Thursday, 16 December 2010
Sooo anyway it means I've had to get off my couch and try to tackle shopping myself. Disaster as I'm not good on a one-2-shopstaff level.
Last weekend - Bexley Mall. I was expecting hell but strangely the shops were quite empty and we were able to browse freely. Shame I spent most of the time in TK Maxx (otherwise known as Aladdin's cave!!) and Mothercare faffing about so that the other shops all shut.
Wed - we make our way to the Peninsula shopping centre. I made it as far as John Wilson street. There was traffic everywhere. It took us an hour to turn around and make it back. Gadzooks to anyone trying to make a hospital appointment.
Today - Blackheath. Got there and it bucketed with rain. Got tot shoes but nowt else. I am afraid, I'm not a village shopper. I spent an inordinate amount of time in the car swearing which is naughty as the tot reminded me.
I hate shopping. I hate buying gifts though I love to give them. I'm getting into a tizzy and there are still 9 days to go. Then another few as Mr P.M. has a birthday between Xmas and New Year.
The current Xmas present booty is pathetically small. The question is do I attempt Bluewater tomorrow, or Oxford St, or stay home and make pressies (awwww sweet if you are 3, not so much when you are clears throat considerably more than 3). And even if I do venture out, will Anonymous foil me again the dastards (it's a word, learn a new thing everyday).
P.S. The Anonymous lot have moved on from being Lone Gunmen to a Vendetta scenario where they are going to plaster the city with posters of Wikileak leaks. I can't wait for them to all turn out with Julian Assange facemasks.
Thursday, 2 December 2010
- I have an easygoing, intelligent child. Yes, there are days when the little angel tests my patience, but it's also rewarded
- Financially, it's cheaper. One child = only one set of things to buy, childcare cost, holiday prices, blah, blah, blah.
- I have only one child to entertain on snowy, rainy days.
- I can devote all my attention to raising just the one
- It's bloody insensitive. I may have wanted more and have not yet, or cannot ever.
- I may not have an easy child. My one child might be a sodding nightmare compared to your multiple children. I could for e.g. have an autistic child and then one is not easy (If I had more than one autistic child, then yes, one would be, relatively speaking, easier).
- You CHOSE to have multiple kids and whoopee your fertility, luck, cosmic configuration, genes, jeans etc made it possible for you to have more so don't complain when it's hard to manage the multiple.
- I have to entertain my one child as she has no siblings and on snowy days, it's hard to get to friends.
- She has to learn to play on her own. Sometimes seeing her do so is just too sad to bear. Our child doesn't have any siblings to share birthdays with, holidays, Xmas, TV shows and lots of other stuff. Yes, your tots might not share now but I'm assuming at some point in the future the bond will build and they will be best buddies.
- You don't have insensitive bods asking when you are going to have another.
Monday, 29 November 2010
However, now it's Christmas shopping time, and you have to hide what you may/may not be buying for the other half. A few ways to do this:
- Don't let him/her use your computer (keep their sticky fingers off your keys on pain of death)
- Always sign in / out of your accounts of the various sites. The good ones will then hide what you are viewing in the privacy of your sign on name. Quel pain....I just google gifts and cannot be bothered with this one.
- Set your browser to clear your history when you shut down. Not bad as long as you remember to shut down.
- Use the browser on your phone.
- Employ the Private Browsing mode in FireFox (Ctrl+Shift+P). This mode had me in caters to the porn scenario so well. However, for Xmas shopping, I hope it works. I've just started using it and hope it will keep a few of the gifts I get as surprises.
Sunday, 28 November 2010
For all lovers of Fairtrade goods, it's a great place to get your xmas pressies in.
When: 4th December 2010
Time: 11.00 to 16.00 hours
Where: Eltham Centre, Archery Road, Eltham
The list of things you can get include:
- handpainted Christmas decorations from Kashmir
- jewellery from Chile, Nepal, India and Kenya
- crochet shawls
- purses and bags from India
- men’s and women’s hand-loomed shirts from Nepal
- fruit baskets from Uganda
- skincare products from Ghana
Thursday, 25 November 2010
I've been dipping into a report (Mental Capital and Wellbeing:Making the most of ourselves in the 21st century) presented to policy makers in government a few years ago compiled from opinions / input of 400 experts. I've read half of the Executive Summary so far which is very broad. I think mental capital is our mental/cognitive and emotional abilities and mental wellbeing refers to our ability to achieve and respond.
In the summary it's noted that debt is a stronger risk factor in mental disorder than low income. So for the debt ridden, money would buy happiness. This does not bode well for the nation as the recession continues and more people fall into debt.
Today the Tories have announced they are want to find a way to measure the happiness of the nation, arguing that we should not measure progress solely in terms of economic growth. In part, this sounds good since there has been too much emphasis on how rich or not we are in terms of money following the "Greed is Good" / Thatcherite philosophy. The fact that there will be an attempt to move away from just assessing our growth in terms of wealth/poverty to a more richer understanding of the growth of our culture and our abilities as a nation to address the challenges in the future is to be welcomed.
But this is a Tory government and I'm sceptical. I can't help but laugh at the comic potential of Government determining future policies by how happy they make us. Will they like overindulgent parents ensure that the policies don't lead to one mass tantrum and stomping of foot - making sure in a patronising way that we are happy, smiley people all day long. Will it be shown that the nation is much happier when they are injected with happy pills and that this will inform the NHS policies of the future - come in for your daily does of the happy drug you little nation you. Is it going to unearth who among us is Ebenezer Scrooge and who is Bob Crachit (though in that story, ES gives money to BC and oh gosh we are back to economic measures of happiness)?
Unlike economic wealth, happiness is partly subjective. Yes you can measure seratonin levels but it's also a feeling which is a consequence of our past experiences which determines how we react to events. One person can become incredibly happy at the sight of a beautiful flower whereas another fails to see the beauty and so doesn't react in the same way. What do you think - what measure of happiness is valid to you?
Wednesday, 10 November 2010
The documentary was fascinating in briefly explaining how the Sikh religion did not start off as a warrior one... which was news to me as I had always thought they were the warrior class that got disenchanted with Hinduism. But I learnt that they only become warrior saints in their recent history.
The Royal Pavillion in Brighton was used as an Indian Military Hospital which must have been bizarre.
History is seldom a straight report of the facts - propaganda can determine what story we are told. According to the documentary this was true as after the Wars the contribution of many Commonwealth soldiers was "forgotten" as it was deemed important for the English to think they had won the Wars on their own. I can understand that, and there were millions of soldiers from the UK who bravely stood up to the ultimate evil, but it was good to see that, in this week of Remembrance, the people from other nations who fought are now being remembered.
The documentary is available on iPlayer so if you get a mo, have a look if only to hear about the dashing young WW2 Squadron Leader Mahinder Singh Pujji who must have made quite an impact wherever he went.
Monday, 8 November 2010
With some trepidation, we walked up to the club and went in past a bunch of "youfs".
The Pavilion is a Rugby club hut and it looks like one. Nothing fancy, no niceties and very few beers on tap or in bottle but the room is a nice size, and I can see that an intimate atmosphere could easily be attained.
For some reason, despite the copious amount of moaning I hear about the lack of things to do around here, the place was quite empty. The show was delayed as the organisers waited for more people to turn up. As we had already paid, we stayed.
In the end the show began around 8.30pm and the MC came on stage. I did not get his name which was a shame as he was very good and came all the way from Bristol for the gig. He didn't know much about London but it didn't seem to matter as he was able to connect with some of the audience and kept coming back to them at each handover...including the youfs who turned out to be a nice enough bunch. It turns out being a pipe cutter is a prime source of ad-lib comic material but being a stay-at-home mum isn't ... the MC wasn't able to create any humour about the SAHM who was brave enough to speak up.
In all it was a good night. The people in the club were friendly and good natured. I didn't really enjoy the act one Steve Allen as he was mostly going about being single (something I haven't been for some time HURRAH!) but his gimmick was his radio voice which was funny. The second act was Tony Dunn who was a cardigan wearing Scotsman joking about genital mutilation of Postman pat dolls and his dad's thriftiness. The third act, Tony Law, took some time to arrive (it was a long wait and many trips to the loo) but the wait was worth it as he was brilliant and had me laughing so hard I couldn't breathe - I would have loved to have seen the faces of people passing hearing the strange noises he made.
So yes, it's not a glamorous venue but when the quality of the entertainment is good, you forget and just enjoy the evening. I hope to go to more in the future and hope more Plumsteadians will join in the fun too.
Thursday, 4 November 2010
- She let me test my brakes as she decided it was fine to walk right in front of my moving vehicle
- That she taught the children with her the safe way to cross the road during peak school run time
- That she made my tot cry out and then tell me off for swearing profusely
Wednesday, 3 November 2010
Traditionally, Gujarati housewives cook masses of savouries and sweets in preparation for Diwali.
Gujarati snack shops are common in India and also in areas of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leicester with large Guju populations. I remember fondly going along to Wembley High Street to scoff up stuff or my dad coming home with bags of goodies from Kingsbury. It's also a part of celebrations to have these colourful box of sweets.
Today my shop came to just over £21 which isn't bad considering what I bought
- a large box of mixed barfis - indian sweets that are often ghee and milk based. The different flavours are achieved using nuts and spices such as cardamon and saffron. Mr P.M. enjoys barfi so I'm going to have to ensure he doesn't sneak any out of the box before Friday.
- a box of sev - great for eating with tea or for a break from the sweet.
- a box of bhusu - a mixture but with nuts, sev, channa and moong dhals. Tastes great with a bottle of cold beer
- a very small box of sticky jalebis which are made of fried flour mix that is then completely soaked in sweet water to make them sticky and sweet. In our family, we often bought these on a Sunday morning to eat hot with tea and ghatia. They are my older brother's favourite and every time I eat one I think of him. Kids love them.
- some samosas and a few kachoris. Kachoris are balls of fried flour filled with a very spicy dhal mix. I'm have to admit I'm not a big fan of shop bought samosas as my mother used to make the most divine ones (a recipe I soon hope to perfect myself) so in future may give those a miss but the other stuff will more than happily satisfy me.
98a Plumstead High Street
tel: 0208 855 8832
Opening hours 9 - 11
Monday, 1 November 2010
Apologies if you do so. If you do, please tell me how I can read your sites as a guest.
I'm not sure I'm qualified to answer. When I first moved to the area 3 years ago, I was frankly horrified at the frequent sightings of Police noticeboards about crime, the lack of transport and the very run down high street. However, these have lessened in the intervening years - either the police don't put them up or the area is becoming safer.
When I go out, which is very infrequently at night, I make sure to take my car or if I don't have that, to return in a taxi as I wouldn't want to walk back to our house in the dark. Part over caution, part laziness.
My elderly neighbour was attacked just by Lenton Path, in broad daylight at 10am. Her purse was nicked and she was pushed to the ground. The gutless git who did it managed to make off with about a tenner. However, this is not something that is unique to Plumstead - attacks on vulnerable people happen all over London.
There area issues with the area:
Transport - while much improved by the DLR, could be improved further. Crossrail anyone
Lack of things to do in the afternoons or evenings - no decent pubs or restaurants. Perhaps this help keep prices down
A council that acts as if Greenwich borough doesn't include Plumstead
I do believe Plumstead is improving. Also we are very lucky with the amount of green space round here and are close enough to historic places such as Blackheath and Greenwich without suffering the traffic issues they have - Plumstead is a wonderful haven if you want to avoid tourists.
However, I would welcome other insights especially from people who have lived here a few years in order to give the reader a balanced view of safety and the area in general.
Thursday, 28 October 2010
After a ridiculously horrid journey we were happy to arrive at the serenity of the Palace. I was very impressed with the helpful staff in their bright red uniforms, the cloaks that you can borrow for free to roam about like a courtier (a real hit with our tot who looked very cute in the red one), the amazing clock that shows the time, phases of the moon, astrological chart, and month of the year, the maze and the very manicured gardens. The rooms displaying the life of young Henry VIII were particularly effective using three chairs in each room to show the changing dynamic between Henry, his first wife Katherine of Aragon and Cardinal Wolsey. It was difficult not to feel for both Katherine and Henry in the room showing how many children they had and how many died. Henry had more kids in his lifetime many of whom died. I wonder how he felt about that...I know in that day it was common for children to die but still, it must have been hard for the young king.
As we walked around the Kitchens, I got a sense of the work needed to make the Palace run.
After Henry we went on to see King William III's history. He and Queen Mary II tried to knock the whole Tudor glory down to replace it with Baroque modernity but were defeated by bad luck. The most impressive room in this part was the one showing masses of weapons arranged on walls in intricate patterns (yes, my crochet head was seeing possibilities here) and the walk through the different State rooms.
If you enjoy real history then take out a mortgage (it ain't cheap) to visit the Palace but keep away from the cafe ...I found a hair in my sandwich. Yuk yuk yuk.
Thursday, 21 October 2010
I want to go back to work. I want to look after tot too. If I could find work and went back my severely reduced salary (compared to pre-sprog) would mostly go into the cost of childcare and transport. Is there any point? I count myself incredibly lucky that we can currently afford for me to stay home to look after tot...now every day extra I can do so is a blessing.
Flexibility, especially in a recession is almost a four letter word. Working at home is still not an option for many jobs or for employers who don't trust staff to actually do any work (stupid really, as for some, more work can be accomplished at home without the distractions of the office).
Diwali and Christmas are just round the corner...wonder how many home made presents I can get away with. Growing up, we didn't even do presents at these times...it was more about being with family.
Are the Tory cutbacks scaremongering and an attempt to ensure that we all hate Labour for the mess we are in (even though some bit of my brain keeps saying it's not all Labour but the damn Thatcherites who ultimately left us in this mess and the w****r bankers).
Or are the Tories right that we need to all cut back, cut down, cut off in order to save the economy?
Austerity is not a word I have used for many decades but both I and Mr P.M. grew up in poor households so it won't be a shock to be back there again for a while. And as my MIL just reminded me, we (the British Isles not us personally) have been through this. They managed so I pray we can too.
Sunday, 17 October 2010
I also managed to get the last jar of Cathy's Hot Lips - what a great name. This is the only thing she sells and my goodness after a taste, my tongue was really on fire but in that wonderful way. I'm sure I'll only have a little of it then give the rest to my mate's husband who's into all things hot.
Tot nearly pushed over Rosie's Cakery stall grabbing the very last cupcake which was yummy coffee flavoured (yes, hubby and I ate it while we placated her with a toffee apple topped cake from the cafe). Other stalls that caught my attention were the Kelsey's Farm pumpkin one and the Care Grow Chilli Specialists though we didn't indulge in either on this occasion.
We are incredibly lucky to have this farm in our area and that they hold such events FOR FREE. You are encouraged to make a donation which is well worth doing as the farm has very little financial aid.
A perfect afternoon was completed by taking our coffee into the cottage garden. Bliss.
Saturday, 16 October 2010
As a mobile phone designer, I had to spend some time thinking about the balance of safety for children vs. respecting their privacy/not treating children like idiots.
OK you can put filters in place to protect children but these must enable them to get to the content they are interested in. Social networking and location based services add complications. Other considerations were cost, parental control and how to handle abusive situations.
When you buy a handset and can prove you are 18+ then content is open to you. If you then pass this phone onto your child, IT'S UP TO YOU to ask for the 18+ content to be turned off. It's also up to you to ensure that wifi, bluetooth and location based services are controlled as these are normally done from within the handset and not by the operator.
So not only do you have to refresh your Maths, English and Science skills but you have to be an IT whizz. Ultimately though our kids need to learn how to steer themselves safely too - learn what is appropriate content and behaviour online and to talk to either us or some other responsible adult if they come across or are sent the wrong sort of things.
Luckily there is help on hand in the form of advice:
Childnet fact sheets on safety
Mobile operators advice: the operators seem to differ wildly in their approach to this issue.
Vodafone have advice on safety online but only when you sign up to their Vodafone 360 (so basically rubbish)
Three have an advice page
Orange have an excellent help page on Orange safeguard
Microsoft online safety advice - includes a page which breaks down child safety a bit more. Is for the PC but could equally apply to their mobile internet devices
02 - very impressed with their easy to find section about Young People's services on their home page which links to an excellent page of child protection advice. Well done 02.
Child Explotation and Online Protection: to help protect against child sexual abuse online
Friday, 8 October 2010
P.S. I absolutely hate when people come to door touting for business, promoting a religion or even collecting for charity and think that it can be quite menacing having this sort of unwelcome intrusion. I've had utilities suppliers being sarky that I don't want to save money by switching to them, or charity collectors being very uncharitable. And before any assumptions are made, let me make it clear...I do donate to a number of charities that are close to my heart and that I have taken the time to research regarding their use of funds etc. And we keep an eye on utilities suppliers too.
On last night's Watchdog, Martin Lewis from the Moneysaving Expert site was on about how to beat cold callers, junk mail and unwanted calls away. I'm off now to print a massive NO COLD CALLERS sign :)
Thursday, 7 October 2010
Mind you, you will have to navigate the rather busy Crayford roundabout system but if you are happy to do so, you will be able to stock up.
However, the other day I tuned in to see Robbie Renwick, the Scottish swimmer, grinning and proud as he received a gold medal. It's not often you see a Scot doing well and as part of the Plummy Mummy household hails from North of the border, it was an excellent sight to see.
I and tot have watched the excellent swimming, the indoor cycling, some squash and then last night caught three amazing events: the men's shooting, the women's weightlifting and women's gymnastics. Zoe Smith, the 16 year weight lifter who won a bronze medal is inspirational. She was born in Greenwich and goes to school in Bexley. Here is a girl that has just done well in her GCSEs and also has time to represent her country and do so well. She's 16 and a lot younger than the Gold and Silver winners - definitely one to watch for the future. I was pleased my tot saw her and even though she may not understand, the Games show her what people are able to achieve when they strive hard.
The gymnasts were AMAZING. Their ability to fling themselves in the air and twirl before coming down to a perfect stop was just unbelievable.
It's a shame that a lot of the media attention around the Games have been on the failures of the host nation. Again like South Africa there are a lot of complaints about conditions, security and health. On some forums the Games have been used as a way for knobheads to be racist in the guise of national pride.
I'm am somewhat surprised that given there was 7 years to prepare, that things aren't ready. Yet I wonder why the Commonwealth committee or whatever aren't doing periodic checks to make sure hosts are on track and if they are not, then either penalise them or cancel the events.
Despite all the controversy, I for one am glad to watch when I can and hope that through the Games, we will become familiar with people who will be competing here in 4 years time. And that my tot will be inspired to do more than me and get off the couch.
Tuesday, 5 October 2010
When we decided to put tot into daycare, we applied for child tax credits. Filled in many forms. Produced much evidence. Then got nowt as hubby earned slightly too much. But well, that was fair I guess. So surely the same system can be used to figure out who gets child benefit. Making people apply for it rather than receiving it automatically is bound to reduce the amount paid out.
Friday, 1 October 2010
After every bath, and every day before nursery, I lather our tot in Diprobase. And when she comes back from nursery or playing in the park, I have to inspect her hands for any traces of sand or dirt and hope that she hasn't washed too many times as wet hands can quickly become itchy hands. I have to check her inner elbows and behind her knees. All these areas are really prone to eczema and left unchecked, she would end up with raw, bloody, skin prone to infections. She would be up most of the night which would also mean less sleep for all of us, something that can make the condition worse.
We are very lucky in that her nursery seems aware of food allergies and eczema. There are info posters up of another tot who is not able to eat certain foods. A good reminder. And for my tot, they have quickly understood that we prefer her to wear her own spare clothes rather than the nursery ones.
A friend is not so lucky and has a tot that can break out in bad eczema if she goes near the wrong food or touches the wrong thing. And it seems her nursery needs educating. If yours is the same, then you may find the School packs on the Eczema org site useful.
I would be interested in hearing of any other useful tips for dealing with eczema.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Thursday, 23 September 2010
Saturday, 18 September 2010
Please don’t compare my child to yours
Don’t turn us into milestone whoresDon’t tell me what mine should do
When she should sleep, eat and poo.
It’s great to hear how proud you are
Of your own special little star
But children grow in their own way
Getting stronger every single day
Each child is so wonderfully unique
Yet they all learn to eat, pee and to speak
Safe and secure in the love we give
They all will work out how best to live
So stop your incessant drone
And just leave us the fuck alone
P.S. I'm not a poet, and yes, I know it.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Obviously she wants the same at home but there is no way we are getting a e-whiteboard. So instead, I've been hunting for some [free] software for her to play with.
So far I've come across the following which are great fun.
Tuxpaint: Windows Paint is too complex for my tot so I downloaded this. However, even it may have a few too many tools for her right now but as she grows she'll want to use more.
Tonematrix: I love the audio game for myself. It's simple, won't teach her any music but lets her have fun.
I'm going to have to enable the browser's child security soon but for now, she's not allowed to play on her own so we are safe.
Monday, 13 September 2010
I've always been a fan of storytelling in the tradition of Jackanory. With a few props, the listener is encouraged to use their imagination to build the world within which the story is being told.
So it's with interest that I came across this site about groups based in Blackheath and Eltham:
They are holding 3 storytelling masterclasses at the Eltham centre this month on 21st Sept, 19th October and 23rd November. I'm going to try one. At £2 a session, it's not a lot to risk and who knows, I may get some advice on how to spin a yarn.
St Mary's Community Centre, 180 Eltham High Street, SE9 1BJ
Time: 8 - 10pm
Cost: £2 per session
I've been trying to find out when the Blackheath Fireworks will be this year. Does anyone have any info?
Friday, 10 September 2010
I was introduced to a new term yesterday: Upcycling.
Of course, I was quite clueless and just thought is was a fancy name for recycling. But I was ever so wrong as it turns out recycling and upcycling are not quite the same thing.
Recycling : take waste materials and make a new, often lesser quality, product. I like the idea of recycling as waste is abhorrent to me. However, in practice, I sometimes wonder if my meagre/miserly efforts to save the planet are like p****ing in the wind when you consider the waste of other, larger, populations (land of milk and honey anyone?)
Upcycling: The practice of taking something that is disposable and transforming it into something of greater use and value" From the book Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.
Hmmmm, surely the latter applies to anything where a raw material is made it into something better? And for example, the use of waste to create art is not new. However, I think with upcyling we are talking about taking something created and redesigning it into a new, more valuable, object of use. It's not a new concept as poorer nations have had to do this out of necessity and just think of Cuba stuck with the products from the 50s.
I'll watch the upcycling movement here with interest [and the proper amount of cynicism].
If you want to look at it in designer-y, abfab, practice then pop over to Inhabitat.
I'd be interested in any other sites people can point me to or indeed, of hearing of your experiences of upcycling.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
Update: A percentage of the proceeds from this Jumble Sale are going to the Greenwich & Bexley Cottage Hospice so a good cause.
P.S. Charity sale aside...a jumble sale in a pub on what should be a nice sunny day is a good enough reason to go in my books.
Did anyone catch the double rainbows last night. The first seem to land on Greenslade school but as I drove a bit more, it seemed to be more in Abbey Wood.
I'm sure people have better pictures but these are all my meagre phone camera could capture.
Wednesday, 8 September 2010
I bumped into my neighbour yesterday who was out of sorts...the problem was Autumn - yet for all the reasons she didn't like it, I love it.
I adore the changing colours in all the trees and plants, the crisp sunny days where you can wear a light woollen coat and boots without being bundled up like the Stay Puft man as you would in winter. It's an absolutely amazing, fun, invigorating time of year.
This morning, we were back shopping in Eltham. After a rather dour walk around the high street, I was happy to walk back to our car and pass lots of shrubs with different coloured berries; blues, reds and whites.
Unfortunately, I didn't have my camera but back at home snapped these shots. The pine cone is from a beautiful fir tree in Wesley Close, Eltham (it's a windfall cone, I didn't steal it honest gov).
The berries are from a shrub I'm growing. The birds aren't keen on the berries but maybe if we have another harsh winter, and there is nothing else around, they will be happy to nibble on the purple delights.
Monday, 6 September 2010
We were away last week staying on the borders of Devon and Cornwall. The idea was to be central so we could reach more things. The reality was that we drove A LOT. Along long windy country lanes, which were lined with full grown trees, often very slowly behind farm equipment, ...sounds idyllic but after half an hour of driving I just got bored and wanted to see Dartmoor and the other lovely countryside. Luckily, we managed to make it to the great beaches at Bude, the pretty town of Looe and the Eden project. On returning to London I noticed (partly through a tummy bug I picked up giving me heightened sense of smell) that the water in London tastes and smells pretty strong. I've been told by relatives from Scotland but just put it down to their peculiarities...but you know what they are right. It's very strong. I hope there are no wee beasties swimming about in it as, for now, I've had enough bugs in my tummy.
P.S. Parent moment: my tot who also has the dodgy tummy keeps wants to see the bugs in her poo. Tried to explain they are so tiny you can't see them but that's a concept lost on a 3 year old. If you can't see it, it ain't there.
Sunday, 5 September 2010
Sunday, 29 August 2010
While looking at fireplaces online, I noticed that the reviews on both the Argos and Homebase sites were the same, word for word.
Mr Plummy Mummy who is a techie, explained this is called Astroturfing. It's where an organisation is created specifically to represent something and make it more popular. In California, they are are trying to outlaw this.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not naiive, I knew this happened.I've come across rather enthusiastic reviews on Argos before that smack of a corporate drone sitting there ensuring the common customer doesn't besmirch the good name of their company's products. And in China, internet spin doctors are used to shape bad news into good.
Leaves me with a bit of a dilemma as I like online shopping but don't know how to ensure reviews are genuine. Does astroturfing happen on Amazon? Or Play?
If you come across something suspicious, email the companies (i.e. Argos/Homebase) to inform them. Also the law is on your side in the form of the The EU's Directive on Unfair Business-to-Consumer Commercial Practices.
Or just take the reviews with a pinch of salt.
Saturday, 28 August 2010
Your kid is hot, crying and has a rash. Should you worry?
You are puking your guts out, green bile and empty air that your stomach wants to heave out. But you need to breastfeed. Is it safe?
You have had your tonsils out, your throat hurts like nothing you have ever experienced but on release from hospital you were told to expect this. You want to make sure.
These are all scenarios that we have faced in the last few years. Ones that didn't have us running off to A&E or to the local Grabadoc (which is a great service). However, we wanted someone to tell us it was OK or to give us some advise. Someone with years of training and experience. A doctor preferably or a nurse.
That 's what you get when you ring NHS Direct. Some sensible advice and sometimes that means a trip to the hospital, other times it eases the mind and lets you know that contrary to how you feel, you are not actually dying.
That's why we won't use the 111 service where nurses will be replaced by "trained adviser" who are probably reading out of a manual. I want to know that the person I'm speaking to is a professional with some proper training. If I wanted a manual, I'd just reach for a book or google.
I wonder how many people will start going to A&E depts or their doctors when this service rolls out.
Friday, 27 August 2010
I wish I had a better camera at times. This is the closest the deer have ever come to the fence when we have visited Greenwich Park. It was a day full of great sites and all for free...we truly are lucky to live so close to Greenwich. We visited the Painted Hall and Chaplain at the Old Royal Naval College. It truly is awesome - I want to go back some time to listen to the tourguides as it would be good to know the history (tots aren't interested in history).
Then a quick cuppa on mezzanine floor of the National Maritime Museum which is a great space. Followed by hours in the Park. I did laugh when we went to see the clocks at the Observatory that you are now forced to go via the gift shop even if you just want to see the clock outside.
If you don't mind a walk, you can park for free on parts of Vanburgh Road which is just near the entrance to the Flower Garden. There were quite a few kids in the park feeding squirrels that the beasties were a bit too full for the nuts we were offering - or perhaps they don't like roasted nuts?
Great day made greater by the lack of crowds (yippee for lack of sun and bank holiday!)
Thursday, 26 August 2010
She is less fond of being in Danson Park when it starts chucking down and will refuse to get out of her chair, but then will stick a hand out of the rain cover and squeal in delight as her hand gets rained on.
At night the rain turns into the stuff of nightmares. She gets scared of it pounding on the roof and, thanks to a recent episode of a favourite show, she's afraid it's all going to come dripping into the house.
So in the dark of night, I have to take her to the window to show her it's firmly shut, explain to her that the garden needs the rain and it will make the prettiest flowers and then hold her hand as she quivers with every burst of wind (a hurricane gale to her) and thrashing of rain.
It means we don't get much sleep but in a way, it's very sweet so she's forgiven.
Friday, 20 August 2010
The Tarn is a green oasis of calm. The water was very green...some sort of algae growing on top that made me feel very sad for the few birds floating on it. Does anyone know when duck season is as we couldn't find many to feed?
The place is not really toddler safe as there aren't any barriers around the water, however, if you are careful, then it's a sweet place to visit. Mind you, my tot didn't like being in the "jungle" and refused to get out of her chair.
After that we went to Fairy Hill park. Great name huh. A smallish park with a playground for kids. I liked the way the toddler area was segmented from the older kids parts. Strangely though, apart from tot, there was not one child in the park. There weren't even any kids on the tennis courts. It was almost deserted which made me feel very sorry for the park. For tot, a playground is not that much fun when you are on your own though she had a good go on all the equipment there.
Thursday, 19 August 2010
That's not me. I'm safe. I don't go much out of my comfort zone. I'm not giddy and wouldn't go wild for fear of being a pillock.
Only lately, I find myself a tad bored.
However, I'm not the sort of person to fling myself off a bridge with wild abandon whilst being attached to a flimsy bouncy piece of string.
I'm going to have to figure out what will get the heart pumping and for once, I don't think Google will have the answer for me... some of the boredom stems from too much life lived online and less lived.
I'm now rather excited about the prospect of what the future holds.
P.S. title post refers to a loud session of howling and whooping at the moon I had with a boyfriend in front of an old church in Hammersmith. Howling was a great release.
Wednesday, 18 August 2010
I just can't wait until tot is old enough for the DM sessions as she would love glueing her own world together.
Cost £4 for child, plus £6 for accompanying adult. A little expensive but that cost includes entry around the museum too.
CABINETS OF CURIOSITY
Sunday 12 September, 2 - 5pm
Kids £4 (ages 5 - 11)
The Design Museum is a place to investigate contemporary design in its many and varied forms. In this special family workshop children are invited to create mini museums of their own, bringing together drawings and models of their favourite design objects, including water based vessels, in their own curated space.
British Museum : Family Activities
Science Museum: Science Nights So gutted to have missed the lego building sessions earlier in aug
Naval Maritime Museum: Free Family Events
Friday, 13 August 2010
I've just spent an uncomfortable morning in Thamesmead shopping centre trying to buy shoes and cake decorations while my bra held me in a vice like grip. No matter how I squirmed, it was making me very irritable and I couldn't stand the slow-stand-at-corner-of-aisles shoppers around Morrisons. I only went in there to pick up cake stuff (best place for cakey things methinks).
As soon as I got home, off came the offending piece of clothing and whoooosh, gravity did it's thing and down I flopped with relief.
Obviously, the real reason for my discomfort was not the bra but the stupid BBC mobile weather page which even now states that at 10.00am heavy rain showers- leading to our cancelling a trip into town. Not even seen a drop of rain and spent some time sweltering in our heavy rain gear. It would be so bloody marvellous if they got it right for a change. Though sun is always a bonus. Going to sit in the garden now.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Is this decision right? I've never been a fan of the culture of youf and always hoped that at some point, as the population aged, this attitude would change.
My father recently retired. He didn't want to retire but at the age of 70, the company he worked for felt they could no longer risk letting him manage younger warehouse staff, drive a forklift (even though he'd managed to get his license only a few years earlier) nor deliver it's computers. So effectively he was pushed into retirement. I did think he was lucky that they let him stay on 5 years after the retirement age even though he's more than capable. His view was that he was actually not old and could do the job.
Now, don't start shouting at me for being unrealistic about the physical requirements for some roles... yes, yes wear and tear from age is a factor - Beckham perhaps can't run at fast and may be more injury prone and Dad was probably too old to sit in a warehouse directing younger staff to do the heavy lifting.
In IT it's notoriously difficult to get a job if you are over 40. Just before I came on maternity leave, my director announced he was only interested in designers who were under 25...hardly an incentive for me to rush back to work.
There must be many jobs that people who turn 65, or 60 could continue to do. So what are these people supposed to do after retiring for the next 30 or so years - seems to me there is only so much gardening to be done? What if they don't have enough money to last that long, still have mortgages to pay or even children to support? Has anyone out there started afresh after the big 4-0, 5-0 or even 6-0? I hope so as it would be nice to hear that it's not all doom and gloom once the greys start to appear.
P.S. I saw Beckham on the last Jonathan Ross show. I was amazed at how articulate he had become so at least with age came some wisdom. And OHMYGOD the man is just too beautiful.
P.P.S. There are people who have slogged hard all their lives, who would welcome retiring at 60/65 and with a well deserved pension. Trust me, I wouldn't want to take that away from them.