Friday 2 June 2017

Celebrate #14 plus Cover Reveal

This lovely blog hop led by Lexa Cain and her two co-hosts Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner always makes me smile.  Why not join in by clicking the button above?

This week I am celebrating:

1) Finding the next book n a series by Alexander McCall Smith that I've been searching for in second hand book stores and charity shops over the past couple of weeks - on one of our bookshelves!! I think this goes to show the amount of bookcases we have - I'd obviously bought it previously and because of its height (it is hardback) couldn't put it with the rest of the series so had put it upstairs on another taller book shelf.  Thank goodness I hadn't found it and bought it again!!

2) Having a local radio station come out on a Nordic walk with me and one of my groups so that they can do a recording to be broadcast next week on the morning slot (an excellent time as many people will be listening to the radio as they get up and drive to work).  The interviewer was a very pleasant chap and my group were excellent not only in the way they walked but all of their comments when interviewed whilst walking!!  Which is not as easy as it sounds!

3) Getting housework done.  It's certainly not my favourite thing but this week I seem to have really been able to get going and do a lot of clearing out of things - either to charity shops or the bin/recycling as well as do the dusting and hoovering getting ready for visitors next week which will include my son and his girlfriend - which will be lovely :)

4) Lastly, I am celebrating making a cushion cover with a ruffle round its edge out of a charity shop sequinned and beaded skirt - which I got done over the Bank Holiday weekend.  This is for a charity craft competition I organise each year and to be honest I wasn't going to put an entry in this year as I don't do cushion covers (each year we do something different) but I thought I'd better show willing and I'm happy I did as I learnt new skills through doing it.

I'm looking forward to finding out what everyone else has been up to this week and are celebrating in their lives.  Please feel free to drop me a comment below :)

Now on to the second part - the COVER REVEAL - which I am delighted to be taking part in.

This book, by the very talented Sharon M Himsl - our Celebrate friend - is due for release this July by Evernight Teen publishers.

When notorious Uncle Azman disobeys orders, and sends Callie and Lucas to meet their mother's long lost family in Malaysia, fourteen-year-old Callie believes their troubles are over. After all they've endured, what more could go wrong?
Their American dad is dead, Mom is missing, and their foster dad in Seattle was murdered, with Callie falsely accused. If that wasn't enough, Callie and eight-year-old Lucas stowed aboard a sailboat to escape, only to be targeted by their uncle’s boss in Hawaii upon arrival for immediate sale in Thailand’s human trafficking market.

Disguised in case Azman’s boss sends someone after them, Callie believes it’s simply a matter of time. They need to find safety with family in Mersing and begin the search for Mom, but a shell box, a ruby, and a boy from Chicago named Sam are about to change everything.


Sharon loves adventure. Whether traveling through Malaysia on a jungle train, sailing in the San Juan Islands, or flying in an experimental airplane she helped her husband build, her life has been on a road less traveled. She has experienced hurricanes tornadoes, earthquakes, volcanoes, and more. She has seen sunsets that take your breath away.

Her first publishing credit was as a travel writer in Malaysia, traveling by rail from Kluang to Kota Bharu on the now defunct "jungle train." Some of the Malaysian and Thai settings and characters she later wrote about in her novel, The Shells of Mersing, came from her experience living in Malaysia and the diary she kept.

She later edited, researched, and wrote young adult nonfiction for two educational publishers, Greenhaven Press and Lucent Books. Her interest in history stems from a degree in American Studies. Her day job at Washington State University also included editing science papers, articles, and books.

As a storyteller, Sharon knows that facts and life experiences are the foundation of good storytelling. If she were to credit one life experience behind wanting to be a writer, it would be the term paper she wrote in the ninth grade on the bubonic plague. "I don't know why, but I have always remembered the pride I felt writing that paper," Sharon said. And if she were to credit a character in a book who inspired her, it would be “Jo March” in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Jo wanted to be a writer.

Today Sharon is working on a second novel at home in Central Washington, where she lives with her husband on the edge of a desert runway . . . but that's another story!

You can find out more about this book launch by visiting Sharon's web page at

Monday 29 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 4

Well we are now into Week 4 of the Kindness Challenge and the focus is off self and onto others!
Now I've got to think of those role models ... - who to choose?

If you would like to find out more then either click on the button in the right hand side bar or for more in depth on the tasks for this week then click on the badge above.

Saturday 27 May 2017

Celebrate #13

Hosted by Lexa Cain and her co-hosts Tonja Drecker and L.G. Keltner
Click on the button above to join in.

Events of this week, here in the UK, make us all reflect on why we should pause to give thanks for the small things in life we can celebrate in times of sadness.

This week I am celebrating that there is a coming Bank Holiday which will give an extra day for Hubby and I to get some things done around the house and garden!  I'm not sure he'd be celebrating if he knew that's what I have planned!!

I'm also celebrating learning a new knitting technique which is allowing me to use up odd balls of wool I've had for ages and hopefully make an item I can wear and enjoy wearing.

Finally, and most importantly, I am celebrating that my family members (although scattered across the UK) are safe and well.

Looking forward to reading everyone else's reasons to be cheerful this week :)

Wednesday 24 May 2017

Tuesday 23 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 3

Well here we are at Week 3 in the Kindness Challenge.  If you'd like to have a go yourself please click on the link in the side bar and if you want to find out more about the tasks etc involved n this week's challenge from the original article by Nikki (Richness of a Simple Life) - then press on the badge above.

I think (looking at the tasks ahead for this week) I will have quite a busy time reflecting on who I try to be for others and who I actually am.  I'm sure I'll learn a lot as I have in the past two weeks and I'm sure it will be useful so here goes and who knows where it might lead!!

Sunday 21 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 2 Reflection

This week was all about self-compassion.

Before I begin, I want to say I am on the whole a happy person. I see the glass half full. I love life. So I wasn't too sure what I would learn this week on the subject of self-compassion.  But I read the task and started to listen to my internal voice and how it spoke to me - weird right?  

I tried to think back to when I first heard that voice and I reckon it was there before I went to school so maybe 4 years old or thereabouts.  My inner voice helped me when I was unsure of things and trying to figure them out or a little bit worried about new things - it gave me confidence when I was young.

Somehow that had changed over time and listening to my inner voice during last week made me realise that often it was a rather harsh voice that often criticised me and my actions at times.

So this week, I tried to make my inner voice more like that of a parent to a child - giving encouragement, not dwelling on what had gone wrong but how to make things right in the future, trying to figure out why I might be behaving in certain ways and rather than barking orders or be disappointed cajole and encourage.

In a nutshell, I tired to get my inner voice to be kinder towards me. 
Eureka moment - this is why this task is in the Kindness Challenge!!

I cannot lie - t's been quite strange hearing this new voice inside me! I have felt more like a child at times but I have liked not having angry or disappointed thoughts roll around in my head!  Another big thing I have realised is that my inner voice does NOT give myself a pat on the back - it does not say well done and I think that's rather strange when I say so many things to others to congratulate them on a job well done or good trying!!

It's certainly not easy changing my normal inner voice but I am glad I've had chance to think about the way I behave towards myself and I hope I can continue to not beat myself up as much as I sometimes do.

Please feel free to join in this Challenge yourself - it's never too late to start - just press on the badge in the side bar to go to Niki's site.

Friday 19 May 2017

Celebrate #12

Welcome along to another Celebrate post where the name of the game is to reflect on the small things in life that have given us pleasure in our busy lives.  Led by Lexa Cain and her co-hosts - Tonja Drecker and LG Keltner - everyone is encouraged to take a minute and give thanks :)

This week, I am celebrating doing something I've never done before!  My Wordless Wednesday post this week gave a glimpse of what I saw and so to reveal I was at the very top of -
an 18th century windmill!
Right in the cap of it where the windmill sails would have been attached.

This windmill is only open to the public twice a year and so Hubby and I took advantage and had an amazing tour and talk led by a guy who actually used to work in a windmill!  There are not many like him left I'd imagine - and he was such a super tour guide being able to answer all our questions. We really hadn't expected to be so blown away by our visit but it really was very interesting and being allowed so high climbing up rickety ladders and under enormous wooden machinery felt very exciting.  Only three of us plus tour guide made it to the very top!  It's truly lovely when something turns out much better than you'd hoped :)

More things to celebrate this week were some good charity shop purchases - things to add to my wardrobe, my vintage sewing collection and gifts for others (it always amazes me the things that still have their tags on that people have never used and are kind enough to donate).

Lastly I want to celebrate passing an Open University course on Understanding Parkinson's for Health and Social Care Staff.  This all came about from meeting another person with this disease last Friday on one of my Nordic walking taster sessions.  After the session, I was invited to come to the next meeting of the local Parkinson's club so that more people with the disease could have a go. Although I knew about different research projects that showed Nordic walking could be beneficial for Parkinson's patients I did not feel I really knew much about the disease itself.  I came across this FREE course on line and worked through the four modules plus the final test to receive my digital badge and found it to be such a worthwhile course and think the more people that know about the progression of Parkinson's and what useful things they can do to help those with it the better.
If you click on the badge above it should take you to the course and you can sign up if you'd like to do it too.

Now I'm looking forward to hearing all about new places you been, new things you've bought or even new things you've learnt so leave a comment below and have a very happy weekend :)

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Wordless Wednesday - Where in the World?

Can you guess where I ended up last weekend?
Answer will be coming in my Celebration post later this week :)

Monday 15 May 2017

Kindness Challenge Week 2

Last week on the Kindness Challenge (devised and led by Niki) I had a very interesting time discovering much more about myself than I ever thought I would!  So I'm keen to see what this week brings and if you'd like to come on board please feel free to find out more by pressing the button above.

This week we will be looking at Self-Compassion and thinking about the way we are often our most harshest critic.  Once more I'm keen to see what I will learn and maybe how this will make me change certain behaviours I didn't even really notice I had!

Have you found out anything new either about yourself or others this week?  Are you setting out on a journey you're not quite sure where it will lead you?  Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know!

Sunday 14 May 2017

Week 1 Self-Love Reflection

Click on picture above to go to website of Doe Zantamata

I am going to be very honest in this post. When I first thought about self-love I did indeed equate it with ego. As a mum and a teacher, I'm used to putting my needs behind others and I have no problem with this. So when I came across this quote, I was thankful that it gave me the inner peace to work on this week's in the Kindness Challenge (hosted by Niki - The Richness of a Simple Life - click on the button in the sidebar to be taken there).

So I took a good, long look at myself.  Now, I have always struggled with my appearance.  As someone not very tall, I think I look dumpy. I have a bust, I have hips and I have always wanted instead to have a sylph-like figure. 

So for this week's Challenge I decided that I would stop comparing my body shape unfavourably to others and be kind to myself in this way.  I would focus on how my cats "see" me - as in, they couldn't care less about my body shape - it is immaterial to them - they have no understanding of whether a person is fat or thin.  My self-love was therefore to think "my body shape does not define the person I am".  

This week's Challenge prompt was to realise "there's nothing you need to do to earn or deserve love from yourself or others" so I chose to think abut this every time I went in the kitchen and saw myself in our reflective kettle.  The kitchen is where I have most of my "battles" - "food = fat"  "this food is bad for me but I want it" etc etc so I tried to stop beating myself up over it and be kind to myself in this way.

I also came across this quote half way through the week and it made me think about how I treat myself compared to how I treat others and of course I would NEVER say anything unkind or mean to a friend.  I would support them, I would care about them and I would be there for them.  So why couldn't I do this for the person looking back in the mirror?
This definitely spoke to me - I've always a bit of a rebel!

So what did I learn this week?

Well I think I learnt to accept myself physically a little more and be kinder towards my self-image. I'm supporting myself more rather than giving myself a good talking to! And actually this week it's been a whole heap easier to stay away from temptation.  I've bought the more expensive fruit and veg that I'd buy for others but wouldn't normally buy for myself.  I've left food on my plate if I didn't want it. I also said No a few times this week which is never easy for me but also gave me a little more space in my life so I didn't feel so exhausted running about everywhere and then grabbing something quick to eat which often isn't the best thing for me.

I'm not saying it's been easy this week but then it never is when you're learning new things but I'm definitely going to keep continuing in this vein.

My final quote comes from Dr. Wayne Dyer who said:

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone else has viewed their week and the shape self-love has taken for them.  Please feel free to join in the Challenge yourself - you never know what you might learn?

Saturday 13 May 2017

Celebrate #11

It's another chance to
with your host Lexa Cain and her co-hosts - Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner

I was wanting to share some photographs but unfortunately technology is being frustrating this week and I can't seem to download form my phone or even send them via an email!  You'll just have to use your imaginations!!

First off I am celebrating having been a useful assistant on the cake stall last weekend - ALL cakes were sold in record time. All profits going to our local church so all for a good cause :)  There was NO photo of all the cakes and NONE of me eating them!!

Secondly, I am celebrating having got a chance to see the amazing Roman dig going on in the centre of my city.  Hubby and I tried to go at the weekend (which was the ONLY time they were going to allow visitors onto the site) but the queues were enormous so didn't spend time waiting in line. Luckily due to the amount of people who wanted to see it but couldn't get in they decided they would do lunch time openings too (12 - 2 pm) so I tried on Tuesday (but still huge queue) and then on Wednesday got there early and after one and a half hours in the queue got in.  Obviously, Hubby couldn't accompany me but a friend from Craft Group had also tried with her husband to go at the weekend so jumped at the chance to see them with me.  It was a lovely sunny day and I did take lots of photos.  Really worthwhile going as a once in a lifetime chance to see something that soon will be underneath a new shopping and hotel complex!  (There should have been two photos of the site and the mosaic they have uncovered here).

Thirdly, celebrating a new local walk that a lady on my Monday "normal" walk told me about and we decided as a group to try it out.  It was lovely walking through the arboretum and then a short way down one of the country roads on a pavement and into the gardens of an old estate where the grand house was knocked down about 80 years ago because they couldn't pay death duties!  It was a beautiful walk on a beautiful day around an old lake and passing horses in the shade of a huge tree looking up to the church on the hill (this is where a photo should have been!) and the weather couldn't have been better.  We all thoroughly enjoyed it and then on Wednesday I had the pleasure of taking my Nordic walking group around there as well and they were thoroughly impressed too :)  That's what I really like about walking - it gives people the chance to talk and pass on information or none of us would ever have known about it being accessible to the public.

Hoping everyone else has had a lovely week with those new things to celebrate that really don't cost the earth :)

Tuesday 9 May 2017

A Journey is Beginning

On Sunday, I posted about taking on another Challenge now that the A-Z is over.  This week is all about being Kind to Myself and at the end of the week to reflect and post.  I must admit this is a bit of a new concept to me and I wasn't really sure how I was going to accomplish it. Yesterday, the blogosphere led me to this:
Sanctuary5014's Thought for the Day

So I have a starting point.
(Please press on the picture above to go to the original site)

If you would like to join in the Kindness Challenge as well then press

Monday 8 May 2017

A-Z Reflections

So it was all a little bit different this year: 
  • No linky list therefore no need for letters to show the content (except AC), 
  • No minions therefore not as many visits from those connected to the A-Z
  • Having to post a link everyday to the main blog (how would I have done this if I wasn't at my computer?)

I won't lie - I was worried!

First off I was rather late to the party this year so I hadn't prepared anything - didn't even know what I was going to post about but luckily inspiration hit less than 24 hours before 1st April and I was up and running.  First snag hit - I couldn't seem to post a link for the first three days because I was using a time zone that was almost a day behind Australia and New Zealand and I hadn't worked out how to use the site properly - it was my fault but when you are panicking everything takes more getting used to!!

I visited sites at the top of the posting list and those just above me on most days.  That's what the Challenge is mainly about finding NEW bloggers out there and communicating with them and I thought this went well although I did use to love going down the Linky List and finding those with a craft or education connection that I could then ensure I got a chance to visit.  I think I missed quite a few this year.

Because there was no list - there was no wasted time visiting blogs that weren't actually taking part so that WAS beneficial.

I left comments and I think that helped get those bloggers over to my site to take a look and leave a comment with me too.  I don't think I had as many views but once again I think that was because I either didn't post a link (sometimes I just forgot to) or because I was posting my link late.

I found my Blogger handle (name) didn't work anymore if I wanted to follow someone and I didn't want my Google name with attached details out there (I'm a private person!!) so I didn't "follow" anyone during this year's challenge.  Although I did put them into my sidebar Blog List which is even more important and allows me to see their posts and have engagement long after the Challenge ends. I also didn't get too many people "following" me so maybe they felt the same if their Blogger handle wasn't working either?

I didn't get any comments from the A-Z crew either for the first time and I think this left me a little deflated and I wondered how anyone else who had joined this year for the first time would feel?  In previous years, I did think the minions did a good job flagging back to the main hosts/organisers blogs that needed a little support/ those that had really good content, any newcomers to the A-Z as well as leaving their own supportive messages :)

I did read some great blog posts and once again the quality of some just astounded me as it does each year.  There were lots of new tales to be told, new sights to see and some wonderful tunes to listen to :)  A special mention to Katie the CyborgMom who made me smile every time I visited her Hot Men tribute theme - there really is no one quite like her!!  Nilijana, Hilary and Sharon for their wonderful writing about such interesting topics.  Click for her open, honest letters, Courtney, Cheryl, Eva and Linda for their art inspiring photographs and Cynthia and Ellen for their slightly bizarre takes on the world :)  Finally to Yvonne, who not only gave me plenty of songs to sing to but was a wonderful cheerer on with lovely messages of support throughout the Challenge not only to me but to MANY others!! There were many more who made me really stop and think and see the world in a different way so thank you to all those I stopped by :)

I actually think I enjoyed this Challenge the most - mainly because there was no list to "work" through and all those taking part were on the whole doing that and popping over to visit and leave comments on others' blogs - not just write a post and try to "sell" something and never bother with anyone else.  I also felt I found some great new bloggers out there that I truly want to keep in touch with over the coming year. This to me is the best thing about the A-Z as over the past three years I have made some very good blogging buddies due to taking part.

All that is left is to say a BIG thank you to the organisers and hope to see you all here again in 2018!

Sunday 7 May 2017

KINDred Spirit?

Fil from  Fil Place 
 is a blogger I met many moons ago, during my first A-Z Challenge, so I was interested to learn about another challenge she was participating in called the Kindness Challenge.
Having read Fil's post I hopped over to Niki's blog to read more about the challenge (you can too by clicking on the button above) and decided that it was something I should at least have a go at and maybe learn a little more about myself in the process.

My first task is to set myself an intention to work towards over the next seven weeks.  This has really got me thinking because I'm not sure how kind a person I am?  I try to be helpful. I like to be friendly. I like making those around me happy but none of this is really about being kind.  

When I was a teacher in primary school I felt there were many ways in which to be kind and to teach children to be kind to each other but now I'm not so sure of how I behave when I'm NOT with young children. So maybe my intention should be to find out more about what kindness really is and by following the weekly prompts find out if I am a kind person or whether things about me really need to change so that I can be a kinder person in my everyday life.  I think it's going to be an interesting time for me with a few home truths!  But one thing I am sure of is, if we all were a little kinder then this world would be a better place so there is no better intention than that :)

Each week there will be a theme prompt and exercise and then we can review things after a week to see how it all went for us although as Niki says we can all take things at our own pace so it doesn't necessarily have to be posted weekly.

Looking at the linky list I noticed a number of bloggers I feel I have a connection with already so it's nice to know I'll be among friends :)

If you haven't signed up but would like to you join in and maybe discover some new things about yourself as well as make the world a better place then please join the linky list over at:

Hope to see some of you there and looking forward to our weekly reviews :)

Saturday 6 May 2017

Celebrate #10

Joining in with the Celebrate Crew, led by Lexa Cain with her co-hosts Tonja Drecker and L G Keltner , where we pause to think of those little things in life that gave us pleasure this week. Press the button below to join in too :)

The big thing for me this week was to complete the A-Z Challenge and get my survivor badge (see below). I'll be posting my review of it all on Monday but I would like to say here I had a good time and felt it worked out well for me despite my initial reservations!

More reasons to "Celebrate" this week came from a thought posted by Paula of Smidgens, Snippets and Bits in response to this week's Hodge Podge -
which inspired me to go and create this for my hall lighting which I've been meaning to get round to for a couple of months now!
It really was just finding a few long suitable branches from the garden and twisting round some tiny Christmas lights I'd bought in the January sales so cost = £2.50.  The long tall woven vase with the rushes in has stood in the hallway for ages and I've never really liked it but it does hide a hole in the skirting board!  This way it can provide some lighting for the upper part of the hallway when crossing between sitting room and kitchen or going to the loo and I don't have to have the three hallway lights on wasting so much energy!!

Once again the weather this week has brought some wonderful sunshine and I am truly grateful for the ability to get out and about in it either mowing the grass and gardening or Nordic walking with others.  When I look back, just over two years ago, to when I was "working" I'd spend most of my life indoors!

I hope everyone else has had those little reasons to celebrate and am looking forward to visiting many of you who, during April, I did not have chance to :)  Please let me know what has brought a happy smile to your face this week?

Wednesday 3 May 2017

Tuesday 2 May 2017

I have a Theam (Theme) !!!

During the A-Z Challenge this year, probably about Day 2, I actually realised there was a really good theme I could do.  Obviously, far too late for me to change with my seat of the pants direction the 2017 Challenge had ordained for me but a possible one for 2018!  For me this is all a bit weird because my mantra is "go with the flow" so to be one step ahead is a bit of a novel experience.  Now of course comes the rather harder part because I will need to do research and work on these 2018 posts and I certainly haven't had to do much of that before because all my Challenges have been based on personal experience and knowledge.  So my question this morning is ... Have you ever done a researched A-Z and what was it like to do?  Just how long do those amazing researched posts take to do and are there any tips/hacks out there for me?

Cheers to everyone who became a survivor on this year's Challenge or at least had a go at it in it's new format :)

Monday 1 May 2017

May Musings

I feel slightly bereft without a letter picture to put at the beginning of my post - now the A-Z Challenge is over.  However, the challenge has kick started me back to wanting to post more regularly which this year I just hadn't got back to.  I will be doing a reflections post but not today.

Today is a day for musings!  A look back at what got done through April and a look to the future and what must be done during May!

So besides the A-Z Challenge, I was busy getting on with more Nordic walking, loads of committee meetings and working in the garden.  Watching shows such as "Car Share with Peter Kay" and "Line of Duty" on BBC 1 and "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix.
(Car Share with Peter Kay)

So far this month, the big news is I've booked my ticket to the USA - this has been a long time coming and I am so looking forward to getting together with my university room-mate who I have not seen in a very, VERY long time.  

I also spent May Day removing the remains of a pigeon and a mouse from the cellar and fixing the window which the cats had come through dragging said carcasses.  The joy of having a cluster of cats!!

So now it's your turn - what did you do to celebrate this new month?  Where are you off to during 2017?  What did you watch on the TV during April?

Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know :)

Sunday 30 April 2017

Z is for Zola Zenith

Zestful Zindel, Zeitgeist Zusak
Zany Zephaniah, Zola Zenith

These are a few of my favourite Zings!

Well this is it - my last post for the A-Z Challenge.  All too soon it seems to come around but once again I've thoroughly enjoyed taking part and making new friends as well as visiting the old ones :)

It seems appropriate to end with some of my favourite authors whose names begin with Z.  

Paul Zindel whose book My Darling, My Hamburger was the first and only book to be read by my mother first before being allowed to read - with quite a lot of provisos before I did!

Zusak's The Book Thief read by me to my children, on holiday in France, beginning that painful passage from childhood to knowledge of people do really bad things sometimes.

Benjamin Zephaniah, whose zany poetry made my classrooms move to the rhythm of poetry and connected immediately to those that struggled and helped them want to write.

And finally to Emile Zola - whose books will be in my heart forever - reminding me of my later teenage years of summer holidays - nose in a book.

My many thanks to all those who travelled here during the Challenge and left a note. If I haven't travelled back yet I will and I will endeavour to reply to all comments left too.  I hope to see/read many of you throughout the coming year :)  Take care ... and live out loud!

Saturday 29 April 2017

Y is for Youthful Yelps

Yawning Yowls & Youthful Yelps
Yodelling Yippees & Yearning Yells

Teenagers’ vocal chords expanding!

I know sometimes we think all teenagers do is grunt but actually if you have to wake one up in the morning you get a real range of sounds! Listening to a group of them around a park bench you could be forgiven in thinking it was a group of howler monkeys at times!!  But we were all there at some stage of our lives - wanting to be the centre of attention, showing off, being part of the gang and certainly sounding loud and high spirited - because that is all part of being Youthful :)

Have you got any memories of those times?  What words do you associate with being a teenager? Where did you go to be with your friends?  Leave a comment below and let me know :)

Friday 28 April 2017

X is for Xerxes & Xenophobe

X is always the most difficult letter for me in the A-Z Challenge so instead of my normal alliterative poem here is this offering instead!

When I started school at five X was for X-ray and Xylophone (which didn’t make sense!)
When I was a little older X was for Xanadu and Xanthe 
faraway & fantasy
When I started Secondary school X was for Xenon and Xylems  scientific & special
When I left secondary school X was for Xeroxes and Xanthan gum process & production
When I did “A” Levels X was for Xerxes and Xenophobe 
history & hatred
Now I am this old X is for Xhosa and Xerus 
reading & relaxation

Looking forward to reading everyone else's X.  When do you remember learning certain words beginning with X?  Did you ever get the pronunciation wrong? Are you a crossword or Scrabble enthusiast who loves X?  Leave a comment below to let us all know :)

Thursday 27 April 2017

W is for Winter Wonderland

Warm woolies, wet wellies,
whooshing whiteness, welcome whistle,
Walking (and running and sliding) in a Winter Wonderland

We used to be allowed out in the snow to build snowmen, throw snowballs, slip and slide and delight in the white blanketed school field and playground.  Because I could walk to my schools, school never seemed to close although I do remember some of the school buses from the tiny villages (at senior school) not turning up very occasionally.  

Now days when it snows, schools are much more likelier to close due to lack of teachers and pupils making it in - probably because so many more live further away.  Certainly on snowy days, my children and I would listen to the morning radio to hear the list of school closures and most of the time they'd be wishing their ones would be closed!!

Do you remember your winter school days?  Did you clip your welly boots together with a peg?  Did your teachers join in the fun? Or if you live in a hot country that doesn't have snow, do schools close if it gets too hot and at what temperature does that happen?  Leave a message below because I sure would like to know :)

Wednesday 26 April 2017

V is for Voiceless Victim

Vacant, Void, Vexed, Visibly Vanished,
Viscous Verdicts, Values Vanquished
Is this what it's like to be the
Voiceless Victim?

I'm watching 13 Reasons Why.  I know I'm not the demographic it was aimed at but I am "enjoying" it - if that's the right way to describe something about teen suicide?  I think it gives the appropriate attention to the fall-out on the adults and the teens it depicts but I don't know because luckily for me I've never had anyone close to me who took their own life.  But I do know what it feels like to be a child who feels suicidal because I once was that child.  Age 11.  There...that is something I have never told anyone. 

Luckily, I kept thinking what would happen to the people I left behind and I decided that I couldn't do that to them.  I had changed primary schools at Easter for the last term before secondary school and I hated my new school mainly I think because I had loved my previous school.  I didn't fit in, I had no friends. I was becoming pre-pubescent. I felt I couldn't tell my parents because I knew how much the move had meant to them.  I was alone and therefore I just didn't want to go on anymore.  If I say, I opened high-up windows and found razor-blades and leave it at that. 

It was an awful period but I got through it and when I went to secondary school I left behind those children and that school ethos and made good friends and had a wonderful time.  And no-one ever knew because I didn't want anyone to.  And that's why, when I watch 13 Reasons Why, I think they have it right about the victim being voiceless and unable to tell anyone what she is going through - to make the true connection person to person and get help - because it is so hard.  
I don't have any answers and these are only my own thoughts - I am quite happy to have comments but I also know this is a very sensitive subject so please write considerately.  Thank you.

Tuesday 25 April 2017

U is for Uniformity

Unyielding Uniformity - Unbending, Unquestioning, Unambitious
Unnerving Uniformity - Unforgiving, Uncaring, Unbelievable
Unleash Uniqueness - Understanding, Unafraid, Unbowed

I am not a fan of uniformity - maybe because I've always been a bit of an Undercover rebel? Recently, for my Nordic walking, I went on a course and one of my fears was that the instruction would be about how each lesson would be uniform across the board with no ability to teach to the individual - which is sometimes what it takes.  Luckily, this was not the case and I could breathe a sigh of relief and return to my Nordic walkers knowing what I'd been doing had been given the thumbs up as a way of teaching :)
It seems to be that Unfortunately more and more teachers have to fit into a pattern of uniformity across the school. Of course I can see some strengths in this - a uniform reading scheme - a uniform maths scheme etc but the growing encroachment on how teachers teach is more of a worry to me.  To be shoe-horned into a way of doing things does not seem right.  We all have our own ways of getting through to children and we tweak these ways to respond to individuals if we are a good teacher. Each class is different and respond to different things - knowing how to do this is surely one of the signs of being a good teacher? Having our hands tied on the ways we do things stops this from happening - so for that I am NOT a fan of Uniformity in teaching.

Now it's your turn: What is a pet hate of yours?  How can we make the world a better place?  Are you a fan of uniformity?  Leave a comment below because you know I'd love to know :)

Monday 24 April 2017

T is for Terrible Teacher

Thoughtlessly Trenchant, Terrifyingly Tempestuous,
Taunting Tirades, Tediously Trite,
These Things Tailor a Terrible Teacher

Perhaps not a post a teacher should be writing but we have all come across those teachers who really shouldn't have been in teaching.  I was a good student and luckily didn't have any of the wrath of teachers fall on me personally but I was still in classrooms where a teacher could terrify you with their shouting or throwing of board rubbers!  Or those who thought it was a good idea to really bring a student down a peg by rubbishing their work - how many children were put off a subject because they were told they couldn't do it?  I think things have got better but I don't think any teacher should be complacent about how and what they teach - children need a lot more than simply an adult standing at the front of the class telling them things!
Did you ever experience a Terrible Teacher?  Did you ever get put off a subject at school because of your teacher?  Did you ever overcome a difficulty despite your teacher?  Leave a comment below because I sure would like to know :)

Saturday 22 April 2017

S is for Solitary Sapien Solar System?

Solitary Sapien-Specied Solar System?
Slight & Shatterable, Solicits Salvation
So Salute
Earth Day and do what you can!

As Eco Co-ordinator for my school, I used to love the initiatives for Earth Day and the challenges I would set the children to celebrate the 22nd April.  
What will you be doing for Planet Earth?  Click on the link above for ideas :)

Friday 21 April 2017

R is for Racing Rodents


Racing Rodents, Rock-like Reptiles
Required Responsibility, Respect, Regard
so helping to nurture and train kinder, thoughtful children.

I was lucky that I grew up in school classrooms that had animals there to be cared for by us as pupils. Now days many classrooms are devoid of "pets" for health and safety reasons and I think this lessens the ability for children to understand how as "superior" beings we should look after the other animals on the planet.  There is also the well documented phenomena of may of our most challenging pupils being very caring and quiet around animals especially when given the responsibility of taking care of them.
Did you have classroom "pets"?  Do you think animals should be in a classroom environment? Were you the animal monitor?  Did you ever get to look after the class pet during the holidays?  Leave a comment below because I sure would like to know :)

Thursday 20 April 2017

Q is for Quixotic Quidditch

 Quivering Quintains, Quixotic Quidditch,
Quiz Questions, Quality Quiche
All occur in the school hall.

School halls are normally the place where daily assembly takes place, school dinners are eaten or indoor gym class goes on. But they are also the place where school gathers for exciting events; to see entertaining visitors maybe from centuries long ago, watch a class perform to see what they have been learning that half term, to cheer on their school quiz panel or have a cookery demonstration.

What can you remember taking place in your school hall that was exciting?  Did you enjoy indoor gym?  Were you on the quiz team?

Wednesday 19 April 2017

P is for Popular People

Popular People Perhaps Practice Perfectionism?
Possibly Perceiving Potential Participants' Problems
so Prohibiting Peer Panel Procurement?

I can't say I was ever a popular pupil with my peers - I was trustworthy - I was helpful - I was kind but these things normally do not lead to winning a place on the popular girls' table.  It seemed to me to be more about how you looked, what you wore and who you had your eye on and those things had to be Perfect!  
Even as a teacher surveying a class it is easy to spot the popular children - the ones others fight to sit next to, to play with, to share with and often it is not those children that a teacher would hold up as models of behaviour but still they hold court and there is little anyone else can do about it.
Were you a Queen Bee or a Superior Male?  If so, what was it like and did you use your powers for good? If you weren't, did you want to be part of the gang or couldn't care less?  Leave a comment below and let me know :)