I had a job interview the other day, and on my way there, two highly inauspicious things happened:
I got lost! Not having GPS on my phone, I did the next best thing and took a photo with my phone of where the place was on Google Maps, but something about Liverpool Street is designed to confound me. (25 years of living in London is apparently not enough to know your way around when you’re as prone to daydreaming as me). I headed the wrong way out of the station and ended up at Bishopsgate instead of Moorgate, where I found this sign:
Which I found hugely appropriate and I felt very touched that someone had put it there especially for me, but I did my best to ignore it. My crafty phone snap didn’t cover this part of town, and not being real Google Maps I couldn’t just scroll over. Sad times. Fortunately I managed to re-triangulate my position using a bus stop map, and I was still 15 minutes early – time enough to go to the loos, smooth my hair, change my shoes and take some deep breaths.
I also got mistaken for pregnant on the train on my way to the interview. That’s the kind of pre-interview confidence boost a girl needs eh? The train was packed and I was one of many people standing, reading my Kindle and minding my own business, when an older woman offered me her seat. I looked in confusion at her, and then at the woman standing next to her (also older than me!), and then stole a surreptitious glance at my tummy to check just how pregnant I looked. I spent the rest of the train journey straining my back to tuck my spine in and suck in my gut.
I mean, aside from being a knock to the confidence about my looks, it’s no good to go into a job interview looking slightly pregnant is it? I started to wonder whether I shouldn’t preface the whole interview with a short introduction:
“Before we start can I just say: I’m not pregnant. I’m just a little bit plump and I’ve always had this little pot-belly, I think it’s just the way my spine curves out. But I’m definitely not pregnant – see this weird lump in my arm? I’ve got the implant see, fully bionic with 99.99999999% guarantee against
parasitic infection* pregnancy! And it’s like an iron-clad insurance policy for the next two years, because I’m too wimpy to take it out before then! See? See?! I promise not to cost you a year’s maternity pay! I’m total employment gold dust!! Please hire me!”
Anyway I didn’t get that job. Maybe I should have gone with the “I’m not pregnant” rant at the start? Seriously though, I’ve known situations where women were turned down for jobs because the prospective employers knew they were pregnant, and with all the other bullshit around job-hunting I find it a bit much that women also have to contend with employers sizing up their likeliness to nip off and procreate.
But I digress. In an effort to curb the podge, I’ve entered into a month-long sugar-free pact with Rani. We’ve allowed ourself fruit, obviously, and perhaps less obviously, honey and the unavoidable sugars in processed foods like ketchup and baked beans. This decision naturally led to some guffawing on the parts of David and Ben, and some serious discussion of grey areas like peanut butter, where molasses fell on the spectrum between honey and sugar, how come crisps with sugar in the flavouring were allowed but apricot wheats breakfast cereal with sugar in the jam filling was not. The problem is that where you draw the line is determined by your motivations, and ours were not crystal clear, nor entirely mutually held. The broad aim though is to be healthier, lose a little weight, and generally break the treats and puddings culture that had arisen since my return.
We are two weeks in to our month long challenge, and overall it’s going pretty well. Rani has been sorely tempted by some evil genius at work placing a gooey chocolate cake directly in her line of sight all day long, and I briefly hallucinated that a bag of cotton wool balls were marshmallows at a friend’s house the other day. We’ve also granted ourselves some dispensations for upcoming birthday parties and weddings, as it’s pretty much sacrilege not to have some of the cake on these occasions!
I’ve also been turning some of my spare time to trying out sugar-free baking, following recipes from the aptly named http://sugarfreerecipes.co.uk/. I’ve had a lot of success with the sultana loaf:
yummy right? I assure you it was. Rani was rather upset to come home from her chocolate cake ordeal and find this loaf more than half gone…
But a major flop with the banana bread, in which I burnt the outside and didn’t cook the inside, producing a dense, stodgy and slightly bitter mess. It was particularly heartbreaking because of the time I’d invested in waiting for the bananas to ripen and fending off those who would eat them. Next up I’m planning to try out chocolate orange cupcakes and give the banana bread another whirl, so I’ll let you know how I get on. (Also if any pounds magically melt away, though I’m not sure I see that happening so far. Ho hum).
* Joking about the parasitic infection thing by the way. Please don’t run me over the Mamas and Papas strollers…