Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The wrong trousers

Should a pair of trousers see you reeling in revolt and crazed, coffee-induced, anger? Does that Farah look from his schooldays - work on the modern man?

Since hitting his middle moment last January (40yrs) and since we produced children trois - he is, naturally - forever trying to spank our financial straits straight. My honeycake has taken to schmoozing a kind of dark corporate Gerry (and Margot) look. As an artist, a designer, a great lover of being on the road and someone who has a deep passion for dangerous machinery and music I have always felt he lived on the edge and admired his paired down and stylish look.

But recently he has turned some kind of alternative corner, one I do not wish to follow. Is there a point in a marriage when the girl gets to dress her man, just like a doll? I keep asking, but I keep being rebuffed.

Should I do as he? As I age disgracefully, consider hiding my pins, stop shopping in Topshop and dust down the twinset and pearls? I shudder at the thought and plan to remain a fashion slut, until I lie down dead.

When we first met in Barcelona, he strolled into a cafe, and my life, wearing white birkies, old jeans, a simple tee and a very sexy dark green jacket, he was slim - nae skinny, tanned and his head of red hair shone in the sunlight - he was, so I thought, not my type - but I thought the boy tres fly.

Yet six years on and he's embraced farah and marks and sparks and my favourite vintage Hawaiian shirt of his has not seen a night out for neigh-on a year or so.

Are you allowed to complain in a relationship about each others look? I mean generally you connect because your on the same level - right? Not just emotionally and physically but tribe-wise too - so what happens when one takes to goth and the other to Laura Ashley - does it spell the end of an otherwise beautiful union?

Or perhaps it would be simpler, for me, and my sanity, and my marriage, to just loose said items of clothing..?

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Bleak, Austere, Welcome to 2011

There is something very cleansing about stumbling into a cold bleak January after the outrageous indulgences of Christmas and New Year celebrations. A long random and biting walk along a cold empty and windy beach is the very tonic to help you think about the year ahead and what you could, possibly, achieve.

So instead of the removal of things, as in the traditional New Years resolution; stopping smoking, cutting out sugar, being nicer, more thoughtful and then a few weeks down the line failing miserably; lighting a fag whilst shouting insults at the boy next door, it is perhaps more pertinent to add things.

To enrich yourself with a new talent, a new skill, to indeed try and be nicer and more humble - shouldn't we be trying to do that anyway?, but to also learn to knit a scarf, sing a new song, design a cool tee-shirt, learn a new yoga pose, make the perfect oat cracker. Indeed this is what I shall set to this year.

Dungeness, apparently one the largest expanses of shingle in the world, is a unique and mysterious location in Southern England's Kent. Home to not one but two power stations and a thriving community of artists, fishermen and twitchers.

A cluster of Nordic looking wooden huts sit looking down onto the ice-cold grey English Channel, the isolation and desolate beauty of the place makes it an inviting destination for anyone wanting to escape the perversities of 21st century capitalism.

Or even to take a long walk on a cold new years day...and watch the sun dip into the sea.

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Monday, January 3, 2011

Food glorious food

God Bless Delia, and all who sail in her. This year I urged my beautiful mama to have a Christmas drinks party. For me the build up to Crimbo is far more fun than the actual, exhausting day.

So I sent her, to the best salon in town, spoilt her with a facial, a hair and make-over and then made her invite her friends for mulled wine and nibbles by the fire.

The thing about Christmas drinks is that it is always short and always sweet. You can dictate the time to arrive, the time to leave - leaving you with several hours filled with the finer things in life hand-made canapés and ice-cold Prosseco or home-made mulled wine - a tradition in my house.

The canapés were simple but oh so delicious and in the main from Delia's Christmas book; a bloody useful tome indeed. Hand made cheese and pistachio sables - the perfect party nibble - mouth-melting delicacies and super easy to knock up.

Grate a strong hard cheese; cheddar or parmesan, add some flour, some cubed pieces of cold butter, a good pinch of cayenne, s&p, and some crushed pistachios - rub into crumbs and mix until you have a dough. Roll it into a sausage shape and then put it in the freezer for half an hour, then carefully slice into small rounds and bake in a hot oven for ten minutes or so. I also served the best cocktail sausages (Speldhurst Sausages) daubed in local honey and french mustard and served hot and sticky with napkins and cocktail sticks.

My father, an international fly-fisherman, this autumn caught a large salmon in Scotlands' River Tay, he had it smoked and we all got to enjoy it. I served it piled up on made-made garlic croutons, with a generous blob of crème fraiche mixed with horseradish and plenty of dill.

Home-made cheese straws, mince-pies and a rich mulled wine spiced with nutmeg, cloves, oranges and soft brown sugar made the evening another indulgent moment amongst the festive season.

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The Festivities finally, end.....

So the glutinous hugs of alcohol-fueled festive love have finally let go of their tight hold around my, now rather jaunty, stomach.

The time of celebrating is, thank god, over. I find Christmas hard work, the enforced familial joviality squeezed into two long days, the pursuit of drunken oblivion and eating till death hang over me, until, I can take it no longer and my heart sinks at the thought of another morsel of ham daubed with mustard.

However, despite the family arguments, the outrageous cost, the consumption of material crap, the loosening of belts, the traffic jams, the disturbing darkness of shoppers hell bent on sales, time spent with people you truly love and who genuinely love you is something you can never have enough of.

Truly spoiling the people who truly deserve to be spoilt is, quite simply, the best thing that you can do.