Today was World Coffee Day and I only found out this morning listening to the radio.
So by the time you see this, it will be over but hey, no worries because you know what? Every day is coffee day in my world. Well alright, I try not to drink it every day and I’m not a several cups a day girl any more, unlike the city girl the staff of Coffee Republic and Starbucks got to know rather well at one point in pre children days.
Anyway, back to the topic of that wonderful warm delicious (when it’s made properly) drink coffee that literally makes my day. Now, I freely admit I’m really lucky to live where I do, where a stressy day can be alleviated a bit by by being able to do this:
But life isn’t all endless coffees by the sea and lying on a beach despite what my Instapics might tell you (although flipping heck even I was surprised looking at them because it does look like I actually live in a cafe).
Fact is, life is also never-ending laundry, smelly bins, stacking and unloading that damned dishwasher, broken down toilets that no plumber seems able to fix, flaking paint and a house that needs a serious do-over (or a stick of dynamite and no I didn’t really just put that in writing well alright I did), blocked drains, increasing amounts of homework, a kitchen that just never seems to be done (where’s that dynamite?), a blog to do list that is actually SO long that I’m wondering if I’ll ever get to the bottom of it, bills and bills, non-existent date nights and so much other personal crap, that I can feel my heart sink further as I write each word.
And frankly, through it all, I don’t know where I’d be without my good old faithful friend coffee. So I thought I’d take a moment to actually thank coffee in:
Thank you coffee, for saving me (and well, quite frankly, others) from myself because honestly there are days when this is true:
like today, for example, when I spent fifty minutes hunting for parking because of this:
Yep drivers can actually park in BETWEEN two spaces and not get ticketed!!
Thank you coffee, for saving my first time mother sanity, via get togethers at new mummy friends’ houses, during those first few years. Breast-feeding, weaning, sleepless nights etc…it would all have been so much harder without reassuring chats about our common experiences during coffee mornings.
Thank you coffee, for the phrase ‘coffee morning’! I mean where would we be without it? Sitting in some awful dark joint drinking water or over milky or stewed tea, that’s where.
Thank you coffee, for being there when I need some time alone. You stop me from looking like a Prabsy-no mates as I sit at a cafe, with just you for company. You silently listen, not judging me, (so sweet the way you don’t interrupt by the way) as I mutter and moan about my problems, literally into my coffee cup.
Thank you coffee for being so patient, never mocking me, while I evolved over the years:
– In the 70’s it was tea, tea, tea because…well…I is Indian. You want any more details? Call my mum.
– In the mid 80’s it was that instant stuff that I actually thought tasted good. To think I actually fell for those Nescafe adverts because I thought Paul Nicholas was cute and I just wanted him to kiss whats-her-face.
– In the late 80’s, I discovered cafe culture during my study year in France…the joy of asking for a ‘grand café crème’. Sigh of nostalgia. Oui merci.
In the 90’s, moving to Paris opened my eyes and I bought myself a coffee machine for my teeny tiny kitchen in my teeny tiny apartment. I was like a real adult with my coffee machine and paper filters and ground beans in those shiny foil packets (that I’d never even heard of growing up). And of course, hanging out in cafés was a regular thing.
– In the noughties, I went all Coffee Republic, Starbucks, Costa, Caffe Nero etc working in London. Frankly, sometimes during long office days, coffee was actually breakfast, lunch and dinner.
– And here we are in the (whatever they call this decade): I’m a mummy in need of caffeine.
Thank you coffee, for giving me the strength to actually face the day when I just want to hide under the covers and avoiding adulting.
Thank you coffee, for being a shared love with the people in my life. You’ve been a regular feature whenever one of my sisters has come to visit…the phrase ‘latte queens’ doesn’t just invent itself you know!
Thank you coffee, for giving me an excuse not to blog from home. I’ve always drunk tea at home and we don’t have a good coffee machine anyway. If I stay home to work, I end up doing housework. What to do? Get out of the house to a cafe where I can blog and get a coffee at the same time; simples. I’m pretty sure half my posts wouldn’t even get written if it weren’t for coffee-fuelled inspiration. I’d love to claim credit but ’twas the coffee.
The cafe office is a real thing people.
Thank you coffee, for warming me up over the years on many a cold afternoon while I’ve waited for a child to finish a sports activity.
Thank you coffee, for even being yummy when you’re cold…iced coffees save me in the long hot Maltese summer.
Last but not least, thank you coffee, for the laughs.
Now this is where it gets a bit difficult, coffee my old chum.
The thing is, I work on my blog most days and frankly there is only so much of you I can consume and so much time I can spend in cafes. On top of that, I finally got the chance to do something I’ve wanted to do ever since moving to Malta and go out on a boat recently.
Guess who I couldn’t stop thinking about for part of it? YOU, coffee! It was a fab day in fine company with yummy food and wine etc but I ‘lost’ part of it obsessing over the thought of needing you. I realised you’re not just my coping mechanism: I may possibly have a mild addiction to you. While my pals were downing wine, I had one or two glasses and then reeeeeallllyyyyy needed you. Oh, coffee, what have you done to me? I’m ruined.
And to be honest, you’re not exactly good for my health. So maybe I should drink more of this:
Please don’t get upset. We’ll still see each other, just not so regularly alright? And don’t take this the wrong way, but sometimes, I’ll need to drink um, the ‘other’ one…
I know you’ll understand. And seriously coffee, thank you for everything.
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This post starts off my Christmas 2013 segment The Twelve Posts of Christmas. And as a treat, I have a hilarious guest post by my talented, crazy, runner chick, working-mum, fund-raising, Christmas gift making (I told you she was crazy) mate Anne Joyce. Oh and BIG DISCLAIMER: if I get to about post 8, run out of steam and go do something else instead like sit around drinking wine, don’t hold it against me.
I’m going to talk about presents I am making for THIS Christmas. If you are my family, please don’t read this. Jog on and don’t look at any photos. Off you go, Mum…
Have they gone?
Busy mother throws together thoughtful and immaculately produced handcrafted Christmas gifts to the rapturous acclaim of recipients, whilst saving money, avoiding the high streets and feeling smug.
Between working full time, co-ordinating the PTA ‘Santa’s Helper’ project, training for a marathon and watching just enough trashy TV to get me through, of course I thought it was a splendid idea to make some family presents. I would be saving money and giving something with real thought and time invested in it. Time. I didn’t pay too much attention to THAT part…
I started off well enough. Way back in September, I surfed around, looking for good ideas. I made a list of what would work for each recipient, what I would need to buy and where to order it from. I was immediately drawn to two items (seriously, Mum, look away now, PLEASE). The first was a no-sew fleece blanket. Those magic words ‘no-sew’ drew me in, promising ease, speed and well… no sewing. I knew that there were fabulous patterned fleece fabrics available and I could make some great double layers with a pattern and a block colour. Then there was the homemade flavoured vodka. I knew JUST the person for that and it looked so easy as I skim read the recipes, apparently only requiring skill enough to throw sweets in the vodka and shake it for a bit. I decided on a few other projects and was happy. And smug.
Then the bit of paper sat in my diary for a really, really long time. And then it was the end of November.
Rather hurriedly I ordered fabric, pleased that it was all I had to order for the no-sew creations. In passing, I thought that 1.5 metres wasn’t big enough, 2 metres was much better. I turned my attention to the vodka which needed pretty bottles. Eventually finding them in Lakeland, I finally bought the vodka and sweets that I thought would work from the lists I had scanned online: Skittles and Werthers Originals. The process went a bit like this:
o Drain weird purple Pimms (leftover from summer) into a jar. (What? I’m not wasteful!)
o Wash empty bottle, decant half of a litre bottle of vodka into it.
o Open Werthers, try not to let three year old see. Fail.
o Discover Werthers don’t fit through the neck of a vodka bottle.
o Smash Werthers into the bottle one-by-one with a blunt ended implement.
o Try to stop three year-old picking up and eating toffee shards from the floor.
o Sweep up toffee shards.
o Swoosh it around a bit, realise it isn’t going to dissolve straight away and decide to work on the skittles vodka.
o Sort skittles so that no green or purple ones go into the vodka, making the colour muddy.
o Eat leftover green and purple skittles (while hiding from three year old).
o Throw the orange, red and yellow ones into the bottle and swoosh it around a bit.
o Return later to admire your beautifully dissolved…hang on…WHAT THE HELL IS FLOATING ON THE SKITTLES VODKA?!
Google ‘skittles vodka’ skittles vodka and according to Something Random the ming needs to be filtered out before you bottle it.
Sigh and abandon bottles for the night, decide to focus on blankets as the fabric has arrived.
The Werthers vodka needs to be filtered too.
Ah, the blankets. Have you any idea how much fabric four double-sided 1.5 x 2 metre blankets consist of? Laid out, the blanket didn’t fit on the floor space I had. Undaunted (it’s no-sew so it’s going to be a breeze right?!), I set to with the family scissors, which cost next to nothing and clearly were not designed to cut two layers of fleece. An hour and three blisters later, I admitted defeat and retreated to trashy TV. A trip to Hobbycraft a few days later and I returned home with hardcore tailors’ shears. Thankfully they breezed through the rest of that first blanket, which does look fantastic, but sewing would probably have been quicker…
Well, I need to say the ‘potential’ results because a week into December, I’m still in the midst of all of this. Two blankets down and two to go, still haven’t found a suitable presentation bag/box for the vodka (which is yet to be filtered), still not bought cushion covers (I am going to use iron-on ink-jet paper to transfer my own designs over), still waiting for one bit of replacement fleece to arrive and still not labelled all the jam/chutney combos.
And, I’m going to be honest, I’m not making presents for the boys. Can you imagine the collective look of horror if faced with some hand-crafted creation from me and not a karting suit (eldest – 10 years) or bike (youngest – 3 years)?
But I’ll be pleased with what I make. This will mainly be because I, hopefully, manage to make it all… And hopefully, did not dissolve into a weeping puddle, coated in fleece off-cuts and skittle vodka ‘ming’. So if you see a smug mum telling you about all her handcrafted gems, she’s really just thankful she managed to do it and get out of the other side alive.
And never trust anything that says ‘no-sew’.
Mum, if you read this far, you’ve ruined Christmas.
I can’t help you any more.
Written by Anne Joyce
So in a week where I managed to miss a girls’ night because I didn’t read the details on the invite properly and came seriously close to using a tube of ear drops to stick my son’s birthday cupcake decorations together, thinking it was a bottle of sugar glue, I thought it a good idea to see if I’d actually done or learned anything constructive this past week. I think I have.
And being the kind gal that I am, I’m sharing these lessons with you. For free. You can thank me later.
1) It is perfectly possible to go running at 9am and still not have showered by 3pm and yet not have a friggin’ clue what the hell you did between 9 and 3 to make this possible.
2) Animal print dresses never did anyone any good. Nuff said.
3) Grasp the simple fact that your kid’s birthday is always on the same date every year. Never changes. Don’t let it creep up on you and shout SURPRISE! in your brain three days before, sending you into a hot blind panic about how much there is to do with such ‘short notice’.
4) If you’re a stay-at-home mum and 3) sounds eerily familiar to you, do not admit it to your working mum friends. They’ll despise you.
5) Unless you plan to wear thongs well into old age, just accept that Visible Panty Line will become a natural part of your life at some stage. Go with it.
6) Camel Toe. It will eventually get you. Sorry.
7) Try to make sure that 5) and 6) don’t happen to you on the same day. It’s just not fair on those around you.
8) The phrase “my house looks like it’s been burgled” is not always entirely accurate when describing the mess. (Those of you with pristine homes, look away now.) Take my house for example (please somebody take my house and clean it.) If a burglar got in, they’d think “Nah. I can’t work in these conditions” and tidy up first.
9) Always read everything properly. Do not buy your child a birthday card that says Happy Birthday Cousin. Ditto invites to Ladies’ Poker Night etc.
10) If you play tennis on Monday, run on Tuesday, do pilates on Wednesday, have a tennis class on Thursday and do yoga on Friday, there is NOTHING wrong with sticking your face in the Nutella jar on Saturday.
That’s it. So what lessons have you learned recently?
You know you haven’t got this parenting thing right
when you decide not to send them homemade lunches today, in favour of buying them hot pizzas at lunchtime. And then later you sit in your favourite cafe writing a post called 10 Signs of the Scatty Mama mentally patting yourself on the back for spending quality time with your youngest (when in actual fact she’s occupying herself with jigsaw puzzles, colouring for three hours and sipping babyccinos while you work on your blog).
And then you head off late to the grocery store
and as you’re salivating over the baked goods section and putting doughnuts into a bag as an afternoon treat for the kids, you shriek “**** I FORGOT THEIR LUNCHES!” so you grab some sorry-looking pizza slices from the bakery but you can’t call the kids’ teachers to let them know you’re on your way because you left your phone at home that morning (again) and you feel sick to your stomach at the thought of your other two kids sitting at school wondering where the hell their stay-at-home-mum is while everyone around them eats food lovingly prepared by proper mums, some of whom work and who don’t forget their kids’ lunch.
So you end up flying around the store like a lunatic
literally throwing stuff into the trolley at breakneck speed with your three year-old in the front seat firing nonsensical questions at you and then you line up at the ‘under 10 items checkout’, realise you have 11 items, line up at the correct checkout, literally throw everything onto the belt at breakneck speed like a lunatic, throw it all into shopping bags, run to the car, get to school way after they’ve all gone back in after lunch, endure hurt looks from your kids and faintly disgusted looks from their teachers and learn that some of the teachers scrambled around for food for your son who was crying.
Afterwards, you rush home and throw the food into the freezer
and fridge, grab your phone, nuts and chocolate (yep I really did say you grab your phone, nuts and chocolate), head off an hour late to your amazing baker friend for her help in grinding them up for a dessert that you promised to make for a fundraiser the next day because you bust your own food processor the week before when you made the same dessert.
Then your husband (who never questions your parenting)
calls you and questions your parenting…and you feel so deflated at your rubbish mothering skills that you end up gratefully accepting your friend’s invite to stay for lunch when you should really be heading home to put your toddler down for her nap and hang out that laundry load. And later when you’re going to school to get the kids, you think how celebrity mums like
Angelina, Gwyneth and Victoria just don’t have days like this
(how would they when they have an entire army of childcare and domestic employees helping them fake the image of the hands-on-mum?) and you get to school so late that your kids have gone back into the school building…and then you get your husband from work and he drops you back at your baker friend’s house but turns up again a bit later because on his way back to work he discovered you’d left your phone in the car. Then you go home, finally prepare dinner, get the kids fed and get everyone upstairs for bedtime but as you’re bathing them, you think
“Oh crap, I don’t have eggs or sugar for the dessert”
and you realise the local store will close before you’ve finished bathing the youngest. So your eldest has to change back out of her pyjamas and run to the store to buy some and as she’s leaving the house, she discovers the house keys in the front door and it’s at that point that you realise how fitting it is that you wrote 10 Signs Of The Scatty Mama just that morning…
…and that you need to borrow one of those employees from Angelina, Gwyneth or Victoria…