Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Birthday Madness Part 2...Happy Birthday P!

So here I am...almost a week later than I said I'd be but I suppose it's better than not blogging at all lol! Without further ado, here for your consideration is another installment of birthdayness (if you read my last post, you'll understand why January=birthdays for me!)

And where were we?? Ahhh yes, I believe we'd just got up to Wednesday which was my little sister K's 15th birthday. So, onward to Thursday! Last Thursday was my younger brother P's 24th. Now P and I haven't always got on. When he was little, he had a lovely habit of pulling my hair and because I'd been told that I had to be gentle with him as he was younger than me, I didn't do anything back. Which meant that my mum once found me in tears with him clutching handfuls of my hair :-( OUCH! Add to that the fact that he used to take all my toys and that as we've grown up we've had more arguments than I care to remember it's clear that we've never had a perfect relationship! But then again how many siblings do?! And there have been lots of good times along with the bad. Sharing birthday parties, going to our friends' houses for tea after school or having them to ours, family holidays and days spent on the beach...even if I can't remember them all distinctly, the photos are there to prove it. And as we've grown up, I realise that he's often nicer than I give him credit for! Yes, he's got a short temper...but so have I. He can be annoying, but you could argue that that's the job of a little brother (and I know exactly how to wind him up!) Despite the annoyances, I know that he loves each and everyone of our family deeply and would do anything for them. And ,even though I might deny it, I feel the same about him (although I probably wouldn't say it to his face!). So happy belated birthday P...your big sister does really love you, even if sometimes she acts like she couldn't care less!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Birthday Madness!!

For me, January means one thing...birthdays! Between 15th and 22nd January, there are 4 birthdays in my immediate family and a friend's too...5 birthdays in a week lol! Celebrating them can be a tad expensive, but I love having so many things to celebrate...it makes an otherwise gloomy month so much nicer!! :-)

Last Friday (15th Jan), it was my Dad's birthday. I didn't get to see him until the evening, as I'd left for work before he got up, but when I got home, we had a special birthday dinner with some of his favourite foods (prawn cocktail to start, then cheese and onion quiche...yummy!!) :-) Dad is one of the most knowledgeable people I know...especially when it comes to history and he'd be one of my first choices for a "phone a friend" or a quiz mate. I like to think I get some of my brains from him :-) One thing I definitely have inherited is the football team we both support...Man City all the way! He's an old school guy in lots of ways...I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've seen him cry, but if ever I have, it's practically broken my heart. He's more than capable of looking after himself, and is fiercely protective of us all...I'd hate to think what he'd do to anyone who hurt us, but deep down he's got a soft centre, and with his family, he's really just a big softie! :-) So happy belated birthday Dad...you do more for me than I give you credit for, and I love you with all my heart :-)

On Saturday (16th Jan), as well as heading to my Grandad's to celebrate my Dad's birthday a bit more, I also shared in the celebrations for my friends' N and M's baby boy H's 1st birthday!! As I've mentioned before, H is absolutely adorable and he's become a really big part of all my friends' lives over the past year...I honestly can't imagine life without him now! So to celebrate his birthday, N and M held a tea party for us all which H loved, and where he got thoroughly spoiled! :-) One of my favourite parts of the evening was writing in his "Birthday Memory Book"...basically his mummy and daddy had decided that everyone should write a message for his birthday and they'd save the book until his 18th, when he could read all the messages and memories. So in 17 years, he'll probably read mine and wonder why I was being quite so soppy, but I honestly couldn't help it...I love the little dude so much!

Then a break for 3 days, but come today the birthdays were back in full swing with my "littlest" sister K's 15th (again I'm feeling really old!)! K is basically the girl I wanted to be in high school...pretty, slim, popular, intelligent, sporty... but I try and keep my jealousy in check lol! Seriously though, K's a great girl. She's loyal and protective of her friends, but is never afraid to stand up for what's right...if she thinks someone's out of line, she'll tell them! She has a caring streak a mile wide and is especially good with children and animals. She's a fighter, even if she doesn't need to be and her fighting spirit has served her well. She was born 8 weeks early, weighing just over 4lbs-well but tiny. My mum and dad were told that she would probably have to stay in hospital until around her due date, but she amazed everyone by being able to be discharged after only 19 days! And from then on she went from strength to strength...you would never know she'd been premature, especially as she's practically as tall as me and still growing at a rate of knots! Now she's older, she's developed a love for fashion and it's hard to tell which of us is the bigger shopaholic! So Happy Birthday K...love you lots, but just one request...stop growing!

Stay tuned tomorrow, when I'll be able to post on my brother P's birthday and then on Friday, it's the turn of possibly the best birthday of all...mine!! Despite the fact I'm starting to get depressed about my age, I still can't wait to have my special day and be able to share it with all my family and friends! I have plans for a quietish night in the pub on Friday and then a big night out in town on Saturday and am really looking forward to both!! :-)

PS: Sorry about being so bad at replying to comments lately...I do read and value every one, and am going to reply to them all very soon!

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Acting my way through life...

Sometimes, my job really gets me down, and it's then when my deep rooted pessimism well and truly kicks in. It's at these times that I think I've made the completely wrong career choice, and that I'm a hopeless teacher who might as well give up now, before I end up investing too much of my time into something that simply isn't right for me.

However, even someone who can be as pessimistic as I has their more realistic, and dare I say, even optimistic moments and it's then that I realise that I'm not a hopeless teacher, in fact there are aspects of teaching that I've been told I rock at, but rather that there are parts of teaching that I'm not so good at yet. The one which gives me most concern is that of behaviour management. Whilst I've worked and worked on my positive reinforcement techniques and strive to give lots of positive feedback and rewards in the classroom, I find it hard to be firm (yet fair) with my students. I know through reading, courses, seminars and observing examples of good practice, that this is essential for any teacher, and I have had my odd moments of firmness, but on the whole, I'm about as firm as a chocolate fireguard! After talking it over with my mum this afternoon, I've come to the conclusion that it's because firmness is an alien concept to me...it's just not part of my personality. I'm generally pretty laid back, hate the thought of upsetting people and can be so timid that I wouldn't dream of saying boo to a goose. And therein lies the problem...in class, I have to be the one in charge, but telling people what I need them to do, and following up if they don't meet my expectations, just isn't me. But it needs to be.

So from tomorrow, I'm taking inspiration from my college acting background and creating a new role for myself...that of a teacher who's firm, fair, consistent and in control. Just as if I was playing a role in a play. At first it's bound to be unfamiliar...I might struggle with my lines and not fully understand my new character. But it's a learning process, and if I keep going, eventually I'll get there. I'll be word perfect and understand the part so much, that eventually I won't be playing it any more, I'll be it. I'll be the teacher that I admire so much. And she'll be me. Hopefully for a long time to come.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

2010 Goals: One Week down, 51 to go!

So we're just over a week into the new year, and I think that I might already be off track when it comes to meeting some of my goals! Eeeek! :-( Although, in fairness, I have made a good start with some of the others and we are only a week in after all. So here's a quick summary of how I'm doing so far: (goals in bold, comments in normal type)

  • Pass my driving theory and practical tests

No real progress yet, but I have got another lesson booked for tomorrow...although I'm not 100% sure if it'll take place yet because of the bad weather. I really need to book a date for my theory test ASAP...I think that'll give me the motivation I need to revise for it!

  • Get a long term/permanent job, preferably as a primary school teacher

I had seen a couple of jobs I was interested in, and was intending to contact the schools in question to get application packs off them, but due to the snow this week, they've been closed so I've been unable to make any progress. Fingers crossed they'll be open on Monday so I can make contact then.

  • Be a better friend

I have been in contact with J more this week, but feel I can't really take the credit for it. She's had some time off work and been staying with her parents who live 5 minutes drive away from me so it was only natural that we arranged to meet up. The real challenge will come now that she's gone back home.

  • Adopt a healthier lifestyle

I'd say that I've definitely been more successful with some parts of this goal than others. Due to the fact that my mum's car's been broken down and that the bad weather conditions have affected public transport, I've definitely been doing a lot more walking lately and on days when I haven't, I've made sure I've done an exercise DVD at home. In terms of cutting down on unhealthy snacks, I'd say I've had an epic FAIL this week. I'm a boredom eater and because I've been off work all week, I've been eating, eating, eating. Hopefully, I'll get back into a proper routine once I'm back at work, and don't have time to snack as much.

  • Read at least 2 books a month from start to finish

Despite the fact my bookshelves are full to bursting, I couldn't find a book that made me want to pick it up. So, no doubt due to my new found Sherlock Holmes obsession (that's a whole other post brewing!), I've ordered the complete set of Sherlock Holmes novels and short stories and am looking forward to getting stuck in when they arrive. I'm especially keen to see how the Sherlock in the books compares with how he was portrayed in the film.

  • Cleanse, tone and moisturise every morning

I didn't get off to a very good start with this, partly because I've been unhappy with the way my current skincare products are working so I haven't seen much point in using them. However, a few days ago, I received the "Soap and Glory" skincare sampler set I ordered just after Christmas, so I've been using that for the last couple of days. Expect a full review in a week or two!

So that's my update! I'm not planning on doing one every week, I sense it'd get boring pretty quickly, so I think in future, I'll just aim for one or two a month instead. Hope everyone has a fab weekend and that you have good luck with your goals if you've set any for 2010! :-)

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Be careful what you wish for...

Picture the scene...it's a Monday night, the day before your return to work after 2 blissfully lazy weeks off. Lacking motivation at the best of times, you're certainly not enthused about the prospect of an early get up the next morning and the distinct possibility that the classes you'll be teaching that will be excitable, to say the least. Then it starts snowing...at first only lightly but then heavier and heavier. You turn to your friend and say "Wouldn't it be great if we were off work tomorrow?", knowing full well that it's not going to happen, as only a light covering of 1-2 inches has been forecast, but thinking that it doesn't hurt to wish for it nevertheless.

Fast forward to the next morning...you look out of your window and realise that your wish might just have come true. There's a thick covering of snow everywhere, more than you've ever seen in your life and you doubt that you'll be going anywhere. You ring the school that you should be working in to find out that they're closed for the day and after trying to get through to your agency on a number of occasions, you finally make contact and are told to take the day off, "snuggle up and watch telly". Your wish has come true...you've got a snow day and you plan to enjoy every minute of it! Which of course you do!

But then fast forward to 2 days later, and you're starting to get just a little bored! You're on your 3rd snow day and have been filling your days with things you'd usually do on a school night meaning that by the time evening comes round there's nothing to do! Travelling is still problematic...the main roads have been cleared and some buses are running, but walking can be quite tricky and it's freezing outside, meaning that you're pretty much stuck inside :-( Not exactly the fun image you had in mind a couple of days earlier!!

So for me it's definitely a case of being careful what I wish for...I can't deny that things still look beautiful and I SO wanted a snow day but this is just a little too much lol! On a happy note, I'm just going to finish off with some pretty pictures to prove that Manchester really did have 8 inches of snow...we never normally have that much, so I suppose it's no wonder that there's been so much disruption!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2010 goals and resolutions (better late than never!!)

I know we're a couple of days into 2010 now, but as it's my first post of the year (and I already said I'd do it), I've decided to post a list of my goals and resolutions for 2010. I was initially planning to do a "101 in 1001" list, but I couldn't think of 101 things that I wanted to achieve, so I decided to make most of the goals on that list things that I want to achieve this year instead!

So without further ado here's what I hope to make happen in 2010:

  • Pass my driving theory and practical tests.
  • Get a long term/permanent job, preferably as a primary school teacher.
  • Be a better friend: talk to/email/text/write to my best friend J at least once a week and initiate contact with other friends more than I currently do
  • Become a better sister/daughter: specifically listen to my family and appreciate them more.
  • Run the Race for Life again this year and better my time from last year.
  • Adopt a healthier lifestyle: cut down on unhealthy snacks and do a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity 3 times a week
  • Read at least 2 books per month from start to finish (without skipping to the end!)
  • Grow my nails
  • Take steps to help overcome my fear of thunder and lightning
  • Put at least 50 pounds into my ISA each month
  • Keep a careful track of my financial incomings/outgoings and set myself a budget
  • Develop my cookery skills
  • Cleanse, tone and moisturise every morning
  • Let go of my baggage from the past once and for all

Looking at the list now it seems to be quite a challenge, but I'd rather try and run the risk of not meeting my goals, than not try at all! Fingers crossed that come December 31st, I'll be able to say I've met all my goals, but if not, at least I'll hopefully be to say that I've given it my best shot! Wish me luck (and willpower!) as I start my journey into 2010!!