Monday, 16 April 2012

The One With the Brewery Tour and the Wrong Door

So last Tuesday was my 42nd birthday and Hubby and I went on a brewery tour of Adnams in Southwold. 

Nanny P had the boy for the afternoon and we ate fish and chips out of the paper, then went along  for a look at how they brew our favourite beer.

As far as I am concerned Adnams is one of Suffolk's great treasures and finest success stories, exporting their real ales, stouts and now spirits all over the world and importing unusual wines into the country to sell in their Cellar and Kitchen stores.

Me and Hubby do love a brewery tour! On several trips to Derbyshire we've been to the Bass museum and tour and then again since it has changed hands to Coors. 

I do however tend to get the giggles in these places. Once, on the Bass tour, I'd had a lot of coffee at breakfast in the B&B. Never a good move as me and caffeine don't mix well. I'm like a hyper kid after a bucket full of Smarties and a vat of orange squash. I was bouncing off the walls and completely losing it. There was a working model in a glass cabinet showing how, back in the day, the canals and trains brought the ingredients for the beer into Burton on Trent and took the finished beer away again. There were buttons to press to make the miniature vehicles move, blow steam, whistle and generally do stuff. So I, like a demented 4 year old, ran round and round the glass case pressing them all, giggling and laughing as the little trains and barges zoomed up and down their pretend rails and canals.

Little things....

But on this tour, I was very well behaved. I'd had no alcohol or caffeine prior, only fish and chips , which sometimes aggravate my IBS, but other than that we were good to go.

The tour was excellent, with a really knowledgeable guide to talk us through the history and the process of how Adnams came to Southwold and how they brewed the beers before and right up to the present day.

After about an hour we went for a tutored tasting!

God love them, they were not stingy on the measures. We tasted four beers and I must have had a good half pint of each. Then the guide asked if anyone would like a wine tasting session too?

By this time two of the ladies on the tour I'd been chatting to knew it was my birthday

"Yes, we all do. It's her birthday. We've got to celebrate!"

So another very lovely lady who was extremely well versed in wine knowledge, took us through a white, red, limoncello and a dessert wine called Rubis, which tastes like chocolate but has the texture of port. Amazing stuff. We bought a bottle!

I was feeling mellow at this point and, as a friend of mine describes it, "lightly refreshed"! 

Hubby and I walked along the front, towards the pier for an ice cream.

"I just need the loo" I said

"It's that door there" said Hubby "You'll need 20p for the barrier"

By the time I'd fudged about for 20p I was a bit desperate. the fish and chips mixed with all that beer and wine had kicked in!

The door was open so you couldn't see the sign on it and the barrier was up which immediately confused me, and in my "refreshed" and desperate state I didn't notice what I should've noticed!

I sat down quickly and did what I needed to do. 

I coughed.

Then I heard a voice.

"Is that you?"

It was Hubby!

"What are you doing in the ladies?" I said "Get out!"

"What are you doing in the men's?" came the reply

"Oh Christ you told me the wrong door!" I complained back at hubby

"Well hurry up" he said urgently

"I can't!" I moaned frantically "I'm having a poo!"

Hubby kept guard and luckily no one else came in but it was touch and go in there I can tell you.

In Hubby's defence the men's and the ladies used to be the other way round and there did used to be barriers that charged you to go in so you can see why we got confused.

"Why didn't you notice the urinals?" asked Hubby as we walked back to the car with our ice creams.

"They looked like the sinks" I said "They have those all in one soap dispensers, sink and hand dryer things and they looked the same" I explained.

"No they don't" Hubby exclaimed.

"Well they did to me"

Must have been the beer. 

Beware beer goggles!  They don't just make unattractive people look attractive, they can make the Gents look like the Ladies! 

Monday, 9 April 2012

The One With Easter

Keep Easter special I say.

And by that I don't just mean, the shops should shut on Easter Sunday.

By special I mean keep it simple.

What I love about Easter time, apart from the beginning of spring and it is often my birthday, is that it doesn't hold any of the pressures and work of Christmas. You get four days off to spend with friends and family but without having to send cards, buy presents or decorate your house up within an inch of it's life.

And so it should remain. 

Adverts on TV may be telling you that the Easter bunny is chain-sawing a hole in all his baskets to cram a board game in and shops may be trying desperately to get us to send each other cards and trim up with chicks, lambs and bunnies, but I prefer a much more traditional Easter.

And that means chocolate!

So on a rainy Easter Sunday with Nanny P and on an even rainier Easter Monday with me, the boy has been helping us make a craft challenge from Tesco Online Magazine. 

And it's due to the very simplicity of Easter that we have lots of lovely time to do things like this.

So with card, glue, glitter, bunny and chick sprinkles, crayons and coloured paper, not to mention chocolate eggs, buttons and a Thomas the Tank Engine cupcake we set to work.

Here's our efforts to cheer a couple of grey but not so miserable days.

Long may Easter be simple and special.

Happy Easter everyone!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

The One with the T and A

Last Saturday I went shopping with Lemon Cake Lady in what turned out to be a "tits and arse" day! 

We had escaped for a whole day and got to be us again instead of Mum.

Don't get me wrong, we love being Mum's but sometimes you just need a damn good day out.

So off we ventured to Norwich letting the train take the strain. Unfortunately part of the journey meant letting the coach take the strain but that did give us the following gem from the driver, who said, in a thick Suffolk accent;

"Put your seat belts on to comply with the law" 

No please, thank you or kiss my replacement bus service. It takes on it's full effect if you say it making "comply" the longest word in the sentence, if not the whole world, then you get the picture.

Once we arrived in Norwich we headed straight for Bravissimo.

It's like a Mecca to us both. I have, to not put too fine a point on it, enormous boobs. I hate them. I hate them with a passion. They get in the way, they make my back hurt, they are the butt of many a joke and they cost me a fortune to "house".

No picking up a £2.99 bra from Primark cos it's pretty and trendy and I can float around the bedroom in it tantalising the window cleaner. Oh no. I'm talking re-mortgaging the house just to buy something plain and functional to go under a t-shirt.

But still Bravissimo have excellent service and loads of choice in my size so I do have pretty stuff as well as the obligatory "over the shoulder boulder holders"! 

And more importantly they always make me feel better about myself. The assistant I saw was very flattering about my shape and how I'd dressed. We were both wearing one of their dresses and she complimented mine and I hers. It was that moment of slight frisson when two woman appreciate each others form. After all as Ken always says, "There's a little bit of lezza in all of us!". Mind you the assistant had just felt up my bangers on a professional basis and she may well have been on commission but frankly I'll take my pleasure where I can find it!  I got two bras with matching knickers. 

My bank balance may have taken a serious hit but I came away feeling uplifted. 

In more ways than one!

Which brings me to our second appointment of the morning. 

Lemon Cake Lady had booked us into an event called Jean Genie at the Chapelfield shopping centre. This was a Gok Wan style pod where advisors would fit you for jeans and had various pairs from all over the centre for you to try on. Big, small, tall, short, small waisted, long legged, of child bearing hip or as petite as a pin, it didn't matter. They were there to help and make the best fit make the best of what you've got.

If Bravissimo was the booby lady then this I had affectionately nicknamed the "arse doctor"!

The ladies were funny, charming, helpful and positive. Lemon Cake Lady and I are the polar opposite of each other. LCL has a great figure but whereas she is slim on top with a tiny waist she's conscience of her hips and bottom. I quite like my lower half and indeed Hippy Chick has remarked on more than one occasion that I have "cracking pins, but I carry all my weight on my top and middle, especially after having the boy.

LCL was delighted to find jeans that actually fitted her after all these years. She is, according to Levi's, a supreme curve. I could've told them that years ago. And I'm a slim leg, slight curve. Apart from the obvious help and information this was so much more than that.

With the help of Hippy Chick I'm on self confidence kick about my body image. For years, when shopping, I've done this awful squinty face into the changing room mirror which annoys the hell out of LCL.

"Don't do the face" she'd yell at me as I screwed my face up and narrowed my eyes in an attempt to not really look at myself properly. It's like the hall of mirrors at the fairground. If I distorted the image maybe I would look thinner. Or disappear altogether!  In fact all it achieved in doing was giving me the look of someone who had smelt something nasty and couldn't work out where it was coming from. 

What Hippy Chick is helping me do is accept what I have and learn to love it. If I want to work on slimming it down or toning it up later on then so be it, but for now I want to love myself, wobbly bits and all and say this is me, without screwing my face up like old man Steptoe every time I pass a mirror.

So what Bravissimo and Jean Genie did was to help me love my best bits and control and compensate for the bits I don't like.

One of the ladies who helped us at Jean Genie had , as far as I was concerned, a perfect figure, yet she declared that she didn't like her thighs and they only looked ok because she was wearing the right jeans. How could she not like her thighs I asked? How could I not like my boobs and my curves she asked? I was womanly and "lush" she told me. I had my second little lezza moment of the day. I was starting to like this! 

Then I realised that there is no perfection. We all of us don't like something about ourselves, even those who seem to be perfect. When I told LCL that I found this very comforting she said,

"What, that no one is happy?"

"Yes" I declared. "That no one, however perfect we think they are, is so smug and self satisfied that they don't have flaws and things they don't like about themselves too."

Then of course Samantha Brick wrote "that" article but hey you can't be right all the time can you?

That would just make you perfect.....