Thursday, 29 April 2010

Wardrobe Workout, part 1

Do you have a signature style? Is what you wear important to you? How do you think you measure up in the style stakes?

I have always been interested in fashion. As a little girl, I loved dressing up in my mother's clothes. I enjoy reading fashion magazines, perusing websites and blogs, and window shopping. However, to be honest, apart from my shoe fetish, this interest doesn't really manifest itself in a physical form.

It has always been more of a theoretical, almost academic interest, and since having children, it has been even more difficult to experiment, due to lack of shopping time. Therefore, I tend to go for the tried and tested, sticking to what I know suits me. A lot of my clothes therefore are old. I mean, really old. Well-worn and well-loved, but old.

My working wardrobe I am fairly happy with. However, as I am physically spending less and less time in the office these days, and more and more time working from home, this is becoming less of a consideration. If it wasn't for the fact that I still have to take my children to school and nursery, I could probably get away with wearing my pyjamas on those days. The thing is, I don't think I'm very good at casual. I'm generally more of a jeans* and white t-shirt girl.

I need to learn to accessorise. I need to think about layering. I need to learn to get out of my comfort zone and experiment a little - however, not so much that I end up with a load of stuff that doesn't go with anything. I'd like one of those lovely capsule wardrobes, please!

My spring resolution therefore is to get out of my wardrobe rut. This weekend it's time for stage one; the big clearout.

Wish me luck.

*P.S. (yes - *gasp* - I'm still wearing bootcut; you know they're bound to come back in sooner or later. I just don't have the legs for skinny jeans. And don't even get me started on jeggings *shiver*)

P.P.S. no, that's not my only wardrobe - my other one is full of shoes ;-)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Cybernervous, part 2

CyberMummy2010

Thank you so much to all those of you that left such encouraging comments on my Cybernervous post. You all knew that what I was really after was a little gentle encouragement and a kick up the backside!

Well, last night I finally braved hubby. The conversation went something like this:

"I've decided I would like to go to Cybermummy"
"Er, right... what's that again?"
"It's a conference for bloggers, in London. 3rd July"
"Hmm, so you are telling me you want me to look after the kids. How about if I want to come too?"
"Well, you are welcome to, but it's £100 a ticket"

...it is at this point that I will draw a veil over the rest of the conversation (think he was hoping blogging would be a cheap hobby, ha ha), but in summary - my mind is made up, my ticket has been bought, and there's no going back now.

Cybermummy, here I come!

The Gallery - (Self) Portrait

This week's Gallery prompt is "Portraits". I'll be honest, I very nearly gave this one a miss. After all, I'm going for the relatively anonymous end of the blogging spectrum. I'm not ready to come out completely just yet... and I didn't want to post pictures of my children, or someone who I would have to ask permission of. However, I very much enjoy participating in the Gallery, and I wanted to see if it was possible to give it a go anyway. Here, therefore, is my pathetic attempt:


"Self-Portrait, 2010"

I had visions of my shadow looking mysterious, stylish and exotic. Then I realised that the camera was still broken and I would have to use my phone... I had plans to get hubby to help me out, but somehow couldn't be bothered to wait for him to get home from work... so in the end all you can see is a blurry blob... The blob is suffering from a bad hair day, due to not having had any hot water for 4 days while waiting for our boiler to be fixed - not that you can tell, though, right?!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Sign(s) of the Times


I was lucky to grow up in a household where I never felt like any subject was ever really taboo. Of course, as I grew up there were inevitably some things I didn't want to talk to my parents about, just like any normal teenager. However, I always felt that I could have done if I wanted to.

One thing that remains a mystery to me up to this day is how my parents voted. My mother is Finnish, but has now lived outside Finland for longer than she was ever in Finland. Her voting habits have therefore been somewhat - ahem - random. (I have recently seen lots of interesting blog posts about the question of expats and their voting rights, so won't go into these here - check out Notes from Lapland for a good example, with some interesting comments).

Inevitably therefore, I have been more conscious of my father's political views, as they seemed somehow more immediate and relevant to me personally. I say political views, because I might know what he thought of certain taxation plans, what he thought of foreign policy... The one thing I never knew for sure was who he actually voted for. Of course, I could have made a pretty informed guess. Upon questioning, however, he always used to say that the great thing about living in a democracy was that his vote was purely between him and the ballot box.

I suppose that attitude has rubbed off on me, and I am always curious about people that advertise their political views at election time by putting up posters or signs with the name of their chosen party/candidate. I suppose it might be different if I were a member of a political party, which I am not (had you worked that out yet?).

I wonder about the purpose of these posters - mainly free advertising at a guess, and as with all advertising I suppose it is about mindshare. Does it really influence other people to vote for a specific party if their neighbours are publicly backing one versus the others? When I was very young, I used to think that if I counted the number of posters people had put up for each party, I would be able to predict the outcome. My dad used to joke that it made it easier to see who he needed to steer clear of in future. Is putting up a sign just a sneaky way of making sure you are left alone, as someone who has made up their mind?

Do you advertise your political views? Does knowing who/what your neighbours are voting for influence you in any way?


Sunday, 25 April 2010

Cybernervous


Are you going to Cybermummy?

If you are new to the blogging world, this will not mean much to you, however, Twitter has been - well - atwitter with this subject ever since the announcement came out. Cybermummy is similar to the US Blogher conference that has been taking place for a few years now, i.e. a conference for the online blogging community.

When Cybermummy was first announced, I had literally only just started this blog. I therefore didn't really pay it a huge amount of attention, as I didn't even know if I would continue, or whether I would decide that blogging wasn't for me. Somehow it seemed more appropriate for more established bloggers.

As time went on, more and more people whose blogs I follow, or who I interact with on twitter, started talking about going. I therefore started to give it some serious thought. I am however, hesitating. Unlike a lot of people, the main hesitation is not the money per se - although I understand that for a lot of people the cost is prohibitive, this is not my main driver. I am hesitating for two reasons; firstly, I don't know how to tell my husband I would like to go (he is still somewhat bemused by my sudden hobby), and secondly, I am not very good at the "social mingling thing". There is nothing more horrifying to me than a roomful of strangers. I won't know anyone. I am a newcomer to the blogging community. What if everyone else knows each other and I am the lonely little sardine stood in the corner, feeling sorry for myself and wishing I had not come?

My grown-up, rational side tells me it is faintly ridiculous - "at your age"?! I know I am not the only one who feels like this, however, as other kind bloggers have spoken about their shyness before. This gives me strength. Maybe it will even give me the strength to buy that ticket.

Picture courtesy of CCCvrak

Saturday, 24 April 2010

My other blog is a Rolls Royce

Something DD2 said to me over the weekend made me think back to the days when I was toying with the idea of starting a blog. To quote her; "mummy, why do your feet smell" (no truth at all in this unjust accusation of course, ahem).

As she is currently going through that phase of being very curious about body parts, it reminded me that an early alternative name for this blog was going to be "Why have you got hair there mummy". That soon got dismissed - too long, too non-descript, and with the dreaded mummy in the title. At the risk of offending some of the lovely readers of this blog, many of whom do have mummy in their blog titles, there were already just too many blogs with mummy in the title out there, and I didn't necessarily want to add to the list.

I looked at naming my blog almost like a branding exercise. It had to be something a little different, that would stand out, but that also felt personal enough for me to somehow relate to. Other titles that quickly got discarded included:

"WMB" - Wife, Mother, Boss (or Blogger, depending on which day it was!) -it turned out there was already a World of Make Believe blog using my required URL.

"No sex please... I'm a working mum with two small children" - again, too long, and not necessarily easily shortened.

"Bags and Baggage" - for those under my eyes and in my life. Might keep this one if I ever write a travel blog, although there's bound to be one out there already.

"Like Mother, Like Daughter" - felt this would be a little limiting.

So then I trawled all those websites dedicated to funny quotes and pithy sayings in the hope that I would find a suitable phrase for harassed working mother:

" No more cakes and ale"
"My salad days"
- both of which seemed to indicate that I was writing a dieting blog, which of course was untrue.

I finally settled on The Sardine Tin, following the quote from Alan Bennett: "Life is rather like a tin of sardines - we're all of us looking for the key." It seemed to nicely sum up the juggling element of my life - oh, and the Twitter name was still free!

What's behind the name of your blog? Are you please with it, or do you wish you had gone for something else?

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Experienced Manager seeks Flexible Working


I think I have probably said this before, but I class myself as extremely lucky when it comes to my work situation. I have a (relatively) responsible, generously paid job, that I am able to arrange more or less comfortably around my children. It helps that I managed a fantastic, experienced team who need minimal supervision from myself.

When I went back to work after DD2 was born, I was initially working four days a week - I changed this last September when DD1 started school, so that I now do 5 days, but with Thursday and Friday from home, within school hours.

I enjoy my job. However, I have also been doing this job for a while, and feel that it will soon be time for a change. My next move will probably/hopefully still be within the same organisation - one of the advantages of working for a large corporation. I am concerned though. What if I don't find something else I want to do? What if (heaven forbid) I get laid off in the next inevitable round of cost-cutting? WHAT IF I HAVE TO FIND ANOTHER JOB???!

The only jobs available that might be of interest (i.e. in a similar salary bracket) are full-time jobs. I'm sure if my current role was re-advertised, it would also be re-advertised as full time. After all, the only reason I am doing the hours I am doing is because I was already in the role and could negotiate. Most other mothers I know that work flexibly have done the same. Legally, a request for flexible working is only possible after having been with an organisation for 26 weeks continuously. Therein lies the crux of my dilemma.

Yes, I am practically doing a full-time job. Yes, I am probably more productive on a £/hr basis than I was when I was not working flexibly. However, employers do not necessarily see it that way. How could I walk into an interview and say, "nice job, sorry, can I just tell you what hours I would like to work?"They would laugh me out of the room and give the job straight to the person they would see as more committed. Short of consultancy or similar freelance work, the only option I would see would be to either bite the bullet and go full-time in the hope of negotiating flexible working down the line, or going for a lower-paid, completely part-time job. This is a choice I don't really want to contemplate. I'm really hoping I don't have to contemplate that for a long time.

Do you have experience of flexible working? Did you have to fight for the right to work flexibly? What would you do if you had to find another job? Do you know of any recruitment websites that might be of interest...?!




Tuesday, 20 April 2010

The Gallery - 7 Deadly Sins; Sloth



For this week's Gallery entry, I decided to concentrate on only one of the deadly sins (my personal favourite...not including gluttony... or lust...)

I know this is not particularly original, however, I had to post it. This is DD1 at the weekend, when she was having a slothful moment. She is normally such a fidget - always moving, continuously on the go, that moments like this are quite unusual when they do come, which makes them all the more enjoyable!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Parenting For Dummies


Before I disappoint you, no, I'm not going to give you parenting lessons (heaven forbid). No, this post is about exactly that - would you consider taking lessons in parenting?

We were at a local shopping centre yesterday, and were approached at the playground there by a very nice lady handing out flyers advertising exactly that.

"Whethere your kids are toddlers or teens, you'll value these gentle and humorous insights into being a parent (and a chance to chat and discuss your own parenting experiences)."

I did the usual thing of nodding and smiling politely, and shoved the flyer in my handbag, meaning to pop it straight in the recycling bin when I got home. However, then I started thinking - why wouldn't I go? Apart from the usual excuses of no time, blah blah, the real thing holding me back was that I didn't actually think I needed them. I don't have any major issues with my children (touch wood). They are well balanced, (mostly) well behaved, happy girls that eat well, sleep well, and interact well with others. Those sort of classes are for people having issues with their children, right?

However, let's face it - we could all use some help at one point or another. We all go off to antenatal classes, where we are told about what position to adopt to best prepare for labour. They might even briefly cover nappy changing and breast feeding. Maybe if you're like me, you went out and bought various different text books. Around 6 months, the health visitor did a session for us on weaning. After all that, however, you are pretty much left to your own devices. Starting school? Teenage tantrums? Just get on with it.

So why wouldn't I take parenting classes?

Friday, 16 April 2010

Life begins at (insert age of your choice here)



I read an article in the paper recently that said most young people (i.e. aged 16-24 – sigh – anyone remember what that feels like?) in a recent survey consider that youth ends, and middle age begins, at 35. I suppose it is no secret to those that have read my previous blog posts that I am 36, so on that basis I am now officially middle aged.


Recognition has therefore now hit me – finally, I understand why:

1) I have started listening to Radio 2 in the car in the mornings

2) We’re members of the National Trust

3) My ideal evening is a glass of red wine (can’t take more than 2!) and an early night

4) I recently asked my husband to turn the music down, as it was “too loud”

5) My favourite Christmas present was my new slippers

6) Not only do I look and sound like my mother, I am starting to agree with her!

7) I can’t remember how many signs I was originally going to come up with…


However, all is not lost, there may yet still be some hope for me, as (drumroll please!):


I recently got asked for ID when trying to buy a bottle of wine in M&S


The fact that the elderly cashier had a very thick pair of glasses on is neither here not there...


Photo courtesy of Jimmiehomeschoolmom


Thursday, 15 April 2010

To the Tune of Camptown Races


Oh my house it is a tip, doo dah, doo dah
My mother she would have a fit, doo dah, doo dah
But I really do not give a sh*t, oh de doo dah day

That is all.


Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Whine or Wine - which is it for you?


I have had to do one of those presentations at work this week that I really dread, namely basically a marketing exercise telling everyone how fantastic my team and I are, in the hope that we all get to curry favour with the bosses. By "everyone" I mean the various new regional Directors that have taken over in the latest reorganisation. It has been scheduled for some time now, and rescheduled on several occasions, so it has been on my mind for a while. The thing is, I didn't mention it to my husband - until the point when I was leaving the house, when I said something like "wish me luck in my presentation, small matter of a career to justify".... and that was that, I escaped.

I was once told that one of the fundamental differences between an extrovert and an introvert is how they switch off at the end of the day. An extrovert likes nothing more than to dissect their problems - chat to a partner or a good friend, and really download and offload. An introvert on the other hand, likes to shut off and get into another space completely.

Even after knowing me for 15 years, the fact that I very, very rarely talk about my day is something that still perplexes my other half. My husband is a sharer - he loves to dissect every moment; what so-and-so said about such-and-such, why this widget won't work with that one. I, on the other hand, detest nothing more than talking about work. For me, the ideal way to unwind at the end of a long day is with a glass of wine and a good book (and to be honest, after I have dealt with the kids at the end of my day, work could not be further from my mind).

Even as a child, I was the same - there was nothing I dreaded more than that inevitable question from my mum: "how was your day? what did you get up to at school?" The strange thing is that, now that my eldest daughter has been at school since September, I find myself exhibiting exactly the same tendencies - wanting to know all about her day, asking her how it went, who she played with. Her standard response is always "don't remember". I understand from other parents that this is fairly par for the course, but it will be interesting to see if she will continue in this vein as she gets older.

Of course, since I have discovered blogging, I do now have a way of unloading a little - maybe it will make a virtual extrovert out of me yet...

Monday, 12 April 2010

Blonde, brunette, redhead - is it all the same?

DD1 is a little mini-me, DD2 is like a female version of hubby - they couldn't look more different.

I'm naturally a sort of dark, honey blonde, currently sporting lighter highlights. My husband had jet black hair when I met him, and is now a sort of George Clooney grey. My mother is a redhead (getting paler of course now). DD2 has been taking a lot of notice of hair colour suddenly, so this has somehow become important. She often goes around pointing out what colour someone's hair is. For example, she points out that mummy's and her sister's hair is blonde.

Suddenly last week, however, she decided that she also wanted to be blonde. I had to explain that her hair was dark, like daddy's. "no", she said "daddy's hair is grey". Ok, fair point. She then thought hard. "My hair is a little bit blonde, underneath".

I'm surprised that she feels so strongly about this. However, it did get me thinking about what hair colour says about me. In some ways, I do not really have a huge amount of choice - lighter is all I can realistically go without it looking too strange on me. I have therefore only ever been varying shades of blond. I can be no other way without changing my appearance drastically and it looking strange.

I do sometimes wonder if being blonde is a help or a hindrance. At work, I certainly stand out, which can be positive. On the other hand, I have also experienced surprise that I am at my relative level of seniority, as I suppose in some ways I look younger than my years.

Is hair colour important, or just another element of your appearance? Has changing your hair colour made others react to you differently?

Friday, 9 April 2010

Wedding Fever















My little brother is getting married in August. I haven't actually been to a wedding since before we had children (not many single friends, no divorces yet, mainly christenings these days), therefore even aside from my fact that it's MY LITTLE BROTHER, I am quite excited.

I get to wear the shoes.

Oh, I know they are not brand new, and they are probably so old they are now at the stage where they can be classed as "vintage" (however, they do happen to be a nice nude colour which is very this season).

Just look at the detailing... those roses...

All I need now is the rest of the outfit.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

7 Things you didn't know about me - a Meme



It appears it has been a good few days for memes. I was tagged by Utterly Scrummy, Christine at Thinly Spread and Super Single Mum for this one.

Ironically for someone who started off this blog wanting to remain relatively anonymous, I have always naturally veered slightly towards the Too Much Information end of the spectrum, so I guess this is right up my street.

1) Please don't try to feed me carrots. I suddenly developed an allergy to them in their uncooked state at around the age of 16, and haven't been able to eat them raw since then. As I hate boiled carrots with a vengeance (what a truly heinous thing to do to such a tasty vegetable), this has proved a great shame. Roast them, stir-fry them, or hide them in a sauce or casserole, and I am fine, but sometimes it is just easier to tell people I don't eat them at all.

2) I can make you think I'm German. I spent around half my childhood in total in Germany, and I speak the language fluently - even Germans can't tell I'm a foreigner. I love languages generally - as well as German, I speak reasonable French (once upon a time I could pretend I was fluent, now it's mainly rusty), smatterings of Finnish, Italian, Russian, and if I'm really trying to impress you, I will tell you I spent two years attempting to learn Japanese, none of which actually stuck!

3) We have three copies of Catcher in the Rye in our house. One copy is in German, from when we read it at school (see above), I then decided I wanted to read the original English version, and one copy is hubby's. Apparently that makes it likely I'm going to end up a serial killer.

4) I hate the name Jools. With. A. Vengeance. It will alway remind me of Jools Holland, and much as I like the man, I don't want his name. Don't give me all that "ah, but there's also Jools Oliver" nonsense. My name is Julie - don't you dare shorten it.

5) I'm a loyal collector - once I have decided on a series of books, films, music etc I feel compelled to keep buying the next work (no matter how bad) to complete my collection. For example, I possess every work ever written by Agatha Christie, and every James Bond film ever made.

6) I'm terrible at playing the violin, but great at making it look like I am. I spent two years in the school orchestra and probably played around 3 actual notes in all of that time. This was in protest at my music teacher forcing me into the orchestra when all I wanted to do was give up the wretched instrument.

7) The last time I went to the dentist was around four years ago. Don't get me wrong - I'm not one of these dental-phobics, not at all. It just sort of started off with not having much time to do anything - small child, going back to work, blah, blah - it was always on my "to do" list. Then the dentist I was seeing decided to have a policy that if someone didn't come for a year, they were taken off the list and would have to re-register. Another hurdle I never seemed to get around to climbing. Recently, a dentist around the corner has been advertising for new patients. I should take the kids for their first appointment. I'll call them tomorrow...

So now I have to tag other Bloggers. The rules are as follows:
1) Copy the award to your blog
2) Insert a link to the person who nominated you (see intro, above)
3) Share 7 things about yourself you haven't told us before - see above,
4) Tag 7 other bloggers (I am cheating, I have only come up with 5)
5) Link to their blogs
6) Tell them they have been nominated

Tricky one, as I think I have come to this one relatively late again, so I am tagging:

Heather at Eggs, Cream and Honey as I am always intrigued by anyone living an expat lifestyle.

Sandrine and Marianne at Paris-Ankara Express - as I want to know which one of them we will get facts about

Sian at Psychodelic Elephants as I have only just discovered her blog

Purple Ramblings as her ramblings intrigue me and I want to find out more

Holly at It's a Mummy's Life as someone whose blog was one of the first I stumbled across, and I still greatly admire











Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Infinite Playlist Meme

The lovely Very Bored in Catalunya has tagged me for the infinite playlist meme. I think I frightened her into it with the slightly overexcited tweet I sent when her post (at that point unfinished) popped up temporarily in my Google Reader that mentioned She Bangs the Drums by the Stone Roses - bit of a favourite.

I grew up with parents that listened mainly to classical music, and apart from some 60s ditties from their youth, they were very much of the "what's that noise, there's no tune" school of parenting - Top of the Pops was a no-no in our house for a long time, and I'm sure my parents did this on purpose so that my biggest act of teenage rebellion would end up being popular music. I used to religiously buy Smash Hits magazine every fortnight (not easy when we were living in Germany) and copy out the lyrics to every hit of the day in order to learn them off by heart.

The peak of my music buying years covers the decade from the late 80s to late 90s, and even now I veer wildly from a love of the cheesiest 80s pop ever to being more of an early 90s indie kid. So, without further ado:

After their earlier mention, I had to include the Stone Roses - for me probably I Wanna Be Adored. I don't know what it is about this song, but just hearing the intro brings me out in goosebumps when I hear it (that bassline!) and I guess the lyrics are such an obviously teenage angsty thing to go for.



Secondly, the song that OH and I always said we should have chosen as first dance at our wedding (we went for Frank Sinatra's Come Fly With Me in the end) - Fatboy Slim's Praise You (and the video is just hilarious):



Next up - how my life sometimes feels - Road to Nowhere by Talking Heads:



Next, probably the newest song in my list (don't seem to get much chance to listen to as much music as I would like these days - funny that). We saw these guys at the Radio1 Big Weekend last year, when we had a moment of feeling very young and trendy and childless. Needless to say, the tent was full of middle-aged types feeling exactly the same thing. They were great, though.
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out



The last one has to go back to my teenage years. I was never a Duranie, or into Spandau Ballet - my weakness was the Nordic cheekbones of Morten Harket and the boys from A-ha. I saw them in concert twice and swooned (and would love to see them on their farewell tour this year if I can somehow arrange it! Anyone want to join me?!)




However, I am going to cheat and add in a little extra - the last call has to go to the song that gets played most often in our house - to my daughters it is simply "Sha La La La" and if it was up to them we would play nothing else. The Comic Relief version was number 1 in the UK charts when DD1 was born, so has a special place in my heart for that, if nothing else.




So - finally, I need to tag some fellow bloggers with this one. I think most people have probably seen it now, so just tagging two people I hope haven't already been tagged yet (apologies if you have):

Notes to Self Plus Two - as she is currently going through pregnancy, which always seemed like a good time to remember some favourite songs

A Small Hand In Mine - simply for the fact that she was my 100th Twitter follower



Is This The Ultimate In Working Mother Guilt?

My current working pattern involves 3 days in the office, and 2 days from home worked in around the school run. However, from June/July onwards, I'll be doing 2 days office, 3 days at home, as the company I work for is moving buildings and trying to encourage as many people to hot-desk as possible in a quest to save space.

It was therefore high time to reassess the working arrangements. Up until now, I had been using a desk in corner of the "family room". However, this is slowly no longer a family room, but a room full of children's junk, so it was really time to come up with another option.

As I have mentioned before, we live in a Victorian terrace, and the layout of the bedrooms is a little unconventional by today's standards. We have four bedrooms in total - three on the first floor, and one on the second floor. The third bedroom on the first floor was originally very small in comparison to the others, and is now even smaller, due to the fact that previous occupants took a chunk out of it at some point to enlarge the bathroom. Up until this weekend, this was DD1's bedroom. There was enough space for a bed, a small wardrobe and a small bookcase - in fact, the perfect size for a study. However, what were we going to do with DD1?

The top floor has one extremely large bedroom that, eventually - funds permitting and if I can ever work out where to squeeze a shower room - I would like to divide into two bedrooms for the girls. However, at the moment they are really still too young, and need to be on the same floor as us. The only feasible option was therefore to put the girls together.

Since the Easter weekend, they have therefore been sharing a room, which they both seem to love (it is great to see them getting on so well). Unfortunately, it has also coincided with DD2 developing a really awful cough that gets much worse at night, so I now not only feel guilty for kicking DD1 out of her bedroom (even if we did give her plenty of opportunity to object and it meant making more room in the playroom), but I now feel terribly guilty that they are both not sleeping well due to my laziness. As you will no doubt point out to me, I could just have moved my study into the spare room on the top floor without too much additional upheaval. You would be right, but it's just too far to walk to the kitchen when I want to make myself a cup of tea!

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

The Gallery - Ugly

This is my second attempt at The Gallery, prompted by Tara Cain over at Sticky Fingers. This week's prompt is "Ugly". When the prompt came up, there was much discussion about pictures of feet, but you will be glad to know I have taken heed of Tara's very strong disdain regarding that subject, and have steered clear.

It was while we were celebrating DD1s 5th birthday party on Saturday that it came to me. This year, instead of a "standard" birthday party with bouncy castle, pass the parcel and balloons, we joined up with another friend of hers and celebrated with a woodland party, organised by a local company named Woodland Learning. The children undertook woodland based activities, and ate food cooked on an open fire (hot dogs, corn on the cob, hot chocolate, marshmallows).

The setting was incredibly lovely - green and peaceful. So why am I posting a picture of it here?


Look closer...

Still can't see it?


Ugly.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Is Tuna Tin a Brunette?

I noticed that the film "Sliding Doors" was on TV a few nights ago. In this, Gwyneth Paltrow plays a character whose life ends up in two different scenarios, depending on whether or not she catches a specific tube train. It made me wonder how my alter ego over at Tuna Tin was getting on. In my imagination, Tuna Tin is like a more confident, glamorous, successful version of me whose life just took a slightly different turn.

Tuna Tin, for example, didn't mess up the interview at Cambridge by going completely blank when asked about the fall of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Hitler and the 3rd Reich (which was one of her so-called specialist subjects in History), and took up the place offered there.

Tuna Tin decided to pursue her love of acting by joining a local amateur dramatics company. She invited the boyfriend of one of her Cambridge friends to one of her plays. He happened to be related to a famous director, who immediately snapped her up to play a small, but significant role in an edgy new drama.

Tuna Tin turned down several proposals of marriage from very eligible bachelors in order to concentrate on her acting career.

Tuna Tin does not have any children. She spends her weekends in the country with friends, or in town sipping champagne and admiring her designer shoe collection.

Tuna Tin is lonely and miserable. I am glad I am not her.

What are the "what if" moments in your life?


Thursday, 1 April 2010

Swoop, Swoop, Swoop - the verdict

It's been nearly a week now since we returned from France for "first ski holiday with children". The pain has subsided and the bruises are starting to turn from their initial angry red, through the sludgy brown of a snow-bereft piste, to garish hues of purple and yellow. It therefore seems like a good time to reivew and take stock.

Arrival at Bristol aiport; car park we have booked is full, so we are upgraded to a closer one. Result.
Ski Demons: 0 - Sardine Tin: 1

Arrival at Chambéry airport and transfer to resort - I feel travel sick for the first time in about 20 years on the snaking mountain roads. Bleurgh.
Ski Demons: 1 - Sardine Tin: 1

Chalet is lovely, girls are fab and look after us well with delicious food and drink. Burp.
Ski Demons: 1 - Sardine Tin: 2

Severe pain in my feet/toes whilst skiing turns out to be caused by the fact my ski boots no longer fit me properly. Ouch.
Ski Demons: 2 - Sardine Tin: 2

Kids enjoy childcare/ski school. Yay.
Ski Demons: 2 - Sardine Tin: 3

Ski instructor suggests we take DD1 to see GP on return to UK as movement does not appear to be aligned in her left leg. Argh.
Ski Demons: 3 - Sardine Tin: 3

Snow gets increasingly slushy due to rain at beginning of the week and lack of fresh powder - makes skiing v. difficult (use this as excuse for my poor performance for most of the week). Ouf.
Ski Demons: 4 - Sardine Tin: 3

I pop my black run cherry. POP.
Ski Demons: 4 - Sardine Tin: 4

And finally... I agree to do it all again next year. Fool.

Final Score: Ski Demons: 4 - Sardine Tin - 5

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