Thursday, 29 November 2012

So whatcha drinking?

Last week my good friend Gez swung by for a visit. In fact Gez - gawd bless her -  is the reason I'm able to bash away on this laptop and y'all can have a squizz. Because Gez set up this here blog for me. In fact she is gonna do some new groovy graphics for me - when I get round to reminding her and she has time and all that jazz. Technically I'm a little challenged. Ok, more than a little challenged - but one of these days my facebook (crummymummywhodrinks - go befriend me!) and my twitter and all will all link in here. Until then, I'm muddling along.

Anyway, she brought me the best gift I have had all year (apart from sleep). She brought vodka, lychee juice and a tin of lychees. Oh yes siree - all I needed to whizz myself up a little lychee martini - my fav drink of all. (It is at he top of this blog no less). If I was really pedantic I would have run on out to buy that lychee liquor that you need to give the extra kick - but I am a tired harassed mother who is on the verge of marital breakdown - so I have no time for such luxuries.

Talking of marital woes (for we are back in Feb '09 times, and we all remember how badly that went - if not take a peek here. Now Husband can do feck all DIY. He never thinks to wash a sheet, or towel, a floor or a bath - but he can fix some AMAZING drinks. His old fashioneds are to die for. I normally do feel like I have died the day after drinking 6 of them... Which got me thinking about your fav drinks - and if you only drink them when you're out in something strappy, flirting up a storm with the pre-pubscant barman only to realise 3rd drink in, that you could have actually birthed him. (Happened to me the other year - he called me a MILF - praise be to god, and I told him he looked like Rob Lowe - he replied 'who is Rob Lowe?' Unbelievable).

So I looked up some great old cocktail recipes to share with y'all - especially if you are having some festive fun this weather and egg nog just doesn't cut it. (Never did). Who needs to go out when it is -12, in some dinky dress and hot itchy coat, and heels that simply won't make it through the winter frost without them breaking, or them causing you to have a breakage. My tip - stay in now until spring, when going out again is actually bearable and doesn't involve wearing comedy headwear and 20 scarves.

So let's start with the drink I always asked for when I used to go on dates - as it isn't some namby pamby girlie sunrise malarkey - this screams 'I am ragingly cool, I can drink men under the table.' Mind you, I often ended up under the table and I never got asked for date no 2 - but who cares. This drink rocks: The Old Fashioned. If it is good enough for Don Draper eh?

As  mentioned above - you just cannot go wrong with a martini. If you like the taste of alcohol - then having a straight martini with a twist is uber brilliant - be be warned - two and you're smashed. Basically you put 1 1/2 oz vodka and 3/4 oz dry vermouth in a shaker filled 3/4 with ice. Shake for almost a minute - work off those calories! Then strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with an olive or a twist of lemon - and serve. Lethal. As an aside, there is this amazing little hotel in London called Dukes - where the loveliest bar manager in the world works. His name is Alessandro - and I kid ye not - he made me the best martinis of my life. They bring out a trolley with a frozen glass, then spray in the vermouth and do the whole jazz in front of you. It is pure theatre and utterly delicious. The last time I went I met a poet from Canadian and we are still friends to this day - it's that kind of place.

Anyway, back to drinking.

So if you like your martinis a tad more fruity - and fellas, there is no shame in that - then may I suggest CM's fav - the lychee martini.

Just don't forget that it is also potent. It tastes like you are drinking fruit juice, but more than 3 and you might not remember your name.

So now that we're getting fruity - can I suggest some more exotic drinks? The pickleback sounds... interesting.  When I lived in New Zealand many years ago, I learnt a LOT about drinking from by good friend Hans - affectionately known as Satan. He used to by me shooters for baracuding someone he pointed out (which is biting them on the ass...). Never one to pass up a free drink I duly did as I was told - until a massive famous Kiwi rugby player nearly punched me for sinking my gnashers into his tight butt. Hans was a legendary barman - and he taught me how to make all kinds of shots - usually something nasty with Baileys on top, and Shakers: shakers being a cocktail shaker filled with loads of shots of alcohol and couple of shots of fruit juice to make it palatable. They all had names like 'liquid XTC' and 'Illusion' and 'Dynamite.' Whilst we lived there my best friend woke up the day after drinking with Satan, in bed with a man and woman (fully clothed thank god), missing a shoe, with a black eye and a rose in her hair. True story. So I guess the moral is - the more exotic the drink - the more lethal the hangover.

So drink sensibly (it is never cool to be the drunkest person at the family Boxing Day party - which I was last year after, you've guessed it - Husband's fruity drinkable martinis!); have water and headache tablets by your bed and neck them before you fall into a stupor. Wear comfy shoes; when weeing in the street - make sure you don't do it behind a parked car (as the time I did, the car moved off mid wee) and if in doubt - have another.

Let the festivities begin!

Friday, 23 November 2012

A cross on our door

My daughter looks like she has the plague.

It is a nasty case of impetigo... Picked up somehow at nursery, after her dribble rash became infected. Nice. Cream wasn't gonna cut it - seeing as it had spread to her ear. And now to her knee. So she is on antibiotics, 4 times a day - which she refuses to take. Have you tried pinning down a toddler and forcing medicine into them as they kick, spit, writhe and hiss like an alley cat? It aint a picnic I can tell you. She isn't eating - a big old tooth is cutting, so she winces every time she tries to swallow a baked bean - and she has a rotten cold. So our house at the mo - one big joy fest! Plus she is uber clingy - wanting to shove her slobbery poxy (but cute) face into mine.

No really November - you are spoiling me! Sproglet meanwhile is having 'scary dreams' every night and I either wake to hear him trundle in our room, or wake to find him snuggled next to me - wriggling like a worm, giving me not a moment's peace. And people have 3 kids???? Why?

At least I have made a breakthrough with non-communicative-only-emailing-grumpy-man I was dealing with. All it took was a rambling voicemail from me - because you see readers, email is the devil. We read emails and we can't deduce tone or empathy in an email - so we read into things what we will - often things that do not exist. The lovely warm human voice is much better. I am an infinitely better talker than typer. Even if I do wang on a bit. But it isn't his fault - nope, it is that old planet in retrograde I am sure.

This month more than any other I've had miscommunication, lack of response, people saying they'll help only to retract, things breaking, cards declining - the whole shebang. 5 days people - 5 DAYS and then the world will be right again! I am hanging for it I tell you. I am hoping that Dec is my best ever - because at the moment the Xmas spirit hasn't entered our house - and it wouldn't - not with a red cross on the bloody door.

At least tomorrow I'm going to have more needles in me than a pincushion as I am off to acupunture for the first time in over a year and a half. Plus I'm metting a good friend in Lahhdaaaan town - to eat fries and bitch about November and what a cock it has been.

But I must away to cream some pox (those plastic gloves for applying fake tan have really come in handy) and entertain a grumpy almost 2 year old for the day. Joy!


Wednesday, 21 November 2012


So this week I have discovered three things that may change my life:

1. Quilted toilet paper is really an underrated pleasure. I will never go back to any other type again. It really is the little things in life, eh?
2. Egyptian cotton sheets are FUCKING incredible - even from cheap Dunelm. With a new duvet cover and new pillow cases - OMG - it is like crawling back into your Mother's womb. They are all so soft.
Yes, there is a theme of the week here - and it is comfort. I bought a new duvet (had our last one since we married and ironically like our marriage - it has had it's day) and it too is 'supersoft' even though it is incased in a cover. Who cares, it had me at 'soft.'
3. When I am tired, I weep more than Gwyneth Paltrow with an Oscar in her fist.

The reason I know this, is after a pretty crappy Friday, and wine oblivion to help this crappy Friday end quicker - plus a teething child waking through the night and an early start - coupled with no heating/hot water, rain thundering down and grumpy kids equalled me in the street, sobbing, kicking a door - unable to get in to my best mate's house for a much needed shower. She had given me keys (before you think I was attempting my first break in) but they didn't work... and the code to her spare key box thing worked - but only produced one key - and she had double bolted her door. So I looked A. Mad and B. Like something out of a bad soap opera extracting revenge on my Husband's Ho in front of two stunned children.

Sproglet had to rub my back and say 'breathe Mummy, breathe.' At that point I realised something else: my life is currently not working. I am being a crappy Mother. Who sobs in the car in front of their kids? Who kicks a door in frustration because they can't wash their neither regions for day?

Something is not working. Nope it aint.

Something has to give. Husband and I are back in 2009 - playing the old 'who is the most tired?' row... and the 'who did the most today? Me! No Me!' game. We are tired and grumpy and stressed and when we get two minutes alone all we do is talk chores and what we should have done:
"Why can't you wash out bottles?"
"Are you ever going to put the Halloween decorations in the loft?"
"Did you get loo roll?"
"Your turn to deal with Sproglette's teething nappy..."
"Un un. Is yours. I dealt with her crapping in the bath yesterday."
"When are we having sex again?"
"When you stop nagging."
"When you wash."

Etc. So I am going to make some changes. Because I feel pretty ground down. I even looked at horoscopes. Yep - I was THAT desperate. And it turns out something is in retrograde that is pretty major and that means that all forms of communications are fucked until Nov 29th. So in 8 days - it all gets much rosier; finally people will start replying and talking and not being at cross purposes. Because trust me - I have had such communication issues with someone at the mo - that it is practically like we are speaking different languages. In fact that is easier - at least that would be speaking.

Maybe in 8 days Husband and I will have an actual conversation rather than a row. Perhaps folk will return my texts, calls, emails. Perhaps I will know what changes to make, to not be this crazzzeee door kicking person. Until then I'm all about the comfort. Trust me. Invest in that loo paper and those sheets.

You're welcome.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Shopping + Children = insanity never to be repeated

Last week I learnt an important lesson - never ever take a toddler clothes shopping, even if there is a gun is held to your head.

To be honest, I'm not a big shopping fan at the best of times - all that choice and then the hassle to find your size and the raging optimism that the 'fitted' frock will somehow make you two sizes smaller, just because it is black... only to discover with bitter disappointment, that you have in fact developed back fat - and its giving you two extra boobs you never knew you had. Miserable experience. Don't get me started on the lighting, the sweaty cubicles, the glares from the queue waiting as you pop out to get another size... blah blah...

Even shoe shopping no longer thrills me: I shove a trotter into some stilts that I wobble precariously across the store in, knowing it would only take three vodkas or a cobbled pavement and I'd be over on my ankle before you could holler 'mutton dressed as....' Plus, my life is spent running between kids, surfaces and dishes to wipe - so let's not pretend I would ever have an occasion to wear 'party' shoes.

So I get why my daughter was lying sprawled across the floor in ZARA kids - wearing a hat for an eight year old - refusing to take it off and howling like she was on fire. I shuffled off leaving my poor Mother to try and persuade Sproglette to get up, while all around other parents either tutted or gave sympathetic looks. I joined in, 'who does that child belong to?' as I hid amongst all the pretty dresses and funky coats. I'd never been in ZARA kids before (even though I'm a big fan of ZARA for myself) but I am a covert. The kids clothes are amazing - to the point that I wish they did them in my size. Not that I'd be rocking a tulle skirt - well not on the school run anyway. Anyway, Sproglette was having none of it - no matter how pretty or sparkly or fluffy an item was - she squirmed, wriggled and eventually caterpillared away from my Mother's grip - refusing to try on any garment apart from one silver shoe. I grabbed a few clothes and we beat a hasty retreat.

Previously I'd pretty much got most of the kids' clothes in GAP or a supermarket. Kids wear out clothes so quickly that I don't really see the point in spending a fortune on them - but I make an exception for a decent coat - that they'll wear day/day out for as many winters as I can get out it. With that in mind, and the horror of that day's shopping jaunt fresh in my mind I darted about online and found these guys. There is a parka there even Liam G would have loved back in his hayday before he went all country gent. Turns out they have a shop in north London - that I won't be venturing to until my daughter can drive us there and behave herself - but it looks gorgeous. White and bright and filled with things that you buy for your kids and secretly want for yourself. The kind of stuff that career mothers know about and you never do, because you're busy and hassled and usually grabbing some t-shirts of Sainsburies shelves thinking 'that'll do...' While I'm on the subject of shelves -  they also do the nicest bookshelves I've ever seen for any room, let alone a kids' one.

I also found this place - which opened in West Hampstead in London, annoyingly after I moved out of the area... the kind of shop where you wish you could tell everyone to buy you gifts from when you are up the duff, but you can't really be that rude. But if you have a mate getting ready to sprog, or like me has a toddler they don't like leaving the house with at the best of times, then you could do worse than swing by here and grab them something cool.

The moral of my tale, is that the internet was invented for a reason - so that Mothers don't have to stalk clothes aisles, stripping their children in the middle of Marks and Spencer angrily whispering 'no one is looking, just try them on,' or stuffing miserable toddlers with sweets just so they'll fight their way into a jumper or two... So grab a glass of vino, your credit card and a comfy chair and get shopping - and honestly, it is almost a pleasurable experience.


Tuesday, 13 November 2012

No, I haven't had a sex change, but thanks for asking.

The great thing about Facebook and all those friends of old, god bless them, is that when you least expect it - your past comes back to haunt you.

So you wake up, flick on over to your Home page and voila! The horror. The horror. It's your mate's 40th and some old chum from school has put up a photo of you aged 13/14 (?) to celebrate.  Long before boys discovered you, (wonder why...) or you discovered make up. And a good haircut. A colleague genuinely asked me this week, upon seeing this photo - if I had in fact had a sex change. I am the girl, yes girl, who looks like a boy - at the front.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Who's that girl?

Recently I was looking through a box of old photos... you know how you pop up to the attic/down to the basement to get something, pull out an old box overflowing with junk and before you know it, five days have past as you wonder what you were thinking dating XYZ and wearing florescent yellow/shoulder pads/red ginger spice hair/anything white on your lower half? There is a reason that the 80s shouldn't have a comeback...

The thing that struck me most (wasn't that having veneers was the best thing that I ever did, dear god, how did I ever get an onscreen job back in the day with teeth that pointed towards my left ear?) was that I used to be fun. With a capital F.

There I am in New Zealand, sweating in a dive bar in a fake leopard print fur skirt (??); climbing on to a bar in Hong Kong in a cocktail dress, dancing up a storm at a wedding here and there in dubious outfits, swimming in the sea in the Maldives, hugging friend after friend after friend (some I remember, some I am not sure I ever knew their name...), cartwheeling, hair stuck to my head, grin from ear to ear, not a care in the world... Everything feels so easy and carefree back in those days - 20s... early 30s.

Now, well now, I'm a world away from that girl - in every way possible. Gone is that genuine smile and 'I'm up for it' stance. Instead I'm ready to erupt at any given moment - always just on the edge... just one slip away from exploding. I just have so much on my freakin' mind, I feel overwhelmed. I write endless lists, yet all the time I am a headless chicken, chasing my tail - forgetting everything... I permanently feel like I've forgotten something - a child? My keys? My mind? I feel exhausted - am desperate to get some acupuncture needles spiking me - but never get the time. If I'm not at work, I'm working at home - washing/feeding/dressing/clearing up after 2 kids - and then collapsing in a heap on the sofa, hoping to raise the energy to climb the 12 stairs to bed.

I miss that girl. I miss being her so much. I just don't have the energy to be her anymore. Or the time. I don't even get the time  to pee alone (unless at work) let alone, do something worthwhile. I'm aware that my career has plateaued and I have been in the same job since 2008 and really, really, it is time to try and spread my wings - but the same issues remain - what to do that allows me home for bath time - that means I don't spend my life commuting and never seeing my kids. I mean one kid is such a diva, sometimes NOT seeing her is not bad thing (I climb into my car after dropping her at nursery and grip the wheel like my life depended on - just exhaling, that I have got through a morning at home - on to the next part of my day.

I never get a moment to myself - to THINK, to plot the next move - to pluck my eyebrows (sporting a monobrow Noel Gallagher would even recoil from at present) or to clear out the veg drawer in the fridge. Not that veg clearing is how I want to be spending my time. I'd like to watch a film; read a paper; catch up on Breaking Bad box set a writer friend gave me... Pick my blackheads... you know - just the stuff we all do when we get a moment. but I never do. Maybe if I had a different job - then I would have the time - but how can I find that - I don't have the TIME.

You'll tell me that it won't be like this forever - you know the endless work, the no money, no personal space, no time to cut my toenails... I know it won't. BUT it feels like it is forever. Now.

I wish I was that girl. I want her glowing skin and tipsy squiffy smile, her zest for life and hope that it will reward. Instead of the grumpy, frumpy, washed out simmering angry permanently PMT'd woman that I have become. I want a moment for me. So just maybe, for one second I can feel like she is still there - not that far away after all....

Monday, 5 November 2012

The one with.... The Giveaway.

Who didn't love Friends? It may not be the coolest comedy to subscribe to (no Curb, or The Office) - but it had heart. The Ross and Rachel love story spanned ten series - for that alone I salute the writers. Working in drama - I forever come across moments that remind me of a story from a Friends ep; through sheer osmosis I think we all picked up little inflections from the show... who hasn't has a Chandler-ism sprout forth in a moment of pure sarcasm? Really? I mean - Really???

Anyway - I have a giveaway! Again - I am not being paid for this post - and I won't be offering any old tat on this here blog - but Friends has a special place in my heart - so why not? All you have to do to win a limited Edition Friends prize package containing two oversized cappuccino mugs and a picture frame just like the one on Monica’s door ...

Is answer this in the comments below by Nov 28th:

What was the name of Ross and Rachel's daughter? Was it:

A. Emily
B. Emma
C. Rachel

Thursday, 1 November 2012

The rules of Trick or Treating....

Last night I strode around my neighbourhood, swilling wine in the pissing rain and chewing sweets that practically stuck my jaws together (some would say no bad thing) and yet somehow ended up having a good time. It could only be one thing: Hallowe'en.

Every year I throw a Halloween bash for Sproglet - loading the kids with sugar and the adults with wine before we trawl the neighbourhood, eyes peeled for a glowing pumpkin - the sign that folk want to play the game. The kids immediately scatter like cockroaches in the dark and in between screeching their names and hollering 'Happy Halloween' we barely have a voice left at the end of the night. But the upside is the kids have enough candy to do them until next Halloween, we've bumped into every neighbour we always want to avoid and secretly felt smug that our kids' costume was better than their tat (you call that scary?) and we feel we've been amazing parents, even though our lips resemble the dead due to the copious amount of red wine we've necked.

Now, I believe there are staunch, unbreakable rules when it comes to trick or treating and they are as follows:

1. You must dress up. By that I mean costume, make up, the whole shebang and not some flimsy 99p plastic mask that you wear with your usual daytime attire. That simply won't cut it. Why should you get sweetie booty for just sticking on some sweaty mask when your mate has made a complete twat of himself covered in bog roll that trips him up every third step and is less 'mummy' and more Blue Peter experiment gone wrong?

2. Women over 30 give up on the whole dressing like sluts and it's acceptable malarky. It isn't. Just because you stick in a pair of fangs and some freaky red eyeliner does not give you the right to hoist your sagging cleavage into some sexy devil costume with a leotard option that gives you a pronounced camel toe all evening. Mutton is still Mutton - even if it is Halloween. If you want a lesson on acceptable Halloween costumes - look to La Moss, who was an AMAZING Morticia Addams last night. Or if in doubt don a witches hat, a comedy nose and those plastic fingers that never stay on. Brilliant.

3. If you are treaters - you MUST treat. As in - if you are begging in the doorways of all your neighbours - then by rights, you need to have your pumpkin out and proud and your basket of goodies ready for the million knocks on your door. Tis only fair. Only the tightest folk pound the streets gaining enough candy to rival Wonka, leaving their house in darkness or hiding behind the sofa when they get home, refusing to give out any goodies. A neighbour called at my door last night and I noted she had no pumpkin outside her home. Nothing screams tightwad more than a lack of pumpkin. Bah humbug.

4. The minute you run out of booty - bring in the pumpkin. Trailing up steps, knocking and waiting (in the rain) to be rewarded with 'sorry, we ran out' isn't good enough. At least pretend to be out like the rest of the street does...

5. Mothers - there is only one way to get over begging in the pissing rain - and that is to drink through it. Nappy bags were invented to also hold bottles, of the alcoholic kind - so allow Mummy's little helper to make an appearance - it's dark, no fecker will see anyway.

6. By 8:30 no one with any sense wants to see kids at their door ever again. The curfew on treating should be this time - when all kids turn into bats or the like. So get out, get your goodies and get home. Just in time for the parents to scrub off the white paste make up that refuses to budge and to put you to bed so they can start scoffing the rewards you reaped as you will be knackered after all that treating.

7. I have yet to be asked for, or see anyone do a trick. Maybe we should expect more from our treaters?  Anyone asking for raw cash should be booed down the street - or the door hastily shut. It aint charity week, it's all about the sugar. Anyone over 12 shouldn't be treating unless to accompany a brood of squawking kids - it is tragic otherwise. Like haven't you got fags to smoke round the back of the garage or something?

8. By the next day - all signs of your cheap decorations and rotting stinky pumpkins should have magically disappeared. It's November the 1st and annoying folk are going to start pointing out that it is X many days to Xmas and will begin buying their advent calendars. Freaks. Before Halloween all decorations look suitably spooky and funky - but the minute the witching hours are over - they look like the tragic plastic flimsy Asda tat that they are. Get rid.

The ultimate joy of Halloween is that unlike any other holiday (Xmas, Easter etc) there is no pressure to join in. If you're in - get your pumpkins out for the kids. If not, turn off all lights, hide at the back of the house and refuse to answer your bell or phone. Easy. Not unlike how my Husband behaves on a daily basis really...


All photos on this post are by the very talented Louis Quail - contact him or check his work out on facebook - he is uber talented!