Tuesday, 27 July 2010

£102.60 and a Large McFlurry!

The main perk I get with my job is 13 weeks holiday a year, which is fab. All that time I get to spend with my family, which inevitably ends up with spending far too much money. Sometimes this makes me think about the perks other people get with their jobs. One of our closest friends is the manager of a health club so his family never have to pay for membership to a health club. I have another friend who works for Marks and Spencer so she gets fab staff discount and they sell off all their food (which we all know is totally lush!) really cheap at the end of each day.
When I first started teaching full time I had to give up my job at a Brewer's Fayre restaurant which also meant surrendering my Whitbread discount card, which gave me really good discounts in Brewer's Fayre, Pizza Hut, Costa, Travelodges and all sorts more. What did I get in return? 20% of insurance with a certain company who shall remain nameless, but let's just say their prices are about 30% more than most insurance companies!

I've been teaching for 9 years, so some of my ex students are now in their late 20s, only about 3 years younger than me (scary!) and some of them are in pretty good jobs. Over the last few weeks, I've discovered another of the many perks to my job - who you know! I may not get 20% off in a store, but I've done pretty well in recent times thanks to the wonderful students I (or to be fair my husband too) have taught! Sometimes I've even felt guilty but I've never ever asked to get the treatment I have!
  • We ordered a takeaway the other night. Hubby answered the door. "That'll be £22.60 please - oh, alright Sir, just call it a tenner then!"
  • Buying our kids new shoes the other week, came to a total of £59 including some unnecessary bag that Evie managed to sneak up to the till. After getting served by a lovely girl who was in my tutor group for 5 years we had staff discount applied to our purchases and ended up saving nearly £20
  • I get a 10% discount on my acrylic nails every time I go
  • We went to buy a new hoover and bumped into an ex student who saved us a whopping £70 on our purchase through some kind of price match promotion
  • I've had free Nandos nuts and McFlurrys with loads of the extra toppings whenever I've popped in recently!
I'd just like to add that all of these things that I've benefited from are totally above board, nothing corrupt has been done! All of these students are in management responsibilities, the takeaway is actually owned by an ex student!

So as I'm sat here enjoying my break while the kids have a little rest from their hardcore playing, I'm mulling over how I can encourage next year's school leavers to perhaps pursue careers in sports car retail, or luxury holidays!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

My children have a better social life than me!

Evie thinks it's great that we're on our summer holidays but she doesn't quite get the subtle difference yet between being on holiday from work and actually being on holiday. Every time we leave the house she insists we bring her suitcase! We had to pull her round the shops on her pink Trunki yesterday! So in an attempt to be more organised than we usually are and help her understand, we've actually planned out our activities for the week, and here we have proof that children definitely do have better social lives than anyone else!

Today started with a family swim, which generally takes the form of Evie looking for any volunteers to play 'What's the Time Mr. Wolf?' in the water while Harry within seconds identifies the most dangerous place from which to hurl himself into the water. We'll then probably end up going to the new park at the back of our house.

Monday sees my husband and I having a day to ourselves while the children are at nursery, and it's my belated birthday outing where hopefully I will spend far too much money and hubby'll buy me a few presents.

On Tuesday, Evie has a play date which will involve lots of painting and messiness as well as biscuits and ice cream and a trip to the new splash park near us.

On Wednesday, Evie's favourite day out, the Adventure Wonderland is being visited by none other than Dora the Explorer so an overpriced (though hopefully very fun!) day packed full of children and an hour long wait to get on the 2mph rides is sure to ensue, though it'll all be worth it to see the kids smiling with absolute pleasure!

It's Harry's friend's birthday party on Thursday, to which Evie would obviously be outraged if she couldn't attend!

And already it's Friday, when we're packing everything into our car and to go camping with three other couples who have children the same age as ours. I was really hoping Harry would be walking by this trip, but there's still 5 days left for that...

So there we have it - a full, fun packed week. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change it for anything, these special days we get to have to gether as a family are fab, but if every week pans out like this, it does make me wonder whether I'll be going to go back to work feeling like I've had a break at all!

Saturday, 24 July 2010

And Relax...

Finally I'm on holiday! That last week always seems to drag. It's just a formality you have to get through. My birthday is always in the last week of term too, why couldn't I have just held off a week to guarantee a day off on my birthday every year - damn my mum's pre eclampsia and subsequent induction?!

Still it's finally here, so how to spend my first weekend? Relaxing? If only! I now need to catch up on the very long list of jobs which I have been 'putting off until we break up' for the last three weeks!
  • Posting the birthday parcels which are now a week late
  • Tidying the house up
  • Returning all the orders I made on the Next VIP sale that I never would've bought in a million years had I been browsing in the shop
  • Getting as much school work done as I can before I totally forget how to use my brain. Even as an adult I still get that thing where you can't write properly when you go back to school in September!
  • Visiting my 98 year old Gran who lives in a residential home which is 45 minutes away
  • Start packing for our holiday. My husband still can't understand why it takes me so long. He honestly doesn't understand why a family of four would need to take more than a pair of pants and an ipod camping!
  • Make sure I keep up my resolution of 30 minutes exercise every day of the holidays. Starting by removing all the storage boxes off my cross trainer...
Don't worry though, hubby's been busy too:
  • He's successfully located his car after he left in 'somewhere in town' last night so he could have a few drinks
  • He's saved the world on his XBox game
  • He's currently helping Evie have a little rest by sleeping like a baby next to her on the sofa...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Funny Five Friday

Well the day I've been looking forward to since March 22nd (the day I returned to work following my maternity leave) has finally arrived and I am on holiday for five weeks and four days. I thought I'd mark this happy day by creating a 'Funny Five Friday' and sharing five moments with you that have made me laugh out loud to spread the happiness! So here goes, hope I manage to bring a smile to at least one person's face as a rseult of my efforts!
  1. The end of term quiz. Things always start winding down towards the end of term. Lots of teachers end up showing films but my husband and I have always tried to do something a bit different once the curriculum for the year has been covered. As a music teacher it's quite easy for me - a good old inter house round of Singstar or Rock Band usually goes down well. My husband on the other hand teaches history and 'Mr Lawrence's End of Term Quiz' has become quite famous. The pub quiz style mixes rounds on topics studied throughout the year with bonus rounds. Due to his artistic skills, he decided to do a guess the animal round this year. He had 30 seconds to draw an animal, the students simply had to identify what he was drawing. Simple you say? Take a look. Answers at the bottom of the post!
  2. Condoms for hats. This is similar to something which happened to me a while back. I was completely and utterly shattered a couple of weeks ago. It turned out I had tonsillitis which explained why my head wasn't properly switched on. I had three students in my class who were wearing condoms on their heads. Turns out they were planning on using them as water bombs, but then realised they didn't have any water so decided to use them as hats instead! Made me chuckle afterwards!
  3. Sports Day. It's that time of year when every teacher has to brave it onto the school field and pretend they want to be there to cheer on their students! I always dread it but have to confess I really do get into the spirit of things and find it refreshing to see the students in a completely different light to how they are in a classroom. This year was great. One particular student who has a bit of a reputation for 'liking their food' was taking part in the 800m. Suddenly we realised he hadn't come round to start his second lap. Where was he? Turns out, on his way round he had found an abandoned lunch box, and we found him chomping on a ham sarnie by the big tree in the corner!
  4. Evie questioning the cashier's competence in Sainsbury's. Should this make me laugh? I'm not sure, but we went in to buy a couple of bits last week. When we got to the checkout one item didn't scan properly so the manager had to be called to put it through. Evie's response to the cashier was "It's 59 pennies. Surely the lady knows that - she works here!"
  5. My birthday. Last Sunday was my birthday. I was quite excited about it because Evie was so excited about going out and buying me presents and a cake (pictured below - the perfect choice for any 31 year old I'm sure you'll agree!). But really this was a day for Evie not for me. We got up early, went to feed the ducks, then went to the park, then swimming, out for lunch, a visit from my parents, quick play at home, before going out to dinner with one of my closest friends who has a daughter Evie's age. They played really well for a good 3 hours. That's how I'd describe the day. Before bed I asked her what her favourite part of the day was. Her answer: "I liked it when we saw the lady's bread get run over by a bus on the way to the restaurant!" Kids!
I hope something here has made you smile and that they weren't all 'need to be there' moments. Hope you all have a lovely weekend full of lots of things to make you smile. Oh, and if any of you wanted to take part in 'Mr. Lawrence's Quiz' here's the answers: 6. Mouse 7.Horse 8. Chimpanzee 9. Shark 10. Snake. Yes I'm serious!

Thursday, 22 July 2010

School's out for Summer!

If you've ever watched that scene in School of Rock when Jack Black's character as a substitute teacher legs it out of the classroom the second the bell rings getting to his camper van before the kids have even left the building, it'll give you some idea of how I will be feeling at 12:30pm tomorrow when we have officially broken up for 5 1/2 weeks!

If you've read my blog posts before you'll know how much I adore my job, but I'd be lying if somewhere near the very top of my list of things I enjoy about being a teacher you didn't see '13 weeks holiday a year!' We all know someone who gets defensive about how it's not 13 weeks holiday a year because of all the planning etc.etc. you have to do, but lets face it, of course it's 13 weeks holiday a year! Pretty much everyone in every job has to do things outside of their working hours and in my (not very wide I grant you) experience, the ones who get the most defensive about it are often the most work shy of all, generally being the ones who turn up at work at 8:45 and leave at 3:00! Of course I have things I'll need to do over the holiday and I'll need to go into school for a few days but it's nothing like actually being at work, and will it permeate that 'being on holiday' feel? Of course it won't, I won't let it!

Being a naturally quite lazy person, I always look forward to any day off, but this break is going to be a particularly special one for me for lots of reasons:
  1. It'll be my first holiday since going back from maternity leave so I'll appreciate it in a way you don't when you're off anyway.
  2. This will be my first summer in five years when I'm neither pregnant or breastfeeding so I'll be able to let my hair down a bit (in a responsible parent kind of way of course)!
  3. This summer we are going our first ever family holiday. As my husband is an assistant head, we are all off together so it's a real family time. I guess it might be a nightmare for some but I love it! We're starting by going camping locally with three other couples who have children the same age as ours. We've got a huge new tent, which supposedly sleeps 9 but I like my space and luxuries whether I'm camping or not. My GHDs will definitely be joining us! We then have a week booked in France, where because we were disorganised and left everything until the last minute we managed to get the 'luxury' accommodation for the same price as the tent. I'm sure I don't need to tell you which we opted for. Hopefully the 1 hour and 20 minutes it took to get our (at the time) 7 month old baby to not roll over on the regulation white board for his passport photo will pay off.
  4. The childrens' nursery still charges fees over the school holidays so we have decided to keep them both going throughout the holiday apart from when we are away. They often get unsettled if they haven't been there for a while, but it also means that my husband and I will have a whole day together each week when we can enjoy each other's company and do things that we can't do with the children. We're going shoe shopping, then to see Sex and the City 2 with my free Mullerlight vouchers on the first day, though he doesn't know that yet and I'm sure it's not what he had in mind when he thought of 'us' time!
  5. We live in such a beautiful part of the country, and have so many wonderful days out at our disposal which cost absolutely nothing so we really have no excuses to not be excited! Here's some snaps which were all taken within a 10 minute drive from our house.

A lovely walk with one of Evie's best friends.

Harry's first trip to the beach last summer aged 2 1/2 weeks.
Evie's favourite day out at the Adventure Wonderland.

So there we have it. It's that time of year when any of my friends who are not teachers get all grumpy because they have to go to work and don't want to come round for a big party on a Tuesday night or nip out to join us for lunch in their lunch break, but I work sometimes 16 hour days when I'm at work and this is my reward! I hope all of you who have 6 weeks of family time at your disposal enjoy it and make the most of it - we really are very lucky people!