Thursday, 24 June 2010

Food, glorious food?

Have you ever been so obsessed with something that it consumes your entire life; that you spend every waking (and maybe even sleeping) moment thinking about it? Does something have such a hold over you that you are unable to do anything else except focus on this need?

Well, I have now fallen victim to all of the above and my sadistic captor is...FOOD.

In all honesty, I have always LOVED food, not in a 10-tonne woman way, consuming a loaf of bread at a time, but in a respectful manner, enjoying my meals, having a sweet tooth and looking forward to each mealtime.

But since becoming pregnant, my love for food has taken on a whole new level. I fear hunger, I feel it creeping around me, waiting to pounce. If I allow hunger to take hold, I can be stricken for hours, caught in a limbo land of needing food, but not having the mental or physical strength to obtain it. I believe this is where the obsession to keep eating has sprung from.

My day will start innocently enough with cereal (naturally) with raisins at about 7.30am, but then by 9.30am the panic begins to set in that I won't make it to lunchtime without my friend hunger turning up. This in turn, seems to send an invite to hunger to arrive at my house around 10am.

With hunger now making itself at home, I am in a dilemma as to what to eat, do I have some toast, but this is like a second breakfast which must be bad, or it's an early lunch, also morally wrong. So maybe fruit or yoghurt, but then I normally have a yoghurt at lunchtime and I can't have two in one day so that's out.

I plump for fruit, being virtuous and healthy. But fruit is a traitor, it turns on me in the most degrading way. It makes me MORE hungry. What is it with bananas that stimulate hunger. They are sick, mentally unbalanced yellow fruits. They are not my friend.

By 11am, the obsession is fully underway and I am beside myself with indecision. Do I have half the cinnamon bun, do I have a small bowl of ice-cream, do I just have my lunch early??????????????

The by-product of this craving is that I have begun to stockpile food just to ensure there is also something available to eat. Bread, milk and butter are filling up the fridge because the idea that I choose cereal to eat for there then to be no milk is incomprehensible.

Today is a particularly hard day. I have somehow simultaneously run out of fruit, yogurts, chocolate, sweets and teabags. I know I can go to the supermarket and stock up, but hunger has taken hold and I am paralysed on the sofa.....................

.......will I make it? Will my blog live to see another day...will I?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Wedding bells

OK, it's time to admit it, my name is Clare and I am addicted to Euro monarchy. There, said it out loud, although it's still no less shameful.

As any of my good friends and family will confirm, I have a long-held passion for Hello! magazine, a weekly celebrity news magazine published in England. Unlike rival trash mag OK!, Hello! often features stories & pictures about the European monarchies. After many years of hard study I'm pretty sure I could name 90% of the royal families around at the moment.

For anybody in the know, this weekend was a biggie for royal watchers like me; Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden got married. I know, I know, it all sounds toe-curlingly boring & unimportant, but if you are an avid spectactor, this was THE date in the diary. The combination of wedding & royalty was almost too much to bear, it was like a real-life fairytale.

Since the big event at the weekend, I have scoured every last picture I can find on the Hello website and it's fair to say, the blue sashes, cameo pins and tiaras were out in force! Simply jaw-dropping jewels and dresses were on display from the European princesses, with flawless hair & make-up, some to even rival the bride herself, who looked beautiful, yet wore an elegant, simple dress. There wasn't a 'Diana' frill or ruff in sight!

One of the things about being English that I am most proud of is that we have a monarchy which dates back 1000s of years and it sets us apart from many other countries around the world. It is a tradition that I hope continues for many years to come. To many people, especially here in America, the idea of a monarchy is alien and out-moded. But despite the fact that none of these European monarchies have any ruling power anymore, and their actual raison d'etre is purely that of charity worker and national figurehead, they are still much-loved by many people around the world and enable us 'small people' a chance to daydream about the stories we were read as children.

These real-life princes and princesses do, after all, actually live in castles, wear crowns and ride around in carriages. Pure magic! Swoooon.

Now back to my housework!

To see the pictures of the Swedish royal wedding, go to

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

The D.O.G.G

There lives in this world a dog, called Bob. He goes by many other aliases mainly Bobble, Sir Robert Dogg, Bobinda, The Bobbist Monk (don't ask) and Bob Dog. For the purposes of this blog, he will be know simply as Bob.

He is a mini-medium goldendoodle aged 29.5 weeks, born in Lexington, West Columbia, SC to a miniature apricot poodle called Sparky and a golden retriever mother called Cheyenne. Here he is as a puppy:

Bob arrived into our lives and home on 3rd January 2010. Now, I have been around dogs most of my life and not just lap dogs, but two trained hitmen of the canine world, Jack Russell Terriers. These fearless and inexhaustible dogs are wonderful animals full of energy & life, so much so, that I thought any other dog would be a comparative walk in the park (no pun intended).

I WAS WRONG...I say I'm wrong (nobody puts baby in the corner...I digress, sorry).

Bob made the Jack Russells seem like they were just playing at being dogs, which they certainly were not. Like a Force 10 Hurricane sweeping across the plains, Bob showed me what being a real dog Mummy was all about. Batten down the hatches!

The past 6 months have gone something like this:

Months 1-2, no sleep, approx. 1000 puppy training pads consumed and carpet stain remover used. 4000 miles of dog walking (in the cold), previously scar-free, porcelain skinned hands now aged 45 years and pock marked with pin-teeth bites.

Months 3-4, intermittent sleep, Bob now only waking at 11pm and 5am, 500 puppy pads used, 8000 miles of park duty, endless shots at the vets.

Months 5 to present, full sleep has been resumed (for now! Remember there is a baby coming in about a month), puppy pads banished, only to be replaced with 356 trips a day outside for potty training, pin teeth have now gone, to be replaced with Dracula fangs which are blunter but a whole lot stronger, 12,000 miles of park duty, which now has to be done at 8am latest to avoid the daily temps in the 90 degrees!

On the whole, Bob is a good boy for being only 7 months old, but he is a Jekyll & Hyde character. Whereas after his morning walk, he will crash out for hours on end, as soon as he is awake, he will transform into a dynamo, chewing cushions and pulling up carpets, chasing tea towels and drinking out of toilets!

This is what he looks like nowadays:

Being a dog Mummy has some rewards mainly watching him develop and learn new things, meeting other dog owners in the park, but it doesn't compare to being a dog Daddy. Dog Daddy will henceforth be known as "Bob's Hero", a man so esteemed and worshipped, that as soon as he walks through the door in the evening, Bob's whole world stops to pay homage to his idol. From 5.30pm to bedtime, Bob doesn't leave "Bob's Hero's" side, lazing next to him on the couch and licking his face.

I am not bitter about this skewed affection. I know deep down Bob loves me, it's just in a more aloof 'i know you're always there', taken-for-granted sense. I'm thinking this is the lot of most mothers (dog or child) and it is a feeling I am just going to have to get used to!

Monday, 14 June 2010

Time flies!

Well, the old saying must be true; time flies when you're having fun! My last (and first) post in October 2009 was supposed to be the beginning of a journal detailing the ups & downs of my new life in the USA; an emotional crutch to see me through hard times.

As it turned out, there really weren't any hard times and now here I am in June 2010, writing my second post with nearly 9 months of experiences to recount. Well, I won't go into fine detail (I will save that for the book!) but a condensed version of events goes something like this:

Arrived in Greenville, SC, moved into bijou downtown apartment, sun shining, bought a new puppy (more on him later), had parents visit for Christmas & New Year and beyond, bit of snow, more sunshine, hours & hours of dog walking, new friends, book clubs, great restaurants & bars, never looked back, sunshine, sunshine, sunshine, baby due in 5 weeks, sunshine, sunshine....wait! Baby in 5 weeks??

People call the USA the land of opportunities and where dreams come true. Well in 5 weeks or so, our dreams of a family will hopefully be realised when we meet our first baby, a girl. Although we wanted to start a family, we weren't expecting her to come along as soon as we emigrated 4000 miles away from home! So my plans of lazy days & cocktails in the sun were soon scuppered and replaced with trips to Babies R Us and middle of the night bathroom visits.

However, we are excited & proud that our baby will be born here in America as a US citizen and it will strengthen our bond with this great city & country. The support & friendliness we have encountered since our arrival has been astounding & it is difficult to avoid the question of whether we would have had the same experience if it had been the other way round ie, if we were Americans moving to the UK.

American people really are as friendly & helpful as the stereotypes describe, but not in a false, patronising way. Their desire to please is genuine & caring and has been a major part of our easy settlement here in Greenville. Although the endless sunshine helps too!

I will promise to update more regularly, and I will next talk about our Goldendoodle puppy Bob Dog, who we think should be Greenville's mascot dog (not biased at all, you wait & see!)