Saturday, 19 June 2010


Today has been a day of:
  • getting up a good 2 and a half hours later than I'd have to on a work day...ahhh, bliss!!
  • feeling a real sense of satisfaction when I read through my latest job application and realised that it wasn't half as bad as I thought. Also of feeling an enormous sense of release as I knew that I could give myself a day off before starting any new ones :-)
  • visiting my Grandad and, along with the rest of my immediate family, giving him his Father's Day a little bit early!!
  • catching up on all the blogs in my blogroll; having not been on Blogger for a couple of days, and following around 50 blogs meant there was a LOT of reading to do. Although it was definitely of the most pleasurable kind!! :-)
  • eating a delicious (but fat filled) takeaway...Saturdays are definitely junk food days in my house!!
  • tuning into some Doctor Who, then going for a walk in the evening sunshine, it was a perfect after dinner relax :-)
  • watching Tropic Thunder with Amy and filling up on sweets, chocolate and popcorn. I know it's not your typical girly film, but it makes me laugh, and I get to watch RDJ act!! :-)Seriously, that guy is incredible...I totally understand how he was Oscar nominated for his performance.

So that's my Saturday...full of family, food and relaxation, it was pretty much perfect!! What have you been up to today?? Whatever it may have been, hope you've had as good a day as mine :-)

Till next time...

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Touristy Tuesdays: People's History Museum

If I've got a day free in the school holidays or at the weekend, one of my favourite things to do is to take a trip out somewhere interesting, and that's the inspiration behind my new series of posts, "Touristy Tuesdays". Now, as I'm lucky enough to live close to Manchester, there are loads of great places to see and things to do that are almost on my doorstep: museums, galleries, historic buildings, green spaces, guided tours and lots of fantastic shops and restaurants, so I reckon that's where most of my Touristy Tuesdays will be based, although if I venture further afield, I'll be sure to take plenty of pictures there too!!

I've decided to kick off the series by focusing on the People's History Museum, which Amy and I visited during the school holidays. This is one of the lesser known museums in Manchester, and focuses specifically on the ordinary people's struggle for democracy over the past 2 centuries (starting from the Peterloo Massacre in 1819 and going up to the present day). Now, this may sound a bit boring, but don't let my description put you's a really interesting and family friendly museum, with lots of interactive exhibits for both children and adults alike to enjoy. The main galleries themselves are split up into seven main themes. One of mine and Amy's favourites was the "Free Time" exhibit where we worked at a Co-Op, watched part of a football match and looked at football memorabilia and picked songs to listen to on a jukebox:

Amy and I pretending to be shopkeepers in the Co-Op. Do you like my hat?!

Check out the football memorabilia!! We also sat on a "football pitch" to watch some clips of famous football matches...the oldest one was from 1898 and the picture was so flickery we couldn't even see the ball!!

Another favourite of mine were the "rooms" that were decorated to show what life was like for normal people at various points during the past 200 years, as I love finding out what everyday life was like in the past, not just about big historical events or the lives of the rich and famous. Here are some pictures of a typical 1945 living room:

Amy and I love hats, so we thought it was great when we got to try these on in the "Workers" exhibition:

Amy in a top hat. These were generally worn by men from the upper classes.

And in a bowler hat...these were worn by middle class men.

Straw boater time!! This was really appropriate given the was a really warm, sunny day, but SO uncomfortable to wear!!

And here's the clock that the workers would use to clock in at the start of their shift:

Dotted all around the museum were beautiful banners from various workers' associations and trade unions. They were all so beautifully decorated, it's just a pity that the picture I've got is quite blurry:

This is from "The Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers Chatham District"

Finally, I feel that this sums up the museum fantastically. It's a giant wall painting which takes the viewer through all the events and organisations that have shaped the lives of ordinary people over the past 200 years:

And that's my People's History Museum. Stay tuned for more blog updates soon...I'm trying really hard to keep up with my posting and to comment on all your blogs too!! Till next time...

Monday, 14 June 2010

Highs and Lows of Last Week

So, it's another new week, and I thought I'd kick it off with my Highs and Lows for last week. When I was thinking about them, I realised that some items have been appearing on my lists on quite a regular basis...I hope it's not a sign that I'm becoming too boring and predictable lol!! Maybe I should let people decide for themselves, so here's my list so you can do just that:

  • (Almost) free fun with friends: On Thursday night, a couple of friends and I went to the open air cinema at Spinningfields and watched The Italian Job. It was the second time I'd been, and I loved it once again! Although you do have to contend with the unreliable Manchester weather (both times I've been it's been quite chilly to say the least!), the atmosphere is fab, you get the chance to see films you might not choose to watch normally and best of all admission is free! Yes, you need to pay if you want to hire a picnic blanket or deckchair to sit on and if you want to buy any food or drink that'll obviously cost extra too, but all in all, it's a really good value, chilled out evening, especially if you come prepared with a couple of blankets like we did! I really can't think of a much better way to spend my Thursday evenings, and am hoping to catch a lot more of the fims over the summer; maybe I'll even manage to go on a warm evening next time!
  • Cocktails: Now on a night out with friends, there's nothing I like more than a good cocktail, and on Saturday night, I had possibly the best Cosmopolitan I've ever tasted. Now I'm not normally a Cosmo fan, finding them a bit tart for my tastes, but these were amazing!! And really good value when you bought a pitcher to share too (which was great for my bank balance!!). When I get a proper job, I think I'll definitely be going back to the bar in question (Tribeca) to sample more delights from their menu!!
  • Finding out I'm definitely eligible for a tax refund: This really cheered me up this week, particularly as I had had 3 weeks without any real work to speak of, due to the school holidays, and also having a particularly quiet work week immediately before them, and as a result, my money's been slowly dwindling away. Basically, as I worked for 2 agencies last tax year, and part of the one before as well, only one of them had my proper tax code and the other just charged me the basic tax rate (I think it's 20%) on all I earned when working for them. Add it up over the past year and a bit, and that's quite a lot of tax!! So I phoned the tax office on Friday, and after waiting in a queue for what seemed like forever (well, about 15 minutes anyway!!), I got through to someone who did some checks and confirmed that I would be eligible to receive a refund. I'm not sure how much I'll get yet, but I know that I should receive a cheque in about 4 weeks. Yay!! Fingers crossed it'll be enough to help tide me over the summer, when I'll have a long time without any work.


  • Not getting the job...again!!: I had another teaching observation and interview last Wednesday, and once again I was unsuccessful. I have a feeling it may have had something to do with my teaching observation. I had to teach a 20 minute maths session to 8 Year 4 pupils (ages 8 and 9), and decided to do perimeter and area, 2 topics that, according to the maths framework, should have already been covered. Well guess what?! I don't think it had, as when I asked the children what perimeter was and how you'd work it out, I was left with blank looks and some inspired (if slightly misguided) guesses!! Not the end of the world, I don't suppose, as one mark of a good teacher is how you can adapt and refine activities to better meet the needs of the children, and I think I did this quite well given the circumstances. The downside was that I feel that the activity lost momentum as a result, and the children had to be on the carpet longer than I intended, which meant a couple started to lose focus. I tried to manage their behaviour positively with lots of proximity praise and the teacher "look", but didn't know what to do past this, as I was unsure of the school's behaviour policy. All in all, although it wasn't a complete disaster, it didn't go half as well as I wanted and it left me dying to get to the interview part! I think that went better, barring a couple of things that I later realised I'd forgot to mention in my answers. But c'est la vie, I suppose. The headteacher offered me written feedback if I was unsuccessful, which I said I wanted, so I'm just waiting to see what that says, and hoping that it can give me some useful advice for the future (though I'm terrified it's all going to be really negative :-( )
  • The ever increasingly depressing state of my bank balance: I've not been working for 3 weeks, I've been paying the basic rate of tax for over a year and I like shopping, nights out, magazines and Starbucks too much!! Enough said!!

Till next time...

Disclaimer: I've not received any incentive from Spinningfields or Tribeca in return for writing this!! I've been to the film screenings and bought the cocktails of my own free will, and thought they were fab, which is why I'm trying to big them up to you guys!!

Friday, 11 June 2010


Now this week hasn't exactly been my average one. Despite the fact I'm still technically off work for the spring holidays, being without work, and therefore pay, for the last couple of weeks has taken its toll, so I volunteered to spend some time this week doing some exam invigilation at a local(ish) high school, where I ended up acting as a reader for a pupil with additional needs. Now being a reader is just can read the questions on an exam paper, or any additional material that the student will need to refer to when answering the questions (unless the exam is specifically testing reading skill, then it's a different story), but that's as far as my role went...I couldn't paraphrase the questions or explain their meaning in any way, and although I was supporting my student by reading when she needed me to, for the rest of the time she was on her own. And it was so hard to sit back. So hard to sit and watch her struggle; to see her thinking for a good 5 minutes about what to write, write a little bit, then cross it out in sheer frustration, so hard to keep quiet when I was dying to define a vital word to her; a word that was so crucial to her understanding of an essay question that I felt like screaming its meaning at the top of my lungs, so hard for me as I felt so useless; but I know that however hard it was for me, she was finding it equally so. And I don't ever remember feeling like that about an exam before...maybe odd questions here and there, but never for a whole paper.

And that's why I'm feeling thankful. Because I've been lucky enough to be blessed with more than enough intelligence for my needs...I find it easy to pick most things up and have a good memory which has proved invaluable to me in exam situations. I've never really struggled academically...if you asked me, I'd say I found maths tough at high school, but I still got an A in my GCSEs. And yes I worked damn hard for that A, probably harder than I'd ever worked before or since, but it was still an A... a grade that lots of my friends could never even have dreamed of. And because I've never struggled with school work, I've sometimes found it hard to comprehend that others can, and even found myself getting impatient when people are failing to grasp things that, to me, seem simple. But as of this week, I'd like to think that that's changed. That I'm hopefully changed. Because I've taken things for granted that I really shouldn't, and looking at things from the other side of the coin has really helped to bring that home to me. I'll be thankful for my intelligence every day from now on, because my life, and world, would be totally different without it.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Ring phone, ring!!

Waiting...I hate it. I had a job interview this afternoon, and now I'm sat here hoping that the phone will ring. They've told me if I've got the job I'll hear by 5:00 PM, so with less than an hour to go before the deadline, I'm not feeling optimistic. I don't think my lesson went particularly well, and even though I left the school feeling quite happy with how the interview part went, I don't honestly think I've done enough to get the job overall. I'm already dreading the feedback I've asked them to send me (assuming I will be unsuccessful), and I'm wondering just what I must being doing wrong in these situations. The joys of job hunting, eh?!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Half way...

through my week's holiday, and I seriously don't know where the time's going!! I may get another week off after this, as some of the local authorities don't go back until 14th June, but I don't want to put things off, just in case I don't. Anyway here's a round up of what I've been up to so far:
  • Going to rehearsal and then going for a birthday curry for one of my friends in the drama group on Friday night.
  • Having a rather chilled Saturday: I visited my Grandad, made a monster batch of Rocky Road with Amy (I doubled up so there was a tray for home and a tray to take to my friends' Eurovision party!), went for a walk, had a gorgeous (if sinful) takeaway, then finally made my way over to my friends' house for Eurovision fun!! We really got into the spirit of things with our scorecards and sweepstake (I picked Moldova and got nowhere!!) and had a great laugh at some of the ridiculous entries!! The only downside was the fact that the UK came last...AGAIN :-( I've got to admit that our song wasn't great, but there were far worse songs in the competition. Darn political voting!!
  • Trying to find as many distractions as possible so I could avoid doing job applications on Sunday...I know they need to be done, but I just wasn't in the mood at all!! And spending the evening watching SATC2 with one of my closest girl friends...I'm not going to give anything away just in case there are those of you who still haven't seen it, but suffice it to say I much preferred the first one. If you have seen it, what did you think??
  • Making up for my laziness on Sunday by spending a good few hours on a job application on Monday, and then meeting up with friends for a chat, a drink and a curry for tea :-)
  • Going on another Primark shopping spree to follow shortly!!

And now we're up to today...and nothing much has happened really!! I've been struggling with a headache for much of it and time's just seemed to fly by without me not doing very much!! Fingers crossed that the rest of the week will go by a little more slowly...I've got so much still to do!! Hope you're all having a good week whatever you're up to, and till next time...

PS: I've been thinking of doing some baking posts, but I don't know if you guys would be interested in them. I don't want to be a copycat or unoriginal and I know there are loads of baking blogs out there but as I'm baking on a more regular basis it seems weird not to be posting about it! Let me know what you think!!