My week .. the one with the start of the Summer term.

As a teacher my life is pretty much planned around the school year and this week my favourite term of the school year began, with lots of outdoor adventures to be had. However, it doesn’t feel very summery yet, as the warmer, sunnier weather is very slow to arrive this year. Its been a pretty drizzly and grey week, at least my new water bottle has at least given me a spark of joy and a hint of summer.

Due to building works at my son’s school, he had an extra week’s holiday this week and Mr S and he took advantage of this and went to stay for a few days in Bristol with Grandad. Consequently it felt quite an odd week, no one really in a proper routine yet. I think it may feel like this for the coming weeks, my daughter has two days off next week and then we have the two consecutive bank holiday weekends. Its been ages since both of my children did the same full week at school due to Inset, building works and teacher strike days. I am thankful that Mr S is at home as I think the juggling of work and childcare would have been pretty impossible over the past few months.

With the boys away, the back to work week for the girls was quiet. In the evenings, my daughter and I have been watching the Marvellous Mrs Maisel, its the final series but the use of forward flashes allows us to know her full history. The costumes, witty dialogue and New York setting are all as perfect as in previous series. The wonderful Ted Lasso also continues its weekly drop, this week’s Amsterdam episode was excellent on so many different levels. I will feel bereft when these two series end.

There was a fitness theme to our weekend, which also featured the London marathon, such an inspirational watch every year. We started Saturday morning with a parkrun, the children and I volunteered on car park duties and then they cheered me on whilst I ran, as they couldn’t be persuaded to join me. Later in the day my daughter and I popped up to a parkrun social event, its always fun to see people out of the parkrun environment, mainly its the clothes, no running gear in sight! On Sunday the boys went off to football, so it was a girls trip to the gym, with the treat of a jacuzzi and sauna after the hard work.

Sunday also saw the test national emergency alert at 3pm, however it appears to have gone off early at 2.59pm and not all the phone networks were able to broadcast it. I’m not surprised about the mess, it kind of sums up the UK at present, more fine tuning required!

Its a quiet week again coming up but the excitement of a bank holiday weekend. When I worked in my former school, a residential setting, we always had to work on this coming bank holiday so I am delighted to finally enjoy it for the first time in 19 years! We have no firm plans soon, I would be very happy to just be pottering around at home.

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My week .. the one with the snow blossom

My photo this week is a simple example of how one can ‘gram’ your life. The blue skies belie the awful weather we endured most of the week, and the snow blossom in the title refers to the blossom furiously shaken from the trees by Storm Noa. We were very fortunate that the two days we had outdoor plans this week, Thursday and today, Saturday were beautiful sunny days.

In reading back last week’s post, I noticed that I hadn’t added photos of my table decorations and the bumper selection of Easter chocolate I had gathered for the Easter hunt, so I have added these as really who wants to see grey skies and pictures of sitting at a desk and doing admin?

The week started with a wet and dreary bank holiday Monday. I sorted some holiday insurance and then inspired by Mr S’ suggestion to move my bureau into our light and warm dining room, I rearranged the furniture in our lounge and dining room. Its a bit of a misnomer calling our dining room a dining room, as we no longer have a dining table in the room and it is more of a day room in which Mr S and I now have desks, a sofa and a television. It has a glass door onto our little courtyard and double aspect windows so is a lovely bright and warm room, rather like a snug. I am really pleased by the transformation and its made me more productive in the evening as I’ve sat at my desk and planned and organised rather than being on the sofa. Monday felt like a very productive use of a very wet day.

On Tuesday, Mr S took the children to Exeter to visit his sister and drop off our son who was going to stay for a couple of nights. This was arranged quite late and with two pre-booked appointments, I stayed at home. I can’t explain the joy of having a day to myself. I am always surrounded by people; at work, at home and even on my commute, I am accompanied by my daughter. I am so rarely alone that the simple pleasure of being on my own is blissful. I had a few hours to potter around, wash my car, take a few things to the dump (I know what a way to spend a day!) and then had a good old natter with my hairdresser and an appointment with my osteopath. I popped into town and had the good fortune to bump into two old friends and there were lengthy catch ups with both.

Wednesday was another wet and miserable day, so again it was a home day and in the afternoon, I drove our daughter’s boyfriend back home to the neighbouring town and my daughter and I popped into town for some bits and bobs, tshirts, underwear etc.. not an exciting shopping trip but essential.

Thursday was a real highlight with a return trip to Abbotsbury Sub tropical gardens. We were last here in October and had wanted to return to see the blossom in the spring. Its a convenient mid point for us and our sister in law to meet up and we had a lovely day out with both families. The weather was gorgeous and the blue skies so welcome. There were so many beautiful colours with all the blossom, an uplifting sight. I was so pleased to see my son too, it may have only been two days, but I missed him lots. He’s away with Mr S again next week as he has an extra week of holidays and they’re off on a boys trip to see Grandad. In the meantime I’m trying to make the most of our time together and I sense a mum and son day is needed soon.

Friday was again really wet, miserable and cold. In the morning, my son and I walked to the market, but there was little pleasure in such a wet and windy walk, many of the market traders hadn’t set up stalls due to the weather. In the afternoon, I had a meeting with two of my local councillors about my complaint on our son’s EHCP, they were really helpful and I do hope that the matter will get resolved. I finished the afternoon with a cafĂ© trip with my friend for a much needed and overdue catch up.

This morning, I was so surprised to see my son up and dressed in his tracksuit and asking to come to parkrun. We’ve been trying to persuade him to come along for all the years in which his sister and I have been doing parkrun, and prior to today he has only done one parkrun in which he walked with Mr S. I don’t know what the motivation was today, possibly blue skies for the first time in ages, but I was delighted to have him come along and run. The two children went off and ran together, sharing ear buds and listening to their playlist of drum and base, whilst I pootled behind with my playlist of 70s and 80s tunes. I would love him to become a regular parkrunner and I hope today has inspired him. The rest of the day has been our usual potter down town and watching the footie results with another crucial win for the boys’ team. This evening I continued with my new weekly recipes and made a pea and asparagus tart which was delicious with a real spring flavour.

Its back to school next week for my daughter and I, although it will feel a little different with my son and husband being away for a few days. I’ve no real plans for the upcoming week, I would like to pop to the gym to try and do some of the cross training recommended by the osteopath, but its more about quietly easing into the new term. The summer term is my favourite of the year, especially this year with a bonus bank holiday.

My week … the Easter edition

After our little break in Portsmouth, this week has been home based with just the one day out. Since I now have a daily commute, I’m keen to not drive so much during the holidays, especially as we live in a very popular tourist area and there is so much more traffic. Our one day out this week was to take our son to a football camp and as it was an hour’s drive from home, my husband, daughter and I went to the nearby forestry commission park where we cycled, had a picnic and pottered around. It was a bit of a murky day, the worst of the week but it was good to be grounded by nature.

As the weather has improved over the week, we have done lots of local walks. It has seemed that spring is here, the blossoms are adding colour to the trees and the fields have been full of calves and lambs. We did our local parkrun on Saturday and it was stunning, we also had the amusement of running through the children’s Easter egg hunt.

I didn’t feel quite myself this week, its been a busy old time and I think I was simply exhausted by the last few months. I have taken great pleasure in simply pottering around at home over the past few days, having my nails done (I’m calling my multi coloured pastel nails the mini eggs look) an excellent eye brow wax by a new beautician at the salon ( I am definitely booking for her again) and numerous visits to coffee shops with friends and the children. I have also been preparing for Easter with my decorations around the house, collecting all the goodies for the Easter egg hunt and planning and making the Easter lunch. I take great pride in being a home maker and I like weeks like this. I’ve also got up to date with some family admin with some fantastic results, resolving several long standing issues and booking our holiday for the summer of 2024, a cruise around the Med! I am very excited by the holiday and it will be lovely to relax as a family after our daughter’s GCSEs that summer.

Next week is week two of the holidays, with more pottering and relaxing at home planned.

My week … the one with Ofsted

As a teacher, Ofsted is a part of our profession. I have worked in schools with all of the gradings and I strongly believe that a one word grading does not reflect the school. Ofsted is something that really hangs over schools, and stops genuine innovation in the Ofsted window as one needs time to implement and measure the impact of new projects. Having had Ofsted as a leader last March, this year I was part of it as a member of the teaching team in my new school. It was two very different experiences, it actually felt much more friendly, positive and collaborative last year, with professional conversations and the sharing of expertise. This inspection felt that it was being ‘done’ to us by the men in suits. It is never a good look to sit in a classroom and tap away at your laptop rather than engaging with our students. We are now waiting for the report but everyone seems positive so I hope that means it will be another four years until the next visit. Ofsted is an unnecessary stress and the system needs to change.

With Ofsted my week took a very work orientated focus and affected my wellbeing, the stress, lack of sleep and proper meals takes a few days to recover from. We have been away this weekend, but I do feel I would have enjoyed it better if I hadn’t been so tired and drained from Ofsted. Ofsted also took away some of the fun Easter activities of the last week, however I am really pleased how my class’s Easter decorations turned out and I have a few for my Easter tree.

On Saturday, my daughter and I decided on a little parkrun tourism as we try to do all the parkruns in our county. We didn’t have much planned, so it gave the day some structure and also we wanted to visit a local museum which I’ve been trying to visit for years. In bad timing, the museum was closed when we arrived because of a leaking roof so despite my best efforts, I’ve still not managed a visit. The parkrun was very simple an out and back course on an old train route. I like these when you get to see the fast runners returning, there were some Ghurka soldiers participating and their speed was breath taking. As it was April Fool’s day too, they warned us not to disturb the rare white hedgehogs on the course and beautifully hidden away were two white hedgehog models. To add to the ambiance, the marshal at the half way point was dressed up as a jester. Whilst we were parkrunning, the boys went to the football and were delighted that their team got a vital three points in the relegation battle.

The children have had a busy start to the holidays, they both had an Inset day on Friday, so Mr S took them to the big pool with slides and rides for the afternoon, both were out for most of Saturday and then on Sunday we went to Portsmouth for a couple of days. Tomorrow, Tuesday has been delegated as a lazy day.

We did have a lovely time in Portsmouth, on Sunday we used our Tesco vouchers to have a day at the Historic Dockyard to see all the old ships and submarines. It is a great day out and there is so much to see and do. We were all particularly taken by the new features at the Mary Rose exhibition, it is so fascinating to learn about the ship and the new interactive elements are brilliant. Our hotel was opposite the attraction and in the evening we walked over to Gun Wharf quay for a delicious Vietnamese meal and a potter around the dockside in warm sunshine (its been a wet and cool week) Today we returned to the shops at Gun Wharf quay a designer outlet village. The children had some Easter money and were very excited to go shopping in the big Nike and Adidas shops. Personally, I was delighted to find my favourite but now discontinued foundation at half price in one of the beauty shops, I also had a very pleasant mooch around L’Occitane and bought a few of my favourite products.

I am very much looking forward to our lazy day tomorrow although I do have a nails and waxing appointment and I also want to get our Easter decorations up. Wednesday is a another busy day so I’m hoping to get some balance into our holiday so we feel refreshed and relaxed but creative and fulfilled.