Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fair is fair - Four Reasons Hotel in Bodrum: Review update

About a month ago, we spent a weekend at the Four Reasons Hotel in Bodrum. No doubt one of our last escapades as a twosome not taking a break from parenting. ;-)

When choosing a hotel we don't know, we often read travellers' reviews... and logically, we also write them.

So shortly after our return, I wrote a post on this blog reviewing the 4Reasons (or the fact that 2 were missing in my opinion) outlining the inconvenience we had experienced.

We also sent in our feedback ("Great! but wait for 2008!") to tripadvisor.
Our review was posted on May 17th and is currently the first one you see of the 8 available reviews. It's also the most recent.

So now that you have the background, here's the update:

On May 28th, we received an email from one of the owner's of the 4Reasons Hotel offering apologies and two days of free accommodation at their hotel.

Better late than never. Although I doubt we'll make it back there with all that's going on, I just wanted to say that we appreciate it and also that giving your feedback makes a difference, both to the customer and the business.

So next time you feel you've overpaid, been ripped off, or badly serviced, let it be known!

Click on the letter to enlarge

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Cool stuff

I love Google-ing. Actually I love Google - just the name is pretty delicious. I still remember the first time I heard it.
I love Google nearly as much as I love (my) Mac. Yummy.

In both cases, I am far from being aware of all the possibilities they offer. I mean, I use what I need and when I need more I learn. Or sometimes I accidentally find out some new trick.

Anyway, Google, my Mac and the web have helped me survive (litterally) the past year... (yes! almost a year that we've been here!)

So I just wanted to share a few simple things I thought were useful but I'm pretty sure not widely known (as most genius things!)

For example, did you know that on
you can:

Type in a calculation in the search box, press Enter (or click on Search) and PRESTO! there's your result!

Just as easily, you can look up the polpulation of a country, the whereabouts of your kindergarden teacher (if you remember her name) or trace your DHL package

You can also enter the stock symbol in your search box to look up stocks...

For a full list of what you can do with Google....

Cool stuff, eh?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

no-name Mademoiselle

To date, we have been totally useless at finding a name for our little Mademoiselle-on-the-way.

In the beginning, we didn't know if we were expecting a girl or a boy and so we had a mixed-gender list of names pinned to a kitchen shelf.

We totally thought this was not going to be difficult.

After a while, we had to come to terms with the fact that we weren't really making progress so we thought finding out the baby's gender might help (ok, so we just wanted to know - it's hard to refuse today's technology! - and I wanted to know if I was into pink for a good reason).

Anyway, the list is still there only the "girl" column is now longer. We both add a name to it when we come across one we like. We also regularly cross names off ("What was I thinking?!")

We have consulted books, websites and dictionaries, received newsletters and emails, suggestions from family members...

Nada, nil, squat. No winner on our list it seems. We are at a loss. Mademoiselle is still "bebek" most of the time. Or Mademoiselle B.

We have kept the (now dowdy looking) list and might short-list some names in the unlikely event that bebek will look like a definite Lea, Milla, Emma, Zoya, Chloe, Emily, Zoe etc. the moment we set eyes on her.

It's not only that we can't agree on a name - it's that neither of us has found the name, the one you are so 100% convinced about that you could convince your other half, the one you really love.

I can't believe how hard we are finding this!

Our criteria for the name:
  • does not mean, sound like or rhyme with anything nasty in same or other language (e.g. Recently heard of "Anemique" = lack of iron in French, "Dana" which means beef in Turkish, or names beginning with "mal" (bad/wrong) like "Malena")
  • is melodious yet simple
  • can be easily pronounced and spelled in many languages (mainly all the ones spoken by our globally-sprawled out families)
  • is suitable in "our languages" - some names are very cute in English but a disaster in French or vice versa
  • is original yet not outrageous nor difficult to "wear"
  • is suitable for a toddler, a young girl a woman and a granny (some names just aren't!)
  • fits baby's surname (& so does not start with the letter B so as not to be BB)
  • does not begin with S (our initials)
  • if possible, it means something to us (has some kind of connection to our history)
  • most of all: we both like it!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

30 weeks

3D images...
they're practically photos!
It's a bit weird seeing these - hubs prefers the classical 2D and I can see why...

Anyway, all is well and here's the latest:
  • weight: 1476 gr
  • height: 37 cm *
  • guesstimate weight & height at term (40 weeks & according to gynae): 3,7 or 3,8 kg (OMG!!!) and 52 cm
  • dr.'s comments: "she is slightly bigger than average at 30 weeks" & "she'll be tall according to measures of femur bone"; "she doesn't have your nose, hers is more round"; & "everything is fine, call me if need be at any time".
  • latest EDD: 27th July 2007 (this is the same as the very first date we were given)
  • dr. is very happy with my stabilized weight gain. Basically I put on 200gr since the April check-up, the rest is all baby's!
  • my blood pressure is always the good old 110/70
  • next appointment: June 9th for baby monitoring (ultra-sound & heart beat monitoring to see if she is reactive to sound, movement etc.)
Time is really flying now! I can hardly believe I'll be in Geneva in 5 weeks and shortly afterwards we'll be a family of three.

* you can calculate this: Femur Length x 6 + 4 = total height (or is that length?)

Friday, May 18, 2007

Preggie books

Being pregnant in a foreign country means you don't have your usual family & friends' advice on hand and your usual reference points.
Luckily in my case, there are a couple of newfound friends who are also pregnant with whom to exchange experiences of various body changes and kicking baby stories. Hurray!

There are times though, however fun the chat (or the web-surf), nothing beats a good book!

<-- These have been my companions on this 30-week journey (so far - Hurray! Hurray!) ranging from the serious to light-hearted if totally honest & friendly.

Most fun and good bedside reads: "minus nine to one" by Jools Oliver & "Shopaholic & Baby" by Sophie Kinsella.

Liz Fraser's "The Yummy Mummy's Survival Guide" and "The Best Friends' Guide to Pregnancy" by Vicki Iovine are both a good mix of fun and practical.

Liz Fraser's book
Yummy Mummy's Survival Guide is very much in there with advice on pampering yourself as much as you possibly can, while you can, explains what happens to your relationship with friends, your body image and partners, and shares tips on baby showers, what to pack for the hospital and labor.

Vicki Iovine's
Best Friends' Guide to Pregnancy was funny yet brutally honest and a very easy read-in-the-order-you-like with sections ranging from Sex and Pregnancy to Looking and feeling your best or I can't eat/ breathe/ walk and I'm scared to death.

Gina Ford's "The New Contented
Little Baby Book" has me a bit confused as I read it sort of at the same time as Tracy Hogg's "The Baby Whisperer Solves all you Problems" - not a good idea! Although both are very much pro-routine (as opposed to demand feeding) their timings in getting baby into a feeding/sleeping routine are not the same and you end up trying to figure out what the differences are and which would suit you best when you can't possibly know at this stage!

I found Tracy Hogg's book
easier to read with her E.A.S.Y routine (Eat. Activity. Sleep. You) and her check lists to help you determine why your six-week baby or under is crying. I liked her "Common complaints-Probable causes" and her feeding/sleeping charts.

Yours truly, novice at mummyhood, found Mrs. Ford's lengthy paragraphs hard to follow : "if your baby is xxx-ing then you must be yyy-ing, which leads to zzz-ing so you might want to try xyz-ing, however without abc-ing..." AGHHHH! What was that?! Maybe at a later stage when it all becomes a bit more real. Right now I found the best part of her book was the "Common problems in the first year" section which is brief and to the point. I am sure, however her book will come in handy later on.

Finally, "Le Guide Pratique de la Femme Enceinte" takes you through the weeks & months explaining all the possible physical changes, ailments, exercises and sizes. It is an informative but not particularly fun read.

I have recently acquired "The Panic-Free Pregnancy" written by M.D. Michael S. Broder in the form of Q&As; "an Ob-Gyn (who) separates fact from fiction on food, exercise, travel, pets, coffee, medications, and other concerns you have when you're expecting". I don't exactly plan to read this through and through, rather use it as an ad hoc reference book.

That's all for now! Any other books you can recommend? 70 days left after all...

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Four Reasons Hotel in Bodrum: Review

A couple of weeks ago we decided that a week-end in Bodrum might be nice before the summer crowds move in and before my preggie tummy gets so huge it becomes unbearably uncomfy to drive that far in a sitting position....

We booked a room at the Four Reasons Hotel* found on the small hotels of Turkey website **

On the positive side:
-a nice view, the pool and the rooms were just as beautiful and simply decorated as shown on the websites
-the hotel manager spoke excellent English and French (and no doubt Turkish)
-service was good, breakfast (my favorite meal in Turkey and looks like I'm not the only one!) and dinner were yummy

Less impressive:

-the directions & map from their website were absolutely useless in getting us there
-the promised wireless connection remains yet to be found
-they've lost Serenity, and they might have misplaced Attitude too....

You see the 4Reasons' name not only plays on that of
the world famous hotel chain, i
t also hints at four pillar qualities (Serenity, Quality, Design, Attitude) the hotel promises visitors. These are very visibly stamped on the hotel wall as you arrive, as well as on the hotel website, brochure, etc.

The marketing background of the owners makes it hard to believe they promise these unwittingly. Nor is it possible they are unaware of currently and regrettably failing to keep this promise, since they were staying at the hotel at the same time we were.

What am I talking about? Well, imagine being woken by bulldozers at 7h30am on Saturday. How's that for Serenity?

After breakfast (luckily, lower down by the pool the noise was minimal) we mentioned this little inconvenience to the hotel manager who apologised and said he would have a word with the workers. He later assured us that we would be able to enjoy our grâce matinée the next day and that work would start much later on Sunday morning.

To cut to the chase, on Sunday we were woken at about 7h45am. As far as I'm concerned, 15 minutes does not count as sleeping in Thankyou very much.

We again enjoyed a lovely breakfast but were frankly disappointed.
At checkout when asked how we had enjoyed our stay, (by the manger but with the owners present) we once again commented on the noise explaining what a shame it was that although the season had begun the bulldozers were still at work (and on a week-end!).
Regrettably, no gesture whatsoever was made in terms of a discount or any kind of client compensation. There goes Attitude....

Now I don't know about you, but when I book a hotel, I read reviews. When I am treated with a pro-active-client-service-attitude that can turn an unfortunate incident into an opportunity, I will whole-heartedly recommend the venue, write a raving review, go back and take friends and family with me. In fact, I will probably remember the place more positively than had nothing remarkable happened in the first place.
A lost opportunity my friends....

It's easier to claim Serenity, Quality, Design, Attitude than it is to live by them. On the other hand, the bulldozers should be temporary, Attitude can be regained and hopefully the rest will remain the same....

* click here and here for more about the 4Reasons Hotel
** Small Hotels of Turkey also publish a book on a yearly basis called "The Little Hotel Book"

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Mummy brain

I recall thinking my good friend N. had gone nutters when she turned hysterical against her mother for crossing the street, on the pedestrian crossing, with her new grand-son in his new pram, not a car in sight but while the light was red !!!!

I also remember thinking that my sister had clearly lost all sense of proportion when she stood as a barrier to the baby blender, defending her controlling position of the "on" button, while desperately trying to position her squiggling daughter on her ever-so-slim-hip, so that her husband could not make carrot purée à sa façon, nor take their daughter from her in an attempt to help her out.

By and by, I have seen reasonable, intelligent, calm women, suddenly turn into a scarier version of the Incredible Hulk when they perceived their bundle of joy to be threatened by the environment, or worse: a family member's good intentions or a friend's uninvited opinion.
It soon became apparent that offering an unsolicited opinion, helping hand or alternative way to a new mother was totally and utterly suicidal. Oh Yeah.

Since then, the above-mentioned have had more babies and have (thankfully) totally chilled. Phew!

Now I'm kind of scared about what is going to happen to my brain in a little while.
There's no point in knowing about it. Awareness is one thing, but something clearly happens - instinct? exhaustion? wanting to be the best possible mom? - that tips your scales and makes you believe you are the only one who knows how to carry, feed, bath, etc. your nappy-filling-rose-smelling-baby.
Suddenly, you're paying more attention to every little breath, mimic and sound than to the hairiness of your under-arms (ugh! that bad?!) and nobody knows better than you whenever your baby is concerned.
Luckily, it seems to be a phase.

Then there's also the fact that all you talk about is baby, poo, nappies, sleep(-lessness)... Looks like that's already started!

I used to wonder what had happened to new-Mummies brains, conversation and sense of humor... I guess in a way it's understandable - being pregnant, giving birth, taking care of a brand new human being is rather huge and overwhelming - but so boring to others!
I guess if you flip it around we could say it's being focused?

Looking forward....

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Shouldn't I be stocking up on sleep right now so as be less vulnerable to the things sleepless nights do to a new Mom?

I am pretty sure that whoever said that insomnia during pregnancy is training for later is wrong. It's like dieting to prepare for famine. Seriously. Our body is smarter than that.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

How long is 40 weeks anyway?

I've never been great at Maths - but 40 weeks... um, isn't that like 10 months?
Ok, so not every month has the same amount of weeks and so if you spread it all out it somehow works out to ...? I'm confused.

Every time someone asks me how pregnant I am I am at a loss.
At 12 weeks you're finishing your first trimester right? So logically at 24 weeks, that would be 6 months? and then 12 weeks later... at week 36 - Wait! but week 36 (3 x 12) is not 40! In fact that's just about a month early.

Keeping in mind that :
  • an average pregnancy lasts 40 weeks (or 38 if you discount the 2 weeks where you're not actually pregnant but have not had your period)
  • the baby is due end of July (according to most of the measurements and tests)
  • July is the 7th month of the year
  • I became pregnant mid-november
  • so that should be 7 months + 1 1/2 months = 8 1/2 right? (to which you may add the 2 weeks of amenorrhea to make 9)
  • which would mean the actual pregnancy lasts 8 1/2 months (but that's 32 weeks + 2 = 34!)
  • so now that it's May 2nd (week 27) and end of July is 3 months away (+12 weeks), does that mean that we're beginning the third trimester now? (=39 weeks)
  • and by the way, if you look at the little baby ticker/calendar above, you'll see it says there are 86 days to go - ain't that another 12 weeks!? (is that 3 months? 'cause if it is we're back to my initial question!!!!!)


I know that you're probably thinking "Who's counting?!" when all that matters is that things are going well - and the answer is
I AM !
I need to plan so that I

a) am allowed to fly back to Geneva

b) arrive in time to have the babe there

c) can do some antenatal aquagym classes and meet my mid-wife

d) have the impression that it's not quite as long as it seems...

I realize the babe will "pop out" (ok I'm trying to be positive and play it down - I am fully aware she
will not just "pop out") when she's ready, and that only about 5% of newborns actually arrive on Due Date - but...I STILL WANT TO HAVE A ROUGH IDEA OF WHEN SHE WILL ARRIVE!

Not to mention that:
  • we already have a niece who was born on July 22nd 2006 and although she lives in Singapore, it would be nice to have individual birthdates
  • without wanting to sound totally superficial - I would much prefer a baby Leo (like hubs and a lot of my friends) to a Crab (although that means waiting a tad longer or at least until after July 23rd!)
Ok, well whatever - I just am looking forward to meeting her!