Monday, 16 April 2012

How to argue properly as a man

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1) Don't let her cry. Once the tears start falling you will feel obligated to comfort her and eat a huge amount of humble pie meaning that your argument will become invalid and you will have lost any ground you had.

2) Always listen. There is nothing worse than waking up mid-argument to realize that you have been thinking about the rugby and have no idea why she is starting to burn your collection of Just Jinjer Cd's.

3) Don't raise your voice. She will instinctively raise hers and this will escalate to harsh words, slammed doors and sulking.

4) Conserve your energy. You think that after one round of arguments that the woman will be quite happy to forgive and forget, not so. She will harbour your words and use them against you at a later stage. Pray that it is the same day and be prepared to slug it out.

5) Don't bring in outside people. Never ever bring in to the argument that your friends think she is over-reacting. If you value your testicles and where they reside now you will keep your mouth shut.

6) Never compare her to your past girlfriends. This is freakin' obvious but let me elaborate further, don't even compare her to her mother of any other woman for that matter. Where she is concerned, there exists no other female on the planet.

7) Keep eye contact but don't go overboard to the point of not blinking and letting your eyes dry out to teeny tiny raisins. That's just weird.

8) When PMS strikes, it may be best for you to leave the country for a few days. We all know what happens, she'll start to take offence to every thing you say. She'll be overly emotional, clumsy and forgetful and you'll unfortunately be the one to answer the insecure questions of - "Does it look like I've put on 3kgs?"/"Would eating two 180g bars of chocolate be excessive?"/"Can I hide this pimple with my fringe?". Dude, the only answers you need to give at this time and in any argument that transpires during 'The Crimson Wave' are: "Baby, you look so cute in those comfy pants.", "Are you sure you don't want me to buy you some brownie ice cream?" and "Pimple? I thought that was a beauty spot."

And finally

9) If she is harbouring past wounds, hold her - unless of course she is so angry that she is having to clench her teeth - hold her and tell her why you love her. Tell her that you're in it for the long run and what you said in the past doesn't hold a torch against what you feel right now.

Friday, 13 April 2012

Mrs Baker

I'm addicted to baking. Well, more the creation and munching of cookies, cupcakes and red velvet cake. I'm a sucker for chocolate and I love to make bread. That being said, you would expect me to feature my baked goods on the blog more however, I feel rather inadequate.
The reason why I don't do more baking recipes is because, whilst I believe I look like this when I'm in the kitchen:


In reality, it all looks like this:


I truly envy the images of Sam (Drizzle & Dip) and Bernice (Betty Bake Blog) who make everything look so effortless. By the time I come to taking pictures, there is flour in orifices I didn't know I had and butter all over the place. My camera takes quite a battering. My husband takes a further battering when something doesn't go right. I just can't seem to keep the show tidy. If you saw me making cookies, you wouldn't know, until they were baked, what the heck I was busy doing. 
I think that it is a patiences thing as well. I find it impossible to wait for the cookie dough to 'set' in the fridge and so the idea of placing a perfectly edible looking cookie for a photo in a way that makes me look like Nigella Lawson, a faff - I want to eat it!

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The real Prince Charming

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So I saw this (on Pinterest) and it got me thinking. I know I'm already married, but I thought about the things on my list that my prospective husband would have to deal with. It's a list which Mr H aces every single day:

- My eating. This actually makes up the majority of me. It's like another person. I have a terrible
relationship with it and Mr H get's that. Don't come between me and my peanut butter!
- My sulking. I can sulk for Queen and country. We once had an argument just after we left to drive back from JHB to Cape Town. I didn't talk to him for the whole journey.
- I live in a dream world most of the time. Sometimes I find myself thinking that I live in a period drama. Sometimes I think I exist in the Hunger Games.
- My neediness. Sometimes I just like to know that Mr H is nearby.
- My Sleeping. Wake me up in the morning at your peril. You cannot hold me responsible for the damage I will do to your face if you rouse me.
- My sense of humour. It can sometimes be quite dark. Almost black.
- My jealousy. It doesn't rear its ugly head that often but when it does, beware.
- My love. It can be overpowering, demanding and inescapable. But it is always loyal and can, if treated properly, be gentle too.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hitting the Spot

South Africa is home of amazing wines and food experiences. If you've never had a mouth orgasm then you need to relocate to Cape Town and "get some!". I got some when I headed to Bilton wine estate.
Bilton has not been in my good books. The first time I went there was for their wine and chocolate tasting about a year ago and it was so disappointing that I felt like bottling my vomit and sending it to them. You see, chocolate is difficult to pair with wine because of the sweetness and the tannins which don't match. However, I am a big believer in second chances and so I let my senses be subjected to Bilton's new chocolate tasting course. Boy do I stand corrected!

Chocolats Marionettes (check out their delicious offerings here) are now on the menu and it is possibly the best chocolate you have ever tasted and they go perfectly together with the wines as if angels pooped them out.
The pairings were:

Cabernet Sauvignon and Espresso Chocolate
Shiraz and Cape Malay Chocolate
Merlot and 65% Venezuela Chocolate
Sauvignon Blanc and Lime infused white Chocolate

I don't want to explain too much about the magic that erupts in your mouth when you combine the chocolate and wine because I need you to go and experience it for yourself as a little bit of mystery is very, oooh, sexy.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Why my life might rock as a reality TV show

It's 3:35am and the sound of whining and guttural sobs as woken me from a fitful sleep. Checking to see if it isn't Mr H watching a Gladiator again, I realize that I am in my parents house, babysitting my 12 and 10 yr old siblings for 2 weeks and Mr H has left me for a work trip to the southern hemisphere. The cries are coming from our new puppy.
 Drowsy, headachey and covered in mosquito bites that look like mole hills, I trip towards the kitchen and find myself staring into the devoted face of Ferdinand our 3 month Labrador puppy.
"Mummy" he sobs, "why did you leave me here? Why aren't I good enough to sleep at your feet?"
Gulping with shame, and feeling the lure of his big brown eyes, I lean down to pat him and there I see it, the
faint hint of a smile. I freeze but already I know what's happened. slowly I straighten up and drop my head to take in the brown smear of Ferdy's doing, lovingly squished under my left foot whilst my right foot resides in the warmth of a yellow puddle.
"You should have let me sleep with you." He says and then stretches himself onto him mat and closes his
What happens now is a string of curses, a cry from my sister who wakes up to see a bleary eyed monster storming around the house smelling like a sewer, and a puppy who finds himself locked outside.
I'd like to say that mishaps of this magnitude are uncommon. I'd like to say that I live a charmed life but where would the fun be in that? Since moving into our house in December, we've had electricity cuts, near electrocutions, burst pipes, mice, dead mice, a new puppy who finds great pleasure in eating his own poop and then licking me in the face and a dog that has taken a liking to sleeping on the couch whenever she gets her period.
Whether or not this would make excellent television is another thing but when I think of the struggles of the Kardashians - 'Oh my gosh, I think ate over 400 calories today, I'm such a beast' - perhaps people might enjoy watching the trials and ridiculous mishaps of a Brit in Cape Town. It may take the focus of other people's miserable lives to see me struggle to dress a 10 year old who needs a bigger bra than I do! Oh, and as I type this, Ferdy has just 'offloaded' in my mum's Kitchen.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

The un-sexiness of marriage


I like to think of myself as a relatively attractive specimen. Not overtly sexy or beautiful but rather, fresh-faced with a complexion of an under-ripe peach. Mr H likes to think of me as cute or rather he did before we got married. That's the problem with entering into a committed relationship, you realise that you have the guy and he loves you without a doubt and so you can afford to become a bit lazy. Okay, I'm not saying I suddenly put on 50kgs, took up eating  lard cakes and wearing my slippers to the shops. No, I just, um, got a little complacent.

1)  Before I was married and living with Mr H, even for me as a good girl, underwear had to match. Now it's a miracle if I can find a clean bra. I'm pretty sure that my lingerie has gone through a messy divorce and half of it has scampered off somewhere leaving me to pick between the unfortunate but necessary 'period' pants and a piece of dental floss that I bought on a whim because obviously my butt was hungry that day.

2) Shaving my legs was a ritual performed with as much dedication as a scientist would give to finding a cure for cancer. If Mr H accidentally brushed against a bristle I would be mortified. I seem to have somewhat lost my fascination with a hair-free existence and have succumbed to being able to pretty much french plait my leg hairs. (Wow, I'm such a sexy beast)

3)  I remember in the very beginning of our dating life I couldn't bear the thought of Mr H seeing me eating. For every mouthful there would be a well-placed hand to conceal my chewing making me appear to be an ever so dainty maiden. Unfortunately, things have changed. If he can't see me enjoying that lasagne by the high-spin cycle erupting in my mouth and the small dribble of tomato sauce coursing down my chin then, to be honest, it's not worth it.

4) The myth that girls don't burp or fart or go to the toilet other than to powder their noses has been well and truly squashed. I prefer to be as transparent as possible these days, to what end, is another thing entirely.

By no means am I trying to put anyone off getting married, in fact, it's quite the opposite. Who really enjoyed having to spend hours every day trying to look 'rested' and 'refreshed' for their boyfriend that they were only seeing for 30mins? Don't get me wrong, I love getting dressed up and I still have a bottom drawer of sexy gear to impress but the time and energy spent on trying to be more refined and less, well, 'me' is long over now.

image from weheartit

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

How to survive a Road Trip

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Because of Mr H's job, he travels a fair bit and on occasion, I am able to go with him. He often heads up to Jozi and the surrounds and we've done the trip quite a few times so I can tell you, the drive can be hell. The hours of driving past the same scenery, passing the same trucks and getting stopped at road blocks can be detrimental on one's health. So for all you having to take long trips at some point, here's my survival guide.

1) Sleep through it. Period. This is how I used to survive the trip, before Mr H put his foot down because, as you can imagine, it's not so much fun for him. So now we have to take the driving in turns.
2) Drink enough to keep you awake but not so much that you need the toilet every 40mins. My bladder likes to play tricks on me in that as soon as we drive past a rest stop, it makes me need a wee. Bastardo.
3) Play games. Not eye-spy which is the most annoying game ever. When I play it with my sister, every time and without fail, she chooses the letter D and every time, it is Dad even if he isn't even in the car.
4) Create a mix tape. There's nothing quite like trying to harmonize to Boston's More Than A Feeling and then warbling to some 80's hits.
5) Roll down the windows and let the wind roll through your hair. This only works if your hair is tied up because from past experiences, it can give you an afro.
6)  Pack hand cream and face cream. Driving seriously drys out the skin and I get cranky when my face feels like a pinched ass.
7) Eat sweets. The sugar rush can push you through an hour or so until the buzz wears off and you want to kill each other.
8) Take pictures. Granted, the scenery can not be that exiting but it can be fun to document the visual demise of your driving partner.

Anyone got any other usual survival tips?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Dealing with the In-laws


Love. That disgustingly gooey feeling of being so caught up in someone (or something) that the world pales to an insignificant blob. 
Yes, we pretty much all want that and then after love, so the rhyme goes, then comes marriage. This is a HUGE event in any one's life as it is the starting point of a new venture, a new journey which you will no longer be one but two. Ah, what a magical time. And after all the presents have been counted, the last of the bubbly drunk, your dress has come back from the dry cleaners and you’ve finally seen all the wedding pics, you sit with the inexplicable feeling of “hang on, aren’t I missing something?” Because unbeknown to you before the wedding, you failed to realize that marriage is much more than just two people coming together, oh no, it’s about whole families getting a severe mash-up of epic proportions and here’s some lessons that I have had to learn:

You've got to get the balance right. I come from a very spiritual Christian background. My dad became a vicar/father/priest about 7 years ago but before that we’ve always been a very ‘raise your hands and sing’ kind of family. Whilst Mr H has got a background in the Protestant church (his two grandmothers used to take him), his family are pretty much religion virgins. The issue with this? Well, so far nothing overtly terrible. No one stops anyone from going to church etc, but language uses are different, alcohol consumption is different (non-existent for my mum) and the general outlook on life is different. The trick is to never try and push them to all be the same. Someone who enjoys beer and rock music is not going to appreciate listening to a symphonic orchestra in the park with tea. Likewise, someone who likes playing board games, is not going to appreciate going to watch a rugby match. 

You’ve got to learn to share your time. I like hanging out with my parents, we have the same likes and dislikes but I can’t make Mr H see only them and not his family. It’s not fair and vice versa. 

Families come with all sorts of baggage, some of which you may not be used to. Back in England, I only had my mum’s family to see and (until fairly recently) they were alll in their 1st marriages. Mr H comes from a very ‘diverse’ family setting so meeting and remembering all the half-brothers, step-sisters, seeing how everyone is connected and who dislikes whom, was very tricky. It does mean that there are a great amount of personalities to bounce off of and you just have to embrace all the nuances. 

Everyone is different, don’t try and force your upbringing onto any one. Do not, I’ve done this before because I’m a twat, assume your upbringing was superior.

Have inside jokes. They are your family now and you’re going to be ‘stuck’ with them for, let’s pray, an awfully long time. Understand what they like, what amuses them and go with that. You don’t have to like listening to Afrikaans music and doing that weird Afrikaans dance across the floor but at least find one song that you can handle and make it your dance. I quite enjoy that Kurt Darren one about ships....captains...something like that?

Don’t ever bitch about your partner in front of his family. It gets ugly really quickly. The amount of fights Mr H and I have had in front of his brothers is pretty much a running joke but it doesn’t instill a sense of hope about marriage or relationships. Keep your dirty laundry to yourself, preferably try and keep all laundry to yourself, you never know who might try and wear your bras!

Don’t let them make you feel inferior and don’t let your family do the same to your partner. Marriage is special. It’s got to be protected. Your husband comes first....until the kids arrive.We don’t have children yet and won’t have for awhile but already I’m dreading the ‘hints and tips’ I’m going to be getting from people who mean well but who don’t understand that I have much younger siblings, I’ve done dirty nappies, vomit on the shoulder and unfortunately, piss in my eye (yeah, don’t even ask). I want to do children with Mr H. Us. You’ve gotta to do that journey together, with some help from your mothers, but it’s a case of learning and discovering what parenting skills work best for you.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Puppy Love

You may have heard, I have a new baby. Ferdinand (Ferdi for short) came into our lives 3 weeks ago and has turned everything upside down and inside out. He's a cream Labrador with those big sad eyes and is supposed to be a companion to our 3 year old Black Lab Mia. She isn't too impressed. It took us a good hour to explain to Mia that she couldn't eat him and that we still loved her and weren't trying to replace her. Labs tend to remain adolescent throughout their lifetime and Mia is the queen of sulking. If she isn't trying to avoid eye-contact with Ferdy, she is looking at him with murderous rage. Her first instinct was to growl menacingly at him and try and attack him but we held her fast and gently broke it to her, "the Puppy stays".

It's been a struggle. She bit his face last week because he went near her food, which is understandable. She wees wherever he wees so to continually mark her territory and it's hard to explain to her that he needs to be fed twice a day and has to sleep inside.

As for Ferdy, the first few nights he was very good, waking us up when he needed a wee, which was every 1hr and a half. He still has 'accidents' but is recognizing the term "outside!" as well as "bed", although, he still gives me this half-hearted look as if to say 'make me woman'.

The cutest thing is that he just loves sleeping on Mr H's head. I don't know what it is about it but he'll climb onto the pillows and rest his head on my Husbands. It's just too cute.