Monthly Archives:

May 2021


SWB is Feeling Fruity

Do you know when you meet someone who rubs you up the wrong way, and you’re chatting a while and you think to yourself, ‘Aren’t I an auld bitch because they’re not that bad?’ Inevitably though, out they come with whatever it is that has you wanting to stab them in the eye in with a fork. BAM! You were right all along- avoid them at all costs. Well, that’s how I feel about desserts. Not EATING desserts, but MAKING the buggers, from scratch. Take lovely sunny Saturday, for example. A lovely friend invited us up for dinner and oh the EXCITEMENT I felt at sitting with friends round a table indoors and not just freezing the absolute bollocks off yourself outside. I was in like Flynn- I’ll bring a dessert!

Last week, I was reclining with a coffee on the sofa perusing the Guardian Feast magazine. I took a fancy to a ‘mango-misu’ and bemoaned the fact that I couldn’t justify making it just for the four of us. This invitation thus afforded me the perfect opportunity. Diligently I set off to Sainsbury’s and bought the ingredients a day in advance. ‘I’m winning at this game,’ says I. I started making it in the morning to give it plenty of time in the fridge. This is when it started to hit me, though, why I hated making puddings. It’s all: Make the syrup in one pan. Beat up eggs and sugar in another. Leave to cool. In another bowl beat up egg whites. Stand and peel and chop about 60 mangoes. (six, actually, but I’ve never mastered chopping mangoes so it took a fecking week.) Shout at the older child who is supposed to be helping but drops sugar over the floor and brings over a chair to stand on which I trip over, spilling the zabaglione. Was there a bowl in the house left unsullied? There was not. This recipe was about fourteen steps too long and my mangoes, despite Sainsbury’s assertion that they were ‘ripe and ready to eat,’ where about as juicy and luscious as a boiled turnip.

Then I realized I hadn’t bought enough mascarpone and had to leg it to the shop for another tub. (There’s a whiff of the middle class about this post isn’t there?) By the time I got back the egg whites were no longer in stiff peaks- they were droopier than my boobs after the second lockdown. I had to get the Kenwood whisk out again, and I’d already washed the fecker. LSB is all, ‘Are you coming to take the dog a walk?’ and I’m like: ‘NO, I AM TOASTING COCONUT.’

It was an utter pain in the arse and I should have followed my instinct and bucked in a whole lot more rum because it was sadly lacking in that department and was barely detectable.

My friends liked it though and gave us some home.  I’m after eating a dish for my breakfast there, so all wasn’t lost. But folks, I’ve learnt something. Marks and Spencer’s: it’s there for a reason. Use it.


SWB on ‘Making The Dinner Angst’

Do you want to know what is doing my head in this week? I shall tell you: it is making the dinner. It is making something we can ALL eat, that doesn’t involve tons of washing up; take shedloads of preparation, and isn’t nutritionally void. I mean, is that too much to ask? We used to feed the girls earlier and then eat later ourselves, which was a bit of an arse-ache, because I seemed to be washing up all evening, BUT, at least it allowed LSB and myself to be more imaginative with our choice of cuisine. But during lockdown we decided it was nice to all sit at the table together and pretend to be civilised, hence I am trying to cook once and make it do all us and the results are, well, varied to say the least.

Here’s a list of things everyone will eat: Spaghetti Bolognese; chicken fajitas (unrecognisable to most Mexicans, but hey-ho), pizza, roast chicken or ham, fish and chips. So far, so flipping boring. Here’s what isn’t on the menu: lasagne (‘too creamy’), stir fry (‘too cabbage-y’, despite the fact that there wasn’t even any cabbage in the last one I did); curry is ‘too spicy (even if it’s bland as f**k). Salmon, sea bass, veggie burgers or any veggie meals AT ALL, are off the table completely. I tried experimenting with pulses for a while, but other than chucking a few lentils into a sauce, it was a dismal failure. The faces that greeted me when I set down the spinach and chickpea curry from BBC Good Food; are etched on my memory for evermore. Anguished they were, ANGUISHED. Out came the chicken nuggets and into the oven they went. In an effort to avoid waste I ate it for my lunch every day for the rest of that week. That was over a year ago, and if I’m being honest, I’m still not quite sure my bowels have recovered.

It’s all very hard, isn’t it? Used to be, when in doubt, one could always fall back on a sausage. When I was little, The Mothership served up sausages at least once a week, and often they made an appearance at breakfast. The Mothership is a great one for the breakfasts and could write her very own blog about how to get toast ‘just right.’ And tea: fuck me, never get her started on the perfect cup- she sets a timer and all, for it to brew for exactly 4 minutes. Tea obsessed is that woman. Anyway, back to sausages:  I’m after reading about the pig farms in Ballymoney and I was near sick. I don’t know if I can ever eat a pig related product again, except I have a bit of Spanish chorizo in the fridge, and it livened up the chicken fried rice I made last night no end.

When the children were small I read a French guide to child rearing. It taught me many things, but mainly it made me feel shite as the French just appeared superior in just about every aspect of parenting. The book suggested that a child has to try a food thirty times before giving up on it. If I thought I was going to have to watch the Small Child’s face while she forced down a piece of cauliflower thirty times, I would be downing a litre of Smirnoff every night, just to get through the meal. There were many other tips, such as how to get your offspring to eat grilled courgettes and pamphrey and braised celeriac with a balsamic glaze. Needless to say, this is all pure bollocks and my children have yet to eat any of the above.

They also don’t like salads, soups, quiche, meat pies, risotto, or spaghetti carbonara, (which I fecking LOVE). And when I use the pronoun ‘they’, LSB is included in that. He doesn’t have the most refined palette and would live, if I permitted it, on white bread and bacon. At this stage in his life, I think he is about 50% nitrate.

It’s shite, I’m telling you. Every week I get the ‘Guardian Feast’ and entertain notions of trying something new, and then I take one look at Ottolenghi’s list of ingredients and feel tired. I live in Belfast, not the fucking Edgeware Road in London, I think to myself, and it would take me about a month and a half just sourcing the ingredients for a meal, half of which I’ll inevitably to be scraping into the compost bin.

So it’s Friday and thank the good lord above because it’s takeaway night and thus I have very few decisions to make. Hallelujah. I would say ‘send me your suggestions’ but it’s probably a waste of time, so just leave a ‘wee thumbs up’ if you too are suffering from ‘extreme dinner fatigue’.

Check out Dirt Birds too on this theme- it’s Hilarious


SWB on Mental Health (or lack thereof)

Do you know what’s ironic? Someone writing about mental health at the end of ‘Mental Health Awareness Week’ when their head is more fried than a Mars Bar in a Glaswegian chipper. And do you know what’s wrecking me the most? It’s the fact that the pace of life has been ratcheted away up again and I’m no more fit for it. I just see a list of things that aren’t done and I can’t get near them because everyday there are eleventy-billion small things to do- all of which take longer than they should fucking need to.

And the absolute second I get stressed, guess what I do? I lose things, important things.  So this week I realise I’ve lost my bank card, and then WAIT FOR IT: in a fit of nervousness one evening I picked the magnetic strip off LSB’s bank card and rendered it useless. Of course this occurs in the week when we have the Small Child’s First Communion, when I need cash to pay for the lasagne that I can’t be bothered to cook; I need cash to give as gifts, and then suddenly I need cash for every other flipping thing under sun.

So I ring the Nationwide Helpline for lost and stolen cards (and psycho mummies who couldn’t find their arse with both hands.) I get Clive*, who exhibits the same willingness to help as Boris’s willingness to apologise for historic crimes. His tone is flat as I fail to understand a question. ‘I’m going to repeat this a second time,’ he says with a sigh, and then, because I’ve clearly annoyed him tells me that no,  I’ve failed to answer the security questions so no, he can’t order me another card.

‘Please, can I try again?’ I say. ‘I’m just very frazzled.’

‘Ring again, my hands are tied,’ says Clive.

‘Can you at least tell me that someone hasn’t already used it and emptied my account?’ I say, in desperation, hopping about on one leg trying to put my sandals on as we got ready to leave for the church on Friday morning.

‘No I can’t,’ says Clive and tells me to ring customer services again so I can waste another 15 minutes of my life being put on hold,  listening to shite music and a billion phone options. At this point LSB deftly stepped in and relieved me of the phone as he sensed that Clive was about to get a tirade of abuse. ‘No need for that,’ said LSB, sending me downstairs where he had the hair straighteners warming to do my hair.

He’s good like that, is LSB: properly in tune with his feminine side. When I pulled him in to Solstene Grene on Saturday I said to him, this is where you may want to just lop off your bollocks with a pair of secateurs, but he didn’t seem to mind in the least.

(We’d only gone into town so I could go to to the Nationwide, where, incidentally, the lady at door was so maternal and kind as she sorted me out that my eyes filled up and I nearly had a wee cry.)

Sometimes folks, you just aren’t feeling it. I think I am just very, very tired of things being arse-about-face, and I need some good news. I need the promise of a holiday; some quality time with LSB without wondering what the hell the children are up to, and hoping that a cat hasn’t taken a shit in the bath (again).

Be kind to yourselves everyone. Nothing is normal, yet the pressure is on. Does anyone remember an Irish Furstenburg advert from the early nineties which was a series of conversations all spliced together? At one point a fella is saying ‘ALL I SAID WAS,’  as a prelude to another person losing their shit.  I think that neatly encapsulates how life is right now. It may just be one thing, but it’s plonked down on top of a festering quagmire of what other people have said or done (or not done,) or just life in general being a total fucker. We’re all struggling, and in these circumstances, why wouldn’t we be?

With this in mind, we maybe need to take a second and remember what we’ve all just lived through. We are a whole lot tougher than we give ourselves credit for. Yes, at times we may feel like something the dog just puked up, but we’re all here, getting our shit done. And if we need a good cry sometimes or to take a duvet day, then so be it. Let’s all just mind our heads.

And as always, a massive thank you to everyone one of you who reads my blog- whether it’s on Facebook, Twitter or on the blog itself. It really helps me to have this as a form of therapy. Anne Enright, bless her, says that regardless of whether you ever write a book, sitting a a desk and writing regularly will change you. I don’t know if it makes me any more sane, but I find that writing helps, and if  what I put down manages to resonate with anyone then that is a massive bonus. Thank you for giving me space to vent and taking time to read.

You can read my other musings on Mental Health here.

*Names have been changed to protect the guilty


SWB on wet Bank Holidays

It is nine-thirty on Bank Holiday Monday, and it is properly shitting it down outside. The children have been awake for hours, according to LSB, who already looks as though he’s a put in a night shift down a mine. He has been woken three times in the night, twice by a cat and once by a dog, although I imagine a bladder full of Rioja may also have played a part.

The doorbell rings and it is a little friend wanting the children to go and play. LSB looks more relieved than Boris when something other than his curtains makes the news, but I am having none of it. ‘Snap time!’ I say.  I’ve mentioned before before that growing up in the eighties, as if the backdrop of the Troubles wasn’t enough, what passed for light entertainment was learning capital cities. A friend gave me a rake of snap cards- fractions and Spanish words and my absolute favourite- ‘world snap’. Fifteen countries are represented by a capital, a flag, an outline on the map and their name. It’s trickier than it sounds. Take New Zealand and Australia, for example. Limited imagination there when it came to flag design. They could, in my book have slapped on a kiwi or a kangaroo for differentiation, if only to appeal to small children when they are being forced to play a game because their mummy is a teacher and doesn’t  know how to relax.

We set up the game and begin. The Small Child keeps picking up the same card, directly in front of her: it is Russia. ‘Is Russia really that big?’ I ask LSB. He nods. ‘No wonder it thinks it owns the place,’ I say.

‘Russia, you are really annoying me,’ says the child. ‘That’s what the rest of the world has been saying for last hundred years,’ I reply darkly. The Older one lifts China. ‘Now it’s their time to annoy,’ says LSB. This is a game which operates on so many levels. It’s all taken a rather dark, apocalyptic turn, for a gloomy morning, in the shadow of a pandemic.

The Older Child has the attention span of a gnat and has yet to find a pair. This is because between goes, she is launching herself off the sofa. ‘This is not a day for ending up in the Royal,’ I tell her. ‘It will be full of drunk people with bloody faces. It would be the absolute end of me,’ I can tell that in her opinion, it would be preferable to being here, with us, and this game.

Spoiler alert






LSB’s eyes have taken on a sort of dazed impression, some might say dead. ‘I give up,’ he says, ‘I’m H’.

‘It’s too soon,’ I tell him sharply. I’m not ready to joke about the finale of Line of Duty, and can’t help but feel that the pay off wasn’t sufficiently explosive. There wasn’t even a shoot out, or the risk of Arnott being gunned down or a sickening, surprising, twist. Could do better, would be my consensus.

30 minutes later we are still playing. ‘BOLLOCKS,’ I shout, when I pick up New Delhi for the umpteenth time. ‘Bollocks,’ says the Small Child gleefully when she too, fails to make a pair. I won’t let anyone leave the table, although the older Child has definately (see what I did there, LoD fans?) left in mind by now, if not in body. ‘No, THAT’S Ottowa, not that one. That’s Jerusalem,’  says LSB, moving my hand as it hovers over the wrong card. The aim now is not for anyone to win, just to make it end. I realise that I too, have the attention span of a dung beetle.


SWB on a New Look Blog

Hi SourWee Readers, you may have noticed that we have given the blog a makeover. I say ‘we ‘, but as I’m completely inept at all thing technical, it was of course LSB who got busy: he is truly living up to the acronym these days, the poor fella. Let me know what you think of it-  I wanted to make it brighter and cleaner. Not the language, obviously: it remains the same, these are tough times, and sure, what’s an expletive or two between friends?

I’m going to start sharing more of my writing on the blog, in addition to my usual rants about whatever is annoying me. Today I’m including a piece which the good people at The Porch, an online American magazine,  published  last week. It’s all about grief and our different coping mechanisms, so it may be useful to some. If you fancy a read of it follow the link here.

As you know, I much prefer behind behind the screen, as opposed to in front of it, but I’ve put on my big-girl-pants and started to make videos on IGTV. It’s all my usual fare: eco tips, book reviews and yesterday’s offering is on fashion. Honestly, there’s something  I never expected- ‘SWB on what to wear’.  Still, I don’t think Jess Carter-Morley need worry, about her day job yet.

I won’t be doing any more videos today as I’m still glad in tracksuit bottoms, with the hair scraped back and no make-up. Clip of me that I am, I have inevitably met twenty people that I know so far today; one of whom I haven’t seen in an eternity. ‘Bless her,’ he was probably thinking, ‘she hasn’t aged well.’ It’s like the vaccination centre all over again where I thought: ‘God, everyone looks a quare bit older than me here,’ but they were likely eying my wrinkly visage and thinking the same. To be honest, I kinda wished I’d partied a bit harder in my twenties- If I’d known what lay ahead of us I may as well have pulled a few more all-nighters, Anyway, thank God for dim lighting and phone filters. I’m off now to rake the garden a bit- isn’t that what all of us in the forty plus bracket are doing nowadays?