Sunday, 20 April 2014

Back to Blogging

Where have I been since Christmas?

Well, I've had a pretty rubbish term on one front and another so I didn't feel like blogging about it.

In a nutshell: hubby is working ridiculous hours in his new role, he's exhausted and we've hardly seen each other, work has been stressful to say the least and my parents are driving me up the wall.

By the end of March I was not coping and I could feel myself starting to think irrationally.

Something had to be done.

It was medication, resignation or meditation.

I opted for the latter.

Luckily, the Easter holiday came along, hubby and I managed to have a few days off together and he booked us into a hotel in Windsor to take daughter to Legoland and visit Windsor Castle. (More later)

With the recent sunshine I've been out gardening which has made me feel better (and made the garden look better) and I'm thinking of trying yoga to bring some perspective and balance back into my life.

I think it's time to blog again, focus on the positives and find the funny side of things.

Working Mum is back!



Monday, 23 December 2013

Spin Daughter

Today daughter wrote her letter to Father Christmas.  She sat with paper and pencil trying to start when she suddenly said,

"I don't know what to put"

"Well, " I said, "Father Christmas wants to know that you've been good, so why don't you tell him that you've done your piano practice without moaning?"

"I haven't", she said.

"Well, how about you've helped mummy with the housework?"

"I haven't"

"Well, it sounds like Father Christmas won't be bringing you any presents"

She sat and thought for a minute, then she wrote

"Dear Father Christmas

I hope I have been good, if I have, I would like............."

That girl is going to be a politican!

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Gingerbread House

In addition to our Christmas Cake this year, daughter wanted to make a gingerbread house.  I've never tried making one, but I thought "I'm sure it can't be that difficult" (famous last words).  So I dug out my old Christmas editions of Good Food and found this one:


Then Mary Berry did one on this week's Great British Bake Off Christmas edition and made it look so easy, so, armed with Mary's wise words we started.

It did take us nearly an entire day, but I think the result was worth it:



Daughter wants to eat it immediately, but I can't bear to break it up at all!

If you have a spare 7 hours this Christmas (ha ha!) and would like to make one, the instructions can be found here.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Christmas Cake 2013

It's that time again.

The Working Mum Christmas Cake.

I made my Christmas cake in October half term.  This year it was decided (mainly by daughter) that we would try a chocolate christmas cake, ie a chocolate fruitcake, so I used this recipe and have been feeding it copious amounts of brandy ever since.

Now it's time to decorate.

Much discussion now ensues between daughter and myself to decide the annual design and this year we went for this one from Good Food Dec 2012 edition:

Here's our effort:



If you want to try it yourself, here are the instructions.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

The Great Gingerbread Challenge

Christmas is coming.  

We did our house decorations yesterday (it was the only day in December when we were all at home to do it) and it made me feel really Christmassy.

So today, despite the long list of jobs, I decided it was time for a mummy and daughter bake off challenge.

This time it was a decorating challenge.

We used the same gingerbread recipe, but we each had carte blanche to make Christmas designs.

I went for Baubles and Snowflakes 
(with a cheeky gingerbread man):



Daugher went for Running Reindeer, Falling Snowflakes 
and Gingerbread Men:



Hubby was the judge and declared...................


........................ a draw!

Friday, 15 November 2013

Update

In the midst of November and still surviving.

Steroids now seem to be having an effect and my chest is not hurting when I breathe. Yay!

Side effects seem to be subsiding as I am weaned off the steroids so cramps have stopped, head clearer, can think straight again, no headaches and lost a couple of pounds.  Yay!

Written five sets of reports so far (another five sets to do before 3 Dec), marked countless tests and have organised our department's displays and interactive activities for tomorrow's Open Day. 

Solved childcare problem of tomorrow's Open Day by bribing daughter to come with me and help demonstrate the Mathematics of Bubbles in exchange for Hairy Dieter's Spiced Apple Cake tomorrow afternoon.

Nearly organised the departmental Christmas Do, although the old adage "you can't please all the people all of the time" springs to mind.  I may end up booking it on a day I can't go!!

Have arranged for old (as in 'long time', not age) friend to come over next weekend for tea, cake and conversation.  Yay!

Have arranged to go to Tatton at Christmas with my mum and dad the weekend after and booked Afternoon Tea at the Gardener's Cottage.  Yay!

Yes, there's a lot of cake involved, but who doesn't like cake?

All in all, not doing too badly!





Monday, 4 November 2013

Admitting the Inevitable

I joined the Manchester Chorale in 1993 and was given a uniform of long black skirt, white blouse and maroon cummerbund and tie (I know, but it was the early 90s).

Time moved on, as did choral fashion and in 2003 we had dresses made to measure and changed to blue silk scarves:

(That's me, second row, second from left)

I am pleased to say that a decade on, the dress still fits and providing I watch my weight, no problem with Chorale concerts.

However, when we sing at the Bridgewater Hall we are required to wear long black skirts and black shirt.

Now, the skirt I was given in 1993 has a 25 inch waist and I have been trying to squeeze into it for the past few years with little success (safety pins have been involved) and so I have finally given in.

I have now accepted that I will never again have a 25 inch waist and so, last Thursday, remembering that I have a sewing machine now, I bought some fabric and made myself a new choir skirt:


This is me backstage at the Bridgewater Hall in my new skirt for the concert we did on Sunday consisting of "The Armed Man" and some other of Karl Jenkins' pieces, conducted by the man himself.


I could breathe again!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Why does Metrolink conspire against me?

Yesterday daughter had a party in Stockport 3pm - 5.30pm , hubby was at a City match returning home at 6pm and we were all going to see "Wicked" at the Palace in Manchester at 7.30pm (my Christmas present from hubby last year).  It was just about doable if we were all home by 6pm and could catch the tram into Manchester at 6.30pm.

Today I was doing a concert at the Bridgewater Hall rehearsing at 10.30am.  Fine, I could catch the tram at 9.30am and be in plenty of time.

So what does Metrolink do?

What do they always do on the rare occasions we need to go into Manchester on the tram?

"Improvement" Works all weekend with a much slower, less convenient, replacement bus service!

Aaaargh!!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Getting Ahead

So that's half term nearly over.

 I'm about to enter the long, dark tunnel of the second half of term.  

Parents' Evenings, Open Days, exams, reports, rehearsals and concerts mean that I have very little time in the next six weeks to get ready for Christmas.

Add to that hubby going to Qatar for a week in December (don't mention Qatar) in a week when I have two concerts and you see the problem.

So, I have been getting ahead.

This week I have:
  • made my Christmas cake
  • bought all my Christmas cards, wrapping paper, gift tags and ribbon
  • written half of my Christmas cards
  • done half of my Christmas shopping
  • wrapped and written presents and cards to be sent abroad
  • decorated and filled 10 jam jars for daughter's class stall at School Christmas Fair
  • bought and wrapped presents for the Toy Service at Church
  • boought and wrapped presents for the Salvation Army at school
  • bought chocolate for the School and Church Christmas Fairs' chocolate tombolas
  • bought bottles for the School Christmas Fair bottle tombola

 Bring on November and December!




Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Half Term Holiday in Haworth

With hubby off on his first trip to Qatar last week (don't mention Qatar), I decided that Izzy and I could go off on holiday without him and booked a lovely cottage in Haworth, Yorkshire for us and my mum and dad:



Izzy was delighted that the cottage was on an Equestrian Centre and the stables were literally oustide her bedroom window:


While we were there we visited the Bronte Parsonage, the Bronte Falls, the National Media Centre, where Izzy read the news ....


.... Skipton Castle.....


.... and Salt's Mill at Saltaire where we saw Hockney's pictures:



However, the rest of the time, we relaxed.  

We watched DVDs, we played games, we had lazy breakfasts and lazy dinners and we lazed about.

We were able to have a lazy, relaxing holiday because we didn't have hubby making us do stuff every minute of every day.

And best of all, when we got home he'd cleaned the house from top to bottom, made us curry and cake for tea and said that he'd missed us.

Perhaps I should go away without him more often?