Tags: Art in Toilets, Howbery Park
Back in March I was delighted to discover a piece of free art in the toilets of a local garden centre. I had discovered Art in Toilets.
Ever since this happened, I’ve been promising myself that I would create my own piece of art and continue the great work of Nick Austin.
So, today I scuttled into the toilets on the stunning Howbery Park, the home of my office for Seriously PR.
And now, I wait, with baited breath for someone to find it….
Who will it be, and will they let me know….will they create their own art and continue on the tradition?
Tags: sports day, working mothers
The low point of 2013 to date.
I’m hoping other parents can feel my pain and help by sharing some words of reassurance and compassion. Maybe some shared experiences?
It’s a ridiculously unnecessary chain of events. Here goes.
I tried to fit in one extra chore before the school sports day – my son’s first ever one. We were both really excited. The chore was a trip to B&Q to return a radiator valve and buy a roll of wallpaper. My life is nothing but rock and roll DIY and other sexy things.
Unfortunately I’d taken a trip to the charity shop earlier that day with a load of old clothes and given them the radiator valve by accident. So after a return trip home trying to find it, followed by the light bulb recollection moment and returning to the charity shop to retrieve it, I made it to B&Q, exchanged it and got my wallpaper. I also had a look at sinks whilst there.
I made it to school. spent too long applying suncream to Sully and I, packed the change bag, chatted to another arriving mum, returned to the car having made it half way up the school drive to close the passenger door which I’d left wide open and finally made it to the school doors.
Which were locked.
With no way of getting in.
And, to my horror, by the time we were let in by the school office, the boys running race had taken place and the final heats were in progress; of which my son wasn’t a part.
I felt devastated. He asked where I was – why I didn’t see him running.
All for a radiator valve and roll of wallpaper. I’d never get that moment back.
I’ll be totally honest, it’s taken me a week to get over it. I’ve built my whole adult life and business values around one main principal – never miss a sports day. And I missed my son’s first ever sports day.
I did see him do a space hopper race which was pretty hilarious. And I did the mummy race to try and redeem myself. But I missed his running race and he knew it which broke my heart.
I decided to do something about it – I arranged a second sports day for us and two other mums who missed their son’s races because of the lock out or work commitments.
So we spent Sunday on the park near to our home doing running races, hopping races, shoulder ride races and more – we had medals, sweets and drinks and it was so much fun.
I felt better. Slightly less guilty and slightly more fulfilled as a parent.
I learnt two valuable lessons. 1 – stop trying to fit in too many chores and 2 – you can always fix things if you want to. Oh and 3 – children forget within minutes, you forget in time – when you let yourself.
Here’s to surviving parenting failures – and learning from them.
Tags: #declutterday, Ebay, Gumtree, how to sell secondhand items
I posted last week about my stuff getting me down – surrounded by clothes that don’t fit, excessive amounts of baby stuff, an overload of kitchen equipment and a garage stacked high with junk.
It’s time to do something – and that post stood out to one person in particular; someone who has become a driving force behind making this happen – the lovely Becca at Becca Lou Creates.
So, welcome – this is officially the start of #declutterday – want a piece of the action?!
What your problem is
Like me, you accumulate stuff. You only feel satisfied if your day includes a purchase – or two, or three. It might simply be groceries (including a new body scrub, baking tray or set of Sharpie pens). It could be clothes – usually impulse purchases, or it could be car boot bargains that you don’t really need and only bought because of the ridiculously low price. That’s my ultimate weakness – second hand steals.
Because of your constant accumulating, your house is overloaded. On a daily basis you are reminded of the mounting piles of useless tat, mistake purchases and things you really need to part with. The satisfaction you feel from buying what feel like treats at the time is far outweighed by the lurching feeling you get when you come down the stairs to see another corner festering with junk.
What you need to do.
Get on board with us – we’ve set ourselves a challenge – it’s called #declutterday – it’s a weekly event, every Thursday. Your challenge is to get rid of at least five things from your bulging house each week.
How to do it
Use any means possible to relive the pressure on your overloaded home – bring peace and harmony through space – clear house, clear mind.
Here are some of my favourites:
How to sell and give away stuff
– Gumtree – great for low value items that people need quickly and are searching for. The best bit, it’s totally free, people collect so no trips to the post office.
– Ebay – good for slightly higher value items and clothes (especially maternity); things that are easy to post. Try Gumtree first and then move onto eBay.
– Facebook groups – there are loads of great Facebook groups to sell items, especially children’s and baby items.
– Charity shops – stop hoping that you’ll get some money eventually for that Karen Millen dress. If you haven’t in three years, it’s for a reason. Give it to charity. Or give it to a friend. You’ll feel good for it.
– The tip – last resort, take it to the dump. There’s just some stuff that you can’t even give away. These days most things can be recycled.
My #declutterday challenge
I tried and failed for the entire week to kick start my #declutterday challenge. I kept accumulating more stuff and sneaking it into the house – a cute jacket from a charity shop for me, a few more Penguin books (my latest collecting obsession), and various other ‘must have’ items that I simply felt I needed.
And then I gave myself a shake and got started. Here’s what I did.
Left: A complete declutter of my wardrobe. Things I haven’t worn for years, things that don’t fit, are too short, don’t suit me – you name it. All ready for a frock swapping event at a local wine bar tonight. The event includes pampering, what more could I want? Yes, I will be swapping clothes for more clothes, but at least I’ll come home with new garments that I want to wear.
Right: Hangers. Boring, yes; far too many, yes. Straight into the recycling.
Left: a gorgeous leather bag from Boden now listed on eBay. I love this bag but I don’t use it – it’s too big and deep and I can never find anything in it. Bye beautiful bag.
Right: Baby carrier. Show me a woman who can carry a six month old baby on her front, look good, not get back ache and not sweat profusely. It doesn’t work for me – am happy with my Stokke Xplory – a baby should be pushed not carried. Listed on Gumtree.
Left: Barbecue – it was destined for the tip when I bought a new one for husband for our wedding anniversary (to make up for forgetting it); but I stuck it on Gumtree for £20 and a lovely couple came and got it today. I was late home and they were waiting for me so I gave them iced cordial to try and make up for it.
Right: Coca Cola tins. I got these from a car boot sale in a moment of ‘I must collect Coca Cola stuff, it’s valuable’ haze. I don’t need them. They’re now on eBay.
Finally, a HUGE bag of horrid, why did I ever buy them type clothes for the charity shop.
So, if my items sell, I will have done pretty well in my first week. Next week, a progress update!
Want to join in?
Get to work folks. Post your first #declutterday post next Thursday and you can add the badge to your blog too – here’s the link!
Ultimately, you’ll feel good – your house will be clutter free, as will your mind. Enjoy!
Tags: How to declutter, how to get rid of stuff
We just returned home after two months of living in a rented house and bunking with my lovely parents whilst we had the downstairs of our house renovated. It was a mini adventure.
One of the biggest things I noticed was how liberating it was to live with the bare essentials – especially while we were in unfurnished rented accommodation. A bit like indoor camping. Indoor camping with wine and hot water.
The kitchen drawers contained the must have items – can opener, sharp knife, wooden spoon and a couple of forks. A few plates, bowls and mugs, a pan and not much else. No clutter. No whizzy dicers and slicers and certainly not four different colanders which all achieve exactly the same thing.
Likewise, the bedroom – we lived with five pairs of pants and three pairs of socks each. Plenty. One hair product – amazing how many different styles mousse can facilitate – no serums, cremes, de-frizzers or fuzzers.
And the ultimate freedom – no stuff. No piles of clothes waiting to be ironed, sent to the charity or squeezed back into – one day. No broken toys waiting to be repaired or binned. No unanswered bills or invites. No unread newspapers, unpolished shoes or unloved gym backs. Everything we had with us was needed, utilised and looked after.
Now, we’re home, and chaos has descended once more.
Yesterday my husband announced that he had taken a huge box of books to the charity shop, and a rice cooker and baby bath seat to the tip. The tip! I felt a sharp volt of electricity shock through my body as a I processed the loss. Then I collected myself and realised he’d actually done me a huge favour.
I was going to sell the books in batches by author or genre. When?!
I was going to Gumtree the bath seat. When?!
I was going to car boot the rice cooker. Or start using it again. When?!
It’s hard to let go of stuff, but it can start to take over your life.
You go up to bed and see the pile ‘to be sorted’ on the landing. You visit the garage and the boxes to car boot (that didn’t sell on the previous two attempts) are there to taunt you. You go up to the loft and all of the clothes that no longer fit tease you for being slightly rounder than you once were.
Why do we hang onto it all?! Even if we made a few pennies from gradually flogging it over time, is it worth the little torturous jibes each time we walk past the overwhelming towers of unwanted crap?!
What would you do? If you say bin the lot, I promise, I shall….. a bit at a time….
On a closing note, on reading the title of this post, my husband proclaimed the answer to my dilemma – ‘stop buying sh*t’. I wonder if he has a point…. No, he doesn’t.
Image courtesy of Stock Xchng
Tags: 40th wedding anniversary, marriage, secret to a happy marriage
This evening has been somewhat of a struggle. It’s roasting hot for a start. Don’t curse me, I love it, but my post-baby thigh-wobble was rubbing slightly.
More irksome that the slight sweat rash was being home alone for the start of the weekend, and what feels like the start of summer.
I fed and watered two over-tired and clammy boys. One projectile-gobbing strawberries across the length of the dining table in some kind of very British show of support for the tennis and the other moving food slowly from one side of his plate to the other, complaining of a tummy ache (overdue poo). At the same time he’s wailing in some kind of tones not even a primary school violinist could match, moaning that the ache would go if he was presented with a Tangle Twister. Or just a Twister as they may now be called.
After scraping the discarded pasta, bread, rice cakes and cheese from the (brand new, slightly overpriced) floor, the Tripp Trapp, the table (new, not overpriced, but still new) and my once white and pale blue sequinned t-shirt, I thought ahead to bath time.
It would have to be a shower. Flying solo on a Friday night, pre open bottle of wine is always a little daunting. I sometimes find myself floating into a daze where I fast forward past the bath, bottles, teeth brushing, stories, loo trips, tucking in, even the kisses – right through to me sitting at the table eating something that involves pastry, a rich thick sauce and possibly something sweet and chocolately afterwards.
The entire process is far easier when you are two. And I am very lucky to be one of two. Some days it can be kind of hard to appreciate that fact, but for the vast majority of the last ten years I’ve felt very grateful. Especially on that April day in 2005 when my now husband and I decided to set our differences aside and make a go of our relationship after a desperate and desolate six week break when we reviewed our differing goals and desires for our lives ahead.
The initial reason I thought about writing this post was down to the fact that there’s a party in store. It’s the eve of my lovely parents 40th wedding anniversary celebrations.
Tomorrow, 80, yes eight – zero friends and loved ones will join them to toast everything that they’ve achieved since they married as 21 year old sweethearts all those years ago.
Marquee, disco ball, band, food, dancing – the whole shebang. Well, it’s not every day you make it to this kind of milestone.
Forty. That takes some doing.
And knowing that I’ve inherited both good and bad traits from both of my parents, as well as having spent the past month during our house renovations living under the same roof as my dear mum and dad, I know two things.
One. There must be days when they both say ‘bloody hell you’re driving me around the twist’.
Two. There are must be days when they smile to themselves over their ritual soup and a roll lunch and think ‘bloody hell I’m so lucky to have found the one’.
Tonight I’m going to bed alone but tomorrow my husband will be home. I must remember point two when he returns tired and irritable, wanting his bed and using the ‘shall we tidy the house a bit today?’ approach. Because we all know who the ‘we’ in this house is.
So I’m not necessarily leaving you with this, but reminding myself of this. If my marriage is over what would I miss?
1. Laughing uncontrollably and asking him to carry me to bed. Followed by further hysterics when he actually agrees to do it.
2. Posting things down the back of his trousers when he’s not looking. Like the sopping wet washing up sponge.
3. Sitting in an Oxford cafe on a Sunday morning eating a full English.
4. Him seeking out the window seat so we can people watch.
5. That he tells Sky that we watch rom coms….oh and action films.
6. The tolerance of my car boot bargain addiction. Or the fact that he pretends not to see my haul. Or that he doesn’t tell me I’m stupid for not checking the printer in the box was the same as the picture on the box. We learn from our mistakes.
7. That he finds me attractive after two children with zero attempts to diet my way back to being a lollypop head.
8. That he holds open the door.
9. That he posts Instagram photos for me with our own hashtag when he’s away.
10. That he always asks how my day was. And listens.
We all know that no marriage is perfect. If you think you have one, you’re in denial about something or other. So I will leave you with this.
Things I wouldn’t miss.
1. ‘Where else is my wet towel supposed to go?’
2. ‘Shall we think about cleaning this carpet?’.
3. ‘I’m going to pop to the gym’.
4. ‘How long will dinner be?’, ‘5 minutes’, ‘Can I eat a snack very quickly? Just a sandwich?’
5. ‘Can you take the baby, I can’t sort two children at the same time’.
6. ‘Is there any milk?’
7. ‘There’s no milk’
8. ‘I haven’t got any clean pants, are we doing a wash today?’
9. ‘I can’t put it away, I don’t know where it goes’
10. ‘Have we got my mum a birthday present?’
I guess if I’m keeping lists I may not make it to 40 years.
Happy anniversary mum and dad – I’m extremely proud of you.
Oh and finally, by some strange, binding coincidence, I’m currently on chapter two of The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin which is about marriage. This quote stuck with me.
“The atmosphere of my marriage set the weather for my whole life”.
And now we are in a heat wave. Hopefully a marital scorcher too. Full circle. Which reminds me of something my dad said in his father of the bride speech about him wanting me to meet and marry a man I loved. I did Dad.
Tags: Bravery, Lee Rigby, Rachel Johnson, The Big Issue
I was really inspired by Rachel Johnson’s last article in The Big Issue about bravery. She was prompted to write the piece following the horrendous events which unfolded in Woolwich last month and the utter bravery shown by Ingrid Loyau-Kennet, the woman who got off a passing bus to help Lee Rigby and found herself talking with the men who took his life from him.
I tweeted her to tell her I felt inspired to blog about bravery. She said she would be honoured. Honoured?! That role was mine – I felt privileged that she had replied. And I felt chuffed that I’d found myself in this situation in the first place after a chance encounter with the article, not usually being a Big Issue reader – I had been on a charity shop spree and decided to use the last on my change on a final good cause.
So, the subject was that of bravery. How many of us would have got off that bus? I for one know for pretty much sure that I would have remained in the safe confines of the bus. I think I’d call the police from a safe distance. I find myself more of a nervous person since having children, wanting to keep them away from danger. Or using that as an excuse?
Rachel recounts some scenarios when she had to be brave – during her husband’s liver transplant for example. Her husband, also a gallant man, chased a burglar wearing nothing but his birthday suit.
I’ve been wondering if I’m a brave type. I was getting a bit disturbed by the fact that I’ve never done anything heroic. I can’t recall a time that anyone has said to me – ‘you’re such a brave woman Catherine’.
I think though that I am pretty useful under pressure or in a crisis. I quite like change and I also like to be needed. A good combination when other people around you need a decision maker I suppose.
We’d been in the Maldives on honeymoon for two days when my husband’s step-dad called saying we needed to come straight home. His mum had suffered a major stroke. Ok, so I smoked a lot whilst trying to get us off the remote island via sea plane and onto a flight via the most useless insurance company I’ve ever encountered. And yes I cried when we checked our bags in to be told there were no seats together. It worked though, a loitering manager took pity on us newlyweds and rearranged things so that we were together.
I sorted a car as we’d sold ours, we moved in with my in-laws and I cleaned, shopped, cooked and rallied for three weeks. Well, it was raining in the Maldives and their house really needed a good tidy up.
Another family related saga – the night before our best friend’s wedding, the then boyfriend of my sister-in-law was caught kissing another girl in a bar by my husband. Husband being the best man at the wedding the coming day and the remainder of us happy smiling guests. Needless to say the happy and smiling part took a little wine but I think I was the supportive shoulder that my sister-in-law needed that day.
I was totally not brave in the Birmingham nightclub when a bouncer pushed a drunken reveller into me at six months pregnant, throwing me across the floor. My friend, a paramedic however, was, as I shook and blubbered and demanded to be taken straight to hospital fearing that my waters had broken and the baby would have to come at 27 weeks.
I did grab my four-year old and press him into my body, turning him away from a herd of inquisitive ponies on a family walk last New Year’s Day. Maybe I was overreacting but I find cows and horses to be unpredictable and very suspicious.
But what really is brave? Taking a risk? Playing it safe? Being a parent? Being alone? Being with a lot of people?
After Jessie J shaved her hair off I considered doing the same to raise money. But I never did.
I’ve never saved a life but I think that hopefully I’ve pushed myself to be a better, more loving, kind and generous person. I always talk to strangers. I’ve helped a lady with a bloody nose sitting by the road instead of driving on to my yoga class. I’ve taken a man home when his mobility scooter ran out of battery and the garage wouldn’t charge it. I’ve collected a frustrated man from a bus stop and tried to catch it up after he was left running and waving for it to wait. I’ve helped a parent find her lost child in the supermarket. In Kaula Lumpur I felt helpless and spoilt seeing the many desolate amputees trying to stay alive on the streets and barely managing it. I gave them change but didn’t do anything brave.
I’m left wondering, does being helpful qualify as brave? Or what about doing something that scares you? I read out a blog post about OCD to a room of 300 bloggers one year.
I’ve also done an abseil in the windiest wind I’ve ever encountered to raise money for SeeSaw, a charity who supports children who have lost their parents.
Maybe I haven’t had my calling yet. Maybe one day I’ll find myself having to pull someone from a burning building, stop for a traffic accident or god forbid find myself caught in an act of terrorism. If I do I’ll remember the things I’ve seen others do and try to do my best.
Tags: Baby hand prints, painting baby hands
I don’t know why, but I’ve become obsessed with trying to get perfect handprints from our six month old – for the records. The archives.
I don’t know why, but it’s really starting to irritate me. It’s not as though his hands will drop off and never be remembered if I don’t.
There are various techniques such as rubbing the back of the hand, holding out their middle finger – all have failed miserably for me.
I don’t know why it’s become such an ordeal. I think it’s because it’s a really exciting milestone when you first print your baby’s hands. Feet are different. Feet are easy.
I’ve seen some beautiful hands. Printed on paper. On plates. In clay. In plaster.
I have none of these things.
I have scraps of paper with smudges.
I have no idea where I am going wrong but I shall not admit defeat. I shall not falter.
I beg you, tell me your secrets. I can pay good money.
On a closing note, I have had far more success with doing plaster reliefs of the children’s feet if you’re interested.
Tags: diet drinks addictive, Giving up Diet Coke, how to quit diet drinks
So, I have a bit of a habit. A Diet Coke habit – an addiction maybe.
I’ve always loved fizzy drinks since my teens – fat Coke then as we used to call it. Followed by a switch to Diet Coke in my later teens once I started pairing it with Vodka.
I don’t have a Vodka habit these days, more a taste for good red wine – but that’s fine.
On doctors orders this week, Thursday at 3.10pm to be exact, I gave up the sweet, fizzy stuff, for good. A wave of panic swept over me as I took in the finite request. No more fizzy drinks.
The doctor did say I may be able to reintroduce them on a reduced scale in the future. I’ve been getting migraine symptoms you see – so this could be a cause.
And I’m not even a full-blown addict. Not in my eyes anyway. I have one small bottle a day – 500ml I believe. I didn’t have fizzy drinks as a child and we don’t allow our nearly five year old to have them. I don’t think I’ve rebelled against that, I’ve just somehow developed an addiction – it’s not even the taste – it’s those sneaky chemicals and sweeteners that lure you in, like a child into a sweet shop full of cola bottles and strawberry laces.
So far I’ve made it through three days. I like a challenge but regularly fall after the first few hurdles – much like with exercise, diet and general health-orientated challenges. Actually the tingling in my face has reduced. I should also add that the doctor suggested coming off the contraceptive pill as this can cause headaches and lead to a risk of stroke.
On a lighter note I am currently quite positive about the challenge ahead. Anyone who drinks Coke or Diet Coke will know that it’s a real boost – a mid afternoon pick me up and friendly arm, helping you through the rest of the day, easing away work stresses, nagging children or other annoyances. Until wine o’clock.
I’d be really interested in any tips or advice on giving up Diet Coke. A quick trawl of the internet has revealed the following advice on how to quit Diet Coke. I’m taking it in absence of any known support groups – if there is one please tip me off.
How to give up Diet Coke
– According to Bangs & a Bun the only way is to go cold turkey. I did share her pain when she fretted over never hearing the pssssd of an ice cold can opening on a hot day…..sob.
– Although Shape.com suggests not going cold turkey, they do advise that you drink loads of water which has got to help – and make you feel healthier in general. If my Bobble Bottle that I excitedly purchased from eBay hadn’t arrived as not only a fake but a squashed fake then I’d be drinking a whole lot more already.
– Modern Mrs Darcy says you need to recognise your weak spots and be prepared – so if you love a Diet Coke with certain foods or at certain times of day, plan a substitute to get you through this. So, I need to find something else nice to drink at lunchtimes and mid afternoon. And weekends in the car. And early evening before wine time.
But why is Diet Coke addictive?
Thank the gods of all things sinful, I’m not drinking eight litres* of pop like this woman featured in the sun, but I still do want to kick the habit. A drink readily available in the supermarket, even if it does have your name on the bottle, should not be addictive.
The reasons it is:
– Caffeine – although it contains a lot less than coffee.
– Artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Read the controversy about aspartame here – some feel that these types of sweeteners trick your brain and upset your hormone balance. And we all know that really Diet Coke gives an artificial high and we’re not just naturally elated because of a fizzy drink.
– Our own minds – many people swap another habit like smoking or drinking alcohol for a fix like Diet Coke believing they’re doing the healthy thing, only to become hooked on this instead.
So, I’ll keep you posted with my progress – please do send in your tips. I’m not shaking or panicking at all, but I do have a nice glass of Malbec next to me.
* Could have been eight teaspoons before the researchers got a hold of the story.
Tags: glue ear, grommets, hearing problems in children, Royal Berkshire Hospital
On Monday our four year old son had grommets fitted to resolve problems with his low level hearing.
We had noticed he was missing things for about six months and in total it has been about a year between us first recognising an issue and him having surgery. We initially put his lack of attention down to him being a typical little boy – easily distracted, excitable and a little telly deaf. But hearing tests revealed that he had glue ear. He had suffered with a few ear infections but nothing recurring.
I thought an account of our experiences would be useful to others about to start on this path.
What to expect – glue ear and grommets
1. We tried cutting out cheese which is supposed to help with hearing issues – possibly an old wives tale as it had no effect.
2. We tried Ottovent, a nose balloon which is supposed to dislodge blockages in the ear. Our four year old found it too difficult to inflate the balloon.
3. We let teachers and club instructors know that he was struggling with his hearing and they made allowances and gave him extra assistance.
4. We found the wait between diagnosis and an operation date frustrating – around three months, but in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t really matter.
5. The pre op visit was really useful – Bear got to see the ward and meet the nurses so on operation day he was already familiar with his surroundings. Starving him from 7.15am to 3pm was the hardest part!
6. The operation day was incredible – the staff at The Royal Berks were amazing – the children’s ward has it’s own play leader who offered all sorts of activities to keep Bear entertained including a bedside TV, DVD player and Wii!
7. A staff nurse, consultant and surgeon all saw our son before my husband took him down to theatre. We also had our six month old baby with us which was no problem. Everything was explained to us and our son and we had no concerns at all.
8. He had ‘magic cream’ on both hands to numb them. In theatre a nurse read a book to him to hide his hands whilst they inserted a canular and he quickly went off to sleep. He’d asked to have a mask instead and they listened to his requests and explained the options.
9. Around 45 minutes later I went to collect him from the recovery room, bright as a button, babbling on about LegoLand and demanding a ham sandwich.
10. He waited, not very patiently to be allowed food and then devoured to packs of adult sandwiches, a yoghurt, a jelly, a packet of crisps and some sweets. He asked for ham and he got ham! Nothing seemed to be too much trouble.
11. The operation was at 3pm and we left the ward before 5.30pm complete with a ticket to get our parking for free and a very happy boy with a certificate for bravery.
12. We’d been advised that he would need a day or two off school but he went back after just one day off because he was so hyper. We gave him Calpol when we got home but he didn’t need any more the following day.
13. He was slightly alarmed by the new level of volume – noises like the washing machine, kettle and the baby crying made him jump. We realised just how much he had been missing. He was also aware of surrounding conversations that he hadn’t noticed before. I let him stay in his pyjamas all day much to the disgust of some other shoppers in Tesco.
All in all this is an incredible and very simple surgery and I’d highly recommend any parent with a child who has glue ear look into having grommets fitted. Really happy to answer any questions parents might have.
Tags: dinner etiquette, eating out, Phones at the dinner table, tweeting at dinner
We’ve slipped into bad habits in our house, and even if our mobile phones aren’t on the table when we start eating, they seem to creep over from the worktop, up the table legs and appear by our plates, buzzing and beeping away.
In reality, we can’t seem to switch off long enough to even eat a meal in peace and quiet. There’s always something we realise we need to check whilst we’re sitting, or show the other person – just quickly, between mouthfuls.
But when it comes to eating out, or eating with friends, is it acceptable to do that? It’s bad manners really to do it at home when it’s just the two of us at the table, but because we’re both as bad as each other, we let it go. I think it’s also because it’s often the only chance to catch up with your partner during a day. These days, alongside a verbal description of what we’ve been up to, we show each other videos we’ve taken along the way, photos, and also tell each other about people’s Facebook or Twitter updates, having a giggle at their misfortune or trying not to feel envious over exotic holiday check ins.
I heard a great idea discussed on the radio recently for keeping people off their phones whilst eating in a restaurant – on arrival everyone puts their phone in a stack in the centre of the table. The first person who caves in and checks their phone has to pay for dinner – it would certainly make you try harder, especially if you were eating somewhere pricey.
I’d be interested to know if you have phone at the table rules and incentives for making people switch off.