Sunday, 31 August 2008

That 'Back to School' Feeling

The nights are drawing in, the air is getting cooler, the colours of the leaves are turning. It's nearly Autumn and it's time to go back to school. After eight weeks of being a SAHM, I have to go back to being a SOWM (Stressed Out Working Mum) on Wednesday.

As usual, I have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach at the thought of returning to the treadmill. The getting up at 6.00am, getting daughter ready and out of the house, working for 8 hours, coming home, cooking tea, doing bath and bedtime story, then 2 more hours work before falling into bed to sleep the sleep of the dead unless daughter decides otherwise.

Actually, experience tells me that within a couple of days it'll be fine. I'll be back into the old routine, getting to know my new pupils and catching up with my old ones.

However, this year is a little different. Not quite the same old routine. The difference this year is that daughter is starting school, and not only that, she is coming to school with me. I can't believe she is starting school already. Where did those four and a half years go?

I'm hoping we've made the right decision about sending her to my school (if you missed the dilemma, click here) and that she'll be happy and fulfilled. I'm hoping that life will be a little bit easier for us as a family without the dashing to and from the childminder's. I'm hoping I get to be a bit more of a real mum; dropping her off in the morning and picking her up (although she'll have to go into after care for half an hour as I finish school 30 mins later than her).

I know I will cry as I drop her off for the first time, but I've warned my form (who are all 17 years old and know me well from last year) so they said they'll have the tissues ready for me when I arrive at registration. Bless them!

But, before we can start the new school term there is a lot of Working Mum preparation to do so that the term runs smoothly. (I have a kind of seige mentality when it comes to school terms).

So far I have:
  • bought two new suits, three blouses and lots of tights and knee highs
  • spring cleaned upstairs (can't do downstairs until the lounge is finished) so that minimum maintenance is required for the next 6 weeks
  • cooked several soups, casseroles, pasta sauces and mash for the freezer
  • stocked the freezer with useful ingredients such as peas, bacon, prawns, minced beef, etc
  • stocked up on storecupboard staples such as pasta, pesto, rice, tinned tomatoes, coconut milk, tuna, butterbeans, etc
  • stocked up on stamps (see? getting into seige mentality now)
  • stocked up on these:
(staple of any teacher's briefcase)
  • stocked up on these:

Now I'm ready!

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Wish me luck!

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Hair today........

Yesterday I went to the hairdresser's for my 'back to school' haircut. Going to the hairdresser's is a treat. A little bit of 'me' time. I emerge from her deft hands at the hairdryer looking and feeling so much better.

I really like my hairdresser. She's the same age as me and we have the same experiences and cultural references. She also bought a wreck of a house two years ago and we compare where we are up to and give each other tips and names of stockists.

I did like my hairdresser.

It used to be a treat.

Yesterday, whilst blow drying my hair there was a sharp intake of breath and a

"Ooooooooh, Carol!"

"What? What?" I thought

"You've got a great big grey hair!" she cried (loud enough for everyone in the salon to hear and look round) and she held up one of my longest hairs. Yep, it looked a bit crinkly and definitely grey.

So, she didn't break it to me gently.

Not '"a little grey hair".

Not, "I think this might be a grey one".

No, a "great, big grey hair".

Her tip quickly diminished.

So this week I've had anti-wrinkle cream, hot flushes and a grey hair!

Really looking forward to my birthday soon!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Wrinkles? Moi?

Recently those good people at Nivea offered me a tub of this: For free!

They must think I am a deserving case. After all, I am a working mum with a four year old, a football obsessed husband and a wreck of a house. All that lack of sleep, stress and plaster dust make me a definite wrinkle case!

Anyway, I snatched their hands off (of course) and the tub duly arrived.

After husband had stopped laughing he said, "Just a tub? Didn't they send a bucket?"

Ha ha ha!

So, out went the Clinque and in came the Nivea. I've used it for a couple of weeks now and it is certainly helping to counteract the effects of eight weeks of decorating as my skin feels more hydrated and smoother. Also, it is light with a fresh fragrance and easily absorbed.

Actually, that might be my Chenin Blanc!

* * * * * * * *

If you'd like to try Q10 for yourself, click here.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Menopause Alert

I know I'm heading for 39, but I didn't expect the menopause to come quite so early.

So I was busy painting the lounge today, desperately trying to paint the far wall before the new fireplace is fitted this Friday, and I suddenly started to feel a little warm.

"I must be going up and down these ladders too much. I'm working up a sweat" I thought.

I opened the patio doors a little further.

"I'm really feeling warm now. Never thought painting was such exercise"

I stop a for a minute and catch some fresh air.

"Need a breeze, need a breeze. "

Then a terrifying thought hits me: "Is this a hot flush?"

The door opens and plumber sticks his head round:

"I'll turn the heating off now. The new radiators are working fine"

Ah, so that was it!

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Next year we're going abroad

Well, it was a cold, wet and windy week in Wales.

I admit, I set up the previous post to publish while I was away in anticipation of a blissful week of calm. It wasn't. It tipped it down all week. Daughter sulked, husband watched the Olympics, I drank wine and kept thinking "at least we're not in a tent". Cottage was cold and damp, the heating didn't work and the owners had disappeared.

We tried to make the best of it and get out and about. As we donned our waterproofs to go to a "Family Fun Day" at Picton Castle, daughter slipped and fell over in the mud covering herself and her beloved teddy "Tigger" who had been allowed out for the Teddy Bears' Picnic. Another family passed us and the mum summed it up for me as she said to her husband,

"What part of this is 'FUN'?!"

Next year we're going abroad.

Anyway, I did collect another Izzyism while away:

As we drove around Pembrokeshire, trying to admire the beautiful countryside shrouded in mist and rain, daughter kept shouting

"Winter vine, winter vine!"

Thinking this was some kind of plant, I was scouring the hedgerows to see what she was looking at.

Eventually husband enlightened me.

She was looking at the wind turbines.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008


Bore Da!

Sut Mae?

I'm still here in Cymru:

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No internet, no phone, no sanders, no paintbrushes, no hassles, .............

......... just pure Welsh bliss!

I'll be back next week.

Hwyl am rwan!

Sunday, 17 August 2008

Something to keep you amused

Working Mum is recharging her batteries........

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........ in Wales.

In the meantime, amuse yourself with her fridge:

Go on, you know you want to!

(Clean messages only please!)

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Olympics here we come!

Firstly let me say that I don't 'do' sport. I don't play it, don't watch it, don't 'get' it. I leave all that stuff to husband. Over that last few days he has been trying to indoctrinate daughter into the ways of the Olympics. This seems to involve putting the TV on as soon as he wakes up and watching people canoeing down concrete chutes, shooting arrows at grass circles and throwing themselves off diving boards and trying to explain it all to daughter.

Today he told daughter excitedly, "The athletics starts soon"

"What's athletics?" she asked

"It's running and jumping and throwing things" he explained

"Welly wanging?" she asked expectantly.

"Well, welly wanging isn't in the Olympics, yet" he said

Yet?! My ears pricked up at this point. I think I need to start a training programme.............

my daughter ...................

............... future gold medal welly wanger!

Where did my daughter go?

Yesterday we invited daughter's 'best' friend (let's call her Emily) from nursery round to play. During the playdate something strange happened. I think that someone kidnapped my daughter and replaced her with a lookalike for the day. Usually Izzy loves the company of other children. She is friendly, enthusiastic and welcoming. She makes friends easily and encourages others to play. Not yesterday.

This is what we did:

  • husband constructed an obstacle race in the garden for them. Emily ran round while Izzy sat on patio and sulked
  • I constructed the farm set for them to play with farm animals. Emily played while Izzy sat on her bed and sulked
  • husband played swingball with Emily while Izzy sat on trampoline and sulked
  • we all played hide and seek; Izzy hid ........................ and sulked
  • husband and I turned the skipping rope for them both, but Izzy sat in football net............... and sulked
  • we all played 'Star Wars' with cardboard light sabers until Izzy's broke and then she sulked
Later in the afternoon Emily's mum came to collect her and brought me a bunch of flowers to say 'thank you'.

I said, "You are welcome. Emily was as good as gold. Would you like to swap daughters?"

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Tag, you're 'it'!

I've been tagged by Melipop at BabyBlog. If you haven't been there yet, just click on the link and look at the photo in her header, it made me howl with laughter!

Some of these I've had before, but I'll try to vary my answers:

What were you doing ten years ago?

Enjoying a hedonistic child free existence.

Five things on my to do list

Choose curtains
Choose sofa (nope, still not decided)

What snacks do you like?

More chocolate
Chocolate I've hidden under the bed
Tortilla chips (accompanied by wine)
Cashew nuts (accompanied by more wine)

What would you do if you were a billionaire?

Finish the bloody house (excuse my language, but it's getting to me now), sell it and a buy a new one that doesn't need anything doing to it!
Oh, and give some to charity, of course.

Three bad habits.

Maybe the hiding of chocolate in times of stress?

Five places you have lived.

(the first three were all the same house - the powers that be couldn't make up their minds)
Yorkshire (university)
Cheshire (since marriage)
I'm a Northern lass!

Five jobs I have had

Barmaid in Dance Club (ballroom dancing - no-one came to the bar during lessons so I joined in and learned to dance at the same time!)
Barmaid again in Sports Club (lots of rugger types demanding jugs of ale, good tippers)
Barmaid again in Function Room (work your butt off for 12 hours on a wedding for £3.50 in tips)

How did you name your blog?

Oooo, good one! Well, I'd just discovered blogging, was suffering from WMS and needed an outlet for my rants about being a "working mum" in an age when women are supposed to be able to "have it all". "On the verge" of what? is the real question ...............

Now I need to tag other people. I think I'll just ask for how you named your blog ('cause that was my favourite question) to anyone who wants to let us know.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

Mr Sandman Bring Me a Dream

Never to have to sand ever again.

The plumber says he wants to put the new radiator in our bedroom at the same time as the one in the lounge so he only has to drain the system once. Hence, I have had to step up a gear on the decorating the lounge front. So today, husband took daughter to an indoor play centre while I attempted to prepare the room for painting. I know this sounds like role reversal, but as husband would readily agree, his decorating would never come up to my exacting standards!

I bought myself a state of the art Bosch sander when we bought this house thinking it would make the job easier. I am now learning to hate it.

I have just spent 5 hours sanding down walls and paintwork in the lounge. Bear in mind this is the ninth room in which I have done this. I say 5 hours, I was interrupted once when our next door neighbour, who is a fireman, rushed round and shouted

"There's smoke coming from your patio doors!"

I emerged from the room looking like I had been lightly dusted with icing sugar.

"It's not smoke, it's dust." I explained.

Despite my respirator mask I feel like I have swallowed/inhaled half of the plaster dust and am fast developing asthma.

I am now going to lubricate my poor throat:

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Well, it is Saturday night!

Friday, 8 August 2008

Photostory Friday - A Four Year Old's Logic

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

"Don't come into the kitchen in those muddy wellies!" I yelled.

"They're clean now!" she yelled back.

* * * * * * * * *

The story behind this photo:

Husband and daughter were washing the car and I was taking photos with my new camera. I was trying different angles and perspectives, different settings, etc but I didn't like any of the shots I'd taken. Daughter was jumping in the flower beds in the mud created by the water from washing the car. She tried to go into the house without taking her wellies off so I yelled,

"Don't come into the kitchen in those muddy wellies"

She promptly picked up the hose and started to wash them down. When I realised what she was doing I grabbed the camera. I had time for one shot then she put the hose down and yelled,

"They're clean now!"

Funny how the impromptu photo can be the one ...................

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Crystal or Dulux?

Part of my mission to "Have it all" involves having a long lasting, happy marriage.

Well, today is our 15th Wedding Anniversary, so getting there!

And they said it wouldn't last .............

Traditionally the 15th is the Crystal Anniversary.

Ours is more "Paintbrush and roller set together with 15 litres of Warm Beige" Anniversary!

That's love for you!

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Guess what?

I've finished painting our bedroom!

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Now I'm starting on the lounge .....

.............. I may be some time!

Monday, 4 August 2008

A Day at the Races

Tickets booked, picnic packed and ......

............they're off!

Yes, we've had a day at Chester Races.

It was Family Day so I bullied my family into going. My brother asked if it was moral to teach a four year old to gamble, but I told him, if it's good enough for the Queen .........

In true working mum form I organised them into bringing a decent picnic. Good job we could park on the course as we couldn't have carried the cool boxes very far. My homemade lamb and apricot burgers went down a treat on disposable barbecues together with lincolnshire pork sausages and halloumi veggie kebabs. Various salads, dips and relishes accompanied the cooked food. My mum provided cold meats and a cheese board. Finally, my lemon drizzle cake was devoured along with the fresh raspberries. It was a veritable feast!

As it was family day there were free inflatables, free face painting, free balloon modelling for the kids as well as a fun fair. You could almost forget there were races!

The excitement started with the 2.20. We studied the form:

chose our horses and sent the men to put the bets on. Then we shouted and screamed at our horses as they raced past us:

At the end of the meeting, we'd each had a winner in at least one race. My mum and I backed "The Last Bottle" in the last race as it sounded appropriate but it came 3rd. By then we'd finished the last bottle in the picnic so we didn't care!

On the way home I asked daughter if she had enjoyed her first trip to the races. She looked glum and asked,

"Why didn't I pick six winners?"

I pointed out that it was very difficult to pick all six winners and she did pick two winners and two second.

"That's not good" she announced, "Second isn't the WINNER!"

I wonder who she takes after with her desire to succeed?

Well, I think a Grand Day Out was had by all!

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Don't send a man to do a Working Mum's job

Amongst all the things we are doing to the house this summer, we are searching for wardrobe doors. We have a built-in wardrobe in our bedroom and I want to modernise it with some new doors. It's not a standard size so we can't buy ready made doors. So off we went to our local timber merchants to see what they could do.

I found lovely beech doors with moulding, but the price list gave fixed sizes, none of which would fit.

Veneered doors were available made to measure, but they were plain, no moulding.

As we had daughter in tow (bribed with a visit to nearby Toys 'R' Us if she was good) I sent husband to find out if the beech doors were available made to measure while I amused her with the rolls of chains and nuts and bolts.

He returned and said "No, just those sizes"

I asked "Can they make different designs in the made to measure veneered doors?"

He said "I'll ask"

He returned, "No, just plain doors"

We started to leave the shop when I noticed a exemplar door with moulding and a sign saying
"Made to measure MDF veneered doors, ask a member of staff"

I left husband to amuse daughter while I asked.

The bloke on the counter said, "I'll get Steve for you. He makes the doors"

Steve was very helpful, I explained that I like the beech doors, but need an unusual size. He said he could make similar in the MDF veneered, but he thought the ones I liked could be made to measure. A quick phone call later, "Yes, we can get them in your size for £64 each"

"Can you deliver them for free for me?" I asked (always worth a try)

"Are you local?"


"I'll drop them off for you"

The doors I wanted, made to measure, delivered for free.


Friday, 1 August 2008

Photostory Friday - The Unexpected

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

When I was pregnant with daughter I wondered what my baby would look like. Who would she take after? What colour eyes would she have and what colour hair? Of all the things I imagined, I was not expecting this:

Strawberry blonde curls!

Yep, she is neither blonde, nor red, but a true strawberry blonde. How amazing is that?

Daughter's hair attracts a lot of attention. People stop me in the park, the supermarket, the Post Office and comment on it. People have even commented on this blog about her hair.

I hope she doesn't grow out of it.

Makes a great subject for a photo!