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Life lesson 1

Relationships: Don’t see the worst in a person and expect them to see the best in you. Don’t judge a person and expect them to stand by your side. Constant criticism is the death of affection. If you can’t say something positive or constructive: keep it in your head.


So it’s been a LOoooooong slog in the bedsit but yesterday we picked up the keys to a flat that could not be more central to everywhere we need had I built it myself! Ok yes, it’s a flat which means we’ll need to keep a garage to store all of our unnecessary garden stuff (and the bikes) but this place is secure! I don’t mean the locks, I mean that we do not have to worry about being kicked out due to the landlord selling or needing it back; that is the true beauty of social housing, yes it is cheaper to rent than public property but that is just a (very welcome and necessary) bonus to me: not having the worry of a forced move again is the REAL reason to want this. Next to owning your own home it’s the best option out there, so as home ownership is forever out of our grasp due to house prices I should be thankful the last sale made us homeless so we’ve been able to achieve real security at last.

I’m skipping and dancing down the road today, dressed in my oldest rattiest clothes so I can paint the walls of our new home. We’re picking out flooring tomorrow: yes, the other bonus of social housing is that we have complete control over the decor! 

Joy, bliss, happiness and peace: my emotions today. Tomorrow they may be rage as negotiations commence with the hubby over what exactly we will be purchasing for the new place, but even that is something to look forward to! Man! Life is good!

Tenerife ho!

So my stepmum decided that we all deserve a proper beach holiday to take us away from crappy reality and she’s booked a villa 10 minutes away from a white sand beach. Sun, sea, sand, exposed skin, being outside all day…This is my idea of hell: I am so not a beach bunny! But, the villa looks like my idea of heaven, so while my family all go play in the sun, I can skulk in the shade and use the villa wi-fi to catch up on some well earned Netflix time. I know I won’t be able to avoid the beach and water park visits completely (it is a FAMILY holiday after all) but I reckon I can claim at least 2 rest days while we’re there – let’s just hope it’s not due to sunstroke… I had planned to take my laptop to get some marking done but was ordered not to on pain of never hearing the end of it. My stepmum is awesome.

Anything you want?

I keep seeing all these empowering posts and videos telling girls they can be President if they want, lawyers, doctors, scientists, engineers – all of these high flying aspirational stressful positions can be theirs if they just work hard enough. The problem with that is they have to do it all despite an entrenched patriarchal society – aspirations are well and good and I applaud the effort to stick it to the patriarchy, but what about happiness, contentment? 

We can be whatever we want. 

Who actually knows what they want in time for it to be fully achievable? Sadly very few. So stop telling girls to be President – as if that is the highest level of achievement imaginable – tell them instead to think about what makes them happy, tell them to achieve balance and tell them to work together and support one another to achieve a successful life that isn’t based mainly upon a CV that meets the expectations of others. We cripple ourselves as a people trying to one-up each other and do what is ‘expected’, stifling innovation and advancement by conforming to one method of demonstrating ‘success’ and then becoming ill and stressed and unhappy and unfulfilled because nothing we do ever truly measures up. Do enrich your mind and try your hand at every opportunity that presents itself, don’t rely on others to show you the way, learn to trust yourself and know what it is that makes your heart sing and figure out the best way to do more of it. 

If you really want to beat the patriarchy and this stifling ‘everything  needs to fit in a box and have a set place’ thinking, if you really want to make it possible for true equality to begin, stop buying into the patriarchal media bullshit. Start the deconditioning at home: turn off the news and the TV, use books and art and games and the like to foster a sense of fairness and shared responsibility in your kids, regain a true community and start or join a homeschooling network with a curriculum based on knowledge discovery and problem solving. Working together and demonstrating respect, tolerance and dignity in action is the only way society will change enough to allow everyone to be whatever they want. Stop telling girls they need to be whatever they want and instead start showing them how they can discover what that is and the path they need to take to achieve it, because frankly, hard work is never going to be enough and work alone will not make them happy. And stop telling boys that they shouldn’t be like a girl because quite frankly, once women get a real clue and start throwing off the mental conditioning of shame, about looks, attitude and actions, then girls will truly become the future and everyone needs to start thinking like a girl: specifically a girl that is free of fear and constraints and has honed her ability to reason and understand how things should work as opposed to how they currently do.


​Ugh… I’ve not felt this wiped from a cold in years! Guess it is actually flu this time. Never mind energy though, just hoping my voice holds out tomorrow as I’m currently channelling Ertha Kitt. I’ve had 2 days off work but can’t really cancel tomorrow: School run then a mad dash around to get everything printed for the first 1hr essay presentation and the following 1hr referencing workshop then more printing for cross college moderation followed by a 3hr lecture then the level 4 TPA session then I’ll crawl home and collapse. I’d planned to have all the printing done on Monday but seeing as I called in sick it hasn’t occurred. I’m just hoping I make it to the afternoon as I really am shaky tired, it’s almost ME/CFS standard but I only feel empty as opposed to beyond exhausted so I know it’s not the worst I could be feeling: small mercies eh?!

I’m sat in bed trying to organise all the stuff now so I can just drop off a USB at the office, maybe if I beg nicely and stop suppressing my hacking cough while looking pitiful (not difficult right now) they’ll hustle me away from their air and print the stuff for me while I’m teaching. One can but hope…

Little reminders

So I do remember being a student, I remember the sickening stress of not knowing what the hell I was doing and constantly feeling unsure I’d done everything ‘right’ – mainly because I feel like I still get that feeling in my job with each new directive that comes out.

But today I realised that no, I don’t remember what it was like and no, I don’t get that feeling in my job.

Because I attempted a zumba class this morning, and today I DID get that feeling. It didn’t matter that I KNOW it’s not important, or that it’s not a test or even something I ever have to do again. As I was fruitlessly attempting to follow the lovely lady taking the class I could feel the tears gathering at the back of my throat, watching myself dumpily waddling through a very poor approximation of the moves and in more cases standing there with a confused look on my miserable face I realised that THIS is what my uni students are going through when they come to me for help with their writing, even some of my college students must feel this sickening wrench of hopeless defeat as they realise they JUST DON’T GET IT. ..and like I did today, many will just pack up their stuff and walk out before the time is up.

It was a reminder to me that I need more patience because no matter how much I think I remember, I cannot ever truly understand what they are going through as they struggle to achieve the goals we set them.

Bedsit living

So, we moved out finally: the council found us a temporary bedsit. How long is temporary? How long is a piece of string. There is no real storage so our clothes are being kept in the suitcases, no freezer and the tiniest fridge in the world. But, we are self contained. The location is perfect for everything we need and to be honest, if the weather is bad, having to lounge around on a camp bed all day and play with elf is no bad thing. The small space is encouraging us to go out more so that’s not really been put to the test yet, plus we have many visits planned over the next few weeks so proper beds will feature. Thankfully this happened just as the academic year ends and stefs holiday kicked in so we’re free to do what we like. Only having 1 key is a pain but we’re working around it, it’s just a shame the kitchen facilities lend themselves more to takeout than home cooking. 

But, it’s temporary. And having all of our stuff in storage will make it easier to declutter when we finally do get a ‘permanent’ place (as permanent as renting allows of course) I figure if we get used to not having things around it’ll be easier to discard them. 

It’s a bloody dear do though: all this eating out, day trips and the launderette! My god! It’s daylight robbery in there: a single load to wash and dry costs almost £8 and as we’re out and about so much we’re doing 3-4 loads a week. I just hope we find somewhere sooner rather than later: I’d rather be settled when we go back to work and school than trying to move while juggling all that!

How’s married life?

Wedding Cakes

The cakes made by my new mother and sister-in-law

So, 2 months ago (to the day in fact) I married the father of my child. It was long overdue (said the best man in his speech) considering said child is now 7 years old and we’d already been together 3 years before she popped in. We made pretty much everything; stationary, bouquets, buttonholes, favours, cakes (well, his mum and sister did those) and decorated the venue ourselves which helped bring the cost down (though if I were to do it again I would buy the invites and table decorations because… TIME! STRESS! I’d probably still do my own bouquet because I loved it but the buttonholes and favours.. no way – buy ’em!)


I loved my dress, my step-mum was right, it was the perfect dress for me and I’m seriously gutted that I can never wear it again unless by some miracle a wedding dress party occurs while I can still fit in it – especially since I went down 2.5 dress sizes between ordering and wearing it; stress will do that to you!

Dress with day jacket

Dress with day jacket and the bouquet I made

The dress worn with the  evening jacket.

The evening look – collar made by my good friend Caroline




First false eyelash application

using false eyelashes for the first time EVER






I also loved what Johnella did regards hair and facial beautification – she talked me into trying false eyelashes: here you can see my reaction after the first one was applied: never have I felt so PRETTY! Seriously; I prefer pretty over beautiful. The groom looked good (he shaved!) The food was lovely, the venue looked fab (especially after the girls spent all evening the night before dressing the place and groomzilla added to it all in a panic the following day – I never want to cover another chair as long as I live!)

I am disappointed that we don’t have a single decent photo of us together with our daughter – not the photographers fault, she wasn’t playing ball – kids eh?! and there were too many of me and not enough of everyone else but the pictures we do have are lovely as you can see.

People keep asking me “How’s married life?” I usually respond with – the same as ‘living in sin’ life – but with added paperwork and more name confusion!

Not a lie but also not strictly true. I feel more settled in myself and more secure regarding our future. That little bit of paper is such a small thing; our relationship has in no way changed nor have our finances or living arrangements, yet for me just having that outward declaration of commitment officially signed and sealed has silenced a little stress niggle, that whimper of insecurity which clouded things and left me always feeling a little unsettled. Stupid, yet oh so true but something inside me has relaxed.

Bride and groom signing the registry

Signing the registry

I wonder if that would have been the case if we lived in a society where ‘marriage’ was not the expected result of committing to a relationship? It does make the point (for me at least) that everyone should be free to have this insecurity and doubt removed though – whether it be by a civil ceremony, church wedding or handfasting – whatever your beliefs you should be allowed the ‘last step’ that confirms what you already know in a way that everyone can understand that ‘this is it’. The people who still stand in the way of this happening for other humans are cruel and unthinking in their blinkered view of humanity and goodness.

Wedding breakfast set up

Wedding breakfast set up – I never want to cover another chair as long as I live!

Gift table decor

The gift table: the guest ‘book’ was ordered on ebay; the tree fit the theme perfectly.

New home; mostly unpacked.

So… It’s only taken me a year but I’ve finally imported my blog to the new host. I do have a great deal of decorating to do – and of course there’s the old ‘check out what’s new around the place’ seeing as I’ve not blogged in a while and WordPress appears to have a lot of funky new things to play with since I last looked under the floorboards.

Apologies for broken links and missing files and the like as things may have shifted somewhat in the move and let’s face it, as I had to go through 14 different storage items to find my backup file I may have uploaded the wrong one: it’s been over a year! But hey ho! I’m mostly home now and as I finally have a handle on my teaching role and things have settled down somewhat I may even get back into doing this on a more regular basis than pre-move..