Friday, 25 June 2010

Mermaids & Lingerie

Went to Westfield today, which basically took the whole day (poor D-Bubz!)  Anyway, I bought up most of the stock on offer, including a visit to Rigby & Peller who are currently having a sale.  I have always coveted their undies, in particular that kind of scaffolding-like corsetry that Gok Wan loves to squeeze his banger-tastic ladies into on his makeover show.

So I found myself a couple of cheeky little numbers (a few stages down from the actual scaffolding, thank christ) going for a vastly reduced price, and waited with an increasingly irritated baby for the salesgirl to get off the phone (no-one else visits without arranging a fitting, apparently) and give me the damn bras before I got even sweatier contemplating my overdraft and left.

Eventually she was done, and I thought I'd better ask, notorious as I am for changing my mind, if they were returnable.  Looking like she was about to burst into tears at the very notion of that kind of thing, she shook her head sadly and mumbled something about exchanging.  "Well that's OK then" I said, "I can come and change them for something else if they're no good".  At this, she looked even more sorrowful.  "No exchanges either.  If you buy it, you can't exchange or refund".  It was a bit like the scene at the end of Splash where Tom Hanks is getting all excited thinking he can go and become a merman and live with Daryl Hannah but still come back and visit his fun brother John Candy in the holidays, and she's shaking her head no, no because he can't ever come back, not ever, it's either/or (presumably the tail would be a hindrance).

So, it got me thinking.  Do mermaids, specifically New York-based ones, wear underwear?  No, SATC impresh over, it didn't.  But it did make me think about Splash, one of the best 80s films featuring a crimped mermaid ever.  In fact, THE best.  I watched that film so many times as a pre-teen that I was single-handedly responsible for destroying my mum's VHS video player.  I even memorised the lyrics to the song at the end, recorded it onto cassette so I could listen to it anytime (its a terrible dirge, btw, called 'One Fine Day'), and spent many hours squinting into the sea-bed at the end deciding I could definitely see Mermaid City in the distance.  Never mind that these days, Daryl Hannah is more often to be found smoking a zoot up a tree than being a fish, just as Tom Hanks spends much more time being jowly and unmasking dastardly religious cover-ups while being pursued by crazy monks, than he does running around Cape Cod trying to drown himself and yelling "Madison!"  Which pretty much sums up how wrong its all gone since then.....ah 1984, you weren't sinister at all.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Takes one to know one...

Catching sight of my reflection earlier - hair pulled back into knot, black tux jacket - I suddenly wondered if I was channelling Stella McCartney or, possibly worse, Kate Moss (never good to channel eye bags and too many fags, iconic face or no) and then I remembered that I am actually channelling Kate Winslet, so it's okay. (She too is a semi-secret smoker, I believe, as are Cheryl Cole, Kelly Brook, Paris Hilton, Emma Bunton and many others I don't know about, but she seems to be getting away with it so far.)

Except I don't have an Oscar to accessorise with, so I'll have to make do with my baby, who is golden only in terms of his hairline and aura (only?), and not think about the scarcity of comparisons between my life and least I've less divorce and children by just one the father, which makes me pretty much the aristocracy (doesn't it?)

Still, it made me think. Stella is around my generation, albeit a few years older than I (only three), and there she is heading up her latest collection, this time for the lucky kiddies whose parents shop at Gap Kids (and who are not averse to parting with £35 for a 1-season t-shirt), the latest in a long line of profitable collaborations and successful womenswear collections for the smug Beatle's daughter. And yes, I am aware that she was pretty lucky in terms of whose offspring she is, as its undoubtedly helped her to get where she is today, no matter what her people would tell you.

And her mate Kate is more of an entrepreneur than mere model; her friendship with tycoon Philip Smith and their Top Shop love-in is clearly based on more than his cash and appreciation of her as resident clothes-horse plaything - they're twin souls in terms of their cold-hearted business reach, and probably stay up til 4am discussing their respective plans for world domination, as if either were not already rather familiar with that concept in their fields. But they are difficult women to channel despite all that I know that is negative regarding them and their privileged circle - Winslet, whilst she'll have you believe that she, too, is one of the girls - just a working mum who has no time to play the drama diva at home - is as much a part of this circle as the others, and throwing on a black jacket and a hairband is where the channelling ends for me - mine has baby sick on the shoulder, and is sported to take the baby to the park. But somehow in the doing I absorb a bit of the sheen in my own little neighbourhood least I like to think so...

Ah the election. Daily spam count (which is 80% Tory, a bit like our road) is numbering x4 missives a day!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Cleanin out ma closet

I spent the weekend reorganising my wardrobe, bedroom, and life in general, barely emerging from trackie pants until Sunday night's shower when my hair rediscovered the fact that it is, indeed, blonde, and not a dusty dark brown. I also found some old pics, which is always licence to waste a happy half hour this case, the pictures of Brazil in 2004, including my 30th bday stay in a rather fabulous old colonial pousada in the city of Olinda (I used to want to call a daughter that, and D-Bubz could have ended up as Recife (pronounce the R like an H) if he were similarly unlucky. I have big hair, and a bigger hot tub. Anyways, it feels great to know that all my winter clothes are banished, and even my currently-too-small-summer-clothes have a place (bottom left side of bottom drawer). I've got rid of two whole binbags to charity, and am feeling very clothes-detoxed.

Also spent some of the weekend in the garden with the bubz, who had a lovely time playing with our neighbour's little girl, getting into practise for the arrival, a week late due to volcanic ash clouds, of his big sis this Wednesday. I can't wait for her to see how much he's changed, so that's going to be a lot of fun, and am expecting lots of moments like this one with Mehlina:
...he loves little girls and being mothered by them, and is incredibly docile as they drag him onto their laps etc.

Anyway, I never mentioned that D-Bubz is now a bona fide model, with a Littlewoods shoot under his belt. I registered him with an agency some time ago, but have been unable to go to a casting until they texted with one a few weeks back that wasn't too far from me, so off we went, Grandma (who was staying) in tow. It took place in a studio in SW London and was relatively painless: he just had to try on a couple of outfits and grin at the photographer. Later that day, I caught Grandma flicking disparagingly through a babywear catalogue and saying somewhat darkly: "There's that Archie from the audition, pretending to be a girl under that pink blanket - says it all really" to D-Bubz, who didn't look too worried.

We got a call on the Sunday night that they would like him to come to Hove (Hove!!) the next day to take part in the shoot. Of course we couldn't say no, but it was a major mission driving down there on a Monday am, but eventually we got to the stunning location house right by the sea. It prompted a major fit of lifestyle jealousy on behalf of all the parents who were there (all pretty nice I must say, though Archie wasn't there - guess we pipped him to the post). There was a Monty, a Kitty, a Kiki and a Reuben. And my Dylan, the only one who couldn't sit up un-propped. Later that day, after a quick sojourn at the beach and on our ridiculously congested journey home, I got a call saying they wanted to use him again the next day back at the audition studios, so off we went again. Unfortunately, despite him doing his solo shot like an absolute pro, none of the crying which the other bubs were indulging in, the photographer couldn't get rid of a shadow on the background of his shots (he was lying down while the other precocious snotbags were sitting), thus all the potential outfits for him to wear after that were taken away for the arrival of the next boy baby, and my dreams of seeing him all over the Littlewoods catalogue all dashed, bar the one group shot from the Hove shoot. I'd also left my wallet in the car when I was dropped off, so had to beg for assistance and was granted a cab home (it was amazing actually and far beat getting public transport so thanks to the production team), which just added to my sense of being a stressed mum about town who forgot to wipe the puke of her shoulder.....anyway, not heard from the agency since, so just waiting for the cheque.

In other news, D-Bubz is now taking the odd bottle of formula, and seems to suddenly love it - hallelujah! With the slight drawback that as I'm using Nannycare goat milk formula (available in health food shops), when he voms it smells of goats cheese. But hey, at least I'm not having to get them out 4x times a day, its down to x3....far more discreet I must say....

Mother In The Hood xxx

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Torn between Supernanny USA or George Lamb's breakfast slot on 'surely they can't bin it' Radio 6 this am, I wisely plumped for the latter and got the usual excellently eclectic mix of old and new inc some seriously booty-shakin' disco. I always want to note down half the tracks although that's rather more like studying than entertainment. D-Bubz has feasted on water with watermelon juice, porridge, yoghurt and banana so I am feeling like a good parent, but this is often a temporary state. I can make myself cry just thinking about my failings thus far, and am not sure whether listing them here will be cathartic but for the record they include, 1) using baby wipes within days of his birth (you should only use water and cotton wool but the sink in his room wasn't connected to the mains and so I found out too late after our plumber's departure that I really needed hot water in there - that's actually a major failing on its own). 2) Giving him Cow & Gate non organic baby porridge at 4 months, instead of expressing milk and giving him Organix or something - when I switched, his poo got noticeably lighter. 3) Going silent and abstracted whilst engaged in changing or dressing him, often ignoring him for minutes on end. 4) These suddenly sound very trivial and I can't for the life of me remember the others right now, which is probably a good thing.

"The hallucinations were growing. Now, every time she turned from unloading the dishwasher in either the morning or dusk light, he was there, for a second. She had given up trying to ascribe this to a trick of the light, or her over-fertile imagination, it was too frequent and the clarity of the visions too strong. She was definitely being haunted, and the ghost was definitely him. She sensed no malice, but ever time her stomach churned with adrenalin, he seemed close enough to touch, to talk to, to push. But there was no way she was moving, or talking, or shoving."

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Flying without wings

Aside from the obvious issue of crushing the travel dreams of millions, not to mention making it tricky for acai berry devotees to get their fix down at that there Selfridges, it felt pretty amazing to see nothing but blue, blue skies for a whole six days (as well as just a tad eerie, but as a child of the action blockbuster, I quite like the feeling of the calm before the armageddon). As the world's planes were grounded, out came the sun, and The Orb's 'Little Fluffy Clouds' was oft to be heard in our garden (about as close to the husky-voiced angel from that track I'm ever going to get, unless the (clearly loving it) Icelandic prime minister is right and that was simply a rehearsal for the big performance to come imminently, in which case we'd all better get a little more seafarin' in our ways).

The D-Bubz, of course, had no idea why we were all getting so worked up about the lack of vapour trails, and continued to be gamer than Stu Francis post-cabbage hurl. Apart from when emitting puppy style whimpers, although what better excuse for acting like a baby than being one? So every time he looks at me imploringly while doing his best impression of the Andrex labrador pup, I remember that one day he'll be the one trying to get me to let go of his hand and refusing to submit to any PDAs. These are golden times, and whatever lies ahead - be it the end of air travel, the rising of the tides or the loss of the global bee population - my boy will face it bravely, and I will be by his side.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Divine Miz

I watched last night's 'The Delicious Miss Dahl", or whadeva it's called, with a mixture of screaming lifestyle envy and disbelieving hilarity (esp when they filmed her winsomely wandering with a pout on reciting poetry), but by the end I had grudging admiration for her and her array of "transporting" (she said it many times just so we'd get it) travel-inspired dishes from variously India, Mexico and New England (her granny lives in Martha's Vineyard doncha know). Not sure what dish I could conjure up in memory of my dear departed gran and her one-room bungalow in Southcote, Reading, but it certainly wouldn't be clam chowder - more like toffee-flavoured blancmange made with gold top milk, and you'd take out your teeth to eat it, but that's by the by.

What the BBC have cottoned onto with their blatant and effective creation of the nation's New Nigella TM, is that not only can Sophie talk chicken brothy froth with a nice line in intelligent delivery, but she has the anecdotes to back it up; whereas Nigella would never rhapsodise quite so eloquently re the joys of being crap at making rice, she's too busy being perfect while we're too busy wondering if she really does have blowtorch attachments on her breasts (great for the tops of creme brulee). Sophie, however, can empathise, even if it is from the lofty position of moneyed successful model turned slightly odd writer, turned, with a definite whiff of home-cooked inevitability, into the new titillating female chef on the (marble, Magnet) block. How many male chefs are there who combine the qualities of marinading and pulchritude to such an extent? The answer is zero, and I bet none of them have grannies in Martha's Vineyard either.

Am off to see if I can find her recipes online - her dahl (geddit?), sweet potato and lemon pilau looked, as was suggested, like the perfect Sunday night dinner, and if I can cook it, maybe I'll turn into a rich and successful renaissance woman too?

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Ella's Orgasmic Crack Den

I've come a long way since the days when I imagined motherhood to be a combination of sleepless psychosis, uncontrollable weeping and functional footwear. In fact, I have got to the point where I can definitely agree that having a baby can be very empowering, and its a beautiful thing to feel my confidence increase by the day. The boy is flourishing, British Summertime has officially kicked off and everything in the garden (especially the camelia bush, which has just bloomed rather gloriously) is lovely.

But I have a confession to make. I have purchased ready-made baby food. To be precise: brightly-coloured squeezy tubes of fruit and vegetable purees going under the rustic sounding banner of 'Ella's Organic Kitchen'. Ella, bless her, is the sweet Charlie and Lola-alike on the website, and some might say excellent marketing tool for her caring daddy who is now (apart from, presumably, rather minted) committed to bringing Britain's babies the right kind of nutrition without any of the yucky add-ons which previously characterised the options for Parents Who Don't Make Their Own.
I would like to emphasise that I am not one of those, oh no. But I bought a few one day to try as they looked tres handy for 'on the move' type scenarios, and indeed they were, plus the D-Bubz LOVED them, although I was slightly disturbed that the Carrot, Parsnip & Apple one smelled of Bloody Marys. However, I have since realised that to buy these for my little darling is akin to a day out at the races with Beelzebub without a padlock for your soul, because these cutesome snacks are actually very misleading, and contain much more fruit than veg in the youngest age bracket - ie, Broccoli, Pear & Pea was 78% pear, 14% pea, and a measly 8% of the brocc stuff. So they should really call it 'Pear, Pear, more Pear and a Smidge of Greenery'. This is really not acceptable and explains only too well why the kiddies take to them with such alacrity (I know a woman whose one year old refuses to eat anything else - in his world, it's fruity puree forever - he even slurps them from the carton like a tiny junkie).

Anyway, I have decided that buying the fruit-only ones is no problemo, so the D-Bubz continues to feast on Banana & Apples (but not Strawberry & Apples, which I won't buy on principle as its only 8% strawberry). But seriously: how minted is Ella's daddy? Answers on a flattened puree pouch...

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Procrastinate much?

Long time no blog, for various reasons involving tiredness and/or babies. I would elaborate but in these flakey times (socially, not skin, though I suppose either is valid), not much explanation is required of me re the gap between what I plan to achieve and what I actually do. This is mainly because I am at liberty to say something like "Sorry I couldn't do it/get there/send it, my breasts were overflowing into milk pails and had the feel of concrete bunkers" or "The baby had screamed for so many hours the previous night that I slept nary a wink, and was forced to neck several Prozac and a whisky/formula cocktail", and then whoever was doing the asking would wish they hadn't. So all my deadlines are moot, because the one thing I have to without question achieve that day - feed, wash, change, entertain and deal with all other issues pertaining to my boy - takes precedence over everything else.

For example, I recently tried to send a package to a friend. When I finally got around to sealing it and queueing at the post office counter to send it, it had assumed such monstrous proportions in my mental to-do list that I completely forgot I wasn't really ready to part with the contents (some of D-Bubz's old clothes). Thus the subsequent days consisted of me trying to bite back sentimental tears every time I thought of his little cardigan and vests, which wasn't really the effect I was going for. Then there's my plans to a) sell stuff on ebay (it helps if you actually post the items), b) become my partner's manager and organise various PR strategies to shoot him into the meeja stratosphrere (it helps if you can persuade him this is a good idea) and c) which is the sub-project of another project I am mentally project-managing and has raged out of theoretical control (it helps if you have a more concise project).

Other, lesser priorities which are constantly being re-shifted down to somewhere near the bottom of the whole hellish pile include finding somewhere else to live (it must be near a coastline, have several acres yet be close to good hairdressers and Japanese restaurants - year round sunshine would also help); getting rid of some of my books (this has been on the list for some years now, so post-baby the odds of this actually happening are around 1 gagillion:1); and of course writing my book. HA. I have, to this end, penned several synopses and chapters of various fictional scenarios, but the problem appears to be keeping up my momentum. So obsessed am I getting with the whole fiction conundrum (lacking: a room of one's own), that my dream last night featured me running around getting into scrapes whilst trying to write them all down in a notebook. Ever since my MA in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College (which I finished in 2002), I have been lurching from one creative non-event to the next, until the chances of me actually finishing said book seem about as likely as me becoming a keen daily body brusher.

However. I have spent the last few days, since visiting my mum with the D-Bubz, thinking about my dad. Part of my MA course involved me writing about him: his premature death from MS in 1980, his career in computer technology, working for Rank Xerox who later became IBM, and being present at events such as the viewing of the first robot. His time in Germany as a Jewish man who refused to let post-war racial nervousness dent his equilibrium (he famously turned up for his first day running the systems office in Dusseldorf wearing a brown shirt, and cheerily remarking "Not many Jews in today, are there?" as he bounced through the door. His strange encounter with Yoko Ono (which involved a table cut in half, and the fact that he got bad vibes in the manner of seeing his ex-wife). His friendship with Bill Gates, and other influential figures in the world of late 60s/early 70s technology. And more, much more.

My pompous memoir turned into magical realism (his ghost came back as a young man, unfortunately replicated in recent chick lit novel 'Twenties Girl' by Sophie Kinsella, which is distressingly good, although very different from my own idea apart from the central 'young ghost' theme), and now, many years of procrastination and denial later, seems to be turning itself back into a memoir. Whether this is as precursor to a more exciting fictional/script outing, I cannot say. But one thing is for sure: while I may have just celebrated my first Mother's Day, it is daddy cool who is on my mind. The McGarrys have a motto: spe labore fide, which means 'a strong man is a good man'. Lets hope that one day I can finally do that long-departed strong, good man some literary justice - or at the very least, recount the hilarious tale of the Kit-e-Kat curry...

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Shoes, solids and a big hello to the Source

Hola folks! Its good to know that I am now out and proud for the gorgeous (seriously, you look fab today: loving the hair) readers of to peruse at will. I solemnly promise to try and entertain you in between bursts of self-obsessed vitriol and shoe lust and the like, not forgetting the many twists and tangents which reflect the flighty state of my postnatal mind. I started this blog (ugh, I know - its a terrible word, have been thinking so ever since my friend Josie pointed it out, and now I'd quite like to rename it something less reminiscent of berks in lumberjack shirts) because I love to write, don't do it enough, and felt that waxing comical re being a ditzy new mum could be fairly appropriate when living in an area so brimming with bundles of joy that they're as common as a sperm at a wife swap. So in short: welcome, wilkommen, bienvenue, shalom - it's great to be here *does cyber-skip*.

Now: shoes. Don't worry, am not one of these SJP types who wears my Louboutins (or even owns Louboutins) to Sainsburys of a morning, but this week I have had a MAJOR shoe moment (and yes, I feel like a tit for saying "major shoe moment"). Was taking a stroll down Portobello Market, thinking about the shadowy mogul types trying to take over the area by means of stealth purchase; a very depressing muse which led to a dash into Office to check out the sale rack. And there they were: one pair of purple, snakeskin sandals in the multi-strappy, vertiginous style which has been a la mode ever since I got knocked up; distant, mythical symbols of girlydom which have got me weeping with lifestyle jealousy when flicking through the fashion pages of any publication. And there they were. In my size. Marked down from £80 to £10. Wowzers.

So of course I had to have them: at that price, its worth it just to have them casually lying around the living room as if at any moment I could be about to slip them on with a sparkly shrug and an oversized (though not quite large enough to stow a changing mat) clutch. Just listen to the online description: "Super-tough but sexy strappy slingbacks with a skyscraper of a stiletto heel. Series of straps and buckles link up to a gladiator-style leather front to make a serious statement." Does that piece of provocative alliteration sound anything like the shoes required by a new mum-not-really-about-town? They are divine, and I have literally no use for them whatsoever. Unless you count wearing them to feed the D-Bubz his porridge (which I have), or teaming them with ski socks for some classic 'lounging @ home' chic (which I haven't...yet).

Seriously, I don't know when I'll next be dancin', really dancin' (and wouldn't be, in spiky 4-inchers, for long - I'm not a Saturday, or even Girl Aloud), or going to a semi-posh party. In fact, the D-Bubz has yet to encounter any kind of babysitter. So to commemorate my first Source blog and ensure these bad girls get a public airing at some point, can anyone suggest a suitable venue that's both child-friendly and uber-glam? (All suggestions welcomed.) This whole shoe episode just reminds me that I should be reading Home & Garden, not Glamour: I feel like I've taken voluntary fashion redundancy and am now in a river in Egypt. Ooh, chunky bangles! Very practical when you risk giving your wee boy a shiner every time you pick him up. Little halterneck number! Fabulous with a nursing bra. Latest eyeshadow trend! Just what you need at Baa-Baa Babies. I could probably wing it through my days with nothing more than some concealer and a good pair of boyfriend jeans, although where's the fun in that? So I continue with my purchasing and flicking through the mags and cooing at anything sparkly: delusion, it's so 2010.

In other news, D-Bubz is now On Solids. This doesn't mean he is ordering steak cooked medium rare and casually butter-and-salting bread rolls; rather, he is now the enthusiastic consumer of baby porridge, and it's quite a milestone in his young life. It's also quite a scary one for moi: not only do I now have to keep stuff sterilised, but am starting to realise the extent of his appetite. I am going to be feeding him pretty much forever, and the worst thing is, I think I like it. But it's yet another reminder that my gorgeous little boy won't be little for long - the strange thing about motherhood, which no-one really mentions, is the slight sadness marking every development. Like when his baby hair suddenly fell out at 4 weeks to be replaced soon after by his proper hair; I actually cried. Bittersweet, it is, and I am trying to savour every moment, every tiny change.

In other other news, I am increasingly concerned by The State Of Our House which is reaching crisis point - the heap of clothes in my bedroom has recently acquired a small flag on its summit - and so I think it could be time to bite that crunchy metal bullet and phone a friend. To get her cleaner's number. But cleaners and me, we don't really work. I remember my mum having one when I was younger: a total glamazon with waist-length blonde hair and improbably long scarlet nails for someone in the habit of wielding a hoover for others. She was also sarkier than Russell Brand after a shag-free week, which I took as a side-effect of having to sort out our washing. Anyway, she scared the beejesus out of moi, and that was the end of my cleaner experience until many years later, when sharing a house with three other women, all reluctant to do the bathroom on a regular basis, when we enlisted the services of another glamazon, this time the nearly-6-foot, basketball playing Scandinavian Iva, who mopped her way like a towering whirlwind for several hours every other Friday. I was so mortified about having her come when I was, to all intents and purposes, a student, that I would hide away to avoid having to communicate with her athletic and capable (yet slightly English language-challenged) self, but we developed quite a good relationship in the end, based on me skulking and her jumping out at me.

Iva's days were sadly numbered when she gave Carys' trailing spider plant a geometric bob without asking (to be fair, it was taking over the kitchen), which we only found out after each housemate had been interviewed re said plant bobbing and all sworn we hadn't touched it, guv (while it annoyed the piss out of everyone, we still didn't have the brainwave of attacking it with scissors). Anyway, she probably wasn't too upset - I'd have hated to clear up after us lot. And the rest is messy history - to get a cleaner, you have to sort out your clutter, and I'm the kind of person who only wouldn't have clutter if I didn't have a stick of furniture, and even then I'd probably just make a pile on the floor, so the thought of bringing one into our lives always felt like an act of cruelty (towards the cleaner). But I grow weary of this never-ending attempt to become anally retentive, and weary of my shock and awe when I visit the spit and polish-scented abodes of more sensible friends, like a child visiting Disneyland and getting a hug from Captain Jack Sparrow. So in the next couple of weeks, I'm giving the cleaner thing another whirl. Otherwise, I could end up dusting the bookshelves in my new shoes, which is a pretty dangerous scenario for everyone...

Mother In The Hood xxx

Friday, 12 February 2010

Twit-twoo & Tenerife

Some things on Twitter are very how I expect them to be - like Kirsty Allsopp and India Knight's love-in, which I discovered at around the time of the Labour conference, and had them talking dirty re Peter Mandelsohn (until this other chick, who I assumed was the guest star in their threesome, got a bit carried away and reprinted the lyrics to Mandy in capitals; India advised her to open a window and BREATHE.) Actually I must go and see what they're saying about McQueen, although I shouldn't as it makes me want to celebrate his genius by going and blowing my life savings on a collection of his frocks then drinking Bellinis in a gorgeous hotel bar and toasting him repeatedly, both of which are not really an option right now.

What I'm trying to say is, that kind of pithy warm celeb/meeja-banter between two 'mind-like-a-steel-trap-but-still-va-va-voom-to-the-max' types reminds me why - despite being a recent addict of Facebook "for crap signal" Mobile, which is great when I'm feeding Dylan but means I can't read the really long email thread I've been on for a year (it has been updated during the year, mind you, or I wouldn't be able to open it at all - to paraphrase one of its participants, those girls can really talk, and so can I, though rather more sporadically since I co-created the D-Bubz) - I don't really do Twitter.

Aside from the small matter of having 7, now unaccountably 6, followers, and not having said much since "Wish i liked daytime tv, this waiting is getting v v dull. On the agenda today? Cleaning out fridge. I rest my case.. " back in the summer when I was eager to drop my sprog already, I feel too inadequate to get out there and start trying to trade asides with the likes of Stephen Fry (Twitter edition - frank and touching missives, although on the touchy side, bless and love him), and the various Fearnes, Frankies and even bloody Peaches who are doing quite a bit more with their day than me right now. And I realise I didn't have to look them up, but somehow it happened. So please take this as an invitation to add me on Twitter if you can be bovvered, because I secretly want to get it happening over there...

Anyway, I was going to publish my long diary bit on the first few days of our trip to the Canary Islands, but the html won't copy and I need to give my infant some attention before he starts wailing like Scooby Doo after a faux ghost sighting. So I'll give you a few details off the cuff instead. The hotel we stayed in Tenerife (excuse me while I check my toiletries) was the Iberostar Anthelia (I'd love to know who their marble supplier was, because that reception was pretty spectacular, although I didn't manage to get any pics of it).

Here's a link to rave reviews on Tripadvisor, apart from one moany one, but there's always one, isn't there? I thought our rooms were stunning, we had two adjoining ones as a family, both with gorgeous bathrooms and lovely balconies, I had no complaints whatsoever, and I thought the buffet restaurant was pretty fabulous too - after missing the first day of the trip due to our effing cancelled flight, when we finally arrived the following evening I was most gutted that I'd missed 2x dinners and 1x breakfast, and FYI you can have Cava with breakfast - highly recommended although I sadly couldn't indulge in case it all went very Pete Tong (or indeed not Pete Tong enough).

Hope you like the picture of little Miss H in the saltwater pool - I wish I'd got to spend more time there, but the kids wanted the heated one, always a good sign when the barman brings round mini cups of sangria as the clock strikes 11am, don't you think? I also didn't make it to the beach, but the hotel had fabulous sea/mountain views. J went on a mountain biking trip with the other dads, which Miss H was loath to let him go on but I felt one of us needed to see the surrounding countryside. Me, I saw the countryside of the local shopping centre on a much-needed stress-busting meander with the Danish and Swedish mums, where I bought a bright blue trench in the Mango sale for 25 Euros, which (although more luggage was the last thing I needed, we had insane amounts of stuff for a week long trip) has been on my back pretty nearly every day since we returned, I love it!

Oh and I was sent the link to the video of our audition and interview, which is incredibly cringey but I suppose I should share you go *screams*:

I'm off to hide...

Monday, 8 February 2010

Burgers and milkshakes and fries, oh my!

Gluttony has cast a sizeable shadow over us this weekend (we took my mum to the Belvedere and then spent Sunday's luncheon at a gorgeous pub in Potten, Cambs), and spilled into Monday, where we've ended up having lunch at the diner on top of all that over-indulgence (there's really no excuse for burger with extra gherkin + shake + fat fries + onion rings, under banner of breastfeeding or otherwise) but anyway its been fab. Still haven't managed to post my Canaries blog, which I need to finish off but as I'm writing it like a weekly diary, which I didn't keep on the hol as there just wasn't time, its not quite done. Thought I'd pop in in the meantime to say that despite the gluttony and the wishing ourselves back in the Canary Islands, now I feel energised and ready for spring, although its still a long way off we've still got lots of things happening and it seems a time of possibility on many levels.

Dylan getting that bit bigger is also making me more serene; he's turned four months and has just started on a small daily bowl of baby rice as well as his milk. He LOVED it the first two times, got the hang on it on the second go, but wasn't so keen yesterday when I made it slightly thicker due to scanty supply of milk, and had just woken up after a car journey. Anyway, its a big step, which I took very seriously against the current NHS guidelines of waiting til they're six months, but I think thats partly them trying to protect a new generation of impoverished youngsters against the horrors of blended Big Macs before your first birthday. So as Dylan's a big boy and a hungry one, I've gone old school on his ass, just to see if he likes it. He slept through last night for the first time in nearly a month, so it may already be chilling him out.

We're so lucky, though, he is the happiest baby in the world; doing his Janice from Friends laugh with shining eyes, and is always really chirpy in the mornings (a bit like me). And he was so good during our various restaurant visits, either sleeping or looking around the place - at the Belvedere, he slept the entire time, enjoying the sound of the pianist as he drifted off, and didn't wake up until after the ride home. Thanks D-Bubz! He's looking very chunky and blokey all of a sudden and has now got proper leg definition, no more Mr Chicken Legs.

So I would still sell my soul for a cleaner (although J is still against it and I can't particularly justify it except to say I'd have more time to do other, more creative things) and am going through the household products like mad. Talking of products, apparently Fairy are bringing back the old style bottle for their 50th anniversary - should go down well with the current love of all things retro, and while I am not old enough to actually remember what they made with them on Blue Peter (honest guv), it still gives me a pleasantly nostalgic feeling, embarrassing but true.

Anyway I'll be back, soon....hope you're all well. Can't believe how much this winter is flashing by, think that week in the Canaries really helped, on which I will finally be dishing the dirt any minute now. Sorry to be so crap but I've been working on a fiction project in those few moments when am not busy with mothering/chores/relaxing when baby asleep....its inspired by my younger years, pregnancy and Gok Wan and I think its got potential!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Shitwick Chronicles

Just our British luck, eh? Rubbish airport making sure we really earn our free hol and look like ten tons of crap by the time we actually get there.

Its enough to make you weep: after a snow-free few days, we were due to travel on the day that Gatwick airport got another three flakes and decided to cancel all services. But instead of being upfront about their inability to clean the runways, they took the shrewd route of pretending they were going to open at 12, thus luring us to make the journey only to be disappointed, and pointlessly spend £40 on their crappy car park which no doubt is non-refundable. So now we are supposedly going from Heathrow tomorrow via Madrid, adding another 2 flights to the itinerary, and making me worry even more about D-Bubz' delicate ears.

It was a pretty shitty day. I couldn't stop kissing the top of his head like worry bead punctuation, remembering that there was no point getting worked up with infants about. Little H was very good as she dealt with the cross country journey across London to end up back where we started. So its round 2 tomorrow, and thank god we don't have to deal with the inept folk at Gatwick again, but we're not out of the woods yet.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Snow way out

Amid fantasies of becoming Tilda Swinton in The Chronicles of Narnia, (complete with sleigh, but passing on the dodgy dreads, issues with woodland creatures, and tendency to anger large carnivores) I battled my way to Lincolnshire for the weekend, despite the heavy snow and heavier weather warnings. It was possibly a foolish move, given that were I to get stranded, it'd be no Islas de Canarias for this guapa, but the prospect of being beaten by the weather was not a pleasant one, and so I strapped up my huskies (mentally) and left.

Despite several friends' flights being cancelled, and more dire reports on the good old Ministry of Misery (aka the BBC), I made it to the land of cabbages and casual bigotry unscathed, bearing my young in his woolly papoose, utterly bewildered by the preponderance of white stuff, but taking it in his usual bug-eyed stride. And wouldn't you know, it did look rather like Narnia in my mum's back garden, into which she disappeared like Captain Scott twice-daily with her pack of dogs frolicking at her heels, making me long to ask if she may be some time, but fearing that was indeed the case.

And so there we were, snowed in for several days whilst would-be baby admirers cancelled daily, and D-Bubz took it as the perfect opportunity to stop sleeping through the night, which he'd been blissfully doing since just before Christmas, and revert back to the 3.5 (half)-3.5 (one)-4 formation which blighted my nights for so long. Not sure if its the upheaval, or a power game, or what, but I even gave in and tried him on the dummy again, which this time, being a big boy and all, instead of acting like he was choking he grabbed onto, and sucked balefully like Maggie Simpson - the only problem being, as a friend with bub of similar age pointed out, that its OK until they drop it, and then you run a chance of becoming Dummy Bitch. Still, better Dummy Bitch than Sleepless Bitch I suppose.

And then I got ready to grapple with public transport once more. It sucked: from having to stand outside the loo because I was on an old-skool train without any of those nice seats with room for the pram, to getting to Kings Cross all a-fluster and getting the Piccadilly line without checking for station closures, to having to go back to where I started and get the overground from Euston, before finally arriving home after a cross-country trudge over Queens Park. All of which did nothing to make me more confident on the trains - apart from the scary gap between train and platform which I worry I'll drop the pram down every time, there's the irritating business of having to find someone to help with the stairs...and asking them if they hold some kind of qualification to prove that they won't drop their end mid-flight would, I suppose be churlish, so I'll just carry on with the ulcers.

So here we are, at the final hurdle, everything crossed for a safe take-off on Wednesday. D-Bubz has a brand new pushchair, I once again forgot to get the factor 50, and I am still trying to find out for sure that they have cots in the hotels, of which we are staying at three, all with fabulous reviews on Communicating our five star status to J's 6-yr-old daughter was a simple matter of describing the estimated size of the breakfast buffet: finally, she realises we're going to be travelling in style. Fruit AND toast AND pancakes AND sausages? Her cup runneth over, and so will ours if we get there without drama, so come back soon to find out...