Bollocks

My kitchen is tidy. My children have been playing nicely. I’ve made my pack lunch for tomorrow. I’ve even blow-dried my hair. Alas, my creativity clearly only functions in chaos because all this achieveing has given me writer’s block. Dammit. 

I’m off to smear  Petite Filous on my freshly-ironed shirts- mix it up a bit, see if the BlogGods shine on me again. Wish me luck. 

Let me know in the comments any blog topics you’d be interested in reading and perhaps it’ll unblock my juices. Ergh. Sorry.  

Unthank Road (posh end)

Today is my last day as an Unny Mummy. For those who don’t know Norwich, Unthank Road is the Mayfair of the Norfolk monopoly board thankyouverymuch. When we were house hunting, we were scathing about people who wanted to live on Unthank Road: ‘stuck up snobs!’, ‘aspirational middle classes!’, ‘you’re paying for the postcode!’ And yet we became what we judged. 
Here are the things I’m going to miss most
Being Able To Get Workmen 

‘I was hoping to get a quote for some building work’

‘We’re busy until May but what’s the address?’

‘Unthank Road’

‘We can be there in an hour’
Popping Over for Drinks

We have some downright fabulous neighbours and they have downright immaculate homes and downright excellent g&t making skills. They are also often brave enough to invite the Oliver brood over for late afternoon drinks. This gives us a chance to close the door on our revolting messy house and go and feel grown up for a few hours. Love it. 
Popping Over for a Meal

Our next door neighbour makes the hands-down best roast ever eaten. We often schlep over the hedge and spend a few blissful hours gorging while the kids run amok in their eight-times-the-size-of-ours garden. We once lost Alex in it and found him under the hedge digging his way home. 
Popping Over for Drinks and a Meal

When William was a few months old I ordered prints of my birth and baby pics. The postman took them to the wrong house. The woman who opened them had a bit of a fright. She had also just had a baby and just ordered prints but it was a case of ‘that placenta’s not mine, its blood is too clotty’ and so she popped them down to me. Since she’d already seen quite a lot of me by then, we had no choice but to become great friends. We go for supper at each other’s houses and the children all sleep upstairs. Late at night, we carry our bleary-eyed babes back down the road and tipple them back in to bed. Those midnight walks down Unthank road with our sleepy children in our arms are what I will really really miss. 

Popping up One Stop

Frigging love popping up One Stop. It’s about 300 yards up the road but you’ll see everyone you know on the way. One of my oldest friends used to live right next door to it so if I was quick, I could pop in for a chat and still claim that I’d only just gone for a milk run. Also, during pregnancy my bladder was so weak I would have to stop at hers for a wee when I went for the Sunday papers. 
The Beehive

Two words: real ale

I won’t miss the traffic, trying to reverse out of my driveway but no one letting me out (I PAY COUNCIL TAX ON THIS ROAD, YOU RATRUN BASTARDS!), our tiny garden or our freezing cold house but my-oh-my will I miss our neighbours.

Edit: just had to say goodbye to the postman and it sent me over the edge. I was a snivelling mess. I am pathetic. I am a disgrace to this road- they’re better off without me!

Norwich: a love story 

For 16 years this city has been home. It’s my longest relationship and one of my deepest loves.

I free-wheeled home from the pub the other night, squiffy on cocktails and friendship, and the streets were empty and the fog was fizzing in the lamplight and each street and landmark held a memory. House shares, parties, and first dates from my university years. House viewings, play dates and dinner parties from my adulthood.

This city is a map of my life and it guided me from teenager to mother of two. It’s the funkiest nerdy place I’ve ever known and the cosiest city imaginable. I feel this place in my bones and being and I’m going to miss being part of its gang. Us Olivers are on the move, but I’m leaving a bit of my heart behind. 

WorkWifeofaWifeofaWigWearer: guest (of honour) blog post

BFFs, Wives, Colleagues, 50% of each other

Ms Millar is not only my job share, a bloody good friend and heir to our children when AO and I finally throttle each other, she’s also the kind of teacher and mother I aspire to be. 
I asked her to write a guest post because I hoped to get an insight in to how to be more like her. And, because she’s kind and generous, she agreed. And, because she’s a BUGGER, she wrote about me. And because she’s a GENIUS, she’s done so in a way that means I can’t go all squeamish and modest and not post it. Man, she’s good. I am going to share it, though, because it’s funny and thoughtful and sentimental (like its writer) and because it celebrates my most treasured and precious thing: female friendship. 



When Ms O asked me to write a guest blog, it got me thinking about our relationship. I’m sure she wasn’t anticipating this and I know how much she hates it whenever anyone says anything nice about her, but here goes…
She is my work wife; my better half, and I count myself incredibly lucky that we are both equally lazy/disorganised/impatient with irritating teenagers one minute and bowled over at their unique way of seeing the world the next. But obviously, she’s so much more than that. I count her and her brood as family and I’m pretty sure there’s nobody else in the world that I’ve shared (overshared) more inappropriate information with. Pregnancy solidified our bond – finding out that we were both due to have our babies within days of each other remains one of my fondest memories (perhaps even more fond than actually finding out I was pregnant?!) The car journey to our weekly pregnancy yoga session was the highlight of my week during those tricky ten months. It was as if we stored up every single weird pregnancy question we had for that five minute journey. As soon as the car door shut, I’d be asking about all the strange symptoms I’d had and she’d let out all the wind she’d been keeping in all day. We’d talk about how inadequate we felt that we didn’t ‘talk’ to our bumps or really even love them yet – the kind of stuff that you worry about being judged for but feel so massively relieved when someone else says ‘me too’. She was the first person to get me out the house after my baby was born and she was the first and pretty much only person I ever truly told how hard I was finding it all. We laughed inappropriately and tested our pelvic floors to the max (I think we both failed…) at her son’s poo face and survived maternity leave together with the mantra ‘It’s fine, they don’t remember anything at this age…’ I think we’re probably riding our luck with this one now, nearly five years later but I do know what I remember – feeling pretty damn lucky to have someone like her to share this all with

I know Ms O will be cross that I’ve spent my blog saying nice things about her, but it’s easy to forget how lucky we are to have also been given the chance to work together. Not just that, but we’ve achieved promotions together (I think we both still can’t believe that we have an actual office!) and done our absolute best to make sense of the work/life balance, even if we still don’t have it all figured out. Basically, I count myself incredibly lucky that my work wife is also my life wife. Even if we do know far too much about each other…

BFFs, fruit our loins, prides, joys, family.

10 Signs You’re a Parent Who Teaches

This post first appeared on http://www.meetothermums.com and I love it so I’m putting it here too. Is that ok to say you love your own blog post? Sod it. 

  1. This is how you accessorise for work

 

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Packed lunch. Bag of marking. Bag of tat you don’t use but somewhere in there is your staff ID…

 

2) You get all your current affairs knowledge from the 16 minutes of the Today programme you catch on your commute.

 

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Evan Davies and the sunrise keeping me company

 

3) You spend morning briefing picking Weetabix off your shoulder

4) You laugh wanly when other working parents say they ‘come to work for a rest’ because they get to wee or drink tea whenever they like. #careergoals

5) Your sofa/office looks like this:

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Supper, discarded clothes Duplo and year nine report writing: I can have it all!

6) You welcome an entire class worth of 16 year olds with ‘Morning, puddle ducks!’

7) You keep your phone in your top drawer and pray it doesn’t ring with The Dreaded Call from nursery or school ‘William has just projectile vomited across the playground’ Well TOUGH, I’ve got double year 11 and we need to finish Macbeth.

8)  This is how you find out your child has hurt themselves:

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Helicopter parenting…via stickers

9) You go to your kid’s parents evening knowing you’ll be able to decipher the jargon: ‘Oh my child’s lively and enthusiastic is he…?’

10) This is about as powerful as you’ll ever feel:

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The pen is mightier than the lunchtime detention.

Are there any I have left out? Leave your tell-tale signs of being a parent/teacher below and feel free to share on social media. In fact, please do so I can get a book deal and retire from teaching and hopefully find my sofa again.