The Teaching Mum

A light-hearted look at parenting through the eyes of a very busy English Teacher.


It’s Snow Joke

Ah, the elusive ‘Snow Day’…

Legends have foretold that once in a generation soft, crisp and gloriously white snow may fall so heavily on our beloved little island that life as we know it will come to a halt.  Snow so heavy, so cold, so icy that maybe, just maybe the school you work in may have to…pause for effect…CLOSE due to adverse weather conditions.

I know right.  Bloody teachers getting ANOTHER day off school.  The nation rolls its eyes.

But, you know – I paid over £3000 for a week’s holiday to Spain last year because I had to go during the school holidays.  So roll away non-teaching buddies, roll away.

October 2010 was the last time I was off work due to snow.  I remember the day well.  Teaching Dad and I were driving (in separate cars) to the same school and despite a small coating of the white stuff, the roads were pretty clear when we hop, skipped and danced our way to school.  Suddenly, in a heartbeat, the apocalypse descended upon us. The skies above us darkened and within minutes, the roads and our cars were under a blanket of snow.  It was a beautiful moment until my car got stuck on a hill on our way home and my knight in his shining PE Teacher kit has to get out of his car, walk down to mine and drive it up the hill for me.

The day that followed was filled with carelessly watching mid-morning television, eating and going for a really long, picturesque walk through all the fields, woods and hills that surround our tranquil, little village. We returned snow drunk and cold but hot drinks and love soon warmed us up as we laid beneath a sheepskin blanket next to a roaring fire… (Ah, nostalgia and rose tinted spectacles paint a much prettier picture than the reality that was me falling in the snow, crying and squishing my Ganglion Cyst back into my wrist and thus curing it) and so the perfect snow day drew to a close.

Snow days are the perfect little surprise…

Until you have kids…

Snow Day One – The One with the Snowman

It’s 6.53am and you’re staring out of your window frightened of what may lay ahead.  The journey will be perilous and slow and it is one you must face alone because the last time you asked your husband to do one of the kids’ drop offs he looked at you as one might look at a small child who put his shoes on himself without being asked – in disbelief. The school and the nursery are at the two polar ends of the village and as you well know, the school and nursery drop off are difficult enough under normal circumstances especially when your children have become deaf to the hoots of you calling again and again and again for them to put their bloody shoes on.

However, on this day, there is something else to add to your already stressful morning and it’s snow.  A whole wad of it has been dumped unceremoniously on your untreated drive way and road.  The thought of leaving the house with the children makes you retreat back into the foetal position and sit rocking back and forth in your dressing gown repeatedly contouring your nose and not knowing what to do for the best.

Your usual unresponsive husband has gone all tribal and is dancing to the beat of his own drum, with a blue football sock tied around his head, chanting “snow, snow, snow, snow!”

“Have you received the text?” I ask daring to look away from the window in case the snow stops.

“No, have you?” he questions.

“No.  I don’t know what to do.” I say in a panic.

“You need to stop contouring your nose. Is her school closed?”

“You never notice my appearance anymore and you notice now!”

“Teaching Mum! (because that’s my name) Task at hand.”

“Um, no, I don’t know.”

“Have you received a text?” he asks.


And so this conversation continues for another half an hour and if you feel like you’re getting no where with this blog post, it’s because you’re not.  Much like us on that first morning.  Between looking on social media and slagging off every other teacher we know on Facebook who got the ‘call’ before us, we found ourselves still undressed at 7.23am.

Breakfast club opens in six minutes and your eldest is seated upon the toilet watching You Tube.

Then. The. Text. Arrives.

School is closed.

Like a pool of melted snow, the stress begins to leave your body.  You won’t have to drive amongst the carnage, you won’t have to skid across an icy-playground, you won’t be risking your precious ones’ lives and, more importantly, you won’t have to get dressed.

The joy of a snow day with your family lasts approximately three and a half minutes.


“Mum, can I have sweets?”



“It’s 8am.”

My three year old has no concept of time but he knows his snacks.

“Mum, can I have crisps?”



“It’s 8.01am”

“Can I have one of your biscuits?”



“Because I said so,”

“Can I have a Fruit Shoot?” (You’ve got to give this kid credit for his relentlessness as much as I am giving you credit for continuing to read this conversation.)



“You’ve already had three this morning.”

Before you know it, it is 8.17am and your son is off his t*ts on Haribos and you’re eyeing up the McGuigans your Mum gave you last week for surviving half term alone whilst husband dearest went bloody skiing…again.


Snow man

“I’ve just seen the four house men of the apocalypse ride by, so I am going to take a pass, but thanks, sweetheart.”

“I don’t understand the concept of sarcasm, Mum so I will ask again more loudly this time. DO YOU WANT TO BUILD A SNOWMAN…(cue cute voice…) with us?”

puss in boots

Ah, hello, Mum guilt.  I wondered how long it would be before you reared your ugly head.

“Get your shoes on then.”

Now, I don’t need to tell you this, but the phrase ‘get your shoes on then’ was said, muttered, screamed and yelled a further 4563 times before the children were layered up, in their hats, coats, shoes and gloves (putting gloves on a three year old is the equivalent of being asked to solve a maths equation mentally in front of your class, standing on your head, naked and on fire – it’s torture).

Eventually, your children are snug and warm and ready to brave the snow.

Joey Lunge

That is, until…

Boo needs a wee

“Mum! I need a wee!”

Lo and behold, my saviour (once again in his PE kit) walks into the hallway and takes his children out to build a snowman.

The kettle is put boiling, the biscuits chosen and Netflix is on.


“Muuuuum!!” They’re cold, wet and both of them are crying because apparently they both have frost bite.

Netflix and chill(ed to the bone.)

The rest of the day is spent eating, clinging to radiators and complaining about the cold.

Snow Day Two – The One with the Early Text

6.10am and through blurry eyes you see messages from colleagues wondering whether a second Snow Day will be called. The garden and street have an eerie silence to it and you’ve just seen this guy:


6.15am and the text arrives.

School is closed.

It’s 6.15am, it’s still dark, it’s cold and it can mean only one thing…


Yes! I’m going to go back to sleep.

It’s going to be amazing!

But, in the night the Sleep Stealers sneaked in and climbed between the sheets and are now snoring and breaking wind simultaneously and I am sandwiched in between them both. Afraid to breathe and afraid to move, sleep slowly begins to pull me back under and lull me into believing that this day will be better than yesterday.

Today is a blank canvas.

“Mum! It’s snowed again!”

Literally a blank canvas.

“Mum! Can we go outside?”

“Not at 7.08 in the morning, dear. Ask your Dad.”

Dad can be found rocking gently on the toilet with his phone in his hand.

“They’ve not called it yet. They’ve not called it and I don’t know what to do!”

Eventually, they call it and by 10am we are all layered up and outside armed with a sledge and money. We’ve heard rumours of Tesco running out of Toastie bread and milk so we decide to walk to our local convenience store. In our estate the snow is fluffy and white and the wind simply nibbles at our ears. However, as soon as we turn the corner into the main road our ears have been ripped off by the savage dog that is the gale force wind.  Our eyes stream at force of the wind and the tears sit frozen above our top lips.  We no longer have children; they have been replaced by two miniature snowmen both of whom are repeatedly telling us that they hate the snow.

Defeated, we return home and the husband grabs the car keys despite being warned by the BBC that driving is the one thing you should not do and announces that he’s going to Tesco.

“There are snow drifts on the way up to Tesco. I’ve seen it on Facebook so it must be true. There’s no milk left anywhere. The shelves are empty; people are clambering over each other to buy the last packet of Kit Kats.  Don’t go.  Please, don’t leave us here.”

“Do you want anything?”

“Yeah, sushi.”


Snow Day Three – The One Where We Kind of Wished We Were Working but Would Never Admit That to Anyone…Ever.

You’ve got to get out of the house.

Even the snowman has lost the will to live.

You ring your Mum.

“Mum, we’re coming over,”

“Don’t risk bringing the kids over when the roads are like this.  It’s perilous.  It’s not worth putting them in danger.  Come see me another day. I’m just about to watch yesterday’s Corra.”

“Too late, we’re already on your door step.”

When your Mum is in the kitchen, you see the events that are about to unfold due to the fact that they have been like caged animals for the last three days…

“Bye, Mum!”

And you run.

Just watch out for the black ice. It’s fraught with danger – much like three back to back Snow Days with your children.


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Guns Don’t Kill People, Teachers Do.

To be rapped to Goldie Lookin’ Chain’s ‘Guns Don’t Kill People’.

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do,

Ask any right-wing politician and they’ll tell you it’s true,

It’s a fact, Shakespeare makes you violent,

Imagine if Harper Lee had created Atticus to be silent,

You don’t believe me? Read this hype about teachers shooting guns as they teach sentence types,

There you sit defiant and unheedin’,

While children lay at your feet dying and bleeding’,

You’re the killer, right? Because you don’t give a f***,

The only weapon a teacher needs is a damn fine book,

But no, we’re doing this all wrong,

I should be shooting guns not singing the phonics song,

So I started, I bought some adhesive tape,

But a gun won’t stick to my super hero cape,

So remember kids, if your lesson feels flat,

Your teacher might be concealing a weapon in her fish-tale plait.

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do,

We should be teaching peace,

Woo, woo, woo.

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do,

I learnt how by watching on a documentary on BBC2,

Hands shaking outside her locked classroom door,

She’s ready and poised and in her hands she takes the law,

Statistics and Fake News are sometimes misleadin’

By allowing more guns, it’s killers you’re breedin’

It’s hidden under your left breast? No wonder you’re scared of breathin’,

It’s okay though – more CPD we’ll be receivin’,

No guns in the UK by ‘97,

A safer place, less violence – it’s almost heaven,

Too many lives lost. R.I.P,

Guns, not kids, should be in the cemetery,

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do,

I’m all about the peace,

Woo, woo, woo.

Guns don’t kill people, teachers do,

I’m an English Teacher but I won’t kill you,

As a teacher, I’m teaching you a lesson,

About empathy, love and freedom of expression,

Keep making a stand; keep saying no,

I need my money for green pens, not bullet vests and ammo,

Let’s pray you don’t have a teacher who often flippin’,

I like teaching poetry and not pistol whippin’,

But if you’re a teen filled with attitude and a whole lot of sass,

You’d better hope your teacher doesn’t pop a cap in your ass,

Playing with lives isn’t a game, it’s murder one,

Teachers in a classroom with a concealed gun?

This teacher can’t shoot but she can bust out a rap,

Guns don’t kill people? What a load of crap.

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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Day Motherhood: #2 The Relaxing Bath

It had been five days since she had washed her hair and in that time she had been out running; been caught in the rain and been in the line of fire when her two year old decided that on Wednesdays he hated scrambled eggs.

Once upon a time in a land far away and in a world without her children, Carrie used to wash her hair every other day. Her long, luxurious, golden locks would be emerged wholly into the bath where she would lay and contemplate the true meaning of life while bubbles crackled around her head. When she was ready, she would reach for her shampoo – an exclusive purchase from her hairdressers – and soap up her hair. Once the shampoo was rinced out and the £5 a bottle of conditioner was evenly distributed, she would reach for the hot tap for a top up of warmth and then grab the Kindle that was waiting patiently on the side and she would read and read and read. Bath time, once upon a time, was heaven.

The last straw came on Friday night when her six year old used her hair as a tissue. That’s right, Carrie’s six year old daughter – who was able bodied and two metres away from the box of tissues – sneezed and then rubbed her nose in her Mum’s hair in a pathetic attempt to ‘snuggle’ her. The sight of the sickly green slime that coated her hair made her gag.

“Get off me!” Carrie yelled, knowing full well that a six year old girl’s cuddles only came at a price, usually when she wanted something or needed something.

“I just want a cuddle,” came the muffled voice buried deep within Carrie’s hair.

“What’s that on my ear? Ewww, why is my ear wet. Get. Off. Me!”

Yanking her daughter off her and placing her unceremoniously on the carpet, Carrie glanced at her eldest child and saw tears of hurt glisten in her eyes. Soon, however, Carrie realised that the thin sheen glazing over her daughter’s left eye was not tears at all.  Nope, it was snot.  It seemed that while she was being pulled from the inner depths of Carrie’s hair, she had retraced her slime spreading steps and retrieved some of the goo that had been moisturising Carrie’s split ends. For the briefest of seconds, Carrie considered leaving her hair another day – after all, most of it was out now and it did have a shimmer to it – but the sheer disgust she felt in both herself and her daughter made her change her mind.

When did this become her life?

“Out! Out, all of you,” Carrie shouted as she gathered up discarded shoes and coats in the hallway.

Moments after ‘Snot Gate’, Carrie had persuaded her husband, Chris, to take the children out to tea and within ten minutes the three of them were packed up in the car.  Silence engulfed Carrie; it wrapped its arms around her like an old friend.

The hot tap coughed and spluttered into life as she looked for some bubble bath she may have received as a Christmas present five months ago. Alas, adult bubble bath was not to be found so Carrie had to make do with a bottle of Mr Matey.  Davey the Seaman – ‘a pirate with heart but with an aim like a dart’ – glooped out into the running water. How had she not noticed the inappropriateness of this bottle before?  Ah, yes children – they had turned her brain to mush.  The hot tap continued to fill the tub and as it was doing so, Carrie started to empty out the toys currently residing in the tub. Out came Batman, two dinosaurs, three cars, Woody (who was missing his hat), four Kinder Surprise Egg toys and Barbie.  Barbie was looking somewhat dishevelled and was wearing a ring of dried white suds around her midriff. Clearly, Davey the Seaman had squirted on her during the previous night’s bath… The kids were always bloody squeezing excess soap suds everywhere.

Steam started to circle the air so on went the cold tap.  In that moment, Carrie disappeared to grab her Kindle, undress and grab her robe.  Eventually, the bath was ready; Carrie lowered herself into it slowly and watched as her skin turned pink in the heat.  Slowly laying back, she allowed the water to climb up her spine as she accustomed herself to the hot water . Her Kindle, balancing precariously on the sink, waited for her. Inside the cover it contained worlds she had not ventured into for such a long time and characters, whom she would once refer to as friends, were now merely strangers on a page waiting to be acknowledged.

Once she was fully emerged, Carrie reached for her Kindle and opened it.  Its glowing light entranced her and immediately she was hooked. The opening chapter set the scene wonderfully and as colourful metaphors began to formulate images in Carrie’s head, she heard the front door open and bang shut.

She didn’t move.

Didn’t breathe.

Perhaps if she stayed quiet they wouldn’t know she was there.




A thunderous noise hit the staircase and began its ascent to the top. There was the briefest of pauses before the bathroom door was slammed inwards and her children entered with a barrage of questions.

“Mum! What are you doing?”

“Having a bath,”

“Mum! Where is my tablet?”

“Downstairs where you left it.”

“Mum! Where’s Woody?”

“Down there.”

“Where’s his hat?”

“Ask Batman,”

“Mum! Shall I wash your hair?”


It was too late. The six year old had already lathered up and her hands were already massaging her scalp.

It was only then that she realised her two year old had been uncharacteristically quiet and that she could feel something attached to her big toe. Recoiling in horror, she realised it was only Batman and he was wearing Woody’s hat.  She made a mental note of that when so a future meltdown could be averted.  Floating around her now she could see three out of four of the original cast of Ghostbusters moving their way slowly past her stomach. She wondered where Dr Venkman was and thought she saw him pop up between her legs before realising that it was the tail of the plastic T-Rex that had been lying on the bath rug a few moments earlier.  She had purposely placed it on its side as its arms were rendered useless when lying down so clearly this T-Rex had received a helping hand back into the bath.

“Okay, okay, this has to stop now!” Carrie screamed as the T-Rex was flung across the room.

Strategically placing bubbles around all the areas a woman needs bubbles, Carrie kindly asked her children to back away for one God damn minute so she could rinse her hair. Emerging once again into the now cooling water, silence filled her ears as the water rushed in.

“Mum!!! I need a poo!” came the unmistakable desperate tones of a two year old in need of a dump.

Carrie immediately sat up straight in the bath, displacing all bubbles and discarding all that was left of her modesty and barked instructions to her daughter to get her brother’s pants down and get him on the potty.  Once this was done, both children – one on the floor and one red-faced and straining on the potty – sat silently facing Carrie just watching.  Goosebumps began to slowly climb her arms and Carrie couldn’t tell whether this was due to the bath now being lukewarm or whether it was due to the unsettling way her children were just staring at her in a way that reminded her of the spooky twins in ‘The Shining’.

The silence was broken with an almighty crash.

In stormed Carrie’s husband looking red faced and desperate.  He walked briskly towards the toilet, lifted the lid, unfastened his jeans and sat down and a look of relief washed over his face.

“You’ve been in here for ages!  Sorry, I couldn’t wait any longer.  Look at you laying there like Lady Muck enjoying her hot bath.  Enjoying that are you?”

Carrie’s stern eyes spoke a thousand words and Chris immediately shut up.  As husband and wife stared at each other – one on the bog and one in the bath – naked, vulnerable but no longer alone, her son stood up from his potty, bent over and shouted.

“Mum! Wipe my bum!”

Lady Muck indeed.


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A Little Plea to RSVP

Mummy was starting to feel stressed about her daughter’s party so she penned a poem about the importance of the RSVP.

A little plea to parents everywhere,

Please help me out before I despair.

Standing before you is just another mum,

Persuaded by her kid to do something dumb,

My daughter she begged for a party at soft play,

Invites were sent – well over twenty I’d say.

Weeks are passing and it’s nearly time,

But my RSVP list shows only nine.

“How many days now?” she asks me daily,

“Have you heard from Luke’s mum and what about Kayleigh?”

I nod and smile and say “it’s just a few weeks,”

As I glance at my phone and pray that it beeps.

I know that you’re busy, hun. Us parents always are,

But RSVP and I promise you a pint because there’s a bar.

Please let me know if little Alfie can make it,

So I can buy a Colin Caterpillar cake – hell, I might even bake it.

Modern life is manic so I will cut you some slack,

But what do I have to do to get you to text a mother back?

I can offer you sausage rolls, sandwiches and of course, Haribo,

Please just tell me if I should expect young Jo,

I’ve got to make the party bags and plan a game or two,

All I need is a simple yes or no from you.

I’ve given you my number and I have told you the date,

If your child loves Wotsits, I’ll provide a whole plate,

I’m writing this in the hope you’ll find it funny,

But seriously, I’ve parted with quite a lot of money.

That’s it, it’s the end of my little plea,

I look forward to receiving your RSVP…😬😊😉👍

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The Trials and Tribulations of Modern Motherhood: #1 The Nativity

It began with this:

Monday evening

“Mum! Mum! I’m Angel Number Three!” my daughter shouted as I entered the house.

“That’s great, Sweetheart,” I said as I threw my coat and handbag down onto the sofa.

“Miss Crawshaw told me not to worry because she understands what you’re like and that I can just borrow a costume from Class 3’s dressing up cupboard…”

“What do you mean ‘she understands what I’m like’?” I interrupted.

“Well, you know how you took me to school on an Insect Day on the first day back after Easter?”

I nodded as I grimly recalled the morning of the said ‘Inset Day’ when the elderly caretaker sympathetically looked at my daughter dressed up in her uniform all ready to learn before slowly raising his head up to me where his gaze fixed on mine while he slowly shook his head in disappointment. Had I not read the newsletter he’d asked. Had I not noticed the empty playground he wondered. ‘There was a newsletter?’ was my reply.

Forcing me out of that guilt filled memory, my daughter continued. “And you know how I was the only one in uniform during last year’s Children in Need day and Mrs Gilbert said that we would have hit our target of £500 if only you had managed to bring that damned £1 in?”

Again, I nodded.

“And remember that time you didn’t know it was Sports’ Day and you had to run home and get my…”

“All right! All right!” I yelled.  “That’s enough Mum Bashing for one evening although Miss Crawshaw does have a point, I suppose.  What are Class 3’s costumes like?”

“She ain’t wearing a borrowed costume!” came the dulcet tones of the husband cooking away in the kitchen.

Christ on a bike – now that would make for an interesting Nativity – rolling my eyes, I asked “When’s the Nativity?”


“Shiiooot,” I swore. “How long have you known about this?”

“Since last Wednesday,” was her reply.

“Why am I only hearing of this now?”

“It’s in the newsletter,”

“Where’s the newsletter?”

“In my bag,”

“And where is your bag?”

“At school on Sophie’s peg,” she tutted at this point to emphasise her outrage at my not understanding why her bag would be anywhere else but Sophie’s peg.

“Why Sophie’s peg?”

“We were pretending to be each other,”

Great.  Fun game.

“Oh, and Mum…I’m not Angel Number Three. I’m Angel Number Two; I’m still pretending to be Sophie.”

Later that evening after my children had gone to bed (and after learning that Sophie’s mother had hand stitched her daughter’s angel costume), I logged onto the internet and ordered some angel wings and a halo and then paid extra for a swift delivery.

After digging out my daughter’s bridesmaid dress from the previous summer, we were good to go.

Tuesday Morning

I ordered the Nativity tickets. Two for me and my husband and two for the In Laws.

“It’s the dress rehearsal today,” I was informed by Rita the over informed head of the PTA.

“I know, I know,” I lied. “I’m just waiting on the wings to arrive.  They’re due today.”

“Don’t worry,” Rita assured me, her voice lulling me into a false sense of security. “I’ll make sure Daisy stands at the back of the stage so no one notices her in her uniform.  If we take off her cardigan, the other kids might just think that Angel Number Three likes to wear white cotton T-Shirts whilst carrying out The Lord’s business.”

I wanted to punch Rita square in the face right there and then, but the tears of guilt welling up behind my eyes would have surely effected my blow.

Wednesday morning

Praise the Lord our Saviour – our angel wings arrived on Tuesday evening.  It was made clear to me then that Christ was looking down upon us and saw fit that the Yodel driver sent to us from Devon was speedy and had an up to date version of Google maps.

Barely unable to contain her excitement, Daisy immediately squeezed herself into her bridesmaid dress, put on her wings and halo and marched up and down the house reciting her one line of ‘Baby Jesus is here! Let’s celebrate with a beer.’ ‘Let’s celebrate and cheer!’ I kept shouting after her but to no avail.

It had rained over night and the frost that had bitten at us during the previous morning had disappeared only to be replaced by mud, puddles and a slight bit of slush left over from the previous weekend’s pathetic attempt at snow.  I had everything bagged up, labelled and ready.  Rita was going to see me for the Mum I truly was: organised and with an impeccable taste in angel costumes.  Yes, my slightly wonky and dented halo was going to shine bright this morning.

“Get your shoes on,” I said patiently to my children.

“Shoes on, please,” I repeated.

It was like I didn’t exist.  I decided to give Daisy and her little brother, Jack another few seconds to make the right decision.  Picking up my handbag, Daisy’s school bag, her coat, Jack’s bag, Jack’s coat, the bagged up bridesmaid dress and a third rucksack containing Daisy’s shoes for the Nativity, I tried again.

“Both of you.  Shoes on, please.”


“You need to put your shoes on now!”

Both of them looked at the shouting clothes stand with blank faces and then continued to do what they were doing, which was absolutely bloody nothing.


Bugger.  The rapid projection of my voice caused me to drop three out of the four bags I had been holding but at least the munchkins were finally putting on their shoes and ten minutes later we were all packed up and in the car and ready to drive to school.  Yes – ten minutes had passed because shoes were put on the wrong feet and I had to run upstairs at least three times to check that my hair straighteners were switched off and unplugged.

When we arrived at school, I found that, as usual, all of the parking spaces had gone and no way on earth was I going to park on a junction again after receiving a rather unfriendly and frankly threatening note stuck to my windscreen the previous week informing me that ‘in the future, I should park in a proper parking space.’ No, that was not happening again so I parked up the road a little further – just a minute’s walk from the school – and made sure I was away from all junctions and all houses with twitching curtains.  My children climbed from the car.

“Can you hold your bags?” I asked.

“No, Mum,” came their helpful reply.

“Put your coats on then,”


I climbed out of the car and hung the bags from my arms, hooked the coats over them and lugged the bagged up bridesmaid dress from the back seat.  The dress, that had been hanging on a coat hanger, slipped from the bag as I attempted to hook it around the third arm I wished I had.  In slow motion, I watched as it fell onto the cold, wet, dirty pavement beneath my feet and at that moment, that very single moment, Rita pulled up just a few metres in front of me – on a sodding junction I might add – and looked on in disgust as I scooped up a now sopping wet bridesmaid dress.

“It’s from Marks and Spencer!” I called.

She couldn’t give two fucks hoots as she ushered her children into the school away from mine.


By the time Thursday came along, I had lost two out my four Nativity tickets.

After searching high and low for them, I resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to create some counterfeit tickets using the colour photocopier at work and a pair of scissors.

It worked a treat so if you ever need to get out of the country fast and need a passport, I’m your gal.

Thursday afternoon came around and I was seated at my desk with a classroom full of Year 8 pupils when suddenly, the idle phone laid on my desk lit up and buzzed. Glancing at my screen, I could see the message.

I’m at the school, it read, I’ve got us some great seats.

“Nooooooo!” I yelled to my classroom of kids.

“What is it, Miss?”

“Oh God! Who’s died, Miss?”

“Miss! Do you need me to take over the lesson? I feel that I am ready to teach the class the difference between Quantum Physics and Metaphysics.”

“Liam, you’re in a French lesson.”

As it turned out, my Father-in-Law had turned up for the Nativity a day early and was currently sitting through the junior school’s version of the Birth of Christ rather than the infant’s version.

More worrying, however, was that he made it in to the school without a ticket. My undercover counterfeiting had all been for nothing.


Nativity D-Day. Lines had been learnt, songs had been sung and Daisy’s tummy, she informed me, was filled to the brim with wriggly worms and fluttering butterflies.

I left work early and left my Year 8 French class in the more than capable hands of Liam and made my way to Daisy’s school.

Waiting for me there was my husband, my In Laws and my boy, Jack. We took our seats and the show began.

Standing centre stage, the angels looked simply angelic and my girl looked beautiful and I could only stare on, beam in pride and pray to the little baby Jesus that she remembered not to say ‘let’s celebrate with a beer’. Jack, being two, is no good at sitting still for anything longer than seventeen seconds and I could hear him stirring at my side. I shushed him and he responded by blowing a raspberry in my direction. He then continued blowing them in all directions (aimed specifically, I noticed, at fit dads.) Our own fit dad noticed his son’s yobbish behaviour and handed him his phone with You Tube open and ready to go.

“No!” I mouthed. “What are you doing?”

“It’s on silent,” was his reply.

It wasn’t on silent.

And just as Mary and Joseph were lifting their miracle baby – The Son of God – to meet the five angels, the familiar theme tune of everyone’s favourite 80s film about ghosts rang out and filled the quiet hall.

“Who you gonna call?” Jack sang out.

Up on the stage, for all to see and hear, Joseph – Rita’s number one son – yelled out in his loudest and most theatrical voice…


It appeared that Rita and I shared one common interest: sons who seriously dig ‘Ghostbusters’. Although, I doubted that we would be talking about it over a coffee any time soon.

Merry Christmas one and all.  Let’s celebrate with a beer.

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three

Certainly not Daisy and definitely not Angel Number Three…


My Fierce First Born

To my fierce first born:
You weren’t afraid to arrive before your time,
You left the warmth of the womb to become mine.
Your loud possessive yells,
Made those first long nights hell.
But they only meant that you were strong.
Years have passed but you’re still young,
My stubborn little hero is still unsung.
I hope you grow up brave; way braver than me,
And strive to be the best version of yourself you can be.
Don’t be afraid of adventure; if you want to go then go,
Don’t play recklessly with your heart; don’t always have it out on show.
Don’t accept mediocrity; strive for the best.
Some will tell you you’re worse than average; this my dear, is a test.
Rise above negativity; stamp that sh*t out,
Stay clear of the vanity stage; no girl looks better with a pout.
Fight for equality and be the leader of the show,
But, if something doesn’t sit right, stand up and say no.
Try new things but please stay safe puns sound,
When there’s bullies just stand your ground.
Make friends, travel and always be kind,
Be gentle on yourself too and take care of your mind.
Times will be tough,
When your best will be good enough,
Remember your loved this day until your last,
Run head on into the future; don’t dwell on the past.
There are of course days when I don’t feel like telling you all this,
Like this morning when I came to greet you with a morning kiss.
Just as you turned and woke,
You said ‘you stink’ before I even spoke!
So, lastly, don’t use your voice to throw words that sting,
Use your words wisely and make the hearts of others sing.



The Things I’ll Never Say.

I like to think that I’m quite good at speaking in front of people.  After all, it is something I do most days.  Talking in front of a group of thirty-two pupils daily, however, is very different to presenting to a large group of your peers, your friends and your loved ones.  I am not saying I couldn’t do it, I am certain that I could.

I did it at your funeral, remember?

It’s that awful feeling you get leading up to it: the churning of your stomach, the sickness making you feel dizzy, light-headed and not truly in the moment and then there is the fact that it’s all you think about before you stand to make your introduction to your awaiting audience. 

I don’t want those feelings.

Not at my wedding and I hope you understand.

Months ago, when the wedding planning stages were in their infancy, I had the idea that I would write something, hide it in my dress pocket and ta-da!  I would suddenly magically produce it from the pocket, stand up and present it to my captive audience from where I stood in the centre of the top table.  On lookers would smile and remember you with a fondness, Mum would look on at me proudly as I spoke with confidence and without wavering, Rob would roll his eyes willing me to finish and I would say all the things I want to say about missing you on one of the most important days of my life.  I would talk about how proud you would be of your grandchildren and if only you had met them because they would love you so much. I would speak of Mum and how, at low parts of her life, she refused to be beaten down. I would explain the many ways in which you and Rob are similar but so different in others (he supports Barnsley FC, I know someone has to) and how I saw him in a whole new light on the day he became a Dad for the first time.

I would be sentimental, funny, nostalgic and celebratory and I would make it through my speech without once stumbling on my words and without any tears.

That’s what I thought I could do six months ago.

As it turns out, with only three days to go, I can’t do it and I don’t want to do it.


Allow me to try and explain why.  It may sound heartless; bear with me though as I am anything but.

This one day is about me.

Your funeral gave me the opportunity to stand up and talk about the most important man in my life: you.  It was all about you, so understandably it felt right to talk about you and the father you were.

I don’t want you to be one of the main topics of conversation at my wedding because what will it only serve to remind me of? The fact that you’re not here.

Let me make myself clear.  You are never far from my thoughts and you know I speak about you often.  Over the last few weeks, you have been at the forefront of my mind despite my constantly trying to keep you at the back of it.

That’s not very a very nice thing to do, is it?

But, I have reason.

It’s those damned floodgates, you see. I fear that if they open, I will struggle to close them.  I know they didn’t open at your funeral and my only suggestion as to why is that I was all cried out and still in some state of shock that my father had been taken away from me when he was still so young.  

My friends keep asking me if I am excited about my wedding and I am but I have also told them that I just want it to be over.  That, I can guarantee you, is not true.  Having waited ten years to finally marry the father of my children, I do not want the day to be over.  I want to enjoy it.  However, there’s this thing lurking silently in the pit of my stomach just waiting for Saturday morning to arrive before it can leap out and paralyse me with nerves, anxiety and a deep feeling of loss.  I think the thing lurking is the thought of you and your absence.

Last week, while out shopping, Mum hooked her arm into mine and told me she was looking forward to the weekend and was starting to get ‘a bit giddy’.  I wanted to get giddy with her and yet instead I unhooked my arm and told her I was feeling so very apprehensive about the imminent Big Day.

I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that it’s very ungrateful and ungracious of me and you would be right.  After everything she has done for me and my family, I was throwing her excitement and her generosity back in her face.

Here comes my attempt at justification.  Shortly before hooking her arm through mine, Mum had told me that she had found and washed an old blue and white (LUFC colours, obviously) handkerchief of yours. She had been using it while pressing some trousers and it was clean and ironed and ready to be my something old, something borrowed and something blue and it could hide secretly away in my dress pocket.

I felt the flood gates unlock then.

It was a beautifully simple suggestion. No one would know and I would have something of yours.  But, I don’t want something of yours.  I want you.

I am not a religious person but I do put my faith and my belief in that there is something greater than all of us.  I have to believe this because if there is nothing after we die, then where are you now?  And it’s for that reason that I chose to get married in a church.  However, it’s the church ceremony that, over anything, even the poor weather forecast, that I am fearing.  Fearing my wedding ceremony.  Can you hear that? That’s horrible isn’t it? I’ve picked the flowers, the hymns and asked for the bell ringers.  It’s sure to be beautiful (and chaotic with nineteen children in attendance) but I am fearing it.


Because, no matter how hard I try to push you to the back of my mind I know I won’t be able to.  Standing outside that church with just me and Mum is where I am going to miss you more than I have probably ever missed you since the day you left us.  I’ll see you in Mum’s eyes as she too tries to not think about how her husband isn’t here to walk his only child down the aisle and I will feel it as she takes my arm to walk me down the aisle.  Every child hates to see their parents cry and as a parent myself, I know how much it pains me to see my children cry when they are genuinely heartbroken, in pain and distress.

With you in our minds, we will both be trying not to cry and if one of us utters your name, the floodgates will come crashing open.

I don’t want look heart-broken as I walk down the aisle and I think that’s why I am choosing to explain this to you now because if I speak about you on Saturday afternoon standing outside the church then my heart will be broken.

If, however, I think about you and make sure you remain firmly in my thoughts throughout the day then perhaps my heart will only be bruised a little and we can all smile through a little bit of pain, can’t we?

I’m sorry.

I hope you understand.

I also hope you enjoy the day, Dad, where ever you are (or when ever – I haven’t ruled out time-travel as an after-life possibility yet.) Be happy in the knowledge that I am marrying into a good and kind family; a family who have looked after me like their own for the past ten years.  Your grandchildren could not be more loved.  And Rob, well, like I said earlier, he is very similar to you.  He likes being at home (getting him to a family party is a nightmare), he loves to watch sport (shame about the football team though), he is quiet (unless he has had a drink), he doesn’t let me get away with anything but he supports me, cares for me and offers advice when needed (often with the lines ‘who cares what anyone else thinks’), but above all, he is a fantastic Dad.

Just like you.