Stuff

Row Row

Elisa’s favourite song is Row Row Row Your Boat. At any time of the day she will climb up onto your lap and start leaning backwards saying “row row” and you have to start singing (banshees visit if you should dare not to).

She loves it and especially loves the actions and sounds at the end of the verses, in particular the alternative verses. I’ve taken to making up new ones just to relieve the monotony.

Here’s a few of our alternative verses:

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream

Row, row, row your boat gently down the river
When you see a polar bear, don’t forget to shiver (Brrrr)

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream
When you see a crocodile, don’t forget to scream (aarrgghh!)

Row, row, row your boat rocking side to side
When you see a dinosaur don’t forget to hide (hands in front of eyes)

Row, row, row your boat gently ‘cross the bay
When you see a pirate ship, row the other way (Aarrr!)

Row, row, row your boat across the deep blue sea
Have some scones, some jam and cream and make a pot of tea (yummy!)

Row, row, row your boat gently to and fro
When you see an elephant wave and say hello (Hiya!)

Stuff

Terry’s Big Mistake

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I grew up in an idyllic world where every possibility was open to me – my parents may have raised an eyebrow when I announced I was going to be an astronaut, complete with career path mapped out that at the time was apparently not open to me (apparently women were not airforce pilots in those days) – but they never said it wasn’t suitable for me as a woman. I was encouraged to program, solder things and make things. I was also encouraged to cook and sew and read anything I wanted. I had Barbie dolls and wanted a pretty pink and lace bedroom, but I could also pull apart a power supply and use a hammer.

So, when I first encountered sexism in the workplace I was confused. I really didn’t know what was going on. The idea that my gender would play a role in anything other than whether or not I might give birth one day was just a completely alien concept to me.

So, when I come across things like the following website I am genuinely perplexed – most of the “men” running these kinds of companies these days grew up around the same time frame as I did. Did they not have mothers? Do they not have girlfriends or wives even and how can they live in a world and be so utterly blind to equality issues? I do understand the idea that people don’t have a good feel for issues that do not affect them, but how you would do this is beyond me.

So, it appears that Terry of the UK Small Business Directory (owned and run by Access Appraisals Ltd. a company registered in England and Wales and with the company number 4537420 and VAT number 812494925) has a problem with women. Take a look at the home page of his website http://www.uksmallbusinessdirectory.co.uk/ which this morning was sporting a lovely paragraph giving his true thoughts on female small business owners –

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For those on slower connections, the introductory paragraph currently reads

Please note: This is a serious website for serious men with serious businesses.

If you are just a little housewife running a little play business from home earning some pin money whilst your man is out earning a living – please don’t register your latest hobby business here.

Regards, Terry

Yep, what a man!

Oh and his name is also a link to his Google profile – https://plus.google.com/+TerrySimmonds/about where you’ll find all sorts of interesting tidbits, such as this:

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There’s also a photo clearly cut out of a holiday snap with a jaunty tropical hat on – professional? Not my idea of professional. Still there’s some links so we’ll pop over to his LinkedIn page – this is a site where most people will present their professional self. We see his photo here is of a car. OK, so the guy’s a bogan*. After a bit of digging we can confirm that he is the managing director for the company that owns this site.

Now, back to the original website there. Most of these SEO companies run a directory of some sort. The idea is that it provides links to your website and therefore increases your SEO – it’s one of the cheap tricks they employ to get you to the top of results so it’s not surprising that they have a couple of these. They generally offer free basic ads, but you shouldn’t really be fooled – most ordinary people don’t bother going to the site itself.

My feeling about all of this is that the statement was most likely NOT written by the guy. According to Companies House this business has been incorporated for 12 years now, noone could exist that long if they were that monumentally stupid. However, having worked in the industry and experienced some mindblowing misogyny and sexism where I was offered a choice between quitting or being fired when I announced my pregnancy, I’m inclined to think that where there’s smoke there’s probably fire. I reckon this guy has probably mistreated a female member of staff who had access to the website and who decided to post up his actual views for all the world to see. If that’s the case then there’s no less sympathy than for the alternative option which is that he posted it himself.

What I find even more surprising is that I first heard about this via Twitter at 8am – it’s now 12:30 and nothing has changed. Surely the guy has noticed the spike in traffic – or maybe his thinks that is due purely to his brilliant SEO? If not perhaps he’s noticed his hone ringing off the hook? He’s not answering by the way. Or if that hasn’t alerted him to something going on, surely someone who has monitoring their online presence would be aware of the buzz around his name and his other sites by now??

Now whether or not Terry put the post up himself or not, if you advertise on his site I would strongly suggest that you stop as soon as possible – you don’t want to be tarred with the same brush.

And Terry, if you did indeed sanction this, well I hope that you enjoy the fallout cos it’s gonna be spectacular!

* Bogan (n) Australian – an uncouth or uncultured person.

Craft, Katja, My Week in Pictures, Stuff, Tatting

Christmas Failures

First decoration on our real tree #tattinglace

It’s been a crazy few weeks here, but I guess that’s the same for everyone in the Christmas countries. As a result I have totally failed to send cards to anyone, presents have made it only by the skin of their teeth and because I bypassed the wrapping and went straight from store to Mum (thanks Mum!). I also failed to procure baubles for the Christmas tree – shops are out of red ones, I don’t understand!

However, we did survive gastrogeddon which Katja generously brought home from nursery to share. Speaking of nursery, she is loving it now. Gets excited when we arrive and tries to beat the door down while I get her pram sorted. Last Monday was the nursery Christmas party, she was delighted when we went in on an off day and thought Santa was the bees’ knees 🙂

Bump is doing well – very very active which is lovely. We’re booked in for an additional 3 ultrasounds before we meet her – huge bonus! Pelvic pain is getting a bit out of hand at the moment which is the only downer on the pregnancy front.

And the win? I procured some metallic thread and yesterday churned out the snowflake above. It’s needle tatted and took 4 hrs to finish. About the size of a saucer, looks great on the tree.

PS. I was meant to post this on Thursday and failed to do that too! Christian managed to find baubles and I made another snowflake.

Parenthood, Shopping, Stuff

Baby Box vs Bounty

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In Finland every expectant mother receives a Baby Box, for free. No matter how much they earn. Above is the 2012-2013 baby box and contents. It’s full of everything you need for the first 6 months of your baby’s life. The box itself doubles as a moses basket and it even comes with a mattress to make that a viable proposition as well as a sleeping bag and snow suit. For full contents you can see the website. Of course not every mother needs the box, you can opt for a €140 grant instead (the box and contents is worth about €200)

Tastefully selected, there is a real push from companies to supply (imagine the size of the orders!) so it obviously costs the government much less than it would cost each family to purchase all items separately.

As well as being down right handy, the box also is a huge stress reliever for new parents. No panic over what do I need to buy and how much? Have I forgotten something vital? No pouring over stupid lists in magazines which tell you invariably that you simply cannot cope without a baby wipes warmer or some other ridiculous piece of useless kit. You simply open your box and there it is.

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So, let’s look at Britain. Here we have the Bounty pack.

On your first midwife visit you receive your first pack – thereby highlighting it’s legitimacy and importance. You’re told that the plastic sleeve is the perfect size for your folder of medical notes to stop it getting wet, like it was meant to be. Inside you find all sorts of bits of information. Here’s my latest first Bounty pack –

Inside was the following

– NHS Scotland leaflet on Whooping Cough
– photocopy of Unicef leaflet “Feeding Your New Baby”
– NHS leaflet (photocopy) “A guide to your baby’s movements during pregnancy”
– NHS Scotland booklet “Off to a good start” about breastfeeding
– NHS DVD “from bump to breastfeeding”
– Money Advice Service booklet “Having a baby”
– Money Advice Service booklet “Parent’s guide to money”
– business card for Tommy’s PregnancyLine (talk to a midwife)

So far, so good (although there are other options for feeding which a new mum might need information on)

But, here’s the rest

– form to complete to take in to a select number of stores to pick up my next Bounty pack
– Cussons stretch mark cream sample and 30p off voucher (stretch mark creams are not proven to do anything)
– advertising from Family Investments
– advertising from Ocado – £20 off first shop over £80
– voucher from photobox – free prints or 1 free poster print
– advertising from Sainsbury’s for £15 off first online shop (ie doesn’t apply to me)
– strange card for framing your scan pic from Bepanthen
– advertising from mamabloom.com
– advertising from 24studio.co.uk
– voucher for £1.50 off pregnancy vitamins
– magnet for the fridge with list of foods to avoid, although confusingly looks like foods to eat
– form to join the Bounty club
– Bounty magazine

So, an awful lot of useless stuff mixed in with some actually quite important stuff and only one pathetic sample for a product that is not scientifically proven to do anything at all.

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Today I took in the form to pick up the second Bounty pack. This pack is much much thicker so hopefully has some more useful things inside.

– sample of fairy washing powder
– sample of simple hydrating light moisturiser
– sample of sudocrem (I’m allergic to it!)
– sample of Tena liner
– newborn size baby towel with 2 x persil washing liquid samples and 2 x comfort fabric softener samples and vouchers off full priced products (impressed, this wasn’t in my pack for Katja)
– ovaltine sample (hot chocolate drink)
– advertising from Dettol sealed in a plastic bag to make it look like a sample
– card from bliss re premature baby support
– ocado, photobox, sainsburys advertising as before
– advert from 24ace.co.uk – looks just as dodgy as the 24studio.co.uk one
– catalogue from Babies R Us
– catalogue from Anglecare
– catalogue from Fisher-Price
– voucher for a free rattle providing you join the Fisher Price club (free)
– Bounty magazine

So, another bag largely full of useless, although admittedly better than the first for samples this one is woefully short on actual information.

Apparently Asda gives additional samples with the packs, but I was unable to locate an Asda that I could get to that had stock and after two months gave up and collected mine from Boots.

I can’t help wondering how many people actually use all those silly advertising things. Surely companies like Sainsbury’s would be better off including a sample of one of the body suits (which are actually very good). I’m impressed by the Persil/Comfort inclusion, but it’s pathetic compared to Finland!

Anyway, I thought other new mums might be interested in seeing what you get when you sign up to the horror of Bounty!

Geek, Stuff

Laptop Refurb Time

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My poor old laptop is 5.5 years old, but thanks to some clever upgrades it’s still going strong. Over the last couple of years I’ve upgraded the RAM and the hard drive as well as the operating system.

Well today was time to do some long-awaited cosmetic upgrades. The black and white skin is one I put on within a week of purchasing the laptop itself and while the lid has looked fabulous, the edges of the keyboard rest were starting to get slightly tatty, plus I’m kinda over the black and white. DecalGirl was having a sale so I took the opportunity to purchase a custom designed skin based on a fabulous photograph of my tatting that Lily took.

Also up for a change was the keyboard. The old one, as you can see from the picture above, was wearing in spots and the backlight had gone. I found someone on eBay who was selling the right piece and put in my order.

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The keyboard was sorted first using a great guide from iFixit.com and my collection of iphone screwdrivers (2 screws needed a star shaped one, all the others a philips head)

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This is my big tip whenever you’re doing laptop repairs, even if you do them regularly – labels the screws for each step! It’s simple to do but makes sure you put the right screws back in the right spots – a screw that’s too long by just a millimetre can damage components. Christian thinks I’m more German than he is when it comes to this, but so far every time I’ve opened up a machine I’ve got it back together correctly, something he can’t say!

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So keyboard sorted (took three goes to get all the cables seated properly) I started removing the old decal. Not easy! The lid alone took 10 minutes.

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The results are, I think, fabulous. I just love my new custom skin and the keyboard looks new so makes the entire unit feel brand new. And much cheaper than buying a whole machine!

Stuff

Introducing…

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We are so very excited to be able to introduce you to Bump version 2.

Yes, we finally got to see our second Bump and are pleased to say that this little one is quite a wriggler. It kept stretching out and rolling over and was clearly wide awake during the scan. Such an amazing thing to see. We haven’t found out what flavour yet – that’s not until the next scan. This one is to do a few medical tests and to figure out the official due date which is 31st March 2014.

Stuff

Memory Monday – Easter

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It’s Katja’s first Easter Monday today and we’ll be heading to Australia so this post has naturally been prepared in advance. The weekly pictures post will show what the little one thinks of her chocolate easter “egg” which is actually a bunny.

Today’s memory concerns Easter Eggs. I remember as a kid we’d get up on Easter Sunday morning and find that the Easter Bunny had been to visit and left us a small collection of fabulous chocolate. The trick was then to make the chocolate last as long as possible, my brother always seemed to have some left over long after mine had gone.

While I loved the chocolate, what I really wanted was a candy egg. We’d see them lined up in the corner of the supermarket in the lead up to Easter and they would beckon to me with their pretty, frilly pastel sugary goodness.

I’ve never seen them over this side of the world so I’m wondering if they’re just an Aussie thing.