Friday, 31 August 2012


August was terrible.  

Literally the whole of August.

MIL came to our house on 30th July (hubby's birthday) and said she didn't feel well, thought it was gallstones.

By 27th August she had passed away.

Pancreatic cancer is stealthy, aggressive and deadly.

And bloody fast.

So August was a blur of hospital visits, supporting hubby, sitting with MIL during the night, running "Hotel WM" for my sister-in-law and her family and then helping to organise a funeral.

Nutters was cancelled.

I am drained.

To be honest, I could do with another summer holiday, but in reality I think I'll be glad to get back to school next week to experience some semblance of normality.

Normal blog service will be resumed soon.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Nutters, both of us.

Seems that we have a difficult time ahead of us in the Working Mum house.  I can't say too much at the moment, but don't worry, Mr WM and I are not splitting up.  We're far too stubborn for that!

In fact, we're celebrating our 19th Anniversary this weekend with a trip to "Nutters".

"How appropriate", I can hear you thinking!

You see, Nutters is the restaurant owned by chef, Andrew Nutter, and I've wanted to go there for ages.  This weekend daughter is away at grandma and grandad's and we have the chance to go out together so we've taken the opportunity to have a really grown up meal out.

Mind you, I think "nutters" is appropriate as we spent our actual anniversary chasing each other around the bedroom.................

..................... trying to kill a mosquito!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Be Brave, WM

This weekend we took daughter to see the new Disney Pixar film "Brave".

Talk about holding up a mirror!

Queen Elinor and Princesss Merida were just like me and Izzy.

Arguing about doing what you're told, what is appropriate, how to behave, what is best for you.

Hubby sat there chuckling away saying, "That's you two"

Well, four hours later we were back home, I was supervising daughter's piano practice.  There were tears and tantrums and a few stern words.

Hubby popped his head into the dining room to say:

"I see neither of you learned anything from that film, then"!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Uniform Blues

It's that time again.  Time to sort out uniform for the next school year.  And boy, does my daughter need a lot of uniform: 26 pieces to be exact (* see below), and most of it seems to be PE/games kit she wears for only an hour a week.  Not only that, her uniform (except for shirts and socks) all has to be bought through the nose, sorry, from the official school outfitter and be embroidered with the school badge.

Now, being a well organised working mum, I make good use of the PTAs second hand uniform sales and prior to the end of last term I bought daughter a new pinafore and a new games skirt from one of the sales.

"Ahead of the game!" I thought.

I hadn't reckoned on the school changing her uniform, had I?

Right at the end of term a list was sent out to parents:  pinafores are to be replaced with skirts and games skirts to be replaced with skorts (official school ones, with the school badge embroidered onto them, of course).

Well, I'm sorry, my daughter is going to school in a pinafore and will do 1 hour a week of hockey in autumn in a games skirt until such time as she grows out of them.

Then, she also needs to change from her official school sweatshirt and jogging bottoms to the official school microfibre top and bottoms (for one hour a week of hockey in the winter).

Keen to offload some of the hassle, I asked hubby to take daughter to offical outfitters for these items.

What did he come back with?

A new sweatshirt.

"She's not allowed the sweatshirt" I said, "It has to be a microfibre top".

"They don't make a microfibre top to fit her, so I got another sweatshirt" explained hubby.

Why does school uniform have to be so difficult?


* skirt, shirt, tie, cardigan/jumper, blazer, coat, scarf, grey socks, black shoes, summer dress with white socks, trainers, white PE socks, hockey socks, hockey shin pads, skort, PE shorts, PE top, microfibre top, microfibre trousers, mouthguard, swimming costume, swimming hat, school book bag, school games bag, school swimming bag.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

How to Inspire a Little Mathematician.

As a mathematician, one thing that really gets my goat is people's attitude to Maths:  it's difficult, it's boring, it's just numbers and times tables, I never could do maths, I was rubbish at maths at school.  You know the thing.  Would people be so eager to admit they couldn't read or write?

Why is English seen as a "fun and enjoyable" pastime (reading, crosswords, watching plays, writing blogs, etc), but maths isn't?

To me maths is a great pastime ...

... and so not about numbers!

It's about patterns, logic, relationships, cause and effect, connections and ultimately, solving puzzles.

What is a quadratic equation if not a puzzle to be solved?

And who doesn't love puzzles?

Perhaps we should rename the subject "Puzzles"?

So, with this bee in my bonnet, I was dismayed when my daughter started to say that she didn't like maths lessons, they were boring and she hates doing times tables.

"Guess what, sweetheart?" I said, "Times tables are important when you are eight, but they are not really maths!"

That's when it hit me.  Children are turned off maths by learning number relationships in primary schools and thinking that that is what maths is.  We need to switch our children back on to maths!

So I set out to inspire her:

Firstly, the author of the Murderous Maths books, Kjartan Poskitt, visited my school so I bought her a couple of his books and had him sign them for her.

She loved them and was soon telling me all about Pythagoras' Theorem with great authority.

She's now dipping into "Savage Shapes" and telling me lots of facts about triangles!

Then I thought I'd foster a love of logic in her and bought her this set of logic puzzles:

which we took on holiday with us.

Each day she asked for them when she was sitting under the umbrella by the pool and even raced against daddy to solve them (often beating him!).

Again, she loved them.

Then, and this was a bit of a gamble, I bought her a copy of a Maths Quest book:

It's one of those books where you solve a puzzle and then it tells you which page to turn to to continue the adventure.

Well, this was the biggest hit of all!

She's now mithering for "Cavern of Clues", "Planet of Puzzles" and other Maths Quest books.

Mission accomplished, I think!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Mission Impossible?

Two days.

Eight hours.

One hoover bag, two bin bags, one cleaning cloth, two dusters and one bottle of Mr Sheen.

Yes, we've been attacking daughter's bedroom.

Huge job.

So far she's managed to throw away two years' worth of Pony magazines, twelve teddies (out of about 70!) two bin bags of rubbish and all this stuff:

The only way I could get her to do it was to tell her that she would get some of the money from the car boot sale when we sell it (the rest is going towards her next bike).

And that the only way she could get a desk (which is what she wants) is if this goes as well:

And how much better does this look?


So far, so good!