Sunday, 20 December 2009

I don't like going out....

...but I did and it was ace. I'm not a fan of "going out"; I used to be, I used to be very spur of the moment/fly by the seat of my pants but now, well, if you can't guarantee that, once out, I can sit down and be home by a certain hour, I tend to find it a chore. I guess it's more the thought of getting out of the house that's the chore, I usually end up enjoying myself.
I blame sleep deprivation and work but that's another moan. So, I went out not once but 3 times. Unprecedented. Mum's night, evening with a friend and the icing on the cake, the "going out" highlight of the past decade, last night was Public Image Limited. Unbelievable. One minute we had stomped into the Manchester Academy, leaving behind the slushy streets of Oxford Road and the next we were watching an icon. Mr John Lydon; Johnny Rotten I salute you...one of a kind.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

WORKING!!!!!

I'm sort of here but not, work has claimed me and it's getting harder to clean the house, prepare for work and spend quality time with my kids...poor blogging, taken a back seat again. I'm not saying my job is more demanding or anything because it is (joke, just joking it probably isn't). Teaching, however, has become A LOT more full on since I class taught last (not PPA cover or supply) so whilst it's good, I'm feeling the pressure. My job share is off sick (and he is quite ill, get well soon) so, I have increased my days and have planning and assessment all to myself (the joys). The school? It's great, tough but great. I can't make any comment about it on a public forum, suffice to say that some of the individual cases I have come across make me realise how lucky we, as a family, are to have each other to love and support. I'm no stranger to inner city, urban environments but this time round I feel sad because I KNOW any effect I make will be temporary. So I will be back soon and for now I must dedicate my time to my own kids and my slightly eccentric, very noisy class (if you can't see us, you'll definitely hear us)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

I am still here..honest

Where have I been? We did I stop blogging? I never intended to...I know, the 6 weeks holiday might have had something to do with it, oh and starting back at work. I missed it though, I really missed it; so I'm trying to be back properly, or at least every couple of weeks!!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Annabel Karmel's Pasta....a review....







The review was, or rather is for Annabel Karmel's Make it Easy pasta range. I say "was" because as a written review it's actually been ready for some time, BUT I had no camera to document with. Therefore,I must apologise, no grovel, to Sian at Clear as PR, who has been very patient.

Right, onward! The pasta initially appealed because it had the words "Make it Easy" emblazoned on the packet...ahhh..music to my ears. And was it? Yep, cooked in 5 minutes, no problems. The other positive, was the fact that it is gluten free. Now, I'm no expert on nutrition but serving gluten to a delicate digestive system does concern me somewhat; ergo, the promise of "gluten free" was again, music to my ears.

Another plus point with this product was, a little went a long way. It has fed my 4 and 6 year old over the past few days, as well as the baby and, as the picture shows, there's still plenty left. I used it in a stew:"Yum" says Lily, 6; I used it with pesto :"Don't like pesto!" says Zak, 4 but Archie did and here's the photographic evidence to prove it

Above: eagerly anticipating cheesy pasta and pesto; doesn't that face just say "Feed me NOW mummy!" Below: one satisfied customer and I do hope he remembered to compliment the chef!




So, the last word to baby Archie. Will it be an optimistic "Ah Da" or a wholly negative "DA DA DA"; he said "Ah Da". The right result and a ringing endorsement!




Finally, don't forget to get yourself over to Brits in Bosnia and enjoy the best of what the mummy blogger's have to offer this fortnight. Better than a magazine and much more economical!!

Monday, 6 July 2009

Sports Day!!!!



It's that time of year again: the egg and spoon race, the sack race, tug of war, the humiliation of being dragged along in the three legged race and all to mark the end of the school year. Fun, fun, fun; or not, if you're a non-competitive, competition hater such as myself. Actually, I tell a lie, I did love the warm orange squash and biscuit we were awarded as a treat after the event, and running. Running was fun too but just running; that is running, without the encumbrance of having to balance a quoit on my head (see picture for some stellar examples of quoits). We were in teams: red, blue, yellow and green, primarily because they were the colours of the sashes one was forced to wear, which in turn, matched the colours of quoits and bean bags (integral to sports day) and, ohhh, the responsibility! The responsibility that came with that sash, the pressure not to let the rest of the time down. Now, I'm talking here, as one who was always the last to be picked at sports. Give me a spelling test and I was there; but sports? I think the main problem was, I didn't "get" having to come 1st. Well, someone had to be 4th, or even last. Put that sash on, however, and you were at the mercy of THE most competitive child in form 2B, as they systematically shattered your illusion of that coveted 4th place. They would FORCE you into athletic prowess, just because you both HAPPENED to be wearing a blue sash and quoit. It's not that I don't see the value in a little competition, it's just that I'm very non-competitive. I like to do well, but if my best means 4th place and I've tried hard then that's fine too. Now, though, schools seem to have done away with sports day. In my 8 years at the "chalkface", I have participated in any number of "fun days" but no traditional, sash wearing, bean bag swinging sports days. The school that D#1 and S#1 attend don't seem to do anything to mark the end of the year; well, there is a teddy bears picnic, plus a few games for s#1. Having said that, I am infamous for misreading letters (in my defence, the amount of letters sent home from my kid's school would paper the walls of a small mansion at the very least) so D#1 could be on for a full on athletic extravaganza soon. Y'know what though? I kind of miss it. Not so much for s#1, he is like me, he hates competitive events; but d#1 would be in her element. She loves a bit of competition, well a lot, if I'm honest; it kind of, drives her forward. My only sigh of relief would have to be, not running the mums race. D#1 would demand it and would expect a win, and it would all end in (my) tears. I can almost hear it: "No mother of mine come in 4th, you go out there and you win!" Hang on a minute, I seem to be raising that child that doesn't value 4th place...how can that be?

Strangely enough, it seems the traditional school sports day is making a come back in some sectors; check this out. When you have tell, please tell me me why? Would YOU put yourself through a sport day type event 30 years after you HAD to do it the first time round?

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

A Tag of 8's (which took me about 8 weeks to complete)

I have been tagged by the fabulous Wife of the Bold and SandyCalico, with the tag of 8's (wow! I'm still trying to think of the 8 remaining facts from the last thing...maybe I could squeeze a couple in here!?); anyway, here goes....

RULES
1) Mention the person who tagged you
2) Complete the list of 8's
3) Tag 8 others and let them know

Right, let's DO this...huh! (said in the manner of rubbish American Cop show)

8 Things I'm looking forward to

1. Sleeping for a WHOLE night, uninterrupted bliss.
2. Going to see Quadrophenia at the Opera House (or some such place) on Saturday. It's one of my favourite films; not sure how it'll translate into a stage play but, hey, it's a night out.
3. The sun shining; again. Please!?
4.Long, long 6 week summer holiday.
5.A tidy house (in my dreams)
6.A flat stomach (again in my dreams)
7.Today, the kids coming home from school, want them at home today.
8.Something to happen....not sure what. Will let you know when it has.

8 Things I did yesterday
1. Took s#1 to A&E (where we shall probably be taking up permanent residence soon). He swallowed a 5p st school
2. Loaded some new posts onto my daughters blog, lilyamber.blogspot.com, very sweet.
3. Completed my usual quota of procrastination; I did a bit of staring into space, checked Rightmove that sort of thing ;)
4. FAILED to do any house work (procrastination takes time and dedication, dontcha know)
5. Ohhhh made a lovely Korma from Jamie Oliver's new book (The Ministry one) I don't cook (well only for the kids 'cos I have to) I hate cooking but this book is so bloody simple...top! I'm not a fan of Oliver in his cooking demonstration programmes though...can't abide his jaunty manners (being basically dour person myself, it rubs me up the wrong way). I rather like his social crusade ones though.
6.I watched Dodgeball for the millionth time on film4. I like this film but I don't know why I seem to have seen it sooo many times, I don't like it THAT much. Also don't understand why I stayed up until 11.30pm watching it? I guess only I can answer that (probably got to the point where I was so tired, doing something different seems insurmountable!)
7.Went to ASDA, put a load of stuff back that I reckon I didn't really need. Took my s#1 to the sweetie shop after A&E to pick a consoling ice-cream for him and d#1 and my friend's kids and my friend (she's very good and looked after d#1 whilst A&E was going on) Oh, and me! I wanted one too! "Pick anything!" I trilled. So, he went for the really expensive Flake cornetto thingy; COST a fortune!!! Bang goes my ASDA saving! It'll be mini milks from now on I tell ya!
8.Made some piles of stuff to go into the loft (in ohhhhh about 7 weeks time!)

8 Things I wish I could do
1)More domestic ish things
2)Sing 9well I think I've greatly improved over the years, some would beg to differ.
3)I wish I could do "optimism" a bit better; 'fraid I am more of a glass half empty.
4)Control my (or rather obliterate) my raging hormones.
5)Make it so every child in the UK could read.
6) Make it so every child in the world had the chance to attend school on a regular basis.
7)Fly
8)Make a decision quickly.

8 favourite fruits
1) Strawberries (my s#1 is the only person I know who doesn't like strawberries - except for those who are allergic- I find it very odd)
2)Blueberries...especially in blueberry muffins;)
3) good 'ol kiwi
4) Apples. I craved them when I was pregnant with d#1 but I generally found that the ones I got had accidentally tripped up into a crumble, or pie, or turnover. Odd that...
5)Oranges but I usually avoid due to sticky nature. OK satsumas. YES!! They remind me of Christmas.
6)Lemons. You're not bitter or sour; you're lovely.
7)erm....rhubarb?
8)Maybe...raspberries

and I HATE watermelon (any melon really) gooseberries, mango (like the taste not the texture); anything dried bleuurghhhhh.

8 Places I'd like to travel
1) To the edge of space
2)Ohh too hard. There are too many places and I can't think of one. India, actually, and I've never been to Ireland. Every year I say "lets go to Ireland" but we always end up in Scotland. I like Scotland but I'd like to go to Ireland next year.
I know you're supposed to do 8 but I really can't think. Honest.


8 Places I've lived
1) Manchester
2)Preston
3) Seriously, that's it. Let me see? In Manchester, I've lived in...
4)Hulme (Manchester inner city)
5)Sale (Manchester Suburb)
6)Flixton (Manchester suburb)
7)The imaginary land that exists only in my head.
8) Finished now.

So, I will pass it on to

Clareybabbling
Kelloggsville
Wife not Lodger
and1 more means four
Mamma Po
Eve Upshall
Soapboxmummy

PS May I point out that, due to procrastination, this post was started about 2 weeks ago, so any news is old news BUT I'm on the case now and I'm gonna get better at this I promise!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

MOVING!!!

I'm really excited!!! I'm moving house!!! Currently I am trying to decide which room the 4 kids will occupy. Our new garden is lovely; It's HUGE and split into 3 sections: a civilized "grown up" patio/decked bit (handy for BBQ's on a day like today); a lovely, lush garden bit in the middle (handy for sunbathing in on a day like today!) and a wild secluded bit at the bottom, where the kids can play in the manner of the Swallows and Amazons sans watery element (I was going to suggest Lord of the Flies, but I can't be doing with the fighting and there's going to be a few too many girls there). There is, of course, an office and the loft conversion is to die for. In fact, I might put D#1 and S#1 in one of the rooms up there, and use the other bit as a playroom. Did I tell you about the original features? Ohhhh, it's all sash windows, cast iron fireplaces and tiled hallways. An added attraction has to be the massive garage but, hey, we'll have off road parking too. Best of all, there is no chain...

...and I really must stop this imaginary moving house business. Why is Rightmove so much more appealing than the Teaching Ideas website? I should be planning Green Day (no not the band) for school. Back to reality... BUMP!!!!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Award time!

Four awards in one go!! Right. Sorry folks but I'm going to follow Clareybabbling's lead and list a load of ace blogs and let them select the award they think would look best on their blog BECAUSE once again, I have procrastinated and I'm trying to see who has what, and who doesn't but, ahhh, I don't know, it's all too confusing...if I haven't credited you like Amy or Clareybabbling, for instance, it's because you have all 3 and probably don't want an exercise in repetition coming your way. Moral is...do your homework straight away, otherwise all roads lead to confusion!

Thank you Rebel Mother for this one! I love reading about your days in the Madhouse...I know were you're coming from darling! Soooooo, to get this right I have to name three things I'm grateful for? Gosh, a hard one...I could be really frivolous but then people might think I'm shallow; I could say coffee cup cakes, Straits Kitchen (lovely take away place at the top of the road) and dishwashers: ALTERNATIVELY, I could be very deep (actually I can't be very deep; I'd find that too difficult).

So, 3 things
1) Family...kids, sig other, step daughter, brother, sister, Ma and Pa (the the rest of "the clan"). They're great, I love 'em. Some of them have put up with a lot from me when I was preggers with #3. OCD related, mad ante-natal depression patch; all gone now but the memory of the support I received will stay in my heart and mind forever.
2) Friends old and new; I haven't got that many but those I have are worth their proverbial weight. From sharing a laugh, to providing support (see above) when times got hard; for staying constant and loyal.
3)Being able to read; working in school has made me realise the amount of people who can't. Books provide my family unit with such pleasure...from giggling over the Beano, trips to the library, finding out about stuff, oh and the rest! I was told once "you will never be bored if you can read a book" and it's true.


And now, from Amy and Clareybabbling Honest Scrap...that kinda reflects my whole persona actually!

Right, when I received this, I initially thought I had to list 10 embarrassing things I'd done! I racked my brain and came up with very little. Is this because I never embarrass myself OR I never stop, hence, it doesn't even register? As I could only come up with one MAJORLY embarrassing thing, I was about to rush out and commit 9 more cringe worthy deeds; then I re-read it (story of my life!) and now understand (light bulb switches ON). So, ten things about me? I'm going to follow Amy on this one and list them over a number of posts because, to be honest, it's going to take me some time to think up 10 things that would be of any real interest; lets start with the embarrassing one:
When I was a newly qualified teacher, I was full of the joys of teaching; my new class was a Year2 (never to be forgotten). I was teaching them the phoneme "sh": " and what else begins with"sh" ? Anyone?", "Sheet? Good boy Izak", "Sheep? Well done Reece" ,"Shine? Lovely Shakira" ,"Ship? Brilliant Chelsea". All the while, my little NQT mind was telling me "ship ends in a 'p' not a 't', ship ends in a 'p' not a 't'". I wrote the word on the board with a flourish and a beam. Chelsea raised her hand "Yes darling?" ,"Miss 'ship' ends in a 'p' not a 't'" OMG, yes I'd written it...on the board, in front of 29 7 years olds. You've never seen a board rubber move quicker!! I had visions of my gaff leading me to the dole queue and, as I confessed all to my mentor, she laughed, preempted the end of my sorry tale and told me to "wait until you come to rhyming 'uck' words"
Another fact...when I was little I had 2 imaginary friends. They were called Pompsy and Kacky (I know what you're thinking....what a sh*t name!). I also had a little knitted kangaroo with a baby in it's pouch; I named this baby...wait for it... Titty (my parents must have been biting their tongues at this one!)

And lastly, from the lovely SandyCalico , I just want to pass this on to Laura Driver's (Are We Nearly There Yet Mummy?) other blog, the poignant and beautifully written A Mum Shaped Hole





The blogs I pass on to are

Soapbox Mummy
Wife of the Bold
OMG We're Pregnant!
twelvemonthsofmayhem
Kels Korner
Aventures of a Sleepless Toddler
Crazymaisey
Writeonmum
ManicMel
Rosie Scribble
Sandy Calico
The Dotterel
Notsupermum
Mum in Chaos
Another Day in the Madhouse
Being a Mummy

PS aplologies for any I've left off and for my spelling; I've a feeling it won't be much cop and it's PMT time (see last post) so what ya gonna do????!!!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

PMT time, means MARMITE time!!!???



Gosh...feels like ages since I've posted (well, lets face it it is!). Things have tumbled along as usual BUT that tiredness thing has struck again! Not the usual "new baby" tiredness but the crushing type, that makes me think (ANOTHER) trip to the doctor is in order for more of the luurrvely iron pills that give me piles. Other than that, the kids have been dispatched back to school; d#1 was desperate to return. Is this a good thing? I think so...but then...does it mean that she's bored and unstimulated at home? Y'see these are the thing that worry me when I'm tired, "normal" me would just be glad that she is an enthusiastic learner and has a New Best Friend (not only a NBF but also a "secret sister" so I'm told...but shhhhhh, it's a secret, known only to me and a few dozen other). S#1 is loving school nursery, just a bit of a glitch this morning because I hadn't put the sellotape in the right place when I attempted to stick his name to his milk because, you see, the sellotape is supposed to go THIS way around, not THAT way around (inherited my OCD tendencies I fear)! So all is good, but I'm all twitchy and antsy...maybe it's because, after 15 months, I'm "due on" . Yes, I'm feeling the usual aching in my back that hails the arrival of the "painter and decorator's". Better book my ticket to planet hormone and warn the sig. other ( but if he DARES to ask if I'm due on, he's a gonner!).

I think it was after I'd had s#1 that I started to really feel the impact of PMT. I'd never, really experienced fully that aching, draining feeling: to be honest, I thought women who had to have time off work, days under the duvet with a hot water bottle...well, I thought they were fussing a bit too much. HA!!! Who's laughing now! Over the past few years, I 've had sickness, headaches, bloating, mood swings, anaemia...you name it really. Ohhh, I understand now. I understand perfectly! So, I've decided on a preemptive strike. Painkillers are out (still breastfeeding) and paracetamol doesn't touch the sides; I guess,what with suffering with migraines, my body seems to only respond to the strongest pain killers I can shovel down. I have some Evening Primrose and Agnus Castus but, again, I have the breastfeeding thing to consider. Sooooo, when consulting with Dr Google (and I swore I wouldn't use him again!), I discovered Marmite being touted as a remedy. I won't post the link because I found the article online in The Sun, I'm no snob but the top "health" stories featured next to it were concerning Kelly and how sex keeps her slim and, ahem, men's "bits". I've got PMT...I DON'T WANNA KNOW ABOUT BIT AND BOBS AND HOW'S YOUR FATHER!!!!! Anyhow, further research tells me, that it's something to do with B vitamins ...not sure what (another PMT delight; lack of concentration) but I love Marmite on toast and it's lunch time so, well, it all adds up rather nicely really.

Before I finish, I would like to implore anyone who reads this to suggest any remedies. they may know of..all advice greatly received. To those who have so kindly given me awards...I'm not ignoring them, I will be getting them posted soon and thank you so much!! :)

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Grace in Small Things 6 - 10


#6 Re-visiting favourite childhood reads.
#7 Pudding and chips.
#8 Lovely mown grass.
#9 A happy tea time table.
#10 Being "the best mummy in the world EVER"

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

RIP my favourite jeans

I've been wandering around all day singing Hole In My Shoe; remember that song? Neil from The Young Ones did a cover of it a couple of erm...decades ago (?!) Anyway, instead of singing the "hole in my shoe" bit I sang, with some gusto, "hole in my jeans" (HA! You see what I did there? 'Cos I'm witty I am!). Notwithstanding the fact that d#1 kept rebuking me because "your jeans can't let in water and, anyway, 'knew' and 'jeans' don't rhyme like 'knew' and 'shoe' do mummy, so sort it out!" (OMG this is getting long winded...you just have to listen to the song to understand and this post is really not about the song - forgive me!).

ANYWAY, I have been resolutely singing my little dirge all day because readers....guess what??!!! You never will so I'll tell yer...THERE'S A HOLE, in my JEANS!!! My favourite jeans have developed a hole. It's not wholly (ha, ha geddit? I did warn you about my sharp wit) unexpected. In truth, I've been observing it's progress over a number of weeks; BUT , my comfy jeans, my favourite jeans!? What I'm I going to wear now??!! They're not particularly trendy (my thighs will not accommodate jeans of the "skinny" variety). They weren't expensive; about tuppence ha'penny in the sale at GAP, they weren't even my favourite until recently but they are now and I don't want them to die!!! I guess, even though they aren't "cutting edge", they definitely fall into the archetypal "throw them on in the morning, goes with anything, never dates" category. Plus, they're flattering and my post natal belly needs all the flattering it can get! So, now I must stalk the GAP shop until I find the exact same jeans or transfer my affections to one of my other 5 pairs of jeans.

RIP wholly jeans. Tell me about your favourite jeans; help me the smile again..


PS Here's Hole In My Shoe, just in case you're desperate to know what I was wittering on about


Monday, 25 May 2009

Grace in Small Things 1 - 5



#1The sound of my favourite tree.
#2Finishing a job.
#3Much needed cuddles.
#4The family together for a long weekend.
#5Country pubs.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

To work or not to work...that is the question?

I must admit, going back to work; albeit for only 2 days a week has been a huge shock to the system. The first week I was soooo tired I crawled to bed on the Friday (actually I think "fell asleep on the carpet" was more to the point). The following week the exhaust fell off my car; a mad dash to get it fixed ended in me having to accept a lift off the my head (which was fine BUT...WHAT you gonna talk about!!!?? It was OK in the end). Week three saw me getting a bit "tipsy" on Wednesday evening; note to self; NEVER, never get "tipsy" or roaring drunk on a school night, you can't ring in sick when you only work two days and, so I found out, 25 hyper year 1's and hangover aren't the best combination.

So that's what I've been doing but it's all OK ; teaching is like riding a bike...it all comes flooding back; although, I have noticed that I address everyone as if they were a 6 year old at the moment...and that really won't do will it? Would you like me to tie those shoe laces for you?

Monday, 18 May 2009


Thank you to Rebel Mother for this lovely cup of Rosy Lee; guaranteed to make any day go with a swing (and I chance for me to LINK BACK to my POST about the restorative power of the humble cuppa).

Rules (aka the bit where I always fall down)

Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who has granted the award, and his or her blog link (OK so far...just)


Pass the award to 10 other blogs that you have newly discovered. Remember to contact the blogger to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

{drum roll please} and my 10 blogs are.....
#1 Being a Mummy
#2 and1moremeansfour
#3 BLOGGER DAD
#4 Razor Kitty
#5 DADDA COOL
#6 Nixdminx
#7 Really Should Know Better
#9 notSupermum
#10Frog Blog By Frog in the Field

and, not that I wish to be accused of nepotism and all, but I would love to award my d#1; she works hard, churning out pictures day and night to supply Lily's Pictures with the very best in quality artwork.

I thank you

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Got tagged a while ago....

I was tagged a while ago by Motherhood and, being new to this, had already responded to the tag BUT I really want to respond because Motherhood's blog is ace, (and as I'm sure I am the last to be tagged anywhere in the blogging community, I don't need to do the passing on. Already done that bit anyway) so here goes with the questions I haven't answered!

1.What are your current obsessions?
ref to previous answer

2. Which item from your wardrobe do you wear most often?
As above

3. Last dream you had?
I long to dream but I barely sleep at the moment!!!

4. Last thing you bought?
Previous

5. What are you listening to?
again

6. If you were a god/goddess who would you be?
Too much responsibility...sorry!!

7. Favourite holiday spots?
erm...only done the annual Scottish auntie pilgrimage for the past few years. Lets see.... Seville.

8. Reading right now?
done

9. Four words to describe yourself.
mother, daughter, sister,wife (sort of)

10. Guilty pleasure?
done

11. Who or what makes you laugh until you’re weak?
see above

12. Favourite spring thing to do?
mow the lawn and frolic (isn't that what you're supposed to do in Spring?)

13. When you die, what would you like people to say about you at your funeral?

"Really!!! Ohhhh!! She never did!!!"

14. Best thing you ate or drank lately?
done

15. When did you last go for a night out?
Really can't remember....'bout two weeks ago?!

16. Favourite ever film?
done

17. Care to share some wisdom?
done

18. Song you can’t get out of your head?
The advert for Calgon (s#1 keeps singing it) and "Pictures of Lily" by Pink Floyd ( d#1 keeps singing it).

19. Thing you are looking forward to?
A tidy house...baby sleeping through...next bar of choc/cup of tea

20. If money were no object, which shoe designer would you wear?
I don't know!!! Ohhh something comfy (I only like my wellies and Converse at the moment).

I thank you

Wah, wah, wah

Remember the voice of Charlie Brown's teacher in the Peanuts cartoons? Goes a bit like this




Anyway, although I realise the lovely Peanuts characters seemed to understand the majority of what the lovely Miss Offmore said; I don't and I am sure that I must sound like this to my kids. Why, otherwise, would I have to repeat myself over and over and over and.....you get the picture. Apparently, the sound of her voice was made with a trombone and a plunger; that's what I must sound like to my kids. A trombone and a plunger. Although, when I whispered, the other day, that the front room was overflowing with chocolate, they came running (a bit mean but I was only testing their hearing you understand!!). Soooo, in conclusion; waah, waah, waah, waah; wah, wah wah.....

PS Any tips on "doing as you're told the first time" greatly appreciated. I thank you!

Friday, 8 May 2009

I'd like to thank my......!!


Thank you, thank you and, once again, thank you to Amy for reading my blog and passing on the fab award; it made me SMILE :). I've been meaning to write this for a while BUT once again have been caught up in the daily grind: starting back at work was one HUGE shock to the system; as was realising how out of touch I am with teaching in general! Letters and sounds...hmmmmm; book banding..ahhhh..mmm; WALT and WILF...????...Never mind things tend to go in 10 years cycles so, I only have a short while to wait, and I'll be cutting edge again!!

I also spent a few hours in Trafford General with my lovely, danger d#1 who managed to slice her knee open at a party (poor party mum was so mortified, even though I tried to explain how we fly very close to the edge at times with our dainty, little fairy who is as tough as old boots and has no fear...of anything). She's very proud of her seven stitches, mainly because she has beaten her friend across the road, who "only had 3 when HE cut HIS head open!!" I'm really, really hoping they're not going to turn this one into a competition!! Anyway, she has her own blog and, for obvious reasons I cannot present her with this particular award, but check out her pictures; it's Lily's Pictures, she has 2 followers me and Kestrel and feels " very popular, probably famous really". Soooo, my obsessions? Gosh, Do I have time for obsessions? Probably, yes, in fact too much time really. Here goes (apologies if they're boring though!):

#1 Heritage paints. I hate (hate, hate hate) decorating but love looking at colour charts. When I was little I used to cut out the little coloured squares with a view to "making stuff", not sure what; my ma probably got rid of them through stealth. Anyway, in keeping with owning a period house, I'm looking at heritage paints. Lovely, yummy colours BUT, OMG the names!!!!!! The names these colours carry with them leave a lot to be desired. Now, I'm wondering; do I really want to paint my lounge a nice shade of gruel? What exactly is "Julies Dream" and why does she dream in a nice shade of beige? Invisible green? Eh?? Why can't green be pale or mint, or even lime, if you like that sort of thing? Mister David? It's a colour, it's yellow. Why not call it yellow? Enough! Think I'll just go and paint my room a nice shade of Tobacco stain...luuurvely.

#2 Google Earth. For some reason, I love diving just below the surface of the Arctic Ocean (prefer it to the Antarctic). I really have been working on the subtle art of procrastination for a long, long time.

#3 School yard gossip. Actually, I don't go in for the gossiping, I'm the one who'll you'll find uttering "oohhh", "oooo", "Ahhhh" and "NO, REALLY??!!" at all the appropriate moments. It's like Cissie and Ada and, to be honest, it's a "you'd have to be there" thing.

#4 The Royle Family. Filled with nuance and outstanding comic timing. It's supposed to be "very Northern"; it's certainly familiar to me, plus it's set where I was born/ now work, so there's a little opportunity display some civic pride in the plethora of talented Mancunians out there.

#5 Trying to finish a book. An ongoing quest, a work in progress but I have had some small successes and, in turn, have discovered the joys of the public library. The one thing I continually tell my kids; you'll never be bored if you can read a book!!

Right, I believe I now past this on to 5 more blogesses and...

On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by leaving a comment on their blog (nicked your instructions there Amy. Soz!).

I'm probably one of the last to get this, so I will pick and can only apologise if you've done it already.

Kestrel: I love your blog, you pictures are amazing and I love your kind comments both on my blog and Lilys Pictures (that's Lilys Pictures folks!!)
Jo Beaufoix: you are hilarious; would love to spend a night out drinking with you!
Mothership: keep on with that novel/writing, I would definitely purchase!
3kidsnojob: A fellow teacher and a very funny Bloggess
It's Not Just Me: 'Cos I like it, that's why...
and a cheeky one Adventures of a Sleepless Toddler: Again, a lovely, insightful read (and, like Amy, a fellow Manc: it's that civic pride again!)

Anyway, hope it's all ok; over and out...

Thursday, 30 April 2009

da, da, da ,da, da, daaaaaa..... MY SHARONA!!!

Blame a well known brand of breakfast cereal for this one but



I defy you not to, at least, tap your toes. Me? I was flat out air drumming with my son's plastic Early Learning drumsticks. Thanks You Tube (without it we'd never have found the Kung Fu street dancers that my son sooooo adores!!!)

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Things I am not going to do today...

I like lists; they're quick and easy (but probably get boring, so this will be my last). Right {pushes up cardi sleeves, all purposeful and business like} here goes:

I will not shout at the kids in the morning....oh, scrub that, already broken that one; it's the first thing I did today...sorry.

so...

Will not say "just give me 2 minutes" or "be there in a second" to the kids.

Will not forget that I had a fringe cut into my hair, I chose to and, therefore, must blow dry it along with the rest of my hair in order to
a) avoid dodgy, sticking up hairline crisis.
b) enable me to stop wearing my daughter's clips, which make me look like a prematurely aged 9 year old, it's not the "look" I'm striving for right now.

Will not succumb to moaning on the school playground about
a) messy sig. others.
b) Hayfever

I will not be lazy and do slovenly things: for instance, leave washing out on the line all night to get rained on, leave pans "to soak" indefinitely.

I will not choose to ignore library fines; parcels to be collected from the post office etc etc etc

I will not think malevolently of errant builders but will pursue them via Trading Standards in the name of decency and honour, with my simple sword of truth and trusty shield of fair play...or summin' like that!

Will not curtain twitch (spy) on the neighbours, when I'm supposed to be working on the blog stuff...but the computer so well positioned for casual glaces into their back garden and I'm so nosey.

Will not abandon preparation for my return to work next week (only 2 days...phew, no panic!) and will read interesting National Curriculum related documents (sorry but...BORING; NC...dull, dull, dull).

Will not continue to ignore Twitter; some of you are having a ball and I'm missing out!

Right that's enough. What about you?

To cut or not to cut....? Please discuss..


Family 014
Originally uploaded by Simon Wharton
I ambled over to read Tara at Sticky Fingers this morning and observed that we have a similar dilemma. Do boys with long hair really have to get it cut??!! S#1 is, obviously, not looking too chuffed here due to the thought of an, inevitable, scalping.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Tagged!!!

Thanks Amy at 1moremeansfour. Right, must do this properly...


1. What are your current obsessions?




Eating the kids Easter eggs without them finding out; the garden; pursuing errant plasterers (hurray for Trading Standards); googling people and finding discount codes.



2. Which item of clothes do you wear most often?



Well probably jeans but I must confess when I get in the house and shut the door for the evening I always put my PJ's on (I call them "house clothes", so much more comfortable than "outside clothes")


3. What's for dinner tonight?


I had quick pasta, actually, I nearly just had chocolate and a cuppa but sig. other came home and cooked (kids ate well though!!)


4. What's the last thing you bought?

Clinique airbrush concealer and I need it!!


5. What are you currently listening to?

Some rubbish film sig. other in watching (can't even be bothered asking what but it involves walkie talkies and jet skis)


6. Who is your favourite male celebrity at the moment?

erm....Stavros Flatley from Britain's Got Talent? Not really sure, not doing much in the way of celeb watching at the moment. oh, actually, Philip Glenister (Gene Hunt of Ashes to Ashes and Life on Mars fame... "fire up the quattro")


7. What are you reading now?

Mary Wesley - Harnessing Peacocks; Francesca Simon - Horrid Henry's Nits

8. Wow! How Do You stay looking so young? Share your secret!


Clinique airbrush concealer, lots of it. They tell me, it's better than Touche Eclat. Avoid mirrors, so I can remain the way I see myself in my minds eye.

9. What is your guilty pleasure?


Bison Grass vodka cocktails; Britain's Got Talent and I did have another but I've forgotten it. Oh, actually, it's the Shipping Forecast, love it


10. Who or what makes you laugh until you're weak?



The Top Tips pages in women's weekly magazines; Jon Heder's dance at the end of Napoleon Dynamite - sweet!



11. First Spring thing?


Usually hay fever :( BUT on a lighter note, longer evenings and eating outside.


12. Where are you planning on travelling to next?


to bed...I'm tired. Further a field? Probably Scotland.




13. What was the best thing you ate or drank recently?


Children's Easter eggs and a nice cup of Yorkshire tea hmmmmmm tea......


14. When did you last get tipsy?

Last Friday at a "Pampered Chef" party...kind of posh Tupperware, couldn't afford anything. I'd actually had a half bottle of red before I rocked up to the party; my sister was returning to Greece, that means red wine MUST be imbibed!!



15. What is your favourite film?


Too many; probably Napoleon Dynamite, City of God and Breakfast At Tiffany's (to name a few...oh and Star Wars)

16. Share a piece of wisdom.


If life deals you lemons, make lemonade.



17. What's your favourite song?


Too many; going to have God Only Knows (Beach Boys - Pet Sounds) as my wedding first dance song. Anything by The Buzzcocks, Blondie... ohhhh, it's a hard question!!!



18. If you could change anything in your life so far, what would it be?

Nothing really; I'm more than happy with my lot.

The rules are as follows. I tag you. You answer the questions, replace one question with a question of your choice and then tag 8 people. Simple! Here's the 8 people I tag.

It's not just me...

Titan Red

Adventures of a Sleepless Toddler

Parenting By Google

Not Supermum

3kidsnojob

Sticky Fingers

zooarchaeologist

Razor Kitty

Things I learnt today....

The humble Sherbet Fountain is to lose it's cardboard tube in favour of a resealable plastic one. No more soggy card board

Never put things you might urgently need some day away in a "safe place". This doesn't work if you, like me, are fundamentally, disorganised.

Just because I'm not spending money on clothes for myself, it shouldn't mean that I can justify spending even more on clothes for the kids (although I got nice stuff, loads of it too, from Hennes).

I have to accept that the breast feeding has gone as far as it's going where weight loss is concerned and post natal bodies require attention at some point.

There is a new flu; Swine Flu (actually that's a yesterday thing), my Scottish Auntie will be beside herself with panic.

Sometimes it's good to be disorganised; you can find all sorts of "stuff" in all sorts of places. Ohhh, it's so pleasant to find the lovely things you thought you'd lost.

Try to avoid cleaning the house with a packet of baby wipes.


Just because you lead a horse to water, it doesn't mean they're going to drink...especially if they are too busy to!

Thursday, 23 April 2009

A nice cup of tea does wonders for the soul...

Recently, I was feeling down; not depressed, not discontent...just, sort of, overwhelmed by a sense of melancholy. It happens from time to time...the cure? A nice cup of tea, of course. Nothing comes close to it...not beautiful shoes, fine wine, I've never been much of a champagne drinker, I like chocolate but I'd give it all up for tea: perfectly brewed, not stewed, a splash of milk...lovely. An old college friend of mine told me recently, that when she thought of me, she thought not my panache, my ability to seize the day nor my witty repartee; no, she was reminded of Yorkshire Tea. Tea, however, will do for me.

So, why should such a humble beverage , have such an uplifting effect? Beats me, but I do think it's time for tea drinkers of the world to unite and campaign... "free tea for all"...ahhhh, utopia!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

It's Top of the Pops! aka Yikes! Not another retro post: part 1


Once upon a time, when the grass grew greener, the trees grew taller, the sun shone more brightly, and Snickers were Marathons, there was a special programme. This special programme was called Top of the Pops. Not the Friday Top of the Pops ; no, the TOTP I'm referring to was on a Thursday, indeed, WERE Thursdays; excitement; anticipation and, apart from the Sunday evening top 40 count down, the biggest thrill of my week. Who could forget the appearance of Culture Club? Confused Dads across the country echoing "Is it a boy or a girl?"; whilst fabulously sulky, sullen teenage daughters glowered at them from beneath electric blue mascara, wondering if they would ever be able to braid their locks in the manner of George. The appearance of Dexy and his Midnight Runners miming fabulously to Jackie Wilson Said while a huge mugshot of Jocky Wilson loomed behind them. Did Kevin Rowland realise? Did he care? We waited for Julianne Regan to warble of her hippy idyll in All About Eve's "Martha's Harbour"? Except Julianne was robbed of her chance to warble and, instead, sat inert, as her audience listened to the pre-recorded lyrics floating soulfully round the studio. The Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses made their debut together in 1989. Was this wise? Certainly interesting! Ian Brown, the Monkey Man himself, swaggered round the stage...too cool for school but clearly thrilled to be there; whilst one wonders whether Shaun Ryder and Bez even realized they were there (seen here with the late, great Kirsty McColl). Yep, TOTP did, occasionally nod to major trends as evidenced in the following performance of, perhaps, the greatest Manchester/Punk band ever (one of my top 5 best ever bands), the mighty Buzzcocks; (I'm sure I saw Pete Shelley in the Trafford Centre the other day; I tried to follow him anyway...I like to think it was Pete...)

The glue that held it all together was, of course, the presenters. The ones who would count down the top 10 for us; make or break our Thursday evenings. Were they trendy? Errr, hmmm, sort of...for the times but safe; very safe; very chirpy and bright and polite: Noel Edmonds; think dapper suits and beards, Bruno Brookes; think brightly coloured sweaters and mullets, Simon Bates ,looking a bit like yer dad and Janice Long, TOTP first female presenter, taste for bright clothing: dare I say, verging on garish, but nevertheless, a look that was oh so easily achievable after a quick trip to C&A's Clockhouse) clothing. She always sounded like she was in a bit of a rush, wonder where she was going? Ah, Top of the Pops, it may not have been as cutting edge as The Tube (with the uber-cool Jules and Paula) or as serious The Old Grey Whistle Test (a study in musicology courtesy of whispering Bob and Annie Nightingale) but it had one thing they didn't: John Peel (R.I.P.). With, his witty asides, dry humour, deadpan delivery...need I say more? Sadly missed. Last words, over to you Mr Peel;

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Books I've nearly read or "You! Yes you at the back! Conentrate!"

I could dedicate a whole blog to the "books I've nearly read". I can't blame it on the children; I can't blame it on running a, somewhat haphazard, home; I can't blame sig. other (I'll try to though). The thing is, I suffer terribly from a lack of concentration, and have done for as long as I can remember. I don't think there is actually anything wrong with me; easily distracted, they told me at school. I managed to train as a teacher and I was( and will be again) a really good one: HMI and the good people at Ofsted, have told me that my classroom: "reflects an organised mind which is evident in my highly effective teaching style" but, after 8 years, I have not managed to climb the career ladder...not one rung. "She doesn't like responsibility" people say; but I do, I have 3 kids; I care, I nurture, I breastfed/feed, I present them with what passes as vaguely nutritious food, I get them to swimming/dancing/football...how much more responsible can one get? I find the most frustrating part of "lack of concentration" is my inability to finish things off properly. Actually, thinking about it, the concentration thing, might be due to my, very mild, OCD tendencies (very boring won't elaborate) .WOW! Blogging does bring clarity but back to the matter in hand: I can cope with the small stuff, housework/ironing and so on but one thing that really frustrates me, irritates me beyond reason, is my inability TO FINISH OFF READING BOOKS PROPERLY (see I even had to put the Caps Lock on there!). OMG, I actually have a degree in literature! Admittedly, I didn't do all the required reading...well, maybe a page or 2, then York notes (I know, I know they're really for O-level not degree level but...they were very, very useful after a pretend vodka fuelled night out at the grotty S.U. bar). Well now, the buck (book...geddit? A homophone...see told you I could literary stuff, shame about the grammar though) stops here, and I'm going to read the other halves of the books in my collection if it kills me.

So, I'm going to tell you about this one: it's Can Any Mother Help Me?, a study by Canadian academic Jenna Baily (she has my dream job, ohhh I would love her job). Maybe you've read it? Feel free to tell me the outcome. The thing that struck me and, will no doubt strike me once more (when I start reading it again), is the parallel between what we, as "mummy bloggers", do and what the subjects of Bailey's study did. In a nutshell, Bailey charts the development of the Cooperative Correspondence Club (I like cooperatives) or the CCC. A group of women (some anonymous, some not), from across the social spectrum, who created a unique magazine. The publication was circulated amongst a group of like minded mothers; all taking responsibility for editing (it in turns) and publishing each edition, after gathering writing, reflections and advice from all members of the CCC. They they then circulated the work amongst their number. In common with blog posting, this took a certain amount of dedication and belief in what you were/are doing. Comments were hand written beside each woman's article; prompting debate, reflection, advice, empathy. No different, I suppose, than the opportunity to comment after each blog post. The book is brimming with fascinating snippets into the psyche of women dedicated to expressing themselves via their pen. The slices of life portrayed, are the experiences that many a modern mother will identify with: pressures and joys of caring for small children, money anxieties, work and marriage issues. The difference being, that much of it took place amongst the back drop of the Second World War, in an age where diseases such as Polio could, and did, bring tragic consequences, where giving birth, was just that little bit more risky. If this book presents as something you might be interested, in please read it, and if you think of me, feel free to let me know the conclusion, just in case my fickle friend "concentration" decides to turn against me once more.

NB: This isn't a review, I would genuinely love someone to read this and share their opinions with me.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

AVEENO, AVEENO, AVEENO....won't you help me beat the credit crunch?

There is a particluar pub round the corner from where I live and every year, there is a fair in the pub car park. This year, emblazoned across the posters advertising said fair is the slogan "BEAT THE CREDIT CRUNCH ALL RIDES £1!!!!" S'cuse me but the rides are always a pound, EVERY SINGLE YEAR THE RIDES ARE £1; I know this because it's advertised, so far I have escaped having to take the kids by lying; telling them the posters are old and "no, that's not the fair in full swing, they're just testing the equipment before moving on". "All those people? Why, they just enjoy visiting pub car parks...maybe". This year, I think it'll be different, d#1 is good at reading, she told me when the fair was this year, adding only "only 3 more days mummy, I'm counting!!" Anyway, I digress, the credit crunch thing stuck in my mind, I guess our family unit hasn't been too affected, but then we have always lived a credit crunch-esque lifestyle. As Sig. Other runs his own business, I tend to view the crunch as a bit of a sword of Damocles. So last week, I came to the decision that I too was going to "BEAT THE CREDIT CRUNCH" and spend as little a possible, only teeny-weeny, small amounts and fill my days rediscovering free and fulfilling activities, far from the Temples of Consummerisim. I started badly, shelling out over £700 to various tradespeople BUT the work was pre-contracted, I was just unfortunate that it was all happening during BEAT THE CRED...ohhh you get the picture. Anyway pre-contracted work doesn't count, as it will, in the fullness of time, add some market value to the house; so, in a round about way, I actually saved us far more than £700. A supermarket spree hmmm...that didn't count either because it nourishment and you have to be well nourished if you're gonna "BEAT THE blah blah" plus I hate supermarket shopping thus I never experince the thrill of frivolity in the asiles of Asda (or Aldi...the recession supermarket of choice). I did the library, lots of Georgette Heyer/Doris Lessing/Mary Wesley bliss for me. Actually, I had to pay off my library fines too, but as I was being good and attempting to "BEAT THE..." the angel on my shoulder urged me not to diddle the good people at the public library out of their £1.60 for much longer (especially as I avoided my last fine by blaming it on the new born). What else? I walked and walked and walked a bit more, appreciating the burgeoning spring atmosphere and inhaling the fragrant car fumes.

Anyway, all this austerity was duly rewarded when the lovely Shiny Red people sent me my AVEENO, AVEENO, AVEENO freebies: Aveeno bath stuff, Aveeno cream and Aveeno moisturiser. The bath stuff claimed to "harness the power of oatmeal", hmmmm, didn't sound very "come hither", so I decided to try it on the kids; actually I had already come to the conclusion that I wanted to mostly use these products on s#1, he has a bit of eczema, nothing too significant but enough to make him uncomfortably itchy at night. I had heard about the benefits of colloidal oatmeal and I can honestly say I wasn't disappointed. An added bonus was that, in the words of s#1, it "smelt like breakfast": he loves breakfast, bathing in it must be in the realm of "Jim'll Fix It" type fantasy. Thus, the kids had fun bathing in breakfast and I loved the fact the kids' skin (especially s#1) was moisturised sans the filmy, oil slick effect that a lot of prescription products bring. Next up the cream...the cream was the main reason I was eager to sample these product, as I have heard a lot positives regarding it's effectiveness. So, s#1, s#2 and d#1 got the treatment, jo beaufoix, hit the nail right on the head when she talks of her skin almost drinking up the cream. It sank into their skin like a dream, wasn't greasy, dealt with s#1's little patch of eczema and, most significantly, he wasn't up in the night with dry, itchy skin. RESULT! I saved the moisturiser for myself, a little treat in return for all my credit crunch beating, for braving all those walks in near gale force condition and forcing myself to read "literature". I liked the cream, it felt good, it absorbed well and had the psychological "Ohhh, get me? Using natural products." thrill. I used it on my hands too, believe me, when I say my hands are the hands of doom and that's putting it is mildly. Having been ravaged by cleaning products and, with little in the way of little in the way of TLC, Aveeno had it's work cut out. It, however, rose to the challenge admirably and, I have to say, the cream did them the power of good (not out of the woods yet but I if I keep applying I can see a light at the end of the tunnel). So, all in all a resounding success AND, I believe that the products can be obtained on prescription so all you MAT leave mums can get your own little freebie! Final word to goes to d#1, "D#1" I said "make up a rhyme about Aveeno and I'll write it down for you"; "ok" replied d#1 rising to the challenge; "Aveeno, Aveeno rhymes with The Beano". Indeed it does and it's just as good.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Tired anyone?

I'm tired, really, really tired...grindingly so. Once again a baby has taken over my night time; I should have learnt after the first 2 to not let them sleep all night by my side, Ferberize 'em, drag out the Gina Ford, whatever it takes but no...once again I succumbed to the whimpers, the longing looks, the haze of hormones convincing me that my baby had to be at my side night and day. Well, I have made my bed and now I must lie in it, as I have sowed so shall I reap, made a rod for....blah, blah, blah.

One positive is that now me and sig. other can play the "who's the most tired" game. It's more of a competition really: and the prize? Gaining the right to bear the cross of being the most tired person EVER, in the whole world. He works hard, runs his own business....the day doesn't stop at 6pm it carries on and on and on....I look after the home, get up in the night to feed babs BUT I sense I will soon gain the advantage because I will be returning to work (a deputy head friend offered me a job, it's only a two day week thing but still...) SO I will be "working mother"; therefore I claim the monopoly. Actually, I'm far better suited to the game, he just doesn't put the time in. It's no good just telling me you're tired you have to demonstrate it; don't just walk wearily up the stairs, crawl, claiming a lack of oxygen to muscles (inventing symptoms is one of the rules), make sure it is known that you can barely hold a cup of tea, spend long periods of time staring at nothing, as if the ability to think has deserted (actually this is genuine). Write posts that make no sense and have the gall to publish. So, apologies to anyone who actually reads my blog...I only wanted to make contact, albeit in a rambling...forgot what I was trying to say...{yawn} ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzz

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Shabbalism or a load of old sh*$ ?

I've never been at the forefront of fashion. Oh, I've worn some nice shoes, owned a few nice frocks in my time; my taste in music is blinding but I've never been right there at the forefront of a movement...until now! For I have discovered the existence of shabbalism ...it's new, it's out there, it's cutting edge and I was bucking the trend as far back as 2004, when minimalism ruled, way before shabbalism was a bona fide, Wayne Hemingway endorsed, way of life. Shabbalism was first brought to my attention this morning, as I was reading the Saturday Guardian supplement, reading the weekend papers 3 days late is a very bad habit if one wants to be considered "current" but nonetheless...the article was by Gillian Rowe and shabbalism looks something like this . I must admit I read it with a certain incredulity as images not dis-similar to my own home leaped out from the pages: bare plaster wall...yes, wall paper half stripped, still clinging on for dear life...got that, chipped wood work...in abundance, peeling paint...yes,yes,yes!!!! I have it all, I am a trendsetter! So, here's my guide to achieving "the look", incorporating the basic philosophy of "taking on jobs you have no intention of finishing". My recommended starting point would be wallpaper stripping, all the better to discover not 1 but 3 layers of paper, this, of course, permits license to give up for a year or so; it's better to ensure a small child sees you in the act of wallpaper removal, as they will then recreate said act in rooms you had intended to leave well alone. Fireplaces, hearths, surrounds etc should be removed, leaving a gaping hole in the wall...better still to leave a pile of rubble/dust in the gaping hole. Paint work should be nicely chipped, I would recommend a regular battering with bike/ skateboard/ pushchairs. Accessorize with a vase of wilted daffodils, a few casually scattered DVD boxes (empty of course), a trail of tea cups and a few crumbs. The look is easy to maintain, simply survey the scene (ignoring the dust), sigh, raise your eyebrows and decide to put off 'til tomorrow what you could be doing today et voila: shabbalism at your finger tips.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Retro book club...

I recently purchased a copy of a popular women's publication (and having now embraced the new austerity, these purchases are few and far between). Anyway, I admit I was more tempted to said publication because of the free gift but did I manage to write them an e-mail waxing lyrical about their wonderful edition with the feeble aim of winning the expensive bag prize and expensive pen prize (would look good on ebay). Anyway, splashed across this popular women's publication (hereby to be known as PWP ...cut down typing time thus risk of repetitive strain injury) was the word HAPPY. It was the HAPPY issue, the issue to get us all smiling in these financially messy times (and the free gift was good). Great, happiness, a splendid topic but I don't really need anyone to tell me how to be happy; most of the time I am, sometimes I'm not. Simple. Nevertheless, it was tempting; promising me that "feeling good starts here" and I always listen to sound advice, so I purchased; quid pro quo...happiness tips for increased circulation figures. Right, did it make me happy...no I barely read it because I hardly ever read the publications I buy...I just get frustrated by the amount of advertising I have to wade through; I, however, drawn to the "uplifting reads" section: these are the books that would, apparently, "boost my mood" ( I tend to think a boost to my mood would be having the time to read 1 book, never mind 5 but that's just being sour and this if the HAPPY issue I'm analysing). There were 5 of them; all probably very uplifting in there own way, to some people BUT to include "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" PLEASE!!! Why would this make anyone feel better? OK, somewhat of an exaggeration there; it is a best seller so it must work for some but my inner domestic goddess has bolted (I'm using the fact that we are "being decorated" as an excuse to get out of that one). The other book which didn't quite do it for me was "Charlotte's Web" , now, I loved this book when I was a child...probably would still love it now but it's so unbearably sad. I cried like a leaky tap when poor, old spider Charlotte died and was denied the chance to see her babies grow up. It's like some sort of Greek Tragedy with animals...for kids... hmmmm...maybe going a bit too far but it IS sad.
Well, all this got me thinking that it would be an uplifting venture and, therefore, a very good thing to re-read some of my childhood favourites. The thrill of a good ballet book...pony stories never did it for me. I avidly read Lorna Hill, I think I inherited this from my mother. Oh, the thrills as Jane decided whether she should leave the Wells and marry Guy Charlton (she was 19 and hadn't even kissed him!), the agonies over whether Veronica would pass her audition and become a prima ballerina...this was 1950's Britain and it was all very straightforward. I also had a brief encounter with the absolutely abominable Sweet Valley High. Sweet Valley is awful, no one should aspire to live there. I read these out of loyalty to a "best friend" who was OBSESSED, maybe I thought we could share the experience; now I realise she should have paid me to read them; Sweet Valley High is tedious, actually, this is probably where I first discovered that romance had bypassed me: I didn't give a damn if they got boyfriends/wore purple shoes/had hair that shone gold on a summers day. I recently mentioned to by sig. other that I might have a stab at writing a Mills and Boon, purely as a money making exercise. He laughed like a drain, enough said. No, not for romantic, sunny, happy endings; I did have a thing for Judy Blume, nice bit of social realism mixed with controversy; any book that required a letter from your mum before you could get it out of the school library was worth a read. I am of course referring to the legendary Forever; Forever was one of those read that appeared everywhere, school, guide camp, youth club everyone wanted to read it and primarily read the rude bits...out loud to a group of giggling but slightly embarrassed young teens. The thing with Blume was that you felt she understood the teenaged you as opposed to doling out a fantasy that, lets face it, no one in 1980's Manchester was ever likely to experience.
My stepdaughter (SD#1...I only have the 1, I'm no Angelina Jolie, I don't collect kids) reads books about chavs, Diary of a Chav (each one with it's own subtitle) to be precise. She's an avid and very accomplished reader but she does like her chav lit. Would I read a chav's diary if I was 13 all over again, probably...I'd be curious, but my early encounters with Ms Blume's novel, Z for Zachariah, The Outsiders, even When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, all this and more has left a gritter edge to my tastes. Anyone else have any enduring bookish memories? Please share...

Monday, 9 March 2009

Kids will be kids...?

Blogging here in response to the Mothership's latest post, not sure if that's blogging etiquette, being very new to this and all; but I didn't want to use up all her comments space applauding her completely accurate and pertinent comments regarding the phenomena that is the tweenager . It's strange because I was actually pondering this same topic t'other day, when my daughter announced that now she's six, she can be a tweenager. WHAT!!!! "What's a tweenager?" was my response (curious to see her definition of the term, 'cos, to my mind, being a tweenager is in a different league to clip-clopping around in your mother high heels). "Well y'know, grown up and stuff" was the reply. "No sweetheart, you are a little girl and will be a little girl for a long time to come" I countered. Thankfully D#1 wasn't too downhearted and is now back to her grubby, tree climbing self. Where did it come from though? In part I think she was carried away by the pink stretch limo party she attended at the weekend (not slagging anyone off here as it was the lovely party of a lovely girl with lovely parents); I guess it put our little scout hut, games and disco party in the shade (although I thought hiring the local dance club lady for 80 quid was excessive but justified as I wouldn't have to host a party for 26 (very social is D#1) in my tiny home with added bonus of not having to tidy up) Additionally and as Mothership points out (far better than I could so I won't repeat but just endorse her words) the media plays a vital role in forcing our kids to grow up at such a rate by passing the experiences that make childhood special.
When I was younger there was a programme on the TV called Minipops, you might remember it. When it came out, everyone thought it was some kind of sick joke (and not sick as in "good" I may be getting older but I still understand the language... to some degree;) ) and it really was, so why has what was considered so unethical in the 1980's become so acceptable now? How often do you see children dragged around shopping centres dressed at "mini me" replicas of mum or dad? How many kids aspire to be a Big Brother styled "celebrity"? The other day me and sig. other were engaged in some harmless gossip about a friends rather "lively" child. "I wonder what people say about our kids?" I ventured. "Humph...scruffy and unruly" was sig. others opinion. Yep, hits the nail on the head but long live scruffy, unruly, tree climbing, wannabe pirates/space adventurers/dogs (S#1's career of choice should the opportunity ever arise), snotty nosed kids!

Monday, 2 March 2009

Tripping up in memory lane....

I was meandering around today; pretending to dust but really just passing it (the dust) from one corner to another corner; attempting to de-dust sig. others record collection (which is a trap darlings, a trap!)); when I remembered how, when I was teaching, I mentioned the word "records" to a class of Year 3 (first year juniors...or 7 - 8 year old's) during a music lesson and I was met by a row of perplexed young faces. There I was educating them with a bit of New Orleans Funk (sorry folks but it needs to be heard); which I must say they were embracing like troopers and I happened to utter "I'll put the next record on" we were working with Cd's but I was feeling the nostalgia. "What's a record Miss?" was the general response; "It's vinyl" was my retort "What's vinyl?" was the response; "It's a record" and so it went on...you get the picture; climaxing in "ohhh my Nan's got some of them record thingies!" from one small, bright spark. Great, I'm barely old enough to be your....hang on...I suppose, if you really push it, technically, I could be old enough to be his nan...Anyway, whilst engaged in dusting I got to thinking about something more interesting; what other things are future generations we going to lose sight of? Top of the Pops; Pans People; pop ex records; Wimpy Burger Bars; getting a fiver out of the ATM and having a really good night out; shell suits, ra ra skirts, puffballs and pedal pushers; collections...badges, key rings, I could go on but you get the gist; Dallas and novelty songs; oh oh taping the charts on a Sunday evening! Too many things...RIP

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Dr Google....anyone else googling symptoms?

I have been recently suffering from an itchy neck. No rash; not been bitten (no stray vampires round these parts); no new products; never remember to put perfume on anyway. So, I did a quick survey of the school mums (I like surveying the school mums...it's surprising, the things you can learn on a playground). "Itchy neck anyone?" No takers...we had lumpy skin on legs, itchy scalp, many instances of recurring norovirus but no joy for me. So, I did what any other normal person in need of urgent medical assistance does...consulted Dr Google. Dr Google is great; you get an appointment the same day...within seconds in fact; no sitting around with ill people waiting to be seen and he'll introduce you to his colleagues; Dr Yahoo is very esteemed, so I'm told. The reason for my pondering? Well, I've been reading those intellectual papers again! Ariel Leve depicts this phenomenon in her very astute article for the Guardian (see intellectual) and so much of it rings true; although I would contest her opinion that before t'internet people waited to see their GP for a diagnosis...she obviously has never owned a copy of Dr Mariam Stoppard's Family Health Guide. So, my itchy neck? Well Dr Google has informed me that there may be a possible 16 medical causes; Dr Expert at Netwellness.org gave me a second opinion and pointed me in the allergy direction but hey, I still have 1,398,998 other opinions to consider...

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Dummy Mummy? Are You? C'mon admit it...

There's the...
Yummy mummy and the...
Slummy mummy's and now the ...
Dummy Mummy.

WHATEVER NEXT?!!

Scummy mummy (I'm a bit untidy but I have some standards)
Gummy mummy (oohhhh DO NOT get me started on teeth, gums and pregnancy. I knew a woman who lost all her teeth when she was pregnant, they just fell out...guess she'd be a gummy mummy; did have the most perfect set of false one though).
But Dummy Mummy....to be fair to Ms Cooke ,I think she was only depicting a certain type of mother in her article (c'mon we all know at least one; dwelling in the deeper most regions of Nappy Valley) but she certainly has raised a lot of hackles; opened a can of some very disgruntled worms etc etc. In truth, I think once you've had your first and they've reached an age when they can start answering you back, the dummy mummy stance does lose momentum. Most of the 2nd/3rd/4th time mums (not all Ms Cooke appears to have met the exception to the rule) I know are more interested in discussing their varicose veins and receding gum lines than nipple cream and breast pads (well I want to give the Dummies a little bit of what they fancy). Either that or they just want a damn good night out, teamed with a lie in until midday. Maybe she's trapped in the inner most sanctum of Nappy Valley...in fact she should pack her Pacapod, steal a Bugaboo and scoot over my way...where we mainly just moan about "stuff"; anything will do...(although sometimes, for variety, we may complain).

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

coffee, chocolate and choices

Why is it that if I eat three quarters of a bar of chocolate and hide the rest, I feel like I haven't really eaten any chocolate at all? A bizarre sense of denial? I mean I can hardly deny the evidence on my hips can I? The other thing I feel the urge to do, is hide chocolate, just in case...JUST IN CASE OF WHAT?! A national shortage? My sig. other questions my need to hide chocolate as foolish and self defeating: "If you buy it just eat it and enjoy". No! No! No! I don't need to enjoy it, it just needs to be there. My current bar of choice is the newly revived Wispa which I think is due in part to the fact that's always on at 3 for £1 in the excellent co-op. The other thing the excellent co-op is brilliant at is fair trade; everyone knows about fair trade and if not then the fair trade Foundation spells it out on it's excellent website. So, when I'm busy shovelling three quarters of a bar of chocolate down my throat, I got to thinking about it. I saw a superb documentary film not long ago called Black Gold. In a nutshell, it follows the journey of Tadesse Meskela and his attempts to get a fair price for the coffee growers of Ethiopia by representing coffee growers co-operatives; it's inspirational and moving. The growers wanted nothing more than what we take for granted; an education for their children, clean water, shoes, fair pay but instead found themselves ripped off by rich, western middlemen. When I first saw the film, I felt like going through the cupboards and discarding anything not fair trade; then I fell into the usual apathy that is common amongst many people, "I can't afford it" I bleated. However, after a recent viewing of Black Gold, I have made it my mission to be socially conscious because it does affect so many lives; if I can afford a new pair of shoes, a new hair cut, to send my kids to dancing and football then I can afford to be more aware of the difference that one purchase can have.

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

antenatal depression...how many?

Pregnancy related depression is supposed to affect about 10%-15% of the population...well those are more the figures for postnatal depression (PND); I think antenatal depression (AND) is more uncharted. Why would this be? Maybe it's not as severe as postnatal depression; maybe pregnant women feel guilty about feeling dreadful when they are at a stage in their life when everyone says they should be "glowing", "blooming" and all the other words we associate with the state of pregnancy. Anyway, I had it so, yes, one major distraction there but part of my story and therefore not to be ignored. I knew I was getting depressed, I was experiencing bits of obsessive behaviour, worrying needlessly about the well being of my kids, checking on them, panic, nausea, tears...and it came to a head one Friday. I'd been to see the GP, I wanted medication but my very good GP was on this occasion reluctant; so I carried on drowning in negativity until at least I ground to a halt. It was a Friday and I couldn't manage to cook the kids dinner. No, I didn't even get to the cooking bit...I didn't know how I was going to manage to do it; then I started panicking about how I would get my daughter to her swimming lesson the following Monday. I was I ever going to manage to cook dinner on that day too (I don't like cooking but this wasn't some elaborate rouse to get out of the chore....honestly!). Anyway all this resulted in me seeking out the kind of help I needed; I found my route through and things began to improve; the perinatal care I received was fantastic and I thoroughly enjoyed the last few weeks of my pregnancy. My only regret? That I didn't access the perinatal services earlier, that I kept quiet..thinking I was tired, stressed...whatever label I attached to feeling depressed; that I couldn't admit to feeling this way; that I gave into the guilt of not enjoying being pregnant. I got help and I was OK but, man, I could have been OK months earlier. On a very serious note I would urge all expectant mothers to get some help if they are experiencing any amount of depression: GP's, midwives, family, friends...even sitting in A & E until someone has time to see and assess you: it is all worth it. Any sort of depression is capable of occupying, possessing your very being and sometimes it's hard to break free but it can be done...