Tuesday, 29 March 2011

How to enjoy Mothers' Day

Yes, it's come round again.

Mothering Sunday is this Sunday.

A day to cherish mothers everywhere.

So what do I want for Mothers' Day?

Hmmmm, let me see.......

  • to wake up naturally having had enough sleep (ie not by an alarm, husband's snoring or daughter jumping on top of me)
  • to experience the magic fairies for myself (you know, the ones who do the washing, cleaning, tidying, etc)
  • to have five minutes' peace at some point during the day
However, after six years of Mothers' Days I think I have realised the best way to enjoy it..........

................ lower my expectations.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

I ....... need ........ chocolate!

I've been doing so well.

So well in fact that I was beginning to feel a little smug.

"This giving up chocolate for lent thing isn't too difficult", I thought.

Well, not if you replace the chocolate with marshmallows, Starburst and fudge, it isn't!

Oh, is that not the point?

Anyway, I was doing well until this week.

You see I have fifty subject reports and twenty form reports to write by Friday and a Parents' Evening tomorrow. I still have forty lessons a fortnight to prepare and teach, 260 pieces of homework a week to mark and 130 children to assess, record and discipline.

Oh, and tomorrow I've got one of those "personal development" interviews where I realise my career is going nowhere.

I'm so tired I could sleep stood up.

Easter is still weeks off.

There is no end in sight.

I need chocolate.

Only Green & Black's Maya Gold will do.

I .... must..... resist....... temptation

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hide and Seek Hamster

After a very trying day yesterday when daughter whinged and moaned about everything and also throughout our entire bike ride in the afternoon, I was looking forward to going to my friend's 40th birthday bash at a smart teppanyaki restaurant in Manchester.

MIL was booked to babysit and husband had been and collected her.

I had managed to get ready whilst corralling daughter into tidying her room and putting her pjs on and I was just putting the final touches to my face while she and MIL were in lounge.

Then I heard the scream.

Intense sobbing ensued and we rushed into the lounge to see what had happened.

It appears that daughter had taken her hamster out of its cage to show MIL, she had put it down on the sofa where MIL had taken a large cushion away (she needs to sit on a tower of cushions in order to be able to get up again) and the hamster had promptly burrowed down into the bottom of the sofa.

We found a shocked MIL, a sobbing child and a hamster rattling around in the sofa!!

Well, we couldn't leave the house with all that going on; dead or alive that hamster had to come out of the sofa (couldn't have a decaying hamster inside it) and with daughter's hysterics, it had better be alive. So husband began trying to entice the hamster out with food.

I texted my friend to say that we were going to be late.

Afte 30 minutes of trying to get his hands down the back of the sofa and entice him out, drastic measures were needed - husband got the stanley knife.

After hacking holes in the bottom of my beautiful sofa he eventually managed to extract the hamster.

Daughter was resoundedly told off and we set off for Manchester.

We arrived 30 minutes late to find everyone waiting for us, including the performance chefs!

And our excuse was an errant hamster.

How embarrassing!

Friday, 18 March 2011

Things about me

The inspiring Studentmum, who amazes me with her determination, drive and perseverance in pursuing her Master's degree, has given me an award:

Now I have to share 7 things about myself and pass the award on to 15 bloggers.

Well now, seven things, hmmmmmm............

What don't you already know after three years of blogging?

You know about my obsession with height order books on bookcases, that I can recite the alphabet backwards, I've sung with Jose Carreras and Pavarotti, I've paddled a canoe on the Amazon and I can ring church bells.

Not a lot left.

So, scraping the barrel, here goes:
  1. I have a phobia of frogs.
  2. I can't bear beetroot. Or liver.
  3. I have no sense of direction.
  4. I'm allergic to cats and pollen.
  5. I love fine china plates and crystal glasses (my mum says I was born to be a lady!)
  6. My favourite composer is Mozart (although I can't listen to the Flute and Harp Concerto anymore since it was the soundtrack to my 20 hour labour)
  7. I never empty bins (drives husband insane, but I just don't do it, don't know why)

Now, I'm notoriously bad at passing on awards, so I'll just say the first fifteen bloggers to comment who wish to take up the meme can have the award.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Genetically Modified Daughter

It's very strange going to daughter's Parents' Evening; the shoe being on the other foot, so to speak. Making small talk with other parents whilst waiting for our turn. Reading daughter's school books, which, quite frankly, amaze me with the volume and quality of work.

I don't remember doing that much written work when I was six; I remember singing, painting, watching TV programmes about Victorians and drawing on the board in differently coloured chalk. Well, it was the seventies!

Anyway, when it was our turn we entered daughter's classsroom and listened to her teacher tell us about daughter's achievements, potential and targets. All good stuff and I was starting to feel immensely proud and just a little bit smug. Then we get to "Personal and Social Stuff" (not the official school term for it).

Her teacher tells us that daughter has perfectionist tendencies, displays anxiety when she can't achieve her own high standards and gets upset when given constructive criticism.

Wonder who she inherited that from?


Saturday, 12 March 2011

A Day Off

It doesn't happen often, but today I had a day off. Not a day off from work, no, it's Saturday, I'm off work anyway. No, a day off from being a wife and mother.

How so?

Well, yesterday hubby declared that he would take daughter to work with him this morning and then on to a fabulous swimming pool near where he works. He's just found out about it and wanted to try it. It has a wave pool, fountains and slides. Just her sort of thing.

So I had a day to myself!

What to do?

I considered going out somewhere, but I didn't fancy traffic or crowds or spending money I haven't got. I thought about going out on my new bike, but the forecast was rain. Then it hit me. I could stay in and enjoy having the house to myself.

So what did I do?

Well, I spent the morning spring cleaning the kitchen which may not sound like fun, but I spend a lot of time in there and I like it to be clean and sparkly. I cleaned every surface, window, cupboard door, etc until the whole place gleamed. Hugely satisfying.

Then, I enjoyed a quiet lunch of feta and pomegranate salad with red wine vinegar and wholegrain mustard dressing. Who says eating alone has to be dull?

Next I had a cup of tea and a homemade cranberry and cream cheese muffin whilst watching an episode of "Downton Abbey". Such a luxury to eat in the lounge - I can't do that when daughter's around, have to set an example!

Then I cut up some old Good Food magazines and stuck recipes in my book making a mental note of things I want to try.

I did some on-line shopping for daughter's summer wardrobe, spending money I haven't got, I know, but she needs clothes and I did have a code for a discount at Mini Boden!

Finally, I did a bit of pottering. You know, mooching round the house moving stuff, sorting stuff, etc. Reading daughter's "News Book" from last year which her teacher has just sent home following inspection. I'm not sure I liked daughter's description of me as "has thousands of handbags"!

Then the rest of the WM family arrived home, daughter made the evening meal for all of us and hubby will do the dishes.

I'm now sitting with a cup of tea and my laptop while daugher gets her pjs on, then it's an episode of Doctor Who with her before bedtime and a DVD and a bottle of wine with hubby after.

I enjoyed my day off, but it's nice to have them back.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Giving up for Lent

Yesterday we had our pancakes. Lovely homemade ones with the traditional lemon and sugar. We talked to daughter about why we eat pancakes and about Lent and why we give something up during Lent.

So we all decided:

Daddy's giving up bread.

(Very good idea, he has a real bread habit and it's not good for him)

Mummy's giving up chocolate.

(I know, I know, but it was either that or wine so you can see why I chose chocolate!)

Daughter said she'd give up "seconds".

However, when I picked her up from school today she declared she couldn't give up seconds because there may be crumble on Sunday.

"So what are you giving up?" I asked.

"Eating bogeys"!!


Monday, 7 March 2011



"An aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident"

Well, here's a little example:

I have to do a couple of "duties" a week at work.

I hate duty.

Especially outside.

I hate being forced to walk around in the cold and the rain for half an hour while there is tons of stuff to do on my desk.

Well, this term I'm on duty by the astroturf on a Thursday lunchtime.

Primarily to ensure that year 10 boys don't kick their footballs through the Headmaster's Study windows by accident.

However, it is precisely when my daughter and her little year 2 friends are all doing "Football Club"!

Such a joy to watch them try to pass the ball to each other!

And, of course, steal a quick kiss through the fencing when she runs up to see me!


Sunday, 6 March 2011


So I survived the week.

A week of Inset, Inspectors and yet another Parents' Evening.

I managed to stay alert and look like this:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Mainly because when I got home I looked like this:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Oh, okay, more like this:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

This weekend was a whirl of catching up on housework, catching up on schoolwork and taking daughter to parties, swimming and riding.

I am worn out.

So tonight I am going to look like this:

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Just me, a "Madmen" DVD and a bar of Green and Blacks.


Saturday, 5 March 2011

Under Pressure

On Monday on BBC2, a fellow working mum, Sophie Raworth, is presenting a documentary entitled "Parents Under Pressure" exploring some of the reasons why, in a UNICEF survey, Britain's children come bottom in a table of 21 developed countries for well being.

What interests me, as a permanently guilty working mum, is how to avoid this depressing statistic.

An American scheme, Families and Schools Together, featured in the programme, give a few pointers such as
  • eat together as a family once a week
  • give your children 15 minutes of undivided attention each day
  • pick your children up from school at least once a week
  • teach your children to cook
(Is is me or are those things that our parents did with us?)

Well, I manage all of those, but I want to add a couple of my own:
  • firstly, play games together - see The Happy Puzzle Company for ideas - families that play together stay together! (Of course, you have to not mind when your six year old starts giving you tips on tactics when playing Uno!)
  • secondly, get outside together every weekend: walking, bike riding (on my new bike!), welly wanging, etc (and amuse your neighbours in the process!)
  • thirdly, once a week, put on a Queen song and sing and dance your hearts out (air guitar optional)!
Altogether now..........

"Under Pressure - dum dum dum diddy dum dum"

Friday, 4 March 2011

How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Recently I have been encouraging daughter to be a little more independent. To take more responsibility for herself and her wellbeing. Now that she's really keen on cooking I had the idea for her to start making her own breakfast, rather than just pouring herself a glass of juice and putting her order in!

Today I mooted the idea:

"Would you like to make your own breakfasts?" I asked.

"Oooo yeah!" she replied, with much more enthusiasm than I expected.


"Yeah! Chocolate ice cream every morning!"

Not exactly what I had in mind.