Monday, 26 January 2009

...line turned blue etc etc

Anyway, back to the pregnancy thing because there was a reason I was distracted away from this blog. I found out I was pregnant and I then found out I was more pregnant than I thought I was and I was shocked....for some reason shocked to the core. My partner, who incidentally definitely did not express any desire to have any more kids, thank you very much...well, he was thrilled, over the moon etc etc. I, who had always hankered after a 3rd, was shocked. The shock remained pretty much in place for quite a while; well panic set in as well. Y'see I was going to go back to work, we needed extra income and now? Well, we'd have to move and get a bigger car and I still hadn't cleaned that bloody cupboard and we had no money: the list went on. Well I got the money thing sorted; I'd just save really hard. I did find out that those of us who are not entitled to SMP but have worked can get Maternity Allowance; this must be the best kept benefit secret going...the amount of times I rang job centre plus to gleam information only to meet with dead ends... (admittedly I did have an overwhelming amount of questions to ask; I like to dot the i's so to speak) so that was ok. But if you should happen to find yourself in need of this benefit look at Directgov website. So I trundled on feeling sick, worrying about finances,the kids etc; gradually feeling better, starting to see some positivity then...the depression set in. It's a long story and it was a struggle

Thursday, 22 January 2009

I take my hat off to you....(but only if it's an oversized beanie...)

I've thought of another aside, that is, it's completely irrelevant to the main purpose of me starting this blog, BUT why are lots of boys (or young men as I should be calling them) wearing the most ridiculous forms of woolly hat these days. Football hats... fine, sports caps, flat caps, hats for protecting one from the elements, trilby's (my grandads hat of choice) ohhh so many good hats: BUT what is with those floppy, over sized beanie type hats that some boys insist on wearing indoors? On a recent sojourn to the Trafford Centre I must have spied at least 2 dozen varieties of these ridiculous items of head gear. Now the Trafford Centre is indoors and it's heated...I start to melt when I'm wearing my duffel coat never mind a hat. These boys (the ones in hats beat that element of discomfort by just wearing t-shirts...T-SHIRTS and a WOOLLY HAT!!?? As you mother should have told won't feel the benefit and it's cold outside. Next time you're out and about doing a spot of shopping see how many of these hats you spot, see whether you think they look like over grown extras from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; however, if the look takes your fancy you can buy these monstrosities from the fine online fashion boutique: ASOS but do your self a favour and buy a nice shirt instead. In the final analysis though, maybe I've just entered the realms of Grumpy Old Woman; a position, I might add, I was born to...

Monday, 19 January 2009

Teachers and the inner city

So Mr Brown has proposed a £10,000 pay increase for those of us who teach in the most challenging schools; the BBC education pages tells that "About 6,000 new teachers in 500 of the most challenging secondary schools will be offered the "golden handcuffs" to keep them in post." Having taught in inner-city primaries all my working life I know how tough it can be...I have even had colleagues in "easier" schools comment on how we "inner city teachers" deserve more money...well it wasn't all bad; in fact mostly enjoyable but it is hard work and many teachers deserve recognition for their dedication. Personally, even though 10 grand would obviously be useful in the current economic climate, I have to say that the money wouldn't be enough to keep a teacher in a challenging school. It has been recognised that effective teachers are moving on from lower achieving schools and they move on because they need more support; not more money. Mr Brown has made the link between disadvantage, achievement and social mobility so why not make it easier for teachers do what they are trained for, that is teach. I'm not a fan of private schools (far too elitist but that's a different story and one woman's personal opinion) but what they have got right is the size of the classes; the amount of support staff; the control they have over the curriculum and what works for their pupils. Surely the money would be more useful employing extra excellent teachers, reducing class sizes and getting more teaching assistants who are trained to be specialist in different areas of learning and behaviour management; maybe it could be spent on good quality parenting classes and improved, specialist home/ school liaison officers. Look to the primary schools; it's difficult to teach 30 year 6 pupils when you know that a quarter of them haven't got basic speaking and listening skills and are disengaged from the curriculum, parts of which (not all) are irrelevant. Interventions need to be started way before secondary education starts to beckon and schools need to be given the freedom to work collectively and creatively to devise a curriculum that suits the needs of the pupils rather than the needs of official statistics.

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Heaven Spa will help me think this through

Wow I started this blog thing really well and then I stopped doing so Geography teacher told me I was easily distracted. Well, anyway, in this the distractions were big and real. I had mentioned my positive pregnancy test...also the fact that I was about a month more pregnant than first assumed? Well I WAS and my decision was to try not to think too much about it and work as much as possible to save some cash...right that was sorted focus on work ( note:my priorities were as askew as my hormone ravaged brain was) BUT first I was treated to something fairly wonderful...pampering at the lovely Heaven Spa , a fine emporium for hair and beauty. Basically, the therapists needed a pregnant body to practise on and I was lucky. Actually I was fairly intimidated...I mean the only additional reason I had to go to the bathroom apart from the usual ablutions was to vomit, suddenly I had to start shaving bikini lines and plucking. I shuffled into to beauty arena muttering apologies for my acne; "pregnancy hormones" I claimed...not a total absence of any sort of cleansing routine which was nearer to the truth. In the end intimidated was the last thing I needed to be (I am the queen of over reacting), Heaven Spa was all the name suggests...heavenly; very heavenly. The treatments were to numerous and complicated for me to remember (lots of massage and stuff) plus I was too relaxed to take much notice anyway but the therapy products were outstanding. The unguents used were by Mama Mio; I say unguents because these products really were as soothing as they were delicious to use. The Wonder-Full Balm has a magic that is all it's own. I actually ended up buying it (and believe me I'm not easily persuaded to part with my money when it comes to beauty stuff) and using it on my sons eczema...might not work for everyone but it soothed him. What else? Oh yeah Super-rich body cream this smells like the best desert you have ever eaten; lovely, lovely, lovely. It contains Shea which I know is good for dry skin (I know this 'cos it works on mine) and Avocado oil: Haven't a clue what that does but I'm guessing it's good for the skin...oh oh oh Wikipedia says that it's regenerative; good, I'll go for that. Anyway, there were all sorts of products and treatments and general loveliness...SO if you're preggers and your friends want to treat you, forget the Mothercare vouchers, tell them to put their knitting needles away and get them to club together; stump up some cash and get yourselves down to Heaven Spa in Didsbury (obviously you have to be in the Manchester area...well no...if you have transport it's worth the trip) and retreat into a bit of luxury.
PS: Take no notice of the Mothercare comment...your colleagues can get you those vouchers...