Attack of the babycrack.

My name is Snoozy, and I am a babycrack addict. I’ve been doing really well recently, focusing on my career and getting healthy and stuff. I’ve not googled nursery ideas in over a week, and even though I was disappointed that my friend didn’t bring his four month old to lunch last Sunday, I didn’t let it ruin my day. I was strong.

Then last night I saw the first pictures of Blue Ivy Carter.

Ohmygodlookathereyesandhercheeksandhertinylittlefingersandthatmopofhair. Guys, I’m on a babycrack comedown. Nothing tastes as good today, coffee isn’t working, work seems to be taking forever, and the night in painting my nails that I had promised myself seems woefully boring. Because there is no baby. No tiny little noses. Everyone that lives in my flat can hold their own heads up. I need a hit of that sweet baby smell, just one hit.

I need help.

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Is ‘quarter life crisis’ the most annoying phrase on the internet?

No, no it isn’t. I spend too much time here to think it’s the most annoying phrase, but it is pretty bad. Nevertheless, I am headed straight for my twenty fifth birthday, and I’m not sure what else to call my sudden need to publish my life.

Between the ages of approximately twenty one and twenty three I worked in a bar and made some of the best friends of my life. This place wasn’t just any bar, it was my first big city bar. It was also the first bar I worked in for more than a year, and the first place I held any real responsibility. It was also the bar that drove me to a minor mental breakdown, but let’s not dwell on that here.

Those best friends and I were called Team Amazing. There were four of us, and a few others we allowed to be honorary members. We were all of a similar age, worked together and had the same interests. Those interests were mostly drinking, watching bad films, and bitching about our boss. We once wrote down some rules for a night out, and they included the following:

  1. Be Awesome
  2. Do NOT drink pints of gin and tonic

That’s all I remember. I’m not sure we stuck to that second rule.

Since the heady days of pints of gin, I’ve got married, one lovely boy has had a baby, another found God and the best of best friends, the other half of a sub-team called Girl Amazing, is moving to Korea for work. I’m not sure if it’s possible to show more succinctly how much everyone changes in the few years of their mid-twenties.

So, crisis really isn’t the right word. We’re all pretty happy with the turns our lives have taken. My wedding and marriage was and is, if not blissful, really quite brilliant. The new baby is a perfect little poop machine and the new Dad is tired and happy in equal measures. Our evangelist has found something that makes him happy and more fulfilled. And my darling Girl Amazing is going to have the most exciting adventure of her life.

Only, now we don’t hang out much any more. In a few days my Girl is going to be on the other side of the world for at least thirteen months. Babies, we have discovered, are quite the time suck, which leaves far fewer opportunities for ill-advised drinking. So do jobs with ‘normal’ working hours. So, I think that’s where my ‘crisis’ is coming from. In our mid-twenties our lives change fundamentally and very quickly, often taking away the tight support systems you had before then. While I’m wondering if my life has any purpose now that the temporary distraction of wedding planning is gone, another friend is too sleep deprived to think in whole sentences and another is trying to learn an alien language* in a matter of days.

We’ll always be Team Amazing, but the nature of that team is shifting and it’s sometimes scary to trust that we’ll come out of it unscathed.

* Have you seen Korean?

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Authentic Japanese Beer, and Very Inauthentic Noodles.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace was one of my favourite beers last year. It was light and fresh and complex and ever so long. And I had one glass of it at a beer dinner then never saw it again.

Sorachi Ace is a Japanese hop that is grown in fairly small quantities, so beers using it don’t come around too often. It characteristically tastes of lemon cream and can either be elegant and interesting or remind you a little too much of curry. The Brooklyn version was the only one I had ever tried so when these little beauties came into the shop I had to bring them home with me. I mean, just look at them. That cute little owl is just begging someone to take him home and play scrabble with him.

Hitochino Nest Nipponia, on the left, is as Japanese-y a beer as you could ask for. Described as an ‘ancient’ beer, it uses a type of barley that was created in Japan about 180 years ago but abandoned in favour of crops with higher yields. Kiuchi Brewery revived it, then made this pale ale using Sorachi Ace. It pours a very bright gold with a light head, and has a characteristic nose of lemongrass and candied citrus. There’s also a bit of peppery, sulphury, raw broccoli in there, and an eggy vanilla note that made me think of clafoutis made with physalis fruit. All of this follows through when you taste it, as well as some hefty bitterness, and the rich, slightly thick mouthfeel brings out the buttery nature of the hops. There’s also something rather musty about this beer, and a strong herbaceous woody flavour too. Reading that back it sounds like a big bag of what-the-fuck, but I promise you I really liked this!

Mr Cute thought it was perfect for exploring a virtual radioactive wasteland from his armchair. My only real problem with this beer is that as it warms up the diacetyl, which is the chemical that causes that buttery taste, becomes a little overbearing. Too much and it can start to taste a little rancid, and no-one wants rancid beer.

To stay vaguely on theme I made a kind of laksa for dinner. Anyone from Malaysia would probably be disgusted by this, but it only took ten minutes and all the ingredients were in my corner shop so its perfect for supper after work.  The soup itself is just Thai green curry paste, coconut cream and stock, with fish sauce and fresh ginger to taste. Add a few cooked prawns and courgette and heat through, then ladle over cooked noodles. Top with coriander and a squeeze of lime, and Robert might well be your mother’s brother. It’s very good for colds, which is perfect as my nose has been taken over by a hagfish of late.

The second (and last, each of these babies cost me nearly £12) beer of the night was the Hitachino Nest White Ale. This is a Belgian style wheat beer brewed with coriander, orange peel and nutmeg. Like the Nipponia it’s a gorgeous colour, a pale creamy gold this time, with very little head. On the nose it’s predominantly the orange peel that comes through. There’s a little nutmeg spice and a little candied sugar too, a lot like pear drops. Unfortunately this combines to make a nose that is disconcertingly like Fanta. This is one of the most comfortable tasting beers I’ve ever had, thanks to the nutmeg which always reminds me of rice pudding and white sauce. There’s a little orange pith in there too, but I’m not sure if I can taste the coriander. My palate is not at full capacity at the moment (did you see the hagfish yet?) so that might be my failing. It’s an incredibly soft beer, with almost no bitterness at all. It’s a lovely witbier, and a great match for my spicy soup, but I wouldn’t pay £12 for it again.

And in case you were wondering, the White Ale also went brilliantly with the Cadburys Mini Egg ‘dessert pot’ I had for pudding.

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So how do you write a blog anyways?

The first step to having a blog is actually writing something I suppose? Instead, I decided to spend months thinking about how I didn’t have anything to write about, which is fairly representative of how I live my life. You’ve never met a better procrastinator in your life, or someone more likely to get distracted by pictures of cake. I have no focus, and can only get something done when I have a deadline looming over me. Here are some things that do not have deadlines and which I have therefore not done;

Learn to drive

Clean my oven

Finish reading Anna Karenina

Buy a replacement cafetiere for the one my husband smashed

Clean out my cupboards of all the out of date half filled tubs of baking powder (they’re already out of date)

Finish sending the thank you cards from my wedding five months ago

Take the pile of clothes that don’t fit anymore to the charity shop

And I just found myself staring at the paint flecks on the radiator instead of continuing with this post.

I wanted to start a blog when I left Uni some years ago to stop any writing ability I had from atrophying. But I was too busy watching Gilmore Girls and experimenting with gin. People suggested I write a food, or beer or cocktail blog, not realising that the few delicious homecooked meals or elaborate birthday cakes I made them were horribly outweighed by evenings spent gorging on MacDonalds and/or cheap wine.  Then I wanted to start a blog to document my wedding planning, but there are more wedding blogs out there than brides and I felt I had nothing to offer. Besides, I was unsure of the practicalities. Do I talk about the mundanities of finding a venue that will work with the caterer, or the reasons I chose a silk lining over a synthetic one? Because that’s not even interesting to me. What’s interesting are the emotional dramas that come with trying to pack  two families in one room and forcing everyone to have a good time. But are they my stories to tell? If I told the entire internet the funny, dramatic and occasionally heartbreaking stories of my family and friends, they would probably feel fairly violated. If I stuck to my personal emotional journey, my husband would probably feel violated too, and would I want something so personal left out there for the world? My boss could read it, or my future children. I learned the hard way (as most of us did) that the blog posts I wrote on Myspace when I was seventeen didn’t just disappear after I forgot about them. So I pretty much talked myself out of writing a blog.

Until now! Aren’t you lucky! I don’t have the self control to remain anonymous (and Snoozy Cute is my husband’s nickname for me, so I blew it already anyway) so I’m going to try not to get too personal. Until I find some focus there will probably be a fairly jumbled assortment of whatever’s in my head. Food, beer, bars, my inability to lead a productive adult life and so on. I’m going to try and learn the art of telling funny stories, so expect plenty of boring ones until I get the hang of it.

Until next time.

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