Friday, 31 July 2009

Just call me Elton

This morning I went to see my lovely, lovely optician. I always have my MOT in the summer holidays; you know, optician, dentist, doctor, etc. Anyway my optician said that my eyes were very healthy and my eyesight was still the same, no change in prescription. So my existing glasses (I have a black pair and a brown pair) were fine, no need to change the lenses.

However, I said that I fancied a change of frame. Feeling a new me and a new image coming on I thought I would go for something colourful - pink or purple. I tried on loads of pairs of glasses and gradually narrowed it down to two - one pink/mauve plastic and one pink/silver metal. I couldn't choose. I so badly wanted both.

Now, my last pair of glasses were £200 so I couldn't afford to buy two pairs at that price, but I asked what the prices of these two were just in case.

"These are quite reasonably priced", he said, "£120 for that one and £130 for the others"

Just as I was weighing up in my mind whether I could justify buying both, he interjected with:

"If you'd like both, I can do the second pair for half price"

Yay! Result!


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So, what do you think?


Thursday, 30 July 2009

Not me then?

Judging by your comments on my last post it's not me, then.

Thank goodness.

I did feel a little sorry for the girl. Her mother and I do have quite different approaches: she drives her daughter round the corner (in her 4x4) to Rainbows while I walk with Izzy across the bridge over the brook and play pooh sticks, she gives her daughter a mobile phone and a Ninento DS, I give Izzy paper, funky foam and glue, she takes her daughter to activities after school every day, I take Izzy home and do reading or number games with her - you get the picture.

I also felt a little sorry for Izzy who had been so looking forward to her coming to play. I knew something was amiss when I heard Izzy saying:

"If you don't want to do lego or colouring or music, what do you want to do? Why don't you want to do anything? Don't you want to play with me?"

I also realised that Izzy has come a long way since I wrote on this blog earlier this year about not signing her up for lots of afterschool activities and spending time with her myself or encouraging her to play by herself instead. She is now very good at playing imaginatively with her dolls, lego, kitchen, etc for at least 30 minutes on her own and you should have seen the globe she made for her dad's birthday this week out of blue tissue paper and green funky foam (with absolutely no input from me whatsoever) - he was so delighted with it!

I'm sure the little girl down the road is so used to having everything organised for her and just 'reacting' to activities that are presented to her that when she was faced with a lot of 'open ended' toys in Izzy's bedroom she didn't know where to start.

In the long term I suspect this will affect her concentration at school and also her ability to think creatively and to problem solve. I am seeing this at school already with the number of children who just want to be spoonfed. They want me to tell them what to do rather than guide them into working it out for themselves. Where will the engineers, scientists, artists, entrepreneurs and politicians of the future come from if we can't raise a generation to think imaginatively to solve problems?

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Is it me?

Izzy had a playdate today with a girl from down our road. The little dot of a five year old was dropped off at our house and as soon as her dad left she pulled out her mobile phone and began playing with it.

Yes. You read that right. A five year old with a Samsung mobile phone!

She then sat in Izzy's Thomas the Tank Engine bedroom (commenting that she didn't like Thomas the Tank Engine because it was babyish) refusing to play with anything (Izzy has the entire contents of ELC in there so there wasn't a lack of choice) and said she was bored. This is the girl who has an organised activity every night after school. Izzy had tried coaxing her with lego, colouring and singing into the disco diva microphone and was getting frustrated so I intevened.

I coaxed the girl into playing with Izzy's farm, Izzy's kitchen, musical instruments, Guess Who? and then taught her how to play Uno (which Izzy loves and will play for hours). Each thing lasted about ten minutes before she'd had enough.

She then said she was hungry. I offered a fruit salad of strawberries, raspberries, cherries (with the stones removed), blueberries and grapes which I have ready in the fridge at all times. She just wanted grapes.

She then announced that she wanted to go home.

Huh?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bikini shmikini

Okay, I didn't realise that posting those photos would create such a response about my 'bikini body'. Truth be told, I only bought one bikini for the holiday and didn't really intend wearing it since buying it was traumatic enough - all those wobbly bits in the badly lit changing rooms - eugh. However, the heat was such that I couldn't bear the swimming costumes any more and had to resort to the two piece.

Putting on the bikini and trying not to look at my muffin middle and love handles, I remembered how I used to wear tiny bikinis on holiday with no self consciousness at all. It just confirmed what I'd been thinking for the past year or so. I've been lamenting my loss of fitness and my expanding waistline, but just hiding behind what my mum calls "deceptive dressing".

Before daughter was born I was a slim size 10/12 and went to the gym five times a week doing a variety of different forms of exercise (Bodycombat was my favourite). I was the slimmist and fittest I'd ever been in my life.

After she was born, I did lose the baby weight quite quickly (thanks to breastfeeding) and this led me into a false sense of security. My guard was down.

Unfortunately, working full time with a baby left no time for the gym so that had to go. Then we moved house and I was so deeply depressed at moving to this wreck that the healthy eating was replaced by bad habits. Cakes and biscuits, takeaways, nibbles with the odd glass of wine and of course, hiding chocolate under the bed, were my ways of dealing with the stress of renovating this place. Gradually the weight crept on.

Now the size 12 clothes are getting tight and I'm about a stone over my ideal weight. Something has to be done.

The break in Menorca has given me the impetus to change and since returning home I have been eating healthily again, feeling much better and I am hoping to get out and about more to improve my fitness. (I've also bought husband "Wii Fit" for his birthday with the ulterior motive of using it myself!)

I'm determined to lose one or two pounds a week until my birthday in September, by which time I should feel more like my old self again. I can feel a butterfly struggling to emerge from the chrysalis ..........

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Menorcan Memories

So, as promised, here is the low down on our holiday in Menorca.

Remember, we'd never taken daughter abroad before, but had holidayed in the UK in Country Cottages which served us well until last year when, after a week of rain, husband said he was going abroad next time, so I said he had to book it. Well, the boy did well. Knowing my high standards and requirements he did his research and found us just the thing.

If you find other people's holiday snaps boring, just look at this one and then skip the rest - it sums up the holiday pretty well:


Now, for family and frends who may be interested, the rest of the story:

We stayed at the Sol Gavilanes hotel on the beach at Cala Santa Galdanes:

The hotel was beautiful and the food was amazing (even better because I didn't have to cook it!). Izzy, being her usual Miss Independent self, helped herself to buffet at breakfast and dinner and seemed so grown up doing so. The hotel had a lovely pool and the beach was soft white sand and shallow waters so Izzy spent most of the time in the water. This was my foray into the water:


We hired a car for a week and took trips to Mahon, Cuitadella and Binibeca as well as going to the top of El Torro and visiting some ancient sites:




We took Izzy to a horse show one night to see the fabulous Menorcan Stallions:

she loved it!

There was lots of ice cream........

and cocktails........

(non-alcoholic, of course)

......... and a lot of laughter.

It was good to be together, the three of us, without any pressures, worries, DIY or jobs to do. I haven't laughed so much in ages. I think husband laughed the most at this point in the holiday:



In fact, the holiday was so good I told husband that he could book next year's holiday as well!

He he he!

MIL Blues

I promise tales of Menorca soon when I've sorted out the photos, but I had to have a little rant about MIL.

Yesterday, she arrived unannounced, as usual, as I was unloading the huge Tesco shop I'd just done and tackling ten loads of holiday washing (and just in time for lunch). She took up residence in the kitchen and asked about our holiday.

I just kept quiet; that way she has no ammunition.

However, husband started to tell her about our gorgeous hotel, the beautiful beach, etc.

She managed to criticise everything he mentioned about our fabulous holiday including the fact that our dinner was a buffet and not waiter service!! She always likes to be waited on (don't I know it!).

So, deflecting the conversation before she could ruin any more of my perfect summer holiday memories, I asked her about her holiday in Llandudno with her sister. She'd told us before we went away that they were going to stay in a beautiful hotel with fabulous food.

Unfortunately, it didn't turn out as she'd imagined.

She proceded to tell us of the substandard rooms and the small portions at dinner. At this point husband said, "Well, if it had been a buffet, you wouldn't have been able to complain about the portions, you could have helped yourself"

I nearly splurted my fruit juice all over the kitchen table!

She went on to describe what an awful service there was, that the rooms weren't properly equipped, the food wasn't good enough, etc, etc. I was starting to feel a tiny bit sorry for her, but then the truth came out:

They had paid just £60 per night for dinner, bed and breakfast in a two star hotel, but were expecting four star service and facilities!

Husband, uncharateristically, said exactly what I was thinking:

"Sounds like you got just what you paid for, mum!"

I know I shouldn't gloat...........

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Back relaxed and refreshed ....... for how long?

I'm back. A fantastic holiday was had by all; beautiful four star hotel on breathtaking white sandy beach with shallow waters. Temperatures topping 37 degrees requiring lots of cocktails and ice-creams. Perfect. The boy (husband) did well.

Now busy tackling mountains of washing and trying to sort out something for husband's birthday this week, so will be back in blog land soon to tell you all about it.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Leaving on a jet plane .........

Off to enjoy a bit of this .......

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Back in two weeks!

Thursday, 9 July 2009

Bang Goes the Theory

Normally, when a PR company contacts me to ask me to promote something, I think about it but then I politely decline. I will gladly thank people like Gurgle.com who give me a mention, but I don't normally review products that aren't really relevant to this blog. However, I was contacted today by a company launching a new BBC programme on a subject close to my heart - science.

You already know how daughter and I rush to Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry at every opportunity, we are regulars at Halifax's Eureka and at half term I took her to the Science Museum in London. We do our own experiments at home and I am constantly encouraging her to ask questions about the world around her - her favourite seems to be "What floats and what sinks?" when in the bath (she's even trying different temperatures of water now to see if it affects floatation!). If you feel inspired to try some experiments with your children check out Experimental Mum - she has some great ideas.

To me science is all about posing questions and trying to find answers; I have absolute faith that science will find answers to important questions like how to find alternative forms of energy and how to feed the world, provided we still have scientists to do the research. So, I feel it is important to foster a love of science in our children, and I was more than willing to help on this occasion - please read on, as it may inspire you to foster a love of science in your children:


Being a self confessed science geek...........


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........ I am so excited about the new BBC family science series "Bang goes the Theory" Have you seen the trailers? Fireworks, big contraptions, live experiments. Fabulous! (I do hope this isn't just me!)

It launches with a live broadcast on 14 July on BBC One (between the One Show and Eastenders) with a live attempt to transport Dr Yan Wong across a 2.5m void using magnetism. Fantastic! Who wouldn't want an effortless way to get around? It then continues with a ten part series from July 27th.

With daughter's love of science and invention (remember The Attentioner?) she will no doubt be riveted and inspired in equal measure. Unfortunately, I am on holiday when the live experiment airs, so I'll be setting the recorder and, of course, watching the series later in the summer.

You can join in the fun via the Bang Goes the Theory website and, if your children have a burning science question, why not Ask Yan?

Who knows, you could have the next Professor Brian Cox in your family!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Cravings, what cravings?

The site Gurgle.com has just published an article about the delightful world of mummy blogs and listed its top 20 mummy blogs and guess who's listed

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That would be me.

So a big "Hello" to anyone who has popped in via Gurgle.com.

Gurgle.com is a useful site for all pregnancy and baby related information and, had it been around when I was pregnant, I may not have spent a fortune on pregnancy books and magazines trying to become acquainted with the mystical world of pregnancy and childbirth.

Why are there so many things no one ever tells you?

The most frightening thing for me was that for the first five months of pregnancy I didn't have morning sickness or cravings, no, nothing so normal for Working Mum. What happened to me was that I was unable to stomach chocolate!

Not a bar of Fruit and Nut or Old Jamaica could pass my lips. Not a Ritter Sport could be eaten. Not even a tiny bar of Toblerone. See, I told you it was bad! I had a bar of Green & Blacks in the kitchen cupboard from July until January. Unnatural!

Of course, I forced myself back on to the stuff by January, but the terrible memory still lingers.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Oh Happy Day!!

Guess what?


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I've broken up today for eight weeks!!

Oh Happy Day!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Meringue Madness

This weekend I invited my parents over for Sunday lunch to see daughter before we go on our holidays (not to see me, you notice, no, just daughter!). The menu included one pot chicken with vegetables, charlotte potatoes and homegrown peas followed by another simple yet stunning dessert from the Working Mum kitchen:




When I brought it to the table daughter declared:


"That looks so scrummy, I bet we all have seconds!"


Well, what do you think?

Friday, 3 July 2009

We're all going on a Summer Holiday

And by we, I mean we.

Guess what came in the post today?

Yes, Tigger's Passport!

(I've smudged out some details to protect him from identity theft)

As much of a surprise to me as to daughter, Tigger's passport arrived today so he can come on holiday with us. Daughter is delighted!

And so is Tigger:


(Husband must have spent hours creating it!)

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

The end is nigh

The end of term, that is. I break up next Tuesday for the long eight week holiday and I'm now on the wind down. I've written all the reports and UCAS references, I've updated schemes and resources, visited pupils on Work Experience, trained the staff in ICT skills and I've implemented a new initiative for September. Sports Day and Speech Day have come and gone and we're all just waiting for the end to arrive.

Now, the thing is, as the year comes to an end, I start to get my evenings back. No more marking homework, preparing lessons or writing reports. So what do I do?

Well, I refuse to fire up the steam stripper in this heat to finish stripping the hall, stairs and landing, there's nothing on the telly (I don't do sport) and so I turn to the laptop.

Tonight husband is late home from work (don't feel sorry for him, some annual golf tournament and dinner thing) and so I have unfettered access to the laptop. Here's what happened:

Mmm, I'll see if there are any comments on my blog........

I'll just read a few others blogs ..........

Might as well order this week's Tesco shop .............

I know, I'll update my list on Lovefilm .........

I'll just look for a nest of tables for the lounge ........

Has to match the coffee table ........

Yes, that's perfect ......

Ooo look, there's a little sideboard in the same range, that would look perfect on the end wall.......

I'll just add it to the basket.......

Five week's delivery...... that'll be when we get back from holiday ........

I'll order them.........


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£714

Ooops!