So long 2016, thanks for all the memories

Well this is it. We have come to our last few hours of 2016 and as the dawn of a new year slowly creeps in I’ve reflected on the treasures that 2016 have blessed me with. There have been highs and lows but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We have enjoyed several camping trips, some with our closest friends and others with our dogs (for the first time), week away in north Norfolk, days out, fun filled family time, my 40th birthday party and the arrival of a puppy in our house.

There have been moments of frustration both at work and home but I don’t see these as negative I see them as character building, testing your resilience. We lost my uncle this year, the only uncle out of many who always remembered me at xmas, birthdays and our wedding anniversary. I always looked forward to his niece cards and always wrote a letter in his birthday and Christmas cards updating him on our lives. This chirstmas and anniversary I missed that but he lived a great life.

My dad was diagnosed with suspected dementia so this year has been a learning curve and next year will bring further challenges for which I feel ready to face alongside my mother and sister on this.

I have watched my eldest enter the ‘tween’ phase and the attitude that seems to have developed alongside this. Testing is the word that comes to mind. I suspect next year will see my gin intake up again … good job I discovered Copper House gin in October!

But I will finish with some words from me to you. Look back and reflect and look at how you have grown over the year. Look to the next one not with a list of resolutions but with a goal of doing more to make yourself happy, promise yourself 5 minutes of time each day to do something just for you. mine will possibly be stalking the Emma Bridgewater website or going for my pre school swim or even having a quiet coffee on my own in the fresh air, I wonder what yours will be?

I wish you all love, peace and happiness for the forthcoming 365.25 days, happy new year xx

Christmas, family and Emma Bridgewater

So as the mini whites enjoy their Christmas gifts I have time to stop and take stock. It’s been a very busy term for me although I really do live my job. I have notched up 3 parents evenings, 2 open evenings, not as many gym sessions as I should have, 2 weeks of being ill (including 1 day where I actually couldn’t get out of bed so did not go to school), 2 nativities, 1 weeks away in Norfolk, approx 70 early morning dog walks, numerous disagreements no scrap that arguments with eldest child re getting homework done, used up several red and green pens, many bottles of prosecco and hours of laughing with family and friends to name just a few things. I was truly spoilt this Christmas mainly with new Emma Bridgewater gifts but with a hint of Pandora and Maria Carey MAC lipgloss (I had almost bought it when shopping with my good friend but didn’t …. but she surprised me with it on Christmas Day). 

Looking forward to 2017 I want to try and slow down a little. Enjoy just being with my boys and family. My father is in the process of being diagnosed with dementia so I want to make sure the boys have lots of happy memories with him. Next year we will celebrate 15 years of marriage, and 23 years of being together, so time to devote to our relationship too. Next year will also see my youngest leave his infant school and the start of us looking and applying for eldest secondary school place. All in all next year is going to be a fantastic year and even better than 2016. So for how I wish you restful new year.

So long summer….

Well I went quiet for a few weeks on account of it being the summer holidays. We managed a second camping trip to Pinecones campsite this time with the doggies in tow. It was fantastic! Really friendly, great park and dog friendly too. Their individual shower rooms were amazing with radio piped in day and night …. Made a 4am trip out of the sleeping bag a little more enjoyable. So yes we shall go back their.

The rest of the holiday has been spent catching up with friends and family. In the last few days I have decorated and organised my study as, alas, I’m back to work tomorrow. I love teaching but this year I already feel pressured to justify exam results where students didn’t put the work in despite our effects, didn’t attend extra revision sessions despite our efforts as ultimately the powers that be will want me to explain what I didn’t do to get that child the grade a computer program decided they should get. 

I’m also dreading the curriculum changes. This year sees 2 different GCSE being taught in my subject with the new one not really being given the teaching time needed (school decision not mine) and the 2nd year of the new A level being taught for the first time. Doing the long term plan for my dept is a nightmare and shows I can’t fit it in but I somehow have to! So the plan isn’t ready to publish.

Education has been my life for 16 years. I love seeing that light bulb moment or that kid who says they can’t go it getting the grade they worked so hard for. Unfortunately the last few years have turned into the most demoralising. I mark each classes homework every week, a level classes can take up to 3 hours per class and with 5 a level classes that’s a lot before you account for the 3 GCSE classes. I only work 4 days a week as I’m part time! Over the past few years we have been beaten up by the government for being lazy ….. Most of us aren’t, we give up unpaid lunches to do revision sessions, help kids or run clubs. Most of us work every evening (for me that included Sunday evening and during the day and evening of my day off). Powers that be tell us we should all mark in a certain way, pupil dialogue (I’ve you mark their work and wrote a question, they respond to it and you mark that as well as the next homework next time you take in books!). 

All in all teaching is not what is was and in a few years I will leave the profession as the stress is already taking its toll…. I truly love my job and that is being in the classroom helping kids to learn new things.

So tomorrow spare a thought for those hard working teaches who will be supporting future generations and who won’t get a break from working til next summer (yes we may not be in school during half term and holidays but I guarantee we are working at home trying to catch up). And on that note I’m off to read my work emails, goodnight y’all.

Colours everywhere

So now I appear to be winning the battle with the holiday washing, albeit briefly, today I have squeezed in a little quiet time inbetween demands of 2 growing and always hungry children. The other day I stumbled across the perfect colouring book for me. Yes a Disney Princess one. I love everything Disney, have since a child. I’m the adult that on my honeymoon, and subsequent visit to celebrate our 4th anniversary, queued with the children to have my photo taken with as many characters as possible. I adore Beauty and the Beast, it is my ultimate Disney film and I won’t lie, I am very excited about the new film next year. Belle has been my favourite Princess since I first watched the film at the grand age of 16. So this colouring book is just perfect for me. This morning I retired to bed with said book, pencils and a coffee whilst hubby oversaw the feeding at the zoo that is breakfast in our house.

A lovely relaxing 10mins before the demands for mummy got me out of bed again.
The morning was spent with my children doing various things but I have squeezed in so much needed hooking time. Yes crochet city. I love crochet! This time I’m using one of my absolute fav dyers yarn, the lovely Lindsay at Dye Candy’s My Little Pony Yarn. So I started a lovely blanket that will contain all the Pony yarn from Dye Candys My Little Pony collect. The pattern is simple (it’s on Ravelry) and it’s working up a treat.

This colour is ‘Applejack’ and is just so pretty. I can’t wait to see this grow.

But for now I must go walk the pooches and children before tea, so happy afternoon people.

Decamping and the aftermath

So tonight is our last night at Woodhill Park. I have to say I will be back, it’s such a wonderful family place and we have had a truly fantastic time. Now starts the process of decamping, dirty washing packed in a bag, clean clothes (yes we have a few items) in another. The children’s rucksack is packed and bedroom area looking the emptiest it has all week. Tomorrow the tables, pots and pans will be packed up all ready for the end of August.

The kids have had a great time, running free, no tv and lots of fresh air to blow those cobwebs away that form over a long half term at school. For them a week of no school does they world of good. The eldest read his new book within 3  days and then discovered old comics in an old book shop so started on those. The youngest has been working his way through ‘Alice through the looking glass’ and is enjoying it. Just disconnecting for a week from the constraints of a house works for us as a family.

Tonight we will end the week as we started … Yes a fish and chip supper, glasses of prosseco and lots of laughter in the chill of a summers evening (probably with blankets over our legs).

Pitter patter … I can hear the rain

Since Saturday we have had glorious weather for camping. Yesterday it rained at 6am briefly but the afternoon proved to be a warm and wonderful day fitting for a pub lunch and a few ginger beers followed by a stroll to the beach to look in the rock pools or rather, in the case of my youngest, an impromptu paddle resulting in a stroll home in pants! Today we strolled back to the beach, spent a few hours looking at rocks whilst the sun played some elaborate game of tag with the clouds before heading to the local tea room for lunch. Unfortunately they couldn’t seat all of us (2 families) so headed but to the same pub for more delicious food. If you ever happen to be in West Runton I can thoroughly recommend The Village Inn, the fish and chips was amazing, as was the crab and fries, beef rib and the children were full to the brim with their generous children’s meals.

Walking back we played race the black clouds and I’m happy to report we won with mere minutes to spare. Now, after a quick trip to the super market, we are sat listening to the soothing sounds of rain on our tent, having some quiet time and for me a Crabbies ginger beer whilst the smell of the roast chicken we will have for tea, fills our tent.

Happy Thursday 

Getting our camp on

Just over 3 years ago we purchase our first tent. Both of us have good jobs but with mortgages, bills, childcare etc there isn’t much left for expensive holidays. Let’s face it school holiday prices are stupidly high, some people spend all year saving for a break in the sun. So one year we came to the conclusion that we had to rethink holidays if we really wanted more than a short weekend break once a year. Tent, after much extensive research by husband, basic one grill cooker, air beds etc purchased and we headed off to Cromer for our first camping trip. We loved it. Having 2 hyperactive boys, the fresh air and freedom was fantastic. I was bought up on caravan holiday so trips to the showers and toilets weren’t a huge thing and the boys (including the oldest one aka hubby) all adjusted within minutes. And thus begun our camping journey.

Since then we have changed the tent to something a bit bigger, unfortunately as we forgot to air it last year it has some mound spots now which I can’t remove …. I’m trying to convince the hubby to change it now. We also purchased new self inflating mats. The Outwell 10cm dream catcher is amazing! This year I purchased,in the sale, a little coffee pot as I’m a coffee person and instant just doesn’t cut it for me.

 So I’m sat listening to the light rain showers with hot coffee. My boys are wide awake already and happily scoffing breakfast. The campsite is wonderful, the play area is amazing! There is no bar so it’s quiet. I’m feeling recharged! If you’ve never tried camping before just go for it.