Friday, 25 April 2014

Double Figures!!

Tomorrow daughter will be 10!

Yes, 10!

Where did that decade go?

I know: nappies, sleepless nights, mountains of washing, bottles, weaning, swimming lessons, starting school,  homework, Rainbows, endless birthday parties, riding lessons, piano lessons, choir practice, Brownies, the list goes on.

However, this weekend we celebrate 10 years of "trouble".

As usual, there is a cake.

This year daugther ordered a two tier chocolate cake, covered in chocolate ganache and decorated with hundreds of flowers (I think she's watched too much Great British Bake Off!).

Being a Working Mum, this took some organising.  So, last weekend I made the sponges (plus a dozen chocolate cupcakes which will match the main cake and can be taken away by her friends after the party) and froze them.

Every evening this week I have been making hundreds of flowers and leaves to decorate the cake (despite working yet another Parents' Evening on Wednesday).

On Thursday I made the butter cream for the filling.

Tonight I made the ganache, assembled the cake and decorated the cupcakes.

Et voila!

A cake fit for a 10 year old!

Thursday, 24 April 2014


At Easter we managed to book a few days in a Milennium Hotel near Windsor and, armed with Tesco vouchers for Legoland and various restaurants, we set off.

On the way we made good use of our National Trust Membership and the good weather and had a picnic at Cliveden.  The weather was lovely so we sat by the Thames for a bit while daughter made daisy chains:

The next day we ventured into Legoland.  Daughter loved it, but let me tell you, 75 mins is too long to wait for a 5 minute ride.  Multiply it by 6 and that was our day at Legoland.  At least the weather was great again and daughter got to play in the water area:

(she's in there somewhere!)

I loved the things made of lego all over the place, lego just makes me smile:

In the end it was just a theme park (and Disney do it so much better), but for free with Tesco vouchers it was worth taking daughter.

The next day was Windsor Castle:

I hadn't been since I was 11 so I was looking forward to seeing it again.  The State Apartments were magnificent and St George's Chapel was still impressive (the warden even unlocked the Queen's quire seat and let daughter sit where the Queen sits, which made a great impression on her!)  Daughter found it quite interesting and was relating parts of it to a BBC4 series we had watched together recently on the Plantagenets (and, of course, Horrible Histories).

We were lucky enough to be walking along the road when it was the changing of the guard:

We were hoping to see the Queen (she was staying there at the time) but she didn't make an appearance.

Maybe next time!

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Manchester Chorale - keeping Working Mum sane

As I say in my side bar, the Manchester Chorale keeps me sane and that's been so true these last few months.  Singing and being with friends doing something positive and collaborative has been a lifeline.

We performed some lovely concerts last term, all quite different, but enjoyable.

We sang a pretty challenging programme in Oldham in a charity concert for a local hospice, then we sang in an Organ Gala at the Bridgewater Hall which only involved our singing three pieces, so we were able to listen to the organ and the orchestra for the rest of the time, then we did an intimate concert (that's code for "small audience"), again for a local charity, in Didsbury.  All very enjoyable.

This term sounds like it will be even better; we've a concert in Cawthorne, Yorkshire in June, then we're doing one of the "Music for a Summer Evening" Concerts in Hawkshead in the Lake District in July and finally, a concert in Manchester before we break up for summer.

Next term we've been asked to sing in one of the Celebration of Karl Jenkins' 70th Birthday Concerts at the Bridgewater Hall.  This is the third time we'll have worked with Karl Jenkins in three years, so I guess he must like us.  We've also a variety of Christmas concerts lined up including two more appearances at the Bridgewater Hall.  Lots to look forward to.

There's a real eclectic mix of music in our repertoire at the moment (from Taverner and Whitacre to Cole Porter) and one I'm really enjoying singing is this one:

I sing the part of the woman on the far left, but in English, not Swedish!

Listen and see what you think!

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Back to Blogging

Where have I been since Christmas?

Well, I've had a pretty rubbish term on one front and another so I didn't feel like blogging about it.

In a nutshell: hubby is working ridiculous hours in his new role, he's exhausted and we've hardly seen each other, work has been stressful to say the least and my parents are driving me up the wall.

By the end of March I was not coping and I could feel myself starting to think irrationally.

Something had to be done.

It was medication, resignation or meditation.

I opted for the latter.

Luckily, the Easter holiday came along, hubby and I managed to have a few days off together and he booked us into a hotel in Windsor to take daughter to Legoland and visit Windsor Castle. (More later)

With the recent sunshine I've been out gardening which has made me feel better (and made the garden look better) and I'm thinking of trying yoga to bring some perspective and balance back into my life.

I think it's time to blog again, focus on the positives and find the funny side of things.

Working Mum is back!