Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Frankie & Meany's

I recently got a voucher for Frankie & Benny's through my Debenhams account.

Free kids meal when accompanied by a full paying adult.

Oh good, I thought, there's a Frankie & Benny's in Manchester, Stockport and The Trafford Centre, I can use it one Saturday or during half term.

I printed it off and read the small print:

Under 11's only, Monday - Friday, after 5pm before 31st October, but not during half term.

What use is that?!

My under 11 is in bed by 6.30pm Mon - Fri, except during half term.

Frankie & Meany's more like!!!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Have my cake and eat it!

Last post about my 40th Birthday, I promise.

Last night I went out for a meal with family and friends and at the end of the meal they brought out the cake. Look at this:



Look, it's me!

I'm in my choir uniform, singing whilst teaching maths and making cupcakes with Izzy:



Well, I am good at multitasking!

Around the edge was my garden, handbags, suitcases and flags of countries I have visited.

How fab is that?

Seemed such a shame to cut into it:



But it was lemon cake, my favourite!

Yet again, the boy did well.

The trouble is, the pressure's really on now for what I do for his 40th next year.

Any ideas?

Friday, 25 September 2009

There's an app for that!

I've been spending the last few evenings avoiding both housework and marking whilst trying to get to grips with my new birthday present. It's been a bit frustrating, but now I've got the hang of it, I think it's fab!

What did I get?

Well, it was something off my list.

I didn't think I would get it, but I did.

Look what husband bought me for my birthday:




The boy did well.

Once I'd figured out how to switch it on (I kid you not) and how to charge it up, I downloaded i-tunes and I was off. I've now put some CDs onto it, put the photos from our summer holiday on and filled the diary with my pressing engagements. I've changed the weather app to show Manchester and I've downloaded a few apps, mainly games like pac-man (remember that?). My family, who knew what I was getting, kindly bought me some i-tunes vouchers so I've been having fun at the i-tunes store. I'm hooked!

I'm now known for walking round the house going:

"There's an app for that!"


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

No elbows on the table!!

While I was away for my birthday weekend, we allowed daughter to eat with us in the main hotel restaurant on the night of my actual birthday for a special treat. Now, this was a silver service, very posh restaurant in a four star Country House Hotel. Luckily, it was a family friendly hotel and it was okay for her to eat with us, but that night there were no other children in the restaurant.

Oh no! No other children. Just a lot of adults wanting a quiet dinner and there was I, walking in with my five year old daughter. How would she behave?

Was I daunted?

Well, a little.

But the thing is, I have always insisted on decent table manners with daughter. I get it from my dad. He always insisted on good table manners. He said that if we had good table manners at home, we wouldn't forget when we were out. And to be honest, my mum and dad were often complimented on how well behaved my brother and I were in restaurants. I wanted the same with my daughter.

But there is such a lot to learn:

Don't put your elbows on the table.

Don't talk with your mouth full.

Only put onto your fork what will fit into your mouth.

Never, ever, ever put your knife in your mouth!

Never use your fork as a shovel.

Use your dessert fork, not your finger!

Sip your drink.

Cut food into mouth size pieces.

Place cutlery together on your plate at the end of the meal.


Ask permission to leave the table.


Wait until everyone has finished before you ask permission to leave the table!


And the list goes on.

So how did daughter manage?

Well, she did extremely well. She sat still in her seat, she ate beautifully and she made polite conversation. I was so proud.

Me?

I knocked my menu onto the floor taking half my cutlery with it!!

Can't take me anywhere!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Life certainly does begin at 40

For my birthday weekend we went here, Armathwaite Hall, in the Lake District:



The hotel was beautiful and husband had arranged champagne and flowers in our room on arrival so I felt thoroughly spoiled. Then we all had a wonderful seven course dinner in the hotel restaurant for my birthday.

The next morning, after a swim in the hotel pool, we played some croquet on the lawn:




and then walked over to the nearby animal park where daughter did this:


We then spent a little while lounging about drinking tea (from a silver teapot with a silver strainer) and eating chocolates in the Lake View lounge of the hotel. After a quick trip into Keswick to buy daughter a new waterproof (for a school trip on Tuesday) we went back to the hotel and had another swim and a jacuzzi.

After daughter had had her dinner we tucked her up in bed and left her watching "Strictly" (with the baby listening service on) while we had another seven course dinner.

The next day we watched a falconry display on the front lawn:

had a little wander around the gardens:


and then set off home via Grasmere for some of Sarah Nelsons famous gingerbread.

What a fantastic birthday!

And what did daughter put in her news book today?

"I watched Strictly in bed"!

Friday, 18 September 2009

Happy Birthday!


Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday Working Mu-um,
Happy Birthday to me!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Confession time

I have a confession to make. It's a terrible confession for a teacher. I don't know how I've managed all these years. I'm just so bad at it. And it seems to get harder every year. This year it seems particularly difficult. I'm really struggling with it this term.

What is it?

Memorising children's names.

There, I've said it.

I find it very difficult to learn my new pupils' names.

If I was a primary school teacher I would only have 30 names to learn and I would see those 30 children every day. But no, I chose to be a secondary school teacher, don't ask my why. I teach about 130 pupils and see about 75 of them each day and then only for an hour at a time. By the time the first Parents' Evening comes round I may have only seen a child for a total of 8 hours.

I do all the things you are supposed to. I do seating plans. I print off their photos from the database and stare at them. I try to attach attributes to each child (Lily with the red glasses, Hamzah is the tallest, Sarah has a pony tail, etc). I try so hard.

I think it is getting harder because I've learned so many. In sixteen years of teaching I've put just over 2000 names to faces. And it's when the same names keep recurring that the problems begin.

You see it's not so bad with the unusual names ("Merlin" was one I remember vividly!), but then I get 3 Sams, 4 James and 5 Kate/Katy/Katherines in one class and I've already taught over 50 Sams, 70 James and 120 Kate/Katy/Katherines, so they all start to blur. I once taught a class with 5 Hannahs in it, but at least they were all called Hannah, what about the year I had Laura, Lara, Lauren and Lorna in one class?! Heaven help me!

The thing is, I very quickly know their personalities. I know if a child is confident or shy, produces messy or immaculate work, understands immediately or needs some one to one help, volunteers in class or needs a little push, is enthusiastic or just coasting. I know the child. Show me a photo of a child and I can tell you all about them. But putting a name to a face ..........

So the next time you are at a Parents' Evening and you say your child's name and the teacher looks blank, don't be offended if they look at a photo. Please. We do know your child, we just may not have memorised their name, yet.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Calm has descended

Things are settling down now in the Working Mum household. Husband is away for the weekend with work and daughter is at Church Parade so I've got a few minutes to myself to do the ironing, tidy the front garden and update the blog. So what's been happening?

In the house the shower seems to have stopped leaking now after being positively encased in silicone. The plasterers have finally finished the hall, stairs and landing. The electricians have been and checked the electrics, everything is safe again (MIL house sat for us). Huge sigh of relief. Just waiting for the joiner to come back from his holidays and start on the staircase and doors. Oh, and two of the burglar alarm sensors seem to be broken as well. Heigh ho!

Daughter has settled back into her school routine and she has now added 'spellings' to her homework along with her reading. If anyone has any tips on how to get a stubborn five year old to learn ten spellings a week please let me know. We've had tears, flouncing and shouting so far! (All on her part, not mine, I must add)

Work is still manic (I've already done the first Parents' Evening of the year) and, given that the whole school computer network seems to be malfunctioning I think I've coped rather well. I have now gone back in time. I am writing on a normal board instead of an interactive one, I am giving pupils photocopied worksheets instead of taking them in computer rooms to work on-line and I am putting notes in other teachers' pigeonholes instead of e-mail. It's like teaching in the last century! He he he!

I'm back to rehearsing with choir again after the summer break and I've a concert at the Bridgewater Hall to look forward to on October 4th.

So, I'm back in the swing of things, busy, busy, busy and no time to stop and think, except ......


...........next weekend.............


...........is the big 4-0 for me!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

So excited!!


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Anxious? Moi?

You know they say that dreaming about losing a tooth is a sign of anxiety? Well, last night I dreamt that I lost all of the teeth on my lower jaw!

And we're only four days into term!

Saturday, 5 September 2009

A shocking time

Everything about the hall, stairs and landing seems to be going wrong from the start. Firstly, the shower leaked into the hall, the plasterers still haven't finished and now this:

Last week I unscrewed all the sockets and light switches in the hall and on the landing so that the plasterers could plaster round them, just as I have done in every other room in the house.

On Friday night I was sitting in bed reading when there was a bang and the landing lights went out. "Oh, the bulb's gone", I thought, "I'll leave the RCD switch till the morning" and I went to sleep without flicking the lights fuse back on. Husband arrived home from his night out and crept to bed in the dark none the wiser.

On Saturday morning husband realised there were no upstairs lights and flicked the fuse back on the RCD unit.

On Saturday evening we heard a buzzing noise which we traced to a light switch on the landing which then started to produce smoke! We quickly turned the lights off at the fuse, positioned a smoke alarm above the offending switch and went to bed where I didn't sleep very well. Thank goodness I hadn't put the lights back on the previous night!

This morning I was screwing the socket fronts back on when there was an almightly bang and all the upstairs sockets fused.

Now I'm getting worried.

Not only that, this is when I hate working full time because I don't have any time off work now until half term (end of October) to get the electricians in.

Aaaargh!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Go figure!

So I cleaned the house from top to bottom before going back to school - stupidly forgetting that the plasterers were starting work today on the hall, stairs and landing.

Every room is now covered in a fine layer of plaster dust!



And here's a conundrum:

At work, any problems with IT have to be reported to the IT helpdesk through the on-line facility on the school intranet.

I have no intranet on my computer in my classroom.

How do I use the intranet to report that I have no intranet?

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Tomorrow, tomorrow, you're only a day away

I have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach.

I feel sick.

I have a headache.

I know I won't sleep tonight.

Why?

Because tomorrow is the first day of the new school year.

It's that back to school feeling.

Not for daughter, for me!

I think I'm nearly ready (remember it is seige mentality at the start of each term):

  • The house is clean and tidy
  • The freezer defrosted and the oven cleaned
  • I've stocked up on storecupboard essentials and made meals for the freezer
  • I've filled my briefcase with a cornucopia of necessary drugs
  • I've got new clothes and shoes
  • My pencil case is bursting with new pens

Yep, I'm ready.

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Bring on the new term!