Friday, 25 July 2014

a little news....

I'm thrilled to share that I'm pregnant - 13.5 weeks to be exact - due at the end of January

Scan Photo

So excited - desperately trying to stay away from the baby bits in the sales - seems like tempting fate .. still got 6 months to go and there will be another sale, pull yourself together Mummy.

Looks like it is already  a whopper - when the midwife measured head to bum and then worked out my dates she put me on about 1/2 a week - not insurmountable given I was only 12 weeks at the time. T was 8lbs 9oz so cant imagine this one will be tiny but not sure I'm ready for a monster...eek

T is beyond excited - constant cuddles for the baby and wants to know what the baby has done all day whilst he's at nursery. So cute

Monday, 23 June 2014

21st Century Sexism

My blood is boiling
I'm grimacing at the TV and trying not to show my frustration, Ladies don't shout or throw things at the TV do they?? But I'm pretty close.
It's the kick off of Wimbledon which has got me hot under the collar, but this is the final step in a long series of recent media issues. Whilst we attempt to be all P.C. these days I'm fuming that sexism doesn't still exist it's rife!
So jury there us my case...
It all started with the BBC coverage of the RHS Chelsea Flower show, what on the outside appears to be a very middle class show about alliums and gladiolus hit a raw nerve with me. It wasn't the commentary of the Oriental Artisian Garden (which was wonderful by the way) but rather the blatant sexism displayed by Joe Swift the BBC presenter who constantly patronised any female who had the misfortune of sitting on his sofa by congratulating them for being there then stating there should be more female designers at the show. I don't know if there is a open discrimination amongst the selection panel, although I seriously doubt it, but I don't see that women need to be encouraged in such a way. If we want to be there we will apply and expect to be considered on merit not on our gender, why should Joe Swift feel the need for constant congratulations and concern over the lack of female representation.
Now this brings me on to another blatant case of sexism. I work in London and as such pick up the Evening Standard occasionally to read on the way home. One evening I read an interview with the boss if a major bank who stated he wanted a certain percentage of senior leaders to be female. It's an interesting target to have, I started thinking about how he us going to achieve it. Guaranteeing interviews? Will managers have a quota of women they have to have in a department? Will managers be penalised if they don't hit the quota? I can only assume that gender us going to play a part in the recruitment process, so basically men are being put at a disadvantage and women can no longer feel they were promoted on merit. I was really shocked by this. How would I feel sat in a meeting with a number of male peers? Would they assume I was only there to make up a quota? What if I was only there because the female ratio wasn't good enough? That has to be a pretty rubbish feeling.
And then the final straw for me has been the Wimbledon coverage this week. Andy Murray has taken a female coach - and? Apparently this is a news story, how could a woman possibly coach a man? I'm sorry have I missed something? It is expected that a man will coach a woman player but for a male tennis player at the top of the international ranking to choose a female coach, thisis news, and not only something which causes basic reporting but an entire news feature! Are they saying she isn't good enough? The story implies that women cannot possibly add to the male game, well quite clearly I'm disgusted.
Now please don't get me wrong, I'm not a bra buring feminist, neither do I think that the individuals / organisations at fault here are purposely setting out to be sexist, but I'm just sick of the gender discussion. By putting these 3 discussions into mainstream news we aren't removing sexism but fuelling the fire and keeping the debate open. The news story should be about the great gardens at Chelsea, not that some of the designers use the female loos! Should be about the strive for great candidates to lead us out of the financial crisis and promoting on merit not about guaranteeing interviews if you won the chromosome lottery. And why are we not hearing about great technique and how Amelie Mauresmo has moved her career on from player to coaching a world class tennis superstar not about the fact she might wear a skirt to work one day.
Jury my case us closed, my blood is a better temperature and my breathing is back to normal rate. We wouldn't put up with this if it was race related, why should we accept this sex related nonsense?

Saturday, 7 June 2014

We Will Remember - But When Are Little Ones Old Enough to Know?

I spent yesterday evening glued to the news, I'd been at work all day so missed the D-Day 70th Anniversary and wanted to see the ceremony. I think we are all in awe of the bravery and selflessness of thousands of our relatives who stormed the beaches 70 years ago.

We Will Remember

(Images from BBC News site)

But a couple of hours earlier the news coverage left me in a very awkward position with T whose 3 years old. The 3 of us were in the car listening to the radio when the news came on and of course the D-Day 70th Anniversary was the top story. Hubby and I started to discuss it and T called out asking what we were talking about. We've always been honest with him so Hubby started to explain that a long time ago one country was being naughty and some soldiers had to go to war and stop them being naughty. T insisted on a name, "Germany" we said. T insisted on the name of a man, without thinking hubby responded "Hitler". I glared at him, its not a name I want my son to know yet. Of course T wanted to know more about this "Hith-eer" person, and just as Hubby was about to recount supposed information about the man-hood of this person (you all know what I'm talking about!) I cut the conversation off with a discussion about Simpson's Lego (can always be relied on to take attention), images were zooming through my head of stories and names being retold in the nursery playground - I certainly didn't want to he the source of another child going home with this information. Can you imagine? Ek!

I've been thinking a lot today about what is the right age to start discussions about the world not being the happy friendly place we want them to believe. Certainly at 3 I want T to believe in magic and everyone being happy as long as possible. I wont allow gun or sword toys in the house and hope to shelter him from anything inappropriate for as long as I can, but I know there is a ticking clock on this.

But what is the right age? 5? 7? 25? At some point I'm going to have to grow up and tell him about the life outside our little world. #keepthemlittle

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Picnic Pizza Swirls

We love picnics

We have them all throughout the year - Carpet Picnics in winter, Car Picnics in spring when its lovely to be out for a walk but just a little too chilly to sit out and of course your classic grass and rug picnic in summer. 

Over the years we've perfected picnicing, as a couple we would pack up deli delights along with a board game and some sparkling wine and head to the Thames for lazy afternoons. We'd pride ourselves on the quality of our food and entertainment. As life has changed and so have our picnic habits, but one thing which will never change is my insistence that picnics are for more than a squashed sandwich and a packet of crisps. Picnics are a party. 

I wanted to share this really easy, really quick recipe for Picnic Pizza Swirls. Perfect for making with little ones and great to pack up and take with you anywhere.

  • Ready-made puff pastry
  • 3 tablespoons tomato puree
  • handful cheese
  • chopped basil (I used frozen)
  • 1 egg
  • sprinkling of flour

You will also need:
  • Cling film 
  • Baking tray

1.  Oven on to 200 degrees C

2.  Lightly flour your work surface and sprinkle over some of the chopped basil

(I hate cleaning flour off the work surface so I lay down some cling film and sprinkle the flour and basil on this - we will be wrapping the pastry in cling film later so for me this saves time and cleaning!)

3. Lay the ready made puff pastry on the flour and basil surface and spread the tomato puree leaving a 1-2cm gap around the edges

4. Sprinkle on the cheese and more chopped basil

5. Roll up the pastry starting at the short end and wrap in cling film. Pop this in the fridge for 10 minutes
(note how clean the work surface is - I didn't wipe is down before this photo, hardly any cleaning to do...oh the little things make me happy!)

 6. Remove from the fridge, remove the cling film and slice to approximately the width of an adult finger.

7. Place on a baking tray and into the oven for 12-15mins.
et voila....

Absolutely yummy hot or cold!

Also try adding ham, chopped mushrooms, chopped olives, tuna, sweetcorn or any other pizza topping the options are endless...

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Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Moved by a Movie

I spotted a headline today that Dead Poet's Society is 25 years old this week. Is it really 25 years since we were introduced to Robin Williams and the group of private school boys? It's  hard to believe that a quarter of a decade has passed since the launch of such an epic, life changing movie. The scene where Ethan is standing on his desk giving the amazing "Oh Captain! My Captain!" salute to send off his former teacher is a scene which will probably stay with many of us.

Dead Poet's Society

For me this is one of the movies you carry with you, one of the movies which change you slightly and makes you think fractionally differently.

So in honour of the 25th Anniversary of Dead Poet's Society I've been thinking of other movies which have made me think differently about the world -

Rain Man (1988, Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise)

 For me this was eye opening. I was 9 years old and it was probably the first time I'd really seen that some people work very differently. His amazing mathematical mind had me flummoxed for a long time, I was in awe of his abilities and admired his persona. What a wonderful character to be exposed to at an early age, it's an important lesson for us all to learn.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey)
This is an interesting take on a modern love story but the peice which has stayed with me and which I think about semi regularly is the opportunity to wipe people or experiences from  your mind. With age I've taken to just throwing away objects (photos, clothes, dvds, books etc) which have memories attached I'd prefer to forget but it doesn't stop an unpleasant memory popping up at an unexpected moment (and here is one appearing now....) there are probably a handful I'd consider taking the Eternal Sunshine treatment on.

Domino (2005, Keira Knightly and Mickey Rourke)
Based on a true story this sees Domino Harvey from an upper class family entering the dangerous world of Bounty Hunting. It's not a world I'm familiar with (nor do I ever want to be) so the stark reality of this side of society and the gritty portrayal of this tragic story has stuck with me. We live in a society where stuff matters, status matters and it feels like everyone is striving to be better dressed, live in a better house and earn more money, this was a girl from a well off family who turned her back on what was expected to live how she wanted, she was an inspiration.

Julie and Julia (2009, Amy Adams and Meryl Streep)
Such a lovely, family friendly film based on 2 interwoven true stories, it had me gripped from the start. Quite simply it inspired me to start blogging.....

Which movies have touched you? 

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