Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"Musings On The Last Day Of The Year...Hear Hear"

A Beach In Goa...Before Fireworks and Possible Accidental Maiming By Said Fireworks (all illegal of course)
So here I am in 'Paradise'.  Again.  Ah, that first touchdown in Mumbai...sun scorched earth and perennially sunny skies.  Then filing shell-shocked out of the small domestic plane in Goa and feeling the wave of heat and ripeness invade your senses and immediately banish from memory the sterile, starved-of-sensuality airplane vibe.

In the old days, when it was just le husband and I, coming to Goa was almost a religious experience.  We knew we'd eat delicious food, swim in divinely warm waters and chug around on an Enfield, exploring empty winding roads as if for the first time - stopping only to fortify ourselves with lukewarm (but still appreciated) Kingfishers - continually amazed when a roadside refreshment stop always seemed to pop up around the next bend, in the middle of nowhere.

Then we had a baby.  Little Egg, who we brought here when only an infant.  This time we were greeted with open arms by the locals, who despite having gazillions of children themselves, treated our little miracle like, well a miracle, and couldn't stop grabbing/touching/clucking/clutching our wee man.  We felt proud that having a child hadn't altered our adventurous sides or cramped our traveling style.  We even strapped him on to our backs and rode around on an Enfield again (always an Enfield), chuckling to ourselves while imagining the horror that our respective parents would feel could they see us then.

Years later, and now armed with three boys (9,7, 22 months) our holiday(s) in Goa take on a slightly different form from our original perfect blueprint.  We have to improvise and compromise.  These days Goa (and India as a whole) is no longer the excitingly exotic wonderland of our youth.  The internet and technology as a whole have taken care of that.  No longer can you 'disappear' into the wilds of the Indian hinterland with no way of being tracked down.  But we still love it.  And it's still special...just in a different way.

Luckily there is a local foreign school here where we can enrol the eldest two monsters whilst here, so they don't get bored and we don't go mad.  (Little boys aren't great fans of sunbathing, reading for hours or generally chilling, don't you know...and unlike Kingfishers or vodka soda's, there is a limit to how many mango juices they can ingest without sending them into spazz mode or having their little teeth fall out like unwanted mini chicklets).

But still, the ache of yesteryear remains.  But then it does in life generally these days I find.  Every time we come here after an absence of a year or so, it's always a shock to see how little has changed but yet how much has.  Favourite beach shacks will have changed 'management' and the food that was divine last time will be distinctly average now.  Or you'll take a proper look around and see how many new faces are mingled in with the old and realise that your old skool "favouritest" beach in the world is now on the map thanks to a Guardian article written earlier in the year.

But no matter.  It still rocks to be here, and it will still be hell to leave and go back to 'our real lives'...which after three weeks here will begin to feel like our 'fake lives'.  Half lives.  Talk about existential crisis.  It's not like we're horrendously lazy types who want to forego ambition for lazing about in singlets, thongs and sauntering down the beautiful beach day after day.  But still.  Being in 'Paradise' makes you feel ecstatic and sad all at once.  You realise how fast life is storming by and you wonder whether you got the equation right, and whether it's too late to shift up or down to try and find your own perfect sweet spot before mediocrity finds you and claims you till death do you part.  

I  have absolutely no doubt that had le husband and I remained childless, we would have missed out on the absolute hilarity and gloriousness of having Egg, Dumpie and Squit in our lives.  But I also know that we would have fabricated for ourselves, as a consolation prize of sorts, a life of nomadic adventure...spending summers in the brilliance that is the UK from June to September, and spending the rest of the year in far flung climes, writing, making tunes, drinking unpronounceable teas and interacting with a plethora of mad characters on a daily basis.

I guess the older you get the more you realise how little you truly know and how useless it is to rail against the indescrepencies of your brain.  Were our memories to be wiped and we be given another go at our lives, in all likelihood we'd end up in similar places based on the choices we'd likely make again and again, given the individuals we are.  

So we're where we're supposed to be I guess, and our job is to make peace with that whilst still trying to carve out interesting angles and look for places we can scratch out more meaning and push ourselves further outside of our comfort zone.

But that still doesn't stop my yearning.  Such complicated creatures we are, however simplistic and universal our desires.  For example, right now I yearn for a pre-sunset fresh lime soda w/ vodka, whilst flipping through my latest tome and splashing lazily around in the sea.  Then I yearn to stuff my face with a veg curry, steamed rice and one too many garlic cheese naans.  Then of course I will yearn to throw ridiculous shapes on the makeshift dance floor till dawn whilst wearing an inappropriately short mini skirt and downing too many Kingfishers.

So there.

(Oh yeah, and Happy New Year to all you lovely people who know me, make me smile, and make me feel that little bit less pointless in this big ol' world xx)

Monday, 23 December 2013

"Can Christmas Hurry Up Already?"

"Like butter wouldn't melt..."  Ha!
Two days later and I'm still finding detritus from our Xmas party on Saturday night: a straw sticking out of our crystal scotch decanter...half empty cans of beer in the boys bathroom behind a plant(??)...

However I'm pleased to say that both my and the husbands heads have now resumed their usual neural activity (ie. not great, but functional).

Today I'm meant to bring all three monsters into the West End to the husbands place of employment.  Apparently it's 'kid's day' and my job is to bundle three stir-crazy little boys into winter gear, haul them across town on public transport, and escort them into the husbands office where they will wreak havoc and more than likely embarrass and humiliate us in several different ways they haven't even yet conceived of themselves (the baby's latest favourite word is 'Damn'...he says it incessantly...well, that and 'Pizza.'  Is it any wonder that due to our heavily laden social calendar of the past month, we've had to ditch the kitchen in favour of other means, and that every time the doorbell rings now, he races to the top of the stairs and screams, 'Pizza!  Pizza?!")

Anyway I digress.  It's now chucking it down outside and the prospect of leaving is getting more and more frightening.  It's so insanely windy outside that there's a very good chance I might lose a child or two en route.  Though at least we had the presence of mind to have three of them so it's not like we didn't make biological provisions for such an occurrence.

I am looking around vainly for some sort of motivation, or even some sort of foodstuff that will embolden me to get dressed, get the monsters dressed and brave the big bad wet windy world outside.  I find none.  And of course it's way to early to have a glass of anything that might calm my already pre-frazzled nerves.

However in two days, we shall be well within our rights to crack open a bottle of fizz at the crack of dawn, and sit stupidly aside as the monsters tear open presents they don't need but will adore for 15 minutes or so until they break or get chucked over the garden fence never to be seen again.

Bring.  It.  On.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

"Martha Stewart Eat Your Heart Out"



 Yesterday afternoon found me trawling the internet for the BESTEST ever Christmas punch recipe...and Ms. Stewart suggested a pomegranate/cranberry based concoction which went down a storm (to disclose the rest of the ingredients would be both pointless because it was very much an ad lib exercise in mixology AND possibly heighten the hangovers of all our Christmas party attendees last night, who do NOT want to know exactly how many bottles of vodka were sacrificed to the cause...hiccup).

At any rate, it was a most splendid affair - our Christmas Party of 2013.  Only when you have the occasion to gather so many of your nearest, dearest and queerest, do you realise how many brilliant mates you have.  And we are very lucky in that respect.

But enough gushing.  Today sees me paying penance for last night's frivolities, though I must confess my hurting head is so worth it.  There is nothing quite like a Christmas party.  The invite specified cheesy xmas jumpers and/or glitter (don't have to tell you which one i went for) and at one point I do recall our kitchen being the epicentre of all things rave-tastic, with the room jammed full of people laughing dancing shouting with glee and exhibiting all manner of imaginative dance moves.  Brilliant.

So here I sit, unable to do much save propel sugary coated biscuit after biscuit into my mouth, in the hopes that an insulin fuelled burst of energy might propel me off the sofa and out of my prone position and out the door.

Oh who am I kidding.  My future forecast for the rest of the day involves no more than a third attempt to wash last nights heavy eye make up off my panda-esque eyes - and a gooey cheesy pizza at some point.  Yes, definitely a pizza.

I suspect all will be perfectly tickitty-boo in my world then.  There are few things in life that a magnificent pizza can't fix.  Including a broken head :)

Monday, 11 November 2013

"Punk Rock Maybe..."

When tongs are not enough...
Last night I was apparently under the impression that I was head stylist at Toni & Guy's, for that's the only excuse for the 'fright-fringe' I am now sporting.  Of course last night, heavily under the influence of a weekends worth of binge drinking, followed by a few 'swift ones' at the husbands local, the idea that my recently professionally cut hair needed improvement seemed an inspiration at the time.

People always warn you about 'sexting' (sending inappropriate or cringe-worthy messages to ex's etc.) but no one really warns you about the inherent dangers in manicure scissors, perceived sobriety and 'artistic urges'.

So predictably, last night when i hack-hack-hacked chunks out of my hair, it was looking more and more punk rock, and combined with my bright fuschia lip gloss, was looking fairly amazing and avant-garde at the time.  This morning I just look like I've been to 'Supercuts' (for those not in 'the know' it's a really, really cheap discount haircutting place last seen in Canadian strip malls in the 80's).

But I digress.  My hair looks like shite and no matter of preening, curling or twirling is going to restore it to its former pseudo-glory.  So, I'm going to embrace my 'new look', work it with masses of hair product, and if questioned, claim I got it shorn by some amazing Japanese hair stylist in Soho.  So there.

As if sporting the (hopefully temporary) fringe of a mental patient this morning weren't enough, I'm having to contend with rip-off appliance repair people, annoying school administrators, a whoopie-cushion obsessed 21 month old, and a day of near fasting ahead of me.  Mind, after all the gluttonous (both on the booze and food front) weekend the husband and I just shared in Brighton, this is proving quite a shock to the system.  (Though I suppose any day which starts with lattes, a few glugs of scotch and an unlimited supply of glazed Krispy Kremes on the bedside table is going going to take some beating.)

All manner of sisters, newly minted 'bro-in-law' and a Grandma to boot, chipped in to supply a much needed birthday break away sans monsters this past weekend.  It was so much fun, and such a good time was had, that it's hard to imagine that normal life is going to be anywhere but downhill from here for the rest of the year.  Saying that, with a Goan escape planned and booked for right after the holidays, it's hard not to feel a tad smug in the face of all this arctic chill permeating my tired London bones.

I did just have this thought though that my newly shorn fringe might just catapult me straight to the top of the Goan Hippy Fashion stakes. And did I mention that somehow we came back from our weekend away with a ten year old Chinese bonsai named 'En Woo'?

See, life ain't all that bad.

New Bonsai plant 'En Woo' purchased impulsively in a flurry of inebriated joy...

"No I am not drunk.  Yes I am capable of behaving in a non-imbecilic fashion whilst out dining in public."

Accountable to no one...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

"This Is My Moment...This Is My Kodak Moment"

It's the aftermath of my birthday.  And I feel bloated.  Clearly I overdid it on the booze front (fizz, sauvingnon blanc, crianza, lychee martini's...), the pizza front (have vague recollections of feeling like I might vomit but continuing to stuff great slabs of cheesy heaven into my gob regardless) and the cake front (loads of orange flavoured buttercream icing which seemed like such a good idea at the time).

I do feel spoiled though.  It was like my own personal Christmas as i got spoiled beyond belief with a lovely new glam handbag, a sexy pencil skirt, a leopard print bikini, a beautiful necklace, some wicked tights, leather leggings...etc.  I should point out however that all these super sexy cool gifts were from my mum and sisters (love you guys), whereas the males in my life were a touch more practical in their gift giving inspiration:  a 'fit bit' watch (previously mentioned), a top of the range bicycle light(!), a notebook, a pen, a Murakami tome, a bicycle rack and bag (yep, definitely a distinct theme emerging here)....
one 'glam' gift...
...followed by one a touch less so (my new top-of-the-range bicycle light)  

A 'Dumpie Special'
Do I care?  Heck no.  Mainly because I am the proud owner of a newly acquired powder pink folding Brompton bicycle, which I have discovered, is great fun to whizz up and down the streets on (even moreso after a few glasses of vino).  Though it is to my great embarrassment that I have yet to memorise the intricacies involved in folding and unfolding the bloody thing without the aid of either an eye-rolling husband or a trio of friendly male strangers outside a pizza restaurant channeling youtube....

A late night birthday 'nightcap' with my favourite pet :)

My gorgeous mum here for my first birthday in YEARS...(who spoiled me rotten!)
But I digress.  It was a wickedly fun birthday and as my head hit the pillow on the wrong side of 2am it dawned on me that the husband had neither made good on his promise to give me a birthday massage (it's the only time of year that he doesn't pull the old hand scratching, disinterested, rub-in-the-same-place 'massage' that feels so horrible that I make him stop and tell him not to bother) nor did I get my special wish of a nice (solo!) bubble bath, glass of wine and uninterrupted Grazia reading.

Oh well, only 364 days to wait....

Opening the last card...from my 'boys'...wondering what it's going to say inside....

....apparently nothing!  They only bloody forgot to sign the bloody thing :)

A cheesy, lo-light old skool 'Kodak Moment'...

...and another one.  just cuz :)

Monday, 7 October 2013

"Happy Birthday To Me"

Today is my birthday (never mind which one...I'm bloody 'old' okay?).  Anyway, because of this momentous occasion, I had the great fortune to be sitting in Gordon's Wine Bar last night with my mum and sisters sipping fine wine and nibbling cheeses, and not - like the poor husband - walking into our high-ceilinged bathroom last night during 'bath time' to find the boys chucking wads of wet toilet paper onto the ceiling.

Now, I am sitting in a pile of 'Palmier' crumbs on my bed (courtesy of an early morning mission by the husband to procure my favourite treat from Paul's Patisserie) trying to keep the baby from polishing off the last bite (he's already eaten the bulk of this morning's pastries and screamed bloody murder when his big brother's tried to wrestle a bite off of him).

The husband gave me a very funny/scary card this morning with an elderly naked couple riding tandem on a bike.  It made me laugh, but then I looked over to gauge his reaction and saw his eyes take on a wistful expression and realised that it probably is his wet dream.  God help me. Along with the card I also got this cool black bracelet that tracks your day's activity, informs you on the quality of your sleep (I could tell you for nothing it's permanently shite), and lets you know how active you are on any given day (is this the husband's way of confirming his deep suspicion that all I do each day while he's at work is sit and eat bon-bons with the fat baby whilst directing minions of elves in their laundry and scrubbing toilets chores??).

At any rate, I can't complain.  I'm a lucky girl with a day of babbling ahead of me (currently all the baby knows how to say is 'Happy Birthday to youuuuuuu...' so today of all days this is going to come in extremely handy), and later I intend to stuff myself so full of boozes and pizza (yep, it's still my favourite food) that I babble incoherently as I chuck myself in bed.

Another year I'll do the 'elegant-dress-up-in-Jimmy-Choo's-and-dine-at-a-fine-restaurant' thing.

This year I'm gonna keep it strictly Honey Boo-Boo....but of the brown trash variety.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

"Two Festivals, A Holiday to Sicily, A Wedding and No Funeral..."

What a crazy summer it has been.  I've never been so stressed out since I was in university and trying to cram for a whole terms worth of material in one heinous all-nighter, just so I could pass my exam with flying colours and justify the copious amount of partying I had done for weeks before.

But this summer has been a whirlwind of madness, punctuated by a month long visit from our dear friends from Oz right smack bang in the middle.  It has been so much fun - don't get me wrong - but very 'insane in da membrane'.  I finally know what it's like to be a crack head...frazzled, tense, not making sense, running around like a proverbial headless chicken, etc.

And today is the first day of school.  This is unfortunate, as last night whilst tucking the boys in I spotted their unwashed, stained uniforms I thought:  "I'm not ready for this."  Never mind.  The dirty clothes are currently whirling around in the dryer and will be sweet smelling (if a little damp) as the monsters make their way to school in just under an hour - their stomachs pumped full of homemade pancakes to assuage my mother guilt.

Last weekend was my little sister's wedding to one of our best friends.  It was glorious and brilliant in every way and I have only vague recollections of dancing to 'Pump Up The Jam' in a most un-motherly fashion whilst clutching my disgruntled 18-month old fat baby.  I hope no one was filming.

My sister (who looked like she should be gracing the cover of Vogue) and her new husband, are currently sunning their beautiful selves in Bali so I am both suitably happy for them and jealous in equal measure.  I think of them everyday when I step outside onto our terrace and maybe/maybe not step in a small neat pile of doggy doo-doo.  (Note to self: must remember to put contact lenses in immediately upon waking up).  We are puppy-sitting their very naughty 6 month old Yorkie for two weeks and my sister's last words to me were:  "Please don't let her die."  Sis, if you're reading this, I am trying my very best...WHEN i remember...and as of today, she is still alive.  Result!

Working backwards, the trip to Sicily was brilliant.  Grandpa rented a gorgeous beachfront villa and filled it with two daughters, three grandchildren and a son-in-law for good measure.  With long enough of a gap since childbirth I finally dared to don that two piece Abercrombie & Fitch bikini that's lain unworn and unloved, balled up in the corner of my sock drawer for two years.  It got some seriously good use as I spent more time swimming in the glorious bathtub-esque sea than I did doing anything else...save scoffing gelato.   The only hitch to the whole trip was getting thrown up on three times by a carsick baby en route to Stanstead Airport at 3am and having to fly smelling of dried sick.  And then of course there was the fact that my sister missed the flight and happened to be the one in possession of everyone's holiday Euro's.  Oopsie.  Still, it one of the best holidays I can ever remember having and besides furnishing me with what appears to be a permanent mahogany tan (soon to morph into old lady sunspots in the not-to-distant future I imagine), it did wonders to soothe my frazzled nerves and prepare me for the monumental task of getting together a playlist for my sisters wedding reception and writing a speech.  (Both of which I frantically scrambled together the morning of the wedding.  Don't ask.)

Slipping backwards into memory, this summer was punctuated by the arrival of our dearest friends from Sydney.  We only get to see each other once every 3-4 years so it was very special and amazing to spend such a great chunk of the summer with them.  They have two children, so sometimes things got a bit chaotic with the four of us adults being outnumbered by little people, but a plethora of evening cocktails and a handy supply of dvds did the trick.  Mostly :)

We went to not one but TWO(!) festivals this year.  First, the behemoth that was Glastonbury, followed by the somewhat posh but oh-so-easy-to-be-at Wilderness Festival, where I have to say the highlight was watching the daily 'crazy cricket' matches with non-stop brilliant banter and the occasional male and female streakers.  Hilarious.  Even better was the old-skool rave I found myself at in this hidden valley there late one night with a few sisters and friends.  Once I got used to dancing on an incline on a hill, squeezed into other, rather more nubile young bodies than my own, it was great fun and I danced like I was seventeen again (though possibly that was in my head and I was in fact dancing like a mental mother let loose on her one night out a year after too many vodka red bulls....but who knows).

So that's all I really have to say on the matter.  I've got to dash now, and convince my baby not to chuck a blueberry yoghurt drink across the kitchen, convince Egg that as it's going to be 28 degrees today and his heavy winter fleece is not appropriate first day of school wear, and convince Dumpie that in fact we have to leave in 10 minutes and not two hours as he is want to believe.

I'm back in the land of the blogging folks.  Sorry it's been so long, but life has been too hectic to handle let alone write about.  I've missed it.

More tomorrow :)

The bride and I with Dad...

Bride and Monsters

Wedding Bound Baby

Crazy Cricket watching at Wilderness Festival 2013

Festival Bound with Friends :)

Sunday, 7 July 2013

"Festival Family Glastonauts"


"You just haven't had your 'Glasto Moment' yet," the husband said last weekend as we trudged through crowds, the children whining (it was in all fairness the first day and they hadn't caught wind of the kid's field yet - just frolicking drunk people in crazy costumes meandering through mad fields with no apparent destination in mind - and I include the husband and I in this).

No indeed I hadn't.  But it wasn't long after until I did.  In fact I'm not even sure when it happened.  Perhaps it was hooking up with my sis and a load of our friends in a sunny field, sipping vodka-based cocktails and working on our tans whilst the boys gleefully zip-lined across the field and buggered off for sufficient enough time for the husband and I to put our new Cath Kidston picnic blanket to the test.

In the end, the four days we spent at the worlds biggest music festival passed in a delightfully surreal blur of music, laughter, adventure, panic, amusement and downright ridiculousness.  In fact the biggest downside wasn't even at the festival itself, but during the arduous four hour drive home wherein we discovered that our headlight deficient campervan rendered the road ahead utterly invisible and required the husband to keep his finger flexed at all times on the high beam lever just to catch the odd glimpse of tarmac.  Nightmare.

Bear in mind we'd both had next to no sleep and could barely keep our eyes open - so were not at all able to handle the relentless screaming of what was normally our smiley baby.  I had to contort my body around just to hold hands with him, and it wasn't until we stopped for some emergency petrol station coffee that we discovered the poor soul had been screaming not because he was an escaped minion from the depths of hell but rather because he was covered in his own vomit and likely had been for quite some time - clearly suffering from a profound bout of car sickness.  (Gulp).  Oops.

 Add to this the fact that I was openly snoring in what must have been a most attractive stance, head thrown back, mouth agape, drifting in and out of dreams - waking only to have the husband repeatedly ask me whether I'd know what to do if he had a heart attack right there and then whilst driving.  That sobered me up.  But only momentarily.

In the end it was my shitty little speaker hooked up to my iphone which saved the day.  I began playing a selection of tunes - some to wind the husband up and some to keep me in the land of the living.  It must have worked as we arrived alive.

At any rate, suffice it to say that a grand time was had by all.  I was let loose to do whatever I fancied on the Friday night and found that after a few hours of furtive guilt texting to the husband whilst watching The Horrors at The Park Stage (amazing) I soon forgot about anything but having fun, and learned that left to my own devices, much like a homing pigeon, I would eventually find my way back to the campervan and resume normal duty.  Albeit at breakfast the next day, but hey - as I told the husband - at least I came back.

The husband duly returned the favour by taking off to see geriatric rockers 'The Rolling Stones' the next night and not rolling in until 6am Sunday morning - a stunt which pretty much determined that the ride home for him later that day (headlights or no headlights) was going to be U.T.T.E.R. H.E.L.L.

So I'll let the pictures do the talking and bid you adieu now.  I went, I saw, I participated, and i had fun.  What more is there to say?

(Next year the husband and I go it alone)

A friend helps herd the monsters around...
Ready for another day of silliness...
Future circus performer

Dumps and a mate checking out the talent

Mama checking out The Horrors

A near version of '127 Hours'.  But in a campervan.  With Mama sat outside unawares and kids freaking out inside.

Squit decides he's had enough.  And is outta there.

Too many bands...too many girls...too many late nights

My motley crew of disgraces...thanks for a brilliant night well spent :)

Whilst Dada catches 40 winks, Squit uploads pic of his passed out Dada on twitter

Dada happy as a proverbial...  Nuff said.

"Umm...where to next?"

"Dude looks like a lady" (but was most certainly...a dude :)

Friday, 28 June 2013


There is a lot I could say, posting here from Glastonbury with les monsters adorable. 

But a) I'm trying to type on an iPhone  b) the pics say it better :)