Friday, 31 October 2008

Photostory Friday - Toy City!

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


I was going to do a PSF on Hallowe'en today and take a 'Food Porn' picture of my pumpkin cake that I made yesterday with orange cream cheese frosting. However a) I've been too busy to do the pictures and b) it didn't last long enough to photograph it.

So instead I'm going to post about daughter's bedroom which is still awaiting the carpet fitter to refit the carpet after the electricians' visit this week:

My favourite room in our house is daughter's bedroom. It was one of the first rooms we did when we moved in (after the condemned bathrooms) two years ago. After the plasterers skimmed the entire room to a lovely smooth base I painted it a beautiful New England blue colour with lovely shaker style white furniture. We decorated with Thomas the Tank Engine accessories and bought shelves for her toys and books. It looked like this:



and this:


and this:



Last weekend we had to clear out daughter's toys and books so that the electricians could get under the floor to do the lounge lights.

I hadn't realised just how much stuff she had accumulated in her little life.

There was this:



and this:



and this:



I am appalled and ashamed at how much she owns. Very little was bought by myself and my husband: the kitchen, the musical instruments and some books. The rest have been presents and hand me downs.

She has been told that she has to get rid of some before Father Christmas will call!!

What a cruel mummy I am!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Meme Time!

Tagged by Fat, Frumpy and Fifty ages ago, but now daughter is away at my parents' I have found time to do it, so here goes:

(A) Four places I go over and over: Work, Tesco, Home, Work, Tesco, Home, ......

(B) Four people who e-mail me regularly: BangCd, Photobox, PicStop, CDWow: I realise now that I have no friends, only internet shopping!

(C) Four of my favourite places to eat: Anywhere you can use Tesco Deals Vouchers (TGFT)

(D) Four places you'd rather be: The Maldives, Bali, Venice, Rio de Janeiro (been to all four and would love to go back)

(E) Four TV shows I could watch over and over: Hmmm, don't have much time for TV, love "QI" and "Strictly" is a must!

(F) Four people I think will respond: Soo's stuff, Adventures of the Reluctant Housewife, One Strangely Lush Mother, Moments from Suburbia

Sorry, I'm off to the tip (again) so not bothered with all the linking and tagging palaver, but I'm sure you'll pop in and see yourselves!


Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Anyone else?

We were sitting in the kitchen last night eating our evening meal when I offered the following for dessert: fruit, yoghurt or fromage frais.

"I'll have a yoghurt" said husband.

I opened the fridge, "Oh, no yoghurts, sorry"

"No, yoghurts?" he asked, "but you've only just been to Tesco. What happened?"

"I get overwhelmed in the yoghurt aisle" I explained "There are too many and then I can't choose so I just leave"

"You have to put that on your blog" he said as he picked up an apple.

He is now asking all our friends if they get overwhelmed in the yoghurt aisle.


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Anyone else overwhelmed in the yoghurt aisle?

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Big Bad Mummy

Sometimes I get fed up of being big bad mummy. Take last night:

Sitting in the kitchen with daughter drinking her bedtime milk she decided to launch Tigger across the room narrowly missing hitting two glasses and a vase.

Husband: Be careful!

Be careful?! What's that about? How can you carefully throw a teddy?

Me: Don't throw Tigger

Daughter: Awwww!

We move to the lounge and daughter dives behind sofa, waggles the floor lamp about nearly knocking over six long stemmed wine glasses on the bookshelves.

Husband: Be careful!

How exactly do you carefully wave a floor lamp around?!

Me: Don't play behind the sofa

Daughter: Awwww!

Daughter comes and sits between us on the sofa and starts kicking the coffee table spilling my tea.

Husband: Be careful!

Yes, darling, carefully kick the coffee table! Give me strength!


Me: Don't kick the coffee table.

Daughter: Awwww!

Minor domestic ensues as I try to explain to husband that "Be careful" doesn't stop her doing these things, whereas "Don't" does!

Saturday, 25 October 2008

Hurray for Half Term

This week is mine and daughter's Half Term Holiday. I've tried not to fill up the week with lots of jobs this time, but there are some imperatives:

  1. Take my car for service and MOT (it's also making a sound like a WWII Spitfire, which I'm guessing isn't good)
  2. Take daughter to three, yes three, parties dotted around South Manchester - anyone know where Reddish Vale Farm is?
  3. Clear out daughter's bedroom so electricians can put lights into lounge (they need to get under the floor in her room) and then put back half of the toys while surreptitiously sending the rest to a charity shop
  4. Alter lounge curtains (I brought the ones from our old house with us and they are too long)
  5. Take daughter to my parents' for two nights.
  6. Sing in an Opera Gala at the Bridgewater Hall
  7. Write school Entrance Exam
Did you notice number 5? Two nights and an entire day without being mithered!

What will I do with myself?

Well, there'll be lots of this:

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and this:

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and this:

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Hurray for Half Term!

Friday, 24 October 2008

Photostory Friday - Tea Time

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

For once I don't have to post my PSF at 6.30am before going to work because today is the first day of my half term holiday. Yay!

This week I'm hoping to learn a bit more about my (now not-so-new) camera. Since I haven't got time to do the course at nightschool that I wanted to do, I've bought a book:


"Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi/400D for Dummies"

Perfect!


No, not the 'Dummies' bit, the fact that it is a book that tells me exactly how to use my camera. I've read the first couple of sections and it has given me lots of inspiration.

Last week daughter and I went to a park near my parents and I thought I would put some of my new found knowledge into practice and attempt to capture daughter in full flow.


Not easy!

Even using the setting for three shots per second I kept getting the back of her head, just her legs or closed eyes. However, I did mangage to get one good photo as she was spinning round in a giant yellow tea cup:



Dizzy Izzy!

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Time for a cut and blow!

Today daughter brought home

"The Day Mummy turned into a Monster"

from the library.

She really enjoyed the story of mummy turning into a wild, green monster as the children made more and more mess in the house.

At the end of the story she said,

"You're not a monster, mummy"

"Oh, good"

"But you do have monster hair, don't you?"

Good job I've an appointment at the hairdresser's tomorrow!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The Countess of Cardigan

I had no idea how much trouble school uniform would be. First of all there is the huge amount of it you have to purchase (and daughter's can only be bought from the official school outfitters at vastly increased prices). Then there is the sewing of millions of name tapes into each item (including underwear and socks since she has swimming lessons at school. Oh, and the school swimming costume, hat and towel). Finally, you put 300 children in the same building in the same uniform and what happens?

They lose it!

After only six weeks daughter has lost one school coat (cost £16.50) and two cardigans (each £15.00) despite them being clearly named.

On Friday she came home in someone else's cardigan. I was sorely tempted to unpick "Cook's" nametape and sew one of daughter's in it. Perhaps that's what's happened to hers?

Of course I'm too law abiding to do so.

I've got a theory that the school outfitters send a spy to school to steal items which they then sell back to us at original prices. But I digress ..........

Today, daughter surpassed herself. She came out of school in her school coat (hurrah!), but no cardigan, again (boo!).

"Where's your cardiagan?" I barked, getting fed up of this.

"Ooops! Left it in class"

I marched her back to the classroom and searched for cardigan. No sign.

I marched her to the cloakroom and we searched everywhere. No cardigan.

I bumped into her Nursery Nurse who said, "They've had music today, it might be there"

I marched her to the music room. No cardigan.

Lost Property Box. No.

The Nursery Nurse, seeing my exasperated look, very kindly said that she would look for it so we gave up and came home.

I muttered all the way home about looking after her uniform and the cost of it, blah, blah, blah.

We arrived home and daughter ran upstairs; no doubt to escape her mental mother.

"Oh Muuuuummmeeeeeee!" came the cry from the top of the stairs.

I went to see what she wanted.

There she stood ............................................... holding her cardigan.

She hadn't actually taken it to school today.

I picked up a pen and started writing a letter of apology to the Nursery Nurse .................

Monday, 20 October 2008

2007 Update

I had to laugh.

It's not just me, the whole body of staff are struggling to use Office 2007 in lessons, having had no time or training to get to grips with it before it was put on the school network.

Now, I'm not averse to change. I know we have to update, and I'm very willing to learn, but not two minutes before I have to use it in the classroom in front of an unforgiving audience (teenagers).

However, in amongst all the stress and frustration, I found this little nugget:

The ICT department are more frustrated than most because none of their teaching resources have been updated for Office 2007.

Who insisted on our updating to Office 2007 without any warning?

The Head of ICT!!!

Friday, 17 October 2008

Photostory Friday - The Colour of Autumn

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek



Don't be fooled by the title. It isn't red, yellow, russet or gold. Oh no, that's not the colour of autumn round these parts.

I decided that for Photostory Friday I would take my camera out and about and photograph the colours of autumn. So last weekend daughter and I set off for Dunham Massey (whilst husband was at the football, of course) and prepared to take photos of russet, gold and bronze trees and leaves. However, when we got there, not only had the River Bollin flooded the car park and we had to wait to get in to the place, when we did get in most of the trees were still green!

However, in amongst the unobliging green trees I spotted a gnarled, dead tree. It was reaching for a sky which was a fantastic colour of blue. So blue it was almost unbelievable. So that is my colour of autumn.


I promise there is no photoshopping going on here:


Wednesday, 15 October 2008

2007 Headache

I'm talking about Office 2007. Everyone seems to be updating to Office 2007 except me and it's causing me a lot of headaches.

Our choir secretary has sent us the list of music for Saturday's concert and directions to the venue by e-mail attaching a Word 2007 document which I can't open.

Don't know what I'm singing; don't know where to go!

At work they have suddenly updated the Office suite on the network to Office 2007. I have wasted so much time in lessons this week trying to get to grips with 2007 as I use my (prepared in Office 2003) lesson material on my Interactive Whiteboard!

I've tried using the "Help" button, but if they (Microsoft) are going to change the names of the functions it isn't going to "help", is it?

Who knew that 'View Full Screen' is now 'Minimise the Ribbon'?
Now, any ideas how to select a shape, group it and rotate it?

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Of course that isn't me at home because I'm stuck at school today until 9.30pm for Open Evening - thank goodness the system manager has allowed me access to my blog!

Organisation, Working Mum Style!

This week just gets busier and busier. I rushed in from physio last night, ate my tea, got daughter ready for bed and left MIL babysitting until husband came home while I went to choir. Came home at 10pm to find that none of the dishes had been washed (homecooked meal and no dishes to do - I aspire to being a MIL)! I washed the dishes at 7.15am today, did a day's work, came home, made tea (butternut squash and chorizo stew), did three loads of washing, put daughter to bed, did on-line banking and stuff and now have to mark two tests.

Now the rest of the week poses another difficulty for a Working Mum - the car's MOT.

(For those not in the know, this is a compulsory test that cars over 3 years old have to have every year in the UK to prove that they are roadworthy. Failure to have valid MOT certificate means you are breaking the law!)

Husband's car is due its MOT on Saturday, but he works on a Saturday so he'll take my car while I take his to the garage and daughter and I get the tram home.

Daughter's library books are due back on Saturday, but we can't get to the library without a car; no buses and too far for four year old to walk.

Library is only open late during the week on a Thursday, so we would have to go to the library after school tomorrow.

Tomorrow is my school's Open Evening and I have to stay behind after school, set up the room and get displays and equipment sorted before spending the evening talking to prospective parents so can't take daughter to library.

Upshot is, if husband wants his car MOTed he'll have to pick daughter up from school tomorrow and take her to the library!


Makes sense to me!

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Juat call me Muggins

Tell me, how did this happen?

Daughter seems to have outstayed her welcome at the physiotherapists and after some veiled comments I decided the time had come to go to appointments without her.

The physio's offices close before husband gets home from work so babysitter needed - had to ask MIL.

"Could you possibly babysit your gorgeous granddaughter while I go to Physio on a Tuesday?"

"What time?"

"From 5.15pm to 6.15pm"

"Yes, I think so"

I waited for it to sink in that 5.15pm was daughter's tea time and for MIL to offer to give her her tea.

I prompted a little: "It's her tea time, is that OK?"

"Yes, I can sit with her while she eats"

Is it me or does that just seem weird? My mum would have offered to cook for all of us. At this point my manners kick in and I can't let MIL sit and watch daughter eat her tea on her own so this escapes from my mouth:

"I'll make enough for all of us, so you can eat with her"

Now I have to make Tuesday's tea in advance and put it in the oven on the timer on Tuesday morning so MIL and daughter can eat while I'm at the physio!!




Saturday, 11 October 2008

Conversations with a four year old - the one about the goats

Where does the time go? I've missed Photostory Friday and the weekend's nearly over already! I'm trying to catch up with my blog reading and then I'm going to do the ironing while watching Strictly. I've no time to blog about how busy the past week has been so here's one I prepared earlier:

Living in Manchester we are very lucky to be near many parks, gardens, historic houses and beautiful parts of the English (and Welsh) countryside. We have lots of 'family fun days' around the North West. Daughter has been lucky enough to visit so many places she can't always remember the names. She makes her own up such as 'The Crazy Golf Park' (Walton Park), 'The Pirate Maze' (Red House Farm) or 'The Steam Engines that don't move' (Quarry Bank Mill - the engines are ones that power the looms). Last weekend she wanted to go to somewhere that she couldn't remember the name of so the following conversation ensued:

Daughter: Can we go that park we've not been to for ages?


Me: Which park?

Daughter: The one with the goats.

Me: Do you mean Wythenshawe; the one with the farm with pigs and cows?

Daughter: No! Just goats! It just has goats!

Me: Who did we go with?

Daughter: With Sarah, but a very long time ago.

(That narrows it down then!)

Me: What else is at the park?

Daughter: Ice cream!

(Again, not helpful)

Me: What else did you do there?

Daughter (getting more frustrated by the minute): I PLAY ON THE LOGS!

(Light dawns)

Me: Oh, you mean Dunham?

Daughter: Yes!

Me: Yes, we can go there, but just one thing sweetie; they're not goats, they're DEER!



Playing on the logs at Dunham Massey, Altrincham

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Strictly Working Mum

I'm Working Mum and I'm a "Strictly Come Dancing" addict:

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(Notice my lovely new lounge)

Unfortunately I seem to have inflicted my obsession on my daughter. I tape the Saturday show and we watch it together on a Sunday. Daughter loves the dresses, the dancing, the music, the whole spectacle. I get a bit frustrated at the camera work as I would like to see the actual dances, but bascially


I ........... LOVE .......... IT!


We then watch "Strictly It Takes Two" every night of the week while daughter has her milk and I have a nice cup of tea (ocasionally chocolate is also involved).

Last night while we were watching "It Takes Two" daughter lined up three teddies next to me and gave us each a flash card.



You know what's coming don't you?


Yes, she pranced about a bit, did a forward roll (her new thing) and then looked at me and the teddies expectantly and said (in her best Alan Dedicot voice):



"Would the judges please reveal their scores?"


Saturday, 4 October 2008

Percy , percy, percy

I'm feeling much better now and so daughter and I are once again singing and dancing around the kitchen. We whirl and twirl with gay abandon, singing loudly at the tops of our voices.

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We've had lots of fun with this one:





(yep, still enjoying the greatest hits of Gilbert O'Sullivan!)

but I got Duffy's album for my birthday and our favourite now is this:






the only thing is, daughter insists it's "Percy" -


Percy the Tank Engine

Friday, 3 October 2008

Photostory Friday - Tempus Fugit

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Still practising with my (now not-so-new) camera. I was hoping to do a photography course at night school this term, but of course I haven't got the time. (What was I thinking? I can't even manage choir rehearsals once a week!).

Instead I am trying to use PhotoStory Friday to motivate me to try something new each week. I've bought myself a set of macro filters to try some close-ups and here's one of my efforts:


This is my carriage clock which my godmother bought me for my 18th birthday.

It has accompanied me to university, to my first house and now this house.

It is soon to grace the mantlepiece in my newly decorated lounge.

It has been ticking away and swinging its balls (excuse the expression!) for twenty-one years.

Twenty one years!!!

Blimey, time flies!