Friday, 17 December 2010
Wednesday, 15 December 2010
My lovely friend Notes has tagged me to share my bleats with you. If you don't know what bleats are - they are too short for a blog, but too long for a tweet. Here, then, are the things currently bleatable in the Sardinetin household:
#moneymoneymoney A lottery win would be very welcome about now. By that I mean more than the £74 our work syndicate won a couple of weeks ago. It's been an interesting old year on the cash front (maybe one day my lovely husband will lift the embargo he has imposed, and let me blog the specific story), and Christmas ain't getting any cheaper. (I know we are lucky and there are people out there significantly worse off, so maybe I should wish the whole country a lottery win?)
#bahhumbug Owing to relatively last-minute changes of plan, we are celebrating Christmas at home this year. To say I am woefully unprepared is an understatement. OK, I admit - when it comes to most things, I am a last-minute kind of gal. Christmas, however, is normally the one exception. I'm usually the one with presents bought in July and cards sent on 1st December. Not this year, and it is driving me crazy.
#FairyDust I wish... No, sadly just the common or garden variety, I'm afraid. I do of course only have myself to blame. After all, hoovering is just so... well... bourgeois, don't you think? I'm much too Bohemian and intellectual to do such mundane tasks.
#wheresmymojomofo? I am of course, referring to my blogging mojo. It can't have failed to escape your attention that posts have been a bit scarce around here recently. All the usual excuses apply - work, kids, illness, Christmas. However, I will admit there is also a certain whiff of "eau de can't be arsed" hanging around the place (available in all good department stores). New year's resolution; must try harder. (All extremely ironic, really, considering I have been shortlisted for a blogging award - yes, me! Go on, click on the link and vote - you know you want to)
Who else fancies a good bleat? How about some of my new twitter followers:
Penny at The Alexander Residence
This Mid 30s Life
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Being a working parent requires organisation. It requires a strong routine and precision planning of military proportions - or so I like to pretend, anyway (this is obviously where I am going wrong). Homework, reading, PE kits, water bottles... they all have their designated times and days. My neighbour (also a full-time working mother) has an impressive system of post-it notes to keep track of when cakes are due in for the fundraising café, when non-uniform day is, what the deadline is for paying for the Christmas dinner.
The system of communication by school is fairly sophisticated - we get regular "parentmail" emails, and texts in rare emergencies. It is a true godsend, without which I don't think we would be able to function properly. Have you ever tried finding a note in a child's bag when that child has been at after-school club until 5pm when that child's favourite pastime appears to be sticking random bits of paper together!?
Despite this, every now and then we are still floored by a request taped to the classroom door - a recent example; "Could all children please wear black for their assembly on Thursday". For starters, I do not believe in dressing children in black - there's plenty of time for that when they are teenagers - but that's a different subject. No, what floored me was that this note was apparently taped to the door at some point during a Monday. I say "apparently", as I had to rely on other mothers to inform me of this.
DD1 goes to breakfast and after-school club Monday to Wednesday. I only take and fetch her to and from school itself two days a week. As it was, my poor, neglected child was the only one dressed in navy blue, mainly thanks to the fact that she had the intelligence to inform me of the requirement on the morning of said assembly.
Part of me feels guilty about even posting this - I do think my daughter's school is fantastic and tries very hard - but I know other people struggle with this as well. (It also leaves me to wonder how people who do not see their children's teacher at all every week can possibly cope - and vice versa, it must also be difficult for teachers.)
Do some schools still assume there will be a stay at home parent to manage such things, or am I being unfair?
Tuesday, 23 November 2010
|Beep beep. Beep beep. Yeah.|
I don't seem to do much driving any more these days. Working from home most days means that my car stays mainly in the garage, and if it wasn't for one day a week in the office we could quite easily give up being a 2-car family. (There is of course also the fact that we recently spent a small fortune on building a double garage, so at least that is getting some use!). My husband on the other hand, has around an hour's commute each way down the motorway five days a week to contend with.
When it therefore comes to driving at the weekend, you would think that I would be happy to take over any driving, to give him a break. The truth of the matter is, however, that I am fundamentally lazy and would much rather be ferried around. Since the invention of sat nav, it's not like I even have to map read any more (which is a good thing all round, as I am sure we would be divorced by now if I did) and I can therefore quite happily sit looking out of the window humming along to the radio.
If I look at other cars on the road, I notice this is overwhelmingly the case in other cars - man driving, woman on passenger seat. My parents are the same, despite the fact that my father did not get a licence until relatively late in life (I must have been in my early teens), and therefore has a lot less driving experience than my mother.
We've all heard the statistics about women drivers being safer, so why is it still a case of:
Car = Manly pursuit
Answers on the back of an AA Road Atlas to the usual address please.
Monday, 22 November 2010
I thought I'd at least trial the technology - next time I might even make an effort...
Thursday, 18 November 2010
(Forgive me, am typing on mini phone keypad)
In no particular order:
- Can someone please invent teleporting sometime soon?
- What some people consider hand luggage really takes the p*ss
- What is so important that you have to answer your mobile whilst on the toilet?
- Why don't humans have sleep reserves, like they have fat reserves?
- Hearing Band Aid's 'Do They Know It's Christmas' on Monday made me want to scream
- Seeing my first snow of the winter in Helsinki this morning, however,made me feel instantly Christmassy
- Every now and then modern technology still astounds me; amazing how quickly news of a Royal engagement in far-away Britain made its way round a Finnish conference room
Thursday, 11 November 2010
Thursday, 4 November 2010
|Alison Curtis via Flickr|
I happened to catch a trailer for last night's "File on Four" on Radio 4, which was apparently about young, British muslims being lured into fighting for a Jihadist group linked to Al-Qaeda in Somalia. In the end, I did not have the chance to listen to it, even though in some ways the subject piqued a certain macabre interest in me.
I've always been a bit of a current affairs buff. Force-fed a diet of Radio 4 ever since I can remember, I grew up with the Today programme starting the day, and PM at tea-time. Eventually, I even started listening to what was being said, and became hooked on the tales of political machinations of the day (the will-she-go-won't-she-go of Margaret Thatcher's final days being a particularly vivid memory). In-depth, background reporting of strange foreign lands mesmerised me.
And yet recently I find myself avoiding the news more and more. Part of this is down to the fact that I am just busier since having children, and when I settle down to watch television of an evening, I want mindless entertainment, rather than anything too taxing. However, there is also a part of me that just doesn't want to hear it any more.
Let's face it; bad news is just terribly depressing. Take international terrorism, for example - start thinking about it for too long, and you realise how hopeless the whole situation is. Whilst we in the UK had to contend with terrorism related to the conflict in Northern Ireland for a long time, with hindsight this seems small and manageable in comparison. There appeared to be a specific goal, and it was limited to a specific number of people. Compare and contrast this to the threat from Al-Qaeda and its cronies, where the threat could apparently come from anywhere in the world, and the goal is inexplicable and incoherent at best.
Don't even get me started on the apparently random acts of violence that you can read about in any local paper these days!
I sometimes look at my children and think - should I really have brought you into a world where you have to worry about what's in your ink cartridges? Where someone might just knife you on the street because you looked at them in a certain way?
So, forgive me if I don't read the papers as often as I used to. Sometimes I just think ignorance is bliss.
Tuesday, 2 November 2010
All I had time for today, however, was a sandwich. This did not bother me at all - in my eyes, the humble sandwich is a wonderful invention, and has been a regular meal for a lot of the British population since it was invented.
So it got me thinking - if I was only ever allowed one single kind of sandwich to eat for the rest of my life, what would I choose? First, I thought of tasty Scandinavian open sandwiches - maybe a bit of smoked salmon on rye bread...
Go on - tell me; what's your favourite sandwich? I'd love to know!
(By the way, to work out the dimensions of your perfect cheese sandwich, try the Cheddarometer! )
Friday, 29 October 2010
|Spot the Difference|
|I so would|
Tuesday, 26 October 2010
Monday, 25 October 2010
- I'm trying to do a day job whilst spending 90% of my time being asked questions for "integration" due to co. takeover
- I've just agreed to take on the departmental newsletter
- I have a tonne of blog memes I am probably never going to get around to doing (sorry to anyone that has tagged me)
- Still haven't worked out what to buy husband for his 40th and time is running out fast (any ideas for the ultra-fussy man who has everything?!)
To say life is a little hectic at the moment is an understatement. Half term holiday?! Ha.
Thursday, 14 October 2010
Turns out it's not actually that easy.
Maybe it's conditioning, maybe it's some kind of deep maternal instinct, but I have started to see the worst in all possible situations. Most of the time I can keep these fears under control. The only time I can't is when it comes to road safety. We have had a very close shave with each of our children - occasions that left me literally shaking and sobbing with the thought of what could have happened, had luck not been on our side. We live on quite a busy road, in quite an urban area, so trips to and from pretty much anywhere involve negotiating road safety. I am slowly starting to trust DD1, who at 5 and a half at least knows not to run out into the road, and allow her a little more freedom. I still insist on her holding my hand most of the time when we cross, however. I do still insist on DD2 (2 years younger than her sister) holding my hand whenever we are walking by a road.
I bumped into an acquaintance the other day, who also has two daughters, the eldest of is not quite yet 3. We walked through the park, with said eldest daughter on a little self-propelled car, while my friend pushed her youngest in a pushchair. At the edge of the park there are some large, wrough-iron gates, which lead straight onto a road. This road is not particularly busy, but there is a wall on the corner that makes it difficult to see any oncoming traffic. The gates were open, and the little girl (let's call her I) was merrily pushing her way towards them, showing no sign of stopping. Her mother did not bat an eyelid when she proceeded through the gates into the road. It was only when we saw the lorry approaching that she shouted out to her daughter that she should have been more careful and looked where she was going. Thankfully, the lorry was driving slowly and stopped, however, I could not help thinking that things could have been different.
I was obviously somewhat surprised at the mother's calm reaction, given my own fears. I don't want to judge her - the example is merely an illustration of the point that children and road safety probably don't mix very well. I am just as guilty of what others might consider horrible lapses of judgement. However, I am curious as to what everyone else's experiences are on this.
Do you let your children cross the road by themselves? At what ages did you start, and how did you make sure they knew about road safety?
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
Saturday, 9 October 2010
|Photo by Elvis Payne via Flickr|
I have forgotten how to shop. Actually, let me rephrase that; I have forgotten how to window shop, how to browse. (I am of course perfectly capable of remembering the basics of shopping - pick up goods, take to till, pay, etc).
Since having children I rarely get time to myself to wander aimlessly round the shops. Shopping has become a purely functional experience - get in, get what you want, get out. Going as a family is worse, as it involves one of us running around after the kids, whilst the other goes through the well-oiled routine.
I went into town yesterday for a hair appointment, and happened to find myself with a spare half an hour. I almost felt lost. I walked around shops in a daze, not knowing quite what I was supposed to do. There was nothing I had specifically come for - why should I waste precious time looking at things that were of no interest? The sight of Christmas decorations frightened me, and the people loitering started to irritate me. In the end I bought some tights in Marks & Spencer's and fled.
I think I'll stick to the internet in future.
*Have always loved the French term for window shopping -"lecher les vitrines" - "to lick the windows"
Monday, 27 September 2010
Alethea, over at Mom-on-a-Wire has tagged me in the Twitterholic meme, originally created by Kate. You have to answer the questions, then tag other
Why did you join Twitter?
Who is/was your oldest follower? Who did you follow first? Tell me all about them.
Answer the questions.
Select some more fab bloggers who tweet to continue the meme.
Friday, 24 September 2010
This post was written for the Working Mother's Carnival, hosted by Holly over at It's a Mummy's Life. Once the carnival is closed, I'll post the final link where you can also visit other entries. If you want to participate, post your contribution and then e-mail Holly the link by 15th October.
I am a working mother. No secret there. If I think about it logically, it describes what I spend most of my life doing. For 35 hours a week, I am contracted to serve my employer. Sometimes I even do a little more than that (what can I say, I'm dedicated). The rest of the week I spend with my children. You could even argue that being a mother is not a job, but a status, a fact - I am a mother 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of whether or not I am at work.
This post is not about the rights and wrongs, the pros and cons, the tos and fros of working vs not working when you are a mother. It is, however, about the terminology "working mother". Despite the fact that factually it describes me very well, the phrase itself riles me - for three main reaons. (I am disregarding the fact that it does not encompass all the other things I am/do on a regular basis. I don't even have a problem with labels per se; I acknowledge that they can be a useful shorthand.)
The first thing that bothers me is the inference that by labelling myself a working mother, I am somehow saying that women who are mothers but are not employed in the labour market do not "work". Do Stay At Home Mums (SAHMs) sit around in their pyjamas drinking coffee and watching daytime telly all day? Of course not! I would be the first to argue that being a SAHM can be much harder work than spending time in an office. So why is it automatically assumed that only paid employment is work?
Secondly, according to the latest statistics I could find (dating back to 2008), there is only a gap of 5 percentage points in terms of women with dependent children who work (68%) and women without children that work (73%). Working mothers are therefore a lot more common that the media would sometimes have us believe. Women have worked for centuries - it is not even a new phenomenon. Of course, I appreciate that this statistic does not adequately reflect the different types or hours of work done by different women. It does not, for example, show how many women are in full-time work, vs part-time work etc (the page linked does go into this, if you are interested). However, it does make me wonder; if the majority of mothers are working mothers, why do we therefore even need to specifically pinpoint this group? Does lumping everyone together in a group like this really help anyone?
Finally - how many men do you know that would immediately and without thinking class themselves as "working fathers"? Most men I know would not even consider it, even if they reconise that the label is factually correct. I think they would be more inclined to define themselves more purely by their paid professions. If I were to ask my husband what he was, for example, he would probably just class himself as an "engineer" or "project manager" first and foremost. This does not mean that he does not take his responsibilities to his children any less seriously than I do - it is simply how his DNA has been conditioned to think. Maybe if there was more talk of working fathers I would be happier with the term working mother. One thing that will be interesting to see is if this will change going forwards as more men stay at home to look after the children.
(As a very slight aside, I was intrigued to find that if I Google both the term "working mothers" and "working fathers" there were actually more results (18.6m) for working fathers vs those for working mothers (9.7m), which goes against my argument above. However, the nature of the results was subtly different- if you look at the results, very few of those on the first page for working fathers actually use the term working as an adjective, but more as a verb - e.g. "working with fathers".)
I know I have a tendency to over-analyse things. Maybe that is what I am doing here. When all is said and done, maybe being a working mother is what best defines me - after all, I haven't been able to come up with a viable alternative yet!
Whether you are you a working mum, or a SAHM - does the label bother you, or do you just accept the fact that it is a necessary shorthand?
Monday, 20 September 2010
7: hours spent gardening over the weekend
29: number of plants still sitting in pots that need to go into the garden
4: limbs currently aching
2: Blogs I want to update
96: number of unread items currently in my Google Reader (down from 134)
6: number of things I need to make appointments with the doctor about (none of them serious, before you ask)
3: loads of washing waiting to be ironed
5: other things on my "critical to-do" list
8: number of times I have fiddled with my curtains in order to try and get optimal light level
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
This week's Gallery topic is "A Celebration". Now, I could have posted lovely photos of weddings, birthdays, Christmas including lots of happy smiley faces. This left me with a dilemma. Whilst I have been known to share the odd photo or two on the blog, I do generally try and avoid them, and I don't really want to post pictures of friends and family without their knowledge/consent.
Of course, we had the ideal opportunity at the weekend. As I mentioned in my previous post, we spent the weekend at the 40th birthday party of an old friend. Much food, laughter and merriment* ensued. I may or may not have posted a picture on Twitter of myself drinking white wine straight from the bottle. Ahem.
I don't know about you, but there is something about too much alcohol that causes everyone I know to randomly start taking photos of inanimate objects. In the "olden days", i.e. pre-digital, this was the ultimate practical joke. You could guarantee that someone would have pinched your camera during the course of the evening, and you would never quite be sure what you would pick up from the developer (bread rolls, random feet, nostrils...). With digital such photos can easily be erased, which does take some of the fun out of things.
So in the spirit of nostalgia for parties past, this, ladies and gentlemen, is my photo for A Celebration.
I give you - Disco Balls:
|Exhibit 1: Drunk Photo|
*OK, I mean copious amounts of booze
Monday, 13 September 2010
The lovely Pants with names has tagged me in the Naughty Step Meme. To be fair - she has probably forgotten this by now; not because she is pregnant, but purely because it is such a terribly LONG TIME AGO - a lifetime in blogging terms. (What can I say - this little baby has been neglected recently in favour of my newborn - I have been a fickle mummy of late. Must. Try. Harder).
So basically I have to tell you who I would like to put on the Naughty Step until they feel suitably chastened and regret their behaviour.
We spent the weekend at the 40th birthday party of an old (literally and figuratively - ha!) friend, and a wonderful time was had by all (more of that some other time, perhaps). We are lucky in that we have a close group of friends that have stuck around for a long time. However, this does mean we seem to spend weekends trundling around the highways and byways from one end of the country to another. Whilst heading "up north" on a motorway this weekend, I was therefore reminded of who I would like to put on the Naughty Step, namely:
There is always one, isn't there? Sitting there in the middle lane, despite the fact that all other lanes are clear ...
I don't understand it. I can only assume that they fall into one of three categories - either:
1) Elderly drivers, deaf, blind and completely oblivious to other people's pain and frustration
2) Total egomaniacs who think the world (and therefore the roads) revolve around them, or
3) American tourists who don't understand that undertaking is not allowed round these parts.
The last group is the only group I will vaguely consider to have a legitimate excuse. So, unless your name is Randy and Jolene from Little Rock, Arkansas - move over!
As this meme has been hanging around for such a long time, I won't pass it on to anyone - if you haven't done it yet, but would like to, consider yourself tagged, and tell us who you'd like to see on the Naughty Step?
Monday, 6 September 2010
Of course it is not quite as simple as that - juvenile arthritis is the not same as rheumatoid arthritis, and having the former does not necessarily mean you will get the latter. There is also not one single type, but it appears that the most common type is most prevalent in young girls. Thankfully most children will grow out of the condition, but in a small number pain and discomfort will be severe. The most common symptoms include:
- pain and swelling of joints
- morning stiffness
- in very young children, it could cause difficulty in learning to walk.
-of course as any parent knows, as very young child will not necessarily be able to tell a parent where the pain is coming from, so they might be generally moody and difficult.
however, rarer types might also include symptoms more usually associated with other illnesses (fevers, rashes etc).
If you think your child might be affected, your first step should of course be to contact your GP, but you can also find out more information by checking out the Arthritis Research UK website.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
Wednesday, 25 August 2010
|Spot The Difference|
Monday, 23 August 2010
|President Tarja Halonen|
|PM Mari Kiviniemi|
Friday, 20 August 2010
DD1 is eating strawberries. She is wearing a white top and dribbling strawberry juice down it.
Me: "DD1, watch what you are doing, you are getting strawberry juice down your top"
Me (muttering under my breath): "...strawberry juice... stains horribly...never come out"
DD1: "Don't worry mummy, you just need to put some Vanish on it."
Come back CBeebies, all is forgiven.
(There's a longer post here somewhere on advertising and the effect on young children. Maybe I'll write it when I have a little more time to think.)
Monday, 16 August 2010
I think I might be sufferering from Telephobia (also known as Telephonophobia, apparently) - a fear of speaking on the telephone.
I know for a fact that I am not alone in this. I have had various Twitter conversations with people who feel exactly the same, and if I do a quick internet search it brings up countless forums on the subject. On the one hand, I am happy to discover that I am not alone, or a complete freak for not liking to pick up the phone. On the other hand, I work for a telecoms company, so this is more than a little embarrassing.
I like to think that my affliction is on the mild side - however, recently I have started to notice that it may be starting to affect the smooth running of my family. My dust is piling up on the surfaces as I have not yet called the cleaner recommended by my neighbour. That dentist's appointment has not made itself. The swimming lessons that my children were given on holiday somehow weren't quite sufficient...
How did this happen? As a teenager, I used to spend hours on the phone to my friends (favourite phrase of my mother's: "but you only saw them at school!"), but I do now think that this was more of a strange hormonal aberration than typical behaviour for me.
Of course, these days I am reliably informed that teenagers spend all their time either on something called "FaceSpace" or txting on their phones - can any parents of teenagers confirm that they no longer have their landlines clogged up? Do your teenagers even know what a landline is?
I do wonder if modern technology is more than a little to blame for my aversion to picking up the dog 'n' bone. After all, given the choice, I would rather book an appointment online than pick up the phone. The invitations my children receive to parties these days invariably include a mobile phone number ("I'll just send them a text..."). I even recently got told off by my father for mainly communicating with my parents by email. At work we have e-mail, instant messaging and even an internal micro-blogging tool similar to Twitter enabling me to successfully avoid ever having to open my mouth.
Maybe it is time to pick up the phone and do something about it.
Update 17th August:. It seems that, according to this piece:
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Obviously I have too much time on my hands. Not content with working full-time, having two small children, a household to run and a blog to write, one sleepless night I was gripped by the thought that "I...need...to...do...another...blog..."
Without any more beating about the bush, I therefore present to you The Fantasy Decorator, which I will be using going forward to indulge my love of property p*rn.
If you get as excited as I do by teacups and doorknobs, feel free to take a look.
Don't worry, if bedside tables don't float your boat, just stick here for more of the same random ramblings.
(P.S. I've also set up a separate Twitter account @fantasydecor.)
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
|Source: Silvio Tanaka on Flickr|
There are some people that just seem to photograph well. They aren't even necessarily always the ones that you would consider good-looking in the flesh, but a camera lens does something magical to them and finds something in their features that instantly transforms them. There are also other people who look exactly the same on photos as they do in real life.
My children love having their photo taken - and with the advent of digital technology they can view themselves on the tiny LCD screen in an instant. They will happily pose with a radiant smile, or pull funny faces, or even on occasion look solemnly into the lens.
I think it is fair to say, however, that there are few adults that would share this natural affinity with model behaviour. I personally am finding that with age I seem to get more and more self-conscious about being photographed. This is something that occurred to me while looking through our holiday snaps. Whilst I don't actually mind being snapped when doing something else (I like to think I don't actually look too bad if taken unawares), I hate more than anything that horrible moment when I have to pose and "say cheese".
On my return to work yesterday I found a request for a photo to submit to some kind of org chart destined for an intranet site somewhere. I confess I panicked.
I basically have two posing faces; the first is some sort of demented grin with mad staring eyes and ridiculously chubby cheeks, and the second is my attempt to look sultry and basically ends up with me just looking grumpy and thoroughly miserable, neither of which particularly convey the image of friendly professionalism I wanted to portray.
In the end, hubby did a sterling job at taking an endless selection and I managed to narrow it down to something that looked vaguely human. However, if anyone has the secret to posed photos not making me look like a complete loon, answers on a disqus comment below, please!
Monday, 9 August 2010
At the risk of boring you all with the virtual equivalent of the holiday slide show (anyone else remember those, or was it just my parent's friends?) this is just a quick post to gloat about how fabulous our holiday was.
I know what you're thinking - "Finland? Hardly traditional holiday destination" - and to a certain extent you are right. However, in terms of the overall list of general criteria - namely weather (37 degrees!!), food (do love me a bit of reindeer, yum), attractions (daily beach and swim in the lake) - I think we managed to hit the jackpot.
Think the Finnish Tourist Board will employ me now?
Friday, 23 July 2010
Thank you for visiting The Sardine Tin.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Tuesday, 20 July 2010
"A photograph which you think represents a favourite book or novel or even children's tale."
My chosen book this week: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, as it was a particular favourite of mine when I was a child.
We are lucky enough to live relatively close to Bowood House, which every year opens up its "Rhododendron Walk" for a limited period only. We went for the first time a few weeks ago, and it really did feel like a secret garden, as there were very few people there at all (we hardly saw a soul), with lots of lovely nooks and crannies - great for playing hide and seek in.
Sunday, 18 July 2010
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Thursday, 8 July 2010
I am finally a grown-up. I have bought a red lipstick.