My week … the one with a reset

Sometimes life is about taking baby steps, and this week we have taken one day at a time. The teachers’ strike took some off the pressure off our daughter’s schooling, which is the catalyst for so much stress at present and today we have visited a local college as a potential placement for when she finishes Year 11. To see her get excited about a vocational course was a relief and perhaps will help her to focus on getting the grades she needs.

It has been a good week, Mr S’ sister and husband spent the day with us last Sunday and it was nice to relax and chat. As their children are now young adults, its good to get their perspective and experience. Little Man is going to stay with them for a couple of days in the Easter holiday which is a big achievement for him and I think at present, excitement is more prevalent than uncertainty. They are a lovely aunt and uncle and he will be spoilt rotten by them. We had parents evening for our son this week, he is doing so well in his special school and is working on some entry level qualifications, we couldn’t be prouder of him.

This week has seen my slow return to my running. Over the past few months, my knee injury has paused my running and family life has also led me to needing to be at home a lot. This week, I have managed three runs, one early morning and two evening runs, this really feels like progress and a few more weeks like this and I will feel like a runner again. Running is my stress relief and I’ve not been myself without it.

I’ve also been getting back into the routine of my podcasts. I really enjoy Gretchen Rubin’s Happier podcast and this week took her 5 senses quiz, to discover my neglected sense. It didn’t surprise me that it was touch, I’m not really a touchy feely person but it did make me consider the impact of the pandemic. The initial advice to avoid touching, the bubbles, social distancing etc.. means that it is a sense even more neglected in recent years.

One of my #23for23, is to cook a new recipe weekly and it is one I have completed every week so far. Today, Little Miss joined in making a Leek and Asparagus Savoury Galette. I thought a galette was a savoury pancake but this had a more flan like pastry. The course our daughter is interested in is Catering and Hospitality, so I’ve suggested doing a portfolio of recipes between now and her application so that the college can see her interest and skills. I feel there is something grounding and nurturing about preparing meals and I hope this is another strategy which may support her.

I did something very rare for me this week and stopped reading a book I was not enjoying. I realised I wasn’t reading which is another key activity for me and it was because I felt obliged to finish the book. Needless to say, I’ve read loads of my new book in just a few days, I need light reading at present and will save the heavier books for another time. I was also delighted to see the return of Ted Lasso this week, one episode a week, so it really gives the viewer the chance to savour each one rather than a binge watch. I love it and it is one of my favourite comedy series of recent years. I am going to enjoy each one and not dwell that it is the final series.

Next week I have a night out with friends, a much needed catch up for us all and hopefully more baby steps on the way to a more settled family life.


Life recently ..

This blog has always been my little escape and memory treasure trove. I love reading back on entries and remembering happy times. I have been MIA recently, sometimes life is tough and February 2023 was really tough. I haven’t blogged as I simply couldn’t put the words down to try and describe what we were going through. We’re well into March now and life is slowly improving, there is still lots of work to do to support our little family, adoption raises many difficult questions, not all of which we can answer but we can be here, listening, reasoning and supporting.

Despite the challenges of the last month, there were highlights too which I didn’t want to miss recording, so here a few jottings on some of the little sparkles in February to mid March.

  • A sunny Sunday morning exploring the forgotten village and local beach.
  • Rediscovering the library.
  • Valentines nails, treats and delights.
  • A visit to Grandad’s and a Sunday lunch with the biggest Yorkshires!
  • A girlie night in a hotel.
  • A morning at the trampoline park.
  • A visit to see Mum and Dad.
  • Two trips to A&E, amazing service and care. (its been a month!)
  • The highly enjoyable Rodham audiobook.
  • A VIP upgrade at the bowling.
  • A lovely little mooch around a local craft centre.
  • parkrun volunteering.
  • An improving knee injury leading to a cautious return to running.
  • The 7 Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, I love Taylor Jenkins Reid books, so unputdownable.
  • A Sunday morning out to a different seaside town and a cheeky second breakfast.
  • The Cat in The Hat fancy dress for World Book day.

Now I’ve caught up, I hope that this has cured the writers block for my blog writing and I can return to my weekly updates. I have lots of ideas for other posts too, its just finding the time to reflect and write.

My week … the really tough one

Its very difficult to write a post this week, all I can say that the trauma of an adopted child impacts in such terrible ways and this has been one of the worst weeks of my life. I don’t feel I can really say more, my only highlight was parkrun where being in a community of friends and visitors helped to balance me for a few hours . Here’s hoping that next week will be one in which we get help and can start to support our child with the professional support needed.

My week .. the icy edition

Some weeks are just simply ones to get through and this one was one of them. The weather has been poor and it has made my morning commutes long and challenging, white knuckle drives! On Monday, flooding had closed the roundabout which links our town and others to the bigger world, the detour was so long with lots of flooded country lanes to drive down. Tuesday saw a wicked frost which had frozen the previous day’s flooding, and despite leaving at 7.10am, 2 hours forty minutes later, I finally arrived at work at 9.50am, to put into context, my normal commute is around 35 – 40 minutes. When you live in a rural, remote place you learn to live with the additional driving but it felt tough this week. We were given permission at school to leave early on one afternoon so that we did not get caught in the poor weather forecast. The ice has remained all week, although we have tried to keep to our normal routines. I have tried to inject a little warmth and sunshine into my day, and the tulips and lychees purchased on a school trip to Lidl were the perfect rays of sunshine.

On Wednesday, it was youth club and I really didn’t fancy being out for the evening. However, I reluctantly decided to go for a swim whilst my daughter was at the youth club, and it was just what was needed to reinvigorate and energise me whilst also giving me the time and space to think. It was so cold when I got out I did get a hot takeaway drink to keep me warm on the drive home.

On Saturday we didn’t parkrun and instead went to the open day of a local college to look at potential options for my daughter at 16. It is a stunning site, but it is more of an agricultural college and I’m not sure if the courses were the ones for her. She did like seeing the small animals which are kept for the small animal care course, but still seems a little lost on her future plans. In March, we are off to visit another college, which hopefully may offer better options. When we finished at the college, I noticed that after having done a bit of research the night before, we could make it to the nearby cinema to see A Man Called Otto. I loved the book, its definitely in my best books ever list, and was keen to see the film. Now my daughter is not quite 15 yet, although it is only a matter of weeks until she reaches the milestone. However, having read the book I couldn’t see what would be harmful so decided to ‘sneak’ her in. The film was beautiful and I did cry, my daughter says she didn’t cry but she did cuddle up to me at the sad parts. I love the theme of the film, to live life and one that seemed pertinent to my teen as she tries to work out what direction in life to take. The film does not have the depth of the book, its a different medium, but it is a 5 star film and the book a 5 star read.

This week, I’m hoping for milder, drier weather and the chance to start to do more. I’ve not been running in the evenings as its too icy and dangerous and need that structure to enjoy my days.

My week .. the twixtmas edition.

I’ve felt a real need to hibernate and simply be a homebody in the past week. 2022 was a tough year and it always seemed I needed to be somewhere or doing something. I’ve taken the last week, to watch television and films, to read, to organise my paperwork (whoop whoop, I’m due £28 from HMRC) and plan the coming months etc.. The weather was also pretty shocking, so creating a warm, cosy nest was much needed. This is not to say I haven’t been outside, I cannot cope with being indoors all day, so there have been daily walks, albeit a walk which invariably ended up at a cafe!

Boxing day was a gorgeous sunny morning, perfect conditions for the traditional swim in town. I didn’t do it, but we all, including Grandad, went down to watch the spectacle. It was a lot of fun in a lovely atmosphere and a much cherished part of the Christmas festivities in our town.

Mr S took Grandad home on Tuesday and stayed overnight as its a long return journey in one day. The children and I went for a walk in the forest and then bunkered down at home with chocolates and Christmas tv specials. The following morning, we had a little potter down town as I wanted to get something to go with my new year glasses for parkrun, I think my aqua blue wig is fabulous and perfect for future fancy dress too. On parkrun day, it was so wet and windy the hair was flying everywhere, when you have always had short hair, you don’t consider long hair problems! Despite the awful conditions, it was a fun morning barcode scanning at parkrun and my daughter and I spent the rest of the day drying out and warming up!

After seeing Matilda at the cinema last week, I was really keen to watch another film on the big screen and my daughter and I went to see the Whitney Houston biopic. We both really liked it, there were a few parts of the story I wasn’t familiar with and I warmed to Whitney much more than I expected. We went to the cinema in the county town so had a little mooch at the sales but didn’t buy anything. I was also keen to explore a vintage / antiques store I had seen advertised, which is on the outskirts of the town. In the photo montage, the warehouse is the photo of the bus, you enter as if getting on the bus, an entrance just as quirky and kitsch as the shop was! Again, we didn’t buy anything, but I will definitely return for inspiration and curiosity.

One of the tv highlights from this week was an adaptation of the book Mayflies, about two friends, one of whom has terminal cancer. It was really well done and I loved the flashbacks to the 80s. It did inspire some of my listening choices this week, I had forgotten what an amazing song Oblivious by Aztec Camera is and I’ve been rediscovering a band which was a favourite of mine when I was in Sixth form.

New Year’s eve is my least favourite night of the year, I have an irrational dislike of the night, so I was cuddled up on the sofa with a book (I wanted to finish no 42 of the year) and then went to bed before midnight. It suited me beautifully, it also meant I was fresh and happy to be out at a local country park for a walk, bike ride and picnic lunch on New Year’s day.

Next week is all about tidying up and preparing for the return to school. It has felt like a long, refreshing school holiday and its now time to get back into routines and look forward to 2023.

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 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 Christmas shopping

Initially, we hadn’t planned on Christmas shopping this weekend, having bought our train tickets for next weekend for the Black Friday offers. However, a train strike cancelled these plans and we went a week earlier as we have busy diaries in December and I didn’t wish to drive as an alternative. Fortunately, I don’t think we really missed any of the special offers, as the one thing I needed to purchase had a price match offer in John Lewis and I got it at the best price I have seen. More of the shopping trip later.

This time of year there does appear to be a lot of special events and this week was Children In Need. I didn’t watch the evening programme as I was prepping for a busy weekend but we did some special events in school. I was really pleased with my new Pudsey t-shirt, as a SEN teacher, the sign and braille letters were perfect for my role. We also had our son’s Annual Review on CIN day, so yes I did appear on screen wearing Pudsey ears and t-shirt. We were so proud of his progress and his confidence and happiness at school.

On Saturday morning, I was at parkrun with my daughter who is continuing with her DofE volunteering. I had run a flat route pre parkrun, and there is always a simple pleasure in running during sunrise, how the run starts in the dark and ends in the light, especially as it was a beautifully winter sunny day. I had chosen to run a flat route as my knee injury wouldn’t cope with the hilly parkrun. However, I discovered that it wouldn’t cope with the flat route either and I have to admit that I was on painkillers for a few days after too. There was a special guest at the parkrun, as the founder of parkrun, Paul Sinton Hewitt ran and my daughter was on time keeping duties with his lovely wife, Jo. He was kind enough to have a photo taken with my daughter, a lovely memento for her DofE portfolio.

Our shopping trip started early on Sunday, so no lie ins this weekend as I was up at 6am both mornings. We arrived before the shops opened so had a festive drink in Costa as we waited for them to open for browsing. Our main focus was John Lewis and as is tradition we started in the Christmas decorations department. It was all lovely and sparkling but something nagged at me about the plastic and glitter, I am definitely more focused on decorations made from natural materials and I do wish to use more fresh flowers this year. My daughter’s main present was a bottle of Chanel perfume, she saw and sampled the perfumes last Christmas and has had one on her wish list since. It was special to go to the Chanel counter and choose her perfume, not only did she get to choose her favourite, Chanel Mademoiselle but it was all wrapped up and presented to her in a Chanel bag. It felt like a rite of passage, and I feel she has excellent taste. We also picked up some clothes for her and although we browsed in a lot of shops, we didn’t buy a lot. I prefer using independent shops and local artisan and producers and there are a couple of local markets which I am looking forward to visiting in the next couple of weeks.

My week … the one with a mum and son day

Its lovely to spend a special day with our children individually and I have one planned with both children in the coming weeks (although the train strike may hamper my best laid plans) Today was the turn of my son and we really had a lovely day. Our thing is crazy golf and I had discovered that in a nearby town there was Mr Mulligans an indoor games centre with an 18-hole crazy golf. It was amazing, the first 9 holes were a futuristic neon inspired course and the second a post apocalypse nightmare, it sounds mad but it worked brilliantly. The design and detail were incredible, and the setting in a dark basement, pumping music gave it an edge too. The game ended a draw so the current score is 5.5 v 3.5. As we walked out of the club, we saw the Everton team getting on their coach in the hotel opposite. Sadly I’m not too knowledgeable on who was who, although I would have recognised their manager Frank Lampard but I didn’t see him. My son had actually been to see Everton in a cup match on Tuesday so was not so star truck as he might have been for a different team. The football ground is very small and where the boys were sitting, they were very close to all the players and managers.

After our game, we pottered along the seafront and pier and around the town. The weather was stunning, no coats needed, but actually so warm it brought climate concerns very much to the fore. To coincide with the COP27 conference taking place, there was an environment protest in the town centre and the sign giving today’s temperature of 17 degrees, when the average high should be 10 degrees was telling of the crisis. There was a real buzz around the town, the protest was bright, musical and strangely positive, the Christmas market, lights and ice rink were being finished off and it was just lovely.

I do like having a memorable day at the weekend as it gives the week a focus and something to look forward to. My evenings are very quiet, this week I’ve been reading Regretting You, a YA novel by Colleen Hoover, it’s an okay story but not one I would strongly recommend, however its still a nice, easy read. I have also succumbed to I’m a Celebrity, it’s been very interesting to see the response from camp mates and the audience to the former health secretary, Matt Hancock and his role in the pandemic, there is a lot of anger and resentment, and it will be very interesting if the show is his redemption or a final farewell to his public career. During my hours at the tv, I created a little emoji for my classroom. I never use my photo online, but I need something for some website pages and resources so am pleased to have something which looks like me.

I’m not sure what next week brings, it’s a strangely quiet one in my diary with just my son’s Annual Review pencilled in. Although, excitingly our new bed is finally arriving (it’s a story..) and we should get our new dishwasher as the other is beyond repair. Its the little things which make life rock!