My online writing has often been built around the fact I am single. I have taken money from Jane Pratt to advertise the fact I am single here andhere. I have written about being single on Squeamish Bikini so many times I don't think I even dare to do a quick search through the archives (although you should - many a happy hour has been lost doing such a thing). However by now you may, dear reader, be thinking 'well why don't you bloody well do something about it?' Well reader, while I don't like your tone I have to tell you that I did. And in East London of all places, at Manero's for Speakeasy Sitting Room
When my friend suggested we go to a beer tasting, I had a little condescending chuckle but said 'Why not?' This cheeky chuckle was actually an insult to beer. I understood the concept of a wine tasting, I've been on wine tasting courses. People talking about the subtle nuances of this flavour and that nose as they snorted and sipped a full bodied Bordeaux. But beer? I like mine cold, pint sized and sometimes, when I am feeling prosperous, Guinness flavoured. I didn’t think it warranted any further exploration but as I liked it so much I thought it might be fun to taste one that wasn’t cheapy Fosters. [SPOILER ALERT just to assure you Squeamish Nicola does learn by the end of this that Fosters isn't beer – Squeamish Kate]
On a very soggy and windy Sunday afternoon we headed to Hoxton in search of the pub hosting The Craft Beer Social Club tasting. Easily found, we resisted temptation and didn’t order a pint there and then. We decided not to taint our palates; we were giving ourselves wholeheartedly to this new beer experience!
You remember the whole Stitch n’ Bitch knitting wave of 2005? Well that was a long time ago and while I will be getting my knitting needles out soon enough, I don’t think the wonky scarf I’ll turn out will be enough to keep me warm. I want hot food and a nice glass of something mulled to warm my cockles this winter. That’s why when my friend Clare invited me to her very first Bitch, Bake n’ Booze evening I said: “Hell yeah I’ll come to that!”
Patisserie chef Clare had many a culinary delight up her chef’s uniform sleeve but decided to start us off on something homely and useful - we were going to master the art of making olive dough! The 8 of us were ready for the boozy baking to commence. Before we had even washed our hands, we were poured a glass of wine and were escorted to the bedroom…where we watched a DVD about making dough.
Over the last fortnight I have developed a bruise on my right hip, a swollen right hand and a bruise just below my little finger. On what I like to call the anti-palm, because I’m sure there must be a word for ‘the top of the hand’. I’ve also pulled a muscle in my back.
What’s caused all this destruction? Well. In a betrayal to my P.E phobic teenage self, I’ve taken up a demanding sport.
Taking our lead from the Baby Boomers and Generation X’s refusal to grow up, Squeamish Louise and I have enrolled in a 6 week hoola-hooping course.
I mean I have signed up to a course that requires ‘loose, comfortable clothing’.
The first time I saw Garra Rufa fish eat the skin from someone's foot I was in Liverpool. A brave but crusty-heeled boy plunged his feet into a tank, a shoal rushed to this heels and, I like to think, half an hour later he emerged onto the streets of Liverpool with soft and dainty feet.
Stinginess and an inability to drive mean that I walk a few miles a day. While this makes for tremendous calf muscles my feet are rather shameful. Oh for the courage to dip my feet into a tank of Garra Rufa, or ‘Doctor’ fish, surely all my feet troubles could be solved.
Months after watching the fish at work in Liverpool I received an e-mail from Squeamish Louise. Had I heard of the Garra Rufa fish pedicure, and did I want to try it? My answers were yes and yes.
In the run-up to our appointment a couple of stories came out about the tanks not being sterile due to fish tending not to thrive in chlorinated waters. Meaning athletes foot and verrucas were possibly being passed on by little fishy mouths. The water in a Ziga Fish tank is in fact filtered and sterilised by UV light ten times an hour so any infection will not be passed on. So all you have to worry about is: how ticklish are your feet?
Mine are super ticklish, and the first 20 seconds or so were almost unbearable. But once I got used to the sensation it was fairly pleasant. I was soon covered in fish from the ankles down and it was embarrassingly clear that out of the three of my comrades my feet were the most...how shall we put this...nutritious. The fish are actually toothless, and the feel of their “raspy lips” trying in vain to get a grip on the hoof-like skin on my heels was quite gentle. The all round experience was that of a foot spa. Only with the entertaining view of one's feet being pruned by tiny fish.
Once my 30 minutes was up I was a little disappointed that my feet did not resemble the After image from a Doctor Scholl's advert. Perhaps my expectations of what some tiny fish can do in half an hour may have been a little high. Squeamish Louise swore her feet felt softer but I think I might need a few more sessions before I see any marked improvement. It wasn’t much more effective than taking a pumice stone to my feet – but where's the fun in that?
Squeamish Kate and Louise visited Ziga Fish in Portslade where they were assured the fish are also fed on proper fish food in addition to feet skin cells.