If mums went on strike…

Our binmen have gone on strike. It’s only day two and the wheelie bins are already overflowing, and it’s only a matter of time before detritus starts spilling out too. I suppose the binmen (sorry, waste management and disposal technicians – I know, me too), who are facing a pay cut, have no choice but to down tools; theirs is the sort of job that no-one notices gets done until it doesn’t. Like coastguards who drive up and down seafronts every morning checking the life rings haven’t been carted off by someone who’s had one too many. Or mums who wipe drips of food from the kickboards under the kitchen cupboards and clean out the toilet brush holder. […]

By |June 12th, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|0 Comments

The key to domestic bliss? Someone please enlighten me….

Another weekend, another round of household chores to be done. And another round of ‘words’ between Misery Guts and myself. We have been living together for 10 years – married for almost three – yet for a reason that remains a mystery we are incapable of carrying out the household chores without falling out at some point along the way. I accept that when two people with different standards of cleanliness live under one roof a degree of compromise is needed: I need to compromise down and accept that it’s ok for the bathroom taps not to be sparkling all of the time, and he needs to compromise up and accept that it’s not ok for the bedding to remain unchanged for weeks on end. I also accept that as I’m at home more often than he is, I’m likely to carry out more of these tasks. But what I don’t accept is that when two people contribute equally to the running of a household in financial terms, one should contribute more to the running of that household in chore terms. […]

By |June 3rd, 2013|Family life, Work life|3 Comments

More conversations I’ve overheard this week (and wish I hadn’t)

Is there no limit to what people will openly discuss in public places? It would appear coffee shops, where regular followers will know I can often be found bashing out a story or two when I’ve swapped my mummy hat for my journalist one, are now the place to conduct business. Apart from failing to give anyone involved any privacy, I don’t think I’ve ever come across anything more unprofessional than discussing the inner workings of a company or individual next to yummy mummies sipping their skinny lattes or journalists on the hunt for story ideas (aka moi). These are (just some) of the exchanges I’ve been unable to avoid overhearing this week: 1) A testosterone battle between one suited man and his colleague, one of whom had flown to their coffee shop meeting (in Sussex) from Liverpool. After outlining the agenda of their meeting – how best to bid for funding for the charitable trust they worked for – they then spent more than an hour criticising each other’s decision making skills. Not very charitable. And surely this could have been done over the phone? I still can’t help but wonder how much the flight cost the poor charity. 2) An interview for a new coffee shop manager. It transpired the existing senior barista wanted the job, but the man from head office conducting the interview told the applicant he didn’t think this chap was ‘quite suitable’. I’m not sure if they’ve told the poor guy yet – when I ordered my cup of tea this morning he’s still being super helpful and friendlier than usual, although I’m not complaining. But something’s not right when the customers are one step ahead of the staff. […]

By |April 18th, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments

Oops…I’ve been Outlooked

Unless you’ve been on another planet for the last six months, or are otherwise engaged in the fug of new motherhood, which, let’s face it, is like living on another planet, you’ve probably heard that Microsoft has been automatically ‘upgrading’ Hotmail users to its new Outlook programme. Whether you like it or not. I’ve finally been Outlooked, and while I can see the benefits, there is one slightly alarming feature: a profile image of the email sender now appears next to their name. This is all well and good, in theory, however said image is programmed to be taken from your social networking sites, meaning if you’ve (unwittingly) saved a picture of yourself on Twitter or Facebook, it will automatically appear next to your name when you send an email. I’m not sure whether a picture of me peering out at my recipients through my plastic framed glasses with an ‘is this webcam working’ expression on my face (pictured) is a good idea or not. If I’m sending an email to my mum its harmless enough, but a managing director I need to interview for a story?  Presumably I could disable the function, if I knew how. This is continuing to trouble me, but in the meantime it’s an endless source of fascination and entertainment. I’ve finally got to see the faces behind the emails of people I’ve been communicating with for ages, but have never met, and of course no-one looks like one had imagined. And the pictures popping up range from the boring to the deranged to the frankly pornographic. Does the PR girl from one particular agency I deal with realise what appears to be a picture of her having had one too many while wearing a very short skirt on holiday in Torremolinos now pings up alongside her professional emails? […]

By |March 25th, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|0 Comments

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned

I usually steer clear of dipping my toe into the subject of politics, and I may well regret it, but on this occasion I can’t resist. I have to say I was delighted to hear Nick Clegg getting a rollicking from an angry mummy on his live weekly radio phone-in yesterday. The stay at home mum, known only as Laura from East Dulwich, was calling in response to the government’s budget announcement that families with one earner bringing home more than £50,000 a year will lose their child benefit, but extra help with nursery costs will be offered to families where both parents work, bringing home up to £300,000. ‘You probably think what I do is a worthless job’, she told a flustered Clegg. ‘Child benefit was a fair way of recognising everybody’s legitimate choice either to work outside the home or to work inside the home. You’ve essentially abolished that for families like me.’ I couldn’t have put it better myself, and hats off to her. I’m not knocking the extra help with childcare costs – I know as well as anyone the fees can be crippling – but the proposal seems incredibly unfair and weighted against women – and men – who choose to stay at home and raise their children. At what point did this not become work? […]

By |March 22nd, 2013|Family life, News, Work life|2 Comments

Conversations I’ve overheard this week (and wish I hadn’t)

Being a freelance journalist means I can often be found hunched in the corner of various high street coffee shops tapping away at my trusty laptop. These are fascinating places, and the things you (over) hear are incredible. It’s not that I’m purposely listening out for other people’s conversations; they are often so loud one cannot help but overhear.This is what I’ve heard this week:1) A woman spent four hours – yes four hours – on the phone to a travel agency working out how she could get from Kuala Lumpa to Kolkata in the fastest possible time. If I hear the word Kuala Lumpa again this week I will scream. She must have said it at least 30 times, and in the time it took her to sort out her flights she could have been a third of the way there. […]

By |March 1st, 2013|Family life, Food, Work life|0 Comments