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 one with 5 star reads

And so we return to normality, although it was only a 4 day working week thanks to the additional bank holiday. The week started on January 1st and thanks to the quiet night before, we were up bright and early and off to the local Forestry Commission for a bike ride, walk and a picnic. It felt a good way to start the new year, grounded by nature.

After our return it was time to put away the decorations. I quite like this job, bringing Christmas to a close and getting organised for next year. I am very careful in putting everything away neatly, noting what needs to be replaced and ideas for next year. I have a Christmas book, which I write in and not only is it an interesting record of presents, activities and menus, but I always read the page on ideas for next year when I start my planning at October half term. Whilst I love the order and neatness post Christmas, I do miss my twinkling lights, I do have some all year round sets but I think its the outside ones which make it so sparkling.

This week I have been thinking about my 23for23, I haven’t finalised my list yet as I wanted to listen to the podcast introducing the theme which was posted on Wednesday. However, I do know that one will be less mindless online scrolling, I’ve been looking for easy alternatives and the most obvious is to read. I have a Kindle and always have a book on the go. This week, simply because they have been so brilliant, I have finished 3 books, A Heart that Works by Rob Delaney about his young son who died of brain cancer, and the two fiction works, Lessons in Chemistry and Cat Lady. Elizabeth Zott from Lessons in Chemistry is the new hero we didn’t realise we needed.

Work was good this week, a quiet couple of days training and then two really good days with my class, with swimming, shopping and cookery, all favourite activities for staff and students alike. I also went swimming whilst my daughter was at Youth club, I would have preferred running but with my injury I am still going for low impact exercise. We were the tail walkers at parkrun on Saturday and as there were no ill effects, I am hoping I will be able to reintroduce some running in the coming weeks.

Today we completed an orienteering course as practice for my daughter’s DofE award. My husband and daughter strode off very purposefully across the dunes and focused on the map, my son and I got a bit lost and spent a lot of time walking through heathers trying to catch up with them! It was a rare bright and dry hour so again good to be out and breathing in the sea air. Today was also the return of indoor cricket training, so I took my son and stayed to watch. I was impressed by his bowling tonight, some good accuracy and speed. I do like watching cricket in the warm sunshine and even being back at training brings those summer months closer.

Next week is looking quiet, I like these early weeks of the new year, prepping for the coming months and cosying up in the evenings.

My week .. the one with lots of rain and cosy nights in.

I do love the publish date button on the WordPress page, as I can write this a few days (ahem 6 days) late and still have it neatly in date. I normally write the blog on a Sunday evening but with cricket training and a school project, I didn’t manage it and then this week I’ve been busy in the evenings (despite the artic weather) This date adjustment is also useful for my photo project as I’ve discovered I can change the date, to ensure a photo per day. I have used this only once so far, January days aren’t the most enticing for photo taking and some of the interesting things I do at school I cannot take a photo as I do not have access to my mobile phone.

This last week was a hibernating week, there was no youth club and my nail appointment was postponed so every evening was spent cosy inside. I did need to have this week, there was a lot of teenage drama and we all needed time to process what was happening and stay grounded. Ted Lasso was the perfect tonic and it is one of my favourite tv series of the past few years, we are edging closer to the end of season 2 and I am mourning for the evenings to come without the wit and wisdom from Ted. I have also read The Light we Carry by Michelle Obama, again such wise and comforting words which were much needed this week.

We have been busy this weekend, with parkrun volunteering on Saturday morning. It was wet and windy but having had a few more hairier mornings in recent weeks it didn’t feel too bad. The weather then improved and we went to the country park for more orienteering, this could become our new family thing. Whilst it didn’t rain the fields were so water logged it was much more difficult and slippy than normal.

Saturday afternoon is my special time in the kitchen, and this week it was another Jamie recipe, a feta, pepper and spinach filo snake. I’ve never owned a Jamie recipe book before but I am finding some of the recipes a little fiddly, needing quite expensive ingredients and a bit faffy. They are delicious but I do like the BBC Good Food website for a good recipe. My neighbour has lent me the Lorraine Pascale book, so I may try a few of her recipes next.

Sunday was a day of family admin, we are chasing amendments to our son’s EHCP and we had a number of complaints to make. It is hard fighting every single battle as a SEN parent, there seems genuinely no care or professionalism in our county SEND team and it is so frustrating and disheartening. However we will continue to fight for what our son deserves.

January is such a dreary month and I am daydreaming at present of times to follow this year. I think a good plan helps to fill these dreams and make the winter just the little less brutal.

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 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.