Sunday, 30 December 2012

More cooking - Part Deux

So at roughly 11.35 on Christmas Eve I ran out of wrapping paper and also managed to finally get 24 red velvet cupcakes out of the bloody oven.

For info, I've been planning to make the damn things since June, but considering that was when I went back to work, the opportunity and enthusiasm to complete the job has been in tragically short supply. So like a total muppet I decided that Christmas bloody Eve was the optimum time to do this. Because I am a f**kwit.

To be honest, from a baking perspective, there are two things I bake regularly (i.e. more than twice in any ten year period) - and they are Victoria Sponge and my mothers gloriously easy chocolate cake (which is rather fab BTW).  Red Velvet turned out to be significantly more complicated than I anticipated  That possibly has something to do with a) a mate having a *really* bad Christmas Eve b) Cava - lots of, cunningly being filtered by my kidneys and de-alcoholised by my liver c) trying to finish off Christmas for my wee boys 1st Christmas - having suddenly been driven that weird state of guilt /insanity that grips parents from time to time - even though there's more chance of him remembering his 12 month jabs and d) I ran out of wrapping paper for the child who *won't fecking remember it anyway*.

So yes, the perfect state of mind for attempting this sort of thing. And then ended up decorating them in a fury of "I've got this far, I've got bloody finish it" (I'm a compulsive completer/finisher and unfinished projects tend to haunt my thoughts).

Not very bloody red....

Some had a strange bicarb of soda globule patina on the surface.

I tried to ponce on piping...then decided that trying to refreshing an old skill while growling at cake is probably quite a rubbish idea.

Quite pretty, eventually.

Here's the link to the recipe again -  and everyone who tried one liked them, but next time I'm not going to do it at a really stupid time. And I'm going to buy a mixer. I had one popeye-like arm for 4 days afterwards.

Monday, 24 December 2012

So of that cooking sh*te I threatened earlier - Part Un

Magnolia Bakeries Red Velvet Cupcakes

Hello, I'm going to attempt this half cut and knackered on Christmas Eve. I'm clearly having a frigging giraffe, aren't I?

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Duffed no more: The problem with raw (ish) census data and the mookswho write about it....

I made the error of stumbling across this rather judgemental pile of shite earlier and had to share:

Official figures show that there are now 300,000 fewer mothers at home that previously estimated.
Experts said that those who decide to sacrifice their career in order to look after their children at home are now considered in the minority.
According to returns in the 2011 census, there are almost 1.6 million women who do not work because they are looking after their home and family.
This is about 298,000 fewer than estimates previously, the Office for National Statistics said.

Well, whoopy-chuffing-do. I would like to say that I'm not dissing Stay-at-home parents here, and if I'm honest, I'd have liked to have gone back to work later...those of you who get to stay home with your kids, you're doing a grand and frequently hard job and I salute you....however as a parent with a ("career") job, I find the underlying assumption that I'm gadding about pursuing a career for entirely my own ends at the expense of my kid rather galling.

  1. I love the fact that this study starts with a rather wrong estimate regarding how many women were actually at home looking after their kids, which clearly meant sweet Fanny Adams and wasn't actually based on any kind of cogent facts. 300,000, even in a population of 60+ million is still a hefty margin of error, given the demographic profile..woman, child bearing age etc.
  2. "Those who decide to sacrifice their career....". Last time I looked, it wasn't 1954, and sometimes people (i.e. women - because the last time I looked, we were people too - or did I just miss a meeting?) may have worked very hard to achieve something and don't see the benefit in just kicking it all in when they pup. 
  3. Positive financially responsible female role models and all that - if I had a daughter, I'd prefer it if she didn't think getting duffed by a Premiership footballer was a reasonable way to make a living.
  4. Also having a kid doesn't automatically make you Joan of Arc...sacrifice?...*really*?
  5. As we're in the middle of/end of/wherever point in the whole-time-space continuum of the worst recession since the Great Depression, strangely enough some people/couples would prefer to spread the risk, especially in light of the fact that the Coalition have just cut the 90 day waiting period for large scale redundancies by half.........Um, making the people who are propping up the economy easier to sack, that'll help. So....reducing the help they receive while in work, *and* cutting them off at the knees when they do lose their jobs is frankly a right bag of old wank. In order for women (or men ffs) to spend more time at home with the kids, there needs to be the resources to do it....and to use a food based metaphor, if the familial eggs aren't going to get scrambled, it's best that they aren't all in one basket.
  6. Houses - we like to live in them and they cost a bomb.
  7. Bloody Nora, why am I still having to have this conversation? Necessity is the mother of invention...and graft, unfortunately.
Honestly, do these people think we live in a perfumed floral 50's cloud where Daddy has a job for life that'll support everyone? Balancing work and families has been the reality for women for centuries...just deal with it. It'll make life easier for everyone.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Duffed no more: Fancy a (another) spoonful of boob related guilt?

I actually don't object to the thrust of the research behind this article and breastfeeding (when it goes well) is great and a lovely experience for mother and baby as well as all the health benefits is something of a no-brainer. Yada, yada, yada...Though for quite a lot of new mothers, it's utterly crap.  I was lucky for a bit and then I wasn't. Funnily enough though, Mini D strangely got healthier after a little formula came on board.  Also for the record, I think we've already established that I belong to the "Whatever works for you" school of parenting so be kind enough not to start wibbling on about "Breast is best". Yes, we know. However as I've said in the past, formula is not arse trimmings, brick dust and raw sewage in lard either.

HOWEVER what creates involuntary bladder frothing (and clearly not in a good way) is this:
Common reasons for stopping breastfeeding were problems with the baby rejecting the breast or not latching on properly, having painful breasts or nipples and feeling that they had 'insufficient milk'.
It's the "feeling that they had 'insufficient milk'" comment is the one that troubles me.

Sometimes it's not just a feeling. Insufficient milk is a fact. It happened to me and Mini Chunk. If I'd persisted, he'd have been Mini Twig.  The primary and most natural way to get your milk back is to spend several days doing skin-to-skin contact (which is lovely stuff but not always entirely practical) and if you're tired, depressed, achy or in big pain and with a child who is screaming their metaphorical bollocks off because they are slowing starving, being sequestered semi-naked in a theoretically 'calm' environment might actually be the thing that drives you finally and irrevocably around the fucking twist.

Being a new parent is hard enough without being encouraged into a situation that's going to send you all The Yellow Wallpaper.

Being a new parent is also hard enough without having the media telling the world that you are/you have been a shirker or a let down. Remember that this stuff is all "ideal world" and you've done your best x

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

So...Mr Rhyming Slang...and your tragically ill-informed mates

The case of Savita Halappanavar has highlighted why I will never, ever stop banging on about this. Since becoming a parent, I've become actually more pro-choice than I was before. I didn't actually believe that was possible.

So....Mr Rhyming Slang....

Yes, that's you, Mr.Hunt, oh and you, Dorries, you fame-chasing-right-wing-press-baiting-blogger-harassing-half-wit, now hopefully up to your nipples in rats, spiders, centipedes and soap stars who are approaching the brick wall of the end of their careers like a stampeding bull on whizz. Oh, and you too, Cameron, Romney, Ryan, Bachman and Palin.

I hope you're feeling suitably scared by my teeny blog with a teeny audience.

Right, hat in the ring.

The stuff that goes on the wombs and love tunnels of the world (and that corner of the world that you exercise a degree of influence over) has *nothing* to do with you.

If you're going to take a role like "Secretary of State for Health", a tiny bit of medical knowledge is generally useful. Also, as a very recent parent (I'm looking at YOU, Mr Hunt), one would hope that a tiny bit of attention *might* have been paid to little things like when certain scans occurred on ye-olde-up-the-duff time line that tell you whether or not your kid is likely to, oh, live....and stuff.

What these halfwits don't seem to realise is that, if they erode the rights as they currently exist, they run the risk of ending up killing a woman because the fading heartbeat of the baby she's losing is more important. That is what happened here, all because some people believe that Sky Dad says no. They also seem to have convincingly ignored that by doing this, it's not beyond the realms of possibility that this could bite them on the arse, personally.

I like that fact that our fine and admirable medical profession in the UK (especially obstetrics and gynaecology because they are the ones I've had more to do with recently) are focused on trying to ensure the best outcomes for everybody. Delaying life saving treatment (because that's what Savita would have really been getting because that miscarriage could not have been prevented) cost a woman her life.

Not good enough, not acceptable, please let birth and pregnancy be dealt with appropriately...and political types.....shhhhh, before you make more of a fool of yourselves.

Amanda Palmer - dancing around 'til it hurts at QMU....

Bit of a cross post....

UniquelySnowflake - Amanda Palmer Giggage

I had a fabulous time and a right hoot. Everything about the wee trip was cracking and meeting up with a good mate after whoa-years was too...

Owning and wearing boots that were older than some of the people I stood next to in the queue gave me a teeny moment of pause though. Ah, what the hell, nowt wrong with being the "older folk at a gig 'Eeh, I saw the Pixies at the G-Mex in 1991 you know'" type. ;)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

This will never work but here's an idea....

You know those kids that have nasty stories to tell about being in care...or the visit from the "important bloke"......or just have a painful story to tell....

You know, the girl or boy (or man or woman) be they rich, poor, ill, healthy, disadvantaged, not very bright, so brainy that grey matter has involuntary escapes from their ears from time to time because it can't cope with all the pressure of all the clever sh*te going on in there, regardless of any religious and ethnic background....they might be in pain right now...and they might be in turmoil...

Listen to them, and if they want to report whatever has happened to them to the Police, let there at least be a proper standard of care and a *real* minimum standard of investigation that goes into the accusations they make. Let them not be headed off at the pass at the front line.

I can't helping thinking that if the Justice system can guarantee this, we might actually manage to get nasty exploitative crimes against vulnerable people (regardless of age, gender and a range of other differentiating factors) treated with a true degree of seriousness, and the risk of the horrible people slipping through the net is hopefully reduced. No frothing, no hysteria about "paedos", just cold, hard, investigation to a specified standard from square one, no negotiation, no "we don't believe you because you're homeless/drug addict/teenager/sex worker/woman/gay" - Yes, we'll meet a specific standard, that's all.

And who knows, the bad guys might just be made paranoid enough to realise that it's never, ever ok....

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Duffed no more: It runs in the family

To be completely honest, I garnered a faint suspicion early on that my darling Mini D was perhaps going to take after my side of the family (in some respects) at the 12 week scan. From the anecdotes that I've heard from quite a lot of mothers, their "euphemism" was serenely treading water, sleeping or looking generally pretty Zen at this point. And my beloved is a bit of a laid back guy.

Hmm...after about 10 seconds into the first ultrasound, it was clear that this was not going to happen in my world. Jumping bean central. Rick O'Shay. Ditto at the 20 week and 23 week scan. We couldn't tell the gender because he wouldn't actually stay still long enough. This reminds of my greatly adored and brilliant little sister, whose dedication to talking to people, and possibly having more energy than many have in a lifetime is just awesome, if a little brain cobbling for the casual observer.
Oh and the fact we nicknamed him "Kicky".

This blog sounds terribly me-me-me at the minute but I must admit, I hope it means he's "caught" the music gene, because two big lads in the house who couldn't carry a tune in a bucket would probably be the death of me. This flat is *way* too small for tunes that are not meant to be atonal, becoming slowly more atonal over time. This is combined with bizarre timing that results in gradual shortening of a given musical phrase until it's only the "headline" bit of the riff that's suddenly being delivered in 2.5/4 time rather than the 4/4 it started out with. After driving one round the twist. It's like a riff has a half life, gradually losing notes like radium loses electrons...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Duffed no more - Trying to be good...

When pregnant, I realised something awful.  Women are using a very big stick to beat ourselves with (in addition to The Daily Mail doing it for us) in our constant desire to be seen to be "good" when it's all total bollocks. This isn't news, so why the hell do I feel compelled to say it again?

I, for one, didn't sign up for that crap. I also wish I could have believed (I did in my brain, but not really in my gut for quite a while) my friends who said "Trust your own judgement, it's probably pretty sound." about the whole parenting mularky so let's tell the Moaning Minnies and Judgy Joans to do one. I was a child of the 70's and I turned out ok etc etc etc.....obsessive parenting and feeling guilty gets you nowhere and at the end of the day, "good" also doesn't actually mean "perfect".

I declare today (and tomorrow and the day after) to be the time that we try, for a whole 10 minutes at least per day, to not feel fking guilty about something we're doing that *might* tenuously, possibly affect your baby and their development and/or future emotional well-being.

Be loving, be kind, talk, sing about as well as the sad deluded people on X factor,  dance like someone is electrocuting your feet, read to them a bit, remember that cbeebies/formula/playpens are not the work of Satan, say no to everybody once in a while and look after yourself and be kind - to yourself. Happy parents are good parents as a rule - and the chances are that you probably are great at it, and you're a beautiful person. Shut the voices out and tell every negative Nelly to foxtrot oscar for a while - go on, you know you'll enjoy it. x

P.S. everyone benefits...bugger...I'm being positive..."tsk *eye roll*...children"...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Duffed no more - Nothing prepares you for....

The oceans and rivers of snot, the mega tonnes of mucus. I cope just fine with all the other revolting bits but the snot is the one that really makes me gag...and you always end up with the b*stard stuff stuck to you somehow.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Duffed no more - The Kraken Wakes - The blog I wish I'd written :)

This blog introduction rocks my socks greatly...

Ever wondered what it's like to be so enraged with other human beings that you form your own gnashing black hole? Well, now you do...

The Kraken Wakes

Kath, I love you. So much of what you say is basically what I want to write before I edit for filth, swearing, over-sharing, potential marital strife and flat out libel. 

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Duffed no more - Things what I have learned...episode 1

  • that the amount of drooling your child does is inversely proportional to the number of bibs and cloths you've managed to hurridly cram into what shall henceforth be known as "The Changing Bag of Doom". Pick up enough bibs to carpet a tennis court and the little one will remain resolutely non-dribbly/vomity - don't pack enough cloths and bibs and suddenly it's all gone a bit Exorcist. Either that or it looks like Jr. has just been tossed into the nearest river..

Friday, 22 June 2012

Duffers Diary No Longer!

It should be clear by now that I am quite definitely no longer in a duffed state. Nope, it's safe to say that I have proved empirically that I definitely don't have the gestation period of a Manatee. (It's 13 months FYI).

Mini Badger made an appearance mid January and, as is traditional, I've been engulfed by a maelstrom of nappies, boobs, bottles, crying and cooing like the soft sh*te I have discovered myself to be. Suddenly (just as I am on the brink of returning to work, which is a bit of a scunner) I have a baby who has naps and is consistently jolly pleasant whilst awake so I've got a teeny bit of head space. That I'm going to use whittering inconsequentially on the internet. Go me.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Duffed - Paranoia

One of the problems with being the kind of person that likes to keep themselves well informed, is that becomes apparent that when it comes to pregnancy, childbirth and parenting, there is such a thing as being *too* well informed. I know anecdotally, that just about everyone I know has had a wobble where they have thought that something they've done might cause a problem, and that they are/will be a craptacular parent as a result. While the support that you can get from certain on-line and NHS resources can be brilliant and there's a lot of good useful information out there, there's also a lot of opinion masquerading as advice that serves no useful purpose apart from making you feel bad and pissing on your chips. The disparity between the opinions of the midwives on the ward was quite startling so once the rest of the world wades in, it's fair to say that there'll be a period when you won't know whether you're Arthur or Martha.

Filtering this tripe (when you're knackered) is an onerous it's hardly a surprise that quite a lot of new mothers have a wee bout of paranoia...