Tuesday, 28 May 2013

My coffee story


'Does UleyGirl consume too much coffee?' replied my coffee-fuelled paranoia. It felt like the whole of Twitter and Facebook was asking me the same question. I think I need to defend myself.

I talk about coffee a lot but that doesn’t mean I’m addicted (I talk about exercise and sex too – see what I mean?)

Sometimes I can’t face coffee so don't drink it. I never get headaches, experience withdrawal symptoms or throw small animals from upstairs windows. Because I’m not addicted. (Or if I am, I'm not admitting it yet)

I may be happier after a coffee, talk a bit more and occasionally burst into song, but that’s no bad thing is it?

I like sharing it, making it for others, smelling it, savouring it.

But I'm not a coffee snob. I know what I like. I don't like tons of hot milk and I don’t like instant. I used to drink plenty of it but stopped really tasting anything. That's the problem with even the best instant coffee, it doesn't compete on taste and it lacks impact.

So instead of drinking ten cups of instant a day, I drink on average one large cup of filtered coffee or espresso (double – with hot water) per day. Sometimes two, three at the very very most. I can’t drink more than that.

I care about coffee and I really enjoy it, therefore I want to drink a cup roasted, blended and prepared by someone who feels the same way. Which is why I spend most of my time in Nom Nom Cupcakery (serving deep and delicious Rave signature blend) and Prema Café (nutty and smooth just like the owners).

So there. My coffee story.  *blows raspberry and puts the coffee on*

 (and I can think of lots of people who agree)

 Me, having me-time at Nom Nom Cupcakery

I love you Germany, I do

I love Germany. But I didn't realise everyone else did too.

I was just a bit surprised when they topped the 'most popular country' poll last week.
If it had been the most popular country once people had visited, I could understand it. I’ve been there and it’s great. But I thought I was alone and everyone else had a reason to really dislike the Germans.
Because they don’t laugh much. They wear terrible clothes. They eat raw meat. They work too hard. They don't like spending money. They put towels on sunbeds and they don’t queue. They speak better English than we do and they generally take life too damn seriously.
Except most of that isn’t true (except for the English bit).  
How can a nation with such a crazy dress sense, that created the Love Parade (RIP), take itself too seriously?

They love football, drink decent coffee, had mayonnaise with chips long before we did, drink copious amounts of good beer, eat really good food (if you like meat) and surround themselves with absolutely delicious cakes. They recycle with an efficiency and dedication we can only dream of.
And staying there with a family is an absolute pleasure. My Dad took my sister and I on a swimming tour when we were teenagers, then back again to see the families we met. I went on my own, with my family, I even took my friends. I clubbed, ski’d, shopped in C&A, swam in lakes and drank cognac for breakfast. I have memories of me and my sister laughing so hard we didn't think we'd breathe again. The most generous, welcoming and warm experiences of my life.
It's a great place and finally somebody, everybody, agrees.
My son, German football's biggest fan

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Birth and my life in football matches

My son is turning five so I started thinking about the day he was born. What do I remember?

That my husband was wearing a banana t-shirt (imagine that being the first thing you saw on exiting from the gift shop??)

I remember that on the morning after his birth I was late transferring back to Stroud Maternity because I wanted to watch the FA Cup final (Portsmouth 1-0 Cardiff).

I remember that I finally left the 'Stroud Hotel' because United were playing Chelsea in the European Cup Final and I wanted to watch it at home.

I also remember my milk coming in during the first half (feel free to look away now). I felt a mixture of pain and panic, trying to force a tiny baby to drink to relieve the pain, but with breasts rapidly expanding like Violet, the one ton blueberry from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ever had the feeling you're about to explode??
I didn't think I'd live to see the second half, so sent the husband out to scour the supermarkets for a hand pump.

He returned and United won on penalties.
I was elated and the boobs thankfully, deflated.

There you go, my birth memories. All based around football (and I don't even follow it anymore).

Friday, 3 May 2013

My life on my face

"So I'll be recommending the collagen based moisturiser for you today Madam"

It's the kind of sentence I usually overhear an assistant saying to the grandmother in front of me,  whilst I'm waiting to pay for my roll-on Ibiza-grade body glitter for my latest big night out.

But not today. I ask her to repeat it, just in case the woman on the next counter is a voice throwing champion. Damn, she was definitely talking to me. I need plumping up.

I can chart my age through my moisturiser.

Teens: Nail polish remover strength for super oily acne prone skin. Finished with a lypsyl, applied nervously every two minutes, as a substitute for smoking.

20s: Dry cheeks, oily t-zone combination moisturiser for skin prone to 'outbreaks'. The spots settle but too much drinking and sunshine leaves it suffering major dehydration whilst my hormones play havoc with my chin, nose and forehead.

Early 30s: Skin smoothing, moisturising, glide on creams in luxury packaging that make me feel a million dollars. Reach temporary state of skin bliss. Start trying expensive French sounding brands just for fun.

Have two children.

Late 30s: Hold on for dear life to normal/dry moisture products, whilst experimenting with (see picture) eye gel, eye balm, eye cream, eye bag cover-up, God make them disappear please creams.

This week: Stupidly ask for advice when choosing new product. She'll be recommending the collagen based day moisturiser then. It's for 'anti-ageing and plumping up fine lines in your skin'. That'll be £48.

Shoot me now.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

A great day out!

Looking for something to do with the kids on Thursday?

Need to entertain a toddler or keep your young ones occupied after school?

Then why not visit a polling station!

You can make an afternoon of it, take a picnic, call in at the park on the way.

You can teach your children all about elections, politicians (the good bit) and the fun things they have to look forward to once they turn 18 (even better if you pass a pub on the way).

They'll get a lovely walk, to laugh at some very funny faces (the candidates) and they might even get to dodge a few tellers.

All in all it's a great day out.

If you live in England or Wales you may have local elections on 2nd May. You've got the right to vote, use it and show your kids how important it is too.

Find out here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22019280