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Eating Out | GLASS, Berlin.

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WHEREGLASS, 10623 Berlin.

DATE: 23.10.2015

TIME: 7:30pm.

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We took the train to Zoologischer Garten and strolled along the chilly, but short, route to GLASS. Filled with the anticipation of a magical evening, celebrating Mr Memoirs’ 30th birthday, we actually passed GLASS! We backtracked and found the restaurant tucked away between building’s.

First impressions were great – we received a very warm welcome and an abundance of smiles. Good start. We were asked to choose where we would like to sit, we decided on a lovely table in the corner, by the window. We were immediately provided with the menu… hidden inside an envelope. Having previously had correspondance with the Host, Juliana, I had decided to keep the new menu a surprise! I had read several incredible reviews of Glass and of the Head Chef, Gal Ben Moche, so had high expectations – and I was not disappointed!

The tasting menu is available with 5 courses (€75 each) or with 7 courses (€95 each). We opted for 5 courses, as well as the wine pairing (€45 each).

The five courses I chose were:

ONION SOUP // GRUYÈRE / BRIOCHE

FOIE GRAS // PONZU / DUCK CONFIT (+ 10 €)

MINESTRONE // SCALLOPS / BEANS / ZUCCHINI

JERUSALEM // POULET DE BRESSE / CAULIFLOWER

CANDY BOX – Dessert – which has to be shared + 20 €

However, we were advised that we’d receive a surprise treat or two before our first course. I don’t think we could have been more shocked and in awe of the ‘treats’s. I, still today, a week on, cannot stop thinking about the first dish we received.

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Dehydrated soya milk with a miso sauce. Actually just the most incredible thing! I could have eaten a bowl full of this.

This was quickly followed by:

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Another sharing treat, the hot-cheese filled crackers to the bottom corners were my favourite! There was also sardine topped falafel and dehydrated egg’s and bacon.

We were then served another ‘breakfast’ style dish:

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This one was a sweet treat – with egg yolk just cooking to the bottom.

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“Taste on a spoon”. One of my favourite mouthful’s of the evening. Ravioli, filled with Oxtail broth, topped with oxtail, greens and parmesan. INSANE. This spoonful was just stunning. The ravioli popped open in your mouth, releasing warm liquor. I have never tasted anything like it.

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Next were served a homemade pretzel bun each, along with 2 slates of butter that were out of this world! One of the butter’s were made with olive oil – using olive’s from the vineyard where one of our wine’s were produced – the other was topped with volcanic salt.

We were then served the first dish we had picked from the 5-course tasting menu.

Mr Memoirs loves anything smoked and earthy, so ‘Forest in a glass’ with its mushrooms and vapour meant he was in his element!

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The waiter was incredible at describing each individual dish – and really set the scene with the Forest in a glass dish. Mr Memoirs remarked that it did indeed feel like he was walking into the depths of a forest, taking in the different scents of the forest floor. The smokiness lingered too – very clever.

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Onion Soup with Gruyere and Brioche. The dish was served with the onion consommé being poured at the table by the waiter, who explained all the fine details to the bottom of the bowl. A warming and tasty dish that left me cleaning the bowl with my leftover pretzel!

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Foie Gras with Ponzu and Duck Confit. There was a surcharge of an additional €10 on this dish, and it was so worth it! The Foie Gras was the best I’ve ever tasted and the duck confit ‘dumpling’ was divine. I could have definitely done with a gravy boat of the sauce however! It was just superb.

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“Minestrone” with Scallops, Beans and Zucchini. The waiter gave us a cheeky smile as he placed these dishes onto the table and declared, “This dish is a lie, it’s not really Minestrone! This dish is made using a lobster bisque…”. I’m not a fish easter, at all, so I was quite apprehensive about this dish to say the very least. But my goodness, it has completely changed my mind! The bisque was filled with bags of flavour, as was the pasta, beans and courgette. I also ate the majority of my scallop! Which is a huge achievement for me – and of course, a huge compliment for Glass. The scallop was so delicate and tasty, I couldn’t help but go back for more.

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Following this, we received another ‘treat’ – a Horseradish Sorbet. Never experienced anything like it. Just incredibly powerful and cooling, all at the same time.

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And now time for the ‘main’ – Jerusalem. Now, I am a person who would not order chicken on a restaurant menu. Chicken is a staple in our house, it makes for a quick and easy dinner for us all; or is reserved for Sunday lunch. Not special enough to order from a restaurant, in my opinion… That was my opinion until I tasted Poulet De Bresse, the most sought after chicken, all the way from France. I can’t even put into words how surprising this dish was – I didn’t want it to end. The chicken was like nothing you’ve ever tasted before, really very special indeed. The cauliflower details were so tasty, as were the peas and grains. Stunning.

…and then came the pièce de résistance. The Candy Box. Presented table-side, by head chef, Gal Ben Moshe. 

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The Candy Box is a magical display of childhood tastes. Obviously, liquid nitrogen is always a bonus too! This was the most memorable and fun dessert we’ve ever had. Gal presented our version of The Candy Box with “H B 2 U”, in celebration of Mr Memoirs’ 30th birthday. Very thoughtful.

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Also, shout out to Juliana who added a birthday candle to the proceedings!

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We chatted to Gal after we’d finished the meal and congratulated him on such a wonderful and unique dining experience. It’s going to be very difficult to top the evening we shared with GLASS. We will definitely be heading back to GLASS when the menu changes – which we imagine to be Spring as Gal tends to use seasonal ingredients. There is also a Vegetarian menu available; offering both the 5 or 7 course tasting menu.

I cannot rate GLASS highly enough – from the staff to the food, everything was just stunning. A relaxed atmosphere with the most unusual dishes. Simply a must whilst in Berlin! (And get a reservation in soon, I can see this restaurant gaining it’s first Michelin star very soon – it is already featured in the Michelin guide – so tables will be at a premium!).

Thank you GLASS.

MM.

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Restaurant GLASS
Uhlandstraße 195
10623 Berlin
Phone: 030-54710861
Email: reservierung@glassberlin.de
Website: glassberlin.de
Opening times:
Tuesday to Saturday from 18:00 to 23:00 clock

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Recipes | Split Red Lentil Dahl.

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Yesterday was our 5th Fast Day. And it went surprisingly well. It definitely get’s easier… infact, I look forward to our Fast Day, as we’re trying such lovely recipes – and the added bonus is,  I wake up the day after a fast feeling great – feeling lighter and brighter. I wish the scales would actually ring true with the lighter part though, as I’m not seeing a huge difference. I’ve seen how some people have lost 10 – 14lbs by their 3rd week of fasting. I’m so far only seeing a 3lb drop. But still, that is a 1lb per week I guess and not to be sniffed at. I guess I’m just being inpatient!

SO! Yesterday was a fast day, as I say. And I made the most wonderful red lentil Dahl! The first time I’d ever made a Dahl… and dare I say it, the first time I’ve ever actually eaten one too! So only going on how mine turned out – but it was super yummy, warming and filling – just what you need on a Fast Day! I was inspired by several Dahl recipes that I found online. I loosely followed this recipe from the wonderful London-Unattached. But as Fiona mentions in her post, most Dahl recipes are more or less the same – just depends on what veg/meat you want to add! Our recipe was meat-free last night. This recipe would be awesome during the cold Winter months too – you can throw in so many things to bulk it out, while it will still remain very healthy.

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SPLIT RED LENTIL DAHL*
SERVES 2 – PREP 15 MINS – COOK 20 MINS
300 Calories, per portion.

Ingredients.
90g Sainsburys Dry Red Lentils
100ml Knorr Vegetable Stock
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped into chunks (can be skinned before chopping if you prefer)
2 teaspoons Cumin Seeds
1 teaspoon Ground Tumeric
1/2 teaspoon Mustard Seeds
1 large clove Garlic (I pushed through a garlic press, but can be sliced or grated)
1/2 teaspoon Waitrose Hot Chilli Powder (Or one fresh chilli. Adjust according to taste – the Waitrose Chilli Powder is so powerful, you don’t need a lot! And I like heat!)
2 teaspoons Ginger (I chopped as I like to taste ginger, but can be grated)
1 Medium Onion (Finely Sliced)
3 Spring onions (I had leftover in the fridge)
1 Red pepper (I had leftover in the fridge)
150g Spinach (Torn or roughly chopped)
Splash of Rapeseed oil

Optional – to garnish.
Parsley
1 tablespoon Low Fat Yoghurt
Sliced cucumber

Directions
1) Cook lentils as per packet instructions. For the Sainsbury’s lentils I used, I boiled them rapidly (in cold water) for 10 minutes. Drained and set aside.
2) Add some oil to a frying pan and add the dry spices and cook over a medium heat till the mustard seeds start to pop. I used Rapeseed oil, but know that a lot of people use coconut oil as an even healthier alternative.
3) Add the onion (and spring onions), garlic and ginger and cook gently for 3-5 minutes till the onion starts to soften. Then add the cubed peppers (I just had a pepper leftover in the fridge).
4) Add the tomato puree, stock, fresh tomato and simmer for 15 minutes stirring occasionally and adding more water if necessary
5) Stir in soft lentils and the spinach and cook for a further 2-3 minutes
6) Serve garnished with a dollop of Low fat yoghurt, sliced cucumber and a sprig of parsley (or coriander would work well too).

ENJOY!

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Do you have any 5:2 recipes to share? Get in touch! I’d love to try them out!

MM.

*Recipe adapted from Fiona Maclean’s Red Lentil Dahl recipe, over on London-Unattached.

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What Eli Wore | The #MrandMrsSpinks wedding.

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What Eli Wore:
Heritage waistcoat, shirt and tie set – £21, Next.
Heritage formal trouser – £13, Next.
Classic Converse Low-Tops in Black – £24.99, Office KIDS.

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Our very dear friends, Camilla and Tom, got married last month. It was an honour for OH and I to be their witnesses. So it was only right that Mr Eli got dressed up smart-as-a-carrot for the very special event! We went to a few shops for his outfit – but this one from Next was just perfect. In fact, it was ridiculously perfect! <Scroll down>
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For half of the day Eli didn’t wear his waistcoat. It was a massive struggle to get any clothes on him – he’s such a wriggler (and SO strong now!). We did eventually get the waistcoat on him for the meal however. I did look for a smashing pair of brogues for Eli to go with his Heritage suit – again to match his Daddy. But alas, I could not find any in his size. He’s the first size in infant Converse now, so this was their first outing! He looked wicked!

The shirt that comes with this set is great – it has a stiffened button-down collar, like an adult size! I particularly liked the grown up grid print. The Heritage suit is a cotton blend with fine tweed effect print. The trousers are adjustable which is really handy. The suit is quite hardwearing; something you always need to think about with toddlers, especially as Eli spent a lot of his time crawling around! The waistcoat has a lovely pocket square detail – good job it was stitched in, Eli would have had it straight out!
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Mr Eli and his Daddy’s had matching tie’s!

These two ties were purchased almost a year apart – AND in two (very) different shops! Eli’s mini-me tie comes as part of the Heritage set from Next, while OH’s tie was from AllSaints; which he purchased for a wedding last year at River Cottage.
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Mr Eli was such a good boy during the ceremony and meal; and had a wonderful time playing with the other children in the creche.

This Heritage suit from Next is perfect for weddings, christenings, birthday’s – any special occasion you can think of really! Mr Eli received lots of compliments about how smart he looked. A definite must-buy!

The Heritage set from Next is available to purchase online, here. This suit is available as separates, 3 months – 6 years. Prices do vary depending on the size.

MM.

 

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REVIEW: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

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Location: Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest.

Length of stay: Monday-Friday, May 2013.

Lodge: New Executive Lodge, 653 (Cedar).

Number of people: 6 Adults, 2 Children, 2 Infants.

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Back in May we went on our first family holiday to Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest. There was a total of 10 of us going so stayed in one of the New Executive Lodge’s, 653 in Cedar to be precise. We were overwhelmed by just how cool the lodge was when we pulled up outside it! My OH’s family have been visiting several Center Parc’s locations since OH was VERY young. But they all confirmed that this was “the very best lodge we’ve ever stayed in!” as soon as we were through the door.

Once inside the door there is space for coats and shoes; plus space for 2 (large) prams to fit in nicely. There was also a huge broom cupboard to house all our suitcases and umbrellas, plus additional bedding, hoover, dustpan and brush, iron, ironing board etc.  There was a dining table to seat 8 plus we had 2 high chairs brought to the lodge in advance. The highchairs were the same as the ones we found right across Center Parcs in the restaurants and places. This meant we didn’t have to figure out how to use a new highchair every time we went somewhere new, but it also meant that Eli knew it was dinner time as he recognised the highchair. This really helped with consistency. The highchairs are all easy clean, but the tray cannot be removed, or even moved closer to your little one. So there was quite a lot of space between Eli and his tray. He managed ok though. We had maid service who replenished bedding and towels and cleaned the lodge daily.

SO! A little look around Lodge 653…

There were 2 double bedrooms and 2 twin bedrooms. We were brought 2 good size cots for the baba’s too. Albeit, we had been told by friends to take our own cot bedding as this is not provided.

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Bedroom’s were very nice sizes, lots of space for a cot. Not a lot of hangers in the wardrobe though! But we made-do. Would have to mention here that the bedding was atrociously LOUD! Never ever tried sleeping in anything like it! The bed was really comfy but the duvet sounded like crisp packets, every time you BREATHED! Huge let down as it looked wonderful! After the first night we ended up taking taking the sheets off the duvet and slept in those instead. Would recommend taking your own sheets/blankets.

Each bedroom has it’s own en-suite, which is absolutely perfect when sharing with so many people! We had an amazing shower in ours. Upstairs, there were also two balconies off the bedrooms, complete with bistro set, overlooking the woodland. The living room was just lovely, huge ‘L’ shaped sofa, that I fell asleep on every night. It was just so comfy! We also had an open fire, which marked my first experience with a real indoor fire! OH led the log-burning ceremony every night. We weren’t blessed with good weather for the duration of our stay (in true British fashion!) so the wood burner was well-used! The kitchen was really spacious, with ton’s of cupboards and two fridges, an oven, hob, microwave and even a dishwasher! You are provided with a tiny amount of washing liquid, so best to take your own too. There was also a really nice breakfast bar, that the kids loved sitting at!

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We had a great patio with dining set and BBQ – we also had regular visits from the local wildlife too! We were lucky enough to have a Lodge with not only it’s own Games Room (PERFECT for the kids and Grandad!) that had a Pool table, huge TV with PS3 and a ton of board games; but we also had our own Sauna! Bliss!

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Eli is such a water baby it’s untrue – he LOVES his swimming. The Sub-Tropical Paradise was amazing. Loads of slides and play areas for children of all ages! We’ve never seen Eli happier than when he was splashing about in the baby pool. He absolutely loved it! OH and I also frequented the Rapids and new water slide. We had a particularly wonderful moment, when we were all in the outdoor pool and it began raining so so ferociously. The water in the outdoor pool was steaming hot and the rain droplets were ice cold. Very memorable and VERY refreshing! This may also have contributed to the Post-CP cold we all had! oops….

I’d also point out that you cannot take a pram or buggy into the swimming area. Eli will only sleep in his pram so this was a huge downside for us, plus our iCandy Strawberry was not cheap! We did however purchase a padlock and locked our pram in the outdoor buggy park. We purchased the padlock for £3 at the Bike Hire shed. I keep the padlock in Eli’s changing bag now, incase we’re ever faced with a similar situation anywhere else. There are ‘cots’ (more like play pens!) for your children but we struggled to get Eli to sleep in one. Could have been that it was so warm and noisy in the Dome too.

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The food was great at every restaurant we visited. The staff at all restaurants really went out of their way to accomodate us, it was an absolute pleasure to eat out! I can really recommend the French Onion soup from Cafe Rouge – I had it twice, it was so good! Equally, their English Breakfast went down a storm as we prepared for the big drive home on our last day. The ribs at Huck’s American Diner were melt in the mouth, just so tasty. I’d also recommend the Indian take away. BEST Indian take away I think we’ve ever had. Very low-cost too!

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Mid-week, OH and I indulged on our first night out since welllllll before Eli arrived. We had a few drinks at the Lodge and then went onto Strada. The manager even brought over a glass of Prosecco as it was almost my birthday! Such a lovely touch. Our table overlooked the Dome, which was just incredible by night with all the trees and tropical plants lit up in the dark. We then went onto Cafe Rouge for a glass of red outside, under a heater. It was so so lovely to catch up with OH and have a proper date night. It was long overdue. We then went for a few cocktails and to the ‘adult disco’. We thoroughly enjoyed dancing to the horrendously cheesy (mostly 90s) music, it was great fun!

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We all had an amazing time at Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest and would go back in a heartbeat. There is a TON of stuff to do, especially if you have a family. There’s also a spa, if you’re in the mood for some R & R. Center Parcs is great if you’re thinking about planning a family break, I seriously cannot recommend it enough!

I have just noted a few things that might come in handy if you’re going to visit a Center Parcs soon…

– Take your own food and drink. The Parc Market is a little bit more expensive than your usual supermarket. You can easily add £1-£2 on the price of what you would pay at home. But, of course, the Parc Market is great if you do forget something – it’s VERY well stocked.

– Take washing up liquid, especially if you’re still washing umpteen bottles like us!

– Take your own cot bedding.

– Likewise, take your own bedding if you don’t want to be disturbed by the crispy sheets provided!

– Be prepared to leave your pram/buggy outside in the Buggy Park. If you have an expensive pram, take a padlock with you so you’re not worrying the entire time about leaving it!

– Would really recommend the Dine In service. The Indian take away was just amazing. SO authentic, so tasty. Very affordable.

– Aside from the take away service, you must book all restaurants and any other activities you’d like to do on your trip. You also need to hand over a £5 deposit, per person, for every single restaurant reservation. This came out quite costly when we booked all our meals all at the same time. The deposit is deducted from your meal however, Bare this in mind if you want to dine out or partake in any activities. At Sherwood Forest, you make your reservations at the desk by the Bowling alley.

– At this particular location, we found that the Family changing cubicles were very few, so had to wait quite a while for one to become available. They were hit-and-miss on size too. We struggled at times with Eli; the changing ‘area’ for babies is made from quite a hard, evasive material, almost like concrete, so not particularly comfortable or easy on the eye. This definitely upset Eli, he didn’t like the cold concrete or the look of it, I don’t think! The entire changing experience wasn’t great, the lockers by the Family changing were miles away from the showers and were also quite far from the pool entrance. The changing area is a MAZE.

MM.

I was not endorsed for this review in any way. All opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

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Surprises from my best friends!

Table at Babylon restaurant, Kensington Roof Gardens.

On Saturday of last week (9th June), I was whisked off to Kensington for lunch with my best friends at Babylon, Kensington Roof Gardens. The restaurant and garden’s were absolutely amazing… there were real-life flamingo’s in the gardens! On the ROOF, in Kensington! Crazy!

When I arrived at the restaurant I called my friends and they came and met me at the reception and lead me to our table. They’d decked the table out with ‘Baby Shower’ banners and presents! What a lovely surprise!

I thought I’d share the lovely gifts that they got us 😀

Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.
Scrummy cupcakes from Whole Foods.

 

We're massive fans of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar", so this amazing box has taken pride of place in the nursery!

 

Lots of presents! Lots of essentials 🙂

 

Beautiful gifts from The Little White Company.

 

Absolutely adore this super-soft bunny rabbit and elephant rattle from The Little White Company!

MM.

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Christmas Party Woes!

It’s that time of year when there are LOTS of invitations to festive drinks and meals. I’ve had TWO important ‘festive drinks’ and a ‘festive meal’ with external companies through work this week… AND I’ve just got back from my office Christmas Party.

I’ve documented my previous struggles with excuses for not drinking in the below blog posts:

TTC: Excuses for not drinking!
TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

It’s been a struggle again, but because of my recent trips to the hospital I have just been saying that I’m on strict orders not to drink until my “blood test results come back”. I’m pretty certain that people are not convinced – but I have had quite a lot of sympathy! 🙂

So at tonight’s office Christmas party there was the usual free-flowing booze from the onset. I’m usually the one guzzling the freebie’s and dancing the night away… but things are obviously quite different this year! Upon arrival there were ready-made cocktails, with jugs of the same cocktails ready for people who wanted a refill. I obviously couldn’t drink them so politely asked the barmaid for a ‘soft drink’. To my dismay she REFUSED and said that it was the ready made cocktails for the first hour and ‘custom drinks’ could be prepared thereafter. So I said, “I don’t wish to drink a customised drink, I’d just like a lemonade or a tonic water please?”. I actually could not understand!! To my further dismay, she pulled over her manager, who reiterated to me that there were no additional drinks until after 8pm….and that I could have a glass of water if I was “desperate”. Seriously, how rude?!! Nevermind being pregnant – I could be allergic to alcohol, or alcohol may even be against my religion! (Neither of these are true, but they don’t know that!). Has anyone else had trouble with mardy waiting staff?!

Despite being post-8pm I still struggled throughout the evening to obtain non-alcoholic drinks. The music was so loud that most bar staff thought I was asking for Vodka and Lemonade when I was simply asking for ‘JUST LEMONADE PLEASE!’. By 10pm I was absolutely exhausted and frankly, sick of the people behind the bar so left ready for home! Several colleagues did question whether I was pregnant… Most of whom were pretty much beyond drunk and wouldn’t have remembered my answer the next day anyway. But I did shrug all awkward questions off with “Maybe next year”.

Because of the amount of appointments and phone calls I’ve been making during working hours (and the CONSTANT not drinking anxiety!), I feel that the time has come to tell my boss what is really happening. I’m kind of looking forward to finally getting it off my chest – albeit, I know it’s still really early doors. I’d just hate to have people thinking I’m taking advantage…

Wish me luck!

MM.

 

 

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TTC: Excuses for not drinking, PART DEUX.

Just wanted to go back on the original ‘Excuses for not drinking’ post. I took another Mumsnetter’s advice and pursued the Tonic water with ice and lemon route for my several social events this week. It worked a treat! Nobody even battered an eyelid. Perfect!

Here are some of the other suggestions put forward on my post:

ChocoBOO says:

Just don’t say antibiotics. Dead give away!

When I found out I was pregnant I said I’d been having migraines so needed to rule out causes – worked for alcohol and caffeine.

Jenniec79 says:

Be the driver? It’s the other unquestionable excuse for not drinking on a night out!

MrsDobalina says:

At work dos I always walked around with a glass of wine and waved it around, pretended to sip it but never actually drank any. This worked even at dinner – it’s amazing how little people noticed! 

At bars I ordered tonic water and asked for ice and lemon so it looked like a g+t. 

LydiaTheTattooedLady says:

There was one last time I had quite an aggressive dental infection. Dentist told me not to even risk a sip, as it can cause severe vomming.

Nice.

Whereismywine says:

I’ve got a big run/bikram yoga in the morning
I’ve got a nasty bout of cystitis – this shuts people up!
I’m on a detox
I’m driving
Ive got a big drive the next morning
I’ve got an important work meeting the next day 
I have one half pint of something at the start of the night. Often no one asks after I’ve been seen with that. Usually give it to dh. Difficult if rounds are going.
I’ve got a cracking hangover.

I wish you all the best ttc. But if it does take a while, a glass of wine or two a week would be fine, in my humble opinion.

So with what Whereismywine says in her last sentence, what you think of one or two glasses of wine while TTC or PG?

MM.

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TTC: Excuses for not drinking!

I stopped drinking several weeks ago in order to be the healthiest I can be; as myself and DP had planned to begin TTC. We’ve now began the exhausting journey of trying to conceive. The giving up drinking thing was fine because we didn’t really have any social events planned and had kind of slowed down on the red wine at home already. When we had been for meals with friends (we have the same circle of friends luckily) recently, we’d been quite open about our plans… but work friends are a little bit different. I have a work friend’s birthday party tonight, another party tomorrow, a meal with work colleagues next week – aswell as a conference with evening ball! There will be lots of wine and champagne flowing, and in attendance will be my boss, with whom I get on with, but obviously wouldn’t want to find out I’m TTC for fear of work complications.

So not only is it a busy week – but a lot of time spent with work colleagues and alcohol. Which would also be fine if I wasn’t renowned for being a little bit of a red wine lover! How have you ladies gotten around the not drinking thing? Any useful hints and tips? Or even excuses? My DP will be attending the party tonight and tomorrow and won’t be drinking either – stressbox!

MM.