Thursday 17 May 2012

Vintage or just old?

 Moi? have to admit - am getting old!

This post was inspired a bit by a conversation I saw on Twitter.
 Where the subject of Children's paintings were being discussed. As in how many do you keep?! 

( I actually have kept EVERYTHING from my babies bar for a few clothes etc - it's frugal loft insulation!)

Now I used to keep them ALL! I couldn't bear to throw them away.  ( the loft was becoming too much of a fire hazard!) But the reality is it does gets ridiculous!

I worked in a Nursery. I used to snigger at the crest fallen face of the poor harassed mama having to collect her child clutching ANOTHER 16 wet paintings of the same thing!!  But I too have been that poor harassed mama!

Pre Nursery, pre little Brother my daughter loved to paint. So we had tons of the stuff, fancy pants painting sets etc. Which in turn churned out hundreds of masterpieces.

 So I kept one or two beloved pieces - and now they are almost grown it's wonderful to discover them again. But in a corner of my house I have some 16 year old art work that belongs to my daughter! I think probably  the cobwebs are 16 years old too. ( Please don't judge me!!! )
 This whole wall was plastered in them but a few special ones remain.

I am glad they do, as now as she approaches the great milestone of 18 and then off to Uni. ( Please let her get her grades! ) they make me pause a while, remembering her little toddler voice, giggles and squeals as she squidged the paint between her little chubby fingers. She had pigtails in that day - you know the ones where its a few wisps of hair really, but they made her look very cute.
( Man I'm getting choked up!)

What art work did you keep and why? If you email them in I shall create a rogues gallery! Who has the oldest - ahem - most vintage artwork?  Please comment and let me know

Monday 14 May 2012

Groundhog Monday

Let's hope it will be a marvellous Monday.

I bet you 10p it won't.

Its the dreaded SATS week. I blogged about this last year.The post from last year This year will be exactly the same.
I will have to watch children struggle with test conditions. I will suffer the agony of watching them write the wrong answers even though I am telepathically SCREAMING the answers to them.

Then it's Staff Meeting. Deep joy! Actually it's the THOUGHT of it that is worse!. Our staff meetings are actually alright! We don't have one every week - so it's good to all get together and share happenings. We have a packed diary from now til the end of term. I don't know how we will fit it all in. It seems to get worse and more frantic every year. I thinks it's cause I'm old now and cannot take the pace!

Today I have to zoom to the Post Office at lunchtime to send off the blessed Birth Certificate and Declaration form for the daughter's student finance. If my lottery numbers would do the decent thing and come up, none of the above would have to happen! ( Actually I would still go in for the SATS )

I will count the walk at lunchtime as part of my daily exercise! I just downloaded a new App  on my iphone( New to me ) My Fitness Pal ( LINK )   - until now didn't realise it was online. I shall endeaver to keep up with this! Just been looking at some of the stuff online - people really get results it would seem!

Now off for some breakfast before my work day begins.

How's your Monday panning out?

Saturday 12 May 2012

Teenage angst.

The angst is all mine.

1. How have I got two teenagers? I am only ( eternally ) 28? They are really good teenagers too.
 They've attended and go to clubs;  Sea Scouts, ( the daughter trained with the Navy in Portsmouth for a week aged 13 - when she came back she marched everywhere!)  Explorers, Karate, Fencing etc. He's learning to play the Saxophone.

They have a decent set of friends who are always welcome in our house. They don't really ask or expect too much. We've never had enough money to really splurge out on the things I'd have liked eg a trip to Disney when they were small.  They are polite and well mannered ( mostly to other people , less so to each other! )

Yes, they have hoodies, but these are worn to keep them warm! Not to menace old people in town centres. They are not bothered about overpriced designer gear.

 They go to school every day; they have to literally be at death's door before I let them stay off.
 She has fantastic GCSEs and AS levels and is on track to get her grades needed for Uni.   He is on track for As and Bs at GCSEs. They are never in trouble at school. They wouldn't dare. Neither has EVER been in detention. Ive had postcards sent from school to tell me how delighted their teachers are with them.  We never dread parent's evening. Friends and family tell us they are just lovely young adults. Quietly confident, self assured and well behaved. They do not nor have ever played out on the street or hung around on street corners.

She has a part time job - washing up in an old people's home. My son is currently wheeler dealing in the scrap metal business - is he, like the *TGBs round us - going on people's property nicking what he wants? Nope - he just asked his dad to collect all the old window frames he takes out when he's working and save them. Then with the help of Grandad off he trots t weigh it in! Alan Sugar watch out! ( We bought him a safe for his birthday! He keeps jaffa cakes in it!! )

They are expected to join in with the household chores. They can eyeroll and huff and puff as much as they like - it get's them nowhere! Nor do they earn money or privileges off us for doing these tasks! ( This might cause a ripple in some right on parenting circles ) ! They can both cook a full roast dinner , bake cakes etc.

They don't succumb to peer pressure.  They are smarter than that. They are not arrogant or selfish. they are not mummy's darlings or precocious at all. I am soo not beans and  lentils. They had clear boundaries.  They haven't gone off the rails BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT ALLOWED ANYWHERE NEAR THE TRACKS! I didn't 'explain' things to them when they were small. No meant no and it still does!  They are not called Tarquin and Phillomena.  Do I have high standards and expectations for them? Hell yes.

They were really good babies, really good toddlers ( except with one or two EPIC and I mean EPIC tantrums - you read about one in an earlier post ) really good pre teens.  Do I blame the parents? YES ! TOTALLY!!
2.  Putting  aside that I am obviously the best mother in the world ( I'm so not )  with the world's saintliest children ( they are so not ) and Even though I am really not looking forward to the eldest going off to Uni in September. This morning I was inwardly putting the flags out and cheering her off!
  • Firstly, she has nagged me constantly about doing her Student Finance application. We couldn't do it until she had made a firm choice. I was approached at 9.20pm last Wednesday night by a scraggy haired girl child with open lap top in her mitts with the expectation that we should do it now. How many flaming times have I told her about carrying that laptop around the house, up and down the stairs like that?
  • She was gently explained to that it wasn't the optimum moment really. Thursday is my early finish day so I would be home just after 3.30pm and we would do it then.  I think I had an affirmative answer. I could tell from the glare.
  • Thursday 3.30pm I was home! Where was my eldest? No sign. an hour passed. Still no sign. Once over I would have put the call into Mountain Air Sea and Road rescue. I have had to relax on the old cotton wool thing for my own sanity. I sent her a text. Just then the door opened and I was about ready to strangle her as foster daughter no2 popped her head round the door and smiled! They'd come home to revise together. Hmmm. My face was like that straight face emoticon.
I reminded my REAL daughter that I had been waiting to do this finance thing. Totally non plussed she regaled me with the evening's school work regime and that we could do it tomorrow!  ( In my head - " O CAN we now????? ")
  • Now I am used to her friends dropping in willy nilly and I like it. I am going to miss all them too come September. I suspect my food bill might drop massively. The boy child is socially the opposite to the girl. She has been happily surrounded by Sophies, Beckys, Sarahs, Kates and Hannahs from day one of  High school.  My boy has a small friendship group,  made up of about three of them ,who sadly are in a separated family situation, therefore their weekends are spent with the other parent. My two sometimes say they are jealous of these two home families and it's not fair that we selfishly stayed together!  It's only ever said in jest! ( I always maintained Mr Radiostar could have FULL custody! )
  • Friday night she was at work. So the finance thing still didn't get done.
  • Saturday morning. I was up with the larks. washing on the line by 6am - my nanna would be so proud. We made a start on the form about 10am. As requested she had already filled in her basics. Then the lengthy process of pages loading. Directgov is RUBBISH! Then different windows take you forwards and back. Now her father and I have our own Student loan application number. 
  • The amount she can get goes on our household income. One thing that pisses me right off. Why should it matter what we earn? It's not US who's going! I think ALL should get the SAME no matter what their background. ANyhoo - I filled in the forms based on the Tax year 2010 - 1011.  BUT In October 2011 our world was crushed when Mr Radio - like millions of others in this sorry little country was made redundant. Told on Friday - sorry no work on Monday. That's it. see ya!  At all the Open days at the Unis. I had carefully listened to the finance talks and I knew that we could ask for THIS years figures to be taken into consideration. Since I had been on long term sickness ( Thanks Gallbladder ) I'd had some months on half pay coupled with a change in some of my HLTA hours meaning that this year's income is no where near last year's which actually was nowhere near enough to live nicely and have holidays etc!!
  • We decided to ring up - because I couldn't find the form for the change in circumstances. Well, a jolly nice chap tells you after you've gone through the EXTENSIVE automated menu that you can find all the answers you want online. Well, actually no old chap, we can't which is why we are ringing! Daughter had to ring because even though it's OUR details they need , they can't speak to US because of her data protection! I protect her data thank you very much! So eventually we found out that you could navigate to a certain area to download the correct form for our situation or they could post one out! We could ring a number to request one by post. ERRRR CAN YOU NOT SEND US ONE , YOU KNOW WHILST I AM ON THE PHONE TO YOU??????
  • We have to submit last years' figures and wait to send in the form when it arrives in the post.
  • Nightmare number two. She had to provide proof of identity. If she had a digital passport we would not have to send off her birth certificate. I nearly broke down when we discovered her passport had expired. ONLY THREE WEEKS BEFORE. It will be renewed. So we rang to see where we stood now? Nope, we have to send off her birth certificate along with a bloody declaration form from a person of decent standing who has known her for two years! FFS! What a sodding palava. Now I can't get this done til Monday. I'll have to rush to the Post Office in my lunch hour as we've got another sodding staff meeting at work.

4. Her bedroom is a tip. She has been tidying it solidly for 7 years now. It never gets any better. I'd emptied the laundry basket this morning, after asking them last night for their dirty clothes. I was assured I'd got them. An hour after I'd emptied it it was FULL to the brim! I yelled at her.She'd snapped back "What?" in that way where they really emphasize the last T. WOTT - Ter is what it sounds like. So she was told that if she did this again - then I was not doing her washing anymore ever!

5. I know I will. She knows I will.

6. This morning's feeling is  - September and the offloading of a daughter away to Uni cannot come quick enough!

Thanks if you made it to the end!

Harrassed Mother of a teenager.
*TGB - Thieving Gypsy Bastard

    Friday 11 May 2012

    Do you want to see my cakes #2?

    Again, not a euphemism.

    Just a few minutes to post a few more photos of cakes what I made in the past!

    When my daughter was tiny, as I said on Wednesday,  I didn't work, but I did take advantage of some of the free adult learning activities at the local night school. That's how long ago it was. It was called Night school.

    Anyway I took up Sugarcraft. I LOVED it. I was the youngest by a good forty years but I used to love my Thursday nights with the ladies. The tutor was an amazingly talented lady called Anne. She had the lightest, fastest fingers in the west!.

    One time, at Sugarcraft class ( sic ) ...We made piping bags out of greaseproof paper. A rectangular piece of greaseproof paper. We folded the corner down and some how got the bag template. I picked up the hang of that really quickly. Fashioning a cone shaped piping bag? She made would make a Japanese Origami Ninja Master look like ( um um searches brain for something super clumsy here ) er that he'd never folded a piece of paper in his life . ( Sorry - it's lame but it's early )

    That woman must have been a saint. I could not do it. Dyslexia means you struggle with words, Dyscalculia means you struggle with numbers - I had Dyspipingbagia -- I struggled. Ok .

     Without complaining once, for one and a half hours that woman showed me how to wrap the bag round my hand, tucking one end under my thumb, make a point so sharp it hurt ( that was the test - if it didn't hurt when you pricked yourself with it, it wasn't good enough)  and then withdraw your hand so it didn't collapse and fold down the sides. Easy peasy.

    Finally, I did it! My eureka moment. The old ladies clapped, I think the teacher cried. I could now PIPE! with my own BAG!

    It is actually very easy - once you know how!!

    I went for nigh on three years until my second baby arrived. Then the free night schooling stopped and I couldn't afford to carry on. But I'd built up one of those massive B&Q tool boxes full of PME tools ( The very best ) flower cutters, colour paste, stamens etc. I still have it and it still gets used. But not enough. But I have no where near enough spare time. ( Ok I get about 43 weeks off  a year with school holidays etc! ) but I think I am going to have a dabble again soon.

    The one downside of my sugar craft career is that one day making sugar fondant was I burnt out the motor on my beloved Kenwood mixer. I couldn't afford to have it repaired or if anyone looking in wants to buy me one, or review one ( never reviewed anything in my life before - but apparently some bloggers do this?! ) I would LOVE a new Kenwood. Le sigh. Anyway enough waffle - some more of my handy work.

    One of my favourite cakes I made was Noddy and Big Ears in Noddy's car for my Daughter's fifth birthday I think it was - but I have no photograph of it :(.

    I have real troubles when adding photos - esp when I add captions, they seem to jump out of order which is what has happened here. Sorry !

    I made my Son's Christening Cake. Daisies, Rose buds and Ivy. Very Masculine!
    Attention to detail round the back, although please note, the van doors did not open!
    This cake weighed an effin ton!
    That's not a smile on my face,
    it's a weightlifter's grimace.

    I made my first posy of roses for my Aunties 60th Birthday. They are not perfect but not bad for a first go.
    The whole cake. The icing I did with a number 2 first in white then a 1 in pink. A bit of a wobbly hand - but this was my first formal cake!
    A certain little Tank engine for my little lad's three year old birthday.
    I think he was chuffed to bits with it!
    No wonder the post was late that day - he was posing in my kitchen!
    That was her 'excited I love my cake so much mummy' face! 
    Round the back! Real ( sugarpaste) coal to burn!
    The colour of the photo does not do this cake justice. It was lovely in blues. This I think was my peice de resistance. The old woman who lived in a shoe. I was up til 4am of my daughter's birthday tiling that effing roof!

    I made this for my darling Nanna. The starnge marks are on the photo from the plastic film. It's not my icing.
    I gave people these little baskets of flowers for Easter in the first year. These flowers are still ok today! Bits have broken off - but they are almost 18 years old!

    My little pony cottage for the girl child's 6th. The pony's are plastic! The cottage is modelled on our house. ( Ok that last bit was a lie) But ( adopts Lloyd Grossman's voice ) Who lives in a house like this?!

    I hope you have enjoyed looking at these ckes :).
    Like I mentioned earlier - if you want to give me a brand spanking new kenwood - then I urge you to do get in touch! Cheers!!

    Wednesday 9 May 2012

    Do you want to see my cakes?

    This is not a euphemism! I cannot remember if I have shown you my past efforts.

    When my children were small and tiny and young and cuddlesome and not the great big teenagers they are today I didn't work much. I worked, however I didn't work until they were each  at least two years old,but only on supply.  My first long term supply job was part time , my son was at the nursery  which was attached to  the Primary school where was working at the time - even covering in the Nursery some days!  I was lucky to have such a lovely situation.  Once he started school full time  I gradually built up my permanent hours till now I work fulltime. But on supply - I could choose.  Now I choose to win the lottery please and therefore not work at all! I'd go in, voluntarily and listen to all the nice children read. You know the nice kids, the ones with appreciative parents!

     My choice not to go back to work straight after birth. We managed on the money we had.  It is  something I still feel very strongly about: Mums should be at home with their babies. I know some people disagree, some people will say they have no choice. I am glad that I chose to have time with my babies .

    One of my first jobs was working in a private nursery. It would cost upwards of £50 a day back then ( you know, int black and white days, fifteen years ago ) where I worked in the baby room, for a while.
     The Nursery took babies in from six weeks. SIX WEEKS OLD. 

    In the baby room we had two babies each. Yes they were properly looked after. We were all trained professionals but we were paid a pittance. But I loved my job.

    But I would shake with rage sometimes when the parents would drop off their babies - their SIX WEEK OLD babies at eight o clock in the morning and not return for them till six o clock at night when we closed. Why have a baby? WHY?  These parents nine times out of ten were Uni lecturers and Doctors. They'd have to be well paid to afford the fees. I could not have afforded it, but had I been a multi squillionairess I would not have done it, ever.

    The worst kind of parent were the ones who would pick up their child and complain if the child had fallen asleep after four , because they wouldn't be able to get them to bed. GOD FORBID THEY SPEND ANY TIME WITH THEIR OFFSPRING. Grrrrr.

    We loved those little babies, they were nurtured, cossetted and cuddled ; fed well (  firstly on expressed soya milk  then weaned on organic beans n lentils ); entertained appropriately and loved.

    But if it's not from your parents it actually kinda means jack shit.

    You know where I said before some parents will say they don't have a choice? Well actually they do. Choose to not have children.

    WOW! I massively digressed there!   Anyway cakes.

    The point of that rambly rant was to explain I had TIME to bake properly and made some cakes for my children's birthdays that I am deadly proud of and actually looking at the photographs I am not sure I could recreate them. Birthday cakes are on my mind because my eldest is eighteen in less than six weeks. I have been wondering about her cake. I will make it - but I'm not sure WHAT to create.
    *** I need to recheck this blog because I am sure I have posted the photos before *** ( This early onset self diagnosed dementia is a pain!)

    Also apologies for the quality of these shots, this is due to age for one thing! These are old photographs that were actually taken with a FILM camera.

    Film was this magic black plasticky stuff that came in spools.  ( small cottonreelesque affairs ) .We loaded it in to the back of  the camera and wound it on BY HAND. ( We couldn't afford an automatic windy on camera then ) Next you took your photos ( 24 or 36 )  { remember that thrill of actually getting 27 photos off the roll?? } One then neatly stored the film on the mantelpiece, on the bookshelf or in a drawer for approx 3 - 6 months till you could afford to either take them into Boots or send them off to Truprint.  ( O my who remembers the dog in the ad?! )

    Oh you lot so know I have just been to find it for you on the Tube of You!!

    Hehehehehehe I will be inwardly barking TRUPRINT at myself all day today

    Once the photos were in your hand, you would RIP open the packet  ( often on a bench outside Greggs had you got your photos done in town - always about £3.99 to eagerly see what you'd taken. It was a really good thing to do! There was always that one with the 'Quality Control' sticker on it alerting you to the fact that your light exposure needed adjusting! With our first, we took photos by the GADZILLION. We used to use a postal service called TriplePrint where you got one large print and two wallet sized ones of the same photo. Genius! I have albums and whole huge boxes full of my firstborn.

    Poor second child; the novelty had somewhat worn off and we have less than a third of him than she!

     So these photos I'm posting I have not scanned them in. I took a photo of the photo with my PHONE! Not a camera. Who uses cameras anymore?! ( Actually we do ! )

     Anyway what sparked this wee post is a comment I made on a blog last night about my daughter's first birthday cake!
    I hired the tin from the local market. It's all butter madiera cake in there. The cake ended up being about a good 15cm high. ( Ok maybe 10cm ) This was because I'd carefully sliced the cake in half, lovingly smothered each half in jam and buttercream. Then came to sandwich them back together and discovered that I'd not flipped one half over. EPIC CAKE FAIL in the days before epic fails were invented! DUUUUUURRRRRR!!!
    I had to scrape off the mess - turn it over and LIBERALLY cover the whole thing in buttercream so no one could tell! Man that cake was sickly!!

    I will show you some more when I next post as it's time for me to go to work! For those of you who were wanting a Lynford update. It's coming next. I promise! It'll be a good one.  For now I will leave you with the photo of the cake I made for my ex bro in law's 30th. I wish I'd laced it with arsenic! It's pictured with the book I used to make it.

    What do you think so far? Please comment - I so love it when you do!

    Friday 4 May 2012

    Friday round up, check it out-you are probably in it!

    Hello! I like Fridays a lot because I do not start work till 9am. Living so close to my place at work means I can faff about at home till 8.56 and still be at work on time - on foot!

    So I get up with the larks most days and I like to catch up with blog world. Today I have been catching up a lot and commenting a lot. So I thought I'd share my comments and link you in to the blogs I have read so far.

    I AM SORRY IF I HAVE NOT INCLUDED YOUR BLOG YET _ I PROMISE I WILL NEXT TIME! I start work at 9am - not 9pm! I know I am a fast reader and writer - but the laptop is s l o w !

    First stop as ever is Frugal Queen's blog - I thought about THIS post too late and didn't copy n paste my comment before it was whizzed off for approval! But I wrote about my Le Creuset apron that is 18 years old.  Because the apron she makes was the matching material to my mum and dad's kitchen in 1973!

    Next stop - Fostermummy does takeaway food for practically NOTHING

    My comments -
    1. Dear Fostermummy,
      I have NEVER stir fried a swede. However, when one is trying to eat more healthily and come up with ingenious ways to make things low calorie but tasty - I know others will have done this before - but last year I roasted swede for the first time! Normally I boil it with my carrots n mash it together but roasted it is delicious! Either with or without a slick of oil. Sprinkled with salt n black pepper straight into the oven without parboiling - it is sweet, savoury and delicious!
      Rachel x

    1. O and if you can ever get it - I used my last far last week - but sometimes Asda sells jars of smart price curry sauce for as little as 9p. If you see it - buy it - it's bloody gorgeous!! If you see it - also let me know! So I can restock up!
    I am deadly serious about the curry sauce by the way.

    Then I visited my newest follower's blog - Arwedd's jewellery A lovely ramble through her jewellery box.

    My comment

    I have teeth! Every single one from both of my offspring. I say *I* - I actually mean my dearly beloved! I have a real sensitive stomach and gag reflex ( a present from pregnancy ) so I am comforted in the knowledge that he has them, but I do not want to see them! It makes me chuckle as they are too in an expensive jewellery box - I chuckle for the macabre find some one will make when we've popped our clogs! Thanks for the follow by the way xxx

    I have no idea why the time on the comments says it's 11.38 pm! Because I have only just made them! Before 8am on Friday morning!

    I made my way to the blog of my newest American chum on Twitter. We instantly clicked and I adore her. Simple! One chunky mama and her hilarious tales of life with three under fives. two of which are twins!

    Her post was an anniversary message to her husband.  - My small comment simply wished them both love and congratulations.

    Then BACK I went to read Fostermummy's red paper clip challenge GO READ IT
    and then left my comment

    The person who receives this will be very lucky! You have set the bar high! Sadly I shall have to *sit* this one out and watch from afar. Very afar - I live right oop north practically in the Lake District!
    Rachel :)

    Of course I never ever come on blogger without going to read about my sister's offspring.Will William go to sleep? In this post she tells us about sleep training! I commented asking how did daddy manage? And scolded her for making Harry cry!!

    This post has made me LAUGH OUT LOUD - I urge you to click this link - especially if you are a lady of a 'certain' age because you will definitely relate!

    My Comments
    Rachelradiostar says:
    Yes yes yes to all of the above. Weewifie your comment made me guffaw!
    The best days for plucking are those really bright sunny days.
    Last time I shaved my legs , the drains blocked and there was widespread flooding. In these austere times I treat my leg hair as natural under clothes leg warmers. They’d cost you £8.99 at TKMaxx!! My eldest is weeks away from being 18 and I have used the mumwords “while you are living under my roof ” I vowed at 17&3/4 NEVER to say those things to
    My children! I was going to let my children have 20 dogs if they wanted. ( we have none ) and I was never going to yell at my children about the messy bedrooms. To date my child has been cleaning her room for the last 7 years. It’s all I say to her. Ave you tidied your room? We go through this facade every day. Her answer is always ‘nearly’ . Fortunately for her I am way too busy on twitter to go and check progress!
    • northernmum says:
      leg shaving – another fabulously long winded waste of time – I mean why do we persist in doing something that our body clearly doesnt want us to do. everytime I shave it grows bloody back!

    Last one for today is a twitter chum - whose blog blows mine out of the water!

    Hey, someone who is as focused and as talented as you are will not be down for long. I am sure of it. You are one of the most positive folks I 'see' on Twitter and you are from oop north too. A winning formula! That's winning not whining! I've not really had much to do with your Life Cycyle ( not much to do with actually means I only just read about it! ) - but at this point in time, your life dictates you focus on summat eIse! think I am a bit crap at writing uplifting and motivational stuff - so I 'll leave it to the experts! See you on #drawsomething !

    Rachel x
    That's me done for the day! Until next time! Hopefully sooner than Friday :) Play nice n stay safe!