NOVEMBER MINI-GOALS

October was a busy but fun month.

There were a lot of new ideas flying around & generally a productive few weeks. I feel like overall I did okay with my past goals & I enjoyed having that reminder to get off my butt and get some fresh air more often! So here’s how I got on and a few new ones to keep me focused during November… 

October Goals

Make more videos: well… This kinda didn’t work, at all. I did make one video, which is one more than I had done and I did record another but didn’t like how it turned out… still – fail! Which, is a shame as I do enjoy the process, but I just never seem to dedicate enough time to it!

Practise, practise, practise: I think I can definitely check this one off the list as I’ve done more painting this month than I have in a long time, which has made me really happy!

Wild thing: I did up my yoga in October, but still not as much as I’d like. Something is better than nothing at least, but I really should put some time aside to get on the mat!

Get out more: Another tick! George & Alan have played a big part in this one, but in general, I’ve been out & about a lot more and my mind is thanking me for it. I’ve been inspired by a couple of things I’ve read on the benefits to your mind in being outside. It’s so nice to just take a break and get outside, even if just for 10 minutes & it’s definitely something I’ll continue in November!

November Goals 1. Learn something new : I was lucky enough to have a lovely acoustic guitar passed down to me from my boyfriends step-dad recently. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play it properly, but when I tried when I was younger, I took up the tenor saxophone instead and I didn’t pay it much attention. So, I have my books & notes and I’m ready to practise. So far, I’m pretty terrible, but hopefully, by the end of November I’ll have a few chords down! For anyone else starting out, I’d recommend this beginner’s guide to reading tablature. It’s been super helpful!

2. Prioritise : One thing I’ve never been very good at is prioritising. I have a messy, easily distracted mind a lot of the time and I’m constantly flitting between one thing & the next. I don’t think I’ll ever be a perfectly organised person, but it would be nice to get a little bit better at completing projects before I start something new! I also need to get my finances in order and manage my money better. I’ve installed a couple of apps I found recommended in this article at Growing Power and I can already see that these are going to make a difference to my personal finance habits.

3. Run 5k : I feel like I get very lazy as the colder weather arrives. The temptation to stay indoors and veg out in front of Netflix will always be more appealing than dragging my ass to the gym, so I feel like a realistic goal may help keep me motivated. A few years ago, I had signed up for a half marathon and was on my way to 8 miles, when a torn ligament stopped me running altogether. Since then I’ve always been a little fearful of getting back into it, but I know it will do me good, so being able to run three, steady miles is my final goal for this month!

What are you hoping to achieve this month? xo

A NORTHERNER IN LONDON

On Saturday morning, my friend & I braved the shoppers in the the capital city.

I’ve always been brutally honest when I say that London ‘isn’t for me,’ – come to think of it, most capital cities haven’t been my favourite places when travelling; normally due to the mass amounts of people and hustle & bustle that comes with it. Being shoved into the armpit of a stranger on the tube just isn’t something I enjoy, what can I say?

Regardless, I was willing to give London another chance. I’ve been four times in my life and every single time something has gone wrong – I got lost, I got stressed, I wanted to cry (repeat until home). I wanted to like London, I really did. So, this time round, I went with an open, calm and prepared state of mind & embraced the ridiculousness that is Oxford Circus, on a Saturday in December. 

And, to my surprise, I did actually enjoy it. Of course, it had its overbearing moments (see ‘being shoved into the armpit of a stranger on the tube), but all in all, I had a lovely time.We wandered the streets, went into a couple of cloth shops; my very talented friend makes clothes, passed the infamous Breakfast Club (and its 20+ outside queue), grabbed a cupcake from the Hummingbird Bakery, had an amazing rum cocktail, visited the Saatchi gallery and whizzed around on the tube like a couple of underground moles.

It really opened my eyes to the appeal that London has to so many. Around every corner was something so different from what you’d just seen and, lets just say, the capital really does know how to do Christmas. It was so festive! I loved all the little markets and beautiful decorations. I spent the majority of my time looking up, rather than through my camera, but I did capture a few little moments, that I hope you’ll enjoy. 

So, yes, London. It’s official, I do like you. Thank you for being so nice, this time. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon. 

Have you ever visited? Where’s your favourite place in London? xo

THE PGCE CHRONICLES : OMFG, I’M GOING TO BE A TEACHER!

Dear little blog, 

I think the last time we spoke I’d secured a new job; I was full of blogging enthusiasm and ready for a brand new start. Clearly, that didn’t exactly happen, but with good reason (at least, I like to think so)

If we rewind to April, I did indeed start my aforementioned new job and it was… really damn hard in parts, if I’m being completely honest, but massively rewarding overall. I never realised just quite how much children change between the ages of 6 and 11, but apparently it’s quite a bloody lot.

You will go from spelling out your surname (Sun-der-land) to innocent faced, eager to please little cherubs – to hearing ‘Miss Aston Villa! Miss Newcastle!’ being teasingly shouted across the playground, by a child the same height as you. Not to mention the Sex Ed classes (so many questions about periods. SO MANY); a four day residential (aka. working 22hrs and being paid for six); and the high-school transitions – I felt like if I could get through all of that, I could get through anything. 

So while I was still settling in to the new Key Stage, I was invited to a very last minute, and very out of the blue, PGCE interview. If you’ve been dipping in & out of this blog for a while (thank you, thank you, thank you), you may have heard this being mentioned from time to time – usually something along the lines of ‘another unsuccessful’. However, on this particular afternoon, I left work and headed off with my trusty Rainbow Fish lesson plan, that has been the best bit of reusable planning I’ve ever done, to give it my best and final shot. 

I was adamant that I would not apply again after three hard years of trying and being rejected – it is just plain shit to try so hard at something, that you know you would love so much, to just end up with an automated response and zero feedback to boot.

But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt lately, it’s that I’m a determined SOAB when I want to be. So I put it all behind me and for the last time, I jumped through all the hoops, I put on my best ‘please believe in me’ smile and mustered all the confidence I could find to get me through the three hour process.

And believe it or not, IT WORKED!

A few days later, I stared at the ‘conditional offer’ as if it was going to somehow change to an ‘unsuccessful’ before my very tear-filled eyes, as if it was all some cruel joke. It was emotional. I felt equal parts petrified, overwhelmed and ‘omfg I’m going to be a teacher.’

And I still feel this way, two months down the line. With a pinch more ‘petrified’ in the mix.

Now there’s exactly four weeks until I start at a new university, with new friends and a new trainee teacher status – and I can’t wait! I really can’t. Plus, I get to buy a shit load of new stationery, which sadly fills me with a lot of excitement.

So I hope you enjoy these little snippets, however few and far they may be between (because, lets face it, if there’s one thing people like to scare you with – it’s how little free time I will have come September) – maybe you’re an NQT, a trainee teacher to be, or you just still want to read my ramblings (for which I’m entirely grateful) as I start this new and slightly terrifying chapter of my life… Thank you either way.

Bring on the stickers! xo

AN EVENING WITH FAZENDA | WINE MASTERCLASS

Love meat? Love wine? Then look no further. Fazenda –  Leeds’ holy grail of Brazilian gaucho dining never fails to amaze me. If you know anything about me at all, you’ll most likely know that I absolutely love this place. Everything is gorgeous, from the decor, to the food, to the wine. You’re in for a treat of all the senses as soon as you walk through the door. After my first week of teacher training (more to come on that later) I was in desperate need of something to look forward to, and luckily for me, that was a Fazenda Wine Masterclass. I have shared my love of these masterclasses here before, but, as every class is different and an event in its own right, I wanted to express my love one more time.

If you’ve never been to a wine masterclass before, I cannot urge you enough to start here with Fazenda. I was always a rosé kinda girl, never venturing into reds and just assuming I didn’t like whites, until I attended my first ‘class’ many moons ago. 

When I say class, it’s not really. Yes, you’re learning, but don’t worry, you won’t be tested or picked on, or banned for not liking a wine. It’s purely about trying new things and seeing which wines go with which types of meat and why. It’s awesome, relaxed and a eye opener to all the tasty things out there in the world of wine!

This months masterclass was focused on American producer Charles Smith, a super cool and modern brand created in 2006, with the tag line ‘it’s just wine – drink it’ it was completely up my street. And it’s safe to say, as usual, I absolutely loved all of the wines that I tried (which is six in total – and the servings are generous).

The meat is served in order to match the wine; white wine is accompanied by the white meat – pork & chicken – and as the wines get heavier, as does the meat – sirloin, fillet, lamb – to name but a few of the 12+ cuts.

The beef is cooked medium-rare, but the super attentive staff are always more than happy to accommodate anyone who wants it any differently. There’s also a handy little menu on the table, in case you’ve missed any of the meat selection, or you’ve found a new favourite and simply want some more! So although you’re dining along with the other wine masterclass customers, it’s a truly personalised experience. 

Overall, I left super full and super happy. It’s always a pleasure to dine at Fazenda and I can’t recommend their masterclasses enough to anyone and everyone. It’s such a great thing to do with friends, family, or wine buffs alike. It’s something everyone will enjoy (they even have vegetarians covered), no matter what their preference of wine!

If you’re not a Leeds resident, luckily for you, masterclasses are now happening in Manchester and Liverpool, so make sure you check them out if you’re a Northener (how lucky we are, in more ways than one!)

NEW JOB, NEW BLOG, NEW START

Remember me?

No? Fair enough… I don’t blame you. 

It has been four months since I’ve even thought about this little space on the internet and in my mind, I couldn’t just ignore that absence. It needs to be aired out and addressed. So, if you’re interested, here’s what has been happening since January…

I guess after Christmas my motivation, inspiration – all of the ‘tion’s – were at an all time low. I don’t want to use the ‘D’ word, because I think it’s thrown around too easily, but there was a heavy, empty sadness weighing down on my shoulders. Residing in my gut. I felt hollow. I couldn’t shake it off. I couldn’t perk up. I just couldn’t get into anything… It went on for months.

As a result, I shied away from my blog (people, social media, life) and I just left it to gather dust.  I didn’t want to force anything; I didn’t have the enthusiasm anyway, but I knew it would do more harm than good. And so I waited, and waited, and waited some more for that excitement – passion – desire to share, to come swimming back to me. 

As with everything, time heals all, and here I am… spewing words out into the universe, again. I feel as if I’ve finally woken up from a zombie like state, and everything is new and shiny again. Perhaps it’s the Spring? Things don’t seem as grey, and it feels good.

I think a few things have contributed to this…

Firstly, I got a new job! Which is so, so exciting. I applied for a handful of jobs during March; this one in particular was part-time, it was the day of the deadline, but it seemed like a great place to work and so I went for it anyway. I was surprised when I was offered an interview, and even more surprised when they actually offered me a full-time, higher level role!
I was over the moon. It’s really a lovely feeling when people trust in you and your abilities. That hasn’t happened to me for a while; PGCE applications got me down, so the fact I was offered that role over both sets of candidates really lifted my spirits and allowed me to believe in myself again. I start after the Easter holidays and I will be supporting two children in a great little Primary school (it even has a farm – I think it was meant to be). I can’t wait to get started. 

Secondly, after staring at my blog and accidentally messing up the code, and subsequently, the whole layout – I decided to invest in a new set-up. Something that flowed a little nicer, something that reflected me and what this space is about. 

I’d heard a lot about Pipdig through other bloggers, and after a little browse, I took the plunge and I’m super happy with the outcome. It was easy to install and adjust myself. I love the little ‘pin’ feature and the post slider up at the top! I think having spent money on the template has given me a further kick to get back into the swing of things, too.  So I’m looking forward to posting again – I can’t exactly say I’m brimming with ideas, but this is a start, and I’m happy with that. 

And finally, I deleted all my blog drafts, all my ‘things I should’ve posted’ and started a fresh. The fear of failure is real (but that’s something for another day), and I didn’t need, or want, reminders of what could’ve been if I’d been consistent. So, there was no time like the present to strip it all back and ‘spring clean’ my online life. 

It has given me a nice blank canvas to start again, and I’m looking forward to what this will become. 

How have you been? What do you think to the new look? xo