Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette.

I’ve been a bit off colour recently. Definitely not my usual perky, laugh at life (and myself, lots of times) get up and go –or at least try to- type person. Could it be the cold I have had? Could it be the recent loss of boyfriend? Could it be not having my children this Christmas? Could it be my marathon training has sapped my energy? Could it be I am just a whiney, pathetic thing? Well, whatever. Today I realized what a twit I have been.

It is a sad fact that sometimes it takes someone else’s misfortune, to make you realize how fortunate you are. Don’t worry- I am not going to get all pre Christmas preachy with you! Bear with me. A friend came over today to wish me a Happy Christmas, and to tell me she has cancer of the uterus. She was not resentful about having cancer, because in retrospect it could have been avoided. In the sexual game of Russian Roulette, my friend was not lucky.

Did you know this cancer is the only one that originates from a virus? It is the “by product” of genital warts. Now, I am not super “au fet” with all these sexually transmitted diseases. Infact, for a mother of two girls, I am ridiculously naive! When I was teaching in the UK, and had a tutorial group of 15 year olds, every time I had to give a talk to them about drugs or sex, I was left gobsmacked, wide eyed and shocked! I knew nothing and they knew it all! Better do some swotting before my girls hit the teenage years.

In my era (oh, so wise at the grand old age of 42) contraceptives were so you did not get pregnant. Condoms!? Cringy, embarrassing, and not necessary if you were on the pill or something like that. The problem with herpes or genital warts (sorry if you are eating your supper whilst reading this) is, it is a viral infection, one of those nasty buggers that lurks about your bod, waiting to nab you! Maybe it will get you 2 years on, or 15 or whatever. You can’t get rid of it; you just have to hope your body can keep it at bay.

We girlies are the unlucky ones (mainly because you guys don’t have a uterus!) and when it reappears in our lives, it is on a much grander scale than the embarrassing trip to the doctors years before to have your bits looked at (if you even noticed you had anything down there at all!).

Ok- now I realize how fortunate I am. I have sooooo much to be happy about instead of mopping about like a wet blanket (do blankets mope?). I have a great life, with great people by my side. Just to be on the safe side ,I am booked in for an early MOT with my “front botty doctor”- This is how my children describe the female species nether region ( sorry, the “V” word is one I have a problem saying-a bit like my smirking every time I say chicken BREAST!) A short aside…. We bumped into my gynecologist in town the other day and My Girls said “who is he?” I explained and they said “EEEk, Mummy, how can you look him in the eye, let alone talk to him. He has seen your front bottom!”

What I want to promote is “Condom Week”. We have “weeks” for so many other things! I want that children from an early age are made to feel comfortable with the whole idea of condoms. I want that in sex-ed at school they not just wave what looks like a floppy, beige coloured balloon about. I want that they show you all the fun things they have done with condoms (flavours, shapes, ones that vibrate etc) I want that every girl and boy should have one in their bag or pocket. This is a cancer that you can protect yourself against!


Beat Cancer Smoothie!

Green tea, veggies, fruit, and fiber – but more importantly, positive thinking, the need to survive and strength. Oh and ……..a condom (strawberry, vanilla or bubblegum flavour!) Do not add condome to blender!!!!!!

Very important P.s.

Ladies- get a check up with your front botty doctor annually.
Guys- carry, and use, a condom- any flavour, size or gimmick.
Parents.In Spain they now vaccinate 12 year olds against this virus…..shows it is on the increase! Find out if you can get your daughters vaccinated!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Stupid Cupid!

Been feeling a bit sorry for myself the last few days. Have had a bit of a cold (probably an early Christmas gift from one of my younger students). Sunday was my 42nd Birthday and we are about to enter The Festive Season. I am not the “Bah Humbug” type; I usually love Christmas, but this year looks like it will be a bit of a dud. My daughters will be spending Christmas with their Dad and his girlfriend; rest of my family are celebrating in The U.K whilst I am stuck here in Spain and last, but not least, I find myself without a boyfriend to share my egg nog with or who could pull my Christmas cracker!!

I have mentioned before that I am a believer in all things magical- fairies, Father Christmas, The Easter Bunny etc. But just recently I have been having my doubts about Cupid!

Stupid Cupid.
Looks can be so deceiving. There he is curly blonde hair, angelic style wings, cute cherub face, and innocent smile. He flits about hither and thither; he takes aim; fires his cutesy little bow and flits off somewhere else- leaving a trail of destruction and despair. I think he needs to go back to Cherub School and get some target practice. Can he really have such bad judgment and aim? Or…….does he inflict love on people to be deliberately cruel and nasty? I reckon Cupid has a lot to answer for- as an ethereal being he creates more havoc and angst than if The Greek Gods, The Grim Reaper and Mr. Plague got together and decided to have a “bit of fun” with us mere mortals.

So Stupid Cupid what did we ever do to you. From the minute hormones start careering around our pubescent bodies, this arrow, wielding midget makes our lives hell. He fills our lives with agonising, obsessive, crushes:-

The crushes; The Impossible- the local Love God or Goddess; The Inappropriate- the Biology teacher, one of your parents friends or someone of the same sex as you; The Forbidden Fruit- your best friends boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife; The Street Cred No No- you are besotted with the person know as “The Geek” or “The Loser”. Once you have a crush, you transform from, the intelligent, sensible, sociable and witty you, into a gawky weirdo.

You lose the ability to communicate sensibly. There you are having a perfectly great conversation with your friends and the object of your desire joins the group. Result-you start to babble like an idiot with a speech impediment; you laugh like a hyena at his/her every word; you try to sound cool and knowledgeable “I love Nirvana too- I can’t wait for Kurt to finish writing his next album!” or “ Can you believe Tiger Woods got another duckie in The Americas Cup?!” The icing on the cake- whilst you are braying like a horse at something He/She has said, that piece of spinach that has been on your teeth since lunchtime, dislodges itself and makes a beeline for Crushs` top lip.

Every movement you make is over exaggerated and clumsy. You emerge from the toilets and see your crush walking towards you; suddenly you can not walk in a straight line! As you weave your way towards him, you start to flick your hair, batter your eyelashes and grin insanely at him/her-this combination plays havoc with your senses of balance and vision and you end up stumbling into something or someone. It is only when you have picked yourself up off the floor, acting like nothing has happened, that you realise that you have tucked your skirt into the back of your tights or you left your trousers undone.

When Cupid picks on you, you not only transform into a gawky weirdo, you transform into an insane, gawky, weirdo. Those under the influence of an impossible crush behave, to say the least, bizarrely. Watching the phone, willing it to ring; writing his or her name in silly little hearts; writing your name in silly, little hearts, but your surname is different- it- is the one you will have when you marry your crush; having imaginary conversations with your crush whilst looking in the mirror. These conversations are usually, him/her asking you out or him/her declaring undying love to you. You change your route home, just to walk near their house (those 3 extra miles a day are good exercise-no?) You spend hours getting ready; just incase. If Crush looks at you, you are as high as a kite. If Crush doesn’t look at you, you are suicidal. Everything you see; say; hear is Crush related. My personal favourite- and something I still do- is personal dares, for example, if I make it across the sitting room in 10 steps exactly, he will call me.; if I kiss the tyres on my car, he will love me forever (not proud of this one and it didn’t work!).

In the end you are a wreck- you can’t sleep; you can’t eat (or you can’t stop your self eating) and you can’t concentrate. Your friends tire of you and stop inviting you places, because you keep making a spectacle of yourself. Then along comes that bastard Cupid again and makes your Crush fall in love with your best friend. You better watch out Cupid- if I ever get hold of you, I am going to pull out every blond hair on your cute, cherub head; I am going to pluck off your wings-slowly and painfully and I am going to ram your cutesy bow and arrow up your angelic little ass.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Seems like everyone in the village is giving birth at the moment. Had a nasty experience yesterday; I was in the local newsagents and I suddenly realized the three other women in the shop were all fit to burst. All three due to go through the joys of childbirth this month (obviously they do not know what they are about to experience, because if they did they would not be smiling quite so much!) I made a hasty exit from the shop incase the pregnancy thing was catching! Ran out the shop straight into a double pram. Yikes, twins. Both babies were howling at the top of their tiny lungs. I looked at the driver of the pram, and yes- she looked shattered. In a desperate voice she asked if I had any advice for her, after all I had been through, and survived, almost unscathed, twins. In my state of shock I mumbled something about, patience, things getting better and that I had a good book on bringing up twins. Rushed straight home for a good, strong cup of tea and there on my bookshelf was THE BOOK- “Caring for Twins is Easy”.

My ex- husband bought me this when I was pregnant and it became my Bible- until I realized it must have been written by Satan himself.

“You will blossom” Yeah right! I had a permanent green tinge from twenty four hour nausea; upside down legs (ankles as thick as my thighs); a belly button that protruded obscenely like a huge on/off button from my frighteningly enormous stomach. My one chance to be a buxom babe- no, my chest stayed as flat as my cake baking attempts.

“Mummy should rest when babies have their naps” They were presuming the babies were taking their naps at the same time and for more than twenty minutes in one go. Mine refused to sleep in unison and thus I got no rest and ended up with bags under my eyes as big as Father Christmas’s sack at the start of his yearly, world tour. Also telling my husband it would be cereal for supper again and that there were no clean shirts or underpants, because I was having a rest! I don’t think so

“Breast feeding twins is both beautiful and easy” Imagine the scene- me sitting like Buddha in a huge armchair with my babies sprawled, face down, on the bed in front of me. Baby number one is picked up by the scruff of her neck and thrust on to one leaking breast. Same baby then has to use lip suction to stay in place, whilst I lean over and pick up a screaming baby number two. I am dying of thirst and, try as I may, I cannot pick up my glass of water with my feet. Next, both babies chucked over my shoulder to bring up any wind and the result is both shoulders covered in sick. Oh yes-a beautiful and easy procedure to endure at least six times a day. And the book said I should not be afraid to breast feed in public-ha,ha,ha!

“Make sure you get out and about” How I envied all those Mums with trendy, collapsible, petite prams. My Girls were pushed round in something that looked like a big, blue bus. Our bus did not fit through shop doors or even on the sidewalks. Our bus could not be neatly folded and popped into the back of the car and as for getting it on public transport forget it! So-option number two- baby pouches. In the diagrams it looked so easy. Baby number one squished into pouch on my front; nearly tip front baby onto floor as I try to man handle baby number two into pouch on my back. Consider trying to chuck baby number two, basketball style, over my shoulder and hope she lands in pouch. Decide to “chuck” the pouches instead. Anyway that has taken so long it is time for another nappy change and “beautifully easy” feed.

“Make sure Daddy does not feel rejected and unloved” Poor daddy-so he needs to feel loved does he? Well I am sure he will feel the strength of my love for him when I shove this book where it belongs!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa Baby!

I don’t believe it! I am in shock! Couldn’t sleep all night! My daughters sat me down last night and told me Santa does not exist. They were not even subtle about it. Oh no, brutal is the word that springs to mind. Next they will be telling me there is no Easter Bunny or Tooth Fairy!!!! In this world of stress, work, bills etc, we need to believe in magical things like Santa, otherwise life is just stress, work, bills etc!

I will take no notice of the rubbish my girls told me. I dooooo believe in fairies (saved you again, Tinkerbell!) So here is a copy of my letter to Santa that I shall be posting (not e- mailing) to:-
Mr. Father Christmas,
I don’t know the postcode, so hope it gets to him!!!!

As you read the following I want you all to hum along, in a breathy voice, to Santa Baby (the Marilyn Monroe version-not Brittany, Madonna or the Pussycat Dolls one!)

Santa Baby.

Santa Baby,
Just slip a man under the tree,
for me
Been a fairly good girl
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa baby,
Robbie,Brad or George will do,
Yoo Hoo
I'll wait up for you, dear
Santa baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight.

Think of all the fun I've missed
Think of all the men I couldn’t catch to kiss
Next year could be really good
With the running shoes from my Christmas list

Santa Baby,
A man that’s hot and really that's not A lot
Been a nun all year
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa Honey,
one little thing I really need
the seed
For my own money tree
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight

Santa cutie,
Fill my stocking with rubies galore
And more,
Diamonds, emeralds and gold
Santa cutie,
and hurry down the chimney tonight

Come and trim my Christmas tree
With eye popping, first class male company
I really do believe in you
Even if my children say you aren’t true

Santa Baby,
Forgot to mention one little thing
A Prince
I 'm sick of frogs and toads
Santa Baby,
So hurry down the chimney tonight
Hurry down the chimney tonight

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Chocolate Teapot or Strong Black Coffee.

Here is a wee taster of THE book I am writing and hope to have published before I die! This is chapter 12 or something!

Chocolate Teapots and Strong Black Coffee

Around mid evening I got my usual weekly criticism from my ex husband. On a good week he only calls once to let me know what a dreadful mother I am, or what a money grabbing floozy I am or to let me know the latest scandal someone (normally him) has dreamt up concerning me, and how this is causing him embarrassment. I wish I had done, or at least had the opportunity to do, half the things I am said to have done! As usual he managed to wind me up (wish I could control that) and I returned to the table fizzing with anger. I am not going to take advantage of the fact you will never hear his side of the story and spew forth all my gripes and grumbles about my ex. What I will do is warn you- before you have children, check your relationship is solid, and very importantly, look carefully at your partner- is he the Strong Black coffee type or the Chocolate Teapot type.

When I was pregnant I read a huge variety of books on pregnancy, childbirth and babies. All had a confusing amount of different ideas on how to get you and baby safely through the first months. So many different, and often contradicting, ideas it made my head spin and actually made me more nervous, rather than soothing my troubled mind. Now I believe you should be made to do a university type degree on parenting before you get pregnant, just to make sure you are up to the job!

My head was so full of information from various “Baby Gurus”, but when push came to shove and I was sent home from hospital with these two tiny babies, all these words of wisdom were forgotten. I was filled with panic and self doubt. Were they too hot, too cold, hungry, in pain, ill? Was I holding them wrong? Was I putting them the right way to sleep or the wrong way? Was baby poop meant to look and smell like that? Was I supporting their heads sufficiently or would I cause them irreversible damage? No new mother is sufficiently prepared for the responsibility of looking after their first born alone (single mums, I salute you-you deserve a medal). With neither of my parents living near me I looked for support and help from my husband.

Now comes my main point of contention with all the books I read; not one of them prepared me for Disappearing Father Syndrome! There was not a single page explaining what to do when Daddy opts out! I know we women are famous for being able to multi task but; being tired, hormonal, terrified of my new responsibilities, and still being expected to carry out my duties as cook, cleaner, entertainments manager, good listener and sex goddess was beyond me. I am naturally quite an independent person, but even I had to admit I could not do this solo so I turned to my husband Sam for help and support. Silly, silly me!

Sam had never really showed much interest in the pregnancy: - he missed most of the pre-natal classes; he thought I said “it’s wind” when I told him “it’s twins”; he found the idea of feeling the babies inside me kicking repulsive and even managed to miss the birth! Initially Sam took one month off work to “help me”. Should have been bliss-Mummy, Daddy and our longed for (hard to achieve) babies. In reality it was a disaster!

The main problem was the night feeds (as the girls were premature and tiny; they needed feeding every two hours). By the third night I actually had to get up before the feed and make Sam a cup of tea before waking him up, otherwise he was in a foul mood. I know lack of sleep is like a slow torture, you feel ill, disorientated and miserable (if anyone wants to get a secret out of me, just deny me sleep and I will tell all). But I did not need Sam to let me down now. Anyway after one week he went back to work-so for him life went back to normal and in his head everything should have gone back to normal. That first day I was left completely alone with the two screaming pink bundles (otherwise known as my daughters) I finally realised that my husband was the as much use as a chocolate teapot. So what did I do about it? Nothing. I struggled through my daughters’ infancy alone and slowly watched my marriage crumble.

All my friends were aware, from early on, that the cracks in my relationship with Sam were growing to ravine size- probably because I kept phoning them and telling them! Resentment, tension and stress built up over eight years (I don’t give up on anything easily) and finally erupted like a volcano. End of marriage, start of bitter divorce.

By no means does it have to be like this. You might strike it lucky and find your husband is a natural at daddyhood. My friend Sues’ first husband was the chocolate teapot variety but her second husband was a double espresso of strength and support. He took his turn doing the night shift, changed nappies, fed the baby, took the baby for walks and made sure Sue had special time to herself. He wore his baby pouch with pride; he was an expert on colic, botty wipes and new more about mastitis than any of us! He was, and still is, an absolute star (I wonder if he has a brother or cousin looking for a ready made family?!) However, on the whole, we mummies need to take control in this situation (as in every other situation!) Two umbilical cords need to be cut- the babies and that which binds your husband to you as his mother figure. Time for partner to act like your partner and not your eldest child!

My advice to you is; before you consider having children with your partner assess how he performs when you have a serious bout of flu (fake it if you have to). If he looks after you, mops your brow, does the washing, cooking and general house stuff (even if it is not up to your standard) you are safe to consider having his children. If when you are ill, he still expects you to cook, clean, pamper him and have sex, then you have four choices; ditch him; check he has enough money to pay cleaners, cooks nannies etc; gird your loins for a tough few years being like a single Mum but with added “duties” or resign yourself to a life without children!

The Recipe:-

If you have a Chocolate Teapot of a husband, I commiserate – make yourself a good, strong cup of tea. Open packets of any kind of biscuits drenched in chocolate and get dunking! You deserve it! Make sure you do not dunk too long or you will be spooning slops from the bottom of your cup! Or you could make the following cake to have with your friends, whilst you moan about your useless other half!
I am not a fan of either coffee or sweet things (I am sweet enough-ha,ha,ha) but this cake is FAB and fairly easy to make.

Espresso and Hazelnut Cake.


300g unsalted butter
480g shelled hazelnuts
4 tablespoons of instant coffee (splash out on a good one)
180g dark chocolate (70%)
6 eggs
220g caster sugar.

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C.
Make sure your food processor is baby puree free!

Grease a 25cm cake tin and line with parchment (unless you know your tin and you know the cake will not stick!)

Roast the hazelnuts in the oven until brown and when cool rub the skins off them. Grind in food processor into a fine paste.

Dissolve the coffee in 1 tablespoon of boiling water.

Melt the chocolate with the butter and the coffee in a bowl over simmering water. Cool and add hazelnuts.

Separate eggs and beat yolks and sugar in a mixer until pale. Fold in chocolate.

Beat egg whites in mixer until stiff and carefully fold into mixture.

Pour in to tin and bake in oven for 40 minutes.


Remember if you have one of those rare species-“The Strong Black Coffee Husband”, save him a piece!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Too busy on my soap box!

Hey-just realised I have been so busy being all serious and preachy that I have forgotten to include recipes!!! I have had enough of being serious, so will revert to my usual silliness and recipes,starting.........NOW

I have just returned from a stroll round the village Christmas Market. I indulged myself and had a cup of Gluhwein. Nothing more Christmassy than Gluhwein (except roast turkey, Christmas pudding, mince pies etc,etc) but I can’t actually decide if I like it or not! Tell me if I am mistaken but does anyone else think it tastes a teeny weeny bit of Beechams Powders? Beechams Powders are a remedy for colds and flu and are the most vile tasting things on earth (apart from pig’s trotters, tripe and sea snot…I mean oysters). I was so sure that one of the secret ingredients must be a sachet or two of Beechams Powders, that I Googled the recipe. Nope- not a Beechams Powder in sight!

You probably think I am now going to tell you how to make Gluhwein-wrong, because I am feeling a bit queasy after my Styrofoam cupful of “Christmas Cheer!

We are about to enter a time of parties, parties and more parties! Seems a shame we save up all the parties and cram them in to 3 weeks of the year! Surely it would be better to spread them out over the whole year? Anyway, before I start getting on my soap box and preaching again, I shall move swiftly on! I am a firm believer in the idea that if you are hosting a party, you should enjoy the party too. What pleasure is there in opening your doors to visitors and you spend the whole time getting hot and hassled in the kitchen, missing out on all the chat and gossip? My dinner party recipes are always quick, easy and the majority of the preparation can be done ahead of time. The following is one of my favourites:-

Breast of Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham.

Ingredients.(serves 4)

4 large chicken breasts
8 slices of Parma ham
½ a tub of herb and garlic soft cheese
A few glugs of Masala dessert wine.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees C. Slice horizontally through each chicken breast. Do not cut all the way through- the aim is to create a “pocket”. Stuff the “pocket” with the herb and garlic cheese and then wrap the chicken breast in 2 slices of the Parma ham. Place the prepared chicken breasts in a baking dish. Season with salt and pepper and pour on a generous amount of the Masala. Cover the lot tightly in tin foil and pop in oven for 45 minutes.
You can prepare this ahead of time – just remember to put it in the oven 45 minutes before you want to eat! Serve this with-rice or potatoes (boiled, mashed or roasted) and a green veg. Lurvly!!!!!

Anyone else out there as immature as me? I can not say (or even type) the word “breast” without smirking!!! Grow up Kate!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


What’s Your Label?

Gucci, Dolce and Gabana, Prada? No I am not actually referring to this kind of label (infact, I have just realized I do not have a single designer label item in my wardrobe!)
The kind of labels I am talking about are Personality Labels.

Are you: - A Depressive, An Obsessive, An Alcoholic or Ex- Alcoholic, A Wife or An Ex Wife, A Single Mum, Neurotic?
Do you, or have you, suffered from: - Anorexia, Bulimia, Panic attacks,
Does your child have: - ADHD, Conduct Disorder or Oppositional-Defiant Disorder?

Yesterday a friend of mine, whose child has always had problems learning at school and is famous for being clumsy, phoned me and said she was delighted to find out that her child suffers from some illness affecting eye/brain coordination. On one hand it is sad that she was so happy that her child had an illness (we normally do not wish for a sick child) but on the other hand I completely understand why she was so happy. Whether there is a cure for this problem, or not, my friend can now understand why her child behaves in this manner. That child now has a label- The Child with The Eye to Brain Coordination Problem. This label will explain and excuse her behaviour and therefore make her more acceptable to society.

How many times have you been told (normally in a hushed voice) “That is the one who suffers from depression” or “He is an alcoholic” or “She is ****’s ex wife” or “don’t worry he always does that-he has ADHD” or “she had a tough childhood”? Haven’t you found that once you know that persons “label” you see that person in a different light? You find their bizarre behaviour more acceptable? I know I am much happier about someone’s odd behaviour if I know the reason behind it; if I know their “label.”

I was over the moon to be diagnosed with Obsessive/ Compulsive disorder! Now I understood my somewhat strange behaviour. So what if I was annoyingly organized? So what if I had panic attacks if my routine was disrupted? So what if I made ridiculously stupid and rash decisions? None of this mattered anymore; I could use my “label” to justify all this to myself, and others.

Many times I have used my label as a crutch or an excuse. For me this label is not a problem, but sadly for others being “labeled” has adverse effects- they can never escape from it. They may have moved on in life, but we, the ever critical public, will never let them forget their past. To us they will always be “The Alcoholic”, “The Adulterer”, “The Mistress”, “The Drug Addict” etc.

My Labels:-

The Obsessive/Compulsive (my personal favourite)
The Foreigner
The One With All The Cats
The One With The Strange Hairdo
****’s Ex Wife

And there are probably more I haven’t heard (the ones whispered or communicated from one person to another by the raising of eyebrows or “knowing” looks) Not a bad list really. What do you think your labels are?

Ok- that is my lot for this week. Busy weekend ahead I have already bought and wrapped all my Christmas presents, but it is only 21 days to Christmas, so I had better start laying the table for Christmas Dinner ( hey, so what-I am Obsessive about being organized!)

Time for me to give up my coveted award. I have realised that I am still computer stupid and that despite help from UberGrumpy I have changed the picture of award (although this is rather pretty ,isn't it!) and probably made it impossible for the reciever to get it/pick it up-whatever computer clever people do.

My award today goes to ..................................................................................................... Don't you hate it when on awards shows,quiz shows etc. they do this, drag things out, make you wait, dramatic music, silent crowd - oops, get to the point Kate!

My award today goes to:-

The writer of this blog is a friend of mine. She used to live in Spain but now is a zillion miles away and I really miss her. I always knew she was funny,quick and clever but I never realised she had such a talent for writing. Usual scenario-when you have children you are known only by your ability to juggle motherhood and being a wife (most people in this village know me as The Twins' Mother , *****'s Ex Wife or The Odd English One Who Goes Jogging-my real name is of no importance)

So Karen- congratulations on reclaiming your name!

Oh yes.......part of this award is that you only have it for a week and then you must hand it on AND (take note Karen) you must tell the Blogging World 7 truths about yourself. Here are my Magnificent 7:-

1. I am 5 ft 2 and a 1/2 " in height (the 1/2 is very important)

2. I secretly sing to Kylie Minogue's old hits when I am alone ("I should be so lucky", and "Better the Devil You Know" are my favourites)

3. I would love to have my bikini line done Brazilian style but I am scared of the pain.

4. I raid the fridge every night.

5. I still suck my thumb when I am tired (so what, I am only 41!)

6. I hate puttting my head under water because the water goes up my nose.

7. I hardly ever practise what I preach! I often tell my girls- "Do as I say,not as I do"

Now you will probably remember me as-the chubby one with the nose clip and the hairy bikini line,who sucks her thumb whilst singing know the hypocrit midget!

Yes Sir, No Sir, F*** You Sir!

I once got detention at school for peeling an orange in Religious Education class. I had finished the set work and the teacher said I could do whatever I wanted. I was a bit peckish,so I decided to eat my break time orange. How was I meant to know Mrs Hill meant I could do anything I wanted, as long as it was educational! I was mortified that I had a detention. I was terrified at having to tell my parents. I was 9 years old and this for me was like having a police record! When I was 12 the deputy head teacher stopped me in the corridor and told me off for wearing a necklace to school- I nearly wet myself with fear. At 16 Mrs Cox, my history teacher, caught me passing a note to a fellow classmate- the note said “Mrs Cox has fingers like sausages.” That stupid note almost cost me my university place- Mrs Cox failed every single one of my A Level essays and predicted me an F in the actual exam (I got an A in the end-ya,boo,sucks Mrs Sausage Fingers).

Getting slowly to the point- when I was at school the majority of us had huge respect and fear of teachers. There have always been “The Rebels”, but the majority of us did our homework, studied for exams, followed school rules, sat when told to sit, stood when told to stand and NEVER, NEVER answered a teacher back! If the teacher had asked me to run round the school play ground, naked, singing Morning Has Broken (my favourite school assembly song) I would presume she had good reason for making me do this and I would jolly well do it!

I am shocked by the behavior of children in schools today. I am out of mainstream teaching now (just select, well behaved groups in my home) but my daughters keep me up to date on what is going on. Children have zero respect for teachers-they swear at teachers, throw objects round the classroom, never do homework, talk amongst each other all through class and more. As for fear….what have they got to fear? The teachers are powerless. Teachers can not give detention, extra work is not done, children are happy to be sent out the classroom or excluded from school. They say what they want to say, do what they want to do and wear what they want to wear (generally as little as possible!) and the teachers can do zilch about it.

Schools are no longer a place of enlightenment and learning and teachers no longer respected. Now schools are holding cells- the inmates just passing time until they are set free to wreak havoc on society and the teachers are prison wardens just trying to survive each day.

The Three R’s are now- Rebel, Riot and Rampage. Sad.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Men are from Mars and Women are from Planet Stupid

Men Are From Mars and Women Are From Planet Silly!

This weekend I was let down really badly by a Martian. I won’t bore you with the details but it did get me thinking. How can men be so stupid, ignorant, selfish, egotistical, self absorbed etc? Now, before all you men start rolling your eyes and thinking “oh no, not another feminist rant” and before all you women start thinking “Go Girl!!!” I have a new idea on the answer to this question. Please remember it is just an idea- so no hate mail please!

Why are men this way? Because we (women) let them be this way! Seriously think about it…… We take on so many roles when we become someone’s live in partner:-girlfriend, cook, cleaner, sex goddess (no, Mum and Dad obviously not me!!!) psychologist, doctor, secretary etc. But they don’t actually ask us to take on these roles. We don’t have to sign a contract saying we will fulfill these roles and we don’t have to provide a C.V to show we can fill these roles. So why do we do it?

Are we scared if we aren’t exactly what they want, they will cheat on us or leave us? Do we get so caught up in pretending to be all these so we “catch” the guy, that it becomes too late to stop the lie? Are we doing what our Mothers did? Or are we just plain silly? I don’t have the answer to this-I just know I am guilty of it!

Finally- if we know how men are; that they are so different from us (so many books on this subject), why are we sooooo surprised when things go wrong or, like me this weekend, do we feel so let down by them? When will we learn by our mistakes? When will we accept the differences? When will we be ourselves and not what they want us to be?


Hey- Who do you think I am- your cook!!! Just joking!
Tonight I prepared lasagna for My Girls. I always have a load of bolognaise sauce in the freezer and tonight I decided I would do lasagna instead of the usual spaghetti bolognaise. I used all the short cuts (is my middle name Deliah?) and they loved it-infact so much there is none left for me!


For the Sauce (My dad’s recipe!)

Fry 2 chopped onions and 3 cloves of garlic (chopped). Add I kg of mince and cook until mince all browned (my dad uses umpteen pans for this-I use one!) Add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and a HUGE squeeze of tomato puree. Add salt, pepper, 2 bay leaves and any mixed herbs you have in the cupboard, a glug of red wine and THE SECRET INGREDIENTS………..4 grated carrots (honestly, makes a huge difference!) Simmer for as long as possible, on the lowest heat possible.

Once cooked- you will have enough for 1 lasagne and some for freezer.

Building the Lasagne.

Use precooked sheets of lasagna and prepared béchamel sauce (or prepare your own and spend hours cleaning the pan)

In a baking tin:- a thin layer of bolognaise sauce, a single layer of pasta, a layer of béchamel. Repeat this and then on top of the last layer (should be béchamel if you got the order right!!!) sprinkle some grated cheese. Pop in oven (preheated to 180 degrees C) for 45 minutes.

So good that there is none left for me and I am on cheese savoury sandwiches again (good job I keep a tub of this in my fridge)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Please note:- my falafel and houmous( I am talking about the recipes in todays blog- not anything bilogical!) did not look like my friend Shirley's! Asked the Master Chef in question and my error.....laziness!! Don't use jars of/canned chickpeas, unless it is a real emergency, use dried chickpeas. Soak dried chickpeas over night and then puree them (no cooking needed!)You can even add a few split green peas to add colour and variety-and don't we all need a bit of colour and variety in our lives? !

Ooof- my bottom hurts!!! Now before your imaginations start working overtime (or maybe it is just me who has the dirty mind!) I decided to remind my two girls what the two things dangling off the bottom of their body are-LEGS and what they should be used for-EXERCISE, not for just displaying cool trousers. So I decided we would cycle (hence the sore bottom) 6 kms to a nearby village, where a friend of mine participates every month in an ecological food fair. Beautiful sunny, crisp day. Ok, so the country lane route was a bit bumpy (roads for tractors not bikes). Ok, so I got the wrong village, which meant we had to cycle an extra 5 kms to get to the right venue (their faces when we arrived at the wrong village was comical…to me!) Actually my Girls did not whimper and whine too much, but what has happened to the majority of the “young, fit, things” of today?

I’ll tell you what has happened (if you don’t mind!)-there is an acute epidemic of laziness! I know I keep harping on about, “when I was young…..” but really, all those eons ago, children were out on bikes, running (often aimlessly!), playing football, playing hop scotch, or on family hikes. Why? Because we did not have computers, Nintendo’s, Play Stations or all day T.V (remember when Blue Peter was about the only thing for us to watch?)

We walked to school, or at least to the bus stop. Gym classes at school were hockey, netball, track, football, tennis and rounders- I know they still do those sports today but “in my day” they were all competitive, tough and played in any weather. I have many a fond memory of tearing about a playing field in howling winds and below zero temperatures in my miniscule gym skirt! Now, if there is a slight breeze or a spot of rain gym is held in the heated sports hall.

Summer holidays were off to beaches for swimming, more rounders, football etc and normally in below zero temperatures! No theme parks or “all inclusive, don’t need to move from the hotel complex, don’t need to bring your imagination, holidays.

I could go on longer but your eyeballs are probably exhausted and my typing finger is throbbing almost as much as my nether region! Anyway- we three survived and we ate some delicious food prepared by my friend Shirley and her husband Peter- Falafel Wraps. We are making them ourselves tomorrow night.

Falafel. Makes 12.

In a food processor chuck in the following:-

400g (13oz) of canned chickpeas –drained.
½ an onion
1tsp of ground cumin
1tsp of ground coriander
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp of plain flour
Salt and pepper

Whizz the whole lot up into a smooth paste. On a floured work surface divide the mixture into 12 equal portions and mould each portion into a flat, round patty. Shallow fry the Falafel (great name!) 2-3 minutes on each side.
Put 2 falafel on a flat tortilla or in a pitta pocket with some houmous (please see my previous blog for recipe for this), some minty yoghurt (natural yoghurt with a spoonful of mint sauce mixed in) and some finely sliced iceberg lettuce.

This is seriously delicious (thank you Shirley and Peter) and …….super healthy!!!

Now wish I had not got rid of my bath tub and replaced it with a super duper shower!Iit would be alright to dip my lower half in the kitchen sink full of cold water- wouldn’t it?

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ryvitta and Carrots!!!!!!

Can you believe it- Friday again! Friday in our house is Princesses Night (I think I have told you that before!) My Girls and I cosy on the sofa, watching T.V and having snacky meal. Tonight we will be watching the re-run of last weeks “The X Factor” (we can’t watch it live on a Saturday as my girls go to their Dad’s house). All week we avert our eyes from the newspaper and magazine reports about The X Factor and ask people not to tell us who got kicked out- so we still get a surprise! Actually every week so far has been a surprise, or more of a shock-how have those two performing monkeys (John and Edward) managed to stay in?

We actually enjoyed the initial auditions more than this part of the show. Why? Well, it is a sad fact that society today loves to see people; make a fool of themselves, look bad, have a tough life, lose their fortunes, get fat etc. What a sick bunch we are! We revel in looking at pictures of Famous Peoples Wobbly Bits. We squirm with delight when another celebrity marriage hits the rocks (we really have been spoilt rotten recently with Katie Price and Peter Andre’s shinanikins.) We drool over any scandal or dirt dug up about someone in the limelight who has always portrayed themselves as pure and innocent. We love to criticize the beautiful starlets (we being soooo perfect!). We adore getting the chance to nosey about in the homes of the stars, wether it be via photos in a magazine or on a trashy T.V show. You only need to look at the number of “Gossip” style magazines on the shelves in the newsagents to see we are indeed a nasty lot! We don’t wish them well-we wish them failure, embarrassment and cellulite.

But, I must add, all those contestants on X Factor-the really cringy, painfully embarrassing, squirm in your socks ones- why did no one tell them NOT to do it? How come a family member, friend or next door neighbour who heard them screeching (I mean practicing) did not tell them the truth, did not prevent them from making absolute twits of themselves? I hope someone would tell me the truth! Actually I think I have a bit of a Diva in me-maybe next year I will enter the X Factor! Not sure why at this very moment my daughters are pulling faces, pretending to be sick and about to phone their father to see if they can go and live with him! Strange!

Recipes today are dedicated to Ubergrumpy (Mr Curly Wurly). Check out his blog –it is FANTASTIC. He wanted ryvitta and carrots. We will be having these dips tonight whilst we wish the worst on the remaining X Factor Contestants. If my Girls complain about the food, I shall point them in your direction- Uber!

Dippity Dips.

Serve the following with crusty bread, potato wedges, bread sticks, tortilla chips, RYVITTA and/or CARROT sticks (happy C.W?)


3 Ripe avocados
1 clove of garlic- crushed
½ red onion-finely chopped
2 tomatoes-de-seeded and diced
Juice of 1 lime
3-4 dashes of pepper sauce
Salt and Pepper

Scoop out flesh from the avocados in to a bowl and red onion, crushed clove of garlic, diced tomatoes, lime juice, pepper sauce and salt and pepper. Mash it all up and ..Bob’s your uncle (‘cos he certainly isn’t mine) Guacamole.

Alioli (traditional Catalan garlic dip)

1 Clove of garlic-crushed
Olive oil
A pinch of salt

Put clove of garlic and salt in a blender and slowly add olive oil whilst blending. No idea how, but the end result is a lovely, creamy garlic dip. Quite amazing to watch the transformation (simple things please simple minds!!!)


Homemade houmous is soooooo much better than bought!

400g canned chickpeas
3 tablespoons of Olive Oil
½ teaspoon of ground cumin
1 garlic clove-chopped
2 tablespoons of tahini paste
Juice of 1 lemon.

Bung the whole lot in a blender and blend until smooth!

All very easy, very healthy and very garlicky- so no kissing after!

Wikipedia? Not today thank you.

Last night I was watching a film and one of the lines in it was:-

“I think I would miss you, even if I had never met you”

Something about that sentence made me go all mushy and lovey dovey. Such a sweet thing to say. It brought out the romantic in me and I started to think that one day my prince will come hobbling by on his 3 legged, lame donkey. The more I thought about this statement the more absurd it sounded, to the point where I ruined the whole loveliness about it! You can’t miss something you never had!

I started thinking about other sayings I like and wondered what their meanings were. I was on the point of Wikipediaing them and finding out their origin when I decided “NO” I like the not knowing!

Here are my top 10 favourites? Got any sayings you like? Please let me know:

1.“As happy as Larry”- who is Larry, why is he so happy? Sounds like a good person to have at a party. Anyone know his number?

2.“It ain’t over until the fat lady sings”- does it mean she has a terrible or fantastic voice? Is her latest CD available?

3.“Not on your nelly”- where or what is your nelly? Do I have one? Should I order one?

4.“Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face”-ouch! I know Van Gogh cut off his ear but has anyone really been so desperate as to cut off their nose?

5.“Never look a gift horse in the mouth”- have many of you received a horse as a gift? I personally think it is probably not a great experience to look in a horses mouth, gift or no gift (unless you are buying a horse and are checking to see how healthy it is, but then it is not a gift!)!

6.“Silence is golden”- not if you are in class and the teacher has asked you a question, or in court and are being asked if you are guilty or not guilty! In these cases, silence could have dire results! Additionally if someone is in the huff with you, silence is like torture.

7.“All cats are grey in the dark”- really? Will consider standing outside in the freezing cold tonight to check out this theory……NOT!!!

8.“Eat drink and be merry (for tomorrow we die)-what a dreadful outlook on life! How can one go through life thinking that the next day you will die? Thinking like this could lead to numerous phobias-agoraphobia, somniphobia (incase you sleep in late and then it is already tomorrow and then you die!) electricalappliancaphobia, peopleaphobia (yes, I did make the last 2 up!)

9.“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”- I am more than happy to let the bird in my hand be with the two in the bush! Do you know how many bugs live on a bird? Also the bird will no doubt be terrified at being in your hand and therefore poo in it!

10.“Life is like a box of chocolates” Great saying Forest Gump but does my box of chocolates always have to be filled with coffee and orange creams? YAK!

My recipe today is a traditional English recipe with a name I don’t (and probably don’t want to) understand.

Toad in The Hole- (at some point in history did they use toads and not sausages?)

Preheat oven to 220 degrees C (425 degrees F) Put a roasting tin, with a little oil in the bottom, in the oven to heat up. Cook some chunky sausages (any kind you like). While they are cooking prepare your batter:

75g plain flour
1 egg
75ml milk
50ml water
Salt and pepper

Sift flour into a bowl add salt and pepper. Add egg and whilst adding, bit by bit, the milk and water, beat all the ingredients into a smooth mixture. An electric hand whisk will do this in seconds! Put the sausages into hot roasting tin and pour batter on top. Put all straight back in the oven for 25 minutes.

Serve with any veg you like and drown the whole lot in gravy!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thank you!

If I have calculated correctly, tomorrow thousands of Americans will be sitting down to a scrummy Thanksgiving meal. I think Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday in November?! Being British we don't celebrate this festival- we celebrate just about everything else in a truly commercial way! Christmas, New Year, Valentines day, Fathers day, Mothers Day,Easter,Halloween,Bonfire night and Birthdays- infact you can probably buy a card,balloon,banner,giant cookie etc to celebrate every day of the year. In Spain they seem to have a festival everyday- Saint Who Knows Who, Festival of the Village,Town,City etc. They even have Saints Day-every name is a version of a Saints name, so if it is The Day of Saint Peter,all the Peters (or Peres as they say in Spain) will have a party and get prezzies. The list is endless but all these festivals have a common denominator- commercialism.

I am sure I do not need to harp on about how the true meaning of these festivals has been lost under piles of tinsel,cards and other tat. We are all guilty of spending ridiculous amounts of money on holiday rubbish and, with so much to choose from, the saying "It's the thought that counts" is made null and void (you don't have to put much thought into things these days, just take your pick from the zillion impersonal gifts on offer in the shops!)

Tomorrow, no doubt, many a butcher, stationary store, florist etc will be rubbing their hands in glee, counting up their dollars and giving thanks for Thanksgiving.

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving-just in between mouthfuls, spend a nano second remembering the real reason for the celebration-if you remember!

Last night I looked in my sparsely stocked fridge and gave thanks that there were some sausages and some brie. Yippee, I didn't have to have cereal for supper,instead I concocted the following:-

Super Sausages and Beautiful Brie (serves 2)

(actually the brie was a bad purchase-very poor quality, but for this recipe it doesn't matter!)

You will need:-

6 sausages

half a pack of brie (or any cheese that melts)

1 baguette (or any crusty bread you have lying about or in the freezer)

Cook sausages. Cut them in half up the middle. Put the halved sausages on a baking tray and put thin slices of brie on top. Whack all this under a hot grill until cheese bubbling. Carefully put sausages and cheese on top of baguette and EAT!

A great feel good supper that is cheap and easy to make!

Monday, November 23, 2009

When I was young!

Just looking at my daughter lying on the sofa. She has the T.V on, laptop on the table infront of her, Nintendo on the blanket next to her and a glass of juice in her hand. Yes, she is off school sick. Now when I was young....... I lay in bed all day when I was sick. No T.V, computers etc. If I was lucky I was allowed to read my book. If not, the rule was, you are sick therefore should not be able to do anything. Yes, it did make me want to go back to school, being ill better than being bored! Should I be harder on my daughter? I don't think so,here is why:-

When I was young school was fun and we were not under continual assessment and exam pressure. The majority of the teachers enjoyed their jobs and passed over the necessary information in a fun, interesting manner (ok, there were some miserable, old teachers but they were generally the ones that must have been at least 112 years old). School inspections, targets etc were not the most important factor for head teachers.

When I was young we had the freedom to race off on our bikes with our friends. We could explore. We could walk to each others houses without adult supervision. We could get the bus, we could go to the cinema alone. We were taught to make cakes etc. without being terrified of burning ourselves or cutting our fingers off. We played in parks where the equipment had not had to pass so many safety tests that it was rendered boring. The parks had concrete or gravel as a surface- not bounce proof stuff. Big brothers or sisters had to suffer us tagging along to the swimming pool with them. So many things that built up character, sense of adventure, independence and taught us many a hard lesson-but we remembered the lessons we learnt.

Today- we wrap our children in cotton wool so they do not hurt themselves or are in any kind of danger at all. This is admirable, but what happens when they go out into the real world? Or will our children never leave home-too scarey out there?
Ok- just off to fluff up my daughters pillows for her, change the T.V channel (the remote is just out of her reach) and replenish snacks and drinks. Gee, she is lucky!
My Grandmothers Cure!
Just got this off my Dad. I know now we have all sorts of sprays, sweets etc to soothe a sore throat but here is a blast from the past.
Hot Lemon and Honey.
Put 3 or 4 slices of lemon in a mug, add a good dollop of honey (let patient lick honey spoon clean) and fill mug with boiling water. Poorly person should sip this to ease their sore throat and boost their vitamin C levels.
My Dad's Mums recipe actually used sugar not honey. Over 18's, at night add a splash of whiskey to the lemon,honey and water.
Off to buy lemons!

An Aquired Taste.

Have a child off sick today so not much time for neglecting her! Some poeple when thay are ill lose their appetite. I don't! I crave more food than I would usually eat in a week and it all has to have lots of taste. This sandwich filling is one of my favourites (ill or not). It is from The North East of England (home,sweet,home). Those poor Southerners don't even know it exisits: Try it and spread the word. 2010 will be the year of :.-


Grate any hard cheeses you have lying in the fridge-you can mix as many as you like.

Put grated cheese in a bowl with 1/4 of an onion (finely chopped),salt and pepper and enough dollops of mayonaise(if you are ill,make it full fat-you need building up!) as it takes to mix all in the bowl into a delicious,claggy concoction.

Use the above as filling for a sandwich (add some sliced iceberg lettuce) or as a filling for a baked pototoe. Don't be stingy with the quantity! If you are really feeling poorly, I give you permission to stand infront of fridge in your pyjamas and eat spoonfuls of the mixture,straight from the bowl. Warning do not let others eat this cheese savoury if you have been snacking on it-sharing is lovely but not when it is sharing your germs!

It's a Cats Life

In my next life I want to come back as one of my cats. Not any old cat-one of my cats. what a life they have-

That Darn Cat.

Geez I am tired. What a day! Started this morning at half five- She ruthlessly kicked me out of the bedroom. I just don’t get it; what could be lovelier than being woken up bright and early by a good looking guy like me paddling on your stomach and howling in your ear? I was a bit peckish, hadn’t eaten in over two hours, but first I had to get past the two hissing, spitting balls of fur I share this place with-Girls, I will never understand them. Before cruising the food bowls I decided to check in on the latest addition to the house. Got to feel sorry for her- God hasn’t been kind to that cat-dodgy ears, weird nose, shocking excuse for a tail and truly bizarre way of moving about. Poor bugger doesn’t even get to sleep on the bed-rattles round its cage eating paper! They call it Bunny- what kind of name is that for a feline? Actually I think They have rotten taste in names; take mine for instance- Stinky! I see myself as a Charles (suitably royal) or a Valentino (one for the ladies).

Right, back to the food bowls. Empty! No problem- I will just go and howl lovingly outside her door; works every time. Ooof, She is looking really rough this morning. Hey, careful you don’t stand on me as I walk in figures of eight round your ankles. Good woman, get that tin open. Nope, not my favourite- something else please. Got to be quick before “Hiss” and “Spit” get here. Whoa- not so quick Missus- don’t forget to leave the back door open for me or I’ll just have to come a howlin’ again. Perfect, just trip Her up one more time as She stumbles back to bed.

So, what’s new on the street today? Oh no! Not you. This other cat has a nerve. Not only does he look exactly like me- except my tail is much shorter, stubbier, more broken and cuter than his, but he wears a girly collar with a bell on it. Firstly that collar threw me- wasn’t until I had put on my best show ( huge yawns to show “her” how big my teeth were, how big I was fully stretched out and how fantastic I was at running wildly for no reason at all) that “she” turned her back on me and I realized “she” was a “he”! Secondly that collar scuppers all my chances of catching birds to “play” with.

On the subject of birds; wonder if I should go get another one to play with? Actually as play mates go, birds are pretty useless; knock them about a bit and then they go and die on you. But it’s worth it just to see Their faces when I race into the house to show Them my latest play thing- especially if the head has fallen of it. Oh-hang on, She’s left the rubbish bag outside the door for me to wee on. It’s my special “thing” doing a wee on bags- rubbish bags, school bags, shopping bags- I’m not fussy. Quick dash round in circles and pouncing on thin air, five minutes of terrorizing “Hiss” and “Spit” and it must be nap time. Wonder when She will be up to give me more food.

Got to get a cat nap in before the day really gets going because I have a busy schedule. The carpet and sofa need regular scratching; black clothes need sitting on; rubbers and pencils need knocking off the table and losing under chairs and in corners; hairs need leaving on all kitchen surfaces and piles of important papers need attacking. Big part of my day is to defend my territory- I am the only stray allowed in this house. Defending territory involves puffing myself up like a cotton wool ball, making a lot of noise, avoiding looking directly at my adversary (how scary if I saw they were bigger than me!) and more weeing on things. Obviously throughout the day I have to do a lot of deep throat meowing to remind Her to give me food on demand and I have to use my best sneak and attack methods to make sure my other two feline companions stay suitably fluffed up and nervous. Best part of the day is when She has students and I put on my show. First; up on the table, lots of cute purring and parading around in front of them (making sure my bottom is always in their faces) next; for no reason at all, attack them and finally sit on their books and lick my “bits”.

See what I mean about exhausting! I am dog tired – crikey, how could I forget, I have to prance about infront of the dog next door to drive him into a barking, frenzy ( good job he is behind a locked gate otherwise……!!!) One more tripping Her up session; usual evening routine of going to the door to be let out, then not going out, then going to the door again to be let out and then not going out- strangely She doesn’t find this funny, I think it is hilarious, and then mad dash to Her bed to get my sleep spot right in the middle so She has no room. It’s a cat’s life but someone has to do it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

No, really, your bottom doesn't look big in those!

I love the fact that my children still tell me the truth. I love the fact that there is no beating about the bush when they have something to say. I love the fact that there are no fluffy, little,white lies. I love the fact they call a spade a spade (and I suppose they would call a garden fork a garden fork aswell, but that saying hasn't really taken off). So when does the innocent, truth telling stop? After which birthday will they start to tell porky pies? When should I stop asking their opinion on my clothes,hair,boyfriends-whatever, because I know they will just be "being kind" or "buttering me up" or too embarrassed to tell me the real truth?
Children don't waste time with trying to think up excuses. They don't waste time being chummy with people they don't like. They don't waste time on faking emotions-so why do we?
Society dictates we wave and smile at people when what we would really like to do is say,
"Look, I really don't like you, and you don't like me, so lets just ignore each other from now"
Society tells us that the truth hurts-so lie "Loveit, Didn't do it,Really,I never knew, It wasn't me, Will have it done by tomorrow,I'm sorry to hear that,What a surprise!"
From early on we are told to say thank you for gifts even if they are vile or you already have 2 of them" Just what I always wanted"
We lie to parents ("I am staying at Susan's house tonight", friends (" no, really that perm is fantastic"), lovers (" yes, me too honey!"), husbands( "I bought that years ago"), children (" no Daddy and I only did IT the once to make you"), The traffic warden (sorry-I never saw the double yellow lines") etc.
I wish I was brave enough to be honest again. Don't you?
P.s There are times I wish my children were not quite so honest:-
" Mummy, that fat lady should not buy all those donuts"
"Mummy, why has that baldy man swept all his hair over to one side"
"Pooee Mummy someone in this queue has a really bad smell"
"Look, at her funny hat"
"Mummy- I need a poo"
"Mummy-is that the lady you said you didn't like"
All the above said at maximum volume!!!!
P.p.s - being honest, the following recipe is not my own creation!
5 Ingredients Garlic Chicken. (serves 4)
You will need:
4/5 chicken breasts (real recipe says legs, but I can't be bothered with bones etc)
Seasoned flour (see, even the recipe lies- seasoned flour is really 3 ingredients-flour,salt and peppper)
Olive oil
I head of garlic- broken into cloves but not peeled or cut.
White wine
Heat oil in deep frying pan. Dip chicken breasts in seasoned flour and fry until golden brown on each side (if you are side tracked and burn them slightly, lie and call it Blackened Garlic Chicken)
Add head of garlic,pour over heaps of red wine. Bring to boil,lower heat and simmer until chicken cooked through.
Serve with any veg,and mashed pototoe or crusty bread. I can not express how totally delicious this is! I am being child like honest here- but I did fib about the extra ingredients- bread,potatoes and veg; however once you taste this you will forgive me!
Have a great weekend- and I mean that from the heart of my bottom!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another one bites the dust!

I can not believe it is Friday again! What the Dickens do I do with my week? Seven days have whizzed by in a blur of children,cats,washing,shopping,cooking,cleaning etc. Ever felt like life is set on fast forward? Think about it- it seems like only yesterday it was summer and now it is nearly Christmas. We have flashed from summer sales and squishing bods into bikinis to shops being full of gawdy tinsel and frozen turkeys. My two Girls will be teenagers next year and I feel like it was only yesterday I was tearing my hair out to get them on to solids and out of nappies.

I think the problem is we are always looking into the future for something better. On Monday morning we wish it was Friday afternoon-we have just wished 5 days out of every week away (multiply that by 52 and thats alot of days!) We return from our summer holiday and immediately start thinking-where shall we go next year? Whilst still at the Christmas table we start to organise who will host the following Christmas Dinner! What is wrong with the day, the hour,the minute we are in?Why do we always look so far ahead? No use looking forward to next summer when that demon bus might knock you over tomorrow (we obviously don't think much of our bus drivers if we always say "don't think ahead-who knows tomorrow you might get run over by a bus")

We live in a world of fast food, fast cars, high speed trains and short cuts.Time to take time out and relax. Time to Gooooooo Slooooooooow. Try it.

This weekends recipe highlights my theme of Gooooooo Slooooooow.

5 Hour Lamb. (serves 6)

You will need:-

1 large leg of lamb.

salt and pepper

olive oil

6 rashers of streaky bacon

3 onions (peeled and quartered)

3 cloves of garlic (peeled and sliced)

Handful of mixed herbs

4 large potatoes ,peeled and cut into chunks

1 celeriac,peeled and cut into chunks

6 large carrots,scrubbed and halved

1 bottle of white wine

Oven on at 170 degrees C.In an enourmous pot or bug baking tray fry your seasoned lamb in olive oil until brown.Add bacon,garlic and onions and fry for 3 more minutes. Add herbs,veg and wine and same amount of water. Bring to boil and then cover tightly in tin foil and pop it into oven for 5 hours. Serve it from pot or tin with crusty bread.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Food as art?

Last night I went out for dinner with one of my best friends to celebrate her birthday. She chose a Thai restaurant and the food and service were excellent. The food was tasty, beautifully presented and we felt comfortably full afterwards. We marvelled over a carrot carved into the shape of a flower. It was a simple extra that added colour to the plate, without distracting from the food itself and it was edible!

For a reasonable price (mind you, I didn't pay- thank you Anine!) we ate delicious, well presented food. We got exactly what we ordered and neither rolled out of the restaurant bursting at the seams or dived into the nearest fast food restaurant to satisfy our hunger.

What is my point, you are probably thinking! My point is what the heck is it these days with restaurant food? Why do so many eateries serve food with descriptions you need a dictionary or thesaurus to understand and the article itself would be more at home on the wall of an art gallery than on the table infront of you?

I am mainly having a go at Nouvelle Cuisine and its off shoots. I know I am a Northern Girl and we have a reputation for liking our grub basic not fussy. However, I also enjoy good cooking and fresh produce. I also like new combinations of flavours. I also like new ideas and concepts concerning food. I am not just pie and mashed potato of fish and chips wrapped in nespaper (although both the afore mentioned are delicious!). But there is a limit!

Coulis, slivers, fusion, medley, quenelle, chiffonade, mirepoix-WHAT?

Starter (sorry, I mean entrée),main course or dessert- they are all presented as beautiful works of art. Tiny weeny portions, set in the middle of a HUGE plate and decorated with various coulis, extracts, concentrates and bits that look like they have come out of someones garden. Very pleasing on the eye but not very satisfying in the tummy! I would not be happy eating food blinfolded.I would not feel satified after munching my way through The Mona Lisa or grazing on bits and bobs growing in my neighbours garden ( for health reasons I would not eat anything from my garden!) So, why should I feel privileged to eat; food the ingredients of which baffle me and miniscule portions? And at the end of the experience, what? A heart attack inducing bill and a rumbling stomach.

Perhaps I am just a Northern Heathen. Perhaps a bacon sandwich and a mug of tea are more my style, but at least I will know what I am eating, feel full after the meal and not need to take out a second mortgage to pay for it!

P.s I live close to the world renowned restaurant El Bulli, run by the famously tempramental Ferran Adrià and if anyone out there wanted to invite me there for a meal I would accept their invitation...for research puposes only!!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

And on a lighter note:-

My favourite recent newspaper report:-

How a bar of dark chocolate a day could cut your stress levels
Great news: Dark chocolate may not only make you less anxious, but also cut the risk of heart disease

Fabulous- We have all read that a glass of red wine a day is healthy and now I can dunk my bar of chocolate in it!!!
My daughters favourite newspaper report:-

Weekend lie-ins for teenagers wards off obesity
Teenagers lying in at the weekend might seem like laziness, but it will actually help them stay slim and healthy, claim scientists.

Silly me thinking she was just being idle!

For all you men out there:-

Sorry darling, I can't do the vacuuming. It might damage my sperm count: The best excuse yet for men not to do the housework...

Bet it was a male that dreamt this one up!

Look what I can do!

Look What I can do!

I can plan my whole weeks’ activities to the exact minute.
I can draw up the weeks’ meals menu and never deviate from it.
I can have the lunch table set and the food prepared as soon as the breakfast dishes are cleaned away.
I can have Supper ready to be heated up as soon as lunch is over.
I can write all my reminders in the same colour pen and stick them in exact, straight lines on my fridge.
I can keep everything in its EXACT place.
I can never have ironing waiting to be done.
I can make sure there are never shoes or coats lying around.
I can organize so that my childrens’ school snacks for the next day are put in their bags as soon as they walk in the door.
I can organize and tidy my fridge at least twice a day.
I can have the weekend planned by Monday evening-one plan for good weather, one plan for bad weather.
I can brush my teeth at the exact same time morning and night.
I can see that my cats always have a clean litter tray and my rabbits’ cage is immaculate.
I can book all my years’ holidays in January.
I can have the suitcases packed days in advance.
I can send Birthday cards and Christmas cards weeks too early
I can wake up every night, at least 3 times, to make lists.
I can have a panic attack if there is a change to my plan.
I can make very bad, impulsive decisions.
I can make a decision and must do it immediately.
I can never ask for help.
I can start to shake if a job takes longer than the time I allotted it.
I can have a severe headache if I have to reschedule.
I can stay up late to finish all the jobs on my list.
I can never say no.
I can fall totally head over heels in love over night.
I can fall out of love in the blink of an eye.
I can ruin every relationship because they upset my routine.
I can tell you I have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

Now before you all start thinking I am feeling sorry for myself or that I am having a good moan and whinge- let me tell you that 90% of the time I consider my Obssessive/ Compulsive Disorder a blessing! For my work as a teacher I am super organised with lesson plans. Bringing up twins I always had bottles, clothes,bags etc at the ready. My nightwaking sometimes results in the most brilliant ideas and my girls and I never miss appointments or are late. How many of you ,by Monday morning, have the weeks meals planned, shopped for and most of the time prepared? This obssession with planning means I always have heaps of extra time to worry about other obssessions!!!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

No internet all day today.....rabbit sneaked in to house and took its revenge by chewing through a cable or two! So just a quick thought for the day:-
Handle every stressful situation like a dog.If you can't eat it or play with it,Just pee on it and walk away.
Anyone got any good recipes for rabbit pie? Just joking (I think!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Feeeeeeel gooooood food.

Anyone else out there hate Mondays? For as long as I can remember I have hated the first day of the week. I think I inherited this from my dad, he was a firm loather of Mondays. Whether I have had a great or a naff weekend, Monday morning arrives and I am plunged into depression. Infact the Monday morning blues actually start mid Sunday afternoon. They start as a annoying niggle (what is a niggle?) in the back of my mind-my weekend is nearly over. By Sunday evening I am a miserable, bad tempered grouch. Sunday night I always sleep badly, so I start the new week a wreck. By Monday evening all is great again- not long until Friday!!

Monday needs special feel good food. Monday is a day for comfort food. Monday is a day for easy to prepare food. Monday is not a day to start a new diet. Here are my 5 favourite Monday foods, in reverse order:-

5. Soup- homemade or from a can (depending on how miserable you are) with fresh bread and lashings of butter.

4.Sausages, mashed potato(with milk and butter) and gravy.

3.An enourmous bacon sandwich. Don't trim the fat off the bacon, don't use turkey bacon, do use white bread, do use butter and do use brown sauce.

2.Beans on toast,with lots of freshly milled black pepper and if you are feeling really down-a poached egg on top.

1.Definately my favourite- a HUGE bowl of cornflakes,swamped in ice cold, full fat milk (back to skimmed milk on Tuesday) with sugar sprinkled liberally over the lot!

Go on- you have almost survived another Monday.....treat yourself!

Anyone out there want to share their favourite feeeel goooood food? I am willing to try most things!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

A Mothers Ten Commandments.

Inspired by a fellow blogger-UberGrumpy.

1. Thou shalt not curse,swear or beg for pain relieving drugs during labour.

2. Thou shalt breast feed your child for as long as possible and not be so vain as to be concerned about the state of your breasts after. Thou shalt not take the easy option of formula milk.

3. Thou shalt not feed your child ANY food containing artificial colours, preservatives or processed fats and sugars-EVER. Thou shalt deny your child chocolate, fizzy drinks, tasty salted snacks and anything else yummy.

4. Thou shalt make all your own baby purees from organic fruit,vegetables and meats and thou shalt not be frustarted or angry when baby refuses to eat the puree.

5. Thou shalt not put your child infront of that machine of Satan-The T.V ,to distract them whilst you have 5 minutes peace.

6. Thou shalt not use the word NO to your child. Thou shalt seek other ways to let them know their behaviour/ requests are not suitable. (Have you ever tried this? Soooo difficult!)

7. Thou shalt let your child express him/her self freely- even if this includes drawing on the walls with your favourite lipstick.

8. Thou shalt always have the patience of a saint with your child and thou shalt not get cross or raise your voice- even if afore mentioned child is behaving like one of Lucifers helpers and your partner is being as much use as a chocolate teapot.

9. Thou shalt always agree with your partner infront of your child (what you do or say once chlild is asleep is up to you!), thus showing your child a stable,united family. Thou shalt not think wicked thoughts whilst putting on this show.

10 Thou shalt not have a nervous breakdown attempting the above commandments.

Friday, November 13, 2009

I want to wear this one!

Which hats do you wear? It is only 7.30 am here in not so sunny Spain and so far the hats I have worn are:-

My cross Mummys hat- why do children wake up early on a Saturday, yet have to be dragged out of bed during the week.

My chefs hat- why does one of my daughters insist on asking for the one thing I don't have when I ask what they want for breakfast.

My zookeepers hat- battling my way through 5 cats and a rabbit, without tripping over one of them, to get them fed.

My laundrette hat- why is my washing machine always full? Are the rest of the village sneaking into my house at night and dumping their dirty clothes in my machine?

By the end of the day I will also have worn:-

My holiday camp entertainments organisers hat- "What are we doing today, Mummy?"

My psychologists hat- having 2 almost teenage daughters means this hat is getting worn more and more! also a few sessions of self analysis seem necessary these days!

My chefs hat- numerous times.

My cleaners hat- never really take this off, just put other hats on top of it!

My saints halo- helps me gather up enough patience to deal with afore mentioned animals,children and grumpy ex-husband.

My taxi drivers hat-my daughters forget they have bikes and those things that dangle from the bottom of their boddies....legs

I have probably forgotten a few hats but you know which hat I want to wear....the one at the start of this blog. Just for a day or two I would love to wear a frivilous, pretty, non useful hat. A hat that signifies fun and no responsibilities. But having said this, after a couple of days I would miss all my other hats. Perhaps I am more of a cosy,sensible woolly bobble hat than a Alexander McQueen creation.

What kind of hat are you?

Weekend upon us and for many that means Sunday is spent trying to coordinate a Sunday lunch-Don't do it! Enjoy your Sunday!

Sunday Lunch in a Tin.

Take heaps of vegetables- carrots,onions,swede,peppers,celery, tomatoes etc and roughly chop them and put them in the biggest roasting tray you have.Add lots of salt and pepper, rosemary (fresh or dried), bay leaves and garlic (crushed or just chuck in whole cloves). Drizzle with Olive oil and put in hot oven for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes place chicken breasts or pork chops on top of veggies. More salt and pepper and olive oil and back in oven for 40 minutes (or until meat cooked) Serve from roasting tray with potatoes (mashed,boiled or roasted) if you can be bothered to make them, or some lovely fresh bread. Gravy optional!

Time saver- you can do all the roasting of vegetables the day before, so you only have to chuck some meat on top and voila- Sunday roast in 40 minutes!

What's Up Doc.

No recipe today,sorry! Friday night in our house is Princesses Night. My two girls and I get our pyjamas on early, watch a chick flick and eat pizza! I suggest you do the same! Main event of the day- our house rabbit Poppy became an outside the house rabbit. Let me explain:-
Pleeeeese Mummy!

“Please Mummy! Pleeeeeese! I have wanted one for like forever. All my friends have one. I promise I will take care of it. I swear on my sisters’ life”

I could be explaining my daughters’ desperate need for numerous things- a bike, a Nintendo, a computer, a Roxy jacket etc , but no what she wanted was a rabbit. Before the rabbit she “neeeeeeeeded” to have a hamster. I can just picture the poor rodent cowering in its’ cage as my three cats stalk round it licking their whiskery chops. Before the hamster it was a guinea pig. Before the guinea pig it was a fish- but not a pretty goldfish type fish, one of those weird fish that suck on to the side of the fish tank. For goodness sake where is the fun in watching a pair of big lips slide found a glass bowl? Before the fish it was a terrapin- until her friends’ terrapin bit her. My daughter is like one of those nippy, yappy terrier dogs- once she is on a mission she never shuts up and she never lets go.

So, this time she must have caught me at a weak moment and I agreed to her having a rabbit. As soon as I uttered the word “yes” I knew I had made a huge mistake. I tried to justify my decision to others, and myself, by saying- she is now 11 and therefore mature enough to take care of the rabbit; it will be an excellent way for her to learn to be more responsible etc. etc. Friends and family gave me that sad, how deluded are you look. Wake up and smell the coffee Kate. This is Robyn we are talking about. Robyn who thinks that coats belong on the floor with the wet towels and dirty clothes. This is Robyn who can’t see the sense in making your bed because you are just going to get back into it later. This is Robyn who thinks all available space in our home should be filled with her “stuff”. This is Robyn whose school bag contains scary, mouldy stuff and whose gym bag should have a “Risk of Contamination” sign on it. This is Robyn who is so lazy she would rather talk like the man in the Mr. Kipling adverts than blow her nose. This is Robyn who rather than brush her hair cuts the tats out. Anyway, I had agreed….enter Poppy.

First we had to buy all the necessaries for Poppy- cage, water bottle, food bowl, snacks, special baby bunny food, brush, collar and lead (yes, really!),vitamin enhanced, wooden, chewy sticks and hay. How on earth do rabbits in the wild survive without all these things? All prepared (or so I thought) off we went to get Poppy.Oh, so cute! A little ball of golden, silky, fur. One ear up and one ear down, little twitchy nose- she could melt even the hardest of hearts. Little cotton wool tale, shiny black eyes and ……teeth. With those teeth came phase two of buying necessaries for Poppy- blankets to protect my sofa, covers for all electrical cables (the video cable was the first of Poppys’ victims), patches to mend clothes and boxes to store toys (we now have a very scary looking “Phantom of The Opera Barbie”- no nose and half a face!)

We wanted Poppy to be a house rabbit; freedom to hop and jump wherever her sharp, clawed little feet wanted to. All fine and dandy until you find your house covered in little chocolate like balls and you sit on a patch of warm rabbit wee. Super, until you see your house slowly disintegrating in front of your eyes. Perfect, until you go to tie your shoelaces and realize they are no more. We wanted Poppy to be human friendly; Robyn was to spend quality time with her every morning and night. But do you realize how busy an 11 year old is? There’s hair to be straightened; outfits to be chosen; computer games to be played; vital conversations on Messenger to be had (after all a girl has so much to tell her school friends; the ones she saw only half an hour previously!). The list goes on and that is before the tedious tasks of homework, brushing teeth, showering etc enter in. So, who gets quality time with Poppy? Muggings here. Who cleans out Poppys cage? Yours truly. Who chases Poppy round the room in a vain attempt to brush her? Moi.

I suppose I shouldn’t complain- she could have neeeeeeeded a horse or a pot bellied pig. Next time I am getting straight on to Amazon and buying one of those DVDs of a virtual fish tank. Actually, I wonder if they do a horse one?
Animal lovers do not panic- Poppt now has a luxury home outside (with light and everything) and a huge terrace to try and chew her way through!