Saturday, 31 October 2009

Super Grandad!!

You know I wrote a while back about how my parents have more energy than me? While I am flopping into bed at 9.30pm absolutely exhausted they are out dancing until gone midnight?

Well, this time my dad has really gone for it.

Today he will be abseilling down the Cunard Building in Liverpool!

Yes, really!

I thought he was winding me up at first, but no, he's really doing it, for charity.

So if you are in Liverpool today and you see an old bloke dangling off this building:

....... think "that's Working Mum's Dad"!

Friday, 30 October 2009

Tacky, but by no means cheap!

Yesterday we had one of our family fun days. We decided to go to Blackpool to show daughter the lights. It's many years since I've been to Blackpool and I think it will be many more before I go back.

Now, I know Blackpool is tacky, and if you take it in that vein it can be quite good fun, but it was the cost! Even armed with £56 worth of vouchers, we managed to spend another £100 on top of that. So how did a family of three spend over £150 in one day in Blackpool?

Well, firstly there was the car park - £7.50 for the day. Pay and display car parks, all of them, and they don't take notes. How many people have £7.50 on them in change? None of the bemused people in the queue by the pay and display machine, that's for sure.

Then, we headed for the Tower. £48 for three! If I hadn't had £40 of Tesco Days Out Vouchers I wouldn't have bothered. Even for the £8 it cost us, it wasn't worth it. The aquarium was disappointing, the queue for the lift to the top was through the queuing system, down the corridor, through the doors and all along the balcony of the ballroom, so we didn't bother. The ballroom was impressive (we just wanted to see where Strictly is next week!). The children's play area was large with only one entrance (we thought that was good for security), but daughter got lost inside and couldn't find her way out, another child helped her and then she wanted to leave.

Okay, so we'll try the Sealife Centre £32 (but we had a two for one voucher from Debenhams). Nice aquariums, but we missed the shark feeding as we were patiently waiting by the wrong sharks!

Now the Golden Isle Indoor Golf (daughter loves indoor golf), by this time I thought we'd just pay for husband and daughter - £5. I hadn't appreciated how large it was and sat for an hour waiting for them to come out.

Time for a fish and chip supper - £18. Nice food, piping hot and lots of lovely bread and butter, but husband's meal arrived at a different time from ours so we ate separately.

A bus to the Pleasure Beach - £4. This was quite funny; I realised that my daughter had never been on a bus before when she sat down and asked "Where are the seat belts?"

Pleasure Beach - COMPLETE RIP-OFF - SINCE WHEN HAVE YOU HAD TO PAY JUST TO ENTER THE PLEASURE BEACH!!? £15 for three of us just to go in and "experience the ambience of the Pleasure Beach"! Then we bought £15 worth of ride tickets enabling daughter to go on six rides. If you think about it, that's £5 per ride!

Open Top Tram from Pleasure Beach to the Tower to see the lights - £5

Now I was ready to go home, but husband said we hadn't seen all the lights. Two more trams (£10) and an hour later we had a very tired and tetchy five year old on our hands who declared that the lights were no longer "cool", but "boring" and "all you do is look at them"!

Oh, and if you are wondering why there are no photos with this post, the batteries had gone in the camera (guess who was the last to use it - yes, husband!)

Next time I'm packing a picnic and going to a National Trust Property. Much better value.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Thank Dulux for that!

Daffodil White!

Daffodil White is the one!!

(If you don't know what I'm on about, read the previous post)

Monday, 26 October 2009

Lemon Sorbet Meringue Ice Cream Buttermilk Daffodil Citrus

I'm on the edge. The search for a pale yellow paint for the hall is getting to me. I've tried 20 different tester pots and two full sized tins and I'm still no further on. I've painted part of the landing twice and found it to be the wrong colour both times. Everything is too yellow, too bright, too white, luminous green, too pink, too brown or just insipid. If it looks okay in daylight, it doesn't in artificial light or vice versa. Nothing is a nice pale yellow in daylight and artificial light.

The pressure is now on because the plumber is coming next week to put a radiator in the hall and the burglar alarm man is also coming to fix and refit the sensors (I broke them when removing them for the plasterers).

I have to find a colour and paint it before they come, otherwise it will be Christmas before I'm off work again and can let them in.

I am now in a battle of wills with the squares of testers on the landing.

I find myself doing quick double takes (in the manner of a spy being followed) in the hopes of catching a tester unawares and finding it to be the right colour!

I feel like they are turning green just to spite me!

I think I am losing it.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

It was a long time coming

Half term has arrived. It seemed a long time coming, but it's finally here. And this year the powers that be at my school have decided that we will have two weeks off for half term. Yay!

Notice that my reaction is the opposite of most of the other mothers of children in daughter's class who are horrified at the thought of entertaining their offspring for 14 entire days. What will they do without Kumon Maths, Le Petit Francais french lessons, riding lessons and gymnastics?

(Yes, there is a hint of sarcasm there)

Well, I'm going to enjoy it! I'll be doing a few jobs and spending time with my daughter.

I'll be getting my hair cut, the car MOTed, the garden tidied and painting some of the hall, stairs and landing. btw "Buttermilk" has turned out to be luminous green as well, I think it's something to do with energy saving lightbulbs being a blue light. I'm trying "Lunar Falls" next - it's costing me a fortune! Any suggestions for a pale yellow paint that doesn't turn green under energy saving light bulbs are gratefully received.

We'll also try to fit in a family day out, probably to Blackpool to show Izzy the lights. I remember going riding on a tram and seeing that lights at her age and I thought it was magical!

We'll have a trip to the cinema to see "Ice Age 3" or "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" (I'm favouring the second). We were going to see Disney Pixar's "Up" in 3-D, but Rosie Scribble's review made me have a rethink. If anyone sees "Fantastic Mr Fox" could you let me know if it's suitable for a five year old?

I've booked Izzy into the holiday club at school for a couple of days (she begged to go on the day they can take their bikes and cycle around school!) so that I can go in and write this year's Entrance Exam.

And of course, Hallowe'en is in the middle of the holiday and I've arranged a play date for Izzy where I will organise the baking of freaky fingers, gingerbread skeletons, spiderweb muffins and pumpkin cookies.

(If you want any of the recipes, just click on the pictures)

Then I'll be spending lots of time on the Wii fit burning off all of the calories generated by the above!!

Happy Half Term Holiday!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Sorry, the bolognese is off tonight

Time for a catch up, methinks.

Firstly, let me tell you that my lie-in on Sunday was non-existent due to being woken up at 7.00am by husband's alarm clock which he had forgotten to switch off before he left! So I was wide awake by the time the joiner arrived. In fact, I was in my decorating clothes sanding the hall woodwork.

I think I should also explain that our joiner is my fabulous childminder's husband and is fitting in our jobs at the weekend because he has a big kitchen contract on at the moment, so I'm just glad that he's coming at all. He's now fitted six new doors upstairs and is going to start on a new staircase next weekend. It's all looking good!

It seems like ages since I was in the blogosphere and I apologise for my lack of reading of other blogs (I'll catch up at half term). I've been having such a busy time of it recently. I've had tons of work at school with assessments to mark, open evenings and parents' evenings. You'll be glad to know that I knew all the children's names! Last night's year 7 parents said lovely things about how their children are really enjoying my lessons and that they have increased their confidence in my subject so, as they say in the Fast Show, that was nice!

I went to see Michael McIntyre this week at the MEN Arena (part of my birthday present), which was fab!

I've also been filling any extra minutes with trying to sand and paint the hall, stairs and landing, but that's gone a bit wrong as "Soft Sunlight" has turned out to be "Luminous Pea Green" even though the tester pot looked fine. So it's off to B&Q this weekend to change it for "Buttermilk".

We also had daughter's Parents' Evening this week and learned that she is well on the way to being a free reader. In a way I'm hoping that she doesn't want to read her own bedtime stories 'cause that's the thing I really enjoy. Depending on the book, of course; I can't say I was enamoured of the "Magic Ponies" book she got from the library last week!

She's also still making me laugh with her quips. This morning I was writing the Tesco list and asked her if she'd like to choose a meal. She had complained that she never gets to choose what we eat, so I said she could pick one meal a week. She thought for a bit and then said "spaghetti bolognese".

"Good", I said and added the ingredients to the shopping list for Saturday.

This evening I made pasta twists with bacon and tomato sauce, put it on the table and called her into the kitchen.

She took one look at the meal and said,

"That isn't what I ordered"!

Roll on half term!

Saturday, 17 October 2009

A lie-in? What's a lie-in?

This afternoon husband is taking daughter to his sister's in Sheffield to attend her cousin's birthday party. A birthday party that starts at 6.30pm. Izzy's bed time. Because of this, he has arranged for them to stay over at his sister's rather than drive Izzy home afterwards.

You know what this means?

  1. I can go shopping this afternoon with my mum. Proper, leisurely, "let's look at stuff" shopping rather than "where is she? what's she doing?" shopping.
  2. I have a whole evening to myself to watch DVDs, eat chocolate, drink wine and catch up on a few blogs.
  3. I can have a lie-in tomorrow!
Did you see number 3?

A proper, no one in the house at all to wake me, lie-in. My first proper lie-in in five and a half years. Bliss.

And boy, do I need one. With the work I've been doing on the house (ceilings now painted and have started on woodwork on landing), the busy time I've been having at school (including several 13 hour days with Open Evenings and Parent Evenings) and not to mention my visit to hospital, I am exhausted. I could sleep standing up!

Then the joiner phoned to say he'll be round at 8.00am tomorrow to work on the staircase.

Sods law!

Friday, 16 October 2009

C minus for Working Mum

Today I failed in my bid to be the most organised working mum on the planet. Usually, I pride myself on being so organised I know exactly who is doing what and when, and I make sure that all required items are procured well in advance. I manage full-time job, daughter, husband and house with alacrity.


So how did I fail?

At breakfast, all was calm in the Working Mum household. Daughter was dressed in pristine school uniform (okay, it was "Izzy" clean) and we were eating our Weetabix and looking forward to the day ahead. (Don't you just hate the utopian picture I've just painted? Well, don't worry it's soon to be shattered)

"You've got Maths and Singing today, Izzy" I said, "Isn't that a nice day?"

"No, I haven't" she said.

"Yes, you have. It's here on your timetable. That would have been a perfect day for me at school" and I continued to wax lyrical about my favourite subjects at school.

"No, I haven't" she said, "I'm going to the Chestnut Centre"


I had a vague recollection of filling out a form and sending a cheque to school a couple of weeks ago. I shot over to the pinboard where the letter was still hanging and yes, she was right, the trip was today - waterproofs, warm clothes and a packed lunch were required.

It was 7.20am.

We had 10 minutes before we had to leave for school.

"Stooooooooop!" I shouted, as husband was just leaving the house, "Get her changed, I'll do a packed lunch, where have we left her wellies?"

A mad panic ensued. Luckily I had the components of a packed lunch in the house so I didn't have to make a mad dash to the One Stop. Husband managed to change daughter into sensible (and matching!) warm clothes. Wellies were found.

Disaster averted.

In my defence, I was at work until 9.30pm last night and arrived home so exhausted I went straight to bed without checking what was needed for the next day. How could I have been so slapdash?

C minus, more effort required.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009


Here's a thing. Have you seen that advert on TV for Barclays Guaranteed Bonds? Well, five years ago I took one out and was looking forward to it maturing this week. A holiday abroad, a new car,....... oh, the things I have thought about spending it on during the last five years.

Well, the interest was guaranteed to be 75% of the uplift in the FTSE 100 over the five year term of the bond......................................

............ I'll just give you a minute to digest that ............................

................. yes, that would be zero, then!

Yep, I've just received a guaranteed zero interest.

Who knew there'd be a global recession?

Take away and a bottle of wine, then.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Going to bed with Derek Jacobi

It's not what it sounds like. I haven't got a fetish for older men. Let me explain.

A long time ago, in the olden days, when we had cassettes and Sony Walkmen (remember them?) I used to enjoy listening to audio books. On those evenings when I was too tired to even open my eyelids to read a book I would plug myself in and let the dulcet tones of Derek Jacobi and others read to me whilst I lay in bed. There's something about being read to that is so relaxing. Ask any child under the age of 10!

Anyway, with the advent of CDs and the rather more cumbersome Sony CD Walkman, I thought that audio books were just too expensive and gave up my habit.

However, I have just been given an i-pod touch for my birthday, audio books are available to download at reasonable prices (or a monthly fee at and guess what? He's still there!

Derek is back in my life, reading me tales of Brother Cadfael.

Small pleasures.

My heart goes boom diddy boom diddy boom diddy boom .........

So why am I at home on a Thursday? Because yesterday I had, shall we say, an interesting day and have been told to stay at home today.

Yesterday morning at about 4.20am I was woken up by a strange and increasing pain in my chest. Following that was shortness of breath and feeling cold and clammy, yet sweating. Something was not right. It was not indegestion and it was not a pulled muscle. It was inside and it was hurting.

Husband called an ambulance and five minutes later the paramedics arrived. After an ECG showed an irregular heartbeat I was taken to hospital. After about 30 minutes the pain abated and by lunchtime I felt fine. The hospital ran further tests, subsequent ECGs were normal and luckily they found nothing sinister. After 12 hours in hospital I was allowed to go home.

I have to go back in about a week to see a consultant. Let's hope he has some simple, insignificant answer such as 'just a panic attack'.

I did want to go back to school today and get back to normal, but my Head of Department forbade it so I just popped in when I took Izzy to school and picked up some marking (there is always marking!). I think I need to keep busy. So I've been to the library, I've done some ironing, watched Strictly It Takes Two from Tuesday and now I'm doing computer related stuff like signing up for the Radio Times free audiobook from, ordering the Tesco shop and checking our bank account, oh, and a bit of blogging.

Do you think I can get away with putting a second coat on the hall and landing ceilings?

Friday, 2 October 2009

I'm leaning on a lamp-post at the corner of the street

Last week daughter did a sponsored lamp-post walk with Rainbows. She asked some members of our family to sponsor her and they did. After the event they all duly paid paid up. Although they did pay for the 23 lamp-posts that I counted on the walk, not the 82 that she counted. Good try, Izzy!

This week I put the money in an envelope and gave it to her to give to the Rainbow leader.

"What's that?" she asked

"It's the sponsor money" I replied

"No, we haven't got it yet"

"Yes, we have. Nana and Grandma and Uncle Steve gave it to me"

"But why are we taking it to Rainbows?"

"Because that's what it's for"

"No, it's not"

"Yes, it is. It was a Rainbow sponsored walk"

"But I asked them to sponsor me" she wailed

I explained that they had sponsored her to do the walk to raise the money for Rainbows.

"Well, next time, I'm doing it for me" she said

Not quite got the idea, has she?