Are you a hero in our village?

Last night I read this post by Carrie Grant and I cried a few tears. I’m sad to say that I can relate to this post, the fear and ignorance shown by some parents towards adopted children is simply heartbreaking. I cannot explain how awful it is to watch a child desperately want to be invited to tea or to a birthday party and to be ignored each time. Every year my children have a birthday party and invite friends, one of my children is always invited to parties and play dates, the other none and it hurts.  On Halloween many of the class tricked and treated together, it was a big deal and the talk of class. It was sad for my child not to be invited but even worse was that they came around to our house. I can’t believe parents would be so hurtful to a young child, however I’ve come to realise that they are sob focused on their own child not mine. I also to have remind myself it’s not just me there’s lots of internal rifts too! 

My children go to the same school, one class of parents are warm, friendly and so encouraging to all children, I couldn’t ask for my child to be in a kinder or more supportive class.  The other class of parents is very different. My child is bright and talented ( this is not a boastful claim ) and I’m beginning to think that in a class where competitive parenting rules this simply doesn’t fit into the poor adopted child stereotype they would feel comfortable with. There are some parents who appear to expect the worse in adopted children.  A few weeks ago my child was accused of stealing by a supply teacher (a parent of another child in the same class) Whilst nothing had been reported as being stolen, the teacher suggested that my child had acted suspiciously by another’s desk and had their bag searched. I raised this with the Head but the damage has been done, other parents watched in the playground as my child had to open their bag and prove they hadn’t any stolen items in it. My pertinent question to the Head was would the teacher have done that to any other child in the class? 

I was quite emotional today after Carrie’s post and the comments posted back and spoke about it to a good and wise friend. She reassured me and I’m hoping that secondary school will allow my child to find their ‘tribe’ and experience true friendships not based on parental vetting. 

I agree with Carrie that it does take a village to raise a child and though there are a small minority of parents who are ignorant and unkind, we do have the support of many wonderful people, friends, neighbours and fellow parents to help support our children. I am proud to have these people in our lives and know that our children’s lives will be enriched by their kindness. 



I’ve now completed #blogtober17. I’m so chuffed I managed to publish a post a day in October on themes given to us by Mandi @hexmum

I’ve  never written so regularly on my blog and I even wrote a few posts in advance and scheduled them so I wouldn’t miss a day.  I know real bloggers do this but it was new to me! I really enjoyed the challenge, the creativity it inspired and being taken out of my comfort zone by the topics, some posts I really enjoyed writing whilst others were tougher. The prompts on social media also made me realise that I need to do a bit of homework on the etiquette and tools of these mediums.  The challenge also introduced me to some new bloggers and this was a real highlight of the project.  

I am now looking for a new blog challenge, I’m pondering a 12 days of Christmas theme, the A – Z of my life etc… @bucketsoftea has written a great post on ideas too

I would like to thank Mandi for a great project and all her hard work in creating and driving #blogtober17. Same time, same place next year? 

The Two Week Half Term holiday

Today is the end of my two week half term. This is something my school has had long before I started in 2005 but this year it seems that more schools are adopting the idea too. Our school has always had the additional week to reduce the long summer holiday. We are a specialist special needs school and for our students and families the long summer holiday can be challenging with changes in routine, respite care etc.. and our shorter holiday does help.

I have always liked this two week holiday, before children we often went on sunny holidays or visited family and then I would have time to potter and relax. Now the first week of the holiday is spent en famille and the second week gives me some very rare me time as the children return to school. It is a week I really look forward to, I start my Christmas planning, do any little jobs I’ve been meaning to do in the house, meet friends, do a few trail runs if the weather allows and enjoy simple pleasures, a trip to the cinema, reading etc.. It is lovely to have that me time and although the week in summer takes a little organising, it’s workable in our family, particularly with my part time hours.

However, I was thinking what if my children had a two week holiday in October and less in the summer? Whilst it works for me, I’m not too sure it would work for the children. The summer holiday should be sunny and warm and it is easy and cheap to keep the children amused on the beach or in the park. There are long days and evenings, lots of time to be outside, to play, to swim, to relax. At the end of October, there are fewer opportunities for outdoor activities, days are shorter and it would be costly to fill a two week holiday with trips to the cinema, indoor skate park, swimming and other sports. More school in July would mean hot and stuffy classrooms, lots of distractions and very tired children. Our school’s curriculum in the summer is specifically designed for our students, with lots of outdoor activities, enrichment and project work to compensate for the later finish, generally our formal learning finishes at the start of July.

Whilst I like my two week holiday, I would prefer that my children have a week half term and continue to have the traditional long summer holiday with time for summer adventures at the beach and to enjoy the warmer weather outside. It’s an interesting debate on how to distribute the thirteen weeks school holidays to best suit pupils, staff and families.

#blogtober17 : Day 21 : Unusual Crushes


I have two celebrity crushes which have lasted for many years, one I think is quite mainstream in the gorgeous Jon Bon Jovi but my admiration of the comedian Alan Davies always raises a smile.  There is a connection between the two,  I loved their long hair in their younger years ( I had a passing crush on the comedian Rob Newman for the same reason)  Both men have a little twinkle in their eye too.


I have been fortunate enough to see Bon Jovi live at Wembley in 1995 (best concert ever) and Jonnie, as I like to call him, was amazing. Around this time I went to Madame Tussaud and had a photo taken with Jonnie’s wax work, I’m gutted I lost it in a house move.


My crush on Alan Davies has been more through the medium of tv, I watch him and imagine that he would be a funny and relaxed companion.  I don’t need the magic of Jonathon Creek but the wit and conversation of qi.

I’m joining in with day 21 of #blogtober17


My little corner


Over this past week, I have been undertaking a little upcycling project to transform my bureau into something more in keeping with our newly decorated lounge.  The bureau was the first piece of furniture I bought for our new house when we moved in 13 years ago, it was second hand and I carefully, sanded, primed and varnished it to complement our lounge.  The bureau is the hub of my life and I sit at it daily to write, organise and plan.  It also contains so many treasures and memories, as well as every essential.

The upcycling was a simple job to undertake and a good distraction.  I chose a paint by Rust-Oleum, clotted cream, which didn’t need the bureau to be sanded or primed but simply painted and then finished with varnish.  The paint has a chalk like finish but must be stirred carefully or it can become quite lumpy in places. I used 2 coats all over the bureau.

The children were both keen to help me in this project so there are a couple of (hidden) places where the finish is not quite as precise as I would have hoped.  Its a compromise I was happy to make.  I took the children individually to the garage where we chatted and worked, simple pleasures and its lovely to see how proud they are of their work.  In addition to the paint and varnish, I also changed the handles for a slightly different look.

My bureau is a treasure trove of my special things, below is a small selection of some of the things I keep in it.  Firstly is the bag of chargers, I have them organised and neatly labelled.  Next to the bag is a postcard by Matisse, I saw this painting in L’Orangerie in Paris when I was 20 and loved it, I’ve had the postcard ever since.  I have quite a few special postcards of paintings, people, patterns, inspiring quotes etc.. in my bureau. Some I send to friends, often for no reason just to let them know I’m thinking of them, others I keep and others become book marks!  The plastic folder is full of articles in magazines or newspapers that I’ve enjoyed, cards from friends, tickets from special events, a little memory box to make me smile. My Filofax and Clipbook are the key to my organisation and used daily, I’ve tried to streamline into one but I prefer both, the Filofax is for dates and deadlines, the Clipbook for more creative projects. The small notebook computer is my daily computer for admin and bits and pieces.  Our family computer and accessories are elsewhere so this computer is simply mine for admin and it’s size makes it convenient and accessible. I cannot resist good stationery and I have a lot of pencil cases and pens and pencils, .  This is my favourite pencil case at the moment by Poppy Treffey which stays in my bureau, I also have a small pencil case in my bag (Cath Kidston) one for my work bag (gold Sparkles) etc.. I am addicted!  The small make up bag contains aromatherapy oils, as I often diffuse them at my desk. I bought this in Melbourne on our first trip to Australia, my family nickname is Skippy hence the design.  The bits and pieces bag does as it says, glue, sellotape, blue tac, scissors, tippex, stamps, small sewing kit etc.. The letter rack is for daily admin, cards to be sent, correspondence cards and even a cheque book for those really rare times when you have to pay by cheque. For some random reason I also keep the name labels here, I always seem to be labelling something. There are always lots of little me things in my bureau, pin badges, photos, stickers, candles etc..


I am really pleased with my little upcycling project, the colour works well in the new lighter room and I feel back at home in my little corner.

Back to school, coconut bakes and new projects #littleloves

And so just like that, it’s back to school and the start of a new school year. With the turn in weather too, it feels that autumn has arrived. Whilst I love summer, its time to embrace the new season, so it’s been autumn inspired menus this week, cosy knits and tights.


As we start a new school year, I love to read the children Dr Seuss’ The Places You Will Go. I only discovered Dr Seuss as a SEN teacher but his books are brilliant and well worth a read as an adult for their sage advice and humour. This book is inspiring and a smart message for the children going into their new classes to work hard, take opportunities and learn that whilst things get tricky with a good attitude and hard work you will succeed. I love this book so much that I’ll continue to read and quote it to the children until at least their college days!



The autumn schedules have started and I’m so looking forward to my favourite series Cold Feet later tonight. Continuing on the education theme I’ve been watching Education Manchester on Channel 4. Whilst I have worked in a special needs school for the last 12 years, the first half of my career was in inner city comprehensive schools so I can relate a lot to the schools in the series and have nothing but admiration for the amazing professionals. This series is introducing some tough themes and the mental health aspect was key in this week’s programme. Sadly, mental health is a huge issue in special needs ed too and so much more needs to be done to support our young people.


Last weekend the children went blackberry picking so we used the fruit in a blackberry crumble with a few extra ingredients. I used some coconut in the topping with a bit of orange zest, delicious. As I still had coconut left I added it to a bread and butter pudding too, again it gave a nice touch. I also made our first vegetable casserole and dumplings of the season, simple but one of my favourite meals and the perfect tea on a cold and wet evening.


Rain macs and winter knits, please can we have an Indian summer.


As I’ve written before Little Miss is always on my Spotify account and adding music. This week she is loving 1000 years by Christina Perri, it is a beautiful song and it does give me a warm, fuzzy feeling when I hear her singing and humming it around the house.


It’s nice to get the first week of school done, the children have had a really good week back and my working week has been positive too. At home the decorating has been finished and I’m now planning the final touches, cushions and throws and planning a possible furniture project too. It’s a new season and new plans….

Thank you to Morgana for hosting #littleloves



Beach days, school reading books and family visits #littleloves


It’s been a wonderful final week of the holidays, the sun has (finally) shone brightly and our little seaside town has been packed with happy day trippers and holiday makers, especially on bank holiday weekend. Our town needs these busy weekends to thrive and survive so we’re grateful for sunny days! We have been on the beach most days this week, determined to eek out every bit of summer fun that we can. We’ve also had family down this week and having lunch al fresco in a delightful sea front cafe was just gorgeous. Somehow in between the beach visits, we’ve also managed to squeeze in school shoe shopping and school haircuts, so we’re ready to go back to school next week.


I’m in the back to work groove this week and have been doing some professional reading. To counter this serious reading I’ve really appreciated ‘Spectacles’ by Sue Perkins, we’re a similar age so lots of the cultural references and experiences are similar to my own, whilst the family tales are ones we can all relate to. The memoir is written in an amusing style that keeps you reading and smiling.

I also read a lovely article about women in their 40s and 50s and how we’re now described as perennials. Once you’ve looked past the initial glossy photos of unbelievably glamorous, stylish and young looking women in their 40s it’s an excellent and inspiring read.



I’ve watched our living room and hallways being transformed this week as we are having them redecorated. We had hoped to move but in a quiet housing market, we’ve decided to improve our house, not for a future sale but for us. Whilst we’re in the middle of the project, there’s no new pictures yet but I’m excited with the progress. The decorators are the neatest I’ve ever known, I’m sure my house is tidier than when they began!

I’ve made lots of sand castles this week and helped the children create their seaside cafe with sand food sculptures. It’s amazing how imaginative the children can be with their games on the beach.

Shorts, swimming costumes, sunglasses and sun tan lotion yippee! It’s going to be a shock returning to work clothes next week. However on my lightning trip to big town (the journey was longer than our shopping trip) I did pick up this new dress for work from Fat Face to be styled with leggings and pumps, it’ll make me feel confident on our first day back. It’s also one of those dresses which looks a lot better on than in the photo below and best of all it has pockets, essential for pens, keys etc.. and all the other accessories a teacher carries around.


Town has been buzzing this week and there really has been that happy hum all around, the giggles on the beach, the sound of Punch and Judy, the call of the sea gulls, squeals as the first toes feel the water etc.. It’s such a lovely sound, happy people.

So that’s it now, the summer holidays are over. Whilst I like the fresh start and excitement of a new school year, I’ll miss the relaxed, family days we’ve shared this holiday. At this time of year, more than at any other, I feel the passing of time but try to see it positively and to look forward to new adventures.

Many thanks to Morgana for this lovely linkie and all those who write and inspire.