Friday, 21 December 2012

It's the end of the world as we know it

Ooh. Today is the day the world ends, except it doesn't.

According to Mayan calendars, December 21 2012 marks the end of the 13th baktun, which means that they've been through 13 cycles of 394 years and today marks the end of the current one.

The existing Mayans who live in Belize point out to the scaremongers that it is simply the end of a time, not the end of time. For them, a new cycle is due to begin.

Which is a lot like us with New Year, every year. You know, resolutions, traditions, something called redding that I have Never Heard Of, despite being from the town of Hogmanay (Edinburgh you know). And even more like us at the end of 1999 when, oh yes, the world was going to end because of the Millenium Bug, or Y2K.

Oh right. Redding means cleaning the house thoroughly on Hogmanay. All ready for the new year, and I guess it means "readying". I know that's a belief that you must be careful what you do on New Year's Day so you get out of the way all the unpleasant tasks you don't want to have to do.  Apparently it also entailed repaying all debts before the bells at midnight. Aye, right.

I do like reading about how we live in Scotland. Fascinating.

Anyway, back to the doom and gloom of the end of the calendar. The Mayan calendar that we don't usually pay a whit of attention to, remember?

Assuming an apocalypse was to happen, which it won't, there are various proposed mechanisms by which we meet our demise.

First up is an alignment of the planets that causes us to disappear into our pet black hole.

Naturally, there's the potential for a collision with a previously unnoticed, sorry, unacknowledged planet. Or a meteor couldn't strike us.

There's others, along the same lines. Random negative energy, pole reversal and other astronomical disasters that might just have been predicted by now. Doommongery at its finest. We do love a good apocalyptic panic.

I believe that the solstice is due to happen at 11.12 this morning, and that this is the time of the "apocalypse".

I bet I forget. I always do, then a few hours later I'm pleasantly reminded that it hadn't happened. Again.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Wiggo!

How gratifying to see Bradley Wiggins win BBC Sports Personality of the Year. A truly deserved win.

First he won the Tour de France, the first British rider to do so, and then right on the tail of that, off he went to the Olympics to win gold.

Brilliant sportsmanship, and what a thoroughly nice man he is. Not arrogant in the slightest, humble and just an all round good bloke, as well as being truly talented.

Pleased I am.

Friday, 14 December 2012

December 14th

RIP innocent children in Newtown, Connecticut.

There are no words for this tragedy other than sending thoughts to those who have lost their precious angels so close to Christmas. May they be at peace.

Cuddle your own babies close to you.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

The glorious 12th

No, not that one. The date today, being 12/12/12, marks the last properly matching date in our lifetime.  Which is sad, if you're sad like me and have a mild obsession with dates and numbers.

We've been spoilt, with all the lovely dates starting on 01/01/01, running through 02/02/02, 03/03/03, passing my mother's brilliant birthday on 07/07/07, and onwards up till today.

Not to mention the other great dates such as my brother's wedding date of 10/11/12, a pattern which reaches its final, for our generation anyway, incarnation on 11/12/13, a year from yesterday.

My own much anticipated special birthday date was 11.1.11, which has passed, but such palindromic dates are what we have to make do with. My sons have the next one on 3.1.13, although if you want to be pedantic it is better on 31.1.13. My daughter has to wait for her special birthday date until 2.9.29, and that's not even palindromic.

Maybe she'll be excited on her birthday in 2092, but then all will be looking onward to the 22nd century and the imminent 01/01/01 etc.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

For the love of the flaming box

Have I mentioned before how great Firebox are? I should have, so we'll assume I have.

So, reasons why they are great:

I love most of their products. I want to gift everyone I know with nifty gifts, and I mentally categorise people by how much they would appreciate an unnecessary but cool gizmo. If they'd like a voodoo knife block, then I like them.

http://www.firebox.com/product/1109/Voodoo-Knife-Block

Yeah. Links. It's 2am and embedding is way too before-midnight-y to work.

Anyway. Other reasons why Firebox is the best website in the world:

They give you free sweeties. Or they did last time I bought anything. Everyone should give a wee bag of haribo with purchases. It's nice. It's always excitin get something extra in a parcel.

I have a memory of writing this before. Ah well. It was long enough ago that I don't really remember so what chance do my bot readers have of remembering?

Not YOU, obvs. You're special.

And now, further greatness is revealed after I made an order and received an email confirmation that made me smile with genuine smiliness. I do like a touch of silliness, it's like a sweetie for the inbox. And silly the email was, while imparting the relevant information. Huzzah.

What other reasons do you need?

So. Love Firebox.

I also quite love the Daily Mash, which is genius, and the peak of my love was upon reading their privacy and cookies thing. Which should be visible somewhere, wherever Blogger put it, and must be admired not least for the "whatever" button.

In a world that I mostly find unfunny, humour in the mundane is very much appreciated. Thank you internet peeps.


Monday, 3 December 2012

Royal miracle

It is indeed a miracle. The Duchess of Cambridge is in fact the first woman ever to conceive a baby. Ever.
Who knew there was so much gossip and humour to be eked from one small pregnancy?
I don't have much to say on it. Anyone who conceives just the one baby first time round isn't trying very hard. Get back to me if she gets upgraded to multiples. Although it will be pleasant to have the "too thin to conceive" silenced.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

2013 is here.

Ok, not quite, but in a revisit of an old post I am delighted to bring you the predictions for the coming year.

Yes. December has just begun. We're not at New Year yet. But let's pretend there's a logical reason for magazines being a month ahead.

What untold joys does 2013 hold for us then?

Not a lot.

We will be settled, which is jolly nice if you are,  but a bit of an ask if you're not. Pressure is on a bit for the unsettled. The triangle of work, home and relationships should be in order and...

Wait a minute, what? All three? Cripes. That's a bit much. So that's our goal: achieve the impossible.

We are very self confident now. No we're not, actually. I do believe in myself though, there's a lot of evidence for me and not so for Santa, God, fairies etc, so that's a definite start. Getting there.

The technology stuff sort of tells me that we're going to be much the same as we are this year. Woo. And more of us are unemployed but this is good because it gives us more time to improve our minds.

I do find nothing broadens my mind more than sitting around the house conversing with a toddler and watching CBeebies. None of that pesky adult conversation stuff fuddling my expanding brain, nuh uh. And how nice not to waste my brainpower on work when I can be at home making life changing decisions such as "which shoes to wear". Maybe if I didn't have the toddler and was at home anyway I'd expand my mind with daytime tv? Yes, that must be what they mean.

Oh. Read books. Because the book that springs to mind as having been read by all women this year is positively mind enhancing.

No, wait, we're going to be doing puzzles and brain training. Yes, you did read that correctly. In 2013 Brain Training is going to become popular. I only hope they can put it on handheld devices, that would be fabulous. They could get someone like Nicole Kidman to do the advert. How modern.

Family stuff, we're going to have paternity leave, more single mothers and not have babies. All at the same time. And babies are really expensive so we'll take on more and take our parents on as well. Yay.

It's going to be a busy year.

We shall yearn for back to basics, which is a nice way of saying we pretend we like simple things and not nice shiny new things. And we'll be into bargains! Yay, maybe we'll discover eBay!

Yes, we're still skint and still making like it's a good thing because we will save money like non-rich people do anyway. We're going to plan our meals and make a shopping list? Radical plans.

Who are these people?

(Woman and Home incidentally. I think they've been away for a few years).

Meh. 2009 was going to be so much more exciting. We were going to go for walks and everything. Now we have to dig out Brain Training and move Granny in to our garden (I jest not).

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Once every 824 years

I've encountered this thing mentioned that December is special as it has 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays, which only happens every 824 years. 5 weekends!

Because nobody celebrates extra Mondays. Although they perpetually  follow Sundays so I don't really follow any excitement at all. Every seven days it is Monday again. That's something that only happens once every week.

But, December? Surely every month with 31 days that starts on a Saturday has this phenomenon? And that for it to happen in December presumes that the 1st is a Saturday occasionally. Approximately every 5 or 6 years I'd guess.

And yes. It last happened in 2007 and will happen again in 2018. How exciting it isn't.

My neural networks are twitching and it seems this has been put about before, with the amazing 5 weekends in August 2010.

I'm not sure why it is put about. A joke? A chain mail thing? General thickness? Supposedly it's good feng shui to share it, so no doubt I've unleashed the same level of misfortune upon my life that my refusal to relocate my front door or toilet causes.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Goodbye iPhone, hello Android

After much deliberation and a woefully disappointing new product from Apple in the form of the iPhone 5, I have made the move.

I was awaiting the arrival of Windows Phone 8, and was fully intending purchasing a Nokia. Until they priced it out of my prepared-to-pay range by a long way.

Then the Nexus 4 was announced with Jellybean the 2nd, or Jellybean as it is to be known. AKA Android 4.2. A groovy phone indeed, but with flaws. One giant flaw in fact: a glass back. Having dropped an glass backed iPhone 4 every day I've owned it, I will never own a glass backed phone again.

And so I find myself with a Sony Xperia T. It's rather nice, and is held for perhaps as many as three seconds by James Bond in Skyfall. But movie stardom aside, I likes, and it's costing me £20 a month. Half an iphone. Despite being sold on Jellybean the return, I'm not getting Jellybean until March (or so Sony say). But I do have the ludicrously named Ice Cream Sandwich, or 4.04, which tbh makes any version of iOS look positively quaint.

I don't miss very much about the iPhone. 'Touch to scroll to top' is about it. I have replicated all my apps, with the exception of Tesco Finder and Mood Pad, and the TV catch up ones. The latter I rarely used anyway, and are replaceable on proper screens.

I've got all my games :-)

How does the phone compare to the iPhone 5? Bigger, faster, better camera. And yes, it's got panorama. Yawn, although obvs as a previous iPhone user this is new to me.

I can dictate everything. Although as my diction is appalling this isn't all that successful.

This is me demonstrating speech element my phone.

Ok, that wasn't bad. It missed out "the" and "of" but otherwise, not bad. It fails to get my name, repeatedly. I may in fact change my name to Mark as it is determined that is what I am saying.

So. Better than Siri? I don't know because Apple liked to pretend it couldn't run on the iPhone 4.

The walkman music player is excellent. And if I get fed up, I can change it. I can add any song as a ringtone, which is exciting after 4 years as an iMuppet.

What else? I have obviously had to re-add my music, which was easy and my iTunes purchases were seamlessly copied. I had to somewhat time consumingly redo my playlists and decide which songs I wanted on my new phone. Having last decided this 4 years ago, this was exciting. Although I do seem to have done it with a nostalgic slant. Which may reflect more on my music buying habits of then (lots) and now (next to none).

Battery life is superb, but to be fair, it was cack on the iPhone 4 after iOS 6 broke it, no sorry, after 2 years use.

Do I miss my iPhone? No.

I regret not making the move two years ago instead of taking the iPhone 4 when the 3G became unusable. And I feel something akin to pity when I see an iPhone user. They haven't seen the light. 

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Scotland the Significant

Hmph. Hmph. Now I do appreciate that I have been genetically programmed to complain about everything England does with regard to Scotland, but I'm irked by the attitude to us that has irked me all my life. Many "British" things count Scotland as one area, with England divided into umpteen areas by county.

The Olympic Torch spent one week in Scotland, out of its 70 day tour. For most of this week it was on a lorry. Fair? Not so for Fife, which it did not pass through, stopping only at the extremities to fulfil the "one hour" promise of it being accessible to 95% of the general population.

Except if you take into consideration that children have to be at their own school, so any school hour appearances of the torch were not possible for children outwith the town in question. So by bypassing our town and neighbouring towns, our children missed out. Some children whose parents have more money, patience and no babies, did travel to see it. How well they succeeded I don't know, other than the sensible sorts that took out a mortgage on a train fare.

Sadly the central belt got cherry picked for inclusion on the route, unlike Orkney and Shetland which were included. Was the flame itself more interested in a pleasant tourist trail? Or perhaps it enjoys sailing?

Marco Pierre White sought couples from around the UK for his Kitchen Wars programme. While he set up his kitchen van in various cities around England, (and Cardiff in Wales) to test out numerous couples, he didn't bother taking his van to Scotland, merely driving his 4x4 to visit just the one restaurant in Perthshire. He did stop for fish and chips, which at least acknowledges that we do them better than anyone else.

Scotland only accounts for a small percentage of the entire UK population, most of whom live in the central belt, with Glasgow and Edinburgh being the third and eighth most populated cities in the UK respectively.

But if you consider that the South East contains two thirds of the population, that only leaves 33% for the entire rest of the UK.

Scotland accounts for 8.4%, Wales for 4.8% and Northern Ireland 3%. So the rest of England - excluding the South East - only accounts for 16.8% of the population.

Taking up nearly a third of the land mass, I think it's time we stopped being treated as a remote outpost.



Thursday, 14 June 2012

Formula for defence

Yet again, I read about breastfeeding and how "good" mothers do it. Formula bad, yada yada.

I have breast fed none of my children. The twins appeared to lack the instinct to breastfeed and did not latch on, or ever look for breast milk. They needed formula to thrive.

My baby girl was keen to try, although not at first, but she latched on and had some colostrum. And then her mother (me, using the third person unnecessarily) nearly died and decided that a live mother was more important than breast milk and so had to take medication that wasn't compatible with breastfeeding.

So am I a bad mother? It seems so. I feel entirely persecuted by the insinuation that formula is the lazy option. Reports that examine the relationship between duration of breastfeeding and anything the child does always conclude that breastfed babies do best. The one that's got my back up today concerns academic ability.

I've learned that mothers who breastfeed tend to be in better socio-economic groups, with higher levels of education and (grrrrrr) increased incidences of reading to children and general language skills development.

The insinuation being that the sort of mother who breastfeeds is a better sort of mother and is more likely to interact with and stimulate their children.

The underlying sentiment there is that mothers who do not breastfeed also don't bother reading to their children or generally attempting to educate them in their early years at all. Only the uneducated could fail to breastfeed!

This sentiment I vehemently oppose, mostly on account of being educated, older and damned hands on as a mother, as well as having phenomenally clever twins. One twin is way better than average, the other is constantly praised for his abilities. A doctor commended his vocabulary at the age of two; at the age of six he is far ahead of most peers at mathematics and reading. Books are important in our house, as are maps, languages, counting and measuring and other things that supposedly I shouldn't think of because I didn't breastfeed.

Furthermore, many other educated, older, brilliant mothers I know were unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, and yet still manage to read to their children.

Now breastfeeding may be better for baby, assuming mother eats an exemplary diet and baby thrives, but it is woefully inaccurate to suggest that not breastfeeding means you're a less good mother. Deciding to let your baby thrive is surely the most elemental aspect of mothering?

It would be good to see a study that properly demonstrates breastfeeding v non breastfeeding in like for like families, instead of making insulting guesses at what socio-economic group you belong to based on your ability to produce milk.

I'd like to put forward the hypothesis that clever parents have clever children. No?

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Euro 2012 is practically here

Ooh, I do love a good football tournament. Far more exciting than old people not dying and Britain funding athletics by cutting payments to everyone.

Due to the aforementioned, it is time for my patriotism to arise and show my full support for France. And Sweden, but not Ukraine as "we" don't like them just now.

Euro 2012 starts tomorrow. Woop woop. England are in group D with Sweden, France and Ukraine, which is an amazing coincidence that these are the same countries I seem to be supporting.

Group B - Germany, Denmark, Netherlands and Portugal - is my favourite and I'm a bit gutted those countries are in the same group so they can't all progress.

Germany are my favourites, obviously, and in the unpleasant situation that England qualify for the quarter finals, it is down to Germany to beat them on penalties because that is always fun.

I usually support the Netherlands because they have the best fans.

Denmark have a special place in my loyalties as I have Danish relatives and because of Schmeichel and the Laudrups.

And I like the Portugese because they're generally good and I like the Portugese people (based on one holiday and their general fitness).

So that's me pledged my allegiance and stamped the kiss of malfortune on the above teams.

One year it would be nice to support MY country. IF we ever qualified.

Incidentally, I do get that it would be courteous to support the home nations, but England produced David Cameron and that is unforgivable.

And R. Ireland isn't a home nation even if that's oft forgotten.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Whatever happened to every day?

A long, long time ago, but I can still remember...

I said that I would write every day. I thought I'd have something to say. I thought that my old followers would still be there.

I didn't think I'd be looking at stats from bots. Bots that live where my old followers live and made me think they're real.

But it matters not who reads it.

Ha.

Why write a blog if not to be read?

I could consider that I don't have much to say. Babies aren't all that interesting to people uninvolved in said babies.

Or I could admit to myself that I'm just feeling sorry for myself. I always have lots to say. Sometimes it comes out tedious, sometimes it amuses, very occasionally it is interesting.

Shall I pick up for the second half of the year? Can I? Should I?

BTW: American Pie. You knew that.




Thursday, 10 May 2012

Fire fire.

Having been given a 3DS, I now spend a lot of time playing Brain Training, a game I already had on the DS lite. Don't ask.

One of the games on either Brain Training or More Brain Training is a syllable counting game. Easy enough, you'd think.

I make typos, and annoyingly at the moment (baby brain, or so I tell myself as that's preferable to ageing as a concept) I forget a lot or say/do entirely differently to that which I had planned. So mistakes are a-plenty. But woe betide anyone who suggests I am incorrect when I am not. (I'm likely to cry).

Dr Kawashima marked me incorrect when I was not. And so I hate him.

The word we disagree on was "fire". I say one syllable, he says two.

So I ask my boys how to say it. They dutifully answer "fy-a" and I curse Fireman Sam. Love the Welsh; have been way over subjected to Fireman Sanctimonious Sam.

This is what great uncle google says:

fire/fī(ə)r/

Which I think means that you can add in the extra syllable if you like and is entirely non committal of uncle googs.

The Free Dictionary agrees with me. One syllable.

Oxford dictionary gives this:

ˈfʌɪə

which I don't understand. I think that may be the Welsh way.










Tuesday, 8 May 2012

CBeebies 0 - 1 me

Ha! CBeebies can't defeat me with their obscure song.

The new (May 2012) CBeebies weekend trailer features "Good Times" by Gene Chandler.

Oh how long that took to find, so I'm double blogging it in case anyone else cares.
Shush.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Diddy politics

So last week we had our council elections. Woo.

Now, I feel people should vote, especially women, as other people* worked rather hard in the past to ensure that we can. So I always vote regardless of the election's importance.

*Mr Pankhurst especially. Yes. Much more than his wife or daughters.

And so, on such a day as last Thursday, I find myself at the polling station. Sadly this time with not one clue what I'm voting for. I'm not sure why, I do normally find out. I think this may be due to not caring much because councils are pretty much useless regardless.

Outside polling stations there are usually candidates seeking your vote. This time there were two. So I told these two young men outside that I didn't know what I was voting for and that they had one minute to convince me.

They spoke. I listened. I asked idiotic questions. They answered. The SNP chap gave me a card with his name on and told me to copy it, which impressed me more than the non-answers they gave me.

Bloke two was the second Labour candidate, he had no card and so made less impression. But in light of the other parties being respectively hateful and hated, those are the two parties that don't hurt.

Results were good, even if nice SNP bloke didn't get in, his SNP colleague did. Bye bye 94 LibDems in Scotland, including one in my area. We don't forgive easily.

Which reminds me, I must buy the local paper so I can get a simplistic explanation of the implications.


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Music solving

As I seem to get more (genuine) hits for the CBeebies music blog than any other, I've dedicated a new blog to it here.

I spend a lot of time searching for songs I think I recognise. This is the result, shared.




Tuesday, 1 May 2012

CBeebies music

Update 8 May 2012
The new weekend music is "Good Times" by Gene Chandler
.

Update 1 May 2012
The new bedtime music is "(Go to Sleep) My Little Sleepyhead by Nat King Cole.


Update: the latest Spring trailer features Spring Fever by Elvis. But you knew that anyway.

Cbeebies have begun playing old songs alongside their trailers.
They've been playing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" by Fredrika Stahl for the bedtime trailer, which is brilliant. I bought that after I heard it on the Nissan Joke, sorry, Juke advert.

Next one that caught my ear was "Imagination" by Belouis Some, which was used for the Charley Bear trailer. Good song, but ruined by the fact that the unpleasantly voiced James Corden narrates the programme.

The "woh oh oh-oh oh-oh oh-ohhh ohhh-oh" that is used in the trailer for Raa Raa the Noisy Lion drove me potty for a while; it is really catchy and sounds immensely familiar. The song it is from is "Tarzan Boy" by Baltimora, which I don't think I knew before, but it sounds so very much like I did.

And then it went hideously wrong. "Love Train" by the O'Jays is used for Driver Dan's Story Train, and is one of my most hated songs.

As is "ABC" by the Jackson 5, which is used for a generic CBeebies advert and which makes me feel mildly homicidal.

The trailer for Big Fun Time currently has another immensely irritating tune that I am reasonably convinced is "Big Fun" by the Gab Band.

Me no like. If they add "Carwash" by Rose Royce into their playlist I will cry and cry and end up watching Loose Women.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Me, Myself or I

Watching the Apprentice annoys me every single week.

Apart from the obvious.

When Lord Sugar asks "who was the project manager on this task?" the person in question always answers "that was myself".

I think to myself, "don't they mean me?" and so I looked it up.

Yes. It should be me. Not me on the Apprentice, perish the thought, but the word "me" instead of "myself".

Basically, "me" is always correct in the me/myself choice except in one condition. That condition is when the person speaking is both subject and object of the sentence.

I saw myself in the mirror.
I chose it myself.
I doubt myself.

"Me" or "I" is simple to know. If in doubt, take out the other people/things involved and think how it would sound:

Bananas and me are often seen in Tesco.
or
Bananas and I are often seen in Tesco.

Me is often seen in Tesco.
or
I am often seen in Tesco.

Obviously, it's "I".

Tesco is fed up of bananas and me.
or
Tesco is fed up of bananas and I.

Tesco is fed up of me.
or
Tesco is fed up of I.

"Me" this time.
Easy.

If you are the subject of a sentence, the correct way to address yourself is "I". If you are the object, then it is "me". If you are both, then use "I" and "myself".

I upset myself by looking at other common grammar errors.

Affect/effect. Duh. One is a verb and one is a noun.

Allusion/illusion. They're different words!

There's lots of them. Ugh. Think people, think.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 16 April 2012

Not today

I can talk to myself in my head without tiring my thumb.

I want real people :-(

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Titanic

There's not a lot I can say that hasn't been said already, everywhere, constantly. But I've always been kind of fascinated by Titanic and today marked the 100th anniversary of her sailing from Southampton.

That's pretty momentous. I'd have been on the memorial cruise if I'd known about it in advance, had the money and all sorts of other things.

Actually, no, I probably wouldn't have been. I'm no sailor. Possibly due to a lifelong obsession with Titanic, but I don't fully trust boats not to sink; I seriously don't like rocky crossings. And I get very seasick.

For the record, should the memorial cruise, in a truly unlikely manner, hit an iceberg and sink, I'm guessing that there will definitely be enough lifeboats for everyone on board and then some.

It is possible that had the passengers on the Titanic not been sending telegrams that they could have received and heeded warnings. 100 years on and every minute of every hour of every passenger will be tweeted/facebooked/blogged, not to mention the media coverage. Any iceberg sightings will be known to everyone in the world and any mishaps responded to with haste never before recorded.

So no, I don't think it's going to sink. I'm not sure what it will do when it gets to the site of the crash. Will it stop and sit for three hours and then come home? Will it carry on to New York?

Pause to Google.

Ah. The itinery, which I misread as Titanery and think they missed a trick there.

The plan is to arrive at the site of the Titanic wreck - along with Memorial Titanic II, which is going the other direction - and have a memorial service there at the exact time the Titanic sank. Which is either touching and apt, or weirdly macabre. One of those.

The period costumed people alarm me somewhat. Literal reenactment is probably unwise.

Instead of transferring some of the passengers to lifeboats and sinking the rest, the boat is to travel onto Halifax and then New York, tracing the rest of the journey for the survivors (New York) and the recovered bodies of the victims (Halifax).

Who said macabre?

I think on the night of the 14 April I shall watch the film in my own safely on land manner of tribute. Yes, that film. Not the good one, the shiny one.







Sunday, 8 April 2012

Yummy, mummy

This should probably go on my mummy blog but I want to tell anyone I can and this blog does occasionally get read.

I have discovered the most wonderful product for parents of babies. It is a necklace from a company called
Gumigem.

The necklace is beautiful, just the sort of necklace I would wear anyway.



Mine is identical to the above picture, it is the Lightning necklace in Fury. It looks like it is made from a pretty stone.

But it is amazing. It is made of silicon which is entirely baby friendly and free of parabens and BPA. Baby can chew away without any worry as to whether they may ingest anything harmful. As it hangs round your neck, it is always there for baby to play with whenever you pick her up or lean over her.

I am blown away by the simplicity yet genius of this idea. Babies are instinctively drawn to necklaces and this one is safe for baby so mummy doesn't have to fret about keeping necklaces off while baby is small. Best of all it is an excellent teether and seems to provide genuine soothing for aching baby gums.

Gumigem also offer different styles of necklace as well as bangles - a safe toy for baby that's just there on your wrist looking pretty. I intend to buy more, for these products are not at all expensive unlike other teething necklaces available.

One very happy customer that wants to share this with every mother out there.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Reasons not to smoke

So I'm an ex smoker. Which means I shall have to become evangelical about not smoking, have the ability forever more to sniff out a cigarette at 100 yards (sorry kids) and will always slightly lean towards smokers when drunk.

Unless I start again. This has happened before, and has also happened with meat, fish and doughnuts so I can't discount that possibility.

But for now, I haven't smoked for a while and have got to the point where I don't need to remind myself every time I go to the shop that I don't buy them any more.

And if I should falter, the reasons not to smoke are many.

1) They cost something approaching 40p for each single cigarette. That's ridiculous.

2) It is nice being able to breathe. Having been in possession of a particularly virulent cough for the last few weeks, the thought of anything unavoidable ever irritating my fragile lungs is anathemic.

3) Cigarettes reek, they don't half stink. It is pleasant to be able to enjoy things like perfume.

4) Having been a closet smoker (as a manner of speech; I'm pretty sure I didn't ever smoke in a closet, not least because I call it a wardrobe) it is pleasant not to have to formulate plans to sneak off and have one.

And then we get onto

5) I'd like to live long enough to see my children grow up and ideally their children too. Smoking would mean that this would become considerably less likely.

I'll still always find affinity with those that have smoked. It's a rite of passage, or lasagne if autocorrect insists.






Monday, 2 April 2012

Food for thought

Breakfast this morning did not cause any particular thoughts.

Lunch was momentarily irksome while being made. Sainsburys roasted beef slices claim to be cooked and roasted. Confusion: would the roasting not do plenty enough cooking to ensure additional cooking unnecessary? Par boiling, which I've not heard of with beef, doesn't equate to cooking.

Tea was most definitely annoying on account of it being ordered for 17.15, being collected at 17.15 and being discovered to be past its best on account of actually being ready at 17.03.

If that sounds overly pedantic, it was a pizza from Pizza Hut. Why have a fantouche online ordering system if the kitchen staff can't estimate cooking time of a pizza? I mean, it's a pizza from a pizza place, not a complex or unusual dish.

I have emailed them. They have not replied. Shockeronie.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Don't be stupid then

I think I love Shea Gunther, not least for having a really cool name.

I'm not sure how old the news is, and I've read lots about it elsewhere, but he purportedly massively offended lots and lots of people by sending a BCC'd email to 900 or so applicants for a job explaining what was wrong with the unsuccessful applicants.

Naturally, the illiterati (a word that I seem to spell differently every time I use it - how many t's do I give it?) are up in arms about being chastised. Which makes me immediate warm to him.

Right, first off if you care, you may wish to read the text of the actual email. You can do this here

And read his response to the outrage
here.

If he'd picked out individuals, then yes, that would have been wrong. Or if he had failed to BCC them and merely CC'd instead, which is a particular bugbear of mine and something many, many people fail to consider. Including, incidentally and digressionally, my children's primary school.

It's good advice, and nobody makes you read emails. It's not like a curtly concise letter of unsuccessfulness makes you happy. Even a gushingly polite and apologetic rejection letter is still a rejection letter. A rejection letter produces the following emotion: rejection.

If it invokes other emotions that's down to the individual.

So if it also gives you some useful tips, where's the harm?

Oh yes, I remember. It's the old elitist element of caring about how things are written.

Note: elitist there is an illiterati term. It usually comes shortly before/after some reference to tyranny.

I ranted recently about the lack of caring about writing properly in those who write for a living. I can't help but admire someone picking them up on it. Sorry, but it's all common sense.











Thursday, 29 March 2012

Kindling

Hmph. Today is the publication date for Jenny Colgan's latest book, "Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams". I have pre-ordered it, which means it will arrive on my Kindle automatically. It's not arrived yet and it is 1 hour into today. Shocking.

Edit: it arrived before 2am.

I adore the pre-order feature. There are certain authors whose books I will purchase as close to publication as possible and so to have them just arrive is marvellous. Amazon do this with actual books also, but you are then at the mercy of the postal system. I prefer instant results.

I also have this wistful thought that I will forget a pre-order and just find a book arriving on my Kindle one day. This hasn't happened yet due to overexcitement about publication dates. I'm hoping it happens in June with Freya North's "Rumours" but this is extremely unlikely.

Kindle news: the Kindle touch is to be released in the UK on April 27. Although I am unlikely to get one unless some money comes out of my umpteen attempted money making schemes, I am excited about this. The lack of touchscreen is the one thing I don't like about my Kindle, which is the 2010 one that is now called Kindle keyboard.

Perpetual use of my iPhone means non touch screens seem useless. I have on more than one occasion uselessly pressed monitors screens in anticipation of a response. Incidentally, I have tried touchscreen laptops and been distinctly underwhelmed.

In short, I prefer touchscreens and having to press a physical clicky button instead of swiping to turn a page doesn't please me. Admittedly, a click is infinitely easier than turning a page in a real book, but that is irrelevant now in light of the Kindle.

Other Kindle news: I wholeheartedly recommend "I'd Sooner Starve" by Mark Sinclair, which is an astute and very funny account of a man's experience of establishing and running a delicatessen. I got this for free, I'd have happily paid. It is reassuring, after my last unfunny foray into free literature, to discover that my sense of humour is not missing, I can still chortle at well written observational wit.

And finally: you can just upload your own book to Amazon and start selling it via the Kindle store. Just like that. How very exciting! One day. One day.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Summertime blues

Summer appears to have arrived, which means everyone has gone potty and I'm a grumpy cow.

The two refrains all around are:

1) isn't this FANTASTIC???
2) this will be it of course, we only ever get two weeks of summer.

The former I don't agree with, the latter irks me as it gets said on each sunny day each year, thus proving its inaccuracy simply by its frequency.

I can see how summer can be lovely when you can throw on your lightweight summer clothes and eat and play al fresco. Eating meals outside is a real pleasure, if you excuse the flies and you don't feel compelled to cook the food outside as well.

Summer is not lovely when you have nothing to wear due to inexplicably attempting to recreate the baby bump post pregnancy.

Most pertinently, summer is not pleasant in the absence of a garden. No garden to eat out in or let the children let off steam in, and the joy of summer means that should we go to the park or beach to get outdoors, everyone else is there at the same time.

So we're indoors, with the windows open in order to cope, and the resulting cacophony of stereophonic lawnmowers mingled with shrieking children renders me nearly insane.

The one saving grace is that there aren't many insects yet as it is only March.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Stamping out

In true fickle style, I find myself agreeing with the government once in a while and console myself that the pleasing outcomes must be entirely down to the LibDems, because otherwise I feel a little queasy.

We, as a country and most definitely not representing me, appear to have taken against our government very early on in their power. So we, as represented by the media and probably not representative of Joe Public*, have to hate everything they say or do.

*aside from the fact that Joe Public tends to think what the media tells him to think, but that's another gripe for another day.

So, we had a budget, boohoo, we HATE everything, what utter rubbish rich loving nonsense etc etc.

Except I don't think that. It seems quite reasonable. I don't hate it. I get to keep my child benefit - woo! - and everything else seems kinda sensible from a fiscal point of view. Hot food providing people may feel differently, as might dedicated drinkers and smokers.

Today the sheep are up in arms about the new cost of a first class stamp. It's going up to 60p from 46p, which is a huge increase - 30% to be precise - because Royal Mail can now set their own prices within set maximums.

60p. Woo. 60p can buy you one bar of chocolate, or two cooking apples, or one local newspaper, or a can of juice. In other words, it's not a lot of money.

Furthermore, there are other options. You never actually have to send a first class letter by Royal Mail. You have options, you have choice. You don't have to ever buy a stamp.

According to Ofcom, the household average spend on postage is 50p a week. So that's £26 a year, which would now be increased to £32.50 a year, or 65p a week.

That's how much we use it. We will be out of pocket by precisely £6.50 a year. I can fritter that amount away on absolutely nothing in a matter of milliseconds.

The government may be vile and hate worthy, but that doesn't mean we have to automatically hate it all. There's lots to hate, target your hatred wisely.


Sunday, 25 March 2012

Phlegm

I have a cough. It's horrid. It's not going away. It's making me cross.
That's all.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Herman

For the last 10 days I've been looking after Herman. Herman is a cake, or a cake mixture to be precise, and he is a friendship cake. Unlike some mad people who believe this is like a chain letter, I think this is nice. Chain letters usually contain some ominous warning of things that will happen if you break the chain, this is a rather nice "if you want to" sort of thing.

The boys received theirs from a school friend and three other friends went off home with theirs yesterday.

On day one you are given some cake mixture, named Herman, with instructions.

Or if you wanted to start your own Herman, you make up mixture containing:

2 cups flour
2 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 tbsp or 2 packets active dry yeast

Sprinkle 1 tbsp of the sugar over the warm water. Sprinkle yeast over this and leave in a warm place for around 10 minutes so it doubles in size.

Mix the milk, remaining sugar, flour and yeast mixture in a large plastic or glass container and stir using only a wooden spoon.

Cover loosely or place plate over top of container so Herman can breathe and leave in a warm place.

The next day is Day 1 and you now proceed with the following instructions as if you’d been given a friendship cake mixture to grow.

Instructions:

Day 1: receive Herman, place him in a large non metal bowl and cover with a tea towel. Do not put in the fridge as this will kill Herman.

Day 2: stir well (with a non metal spoon)
Day 3: stir well

Day 4: Herman is hungry, give him 1 cup each of plain flour, sugar and milk. Stir well.

Day 5: stir well.
Day 6: stir well.
Day 7: stir well.
Day 8: stir well.

Day 9: Herman is hungry again. Give him the same as you did on day 4, then divide the mixture into 4 equal parts. Keep one part and give the others away to friends with a copy of these instructions.

Day 10: Herman is very hungry. Give him the following:
1 cup sugar
2 cups plain flour
Half tsp of salt
Two thirds cup cooking oil
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 cooking apples cut into chunks
1 cup raisins
2 heaped tsp cinnamon
2 heaped tsp baking powder

Mix and put into a large baking tin. Sprinkle with a quarter cup of sugar and a quarter cup of melted butter. Cook at 180C for 45 mins.

Today was day 10 and Herman is delicious, he tastes like an apple crumble cake.

I shall miss him though :-(

Friday, 23 March 2012

Free to a good home

Free stuff is always nice; something free is worth a try based on the principle of nothing being lost if the thing in question is awful. Should the free something be valuable in content or use, then huzzah!

Principles of clutter are not being considered. We're going to pretend I'm not disappearing under mountains of free, or nearly free, things I did not need and only have because of their lack of expense. We are definitely not going to consider the not free items that were purchased unnecessarily in order to procure the free stuff that was offered with it. Especially not Clinique eyeliners. No.

Anyway. That's not the point.
Yes, I have one. Ssshh.

My Kindle is one of my most precious possessions. I adore books and own many many many of them, to the detriment of my minimalistic ideal. The Kindle is small and neat, and cannot be left in an untidy pile no matter how hard you try. It stores gazillions of e books, as well as putting any other e books you own tidily in Amazon's cloud (the UK version of which I am mystified by as the limitations of same are the given reason for no Kindle Fire here; not sure why this affects the Touch. Different subject, closing bracket now).

One joy of the Kindle is the free books. Totally free. The classics, which are out of copyright, are mostly free, although not every title is available in a free version. "Great Expectations", for example, does not have a free edition, although most of Dickens' other books can be freely bought/downloaded/whatever it is you do with Amazon content.

Amazon also have daily deals, where they have books reduced to a bargainous price, and they periodically offer certain books for free, or 99p, for a limited time. Christopher Hitchens' "God is not Great" was 99p the day after he passed away.

The best feature of Amazon's Kindle shop is the ability to get ("get" is Amazon's term) free samples of any book, which are 10% of the book and can allow you to see if you like it. This is brilliant and avoids most regrettable purchases. Not available on free titles, for obvious reasons.

One day earlier this week, approximately Wednesday I think, I was perusing the free titles in order to get something to read, because the 50 other unread titles on my Kindle didn't appeal. It turned out that some of the books by author Terry Ravenscroft were free that day. I chose "Dear Coca Cola" which is a collection of letters sent to customer services and their responses. I was assured by the reviews and the blurb that this was laugh-out-loud funny.

The book, which has an assurance at the start that all letters are genuine, consists of letters sent to customer service departments and the responses, if any were received.

Some of the customer service departments replied patiently, some to two or more subsequent letters. If a response was received then the author would respond in turn with a more outrageous reply until there were no more replies, noted with "No reply!"

Kindly and accommodating replies were treated with derision and slightly ludicrous scenarios were detailed.

I didn't laugh, except at one poem from a customer service representative. It's just not funny. I found him more and more irritating and found myself routing for the customer service staff.

Which is an alien feeling indeed.

I investigated further, as Terry Ravenscroft has excellent credentials as a comedy writer, and most of the reviews tell of crying with laughter. Maybe I was just in a cruddy mood? I downloaded a (free) sample of one of Mr Ravenscroft (T)'s novels, entitled 'I'm in Heaven' to see if I liked his writing. Not bad, not amusing. That's not down to the subject matter of death, but due to a lack of wit.

Or maybe it IS me. There's oodles of comedy that I simply don't "get" despite the majority of others thinking it hilarious. I don't find Catherine Tate on her show funny, and I don't understand why the Only Fools and Horses Chandelier sketch, or the Fork Handles Two Ronnies sketch, are held in such high regard.

I don't dislike comedy, far from it. Most of my tv watching and my DVD collection are comedy based. I go to see comedians where other people go to see bands. It's a big part of my life.
Nor do I object to winding people up or being rude to people.
Or maybe I do mind. I could never see the appeal of Paul Kaye's "Dennis Pennis", nor did I enjoy Mrs Merton. Yet I find Steve Coogan's Alan Partridge hilarious. Basil Fawlty is the rudest and funniest character ever created.

Winding up stupid people can be funny, and adopting a persona of someone that doesn't know any better and is subsequently rude can be funny. Alan Partridge and David Brent of the Office are both trying to be popular, not rude, they just get it wrong. Brilliantly They are also fictional, as are their interactions, which does help a bit.

What isn't funny is being facetious and winding up good people who don't deserve it.
The issue with Mr Ravenscroft (T)'s book isn't the initial letters, it is the quite horrid subsequent replies to people who have taken the time to write to him. That's cringemongering, and
the whole thing does not carry enough wit to overcome the distaste.

If I found his style more amusing, more Bill Bryson-esque perhaps, and he had stopped with his initial letter and any reply, then this might be what it claims.

As a final thought, imagine my joy to discover on my actual bookshelf a previously unopened book entitled "Dear Customer Services", by Terry Ravenscroft, purchased sometime between 2008 and now. I am actually an idiot, for it is the same book by another name. I might read the final 31% and see if it improves...

Monday, 19 March 2012

Wish list 2012

Dear being in charge of my fate and who speaks to me through traffic lights, care of the cosmic ordering system,

2012 is progressing swiftly, we are nearly at April now and Easter is less than a fortnight away. I feel compelled to put it out there what needs to happen.

First off is a buyer for our existing minuscule property. A miracle on the form of someone else making it shiny and sale worthy would be a nice bonus, but we could perhaps work a deal whereby I get it to the shiny stage and you drop a suitable buyer into the estate agents at the right time? Does that sound fair?

Part two is the exceptionally amazing house we can somehow afford. I'll work out the terms of that deal at a later date.

Many thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Demonic foot fetish

We watched Paranormal Activity tonight. It was a perfectly watchable film, but it exactly matched one particular paranoia and will have more or less guaranteed me sleepless (more sleepless) nights for eternity.

One scene showed the supposed demon pulling back the covers and doing something to the girl's foot. I knew it! All my life I've been scared by the something that's going to get my feet; I will not tolerate them being exposed.

He who unwittingly flicks the duvet off my feet must face the wrath of the slightly mental.

The pulling back of the covers in the film has unnerved me somewhat; I have always previously been confident in my foot safety when they are covered.

Misplaced confidence it seems. The unidentified thing that does something can pull the covers back. This is bad, even if fictional.
No I don't know what it is or what it does, just that it wants my feet. I've always known this. Turns out it is a demon, which is not that great news.

I'm going to have to wear shoes to bed. Or maybe socks might suffice, but I do have a massive aversion to hot feet. Fear vs comfort? Hmm.

Then again, the hissy fit that erupts if my feet are stripped of their duvet protection would be sure to make any demon think twice about bothering me.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Opinionated

How sweet it is to say what you want to say for once. Twice in one day is quite something, and that was what happened to me today.

Opportunity number one: I received an email from some e-touchy-feely Lib Dem chap named Tim Farron wanting to know what I would do with the extra £60 a month I would theoretically have if they gave me the moon on a stick, sorry, if the tax allowance was raised to £10k. He urged me, personally, to email my thoughts.

And so I did. These thoughts were not happy daydreams of how I could spend £60 a month sadly, they seemed to come as more of a lament on the amounts I shall be out of pocket by thanks to the Tory changes the Lib Dems have allowed.

Will he read it, take note, reply or even notice I wrote an email? No he will not. Did it make me feel better writing it? Yes it did.

Opportunity number two: there is a Punto that parks on double yellow lines and narrows the entrance to our street every single night. I curse every time I pass him. He leaves enough room for a car to pass, but not enough for a larger vehicle such as a fire engine.

This evening I went out in my car to discover that our roadworks have now grown down our narrow roadway and that this Punto was stopped opposite the roadworks and was thus completely blocking the road. I beeped. The people around moved away from the car. I beeped again, and the car owner appeared and gesticulated wildly about waiting. Once he had moved enough and left me enough room to pull over and let him pull over again so I could pass (I know) he wound his window down and told me to chill out. So I pointed out he always parks in the way. He argued it is necessary and not to piss him off [sic]. I retorted that he pisses me off every single day, why should
I not get to piss him off once? At which point his drunken wife lurched up, slurred at me to chill out and was summarily ignored by both parties. The Punto was then unceremoniously dumped alongside some bollards and my ability to get through was lamented by my new friend.

Did this achieve anything? No it did not. Am I self congratulatory all the same for getting the chance to complain at the perpetrator of daily annoyance? Indeed I am.


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Equality

Equal opportunities. Oh how woefully misunderstood that is.

When will people realise that true equality comes when which gender, race, disability, religion, sexuality, or any other potential divide a person belongs to does not matter in the slightest?

All individuals should have the same opportunities, regardless of who or what they are. That is equality.

Equality does not mean a 50/50 split between groups. Nor does it mean a representative split according to distribution of members of any group.

I'll say it again. Equality means IT DOESN'T MATTER WHO OR WHAT YOU ARE; IT MATTERS WHAT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF.

I find myself in the horrifying situation of agreeing with Theresa May. Women should progress because they are good enough. They should be offered the same opportunities as men, and if they are the best person for a job, then they get the job. The same applies to the disabled, ethnic minorities, and any other groups potentially subject to positive discrimination. Quotas are discriminatory against those that don't meet the quota requirements, which is every bit as unfair as negative discrimination.

Getting a job because you are a woman is no better for society and equality than not getting it because you are a woman.

Incidentally, I don't really personally subscribe to the idea of modern feminism. I would if we didn't have the right to vote, or be educated, or anything else that I mostly take for granted and should give hearty thanks to the feminists of old for achieving for me. I have had my idiocy explained to me, and issues outlined, but I remain unconvinced.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Mathematicians know best

Far be it for me to be against the pedantic. All hail the pedants; force the illiterati to feel foolish for their errors.

Or, as is more often the case, allow the illiterati to mock the pedantic for being anal and subsequently increase hatred on both sides of the grammar divide.

However much I agree with the pedant army, there is one commonly quoted error that irks me.

The pedants state that the use of "less than" is frequently incorrect and should be "fewer than". The usual example is at a fast checkout queue which has signage indicating "20 items or less", causing the hackles to rise in those who argue the following:

Less is used for a non-discrete quantity, for example: less milk. You can reduce the amount of milk by any amount, a drop, a cup, a drizzle, however much you like. If talking about a discrete quantity, such as bottles of milk, which can only be reduced in whole numbers, you should say "fewer than 7 bottles".

And so the mathematical part of my brain comes into action.
I instinctively want to correct that 7 to x, because in that sentence any number at all could fit. 7 is a number plucked from nowhere and which doesn't really belong there.

And so the sentence would read "fewer than x bottles of milk". Better, they say.

Except "fewer than" is not a mathematical term. In mathematics, you would write it as "less than x bottles of milk", because "less than" IS a mathematical term. Of course in maths, you would have discarded most of the words and would simply be dealing with < x, but that is another matter.

In the supermarket queue scenario, the number of items must be less than or equal to 20. Or to be more concise: 20 or less.
A correct mathematical term, and therefore appropriate to me.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Formula Half

I'm quite excited about the new Formula 1 season, which begins next weekend in Melbourne. Sebastian Vettel is a god amongst drivers and I look forward to seeing what he achieves this year. He may be the finest Formula 1 driver ever.

I'm not hugely loyal though, I'll also be keeping a close eye on Lewis Hamilton and Jensen Button. We can pretend that I'm being patriotically British just for a while, even if we have to concede that I really tend to be a bit German about sport.

I'm a little apprehensive about the coverage however. The BBC are how showing half, and Sky are showing half. As a Virgin subscriber, it would cost us £22.50 a month to have Sky Sports, which then gives free F1 coverage. Their website states that what you can do if you don't have Sky Sports and you want to watch F1 is: get Sky Sports.

I am told by a trusted source that this is due to Sky setting prices and further told by another that this is true.

Reason to detest Sky #6,345,311.

In a previous incarnation of my life, I had Sky Sports and watched football on it. Then Sky stopped showing any match you'd want to see and instead made them pay-per-view and that was that. As the bundle with Sky Movies 1-236 is generally negligibly more expensive, we had movies and sport galore. Woo. Not so any more. Sports is mostly boring football featuring diddy team B team vs weeny team B team from 1976. Woo. Movies show the same blockbusters over and over and over and over and...

Mostly actually due to having children and little time to stare at the tellybox, we don't have the full Sky works any more and so £22.50 to watch half the grand prix doesn't seem good value at all.

I don't follow how it works anyway, mostly because I haven't found out. I'll buy the Radio Times this week and find out.

"It" being the split coverage incidentally, I follow how the Grand Prix works. Obviously.

As far as I've gleaned, the live races will be split; half will be broadcast live on the BBC. What happens to the other half - being shown live on Sky - for terrestrial and non-Sky viewers I don't know. They should get a non-live version of the race as I understand it. Non-live is fine when they're on at crazy hours, but knowing Sky, they'll have all the European races live, and the BBC will be left with all the races run at silly o'clock to broadcast live. Maybe just highlights, which isn't worthy of the licence fee, but which is better than nothing. Just.

I also have no idea what will be broadcast, or where, of the qualifying et al. I don't know much really. Hopefully when the first race begins in fractionally (7 hours) over a week's time, I'll be better informed.

We'll see.



- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Scots, or how not to speak your own language

For some reason there seems to be a thing going on about Scots, the language, and why we should embrace it. Which is at least an improvement on wanting to reclaim Gaelic, given that we as a majority do speak a form of Scots.

The first I've seen of this new revival is with my children. In consecutive years, the twins have been selected to recite at the Burns' day hoo-ha. The poems were in Scots and I had the boys telling me things such as "flair is Scottish for floor" and other things that, I'm sorry, grated. On the first year, twin one gained first place and received a certificate in English commemorating this. Year two and twin two was third, with a certificate in Scots. "Weel done" and "oor schuil" both irked me.

A week or so ago I saw the end of a programme (presumably only for the delight of BBC2 Scotland viewers) called Scots Schuil, and this caught my eye. To be precise it screamed out "incorrect!!!" in the same manner as the certificate. But I turned over anyway.

This programme made me think. It featured some pleasantly spoken children going to learn Scots, learning about the language and how it has been left behind. At one point they performed a sketch where one of the children was talking about "hunners" and the headmistress was saying "it's hundreds!" (as I would). The parents afterwards were discussing whether we should embrace the Scots language and encourage the use of such words.

I'm not sure how I feel about this. I don't want to stamp out my heritage, but at the same time it doesn't sound nice to me. Pronouncing anything with the "ow" sound - our, town, house - as "oo" instead sounds kind of rough, as does dropping the consonants.

I live in Fife, although I'm originally from Edinburgh, and I genuinely can't pronounce some of the Fife words. While I'd be happy to refer to potatoes as "tatties", I can't form the local pronunciation, which is more or less "toi'ees".

Having placed myself in a dilemma as to whether I should celebrate my heritage and stop correcting "ma" to "my" in my sons, I watched another programme tonight about Scots words and their brilliance.

For all my worries about pronunciation, there is many's a word that I consider absolutely normal that are Scots words:
Blether.
Glaikit.
Scunnered.
Guddle
Jiggered.
Shoogle.
Muckle.
Jiggered and blether haven't been underlined by the phone. Maybe they're not uniquely Scottish?

They're just everyday words as far as I'm concerned. Or not. I only found out relatively recently that you don't get tablet anywhere else, unless it's made by/for a Scot.

There's a way of speaking and a turn of phrase which is pure Scots. Some of which I use and don't even notice, much I find offensive to my pedantic ears.
I conclude that I have my own rules. They work for me. There's no lingual difference in how and when you use an apostrophe though.

Finally, I feel the need to irrelevantly point out that the first line of Auld Lyne Syne is not a question.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Can't stop ranting

Why don't I have a mountain of medicine spoons? Since 2006 when Calpol was first suitable for my boys, I have never consciously thrown out the spoon that comes with medicine. Given how much Calpol we go through, not to mention Calprofen, Benylin (me), Benadryl, antibiotics etc, I figure I should have approximately 100, if not more. I have about 10. Where are the rest of them? I blame the sock gremlins again.

Grammar rant alert: why can't people, whose job it is to talk or write, not learn simple grammar rules? I spend half my time saying "did" to my son when he says that such and such done something. He hears people say "done" and so he repeats it.

So it irks me something rotten when I'm watching television and hear Jane McDonald say "talking don't get tougher than this" to Gregg Wallace, in humorous reference to his infamous "cooking DOESN'T get tougher than this" line on Masterchef. Care, people, care. It's not hard.

And lose doesn't have two o's in it.

I'm not sure about that apostrophe. I care about them too UNLIKE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO DON'T BOTHER. That's not the usual correct use, but without it, the word would be os. Hmm.
See, I think about it. And it's not my job.

Another thing that I wonder about is words that change meaning.

Ignorance: means lack of knowledge; used to mean rudeness. I assume this refers to lack of knowledge of how to behave. But it is constantly used to simply describe inappropriate behaviour. Unless used as an adjective and accompanied by the word "fool", in which case it gloriously refers to lack of knowledge.

Irony: this has been well covered. Ed Byrne notably has a very amusing stand up routine detailing how each scenario in Allanis Morrisette's song "Ironic" isn't ironic.

The Guardian wrote about it many many (9) years ago.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2003/jun/28/weekend7.weekend2

Yeah. I can't remember the HTML for links. I might fix that later.

Finally, as I've moved from a harmless spoon ponder to an all out attack on the illiteratti, I do wonder about those who give their children wacky names. With a made up name, they are ensuring their child forever gets preconceived ideas about them and called by the wrong name.

Others take regular names and spell them wackily. Not cute. Stupid. My friend knows a Jorja and an Ollyver. Those kids will gain nothing other than the fact that their name will constantly be spelt incorrectly.

My three children have standard issue, traditional names. Two of them are very popular names, one isn't particularly popular any more. I know that many think I'm boring, that they're awful and unimaginative names. I was mocked by someone for my choice for my daughter; her suggestions were off the wall.

My argument is that it isn't an extension of your creativity, it is the name of a person who will grow up and introduce themselves to important people, fill out forms and generally be hassled by having a stupid name. That's not to say unusual names aren't sometimes really nice, I just wish people would stick to names that work as names.

I think I'm done now.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Kitchen devils

In the never ending kitchen appliance saga, which has been ongoing for the last seven years and which has seen a new cooker, a new washing machine, a new fridge door, two new microwaves and a new panel for the dishwasher, we have a new fault. We have a care plan for our kitchen appliances (best ever monthly spend) so my old mate the repairman will be returning tomorrow.

What now? I hear you ask excitedly.

The dishwasher door falls open part way through a cycle. Which isn't all that useful on an appliance that relies on being watertight. The door is currently held shut with parcel tape, following in the manner of the fridge door and car bonnet before it. Along with many other temporary fixes that became permanent. And indeed anything else that ever needs taped, because parcel tape doesn't hide the way Sellotape does.

It does hide. It can become irrevocably lost halfway through wrapping a parcel. I don't know how, the sock gremlins must be involved somehow.

I hope it's a simple fault. If the dishwasher is condemned then I fear I may have to face a dishwasherless life, and that is quite terrifying. I would have to fling myself mercilessly to my parents who thankfully see a dishwasher as a necessity.

I don't have a tumble dryer. I'm not all bad and we do use a lot of dishes. Yes, I could. I don't want to.

My husband pointed out disingenuously that if we are to be dishwasherless, I would have to stand and wash dishes, which did not merit a response.

The repairman is to come tomorrow afternoon, not between the hours of 14.50 and 15.20 as that's school run time. And sense would indicate that arriving at 14.45 isn't all that useful.

I have my money on a 15.00 arrival.


Saturday, 3 March 2012

And then there was monkey

The last two entries were a bit rubbish, I know this.

C'mon phone. Surely it is obvious that I mean "rubbish" when I type "burrish"?

So words. I was going to have a rant about the Guardian's campaign to shame Facebook for their policy on what is acceptable and how that may not agree with the breast feeding nazis. But it comes across a bit like I approve of censorship which I don't*, so I'll leave that one.

*as long as things are spelt correctly and are accurate.

Yesterday I got in conversation with some Mormons who were intent on converting mums on the way home from school. I stopped, because I can't help it. Talk to me and I will talk back.

Hmm.

This was the gist of our conversation:

Me:
Evolution is infinitely more probable than the creation.
Them:
Evolution may exist, in that animals can adapt to their environment, but we are not evolved from monkeys.

Me:
There is evidence to support evolution. There is no evidence of God.
Them:
The evidence to support the existence of God comes from God himself. The mechanisms of this are too complicated to explain.

Me:
I wouldn't want to follow God, he's not very nice.
Them:
God sending plague, death and general smiting for any non conformity is pretty much the same as any parent disciplining their child.

Me:
Religion is based on not asking questions, to question is sinful.
Them:
God loves questions, He will answer them. Ask him in prayer and he will answer.
Me:
How?
Them:
In a variety of ways. Like feelings.
Me: like when you ask the traffic light a question and it goes green. Is that God?
Them:
No, that is just a traffic light.

I remain unconverted.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

What?

Oh I see. I'm supposed to write something here?

Ah.

That could be a problem.

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

word cloud

All I had to do in order to get this, which does appear to be based on my last couple of posts rather than many  more, was:


  • start up computer
  • load site 
  • install java
  • install plug in
  • give permission to run plug in. 

which took a little over an hour. But still.

Thank you wordle.

http://www.wordle.net/create


Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Purple blues

I'm developing a slight aversion to pink because everything baby girl related is pink. I dress E each day in a varying array of pink and it's getting nauseous.

Blue doesn't look quite right though for a baby girl, due mostly to the explosion of baby blue everything at the non pink end of the baby aisle. It doesn't unduly upset me to have blue around my girl, I don't share the preoccupation with gender stereotypes that sees poor wee girls with hideous bows attached to their heads. She has two older brothers after all and so has a fair bit of blue. She hasn't changed gender yet.

Our footmuff is blue as it was inherited from a baby boy. It is lovely and fine, but I thought I would dye it purple as a more feminine sort of colour, and because I'm kind of obsessed with purple.

Machine dye: inexpensive and easy to use.

Easy peasy.

I now have a purple washing machine and a blue footmuff. Not a purply blue, noooo, exactly the same blue as before. After the initial dye cycle it was a lovely lilac but that was swiftly washed out by the second "to rinse" cycle.

Washing machine remains purple of door and trim even after a restorative empty wash. Although this final cycle was commenced off my watch and so was done at 100 without a de-purpling wipedown first.

I am unpopular, out of pocket to the tune of £7 and right back where I started.

Still, the quest for an all-purple life (except that which is burgundy) is just a little less distant.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Blind in the face of celebrity

Ugh.

I just completed a vote for Bounty on celebrity guilty crushes. Now, I realise that the whole point is to admit to lusting after those that aren't conventionally fanciable, but some of these were taking that too far.

Mr Tumble for example. Justin Fletcher is lovely, talented, kind, funny and all manner of positive things. He is not sexy. At all. And as Mr Tumble, he is positively asexual.

Simon Cowell is oft mentioned as a celebrity crush. Don't get that one, nor Andrew Marr or Heston Blumenthal, both of whom also appear on such lists more often than is fathomable.

James Corden, standing at #2 in the vote, is vile and not even funny. No, he isn't. If you want sexy because they're funny: try David Mitchell or Charlie Brooker. Or sexy and funny: Rhod Gilbert.

So, for people involved in the list of guilty crushes: Mr Bloom. My own personal happy to admit to crush. Because Ben Faulks is obviously fit in his spare time. I gave him 10/10.

James May, also asexual, was on the list and Jeremy Clarkson wasn't. Just me then. I'm sure Clarkson used to be on these lists, he must have gotten too old. Or maybe it's the national sense of humour failure over his rants. Who knows. He's still practically my perfect man and I know. I so know. I have flimsy principles.

Phillip Schofield was winning, probably because he's nice looking and doesn't qualify as a guilty secret.

I fear I'm showing my age here. I'm 78 you know.

There were others that I feel meh about. And the one that disturbs me, the man who my brain persists on acknowledging as nice looking: David Cameron. If you like toffs, he's handsome enough. Still a loathsome toad, but fairly nice looking. Nick Clegg used to be very nice looking then he sold his soul and now just looks sad. That's the Cameron effect and allows me my favourite tag. Huzzah.










Saturday, 25 February 2012

Mind changing

I remember a time when I used to make my mind up and stay with it.

Not so any more. Decisions are difficult, I have enough difficulty sticking with a menu choice between ordering and eating. Big life decisions are even harder. What if? What if? What if?

So, the decision. As I have now shared this information with my boss, I can divulge unexcitingly that I have decided not to return to work. Which would be in direct contrast to the recent decision to return. Saying as how we're so rich that we don't need help with childcare, I would be working for next to nothing and I'm not going to do that.

By next to nothing, I mean it. I would earn considerably less per week (after childcare) than the amount given as Jobseekers Allowance. I can probably shave that off the shopping bill.

And, contrary to what our esteemed leader believes, we are not a rich family and we will need to do that shaving of the budget.

As to my diet, I don't appear to know. I had some salmon for lunch. Scottish sustainable salmon, but the first fish I've had in a long while.

In four years I have gone from omnivore to vegetarian to pollotarian and now it appears pescetarian. Maybe pescepollotarian, red meat is BAD, but chicken is not. Chicken can make me gag though so I may seek my protein from soy and sustainable fish.

Until I change my beliefs/tastes/mind again.

I don't seem to have changed my political mind however. I still have, according to online quizzes, 100% concurrence with Liberal Democrat policies. Except that one that they actually adhere to, the one where they sit back and let the Tories implement Tory policy.

Dammit.

Friday, 24 February 2012

How to eat fish

Yes, more fish. And this time a change of opinion.

I've been investigating dietary ways to reduce blood pressure. Mine is perpetually raised and I'm hugely concerned.

High potassium foods have been proven to lower blood pressure, and bananas (über food) certainly have an effect on my readings, more than the stupid drug I've finally been taken off.

Some other high potassium foods are marvellous foods from a taste perspective, my favourites include:

Avocados
BANANAS
Melon
Mangos
Artichoke
Beans
Potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Tomatoes
Milk
Yogurt
Ice cream
Chocolate (more pure cocoa than dairy milk, but still, woo)

And fish. Of course. The health food that is fish. Also good for potassium. Typically.

I've been concerned for a while about the health benefits I don't get by not eating fish. Omega-3 is the healthiest thing on the block it seems. It is shown to be beneficial in a number of manners, including as a protection against cancer and cardiac disease - which is obviously what I'm concerned about with blood pressure issues. And where do you get Omega-3 from? Oily fish. Also high in potassium. Super.

Option one would be to take Omega-3 supplements. Upset stomach and fish breath? Er, no thanks.

Can I eat fish? I don't actually like a lot of it and have zero intention of ever ordering it in a restaurant. Except maybe mussels. Hmm. Or scallops. I like them. Salmon? Trout?

Ok. Chill.

Thanks to an iPhone app called the Good Fish Guide, I have now a list of fish that are super duper both from a being-high-in-potassium-and-Omega-3 point of view, and which are super sustainable.

By which I mean, they are not threatened with extinction, the fishing of them does not cause peril to other species and is well managed while minimising any environmental impact.

The news is good.

Mussels are green for go.
So are Rainbow Trout and Alaskan Salmon (Atlantic Salmon is bad and evil and must be avoided).
Skipjack Tuna and Lemon Sole are also green for sustainable, as well as other fish I wouldn't eat or haven't heard of. The green list of consists of:

Mussels
Rainbow Trout
Alaskan Salmon
Skipjack Tuna
Lemon Sole
Pollack
Cockles
Coley
Dab
Gurnard
Halibut (but only from the Pacific or farmed from the Atlantic)
Herring
Mackerel
Oysters
Pouting or Bib
Red Mullet
Sardines
Squid
Tilapia
Turbot (only if farmed, not sea caught)
Winkles.

The fish that are red for evil and which should not be consumed by anyone with a conscience are:

Black scabbardfish
Crimson Snapper
Eel
Greater Forkbeard
Grouper
Halibut from Greenland or sea caught from the Atlantic
Lesser spotted dogfish
Marlin
Bluefin Tuna
Northern Prawns
Orange Roughy
Nursehound
Parrot fish
sea caught Prawns
Rabbit fish
Ray (any type)
Red Snapper or Snapper
Redfish
Rough Head Grenadier
Shark (any type)
Silver Scabbardfish
Skate (any type)
Spurdog
Starry Smoothhound
Sturgeon (or caviar)
Tusk
Wolffish.

No, me neither.

The many, many types of seafood that are missing from either list are classed as yellow which means "think". They may be vulnerable and/or subject to overfishing so "think" and mostly opt for a better fish.

This includes cod, haddock, whiting and sea bass. And scallops.

I've not eaten fish yet, I still maintain my principles. But my health does take priority over my principles and so we'll see. I went back to meat by having sustainable meats, so I exert my right to have my mind changed.









Thursday, 23 February 2012

Fine dining

Masterchef is nearly done and the cooking is vairy vairy posh.

I do wonder what you are to do if you have a limited diet in any way and go to a fine dining occasion where set menus are presented, complete with fish, meat and any manner of offal, feet or shells as garnish. Last night's Masterchef had 238 legal top boffins and it seemed all 238 were served a fish starter and steak main.

Yes, vegetarianism again. Shoot me.

In my limited experience of fine dining it does seem to be that the finer the food, the more the food consists of whole creatures. Seafood particularly is served in its entirety: legs, shells, eggs sometimes. Even in my voracious omnivore days I couldn't eat something that looked like it did when it was alive. Prawns I liked, assuming they came as little curls of meat, not with their entire being attached. Nor could I eat a fish with its head and eyes on my plate. Fish appears more as the menu gets more refined, and the finest is plucked from the sea and plonked more or less directly onto the plate.

Pork also, tasty food, but why serve the trotters and ears? The posher one is, the rawer the beef and lamb are served. Masterchef often criticises contestants for serving meat cooked to what I would describe as edible. Not well done, just cooked. They call it overdone. I've cooked a lot of meat in my time and I have never served it either dry or half raw.

I have on two occasions had genuinely fine dining. Once at a quite marvellous wedding, and once at a Michelin starred restaurant. On both occasions I had vegetarian meals as I was fully vegetarian at the time. On both occasions I was served sublime food that was equal in perfection to any meat dishes. At the restaurant I had the vegetarian taster menu and seriously, if you can get food like that without meat, why would you ever eat meat?

On both the aforementioned occasions however, I was made to feel slightly freakish. I get that most people aren't vegetarian, but there's a sense that eating everything is sophisticated and turning the pigs ears down is crass. More than that, I get the impression that vegetarianism is considered to be the premise of teenagers and tree huggers and anyone else is kind of immature or simply uncultured.

I find as I get older and, one would assume, maturer of mind, that I care more about the planet and the life upon it as a whole. I don't like being made to feel stupid and unworldly for doing so.

Gluten-free is smart and clever; vegetarianism is silly. Unless of course you know anything about nutrition.

I do eat some meat, for now and not for long. I make meat for my children. I like to choose vegetarian dishes when eating out though and I'd like to be able to do so without pasta or mockery.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

How to lose friends and intimidate people

I read a lovely lot of ranting today, I nodded along and agreed and enjoyed a good rant by another.

However, I do feel I need to clarify my position on fish and so I'm going to take the easy approach and link to a previous blog that kind of covers it.

Here.

Or you could click the tag "fish" on this one.

While I like to rant on, I worry about offending people. I have my opinions and as this is my blog, I voice them. That doesn't mean I expect everyone to share them. Which would be nice, obviously, but possibly a little dull.

For example, if I was to say "cable knit leggings look awful on anyone over the age of 8", that isn't to mock those of a greater age who have them. Except, don't wear them out of the house. They don't look good. Really. I'm only saying it for your own good.

I can't help it. I offend people all the time and I'm not intentionally nasty. Just intolerant and sarcastic, which are lovely attributes.

I do apologise excessively, it all balances out. I think. People still talk to me, and that's probably not just for my wit and repartee.

Incidentally, if Boris Johnson or David Cameron read this, which they obviously will, then I do mean to offend you. Hugely.










Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Whinge

I don't know why I look at stats. The number of views-by-bots just demotivates me.

Aim for the next occasion when I make promises to myself:
increase volume of traffic to blog to sufficient levels to rid me of the auto views by flaming bots.

Interesting imagery conjured up by the last two words of the last sentence. Sorry about that.

I have made a decision, I can't tell anyone what it is yet. Which is KILLING ME.

Most other thoughts are somewhat depressing today, I'm not sure why. I blame David Cameron, because I can.

Monday, 20 February 2012

The wonder of our government

I'm sorry, this may be political, or my version thereof.

Today we received a letter from HMRC informing us that we will not be receiving Child Tax Credits any more because we earn over £26,000 as a household income.
Which naturally makes us rich, right?

A worker on the minimum wage would earn £12k full time. So if you earned £60 a month over the minimum wage and your partner earned similar, then you earn too much to get tax credits.

Rich, rich, rich you'd be too. Rich. Beyond your wildest dreams, as long as you dreamt of a very small flat and not a lot in the way of nice stuff.

As we currently receive a little over £1 a day in tax credits, maybe as much as £1.50, this isn't a huge tragedy. But what is galling:

a) in what universe is £26k a good single salary, never mind a joint salary?

b) no child tax credits means no childcare element. So no help with that then. Thanks, just as I need it too.

So I moan, and get reminded it was Labour that got us into debt, of course. Not a global financial crisis, oh no: Labour. So the valiant Tories have to sort it out for us, so that they can afford the Royal Yacht and other Important Things.

Unless I am mistaken, Labour weren't all for taking our money from us for nothing. They did allow "us" to spend all of our money and get into personal debt, which is another matter, but they didn't simply take our money. Like the Tories do, which isn't surprising as that's what Tories do, and this is one of many reasons why we don't vote for them. Or do, in the case of an alarmingly large number of people, even if it wasn't enough to vote them in without turncoat sell-out Liberals.

I realise that many/most people think I am naive, and even stupid, for not blaming Labour for the global financial crisis and for not thinking that the Tories are a better alternative. But I find it incomprehensible that anyone can know what the Tories stand for - immigration anyone? - and vote for them.

I would like to point out that I am
not a Labour supporter. Prior to the Nick Clegg betrayal debacle, I would have called myself Liberal but I definitely don't support them now. Currently I guess I'm SNP, because they have done many positive things for Scotland. In a general election I think I'd have to vote Green.

I used to be ambivalent about independence, but it now has a huge incentive: no Cameron.

And back to my mate Dave. He has offered Scotland "increased powers" if we have a single question on independence and we vote No. SNP propose two questions so that we can vote for increased devolved powers instead of independence if that's how we see fit. One would assume that we'd specify which powers, something that is notably lacking from David Cameron's offer. That's something to be revealed after we've voted.

Details, schmetails, why would we want to know WHAT additional powers you propose? And by "additional obviously we're looking for "less".

Dontcha just love the UK government?

Friday, 17 February 2012

Boys will be boys

Oh the joy of school holidays, in this case "half term", which for us thankfully is three days and not 6 like most other regions.

Pro of holidays: no school run.

Con of school holidays: the children are home all day.

Due to being particularly skint, I thought it would be a good idea to invite a friend of the boys to play on Wednesday, which meant I spent two days frantically shit-shifting to make the house look presentable and the boys' room accessible without climbing gear.

The house now looks normally untidy. This is a result, but not a great one.

So on Wednesday afternoon, friend number one appears, best buddy of twin one. This friend is relatively calm and plays quite nicely. Twin two was rather marginalised though and a bit miffed, so in my befuddled state I thought it was an idea to invite twin two's best friend today.
Friend number two is here now and I am going demented. Twin two is high pitched and hyper with an attention span of a few seconds. Every time they get something out, he moves onto the next thing. His poor friend has started 56 games and actually played none.

Twin one is not marginalised, he simply shouts louder for attention. The noise levels are deafening and so I have escaped to my bedroom while the baby inexplicably manages to nap.
Just over an hour to go and then I think a nice quiet stare at the tv is required.

Lego now. I've just put away the last Lego game. Exhausting.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

As February goes by...

It's not very far on in the year and this here bloggage isn't happening on a daily basis at all.

Ah well. Such is the way of all (my) intentions.

Naturally I have had a fulfilling and active time in my absence and haven't spent all the time playing with my 3DS at all. Not one bit.

Ok, maybe.

In my head I am writing a novel to win the Good Housekeeping competition to win your book in print. I have formulated an excellent back story, but am failing to get the main story or anything actually written. 5000 words and synopsis to be submitted by 31 March. Is this likely? It is not.

I am also mentally composing my Masters dissertation which I need to make a decision about really soon.

I have however actually made the decision to return to work. Having done a handful of "keep in touch" days, I feel this is a marvellous idea when I am in the office, and feel it is a terrible idea when I am at home. To be pondered at length at a later time possibly on another blog.

So. That is where my head is. Mostly with Mario.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Mums online

So today started off badly at bedtime last night, the mood is not good. Badly organised bedtime = bad sleep and hectic morning.

During baby's nap this morning, I elected to sit down with a coffee and The Wright Stuff. To find them chortling about the much maligned Mumsnet.

I have reservations about Mumsnet; google lists results from there highly on searches (and indeed other forums) and instead of a sensible answer to your query, you find the opinions of the general public. Who invariably lack specialist knowledge and may write utter drivel. As is the way with forums, you also get incensed arguments from every viewpoint on just about any topic. Idiots are free to post and their opinions are recorded for posterity as long as they adhere to the rules. The rules and etiquette don't allow you to say "you are an imbecile and your opinions are potentially dangerous" so there they are, popping up in your search results. Annoying.

But still. Leave us mums alone. A pet hate of mine is the smugness of those with their interesting media lives mocking those who spend a lot of time online. No, we still don't have anything better to do.

Mumsnet is often targeted: why do mums whine about having so much to do then spend all that time online?

Because of course, when you have a baby you have simply millions of people to speak to... If it is your first baby, you may not know other mothers, you might find your old friends turn a bit glaikit when you bore on about baby and you also are likely to have a million "is this normal??!!!" questions. So you venture online. You find people in the same position. You chat to them. Next time you need to chat, you chat again. It's reassuring. It's companionship.

Later, when you may be feeling aaaaaaaaargh! and at that all-I-do-is-change-nappies stage, you can impart your own knowledge and feel a little bit useful. Never underestimate feeling useful at that stage, it doesn't happen often.

This morning one woman quipped about the women on Mumsnet never leaving the house unless maybe to go to Waitrose.

Welcome to life with a baby. That's what happens. Ho ho, such mirth.

Yes, some über mothers have a full and marvellous life with endless coffee mornings and baby sessions and being out there generally doing things that aren't free to do. But they are not looking for company online, are they? They're at Starbucks with their Real Friends.

I do sort of understand the query as to why mums complain about having no time and then spend time online. But seriously, if you spend hours entertaining, feeding, comforting and generally caring for a baby, and that baby has a nap, are you seriously expected to crack on immediately with chores and not have a spot of feet up time? Should we be being domestic 24/7?

Do people, who are busy with things that aren't children and who complain about having no time, genuinely never watch tv or phone a friend or have a bath, or go to the pub or out for a meal? Never? We all need time out somehow.

You also need to talk to someone, babies aren't the best conversationalists.

Don't get me wrong, I don't LIKE Mumsnet (on account of the idiots, sorry) but please, criticise them for the right reasons instead of insulting all mums.

I need to go now, I'm off out for coffee with a mum friend. The joy of a second baby is that you do know mums now. Huzzah.








Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Happy birthday Mr Dickens

Charles Dickens was born on 8th February 1812, which makes this the 200th anniversary of his birth.

You will of course know this due to attending all the Dickens Dinners and the general celebration of all things Dickens. What, you haven't?

I was reminded that it was the bicentenary - of the arrival of an infant Dickens - by an email from Lovereading. Why wasn't I bombarded with this? He was one of the greatest writers of all time, if not the greatest, and provided us with much of our view of Victorian England. What would have been his 200th birthday should be a cause for celebration, should it not? Google acknowledged it, as they do, but there was little said elsewhere.

Living in a country which goes potty over Burns, who wrote poetry, I fail to understand why the English/British don't remember their great writers, namely Dickens and Shakespeare. Admittedly they don't know for sure what Shakespeare's date of birth was, but they do know he was baptised on 26 April so that'd be a good day to celebrate him. And as for Dickens, they do know when he was born; today was the 200th anniversary. Significant, no? Just me?

I think it is maybe a measure of the Scots and our fiercely patriotic tendencies, but we dedicate a day (and gain yet another excuse to don a kilt and get drunk) to our most famous writer. Who wasn't as talented or prolific as either Dickens or Shakespeare. I categorically dismiss claims that Burns was Scotland's answer to Shakespeare.


28 April shall become Ian Rankin day sometime. Honestly it will. Maybe just in Fife, but it will
.

Come on England, remember your famous sons!

I raise a cup of coffee to Mr Dickens, thank him for his legacy and renew my vow to get on with reading his works...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Perfect skin

It's about make up. I am, after all, a girl. Yes, girl. Ok. I am a woman. Grr.

Due to my ongoing preoccupation with my face and the fact that it is unhidden by tresses, I have been forced to investigate the wearing of make up.

Not that I am unfamiliar with the wearing of it, I adore make up and own many many different types (mostly lipsticks, a woman can never have too many). But I rarely get made up, I don't take the time. On nights out and when I need to look "done", I do like to look pretty and all, but on a day to day basis, nah. To be honest, being clean and having my hair brushed is as good as it gets, and in this brilliantly cold weather, the latter gets eschewed in favour of donning a hat and forgetting about it.

Which goes awry if I end up going somewhere where I have to take the hat off, as the hat-hair that emerges is a bad hair day's bad hair day.

But, back to the neglected face. It looks a bit, well, like I need a spot of make up. I have discovered a new product. It calls itself a miracle: Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector. It is "based" on BB (Blemish Balm) creams, which seem to be the new black for faces, but for £9.99 I'll go with "based on", over £30 "actually".
I like. It is essentially a tinted moisturiser, it goes on like a moisturiser (so takes seconds) and looks like it's not there. Except my skin looks nice.
Huzzah!

And then, if I'm feeling extra generous with my time, I can add on the beautifully overpriced Yves St Laurent blusher (now apparently just called blush) and mascara I spent all my birthday money on, and one of the 56,000 lipsticks or glosses that I own, et voila! A face to be seen in.