Surviving: the morning school run | Simply Marcia

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Surviving: the morning school run

All they have to do, is sit there, listen to the radio and metaphorically put their feet up whilst I drive them to school. Simple, you’d think.

Ohhh. My. God. The morning school run is anything but*. It’s the most dangerous time to be on the road (if you’re not a stressed and harassed school run mum (or dad). It’s fraught with tantrums, fights, forgetting of homework and school PE kit, last minute food tech ingredient requests, and sudden announcements of school trips with special items needed (announced half way to school when there’s NO TURNING BACK). It’s the most anxiety-inducing and stressful car-driving experience there can be. And, (brilliant) it takes place 5 days a week.

In my naivety I always assumed it would get easier as the kids get older. Surely it’s more stressful with little ones? WRONG. With littlies, good old fashioned distraction techniques and sing-alongs can work a treat (hooray!).

Sadly, 14 year olds just aren’t that in to sing-alongs with mum any more or being encouraged to count all the red cars on the road … Nope, the trials and tribulations of the morning school run just gets worse. Two ‘almost teens’ plus one established teen is the perfect formula for morning school run chaos and tears (mine usually – I regularly now rock the mascara-streaming-down-cheeks look). Arguments kick off CONSTANTLY due to really terrible, scary and crazy things when you’re a teen, such as: ‘he looked at me’, ‘she touched my school bag’, ‘he coughed’ … Give me STRENGTH.

A usual 20 minute morning school run will consist of: at least once, pulling the car over and turning off the engine until the kids stop killing each other, realise the time lag and then moan about being late for school (bizarrely mine don’t like being late); asking nicely, then quickly escalating to shouting (swearing) like a wild woman possessed, for them to stop (whatever it is that they’re doing to ‘pass the time’); knowing that my heart has literally stopped – I am having an actual heart attack – whilst uttering the phrase ‘Mummy is now having a heart attack – is this what you WANT!!!’ – I’m lying about ‘uttering’ I meant screaming. It’s at this point that all forms of communication are forbidden – no talking, no looking, no touching, no texting, no hacking in to each other’s Instagram, FB et al … accounts. NOTHING. NIL. And the radio is cranked up super, super loud. By the time we rock up at school drop off number one, I have a demonic look on my face and could literally kill anyone with my ‘death stare’ – please do not cross me at this point. I. HAVE. HAD. ENOUGH.

Over time though, and via much head-banging-on-steering-wheel moments, I’ve managed to get it a bit sussed and now have a proper strategy (and everything) to increase the likelihood of morning school run survival:

1. Inside knowledge – all three school and homework timetables are now in my possession for a sneaky the-night-before check in (boring and tedious but being ahead of the game is vital in the fight against car chaos!). I know (mostly) who needs what and when by.
2. Breakfast – full tummies equals less chance of cranky, grumpy (irritating) teens.
3. Music – turn it up LOUD. So you can’t hear the squabbles. This is also called ‘opting out’.
4. Seating – stick to the same rules every day as to who sits where and who’s turn it is blah, blah blah (boring but essential). If there are two kids on the back seat they must be kept separated at all times. No sitting in the middle seat. EVER. It’s too tempting for scuffles to kick off – you have been warned.
5. Communication – ensure earphones are handed to each child to plug in to which ever device they have. As long as mine are ‘plugged in’ they pretty much don’t communicate with each other in any way – brilliant. And I can listen to anything but the hell that is my kids plus KISS FM 

*Just so we’re clear, the morning school run is in a league of its own when compared to any other driving-with-children experiences including the actually not-so-dreaded after-school run. This is nearly not so bad mainly as I’ve cracked this one: the car becomes a moving cafe. It’s snacks a go-go. Works every time 🙂

Happy school run driving!


Hooray for no-cook but bring on the fizz, Friday!

Yay! It’s the end of (yet) another busy week – yup #FriYay has arrived 🙂

For me, that also means it’s a ‘no cook’ day. As in no real thought goes in to creating something from scratch. This means either a ‘bung it in the oven’ offer courtesy of M&S dine in for two offer or Sainsbury’s usually have some great deals too. As it’s #NationalCurryWeek I’m thinking something Indian and spicy would be perfect for a chilly autumnal evening!

Besides it being no cook Friday, it’s also either going to be a prosecco or G&T kind of eve so I’m usually to be found in my lunch-break hot-footing it around a supermarkerts to find a good deal on either (both?!). Quick round up of offers today include:

If a G&T is up right your street then:

Bombay London Dry is down to £17 for a litre at Sainsburys

Asda is selling a 1L bottle of Gordon’s for £17 however, not to be beat, Tesco has reduced their price for a 1L bottle of Gordon’s down to £15!! Get thee there … Just don’t forget your tonic!

Fancy some fizz:

The Co-op is offering a bottle of Adeletto Prosecco for £6.99 (instead of £9.35)

Hooray for Asda with loads of offers on their sparkly, bubbles – too many to mention so head to their site 🙂


100 calories is what?!

I’m not quite sure how I’ve managed to get to the age I have without knowing what 100 calories actually looks like … possibly becuase I’ve tried to mostly embrace the concept of healthy living (along with regular and large doses of g&t or wine ‘mummy medicine’ and regular falling-off-of-wagons on the side) as opposed to proper dieting and (boring!) calorie counting.

However,something isn’t quite right. I’m eating, drinking and falling off the wagon no differently right now to how I was even 2 or 3 years ago, yet my body is having none of it and there’s sadly no denying the fact that I appear to be slooooowly stagnating 🙁 And actually, even maintaining the status quo has suddenly become A. BIT. MORE. DIFFICULT. (gulp).

Something needs to change. So it’s in with yoga (for de-stressing body and soul and helping claim some kind of good posture back from a very slouchy one) and facing facts – my calorie intake needs a proper look-in.

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure if it’s fact or fiction, that as one approaches a middley-type age, the dreaded middle-age-spread and weight struggle is true or not, but for me, there’s definietly (sadly/annoyingly/frustratingly) a hint of it 🙁 boo hiss …

As I love my food way too much and am not prepared to give too much of it up, I decided to carry out a spot of proper scientific research; in other words – I consulted Mr Google to find out how many calories are actually in stuff and, more specifically, to find out what 100 calories actually equals (though I’ve only looked at the foods I tend to eat regularly).

For me, my healthy 100-cal foods (easy snacks – think ‘grab and go’) list includes: a small baked potato, 2 small cubes cheese, 8 cashews (8?!!), 33 seedless grapes, punnet of berries (yay! think raspberries, strawberries, blueberries …), a boiled egg, an apple, an orange, couple of carrots with (teeny bit of) hummus, a thick slice of wholemeal bread/toast (hooray!), three large slices of roast chicken or lean ham 🙂 Lovely.

But there are times when a big old sugar hit is needed. And for these occasions, even they can include ‘better choices’. For me, these include: 2 x jaffa cakes (50 cals each), Freddo frog (95 cals) or a small treat size bag of chocolate buttons (76 cals) – a naughty but not-so-bad hit in the grand scheme of things …

To feel balanced and healthy, not deprived, is what we’re striving for here.

The NHS has a brilliant calorie checker tool – you can input pretty much any food item you like and it’ll tell you all the nitty gritty need-to-know stuff.

So for me, my plan of action going forward is to try to be a bit more aware of snack-attack moments and have healthy but satisfying nibbles on hand to save the day (and hopefully my weight! Over time …) x