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Ta muchly for visiting. Here you will find musings, ramblings and a few statements of fact. They say women can have it all, motherhood, careers and crazy social lives. But what if we don't want it all? What if we want some of it sometimes and other bits not so often? Here I'll mix and match as the whims and energy levels take me. Your tuppence worth is always welcome!

The mask...

The mask...
Life is for loving and living no matter what it involves...

Monday, 27 December 2010

Boxing clever

This year I have come to the conclusion that Boxing Day is far superior to Christmas Day. There is less stress, less mess, no fuss and a whole lot more relaxation with all the treats left over from the day before. Apparently it is so called due to the boxes people got - some say servants got gift boxes from masters, others argue the priests opened the alms boxes to the poor and yet another suggestion is that the Romans collected money in boxes to pay for the people to have their games. I see the theme there - boxes. All good stuff.

We had lots of boxes in our house too. Empty boxes with the contents scattered in death inducing fashion all over the place. Not a single room was safe from small bits of plastic, nuggets of wood or wheeled things. Thank goodness we elected to conduct the day from the safety of the sofa or someone could have been hurt. Although we did manage a small jaunt to the beach for a pebble dash with the wee ones; nothing better for working off the mince pies. Life beside the seaside is wonderful in winter. No tourists crowding the place leaving wide stretches of beach free for the locals to enjoy. Okay it is a tad on the chilly side but the view is worth it; nothing says hope like an endless horizon. There is such promise where the sea meets the sky, perfect for the closing days of the festive season.

Not quite as we saw it Boxing Day but Brighton Beach in winter is amazing.
And it has been a funny festive season this year. Christmas had ping-ponged from our place to up north and then back down again. Our feasty preparations swirled like snow as health and weather took our plans and shook them upside down. In the end by the time it came to the big day we'd sort of lost momentum. I say 'we' but the small ones maintained full throttle until around 4pm on Christmas day when they hit melt down; almost literally given the amount of chocolate consumed. Tall hubby and I rode out the day on wine and adrenalin; we cruised on the kids craziness but after they hit the hay we found ourselves fading fast. So it was a relief to wake up on Boxing Day full of festive joy and that special Christmas buzz that makes all things merry and bright.

The real fun in Boxing Day comes from the left overs. All that mad over spending is swapped for thrifty concoctions involving beat up roasties and mashed sprouts. We opted for a goose this year and I just didn't know how it would taste the day after; some things don't work the next go round, thankfully goose isn't one of them. I dry fried it with a bit of garlic, shallots and smoked sweet paprika with a dash of cream; totally yummy with a bit of bubble and the chili roasted beetroot on the side. Tomorrow the plan is to stir fry it with some grated ginger and orange for a noodle-tastic dish of leftover delight. And then that goose will be well and truly cooked.

The goose got fat and we ate it all up!
Now that the frenzy of Christmas is past we can fully enjoy the rest of  this festive season. There are treats-a-plenty to be over-consumed and presents to be explored, TV specials to veg in front of and friends to swap xmassy stories with. And let us not forget the grandest of all grand finales - New Year's Eve. Ah yes, the Christmas spirit is flowing now...Merry Christmas one and all.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Here come the girls...

Perhaps doing this blog has alerted the universe, somehow tapped into that cosmic ordering system so beloved of beardy bloke off the TV? Certainly something was sensitive to the limits of my bank balance when it was the mummies Xmas bash this week. Maybe it was the batch of hail Mary's I did before heading out? Nah, I'm not even Catholic so they wouldn't get a look in, plus I doubt the lady in blue would approve of over indulgence; let's face it she gave birth in a stable - not exactly BUPA is it.

I think with all the wisdom of my 38 years I shall notch it up to pure brilliant flukey good fortune. Can't beat a bit of random luck can you? Especially at this time of year. So it was fitting that the mummies staff night out should benefit from the benevolent purse strings of a random, unknown company's staff Xmas party. Free bar and a rare feast of quality nibbles in a generous buffet were unexpectedly available for our delight.

It happened quite by accident. Eager to kick off proceedings I arrived at the pre-dinner drinks venue armed with a thirst and a magazine (Vanity Fair FYI - Johnny Depp lured me in) to find the place heaving. A gaggle of ladies at the bar smiled in welcome, passed me a drinks list and left me to decide. Well it would have been rude not to wouldn't it? And how beautifully English it all was when I took my large glass of vino, selected a perch, whipped out the magazine and apparently ignored 'my colleagues' that not a soul chose to ask who the hell I was. There was nothing more than a curious glance sent my way. Immediately I sent a text to alert the other mummies - didn't want them blowing my cover - and they too made merry with the free bar on arrival. As a collective we assumed the identity of co-workers and everyone blithely ignored the fact they had never set eyes on us before that night. The waiters invited us - invited mind - to partake of the buffet as it appeared and with all the grace of the good virgin herself we accepted that invitation. Of course we needed more wine to wash it down. Such larks!
The red stuff was the right stuff for mummies on the town...

Rosy of cheek and semi-full of belly we left as late as we possibly could to keep our dinner date. Plus we didn't want to succumb to the temptation to make up stories about 'Nellie from accounts'. Naturally we skipped starters, thus shaving  a nice wodge of cash off the bill. That staff party was the gift that kept on giving.

More wine, liqueur coffee and onto the next venue. The cocktail lounge beckoned with a wink and a smile. We were ready for a spot of mixing but..the horror...the place was jammed with tanked up leery Loaded readers (or Nuts but definitely not Esquire types) herding round the bar. It was like a scene from Wall Street. Definitely not in keeping with the night's vibe. In a hasty retreat we  plumped for the pub and yet again saved ourselves a few quid into the bargain. It was perfect. Good times, good banter and minimum outlay. It doesn't get better than that.

There is nothing to compare to a night out with the ladies; let's face it I'm hardly going to laugh till I cry on the topic of pelvic floor exercises with big tall hubby. |It will be an eternal mystery as to whether we did them then and there or not...There are some things that are just for girls. We might talk like ladies but we can drink like the men and finished off our evening with whiskies at a late bar as the snow fell outside and the witching hour truly arrived. A toast to ladies who know how to party! From start to finish it was a night to warm the cockles and raise a smile, no a grin, a face splitting teeth sharing grin to the most harassed of mummies visages. If Christmas is for giving we have duly received. Thank you.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

festivities galore

It is that time of year isn't it when folks get festive and frolicky. Every which way you turn there is a party, gathering or get together. Round our place things are triply festive focussed with not one but two birthdays and the visit from the man in red. Throw in xmas social parties and it is all cakes, booze and bad food as far as the eye can see. That healthy eating regime? Ah yes, a fond memory. Bank balance - let us not dwell where accountants fear to tally. Close eyes, hide scales and hunker down till January. That's what I'm doing. Although with this belly I can give Santa a run for his money. Ho-ho-ho. I'm crying on the inside. Well, snuffling. I may need a comfort chocolate. Quick put on a festive weepy so it can all come out. Or better yet a fab festive celebrity work out dvd. What is it with the celebs and work outs? Like it isn't enough they force themselves to live on twigs and spend twenty hours a day crunching flab and crushing abs they have to inflict their body wisdom onto us. And at Christmas no less? The cheek! Pass the mince pies nurse please.

Wee boy was first up with the Dec parties, hosting his third birthday in the pub. Cancel that call to the social care unit - we hired the function room. Two nights in a row we cooked and created in the kitchen till way past the witching hour making sure all was ready for his big day. He wanted a tractor cake - with a trailer no less - so a tractor is what he got. Took some sculpting with the butter cream icing I can tell you. For all mums wondering how to entertain wee ones who are too young to get party games proper but too old to be happy with a chew stick I can highly recommend the pinata. We got the wee man a guitar one as didn't want the moral ambiguity of encouraging him to bash an animal till it bursts. Ah the glee they attacked that poor guitar with would have Pete Townsend blushing with pride. Although giving 3 year olds a chair leg and letting them loose was not the wisest move at first - rules were swiftly established. Cancel that 999 call. Pinata burst, sweeties exploded to freedom, very happy children followed.

Tomorrow will be my turn. The mummies have formed a collective for our own 'staff Christmas party', well when you work from home ain't no one gonna do it for ya. This too will kick off in a pub, but in the adults only proper grown ups section where consumption of booze is encouraged, nay celebrated. We don't plan on bashing anything unless it's a mugger on the way home with our handbag. But a few drinks, dinner, cocktails later and child free banter will bring the perfect twinkle to the festive build up. Am I excited? Oh ya mama I am busting at the seams for bit of proper girly social frivolity. Out on the town with big tall hubby is all well and good but a night on the tiles with the ladies is what every woman needs once in a while. Make mine a double and see you for bacon sarnies when the sun comes up.

Before the hangover has a chance to subside it'll be big tall hubby's turn to raise a glass to 38 and not a few days after that we'll be toasting the arrival of Santa down the chimney up in bonny Scotland. But that's a blog for another day. Eat well, drink up and party down. And hang the expense, it's Christmas.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Who says lunch aint free?

The interweb is beautiful thing. It may have its ugly moments but then who doesn't? Even the iconic Ms Moss has been known to have her off days so this charming piece of technology can't be blamed for the darker recesses of its existence. Back in the days when a computer in every home was just a sci-fi fantasy it was always seen a source for good (that crazy film about the bonkers killer computer that traps the lady in the house aside) and it is truly wonderful that in so many ways this dream has come to pass.

A perfect and shining example of this is Freecycle. I love Freecycle. I heart it I do. If Freecycle were a person they would dress in vintage shabby chic, have tons of friends and be one of those people who is sickeningly good at everything while being super lovely ta boot. Can't say a bad word about 'em. What an amazing concept...give your stuff away for naught, get stuff for naught. Re-use, reduce, recycle. Ethical and economical? I am there. With bells on.

We've boosted our Freecycle karma with several give-aways. It amazes me that so many people want some of this stuff that might otherwise end up on the tip or in the charity collection. And the stories- seems like that people feel the need for a fair exchange and swap a peek into their life for your unwanted bits and bobs. It is so gorgeously human. I find myself doing it when I pick up things for us. Such treasures you wouldn't believe; our latest is a stunning Indian killim rug. Thanks to that rug toddler girl has truly found her feet. No more slippery laminate underfoot and she is off. Thank you Freecycle.

The best bit about it is the sense of community it offers. You meet people who live where you live. It is sociable. When the snow hit town recently Freecyle brought a tear to my eye it was so damn lovely. Up popped a giveaway of a map showing where all the grit bins lived locally. Beyond thoughtful that is; one step beyond.

The snow came and Freecycle rose to the challenge

How brain bustingly fantastic it is that in this smash & grab day and age something can spring into life that is all about doing a bit of good with no link to cash or gain. Long live Freecycle.