31 03 2013

In a bid to help me organise my writing a little better – my husband has just installed Evernote on my laptop.

In truth I think his efforts to help me get organised are part of his ongoing procastination over actually writing his book.


Since his return to blogging on 18th March he has written about how rubbish it is that he left it 70 days between posts, a great quiz inviting his readers to guess whether a series of photos were real places or CGI, his goal to create the world for his book, his first attempt at creating a map of the world his characters will inhabit, a list of the fantasy books that sparked his interest, an exam about the cliches dominating the fantasy genre, a blog in which he explores the pros and cons of available software for writers.

As he was happily tapping away on my laptop and extoling the virtues of Evernote I pointed out the fact that he had not actually written a word of his book in this time. He acknowledged that this was true and suggested that maybe he should start by creating an outline so he knows where his story is going. When I retorted that this was simply another stalling technique – he simply ignored me.

However Evernote does seem to be a great software program that will definitely help me to organise my work and keep better track of my ideas. It is a good way to:

  • Create text, photo and audio notes
  • Clip web pages including text, links, and images
  • Synchronize your notes across your devices
  • Search for text within snapshots and images

But in the true spirit of this post I will start using it…tomorrow

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Artistic Licence

30 03 2013


 I have been reading an ever increasing number of Blogs. It is interesting to read what others have written and helpful to consider what makes other Blogs appealing to me as a reader.

It is a way of seeking out inspiration as well as increasing your own site traffic. My husband directed me to the following site:

In order to sign up I had to add my blog to a particular category. This was challenging.  I have a number of recurring themes but I write about a range of topics in my quest to post every day.  I wracked my brains considering my overall tone and attempted to identify similarities.

One thing I have been very conscious of is keeping the tone light hearted, humorous  and most importantly POSITIVE.These are the types of blogs I most enjoy reading whereas, I find it draining reading negative posts, even if I can relate to the issues under discussion. I have noticed that I adopt a lot of artistic licence in how I discuss and present personal experiences in ‘blogland’. I am sure a lot of bloggers relating personal experiences are selective about exactly what they include and what they edit out in order to make a specific point or convey a message to their readers.

Positivity seems the best strategy.. I often edit out the bad bits even when I am speaking to people. I am not ‘Mary Sunshine’ with a smile permanently plastered on my face, my life is not all rainbows and butterflies, I do of course have bad days  – but no one wants to hear me forever winging about my lot in life.

It started when I was younger when I listened to my Mum recounting stories to elderly relatives we would visit on Sunday afternoons. She had a manner of storytelling that was largely truthful but she would tweak minor details or merge conversations to humorous affect.

When I left home I made a point of calling family and friends regularly and editing out any bad experiences always presenting the events of my daily life in a positive way, after all these people cared about me and wanted to know that I was happy. I occasionally invent characters or rewrite my own history slightly if I think it will read better or lead me naturally to a better punch line.

How much artistic licence do you use when writing about yourself?

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29 03 2013


The more eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that my last post was a day late. This is because of an impromptu decision last night to stay in a hotel following my sister-in-laws wedding.

I was extremely disappointed that I wasn’t able to able to attend the ceremony in the afternoon because of work commitments. In fact I was surrounded by a sea of paperwork when I received a text from my husband immediately lifting my mood, suggesting that I pack an overnight bag when I finished work and he would book us a room for us. This meant I could relax at the evening reception and enjoy a few drinks without having to drive home.

After our disastrous date day a few weeks ago I welcomed the opportunity to do something spontaneous and romantic. I rushed home picking up my new outfit on the way, and a fabulous pair of nude peep toe stilettos. I even squeezed in a visit to the hair dresser to have my hair pinned to perfection atop my head in what I would describe as a designer messy look.

When I arrived at the evening reception – feeling like a million dollars – my husband of 8 years beamed at me as he ushered me into the chair next to his.

The evening involved a little dancing – something he definitely needs a few beers to even consider – some red wine, a buffet, and some quality time with my extended family.

As I enjoyed being in my husband’s arms I noticed how ecstatic my sister-in-law looked in the arms of her new husband at the end of the evening. She had swapped her pure white gown for the ceremony, with a pillar box red cocktail dress for the evening entertainment and clung to her new husband as the dulcet tones of Chris De Burgh crooning “Lady in Red” resonated from the speakers.

When the morning arrived about 8 of us enjoyed a full English breakfast together before a long walk round the pond admiring the ducks and huddling together in the cold with our faces red and windswept and our hair tousled. When we all completed the circuit we decided that a final drink in the hotel bar was in order before we went our separate ways on the journey home.

I got a lot of pleasure from this spontaneous romantic evening – maybe the key to romance and successful date days is not to over plan them but to just go with the flow.


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Personal Best

29 03 2013

Bad grades

I try extremely hard not to let negativity to seep into my Blog posts – even on extremely bad day’s -but I must warn you that this post comes with the caution that I may appear a little more disgruntled than usual as today has been extremely ‘trying’. I am however writing this in a moment of calm contemplation and attempting to retain my sense of humour.

It is two days since the deadline for submission of coursework passed for my GCSE class and I have had a record breaking number of parents emailing me, phoning or simply popping in to inform me that I have no empathy for how hard thngs are for their kids, to let me know what a horrendous job I am doing and I am also vilified for my attempts to encourage students at risk of failure in their exams, to rethink sections of their work before it is sent to the examiner. I have found the bizarre response of these parents extremely motivational as I am sure you can imagine!

If I had one message for my students after today it would be “Seriously guys – MAN UP!” My own mum would have crucified me for this kind of needy behaviour and would never have attempted to blame my teachers for mistakes I had made.

However this has all resulted in an earth shatteringly brilliant idea for a staff league table I would like to start.

We need to track a number of things across the year:

The member of staff who:

Spends the most time correcting and helping students redraft work

Is first to make a student cry

Receives all completed coursework by the deadline

Waits the longest to receive all completed coursework

Has the most ridiculous parental complaints

Has largest number of parental complaints

There is so much I could add but when I have a completed list I would like to devise appropriate “rewards” for the “winners”.

E.g. If you spend hours marking a student’s work you should perhaps achieve some sort of additional qualification yourself.

If you get all of your coursework back first you should be given an extension task to challenge you further by marking other people’s coursework.

If you have the highest number of parental complaints you should have the opportunity to complain about poor parenting.

These are just thoughts but I feel that some sort of formal process may make these days a little more tolerable.

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The Future father of my children…is an amazing cook!

27 03 2013

Daddy Chef

I have been reviewing FFOMC’s suitability for parenthood and I realised that it would be remiss of me not to mention his talent in the kitchen, and yes I am talking about cooking!

Before he met me he had several jobs that involved cooking. For example, he worked at The Little Chef when he first quit college, followed by his pub job which included some time in the kitchen, he even held a position  Fish restaurant which offered him the chance of taking an NVQ and other training which may have resulted in him making his role as a chef a more permanent career choice but retail beckoned and has ultimately led him into a 9-5 position at head office at long last!

For as long as we have lived together we have shared the responsibility of cooking. We rotate, taking turns to cook every other night; and I must say he is pretty damn good at it!

While I rarely have any complaints about any of his food, my favourite dishes would definitely be his amazing fried breakfasts, his fantastic roast dinners (particularly his roast pork), and recently he has experimented with delicious dauphinoise potatoes when he discovered I had a liking for them.

It is wonderful that we can share this task and FFOMC definitely has a talent for preparing good food. In fact he takes great pride in his cooking.

When I started my current job and discovered that my boss, who quickly became an amazing friend, did not cook at all and prefered to use her oven as a storage unit for past coursework. She lived alone so FFOMC started to cook a little more than we needed and would make her up a plate for me to take to her at work the next day for her to heat up in her microwave. She always seemed to really appreciate this and he beamed with pride everytime he wrapped up a plate in tin foil and presented it to me to give to her at work in the morning. He knew how much I valued this woman and when she became ill last summer, he scolded me when I made a bolognaise one evening only using half a packet on mince as it would mean there wouldn’t be enough to take her a portion – he was deeply disgruntled to discover that she was on a restricted diet during her recovery and his efforts in the kitchen would have to take a leave of absence.

His skill does not however, come without its problems.

We have different attitudes towards cooking. I tend to cook things so they are as I like them rather than as they are supposed to be. Thinking back to my childhood I remember my Dad’s burnt offerings on the BBQ, the only option for steaks being the ‘well done option’ and vegetables were always overcooked and soggy. I remember this with a warm fuzzy feeling in my tummy – a positive one though not memories of food poisoning! When I cook this way, FFOMC transforms into a less likable and more irritable Gordon Ramsey, issuing instructions and offering ‘helpful’ advice that I promptly disregard and continue with my tried and tested methods learnt in my childhood.

FFOMC and I enjoy watching the odd cooking related show together and have particularly enjoyed Hell’s Kitchen, all things Heston Blumenthal and the personable Jamie Oliver’s attempts to resolve all the world’s problems through the medium of cooking on Fifteen – although I was less enamoured with his attempts to FIX education with his ill conceived notion that non teaching, subject specialists could do a better job than qualified teachers.

The problem with watching cooking shows is that FFOMC resolves immediately to sign up as a contestant thinking that he would clearly do a better job than the shortlisted candidates selected to participate and even worse he starts to do weird and unnecessary things when he is preparing food that elongates the process and as far as I can tell does not improve the quality of the meals he serves.

He is quick to criticise my efforts in the kitchen and warns me that our future children will prefer his cooking to mine.

For what it is worth – I am happy for him to never suffer the indignity of choking down another meal I have prepared for the reat of his life if that is his wish. Unfortunately he in turn seems to feel I would benefit from more practice.

We have reached a deadlock.

But I suppose if someone is going to critic my culinary skills it is preferable that it is someone who actually knows what he is doing in the kitchen.

If he does achieve his goal of becoming a house husband I imagine that cooking is one skill that will come in handy for him.

Then again – how challenging is it for a master chef to heat fish fingers, potato waffles and heize baked beans?


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Fantasy Cast List – my department

26 03 2013

Ok my job is a bit weird. Taken at face value I work in education, I am what is known as a pillar of the community and a role model.

But in reality…I teach Drama and I say sentences every day that no one would ever expect to utter aloud! I currently work with two of the most wacky and wonderful women I have ever met and a bloke who defies description!

So the actors charged with the responsibility of re-enacting my working life have a tough job.

Head of department - dearest Jane - is my very own hell hound and I wouldnt have her any other way.

Meryl Streep is the only choice for my Head of department – dearest Jane – she is my very own ‘hell hound’ and I wouldnt have her any other way.

Quirky Emily is believed to have starred in Hot Fuzz by the students - a rumour we have neither confirmed nor denied! My working life would be empty without my partner in crime!

Quirky Lucy Punch would play my sidekick Emily who is believed by many of our students to have starred in Hot Fuzz. It is a rumour we have neither confirmed nor denied! My working life would be empty without my partner in crime!

Collectively we have on occassion been been known as “Oddies Angels” but ‘dearest Jane’ definitely would not approve of this label!

Eddikins has only joined us on a temporary contract this year and was compared to the lovely Jeremy Kyle. TBH I can sort of see it but only if Jeremy had recently consumed 6 cans of red bull and a sherbet dip!

Eddikins has only joined us on a temporary contract this year and was compared to the lovely Jeremy Kyle. TBH I can sort of see it but only if Jeremy had recently consumed 6 cans of red bull and a sherbet dip!


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25 03 2013

Thank you to Parenting and Stuff for being the 250th like on my Blog!

On the about page Parenting and Stuff is described as: A mom to 3 kids, 2 dogs and 1 cat, (so far, but who’s counting) I know all the secrets to being a great and a perfect parent, and will reveal all of them to you in this blog, for free!!

She goes on to say that it is not a Blog about how to be a great parent but “a place for sharing with you special moments, wonders, worries, solutions, failures and successes …everything that can maybe help other people like me, who knows less from day to day about this mystery called  parenthood”.

I wish this woman all the success in the world and hope I will one day be as inspirational to prospective parents as she has been to me 🙂

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