Monthly Archives: December 2011

On… pregnancy obsessions

Fact: Life milestones cluster.

First, everyone you know turns 21 and all you seem to do is go to 21st birthday parties every damn weekend. Then everyone moves into grubby-floored shared apartments with friends, and all you do is go to housewarming parties where someone ends up sleeping in the bathtub. Then everyone moves in with their significant other and you go to a lot of dinner parties (and eat either roast chicken or lasagne). Then everyone breaks up with said significant other, and decides they hate their career, and you all go out to bars in hope of widening the social gene pool and drinking away the worries about how much you hate your career. Then everyone gets engaged and married, all at once, so all of a sudden you spend every second of your life travelling to, shopping for and recovering from weddings.

And then everyone gets knocked up. And that’s where I am right now. It’s baby baby baby, plop plop plop. Everyone I know is clearly getting laid. A LOT. And high five to all of you for that. (You smutty little filthmongers.)

Now, some women waft through pregnancy, looking amazing and feeling fantastic, barely noticing any difference in their day to day lives. Others are slayed by nausea, exhaustion, and general aches and pains, and wake every morning wondering what fresh hell will arrive that day. I was firmly in the latter camp. And these are the items that helped me survive. So if you’re knocked up, or know someone who is, enjoy. If you’re not in this place at all, then this post will really bore you. But then again, my bourgeois analysis of the concerns of 20- to 30-something yuppies like moi was probably highly tedious too, and you clicked away on like, line three. So never mind.


If you’re plagued by nausea / vomiting / acid reflux / heartburn, nothing will taste very good for the entire nine months. On the plus side, you can impress your friends by burping like a trucker. And nothing says ‘mother’ like someone leaning over a toilet bowl for the sixteenth time that day, screaming ‘THIS IS BULLSHIT’ in between mouthfuls of [insert foodstuff here].

Super Lemons are a Japanese lemon-flavoured candy that are so sour they make you wince and drool and swear. They also may stop you feeling godawful for an hour or so. Apparently extra saliva helps create enzymes that relieve nausea. We ate a lot of these in Hong Kong when I was a kid (though we were not, I hasten to add, knocked up). And we liked another candy called, I think, Toxic Waste. No confirmation if Toxic Waste is good for pregnancy or not. You can usually find Super Lemon in Japanese food shops, or try Amazon or Ebay.

Next, Pink Lady Apples, cold from the fridge and sliced into 1cm rounds, also helped my nausea. I don’t know why; I’m not a nutritionist. Warning: chew them VERY well. If they come back up, apple skin will slice the shit out of your throat.

Ditto cucumber. Sliced thin, on buttered toast, with cracked pepper. If you are great with child and feel meh, try it.

For the last trimester, heartburn can be a real bitch. Sometimes it gets so bad you’ll throw up. At least, I did. Eating almonds will keep you going without feeling sick. Something to do with the alkaline/acid levels of your stomach, or some shit like that. (I’m not a doctor, either.) Man, I ate a lot of almonds. I also ate a steak sandwich cooked in butter every day for breakfast, as it was the only meal that was guaranteed not to give me heartburn. God, that was awesome. I’d love a steak sandwich right now. Let’s put a photo of a steak sandwich in, just for fun.


Of course, you can take drugs for nausea and heartburn… I tried Vitamin B6, Omeprazole, Zantac, Motilium, Gaviscon, and a bunch of other things. Tums were the most calming and the yummiest. Sometimes I’d fall asleep, sitting up (lying down makes heartburn a lot worse), with a Tums dissolving in my mouth. A few hours later, I’d wake up with heartburn again, pop another Tums, and drift back to sleep. I’d wake up with coloured spittle dried around the outside of my lips. Which means I was also probably drooling. Did I mention pregnancy was sexy? No? That’s good. Because I would have been lying.

I have a thumping great girl crush on this woman. Tara Lee. I did her pregnancy DVD every single morning from week 12 onwards, even when walking or sitting for longer than a few minutes was no longer an option (pesky back and hip problems). She’s sort of gentle and calm and kind, and so pretty, and she has a nice voice, and um, oh, she has really great hair, and oh no, am I gushing? I feel like I’m gushing… The yoga moves are very easy, and really stretch out all the muscles that are working hard to carry that 30 pounds of babygut around. All in all, it was a lovely way to start the day. By week 37, I could recite the entire thing, word-for-word, with Tara’s calm-but-wise-inflexions, including lines like ‘feel like you are doing an internal dance with your baby’, WITHOUT IRONY. More worryingly, so could Fox.

You can’t sleep on your back during pregnancy for a number of boring-but-scary reasons. This pregnancy pillow is comfy as hell and doubles as a nursing pillow once your baby arrives. My sister asked if it was from Pacha in Ibiza, and I replied ‘no, Peter Jones in Chelsea’. That kind of highlights the different stages of life we’re at right now.

Support belt. It’s ridiculous, it’s unattractive, and it’s silly. But it really helps with aches and strains you might have if you are large of bump. No, of course this photo isn’t of moi.

Lastly, a reminder of why you are enduring the hell of pregnancy in the first place. Because babies are awesome.

Errol Fletcher Barry. This morning.

On… The Afterparty

I chose this book just for the cover.

The Afterparty by Leo Benedictus.

And then I read it.

It’s brilliant.

I wish the cover for The Dating Detox looked like that, by the way. It would seem so much more appropriate, don’t you think? Only with vodka instead of whiskey, and maybe a cigarette stubbed out in it instead of a floating dude (which, by the way, I only noticed after staring at it for a very long time).

People sometimes email me asking for recommendations for books like mine. My suggestions are usually pretty useless. For one thing, I don’t read a hell of a lot of chicklit. And though I know there’s some great chicklit out there (and, of course, a lot of fluffy shit), I don’t know many chicklit books with heroines who drink and swear and screw and work hard and hope and fuck up and recover… and who are, most importantly, funny. And that’s why I started trying to write in the first place: I felt like reading something comforting-yet-sharp and nothing satisfied me.

These are the dependably satisfying reads that I usually recommend: Talli Roland’s The Hating Game, starring a hilariously strong and snarky heroine. Plum Skyes’ Berdorf Blondes always cracks me up. Jennifer Weiner and Candace Bushnell are consistently excellent (they’re bestsellers for a damn good reason…). I always enjoy Emily Giffin books, though they’re sometimes a little heavy on the concept and light on the laughs. Jilly Cooper is laugh-out-loud funny, but she writes bonkbusters and that’s not everyone’s cup of hot cha. And Helen Fielding is of course the funniest of all… but don’t we all know Bridget off by heart by now?

Anyway, read The Afterparty. It’s smart, fast and very funny.