2022, the review

I think we all had high hopes for 2022 after 2020 and 2021, but sadly this year turned into an even more chaotic one. The year is ending on a low, with the ongoing war in Ukraine, the nhs on the brink of collapse, the cost of living crisis affecting us all, and a genuine civil unrest after the political turmoil of the year. I’m normally a pretty positive and upbeat person, but this year has definitely challenged me. However I do believe you need to be the change you want to see, so if anything the events of the year has made me proactive in supporting the causes close to my heart, refugees, poverty and wellbeing.

Personally 2022 was a year of change, most notably work. I left my job where I had worked for 18 years and started a full time position in a new school, I haven’t worked full time since 2010, so it’s been an adjustment. However, I love my new job, the first few months were hectic and a little overwhelming at times, but I’m now getting into the rhythm of the role. Just before I left my old school, we did have an Ofsted inspection which I led and I was delighted to have achieved a good rating, my legacy to the school.

I have written a post about my #22for2022, my personal goals, but my highlights included training hard and running a half marathon, as well as getting a parkrun PB too. Unfortunately a bad knee injury has curtailed my running presently but I’m enjoying volunteering at our new local parkrun and being part of the community. I loved my trip to London in the summer with my son, postponed from the COVID years, we did so many sights and had the best day. However the stand out event of the year was at Easter when the whole family, together for the first time since COVID, celebrated my Father in Law’s 90th birthday, there was lots of planning and hard work, but it was worth all the time and effort, and looking back, the whole weekend still gives me the warm, fuzzy feels. We also enjoyed lots of days out, en famille, or special date days with a child, these are special and show that it’s the simple pleasures which make the best memories. Our family did go through some turbulent times too, a teenager looking to develop her self identity but troubled and confused by her adoption, makes for v tough times but I am grateful to friends and agencies for their support.

Looking forward, 2023 is a significant year for me as it sees my 50th birthday in the summer. 2022 was a year of change, so I’m hoping for a year of stability and calm, not personally but in the world too. I am focusing on 2023 being a good year, we all deserve and need it!



Since 2018, I have been doing an activity suggested by Gretchen Rubin in her Happier podcast, and it is a list of goals for the year. In 2018, it was #18for2018, and it has built up each year, I am now beginning to work on #23for2023. Having done this over the years, I am more relaxed in my choices and this year my choices were not 22 big, earnest targets but ones to enhance life and most importantly provide a little fun, comfort and sparkles. My list helps me to focus during the year and sometimes pushes me out of my comfort zone, kayak lessons in 2018 was a personal favourite and this year’s half marathon was a real achievement.

I’m pleased with my tally this year, but it’s never about the numbers and a fully ticked off list. I was planning many of these prior to writing my list, for example to secure a new job and I had booked my place in the half marathon whilst recovering from my foot operation. Some targets were also from previous years which had been postponed from COVID times, for example our London trip which was a very special day. I will be adding the trip to the Fashion museum again for #23for2023, I think it may be the 4th year in a row! I am determined to get there one day.

I would really recommend this activity for the focus and fun it gives a year and I will be posting my new list soon.

My week … the one with Christmas 2022

So this post runs from Monday 19th December, the first day of the holidays to Christmas day. It has seemed a strange run up to Christmas this year, so many plans have been affected by the weather or illness, that there has been quite a subdued feeling. There have also been a lot of postal strikes and many cards and gifts are still undelivered. Given the past two Covid Christmases this was to have been the Christmas with all the bells and whistles, but I don’t feel it has been. I was shopping in ‘big’ town on Wednesday whilst my son was at football camp and again felt the town was quiet and missing that buzz of Christmas week. Likewise on Monday, I went to football training in the county town and many of the shops had shut early due to the poor weather and low customer numbers. After the snow, ice and bitter cold of the past few weeks, temperatures have risen but we have had so much rain over the past week. However I have resolved this as I picked up a new pair of wellies in an early sale bargain, so no doubt we won’t see rain for months now. No one at home believes this but I have had my last pair of wellies since 2000. I only remember this as on the day I bought them I also chose my engagement ring (wise move by Mr S) My new wellies are bright yellow and I love them, well worth the wait! I am also very happy with my Christmas present of red Converse pumps, I love my Converses and they are worn until they fall apart. I feel that over the years I have had a rainbow of Converses, in fact the only colour I have never had is white as I cannot trust myself to keep them clean and sparkling.

This week was full of little jobs, there was no real festive stress as it was all planned and organised and simply being a teacher I had to catch up on things I can’t do in term time, eg mum taxi duties, trips to the dentist and doctor etc.. However we have had lazy afternoons too and we have watched a few Christmas films, we signed up to a free trial of Apple tv simply to watch Spirited which I enjoyed a lot and we also went to the local indie cinema to see Matilda. I don’t know if it was just me, but I felt a little underwhelmed by Matilda, there are some great songs and eye stunning scenery (the last scene’s school fayre) but I felt it lacked something in the story telling. I have also enjoyed cuddling up on the sofa and reading. I have read The Boy at the Back of the Class which I have loved, its my class book for next term and I know I am going to enjoy reading and teaching it. It also took my Good Reads challenge over my target, I have read 41 books and should make it to 42 by the end of the year. As there wasn’t much good Christmas tv this week, we took advantage of our new Apple subscription to start Ted Lasso and it is perfect, warm, comforting tv. The Christmas day tv highlight for me was watching The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy, cuddled up with the children and the room only lit by our twinkling lights, it was perfect.

Whilst the boys had an overnight stay in Bristol to collect Grandad for Christmas, we had a lazy girls’ day and followed it up with Christmas eve parkrun, and yes we dressed up, its good to get in the spirit and most people did fancy dress which definitely added to the atmosphere. We’re volunteering on NYE too, so I have picked up a sparkling pair of New Year glasses to wear. Sadly I am still volunteering rather than running as my knee is so sore, I did go to the doctors and got some physio advice so am doing these exercises to help. I am able to walk, so Little Miss and I did the 5k on Saturday as volunteer Park Walkers. We walked around playing Christmas songs on my phone and singing along and then followed this up with hot chocolates in the café, a pretty perfect way to spend Christmas eve morning.

Christmas day itself was a quiet, family occasion. We were up at 6am and all the presents were really well received. I made a delicious lunch, its genuinely a joy to plan my menu and make a very special meal. I also take a real pleasure in setting a very festive table, this year I added a scratch card to each table place and they were a fun activity in the interlude during courses, two cards were winners, although with our combined winnings of £5, there is no chance to jet off to sunnier climes for week 2 of the holidays! After lunch, it was just chilling together with Grandad. Life is about the simple pleasures.

My week … the last week of term

So we made it to the end of term, and a week full of Christmas sparkles. The highlight was our school Christmas concert, I just love the warm fuzziness of Christmas carols and readings. As a special needs school, our readings are not traditional oral presentations but imaginative and creative multi sensory presentations. My class’ combined verbal, signs and gesture alongside a photo montage of the staff and students favourite home Christmas memories, it really was gorgeous and gave all the feels. Another little Christmas activity we have been doing was the 12 books of Christmas, reading a book or excerpt each school day in December. This project introduced me to the Christmas Pine by Julia Donaldson, which has quickly become one of my favourite festive books. It is a poem she was asked to write at the lighting of the Trafalgar Square tree. Through the book, I discovered that it is a tradition that a poem is commissioned for children to recite at the ceremony and this was the poem from 2020 which has been made into a book. It inspired me to research this year’s too and enjoy a little bit more festive magic. Its been all about the festive outfits in school too, Christmas jumpers and festive skirts which twirl have brought a little happiness to each day.

This week was another full of late nights, including youth club and Mr S pre-op appointment which was at 5pm in the regional hospital, over an hour from home (even longer in late night shopping and rush hour traffic) Mr S asked me to attend with him, as it was predicted it could last up to 2 hours and blood would need to be taken. He has a real phobia of this so I came for moral and practical support. In the end the appointment, which was actually 3 different appointments took 40 minutes in total, no bloods were needed and all went incredibly smoothly and efficiently. I love our nhs. I have done a lot of driving this week and my commutes have been quite tough with freezing temperatures and dark, country lanes. I am looking forward to the later starts and lighter driving conditions next week, fortunately the weather is forecast to really warm up too, which is much anticipated after a very cold snap.

Despite the weather, our parkrun was able to go ahead today, Saturday. I wrapped up warm but had a sheltered marshalling spot so the cold didn’t affect me too much. I was able to catch up with a former colleague and old running friend at parkrun, nether of whom I had seen for years and it was just lovely to catch up. Following parkrun, we went to town for a fish and chip lunch. Now living at the seaside, you would think this would be quite a regular occurrence, but fish and chips and the arcades are actually something that we don’t do often, no idea why perhaps its just the familiarity that they are always there! We normally have fish and chips on Christmas market Saturday but on this day we were at the school fayre and didn’t arrive until later so missed out, so it only seemed right that we make up for this on a quieter Saturday. Following the lunch I also got to have my Christmas nails done, so I feel sparkly now.

I’m signing off quickly now as the Strictly final is just about to start (Go, Hamza) watching it under the twinkling Christmas tree lights is a perfect Saturday night.

My week … the one with sickness and a lot to do

This is one of those pinch weeks when your days and evenings are busy with a long to do list to be ticked off, both at home and work. And of course, the week when I ended up in bed with a bug, shivering and sleeping for a couple of days, which was not on the plans for this week. Also the snow and ice were not on my plans too!

Despite the illness, I am writing this on Sunday night, feeling pretty satisfied with my week, all my presents are wrapped, cards written and posted, decorations now all sorted, work deadlines so nearly met (my final job is for my students to record a couple of lines to finish off my work) and Christmas dinner enjoyed with my dad. Amazingly this was fitted into 5 days, as I really was incapable of anything on my sick days.

One of the highlights of my week was the school Christmas dinner which we hold in our classrooms, we made such an effort with the decoration, festive extras and all students and staff dressed up in Christmas jumpers. In starting a new school its nice to be able to shape how you do things and I loved the atmosphere we created.

The football world cup has been going on too and last night was the quarter final with England playing France. I was disappointed that England lost, I think it was a real opportunity to win the tournament but alas it was not meant to be. My son loves his football, so this defeat seemed even more crushing, not just my disappointment but his too.

My dad came to visit today but of all days, it wasn’t a great one to travel. The poor weather, heavy snow, freezing ice and fog were not expected and although he came he did leave early to get home safely before the light and temperatures dropped again. As it stands at the moment, I am a bit worried about tomorrow’s commute, but there is nothing more I can do until the morning and make a decision whether to go in at my normal time or a little late when it has warmed up a little.

It is the final week of term next week with what I feel is an early finish on the 16th. I am looking forward to the festive week in the classroom and then to relax and embrace the Christmas season at home.

My week … the one with a big traffic jam and the start of the Christmas countdown

When I moved job I knew that one of the biggest changes was a commute to work. In fairness up to this week it has worked very well, I take and collect my daughter to and from school and on the remainder of my drive, catch up on my podcasts, its pretty relaxing. However, I live in a rural location and with the ferry out there is currently only one way in and out so if there are any problems you are affected. On Tuesday, there sadly was a fatal accident on my route, and the diversion through a forest was so slow due to the very difficult right turn onto a very busy A road. My average commute is around 40 minutes, on Tuesday it was more than 2 hours. As I’ve got older I have become more relaxed about the things you can control and those you can’t, and traffic is not something I have any control of, so after phoning school it was simply about waiting it out. I had my daughter for company, we may have broken into our packed lunches and just chatted and waited.

This was a week of late nights and lots of driving, some weeks just end up like that, My daughter has started a new club and the timings make it futile to try and get home and come back again. Its much easier to go to the venue straight from school and use their café for a quick tea. Whilst she was at the club, I enjoyed a drink and my book and finally got in around 8pm. Saturdays are normally a local day but it was my son’s school Christmas Fayre on Saturday morning so again another journey, a 45 minute drive. I really can’t complain for this one day, as he does the trip daily.

The Christmas fayre was so busy, it needed a little more room to make it more comfortable for everyone. There were some nice gifts for sale and we picked up a log reindeer and felt decorations. I won some kinetic sand, perfect for my class. Whilst I like the town the school is situated in and would normally have a little wander, I wanted to get back to our home town for the Christmas market which is a highlight of the season. It seems everyone is there and it is such a lovely social occasion, again it was incredibly busy despite the icy cold conditions but I do love to potter and chat, listen to the live music and enjoy the street food (Biscoff pancakes, what a treat)

Along with attending the town’s Christmas market, this is always the weekend we put up the Christmas tree and decorations. All was going well until I could not find my box of the main tree decorations. I have since remembered that I wanted to protect them and rather than put them in the garage with all the others, I decided to put them in the attic for ‘safe keeping’. I haven’t had time to retrieve them yet but look forward to finishing our tree soon. It does look a bit bare simply having the main tree decorated with its lights. Tommy the elf has been back this week, I did suggest his retirement but I think the children have twigged that he often leaves little extras and he was asked to return. I am keeping things simple this year, none of the elaborate hiding places and handwritten letters from previous years, just popping up over the house.

Christmas planning and events continue next week, its definitely beginning to feel a lot like Christmas..