Shaken and Stirred

What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story (pictures are welcome, of course).

It became known as Disaster Day.

We were camping on a quiet camp site on the Isle of Wight. We weren’t a small party – there were four adults and eight children in two large multi-bedroom frame tents. And it rained. And it rained. And it rained some more.

Thankfully, it stopped before morning.

But when JJ got up and opened her suitcase, Oh shit, it’s full of water and very wet clothes.

List of things to do now:
Find Leaky spot. Ah, it’s the entire roof.
Drop frame down so the tall man could paint the roof.
Get canvas sealant to coat the roof.
Hop in car, drive to Newport, which is the main town on the island, slap bang in the middle.
Find camping shop (this was way, way before Google – Youngest was two. Maybe three. He’s twenty-three now) and buy sealant.
Think, well, we may as well buy lunch. Burgers, Sausages, Baked Beans, Bread – that should do for a camping lunch.

And that was MY complicated meal. It sounds simple, really. But there were eight children to be watched. So that took Karen. There was a tent to be dealt with. So that took Husband and JJ. That left me to cook. Burger, sausage, toast, baked beans and a fried egg each. For eight hungry children. On a calor gas stove with two burners and one grill.

I honestly cannot remember how I did it, but I got eight children’s meals out pretty much together, and then four adult meals after that. Then I sat down for a cup of tea, Karen washed up, children were playing happily and…

Youngest jumped off something into something, and fell badly, putting his front teeth through his cheek.

Back to Newport, where we had fortunately seen the hospital on the earlier trip. Triaged and home in an hour, which was pretty fantastic. Poor lad. Next day he looked like he’d had a stroke; the whole side of his face drooped, and strangers were looking at him askance. He made a full recovery and was back to his normal self by the time we went home.


Goodbye bow tie, hello mud pit: a seismic shift in nursery care

Two very differing ways of running a nursery.

Expat Lingo

In Hong Kong, this is how my son dressed to attend nursery:

Bow tie nursery _ On chilly days, Mr. Big Shot layered a on a lemon yellow sweater vest.

This was his mandatory uniform for non-gym days. On gym days he wore shorts that reached his arm pits, paired with a white polo shirt and white sports shoes. Yes, he was part of a tiny army of three-year-old Hongkongers dressed as retired Floridians.

The school, in ultra-dense Hong Kong, didn’t have a scrap of outdoor space, so the children did coordinated exercises beneath artificial trees and air-con vents.

Other than serving cake for snack every other day, the school was strict about health. Each morning I was required to take my son’s temperature and note it in a log book. Because of the ongoing fear of SARS-like contagious diseases, as an additional precaution, a staff member also took his temperature at the school door…

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Seven Reasons You Should Thank A Feminist Today

I remember when I couldn’t get a loan without a responsible person – ie, my husband or my father – to be a guarantor. And I’m coming up sixty. Please, dear god, when Daughter is coming up sixty, we will have got further with this!

And High Five to Belle’s grandma!

The Belle Jar

If there is one thing in this world that makes me want to chew my own face off, it’s women who think that feminism has ruined their lives.

You know the ones that I’m talking about – the women who want to live in some kind of souped up 1950s fantasy world where they get married right out of high school and their husband makes enough to support their family on just his income and they think the moral decline of society has something to do with the fact that women no longer wear crinolines and genteel white gloves and cute little hats. Never mind that, you know, lots and lots of families in the 1950s weren’t able to live off of a single income; trust me when I say that feminism did not invent the working mother. Leaving that little scrap of truth aside, I guess I can see what…

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How Long?!?

When was the last time you got lost? Was it an enjoyable experience, or a stressful one? Tell us all about it.

The last time I got lost, it really wasn’t my fault. It was a temperamental SatNav, coupled with a couple who were on edge with each other, a faulty map and a short-tempered driver. I won’t name names, cos I am still friends with these people, but it was the worst six and a half hours of my life.

Given it takes two hours, max, to drive from my house to Brighton on a normal day, you can see, right there, things went badly. The driver was impatient and shouty, the passenger kept reading the map upside down, the SatNav only worked in bursts, and I was stuck in the back seat of a three-door car. I had never realised just how claustrophobic that is, so I spent the six and a half hour journey in a slight state of panic that there would be an accident and I would burn to death in the back of this deathtrap of a car. Seriously, why buy a car with three doors anyway?

When we came back, I flat-out refused to travel back with the original couple and hooked up with Irish and Roger, who have a sensible, five door car. And Roger, bless him, is the calmest driver ever. Speedy, takes more risks than I was happy with, but calm and polite to other drivers. Such a difference!


Are you washing your face with plastic?

Are you washing your face with plastic?

Because a lot of cosmetic companies these days have been using a synthetic, non biodegradable plastic as the main abrasive in their scrubs – Polyethylene or PE micro beads – which are non-bio-degradable, and end up in our food chain.

Click through for more info. And please, check the ingredients and stop buying ones with plastic polymer beads.


TeaTreeHave you ever read the ingredients list on the back of your facial scrub?  Do you understand what all those technical and chemical ingredients are and do?  Do you really know what you are using to scrub away your facial or body skin cells?

A lot of cosmetic companies these days have been using a synthetic, non biodegradable plastic as the main abrasive in their scrubs – Polyethylene or PE micro beads!

Previously, the exfoliant was crushed shells like walnut or almond, salt or sugar.  Completely natural and completely biodegradable and harmless.

Because of the size of these micro beads it is extremely difficult to remove them from waste water treatments once they have gone down our sinks.  The end point for many plastic micro beads is the ocean and seas where they are known to be ingested by filter feeding organisms.  Whilst in the ocean these micro beads have…

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Virginity, Violence and Male Entitlement

Brilliant. Thanks, Belle!

Virginity, Violence and Male Entitlement.

Daily Prompt – Worldly Encounters

Worldly Encounters
The friendly, English-speaking extraterrestrial you run into outside your house is asking you to recommend the one book, movie, or song that explains what humans are all about. What do you pick?

What IS this obsession with “the one thing that”…

Humanity is a nuanced, complex bundle of interaction and reaction, of love and war and peace and death and violence and altruism that makes you cry and music that makes you cringe.

What one book or film or artwork could sum up that?

Our friendly alien would be best served by watching a year’s worth of television, all the Cannes nominated films, reading the Times best-seller list and eating food on all continents.

But if I had to put it all on one, I think I would go for Luc Besson’s “The Fifth Element”, which is, after all, about an alien discovering our world. Oh, and discovering love, good and evil, and sex. And has Bruce Willis at his most kick-ass. 

The Oscar Pistorius Trial: What’s Love Got To Do With It? – The Daily Beast

I think Oscar is as guilty as shit on my shoe. I will be following the trial, which starts on Monday, with the interest I didn’t allow myself of the OJ trial.

The article linked to gives a very good insight into abusive relationships and how they work. I don’t know if their relationship was abusive.

The Oscar Pistorius Trial: What’s Love Got To Do With It? – The Daily Beast.

That aside, do you think he dun it?

vintage smartphone

If you don’t follow this blog, you should.

Wrong Hands

vintage smartphone

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