I’m attending Blog On MOSI

On Sunday, I’m attending my first blogging conference, Blog On MOSI, at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Laura, from Tired Mummy of Two, who organises the conference has asked us to introduce ourselves by way of a ‘Linky.’ Now, I’m not very good at all these things, so I expect I will have to draft and redraft this post before publishing, and then all the links won’t work and I’ll have to do it again.

So, these are the questions she set us:

name – Naomi
blog url – http://www.itsafinefinelife.wordpress.com
twitter – https://twitter.com/naomilynas
facebook –https://www.facebook.com/pages/Its-a-fine-fine-life/166293933526455
Location – Manchester
Kids? Ben, 21 months
Favourite food? Chocolate. Biscuits. Chocolate biscuits. Cake. Chocolate. All of the above.
Tea or coffee? Tea
Cat or Dog? Cat
Left handed or right handed? Right
What came first the chicken or the egg? The egg
Dietary requirements? Peanut Allergy. Yes, I’m one of those.
Special talents? Incredibly fast reader. Entertaining drunk. Good baker. Modest.
Describe Yourself In Seven Words: Busy, calm, positive, hopeful, loving, impatient, ambitious.
What Is The Best And Worst Thing About Blogging? The best: it’s a creative outlet that I really enjoy. The worst: I never feel like my posts are quite finished or good enough.
What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done? It involved a school trip. That’s all I’m saying.
What would your superhero name and power be? Punctuation Lady.
What will you be wearing at Blog ON? It depends on the weather. And my mood.
What’s your favourite blog post you have written this year so far? Top 10 Tips for surviving a wedding with a toddler.

And because I really want to know the answer – If you choke a smurf what colour does it turn? What?! I never watched the Smurfs. I was a BBC-only child.

While you are here would you like some cake? What kind? As if you have to ask. Chocolate. No brainer.

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Easter ‘Bark’

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I don’t make sweets. I don’t actually eat many sweets. This is because I consider chocolate to be a separate food group from sweets. But when I saw this recipe for something called “Easter Bark” on Pinterest, I decided to give it a go. Marshmallows, white chocolate and pretty decorations: what’s not to like?

I scaled down the recipe significantly. If I had made the whole lot according to the original recipe, I’d probably have eaten the lot, which wouldn’t do me any good.

These are really pretty, helped by the use of pastel coloured decorative flowers. The pink and white marshmallows make them particularly appropriate for Easter. I’m sure that there are many more combinations of colours and decorations which could be used.

Incidentally, I’m a bit proud of this photo. I’ve been keeping my Easter resolution and playing around with Tim’s camera. No editing needed!

Ingredients 

  • 150g white chocolate
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
  • Sprinkles

Method

  1. Line a suitable dish with greaseproof paper.
  2. Melt the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave. Mine took about a minute and a half, on Medium.
  3. Quickly add the marshmallows and stir well. The marshmallows will start to melt, so you need to work fast.
  4. Pour the mixture into your dish and smooth down so it is one marshmallow deep.
  5. Sprinkle your decorations over the top.
  6. Place in the fridge for several hours until solid.
  7. Cut into squares around 2cm square.

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Top 10 Tips for Surviving a Wedding with a Toddler

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Weddings are brilliant: lovely people in love, celebrating the marriage of a couple, with food, drinks and lots of fun. Weddings, generally, are brilliant.

Until you have a toddler in tow. Then, weddings are really hard work.

Of course, your toddler might not be like my toddler. When everyone else is at the ceremony, my toddler wants to shout, “Car, mummy! Car!” at the bride. When it’s pouring with rain between the ceremony and the wedding breakfast, he wants to be running around outside. When you need to go in one direction, he’ll throw a tantrum to go the other way. Preferably towards the ducks.

We went to one such wedding last Saturday. It was a very child-friendly wedding, as they go. The couple themselves have a two year old, and they had obviously really thought about keeping the children entertained, especially during the wedding breakfast. So, inspired by that, and by the thoughtful provision of my sisters-in-law, who are much more experienced at things like this than me, I’ve come up with some tips for handling a wedding with a toddler.

1. Arrive a bit early…

This way, you can scope out the lie of the land. You can figure out where the baby-changing is, and secure seats to make a quick exit if necessary.

2. But not too early.

You really don’t want a bored toddler on your hands before the ceremony has even started.

3. Stock up on snacks.

Raisins, crackers, toddler-flapjack, fruit, cheese – whatever will take your child a while to eat and keep them entertained. This is particularly useful for the ceremony, as are…

4. Sticker books and activity packs

While Ben tried to stick the stickers on himself, his older cousins were engrossed by the CBeebies Peter Rabbit comic. It helped that their grandparents were happy to read this to them too.

5. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and anyone else

Enlist their help, certainly. Try to get them seated in strategic places, definitely. Ben was regularly captured by his grandfather after running down the length of the reception venue, as they were seated half-way down.

6. Bring a change of clothes

During the ceremony, the bride and groom’s son wore a gorgeous set of tails to match the groom and his ushers. After the ceremony, he was much happier in his causal, comfy clothes.

7. A range of ‘bigger’ toys, if you can

My sister in law, Suzie, brought a train set, Duplo, and a assemble-your-own truck kit. This kept the smaller children entertained for ages during the meal. My other sister in law brought craft and drawing activities, which did the same for the older children. The bride and groom thoughtfully provided party bags with masks and play doh, which went down very well.

8. Use reins

Ben loves to run around. In a crowded room, this is tricky, especially if there are multiple exits. He could get through gaps that we couldn’t push through without knocking people over, and would be outside before we knew it, and, while it was a fairly safe site, there was still traffic and other dangers. Putting the reins on him meant that he was safe, could wander around happily, and that he was slow enough to allow me to keep up with him in heels.

9. Enjoy it!

Ben loves his cousins, and one of the loveliest things about the day was watching him interact with them. My particular highlight was watching him try to dance like them, particularly when they wanted to break dance. Precious.

10. Get a babysitter (if you can)

We left at 7.45pm and drove home. Ben slept all the way, and all through the night. But we did miss the party, and that’s a bit of a shame. It’s one of those sacrifices you have to make as a parents. I don’t know how many weddings we’ll get invited to in future, but just over a year ago, when we were invited to the evening do of a wedding, Ben’s grandparents babysat. We had a fantastic time. IMG_3932

Easter Holiday Plans

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The Easter break is a lovely one for teachers.

Firstly, most of the exam prep and controlled assessments or coursework are done for your exam years. Secondly, you feel like you might just make it to the end of the academic year in one piece. Thirdly, we get two weeks!

Right now, at the beginning of those two weeks, there’s a sense that I could actually be productive. It’s been a long and difficult term for me professionally: Ofsted at the end of January, then a series of job applications and interviews. I actually accepted a new job last week, but that won’t start until September. So I do feel a distinct sense of relief.

On top of that, this last week of term has been tricky. Ben has been ill with hand, foot and mouth, which means that he’s been off nursery this week. He’s also been awake a lot each night. I had to stay at home on Monday to look after him. Tim looked after him on Tuesday, and Ben’s grandparents were due to do Wednesday, which was amazing. It sounds awful, but I was counting the minutes that I would miss teaching my Year 11s. No matter how good the cover work you set, it is never the same as you being there.

Anyway, I left home on Wednesday morning to go to work. At the end of our road, the car gave an almighty bang and started growling, like a really souped-up boy racer car. Except it’s not. It was a very broken car.

Tim to the rescue again: he quickly handed over the keys to his car and told me to go. He would sort himself out.

So we’ve staggered to the end of term really. We’re exhausted, and despite the clocks going back last weekend, often ask each other if it’s too early to go to bed. Hopefully we’ve avoided catching Ben’s virus, and he’s mostly better now, so we can look forward to the holiday.

So one of my plans for the holiday is to do very little work! If I can condense it all into two days, I should get enough sorted to get me going at the start of term, and caught up with my marking. That’s the plan, anyway.

Another plan is to do some Spring cleaning – cleaning those areas which don’t really need it every week, but which have built up.

But mostly, I plan to rest. I want to watch TV while finishing a jumper I’ve been knitting for months. I want to read a book. I want to potter in the garden. I want to take photographs with Tim’s camera, so I can finally learn how to use it. I finally want to make a red velvet cake.

If I don’t write these things down, I won’t do them. So that’s the plan.