Monthly Archives: July 2013

Thank you very much



Thank you thank you to all the people who wished me congratulations and mazal tov this week.  Many apologies for not understanding why I needed such felicitations.  The fact that a fellow Brit had given birth to a baby (who may be King if the monarchy last that long) is OF COURSE reason to congratulate little old me.  I had worked long and hard at matching Kate and Wills, the wedding was very hard work and the birth quite stressful.  So thank you thank you, I am indeed proud to be British.  I will be sure to remember to return the courtesy when your President’s grandchildren give birth (although I can’t imagine how I would know).

The British Royal family has this strange draw for so many, me included.  I do follow Kate and Wills much like I hover over a story about Posh and Becks.  It does rather point to the fact that my view of today’s Royals is more Celebrity than Royalty.  I think I can put the blame for that firmly at the door of the glossy magazines and E! Entertainment.  However, long before I was reading mags and watching car crash telly (sorry E!) I was a little obsessed with the Royals.  Rewind to my Lady Di scrapbook that my grandmother and I lovingly put together, Charles and Di’s wedding which I was excited about for weeks before,even Fergie and Andrew’s big day is firmly etched in my memory.  Talking of memories, the Silver Jubilee (age 4) is one of my first.  In my world, being British goes hand in hand with memories of Royal events, whether you want to abolish the whole outdated notion of a sovereign or not.

I always had a particular soft spot for Diana, probably because I liked her clothes (I was 8).  She was just a fairy tale princess to me, hardly human at all, but on August 31st 1997 in the Australian rainforest a group of backpackers told me that Princess Di had been in a car accident and thought to be dead and I was devastated.  Whether it was real grief or just an attack of homesickness is debatable. A few hours later my mother told me down the phone from the UK that I probably had the start of blood poisoning and I needed to get to a hospital fast I was much more interested in telling her to turn the TV on and see what had happened.

A few days later my future husband re-appeared in my life and my early memories of our relationship are all wound up with pictures of the outpourings of grief, the flowers and the sorrow for her young sons that I saw in the newspaper.  My husband still jokes about the amount of time I spent over articles and feeling sad I was away from home at such a time of national togetherness.  Lets face it I was on a once in a lifetime trip and I wasn’t exactly mates with the Royals.

On the day of her funeral a group of Brits gathered around a portable TV in a hostel kitchen and watched the long and drawn out footage.  Husband-to-be kept walking in and making jokes that we were still there (3 hours on), were we sure we were feeling sad enough?  It wasn’t funny.  In fact its a surprise he made it to a second date such was my outrage at someone dissing my beloved Diana.

Diana In ParisI have a sneaky suspicion that Kate will also have my unadulterated adulation in much the same way as Diana did.  She certainly has better dress sense than her mother-in-law (the 80’s wasn’t kind to many).  I do draw the line at the nude tights though,  you are 30 dear, not 60.  After seeing her standing on the steps of the hospital, beaming through her under eye bags with her poor swollen feet tucked into some suspect the-royal-baby-emerges-with-kate-middleton-prince-williamgrandma heels my love of her was ramped up just a little bit more.  Good on you girl, you were fantastic.  I hope the paps are kinder to you than to previous ‘commoner’ brides.    She’s got one hell of a life ahead of her, not one that many would covet (not me anyway).  I will of course accept any more salutations on her behalf from my disbelieving Israeli friends and neighbours who cannot get their heads around the fact that Briton’s taxes pay for this family and their opulent life (I do point out that most Brit’s don’t get it either).  I tend not to dwell on the rights and wrongs of the monarchy too much and will instead follow Kate’s life with interest (no scrapbook I promise), mazal tov and congratulations to her and William, George is a perfect name for any little boy, King, Prince or otherwise.


Dedicated follower of fashion


cara-delevingne-vogue-uk-march-2013-coverNot that you’d guess it to look at me, I am in fact a bit fashion obsessed.  I can stand outside a designer shop and view the mannequins as works of art, I can read a fashion magazine for hours, poring over every stylish detail and I do try to make an effort when opportunity arises to leave the house.  Therein lies the rub.  I don’t leave the house, except to pick children up/drop children off, go to the supermarket, go to the pool/beach/park/countryside (with children) and very occasionally meet my business partner at her house (not much call for high fashion there then).  Working from home has a myriad of benefits, not least the ability to clean floors, do the washing, look after sick kids etc whilst getting the job done and all without taking paid or unpaid leave.  But I miss having a reason to pull on something more than shorts and a vest top of a morning.

Once a week I meet a friend for coffee – get  me and my crazy social life – and this is the one chance I have to ditch the slob clothes and dab some concealer on.  The last time I went for an evening out was back in May and the last time hubby and I ventured into the abyss of nightlife was in April, before that December.    Oh. dear. me.

Finally after dabbling with trying to find a babysitter who can cope with our sleep walking, drink demanding, peeing in the hallway whilst asleep (yes really), children I have finally found a willing victim to sit for us on Friday night.  Not to put too finer a point on it I am beyond excited.  She works at the twin’s nursery so is in effect the perfect sitter, known to all 3, trustworthy and best of all available this week.  Where we will actually go is still to be decided, the problem with never going out is being bombarded with possibilities once opportunity finally knocks.  It would probably be unwise to pull out a party dress and heels though as I imagine an hour in a cinema or a beer in a local bar doesn’t really warrant the effort.

Luckily for me I have an alter ego I call Sadie who lives in a parallel online universe and basically means I can live vicariously through others, as detailed through their blogs.  I have become a fashion blog junkie.  Sadie can visit the States, the UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia at the touch of the button, she could (if she had the funds) recreate wardrobes as detailed by her favourite blog posters.  In lieu of fashion magazines in English (we’ll get to Israeli fashion in a minute) she can peruse the photos, window shop online stores and enjoy days and nights out as described by the bloggers.  Does this make Sadie a little strange?  Possibly.  Does it make Katie a happy and thrifty fashion victim?  Abso-bloody-lutely.

Israel is not what I would call fashion forward (although I am sure the designers here would beg to differ).  In 2004 when I moved here the fashion was for half mast flares with brightly coloured pockets on the thighs or weirdly below the kneee with flower patches sewn on for good measure.  Muffin top was a must, too small was preferable and shoes were strange platform type sandals with unnecessary block heels making the wearers in their too tight clothes lean forward at an unnatural angle whilst walking.  I kid you not.  Luckily those days are gone and with the arrival of western fashion giants, H & M, Mango, Zara, American Eagle and Gap the fashion has become much more palatable if not a little identikit.

We basically dress like the rest of the western world now but more casual.  Israel takes casual to a whole new level when, like me, you come from Europe.  A man in a suit is either a lawyer or a politician or both.  A woman in heels is either at a wedding (and is the bride) or works in an upmarket clothing store.  Jeans are the basic work wear, whether you work for a high tech giant or a bank.  Sandals can be spotted on just about everyone’s feet – possibly even the be-suited lawyers’ if they are over 45. It makes for a relaxed outlook to a job but boy do I miss the fashions of London.  Just as I looked strange if I ordered more than 2 glasses of wine on a night out in a bar (Israelis think its strange to finish a bottle to yourself like us Brits are want to do), I also found myself in the early days woefully overdressed for every occasion.

Luckily for me I have Sadie and she can get dressed up just about as often as she likes.  While Katie sports a clean t-shirt and the less worn out flip-flops for a night out, Sadie is tottering in a pair of Louboutins and a perfect fitted dress. Just like the cut out dress-up dolls I played with as a girl I can now mix and match outfits in my head.

If you also live overseas here are a few choice blogs for feeding your inner Anna Wintour, when you can’t rely on the local population to inspire your wardrobe:

and my favourite (because our taste is almost identical – my 2 year old thought a pic of her was me)

Happy surfing.

Make it plural


weebleYesterday I met someone who looked like I did 3 years ago, she was heavily pregnant with twins.  Truth be told I think I looked more weeble like than she did but perhaps that’s because I had been looking down on my gigantic watermelon stomach. I spent the rest of the day remembering the pregnancy and the birth and trying desperately to figure out where the time has gone.  In another month my babies will be 3.  Old enough to indignantly tell me ‘we are not babies.’

The girl I met yesterday has a child already who is 1 year and 2 months old, her twins are due any day.  That my friends is one hell of a short age gap.  At 2 years and 2 months between our eldest and the twins we felt like we had 3 ‘babies’ in the first year.  She really will feel the strain; 3 bottles, 3 sets of nappies, 3 special chairs, 3 cots, 3 seater pram, 3 baby car seats.  Wow.  I tried really hard not to look too horrified when she told me and gave her some ‘helpful’ tips (ignore the babies if they’re not crying or let someone else look after them unless they are attached to your boob).  I then scuttled away and breathed a sigh of relief that the waking 12 times in the night, sorry, not sleeping during the night, the triple nappy changes, the trebled crying days, are over (except the last one on occasion).

25 weeks - 15 to go

25 weeks – 15 to go

At 30 weeks into my pregnancy I was the size of a house, it was summer and as you know from the last post; hot, sweaty Israel in July does not a comfortable place make, least of all when you are carrying 15 kilos in your stomach.  My diaphragm was so crushed I had difficulty breathing so I whiled away the hours watching endless crap TV (BBC’s Coast to Coast for some reason became a particular favourite), reading books and readjusting position on numerous chairs to find somewhere comfortable that I could a) breathe and b) not topple over.  I walked with a stick, not because there was anything wrong with my legs but I was in danger of the weight pulling me forward and losing balance. Anything done standing up (washing up, cooking, teeth cleaning) was done leaning on my forearms.  My solace was the swimming pool.

Luckily our local pool is across the road and I would frighten children and adults by sporting a bikini (no costume would stretch that much) and lowering my blue-veined gargantuan stomach into the cool water and letting the weightlessness take over.  “What’s that Daddy” I would hear as children pointed at me non too elegantly perched on the edge of the pool.  I didn’t care, blessed relief and once I was in the water no-one was any the wiser.  On visiting a friend’s pool I made everyone turn away when I got in and out but my friend cheated and her word’s to her husband will follow me to the grave, ‘ oh my god, its gigantic, you have to see’, and his facial expression when he made the mistake of doing what she said.

After 8 weeks of being housebound I was fit to explode, mentally and physically.  I rarely left the house – no  maternity clothes would fit me and I took to wearing mens xxl t-shirts and shorts (not a good look) and so at week 36 with number 1 son staying at his grandparents I decided to clear some boxes, big mistake, then I went to Ikea, bigger mistake, then I made husband go back to Ikea with me to buy and load up my purchases, really big mistake.  This last trip I did without the aid of my stick and promptly tripped over a paving slab – luckily husband was there to catch me.  This organising I believe is called nesting in the baby books, in my book it’s called being just plain stupid.  That night with husband baking overnight at work, my waters broke.  Alone and cursing myself for bringing on labour – I was determined to make it to 38 weeks – I calmly called husband and told him to get the hell back asap.

That night I lost 11 kilos and gained my 2 babies.  Most of the rest of that year, and the year after if I am honest, is a bit of a blur.  Now we are almost nappy, bottle and  pram free  it all seems like a distant memory.  Only the skin that was stretched beyond repair on my stomach remains as my body’s evidence of the amazing job it did to change and adapt to the needs of a twin pregnancy.  

So good luck to the girl I met the other day and well done for making it so far, congrats to all the other twin mums out there and those in the middle of the discomfort, indigestion and continual eating that carrying 2 people around in your stomach brings.  Sorry, but in my experience that skin will never go back, no matter how flat your stomach becomes – Angelina Jolie and J Lo, did you get it cut off?  Twin skin, a badge of honour. Happy upcoming birthday to my babies, you will always be ‘the babies’ at 3 or 53, sorry.


The Heat is On


IMG_0914With the temperature gauge hitting 28 degrees at 8am it is fair to say that summer is upon us in the tiny strip of land I call home.  The heat however is not the problem, summer in the coastal plain of Israel means humidity and therefore sweat, lots of it, even 3 minutes after you have dried yourself from the shower.
The novelty of the hot humid summers are wearing thin, 9 years on. My first few summers here were revelations to me, having a totally summer and winter set of clothes (and never the twain shall meet) was something I had never come across. Putting shoes on for the first time in November after months of flip-flops felt strange and I loved going to the beach at night. Now, without the air-conditioned office to sit in for 8 hours and with others needs and desires more important than my own, summer has become a little more trying. These days July and August to me in Israel means;
1. Boiling hot car seats and steering wheels. The backs of the childer’s legs being burnt by car seat buckles and fights for the one bit of shade in the parking lot.
2. Tense, hot, impatient people.
3. Sweat.
4. Electricity bills as big as Greece’s national debt, the air conditioning units gobble up your hard-earned cash but provide relief until your nose gets stuffy.
5. Drying from the shower in front of a fan rather than with a towel.
6. Vermin
7. Even more washing than usual (surely we wear less so there should be less to wash?). Luckily the scorchio sun dries a load in 40 minutes.
8. Half emptied bags from beach trips and pool trips discovered with moldering swimsuits/apple cores/bread rolls hidden beneath the deflated inflatables
9. 1 lost arm band
10. Thirsty cats bursting the paddling pool
11. Sweat
12. Shlukeem – or for those outside of Israel, ice pops/popsicles
13. Shorts, flip-flops and deodorant, lots of deodorant.
14. Sun cream, freckles and dubious moles. What my Mum called kisses of the sun when I was a child my husband calls skin cancer. The sun is to be feared and hats, factor 50 and beach visits only before 11am or after 5pm (we are a very white family).
15. Did I say sweat?
16. Jelly fish. Fancy a refreshing swim in the warm Med? Forget it, July is jelly fish season. Stick to the local pool or deal with the pain.
IMG_087717. Iced Coffee.  The most delicious drink ever, caffeinated, sweet and cold. When it’s not boiling hot outside it just doesn’t taste quite so good
18. Chofesh Hagadol The Big Holiday. Anticipated by children, feared by parents the long summer hols mean everywhere is crowded except the roads in rush hour (well not as much).
19. Mass exodus to cooler climes. Scandinavia is increasingly popular as a holiday destination.
20. Home. For the second year running I will be taking my brood to chilly Cheshire to give my sweat glands a break.