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!