Saturday, 29 August 2009

Funny how a few words...

can make all the difference. Yesterday, I was feeling down. I had the end-of-summer blues (not that you'd know we'd really had a summer from lots of the weather lately!) , I was unhappy about my work situation and was bothered by some jealousy and insecurity issues that I suffer with. I was all ready to write a blog post about it when for some reason, I changed my mind and instead searched for positive and inspirational quotes on the net. And that's when I came across this little gem:

"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." (George Bernard Shaw)

And that was when it hit me. I can be whoever I want to be - it's my choice. I can choose to get depressed about my work situation or I can keep on applying for jobs and keeping up with my professional development with a positive attitude, knowing that the right job will come along. I can choose to let my feelings of insecurity in my friendships get the better of me, or I can remind myself that my friends have chosen to be my friends for valid reasons, and be the positive and happy person that hasn't made an appearance so much lately. I can choose to see the autumn, and the new school year it brings with it, as a stressful and uncertain time, or I can choose to see it as a clean slate, a fresh start where I can make the most of opportunities that come my way. I can sit and wallow about the things I don't have or I can be thankful for the things that I do.

It's my life, my choice, my chance to be the girl I want to be and I'm determined not to let it pass me by this time!

Thursday, 27 August 2009

25 Random Things.......

Thought I'd do something a bit different today, so I'm going to post a list of random things about me! There's going to be for each year of my life lol!
  1. When I was born, I weighed 6lb 12oz, which was the same birthweight as both my mum and dad.
  2. Bad spelling, grammar and punctuation drives me insane...I have an urge to cross out misplaced apostrophes!
  3. I'm scared of lots of particular thunder and lightning, fireworks, loud noises in general and deep water!
  4. I love lime flavoured sweets...the green fruit pastilles, starburst and skittles are all my favourites.
  5. I have worked in the same primary school I attended as a child.
  6. I have a bit of an obsession with even numbers... I try to send texts that have an even number of characters, buy an even number of things when I go shopping etc.
  7. I have lots of books but very rarely read one all the way through...I tend to skip to the end and then decide there's no point in going back to the beginning!
  8. I went to an all girls high school and didn't have a boyfriend until I was 17.
  9. I am a real procrastinator...I leave most things until the very last minute!
  10. I had to have my ears pierced 3 times as the first 2 times they got infected and I had to take the earrings out and let my ears heal.
  11. Other than the UK, the only other country I've ever visited is Spain.
  12. I always wanted to be a bridesmaid as a little girl, but I didn't get the chance until last November, by which point I was a not-so-little 24!
  13. I loved horses when I was little...but when I actually got the chance to ride a pony I hated it!
  14. I once wrote a letter to Jim'll Fix It asking to meet Desert Orchid (a racehorse I was obsessed with) but I never sent it.
  15. I used to be a real early I rarely get out of bed before 8 if I'm left to my own devices
  16. I love murder mystery shows on tv and I have boxsets of Murder She Wrote and Agatha Christie's Poirot.
  17. I love the smell of the wet ground after it rains.
  18. I've wanted to be a teacher off and on since I was a little girl but I also had phases of wanting to be a paediatrician, lab technician, forensic scientist and lawyer as I was growing up.
  19. I'd secretly love to be a private investigator but would be terrible at the job as I'm an awful liar and am not always that discreet or subtle!
  20. In everyday life, I'm not always that confident...but I love being on stage in front of an audience :-)
  21. I taught myself to read just before my 4th birthday, and used to tell my nursery teacher off when she missed parts of a story out to save time (I bet she loved me lol!)
  22. As a result of my reading ability when I was young, researchers from a university visited my school to do reading tests on me.
  23. I seem to pick up lots of bits of random information which come in handy for pub quizzes!
  24. I have terrible hand eye co-ordination and seem to be able to hurt myself in a huge variety of ways...these are probably both down to the fact I have dyspraxia (a co-ordination disorder)
  25. I am a naturally messy person and hate tidying my room...but love the results whenever I do!

And that's my 25!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Busy, busy, busy!

That's what the last couple of days have been like, and probably what the rest of my week will be like too! Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday afternoons this week, I'm volunteering at a children's holiday club where I'm doing drama and puppet sketches as well as helping to supervise a group of children. I've been involved with the club for the past few years, and enjoy being creative and working with the children, although, as it's a church run group, I sometimes find some of the religious songs a bit much! (I was raised a Christian, but would describe myself as an agnostic now)

Yesterday was an especially busy (and long!) day for me as I had to be up at 6:00 so I could get ready and make my way to the train station to catch my train to Leeds for the course I was attending. Luckily the train was on time and my journey was very straightforward. The course itself was absolutely fantastic. It covered "behaviour for learning" and "managing pupil behaviour" and it gave me lots of useful ideas which I'm definitely going to put into practice when I go back to work next month. Plus lunch was provided, which always makes for a good day lol! The only bad thing about the whole experience was getting caught in a heavy rain shower whilst waiting for a taxi to take me back to the station after the course had finished!

I'm just going to finish off with a random thing that happened today. Sometime while I was at the holiday club this afternoon, a massive branch fell off a tree on the pavement outside my house! The stem of the branch got impaled on our next door neighbour's railings and the leafy part fell on to our neighbour's car which she parks on our drive. My dad phoned the local council for them to come and remove it, because it was too heavy to do manually but despite the fact they said it was on their "Urgent" list it still hasn't been removed yet! My sisters also took some pictures of the tree (our neighbour is away) ...they might come in handy for insurance purposes in case the car turns out to be damaged. I'll leave you with just a couple:

Monday, 24 August 2009

Am I getting really old...??

because it's not even quarter to ten and I'm yawning my head off! I'm seriously debating signing out in a minute and going to bed, which would usually be unheard of for at least another hour, even when I'm in work. Although I have got a very early start tomorrow, as I'm heading to Leeds for an all day behaviour management course and I need to catch the 7:36 train (eek)!

Night night! :-)

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Letting go is hard to do... :-(

I know I should let go, but I can't. I know I should accept the fact that things just aren't the same anymore, but instead I'm clinging on to the bitter end. I've tried to find a replacement, but there doesn't seem to be the right one out there for me. What am I talking about?? A relationship? Well, maybe, but certainly not with a human being or even a pet. To confess, I'm talking shoes.

My grey marl canvas hightops and I are reaching the end of our road even though it pains me to admit it. It was love at first sight, and my attraction was only heightened when I saw the price tag (they were another Primark bargain!). Since then, I've worn them at almost every available opportunity and I'm not honestly sure how I managed without them! However, the love I've got for them means that they're quite literally being worn to death! The soles have got cracks in and the stitching at the back of the right one is coming undone :-( I've searched for a replacement pair, but Primark don't seem to sell them anymore and I'm not sure where else to look. I'm also wary as the soles of lots of hightops and pumps can have a really strong smell of rubber and I definitely don't want a pair of shoes that will stink the place out lol!

So for now, I'm stuck in a difficult situation. I don't want to stop wearing these shoes, but know that every time I do, they'll just get that bit more damaged until they eventually become unwearable. And that's a day that I really don't want to come :-(

Friday, 21 August 2009

More happy things! :-)

Again, I don't have the energy to write a long post...maybe it's because I seem to have been doing all my blogging late at night recently :-(

Anyway, as the title of the post suggests, this is going to be another of my "Gratitude Lists", where I say what's made me happy today. So, in no particular order, here they are:
  • Visiting Knowsley Safari Park with my mum and sisters. It was great to go on a day out with them and to see the animals up so close...the lions were literally walking right by our car at one point! Even the fact it rained for half the time didn't spoil the trip!
  • The lipsticks that I ordered from Beauty Outlet Direct came today. They look promising so far, and I'll do a proper review once I've tested them out.
  • Watching "The Kevin Bishop Show" tonight. I don't know ho'w I completely missed out on the last series, but I love this one. It's soooo funny! :-)

And one random annoyance: I'm unhappy that my wardrobe door that's fallen off decided to hit me in the back this morning. I'd just got something out of the wardrobe and (thought) I put the door back correctly. Then I turned around and...smack, I felt it catch me and hit me pretty hard :-( It's not the first time it's happened, but it seemed to do it with more force this time!

And's the weekend :-) (although I don't get quite the same buzz about it when I'm not working!) Hope everyone has a FAB one! :-)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Things that are making me smile today :-)

This is only going to be a short post...I don't really feel like writing much today! So without further ado, here is my list of the things that are making me smile today:
  • Wearing some of the new clothes I bought on Tuesday... I always feel better when I have something new to wear!
  • The sun coming out today...I'm glad the weather cheered up from the rain this morning :-)
  • All the books I wanted for school being in stock
  • Bumping into someone I'd not seen for a long time and having a chat with her
  • The prospect of grabbing a coffee with one of my friends later
  • The fact that the Brits are doing quite well in the Athletics World Championships...being completely non sporty makes me even more in awe of how good these athletes are!

So all in all, it's been a pretty good day! :-) Hope it's that way for everyone else too!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

A mixture of things!

First of all, an explanation... I've been pretty good at blogging every day, and yesterday shouldn't have been any exception. I settled down last night and wrote a post about what I'd done that day, the things about it that had made me happy (and one that made me not so happy :-( ) and my plans for the rest of the week. So far, so good...then I went to publish it. It was only then I discovered I'd lost my internet connection, and try as I might, I couldn't get it back :-( In the end, the only thing for it was to restart my computer. This did work, but it also meant that my post was gone :-( By this point, it was 11.00 PM, and I couldn't be bothered writing it again!
So instead, here we are on Tuesday. Today I went shopping in town (Manchester) with one of my sisters and this is what I bought:

Red cardi (I know it looks pink here, but it's much redder in real life!)

Beige belted cardi

Longline checked shirt (with free belt lol!)

Indigo skinny jeans

Black T-bar Mary Janes

Pearl and diamante bracelet set

All of these are from Primark, which is possibly my favourite shop! :-) I also got two bras from there too, which I'm not intending to post pictures of lol!

In other news, things that made me happy today included going shopping and the fact that everything looked good on, the Krispy Kreme doughnut I bought while I was out (caramel dreamcake...yum!) and still being off work! :-)

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Weekend round up

It doesn't seem a minute since Friday when I was discussing my weekend plans (or more specifically my lack of them lol)! But now it's Sunday evening, so I thought I'd just write a quick summary of what I've been up to over the past couple of days.

On Friday night, one of my closest friends and I went to the cinema to watch 'The Proposal'. I'd heard mixed reviews beforehand, but I personally really enjoyed it and it was fun going out to watch a chick flick and eat Ben and Jerry's, especially as my last few cinema trips have been to see less girly films! After the film, we popped into a bar for a couple of drinks and a chat before calling it a night.

On Saturday, I didn't really do much in the day other than pop in to see one of my friends for a bit of a catch up. In the evening, a few of us went round to another friend's house and we had a mini pyjama party (I didn't change into my pjs until I got there though...i would have been too embarrassed to walk the streets in them!). I drank wine, ate lots of junk including the BEST chicken kebab I've ever tasted and watched comedy DVDs till late! It was a fantastically chilled out night, and I felt really cosy in my pjs!

Today has been another quiet day. I've sorted out my clothes drawers and managed to put a bag together to go to the charity shop, spent some quality time playing Monopoly with my mum and sisters, been for a walk and watched (Inspector) Lewis on TV...I love my murder mystery shows and think I'll post a list of my top 5 soon! In a bit, I'm going to be watching another crime programme - 'Single Handed'.

And that's about my weekend...! Hope everyone else has had as much fun as me! :-)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Stylish Saturday!

Well, at least I hope so! I know when I restarted the blog, I said there would be some posts about fashion, and I realised today that I hadn't done one yet. So I've decided to do an outfit post for today, my added motivation being that today's the first day since Wednesday when I've felt like my normal self! So without further ado, here's what I'm wearing today:

Strapless lilac checked dress: H and M (This was a real bargain in the sale a few weeks back - I got it for less than half price!)
Black leggings: Peacocks
Grey marl canvas high tops: Primark
As I write this, I'm also wearing a black boyfriend cardi, also from Primark.
You can't really see the jewellery I'm wearing, other than my black strapped watch with a diamante inset dial that I got off my family when they went on holiday a few months ago. I also have on a silver bracelet with "Pandora" style beads that I bought myself from a jewellery party and my gold diamond cluster ring that was my 21st Birthday present off my Mum and Dad.
Finally, I apologise for the poor picture quality. I had to stand on my bed and put my phone on timer to get a full length shot lol!

Friday, 14 August 2009

Cheery things! :-)

In complete contrast from yesterday, today's post is going to hopefully be a lot cheerier (and m shorter!)! Why? Well, I've decided to really make an effort with the idea of a "Gratitude List", and focus on the things I'm grateful for. It may also be down to the fact that I'm not feeling as ill today, and don't feel as sorry for myself as I did! So without further ado, here's my gratitude list for today:
  1. I'm grateful that my nose isn't running half as much as it has been over the last two days!
  2. I'm grateful that I'll be catching up with one of my best friends later.
  3. I'm grateful that the weather was gorgeous when I was out collecting blackberries this morning.
  4. I'm grateful for the free teacher resource CD I received today (and amazed at how much content was on it!).
  5. I'm grateful for the interest other bloggers have shown in me and my writing!

And just to keep it's one thing I'm not grateful for: the scratches I got from the thorns whilst blackberrying lol!

Finally...It's Friday! Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend...whatever you do. I have hardly any plans yet, will just have to wait and see! (and, of course report back on here after the event! :-))

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Quarter-life Crisis! :-(

My name's Julie and I'm suffering from a quarter-life crisis. I've suspected it for a while, and I suppose the best thing to do is just get it down in writing so I can begin to work through it.

My first problem is the lack of a meaningful relationship in my life over the past few years. At the start of my 20s, I was engaged, living with my fiance in our own house and I thought my future was all mapped out. Now in my mid 20s, I'm a long term singleton and it feels like my dreams of marriage and babies by the time I'm 30 are getting further and further away. It also doesn't help that I feel less mature now than I did when I was in my late teens/early 20s! It's not that I don't love having the freedom to do what I want, whenever I want and the knowledge that I only have to look out for Number One, because this is a part of singledom I have really come to appreciate...but I just feel like I'm drifting somehow and that my life, although fun, and even fulfilling, at times, doesn't really have much meaning at the moment. I look at people I know (and bloggers!) who are settled and/or have children and I yearn to be in their shoes. I worry that my years on my own have made me too selfish and too picky and that there will never be anyone who meets up to the image of the man I have in my mind. Although I dislike being single, I have been this way for so long that it has become strangely comforting and I think that the man who makes me want to let go of my security blanket will have to be pretty special.

Secondly, and in a related-ish vein to the previous paragraph, is the fact that I am still living at home with my parents and siblings. I love my family dearly, although I often find myself snapping at them (especially my Mum) and being resentful when they ask me to do even minor things. I don't know if this is because I feel that I'm an adult and I should be able to live my own life without interference, but it's not right. I used to have a fantastic relationship with my Mum, and I don't want it to be ruined by my petty moaning. I know I should be grateful for the million and one things my Mum and Dad do for me...washing, ironing, cooking my meals, acting as my taxi service etc , etc, especially as I disliked housework when I lived in my own place, but I can honestly say that I normally forget how lucky I am. Due to my job situation (which will be explained in the next paragraph), I am unable to even consider moving out of home yet and this also frustrates me. I think that even if I had the slightest possibility of being able to move out in the next few years, I would feel like my life was moving in the right direction.

Third, and finally, is my job situation. Since about the age of 14, all I ever wanted to be was a primary school teacher. To be on the safe side however, I did a non teaching degree and studied for a BA in Language, Literacy and Communication, which I then followed up with post grad primary teacher training. The year I spent doing my teacher training was honestly one of the hardest, but most fulfilling, years of my life and I went through it really looking forward to the next stage in my career. Then the problems started. Despite the fact that the country is apparently crying out for teachers, it isn't crying out for female primary teachers in the North West! I qualified over 2 years ago and still haven't had a job that has lasted longer than a term and a half. My time has been spent doing a mix of day-to-day and pre-booked supply (substitute) teaching and a maternity cover (the term and a half) where I was employed by the local authority. There are some things I love about supply...the fact I don't have to stay behind for parents' evenings or staff meetings, the opportunity to go to new schools, meet new people and try new things, no evenings or weekends spent planning and preparing resources, having the freedom to say no to work if I feel ill, don't like the school/age group or simply just can't be bothered! But this isn't why I went into teaching. I entered the profession so I could become an excellent teacher, so I could build a relationship with a group of children and hopefully be able to make a difference to them, maybe even give them something that would stay with them for the rest of their lives. Supply teaching allows me none of this, and in addition, I never know how much work I am going to get over a given period of time, meaning it would be impossible for me to get a mortgage as I would be unable to say how much money I would have left at the end of it. I often walk away from classrooms feeling like I am a bad teacher and my continued job search only serves to reinforce this suspicion, leaving me demotivated and demoralised. Since I qualified, there have been two further classes of NQTs entering the job market, so there is even more competition for the few jobs that are out there. At the moment, I am not in a position to relocate to an area where there are more vacancies, so I guess it's almost a vicious circle. Phew...and breathe!

Anyway, enough of the ranting! I suppose people reading this may see me as a spoilt and self indulgent 20something with no real problems and they may well be right. But they're real enough to me, even though they are probably mere inconveniences in the grand scheme of things, and so I need to do something about them. So what am I doing? Well, firstly, I've written this down. It's nice to know I can vent in (relative) anonymity and it has helped to clear my head, even if I am feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment. Secondly, I am making changes in my life, even if they are quite minor. I have joined a dating website. I'm not sure if I'm in the mood for dating right now, but it's nice to know the possibility is there. I'm taking driving lessons, and hope to pass my test by the end of the year. Not only will this give me some of the independence I crave,but it will also mean I can cast my net a little wider when job hunting as I'll be able to get to so many more places without having to rely on public transport. I'm taking opportunities to go on free professional development courses. These will obviously be personally beneficial to me, but also will hopefully also enhance my CV/application forms and give them a bit of an edge. Finally, I think I should start making a list of things I'm thankful for...which will make these problems seem less important. I'll kick off with 5 for now:
  1. My fantastic family and friends - love you all!
  2. My good health (even if I do have a cold at the moment)
  3. My fabulous new optimism on Monday was well founded!
  4. My intelligence...I'm not being bigheaded but my brain has opened quite a few doors for me.
  5. Blogging...I'm really enjoying writing, and am especially happy today as I've been approved as a member of 20something bloggers!

And that's finally it for now...definitely the longest post I've ever written, and probably the most heartfelt too!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Bargain of the day!

Like any girl, I LOVE a bargain, so I was really pleased when I saw a beauty giveaway in last week's edition of Reveal magazine. For just 2.95 P&P, you can claim a free Bourjois lipgloss (in light pink or rose) AND lipstick (in pink, rose, plum or bronze), which the magazine says would be worth 13 pounds in total. Not bad eh?!

There were a number of ways to claim the freebie. This is how to do it on the internet:
  • Visited and clicked on the "Special Offers" tab.
  • I then scrolled down to the "Reveal Magazine Offer", and once you click onto this you can choose the number of offers you want, and your desired colour combination.
  • After this, I checked out. If you are a member of the website, you can log in, if not you can either create an account or check out as a guest. I chose the second option.
  • You then need to fill in your address details on the first check out page. At the end of this page you will be asked if you have a promotion code. Type in 'RFB89' and the discount will be applied.
  • Finally fill in your payment card details and you're done!

I've got to allow 14 days for delivery but I'm looking forward to seeing what the products are like, especially as I've never used Bourjois on my lips before, and I'll be sure to post a review when I receive them!

One last thing: The offer closes on 30th September, so there's still a few weeks left!

Monday, 10 August 2009

New Netbook and (practically) New Blog!

I'm sitting here typing this post on my new netbook, which I bought today. The thought of buying one has been at the back of my mind for quite a while as my old laptop has had a great deal of problems and is extremely bulky (as far as laptops go!), and today, I was in Aldi of all places, where I spotted this one. After some initial internet connection issues, it seems to be shaping up to be a great buy (fingers crossed!) and I'm loving the prospect of the freedom being wireless will give me!

Getting this netbook has also given me the final push I needed to restart this blog. I started it full of good intentions, meaning to update every day, but it soon fell by the wayside. But now the combination of being off work for the long summer holidays, plus the potential to blog anywhere means that I'm hopefully now right back on track!

So what to expect from this blog?? Well, as my blog already says, I'll be writing about absolutely everything and anything! I'll be posting about my life, and what I get up to. I love shopping and fashion, so there will be some posts related to these topics, but that's not my main focus. Although I love girlie things, it doesn't mean I don't have my serious side and that I don't have strong opinions on a range of issues. If something moves me, I'll write about it! In a nutshell, this blog is, as the title states, a collection of my "jottings" on (maybe) every topic under the sun!