Monday, 11 March 2013

Stuff you could have learnt more succinctly from Twitter

1. My children have been fighting pretty much solidly since I said how lovely they were. Inevitable. Serves me right. Actual punches were thrown over the weekend (unusual, they tend to confine themselves to psychological torture) and electronics were confiscated. Deprived of all stimulus, I forced them both to watch the Crufts final with me instead on Sunday night. The finalists were disappointingly normal, though there was thankfully one dog that looked like a very slinky pull along hoover with Yoda ears. They are my favourites.

2. There was a brief, tantalising appearance from SPRING last week, which was both wonderful and unnerving. Did you have that? We sat out in the garden with ice cream from our local ice cream shop, Penis (well, Zizi, but that is what it means and I am easily amused). F muttered unhappily and slunk along in the shade of the wall because he has decided he cannot stand sunlight. The windows were shown up in all their smeary horror, as was the general squalor of the rest of the house and the decrepit state of my person. I went out to a party (worthy of mention because obviously THIS NEVER HAPPENS) squidged into my poor-woman's-Roland-Mouret-style-dress with bare legs smeared with some l'Oreal version of gravy browning. The hairdresser updated his distressing window display:

Five brave crocuses appeared in the garden. The birdcam returned, condemning me to zero productivity for 2 months (I felt quite emotional seeing Mrs Oehoe the eagle owl back for the third year, like she is in some very small way "my" owl. No sign of Ted and Sylvia slechtvalk yet, the emotionally delinquent, neglectful peregrine falcons who live in an unadorned windswept box of pebbles, a sort of bird Wuthering Heights). Children played in the Parc du Caca (unwise), cats sunned themselves on the pavement, and a wind of optimism blew briefly through Uccle. Now it is -1°C and there is obnoxious tiny snow and a sort of howling wind type thing which is definitely not the wind of optimism. I no longer know what to think.

3. This does mean, however, I can solidly turn my attention to this:

Yet another sadistic innovation from Milka, inventors of the Daim mini egg, and winner of the Belgian Waffle award for "Company Most Likely to Ensure I Never Wear A Swimsuit Again". I hope you have noticed I have matched my nail varnish to my chocolate, like a boss. I am not sponsored by Milka, but really, Milka, surely we could work something out? I am totally on brand. Call me. Have varnish, have no shame, will eat chocolate for money. Indeed, might even dress as a purple cow for money (I have done worse).

They have been advertising this new work of satanic genius on billboards near the house for several weeks and on Thursday the weight of purple persuasion was too much for my weak, suggestible spirit and I went and bought some. I am not made of stone, ok?

Look, it is DOUBLE SIDED. A TUC on each side. Salty, crunchy, pure evil.

Presumably I do not need to tell you that it is absolutely delicious. It is the work of Beelzebub and it was placed on this earth to destroy me utterly. I have bought five of them and placed them in a high cupboard out of the children's reach.

4. In distasteful self-promotion corner, I am in Red this month wondering whether I had my kids too young. I even got a cover line ("one mother's reality check", it says, hahahaha), which is a first. It features a very nice picture of me and said children (you cannot see my face at all really, which is why I think it is very nice) taken by a really excellent Belgian photographer I met before Christmas. If you are in the Brussels or Antwerp area, he does portrait sessions a couple of times a month and they are astonishingly cheap and brilliant. We did the picture for a Christmas present for family and very good it was too though he had to tell me to stop making faces quite sternly at least 4 times.

5. Oh. Also, I need your help. After my failure to organise F's birthday party, and the shaming realisation that all forms of child entertainment are now booked up until mid-May, we are condemned to having the party HERE. In the HOUSE. The thing I swore I would never do again, when that disturbed boy with the thousand yard stare dropped a tortoise on the floor back in 2008. Nevertheless, here we are. Do you have any ideas how we can occupy a small group of nine year olds festively? I am thinking perhaps treasure hunt in the Parc du Caca if the weather is good, but what if it isn't? And what else can we do, because that's plainly not going to be enough to keep them from finding my Milka stash? Brrrrrr. HELP.

(I want this in my party bag)


Susan Low said...

Milka Tuc thing??? What horror/delight is this???

frau antje said...

Birthday party assembly of this might be good (enlist some dads), then next year the party could consist of sorting a season's worth of bones. Or maybe it's better as a miniature project, mounted on a pencil instead of a post...secret living compartment holding nothing more than a few handy ativan.

Anonymous said...

Oh, now I want some Milka Tuc immediately. Unfortunately/fortunately I am unlikely to find any in Ohio.

Joi said...

I need Milka Tuc in my life. For the love of all that is good and holy, may it not be Belgo-only. You get to have our stroopwafels. It's only fair.

(I hope I do not find it. I am blatantly going to finish the entire thing in one day. Unaided)

Victoria from B'ton said...

Oh god, I want that Tuc milka, NOW!!!
I'm going to Paris on Thurs, I will hunt for it.
Party for nine year old boys? My middle son is 9 so I am going on what he likes. Let them draw and design their own recipe/cake etc, working out the method too, then let them loose in your kitchen to create their inventions. Call it a 'creative cookery party'. The most unusual, innovative or just plain weird wins a prize. Then go to park de Caca, come back and eat the inventions.
That is something I may do on my sons 10th in Aug. If I can bear the mess and chaos. xxx

Anonymous said...

Birthday idea I found online and used to great effect recently:

Buy a few big bags of mini marshmallows (preferably colourful) and a few boxes of toothpicks (multicoloured plastic or wooden ones). Clear a tabletop and let them have at it. They're guaranteed to spend at least an hour engrossed in building crazy structures. You can also say it's a competition to see who builds the tallest/ widest/ most wacky structure. Once they've mastered the basics and managed to build something that stands by itself (hint: use marshmallows as "feet" rather than just the bare toothpicks), then it's time to move onto the even more exciting stage 2, which involves thick dry spaghetti (the fine stuff breaks too easily, which I found out too late)and giant marshmallows. They can then make a spaghetti-marshmallow tower or crazy giant molecule together as opposed to each one making their own.
Every kid gets to take their amazing toothpick creation home. Minimum preparation required and because it requires some concentration, they tend to be quite calm rather than racing around like lunatics. This gives you time to decorate the cake or have a cup of tea. The time flies and before you know it, it's time to hand them back to their own parents!
Best of all, it's great fun!!

bbonthebrink said...

Woah, Victoria from B'ton you are very brave! If we'd done that with the 12 x 8years olds who came to our sons' birthday party in November I feel sure at least half the boys would have ended up empaled on carving knives we don't have but they would certainly have found.

We took the 12 boys to the cinema (no prior booking required, I bought the tickets the morning of the party). I bribed them will lolly pops "As soon as you are seated you can have a lolly pop". Once lolly pops were in mouths, there was quiet...sort of.

However, this plan only works if you have a cinema nearish you, but I just mention it as it was organised in a last minute-ish sort of way.

The treasure hunt in the Parc de Caca sounds good.
Good luck! The party will come, and it will go, and you will be ok, just make sure you have good supplies of nurofen and Gin!

Jo said...

Milka Tuc, insane genius! Not fair that you torture us unable to purchase in UK though.
Regarding party ideas, similar to the cake idea above but get some pizza bases, variety of toppings, get them to make funny pizza faces. If you can clear a room of breakables, we have found that lots and lots of balloons that have to be burst by sitting on them creates much hilarity. Suspend sugary doughnuts from strings that have to be eaten with hands behind backs.
The chocolate game, large bar choc, kids sit in circle,throw dice, throw a six run to centre put on hat,gloves and scarf, try to eat choc using knife and fork, other kids keep throwing dice,next six run to centre,have to swap over.
Retro English party games, musical chairs,bumps, pass the parcel.
Good luck and please blog about how it goes!

Helen said...

I go away for a week and come back to four new posts! Yay!

a) Your boys are beautiful.
b) Will you make me a ghost cake for my birthday please?
c) OH MY GOD THE DREAM AT THE END OF THE WORLD IS AMAZING! It's one of the books I found by nosing about my parents' bookshelves, and then did not give back. They have not yet noticed.
d) I have seen those adverts for the Milka Tuc things - they've been everywhere, the bastards. I am scared that if I give in to anything in that aisle of the supermarket I will become too big to leave the house.
e) As for party ideas, I have to say I very much enjoyed the chocolate game as a child. Also that one where you have a name of a person stuck to your head and you have to find out who you are. There was a variant also that you not only had to find out who you were but also find your partner (as in, if you're Prince Albert you have to find Victoria) if there was a larger group. Can't remember the rules, but clearly it can't just be 'Who am I?' 'It says you're Queen Victoria.' 'OK, thanks.'

Random thoughts over. I am currently being greatly entertained by the fact that there is a quite nice looking man falling asleep opposite me at the British Library. He keeps doing that falling thing then jerking awake.

Pat (in Belgium) said...

Until I was 16, my birthday parties were limited to immediate family only (just realized my mother was a lot smarter than I thought!), many of which were treasure hunts -- around the house, with the next clue tucked into each present, or, when I became a Girl Scout, the first gift was a compass and every clue thereafter depended on my correct use of it (take 14 steps NNW, then five steps east, etc.)
As I had been party "deprived", our daughter had a big do every year until she left home. Third or 4th year, it was pirate themed with invitees (basically her whole class) dressing as their favorite pirate, doing pirate "games" in the back garden (daughter being a June baby has rarely had crap weather for her celebrations), followed by a treasure hunt which covered the entire neighborhood (freaking out the woman at the bottom of the street who looked after the little chapel/ madonna on the corner). In the middle it did start to rain a bit so everyone got garbage bag ponchos. The "prize" at the end was a chest (OK, old jewelry box) filled with gold & silver -- candies wrapped in foil (since in June I couldn't find any foil-covered coins, too far from Sinter Klaas, I guess).

Another later year, when invitees had dwindled (to close girlfriends), they made their own pizzas & watched Johnny Depp films in the back garden on a sheet hanging from the veranda.

Wish I had known about the marshmallow/ pasta constructions way back when.

One thing I do remember: the younger they are, the less they care about the food. I made a requested "death by chocolate" pirate cake (with white chocolate skull & crossbones on it) & then for several weeks after, found discarded helpings all over the house & garden. It was just too chocolatey (how is THAT possible!!!) for some of the kids.

Mrs.D said...

the Milka Tuc looks and sounds delicious I have now emailed this link to my cousin to ask him to send me some in time for Easter

bevchen said...

Milka with Tuc has been out here for aaaages (well, it is a German company so it makes sense). I've been resisting buying it because I WILL eat the entire bar at once.

Unknown said...

I honestly can not believe that I just found your blog. I assume you live in Uccle? You mention the ice cream shop Zizi, do you mean the one in Rue Vanderkindere?

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