Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost in Translation?

Is it just me, or is this a slightly weird slogan to want to have decorating your childs t-shirt? I spotted racks of these at our local Smyk (kids clothes shop). They also had a load of vests with 'Happy first birthday' on, which were suitable for children aged 3-6 months which I thought odd as well!

(slogan reads I'm a spiteful Boy!)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Keen to be Green?

I read an article a while ago about a guy who was addicted to measuring his carbon footprint.

In Poland I've had the opportunity to become a bit self-righteous about it all. I sold my car last year, I don't eat meat, and now make most of my journeys by public transport. We live in a smallish apartment, don't have too many electrical products, and unlike my life in the UK I no longer spend all of my day dodging between every office appliance known to man - the computer, printer, kettle, photocopier, kettle, shredder, kettle and so on.

I figured that me, Amy and Audrey probably ARE pretty green. Ok, we've not gone the whole hog. I know we should be using terry nappies, but I'm sure I read somewhere that the power generated in washing them was more wasteful than the landfill that Audrey's disposables take up. I'm confident the Pampers will biodegrade in about 1,000 years anyway.

I fired up(!?) a couple of sites to see if my suspicion was right, had we become some kind of eco-warriors without really trying?

One site gave our family a carbon footprint of 4.6 tonnes of CO2 a year. Another at 6 tonnes. Either way we were below the national average. I turned the heater and the TV on to celebrate. A few of the other sites I looked at offered us redemption. I could choose to plant trees for us either in the UK or abroad to heal the earth from our wasteful ways. From what I could see I needed to plant approximately 8 trees - shrubbery would get us off the hook!

Then I remembered that we were BELOW the average. Having to endure the Polish public transport system meant that we weren't big offenders anyway. How many of those other people who every day splashed puddles over me and Audrey's pram while driving by in their 4x4's with shaded windows were also out there planting coppices?

Somehow the whole thing all felt a bit too simple anyway - were people really looking to offset carbon or just offset guilt.

Then I realised that in August the three of us are flying to Australia (10,000 miles or 15,500k) - it dashed my calculations a bit, and my sanctimonious attitude along with it - I'll just have to remember to plant half a dozen or so eucalyptus trees once the plane lands.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunday Brunch at the Hilton

The beautiful people of Warsaw "do brunch" on Sundays at various posh hotels around the city.
The three of us had never had the opportunity to try one, but this afternoon a group of us went along to the Hilton to sample their rolling brunch buffet.
Although a bit pricier than you'd normally pay for a meal in Poland, the hotel laid on a huge buffet with a massive selection of sushi, soups, seafood, pasta, fish and about 20 different desserts. It runs from 12.30pm-6.30pm (and therefore provides ample opportunity to gorge yourself silly).

On about my 8th serving I realised that I was ridiculously full and so took refuge in the children's play area with Audrey. I lay on the mat holding my stomach, while she played with the lego blocks just long enough for me to recover before heading back for my second serve of pudding (very nice chocolate mousse it was too).

our table

Pene Grace and Audrey

Amy and Audrey

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mums and Tots at our place

Yesterday, the three of us hosted our first mums and tots morning at our apartment.

It's always run on an informal turn up if you can basis, so we had no idea how many guests we'd have. The mornings typically run from 10am, but by 10.15am no-one at all had shown up - making me wish we'd perhaps posted the event on Facebook (ala Corey Delaney). Fortunately though we were then deluged with guests, and ended up with around 15 mums (and another dad) and their respective babies and toddlers squeezed into our apartment.

The (really nice) security guards on reception in our building had found huge amusement in telling them the way to our place and, like us, had been surprised when mum after mum (after dad) turned up throughout the morning.

Everyone seemed to have a good time and the ginger-bread people I'd made were a big hit with some of the older children who ended up besieging the table where the plate of them sat!

It was great fun, and we'll definitely run another morning or two before we leave Warsaw.

The evening was less fun as Audrey had to have her six months set of injections (one in either leg) and the doctor had warned us that the second one in particular was quite painful. She was pretty brave about the whole thing and there weren't too many tears.

When it came to bedtime she was clearly unsettled. But (hopefully) she seems back to her usual happy self this morning.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Stepping out in Style

Audrey took the maiden voyage in her new pushchair on Saturday. She seemed to love it, not least as it afforded her a far better view of the world than her pram. As you can see from the picture, the snow I predicted in the last post arrived on Saturday(!) and the weather has become quite cold again with a thin covering of snow falling on Warsaw.
Over the last 3 or 4 days Audrey has also developed a strange habit of growling at the back of her throat (the baby books say this is common and passes quite quickly). For now though the growl serves a useful purpose to scare away dogs and old Polish ladies!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Audrey on her way to Mums and Tots

I took this picture of Audrey as we were about to head off to Mums and Tots this morning. Her Great Grandma knitted the cardigan and Audrey seems chuffed to bits with it!

As yesterday was valentines day the centre of Warsaw was awash with flower sellers on every corner. It's getting (gradually) warmer day-by-day although I don't want to speak too soon as it can still snow in February and March....

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

5 second science courtesey of Dr Karl

Got this from a Triple J podcast this morning - thought it was good - perhaps not as good as weighing your own head, but certainly less messy...

1. Stand on your left foot with your right foot raised a few inches off the ground
2. Move your right foot in a circular motion (clockwise)
3. (While continuing to circle your foot) with a pen in your right hand try drawing the figure '6' on a piece of paper

Good isn't it!

Monday, February 11, 2008

A New Bowl and Spoon

You'd imagine buying a bowl and a spoon would be easy? If you ever try buying one for a baby though, the process is more likely to bring you out in a cold sweat.

On Saturday we went to our local shops to buy said spoon and bowl for Audrey. We are hoping to move her onto solids in the next week or two, and even though she's had the odd sneaky bit of food off mum or dad's finger we didn't believe she possessed the right equipment to make a continued effort of solids that straightforward.

We only visited a couple of shops. Mothercare and Smyk (the Polish equivalent) and yet in both stores we were confronted with a baffling array of styles and choices. But (and as with all baby product decisions) which piece of crockery and utensil was the most likely to make our offspring a genius?

First the spoon: Obviously you had to make the pink/blue decision (easy) but then you had to decide whether you wanted the spoon ergonomically designed to help with feeding or whether you wanted the bowl of the spoon to be deep, shallow or change colour with the temperature of the food (I'm not joking). Then there was the option of cushioned head (to protect tiny gums) or bendable handle.

Next the bowl: Again the pink/blue decision (no problem again) but.....should it have suckers to stick it to the surface, be small, deep, round or oval. Should it match the spoon to make a set, and how do you REALLY feel about Disney characters?

In the end we grabbed a bowl which had a cute picture on it and ran (ok, I admit we went for the cushioned spoon as well). I just hope Audrey likes them, and our choices don't negatively affect her IQ - she'll probably just cast them aside and use her fingers anyway...

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Amy's Birthday!

Yesterday was Amy's birthday (21 again). We had a really nice day as she took the day off work and the three of us spent the day together.

In the evening we had a few friends round for dinner which was great and we all ate and drank well.

Before our guests arrived we had managed to kid Audrey that the time was later than it actually was, and packed her off to bed an hour earlier than usual. As a result she slept through the meal, only joining us after the dessert. I'm not sure if it was my out of tune singing of 'Happy Birthday' that woke her, but she enjoyed a nice 30 minutes in everyone's company at the end of the night.

Audrey gets into the party spirit

Amy blows out her candles

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mug Shots

On Sunday the three of us went to a photography exhibition called Mug Shots, City Of Shadows – Early 20th Century Police Photography, Sydney, Australia.

In the late 1970's four tonnes of negatives were recovered from a flooded police warehouse in Western Sydney. The hundreds of thousands of photos of Sydney's theives, prostitutes, fraudsters, muderers and gamblers were categorised and the stories of the characters were researched and told. Some of the tales of the early-Australian underworld are both extraordinary and eerie.

The photos span the period 1912 to 1948 with many of them giving no clue to the photographer's identity. The exhibition was first shown in Sydney in November 2005. The exhibition has just opened at the Yours Gallery on Krakowskie PrzedmieĊ›cie and was really well attended when we were there. If you're in the centre of Warsaw before the 16th March we'd really recommend taking a look (admission is free) and there are some fantastic photos (and stories) on view, (they do nice hot chocolate in the cafe next door as well!)

Monday, February 4, 2008

Monday's Joke

Englishman, Scotsman, Albi*n Fan in a pub.

Englishman says, "I gave my baby the name 'George' as he was born on St.George's Day". "That's a coincidence," says the Scotsman, "my baby's called 'Andrew' as he was born on St.Andrew's Day". "Well I never!", exclaims the Albi*n fan, "It's my son, Pancake's birthday tomorrow."

Bully on Soccer AM

Wolves and England Great, Steve Bull appeared as the main guest on Soccer AM on Saturday morning. Steve Bull was probably one of the finest players ever to wear an England football shirt and notched up 306 goals for Wolves during a career that spanned 13 years. It was great to see him on tele. Wolves could have done with his skills later on the same day as they got thrashed 3-0 at Watford (against a team they had beaten 4-1 just the week before). I'm choosing to not even mention the rugby.