpfully snowed to complete the festive picture, which seemed to amuse the panel of judges from the Canary Island tourist board no end (although hopefully increased our chances due to bad weather keeping other families away).

It was strange turning up at a casting event with nipper in tow; cool young singles vying for the opportunity cooed 'Ahhhhh!' as we trotted past avec pram, feeling a bit like aliens. But D couldn't have been better behaved - he slept all the way there, woke up for the interview and then failed to whinge til we'd finished. If we were being judged on cuteness of baby, we'd be a shoo-in.

There was one sticky moment where J metioned Formentera, which we'd visited on a trip to Ibiza and loved - the panel thought he was confusing it with Fuerteventura, clearly a taboo. But I think they realised he didn't mean it like that...must be like confusing the Isle of Man with the Isle of Wight. Or Penrith and Penryn. Actually, I think you could be forgiven for that last one. But the rest of the interview went smoothly, and we were filmed afterwards talking about the experience, which was fun and made us think we maybe had a chance. The trip itself sounds amazing, in fact I don't dare to hope as it would transform our winter. And we have to wait until the 23rd to find out, so am keeping everything crossed until then. PLEASE PICK US! If they do, you'll be hearing alot more about the fabulous Canary Islands, so watch this space...

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Go comp-aaaargh

This morning I woke up with the song to that advert for the comparison search engine site in my head, you know, the one starring the fat twizzly-moustached tenor and his floating arias, urging folk to stop thinking about the clever branding of that other comparison site (which has used the differences between the words market/meerkat to such fabulous effect), and click on his instead. He even has an online identity - Gio Compario (a productive afternoon was clearly spent in the pub by the creative department), and, like his furry nemesis, a Facebook fan page (2687 members compared to Aleksandr Orlov's 615,766 -I mean who would you rather be a fan of, a comedy-accented playboy version of the cutest animal on the planet or a fat annoying faux-Italian? Simples!)

They have achieved this early morning seepage into my weary psyche by coming up with a jingle so brain-drillingly catchy that even Pete Waterman must be asking how they roll. It, though this may well have featured in the pitch literature as a plus point of the campaign, makes me want to garrot Gio Compario with his twizzly moustache, then feed him to the cast of True Blood. "GO COMPAAAARE! GO COMP-AAAARRGGHHH!" In fact, if that was the follow-up ad, I'd visit the site for sure.

Anyhoo, it doesn't matter much, as I find myself with precious little needing insurance (except my son, and I haven't got around to it yet - I'd say several million to protect the perfect sphere of his head with another couple of mill for his pointy little chin) as the year draws to a close. No car, no new electronic gadgetry, and as for bling - I'm not that kinda girl (although I wish I was). I've been thinking I should make a will, being a mother now and all, but the fact is - I don't have much to leave, so the process could prove rather embarrassing: "To my son, I bequeath my laptop, which may have some kind of virus and is very slow to load Facebook these days" - at least he'll get away without inheritance tax.

One thing I do have in abundance right now, although it might not work in a legal context, is flesh. About an extra 10 kilos, if my mum's scales are to be believed. While it is very sweet of all who have said "You've really got your figure back!", what they are neglecting to mention is that I've also got some of somebody else's, and would quite like to give it back.

Trying on clothes is interesting: I have to squeeze and force bits of errant jelly into stiff material which would rather not receive it, thank you very much. And here's the thing: although I know I have enough fat reserves to deal with the extra 500 cals a day breastfeeding requires, so this and a sensible diet are all I need; now I feel cheated if I haven't had the requisite man-sized portions, extra butter and chocolate snacks of a morning, and think nothing of adding dollops of mayo to everything I eat (even the choc). Serves me right for listening to mother at the onset and deciding that 3000 cals a day was the way forward. For the record, its not. Hold the front page!

Before I gave birth I was convinced getting back into my size 8s was a simple matter of walking briskly round the park avec pram a few times a week, I now realise that was stupendously optimistic. But god bless optimism, where would we be without it? I even bought some control pants (the kind of garment I'd previously looked at with a patronising smile and pitying shake of the head), but optimism led me to buy them in a size so small it took a good 5 mins to get them on, which was good for my fragile (compared to before, and I don't need Gio's website to tell me) ego. Ditto not understanding that the chest of a milkmaid requires a size larger than 12. Denial: not just a river in Africa or a stubborn infatuation, but the mind of a postnatal woman. God bless.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Slippery nipple

You know what, breastfeeding is actually the shizzle. I really thought I would resent it quite a lot, being that it would prevent me from returning to a pre-pregnancy state of mind and all that for a few more months, but honestly, its more effective than an AA meeting, and more rewarding too. Nothing can replicate the maternal joy of seeing his little boot button eyes stare up at me while sucking noisily, that unconscious and total dependency (as well as the fact that in Baby D's eyes, a nip and some of the white stuff is as much of a party as it gets - he's gonna go nuts when I start him on the baby rice), making me realise (as its easy to forget in our sciencey times), that I'm an animal and proud of it. And, the big sell if you're as lazy as moi, its easy - no sterilising, no bottles, no heating, no testing, just whip it out and you're good to go.

Consequently, the electric breast pump I purchased at great expense and in a state of high agitation ("I NEED NEED ONE NOOOOW OR THE WORLD WILL END") a whole month back, remains in its box, as do the 'pump and save' milk bags (its like a 24-hour garage around here). I also have the steriliser, and ditto - for some reason, I am in complete denial re getting into the expressing zone, and its starting to get embarrassing.

I need to get a move on, if I want some festive drinkie fun - apparently its not an instant thing, either, and your boobs need to get used to making the extra. And the most important issue, which may make the whole enterprise a major problem, is that my little boyo needs to be willing to take to the bottle. And at this stage of his development (8 weeks, fact fans), he doesn't even know what a bottle is. Are we rating my chances? Not so much, but I'm finally on the case...

Mine's a large one. Hold the milk!