Monday = Me day

Hello!

I’ve decided that I’m going to make Monday a “me” post day. By that I don’t mean I’m going to be posting all about me… but it’s not necessarily going to be a bookish day: it might be about school, about my life, about my MH: it’ll be something personal, not necessarily bookish. It MIGHT be bookish, but it won’t be a review. I always love when I get to learn more about a blogger and writing my post last week (see here) was such a great thing for me to do that I thought I’d love a space on this blog for me, the person, not just me the book blogger! I hope you guys stick around and read my Monday posts, but if they’re not your jam, that’s OK. There’ll still be plenty of bookish content the rest of the days! 

I’m going to kick off Me Day Mondays with a “happy post“. These are some of my favourite posts to write and to read. I stole the idea from my gorgeous friend Grace Latter (who is a proper babe and you should all be following her on all of the social medias if you’re not already) and I’ve well and truly taken it under my belt! 

Breakfasts with my friends. Spending time with my mam. Drinking wine on a Saturday afternoon like a fancy lady. Going back to work. New challenges. New friends. Getting so much joy out of teaching. Knowing that I’m working really hard and it’s having an impact. Reading books because I want to. Spending my birthday reading, having cake and talking about books. When people remember small things about me. Starbucks Fridays. Birthday videos from the twiglets. Getting lovely emails. Having people back in my life who’ve been gone a while. Seeing the look of joy in my kids faces when they’re enthusiastic about something. Reading Letters From The Lighthouse with the kids and them having so much enthusiasm about it. Laughing at my pal-o. Booking train tickets for London in Feb. Chocolate hob nobs and a cup of tea. Looking after myself. Buying tights that fit. Pyjamas. Clearing out my wardrobe. A new diary. Ticking off things on my to do list. Making time for meditating. Falling back to sleep on a weekend. Listening to Disney playlists as I’m marking. Being productive. Books. Always books. 

In light of ‘Monday Me Day’, I’d like to pass the torch on to you to find out what you’d like to know about me as a person? Have you got anything you’d like me to talk about? Is there anything you’d like to know about me? What do you want to see more of around here that isn’t books? 

S x 

A decade in the life of me…

The start of a new decade is a funny thing.

We all know I’m a proper sentamentalist and I’m an emotional person. Seeing everyone’s posts about 2010 vs 2020 made me think about all of the things that happened to me from 2010-2019. I went into it thinking “I’ve not really achieved/done a lot in 10 years”, but looking over it, I have. So this post is probably more for me than for anyone else, but if you’re interested, here’s a decade in the life of me (in no real order, except the order my brain thought of it). There’ll be things I’ve forgotten – this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means. 

Fell in love a few times. Had my heart broken a few times. Imagined I’d marry one of them. Was crushed when that didn’t happen. Made some tragic love life decisions, but learned from them. 
Visited Paris. Had an absolute blast. Learned a lot about myself. Stood at the top of the Eiffel Tower with a glass of champage.
Became a blogger. It changed my life. Won an award. Met some incredible people. Made some life-long friends. Chaired events with some of my favourite authors in the land. Began to call some of my favourite authors my friends. Realised that needing an escape isn’t a weakness. Realised that people care about what I have to say and that they will read what I have to say.
Read a lot of books. Some which changed my life. Kept most of them either in my bedroom, my classroom or my school library. Kept some of them in my heart.
Started working in a school. Worked my arse off for a few years. Realised that you can chase your dreams and they can come true.
Went to university. It changed my life. Worked really fucking hard. Wrote a dissertation. Graduated. Got my teaching qualification. Started to think about getting a Masters. 
Became a teacher. It changed my life. Got my first class. Passed my NQT year. Cried a lot. Doubted myself a lot. Had to have many pep talks. Realised teaching definitely is the thing for me. Wrote for a teaching magazine. Helped a lot of people and needed a lot of help.
Became a godmother. It changed my life.
Visited my brother in Sweden. It didn’t change my life, but it made me miss him an awful lot.
Visited New York. It made me speechless. Made friends on the other side of the pond who changed my life.
Lost a lot of weight (6 stone) and probably put it all back on. Realised my weight doesn’t define me.
Stood up for myself and what I want time after time.
Turned 30. Realised that age genuinely is just a number.
Learned a lot about myself. Learned a lot about other people.

Cried a lot. Laughed a lot.
Ate lots of breakfasts. Realised that going out for breakfast was one of the things that made me happy.
Visited the seaside a lot.
Made friends with people I never imagined I would make friends with. Lost friends. Tried to surround myself with people who are good for me. 

S x 

Where have you been?

Hello!

For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you might have noticed that I have been a bit absent for this month… I’ll be honest, I was just TIRED. I suffer quite badly from SAD (Seasonal Affected Disorder) in Winter and this year it made me SO uninspired and indifferent to everything that I love doing. The main thing it affected was my will to sit here and talk about books. It was never because I didn’t want to blog any more; it was purely I didn’t have the capacity and the drive to do it. 

There were other factors too: tiredness, teacher life, Christmas, I wanted to not pressurise myself to BE a blogger because then I’d know it was time to stop. 

This is just a little post to say that I’m still here. I’m still reading. I’m still going to be blogging. I still love books. I still want to talk about books. I’ve just been missing for a while. I’ll be back. I promise. I already have blog posts scheduled for the new year! I don’t think I’ll be able to blog as often as I did this past year (6 times per week some weeks) but I’m going to aim for as often as I can

Of course #SixforSunday will be back. The prompts for January, February and March are being posted on Friday for those of you who are interested (hello Charlotte, that’s you mainly) and I’m so bloody chuffed that this is still a thing I do in my world. Look out for that post coming up!

I need your help friends.

I wanna know what you want to see from me. Do you like my full reviews? Do you prefer my round ups? Do you want more school based posts? Do you want to see other things outside of books and school? I love blogging, like I really love blogging. I’ve talked about it enough around these parts, but it’s a great outlet for me and I want it to continue to be something that is enjoyable for me… but also you guys! You people who read my ramblings day after day, month after month. And I am open to suggestions. Is there content you’d like to see from me that I don’t post often? I loved doing mood boards (they’re a bit more work, but they look rgeat) and I’d love to do those on occasion. Do you want me to see if I can feature other bloggers? Authors? Illustrators? I have lots of great ideas that I don’t know if I can pull off! 

What do you think? What do you want to see from me?

Thank you if you’ve stuck by me for the past few months while my posting schedule has been sporadic. Winter, being a teacher and SADs have kicked my ass, but I am still here. Still reading, still shouting about books! 

You’re all magnificent. Speak to you again soon, 

S x 

Being a blogger…

Being a blogger is something that has taken over a massive part of my life and I love it. I sit on a Sunday and I blog. I’m very much a creature of habit. Sundays are dedicated to a bit of time in town. I come home, do some work for the week ahead of teaching and then I switch my blogger brain on and I blog. I reply to emails. I read others’ blogs. I organise my thoughts into somewhat cohesive sentences. I’ll dedicate 2-3 hours (sometimes more) on a Sunday to blogging. It gives me an outlet. It gives me something to think about when everything else just seems a bit shit. It’s a place for me to come when I don’t really want to be anywhere. It’s a place for me to shout and a place for me to vent. It’s a place for me to love and share. It’s my place. It’s my corner of this vast world we call the internet where I can write the rules. It’s a space for my thoughts, in whatever messy and illogical order I want to put them. It’s a place for people to read or ignore. It’s my creative outlet. It’s somewhere for me to play, invent, explore. 

Reading has always been the thing I do. Getting the chance to talk about reading with whoever will listen is wonderful. I think if I weren’t a teacher, I’d be working in some kind of book related field. I love books. I love adventuring with new friends. I love visiting new worlds all while sitting in Starbucks/bed/on a train. I love the feeling of discovering without having to actually go anywhere. I’m not a very interesting person in that regard. I’d never climb a mountain, or parachute, or get in a helicopter, but I will do all of these things in books. I get to experience things I know I’m not brave enough to expierience in real life. Reading gives you the chance to be whoever you want to be, wherever you want to be. Reading teaches you things you might not get the chance to learn. Reading gifts you things you sometimes never expect. 

Being able to talk about books is the thing that keeps bringing me back to this blog. I want people to know about books. I want more adults to realise the brilliance and beauty of children’s and YA books. The world needs more kindness, understanding and love and you get those things in BARREL FULLS in books for kids and teenagers. You experience things you’d never get to experience elsewhere. Adult books can be so SERIOUS; kids books always have fun. Whether it’s a book I’m sent, or a book I’ve bought, it’s a book I’ll talk about. I use this space as a space for me to talk about the things that make me happy. The one thing that I always fall back on is books. They’re a massive part of my life.

I had a moment the other day where I opened the door to a very wet and soggy postman who handed me over 2 massive parcels. I knew they’d be books, but I will NEVER ever NOT be grateful for that. I feel grateful each and every single day that I get to do this. That people care enough about my opinion to let me do this is bonkers. I’d do this if no one read it. The fact authors, publishers and publicists trust me with their books and want to know what I have to say blows my mind. I am just me. I’m just a reader from Newcastle who loves books. That’s who I’ve always been. I’m a reader. This blog allows me the space to be a reader who shares books and that’s why I am still here. 

To anyone who is still there reading, thank you for stopping by. If this is your first post you’ve read, or the 800th, I’m very grateful. I never thought this would get me to places I’ve been. I’m just a girl who loves books and sharing them. Thanks for letting me share them. 

S x 

Me, my shelves and I

Good morning friends!

How are you all on this here Monday? Have you had a restful weekend? Did you get up to anything exciting?

A while ago (and I mean QUITE A WHILE AGO) I posted a blog post all about my book shelves, and since then I’ve had a little reshuffle so I thought I’d share what my bookshelves look like now. I’m really interested in posts like this. I love a ‘what’s in my bag?’ kind of blog post or Youtube video, so if you have one, link me below and I will check it out cause I am a NEBBY NORA.

A disclaimer: These books aren’t ALL of the books I own. There is in fact a whole bookshelf of books at school which belong to me. There’s books in the drawers under my bed which I own. There’s 2 boxes full of books which are still to be read. There’s 2 boxes of books which are picture books I use for school. There’s a big pile of non-fiction that is for school/to be read. These shelves are 2 deep. You can only see the front row of books because they are FAVES.

I promise you… my bedroom is just books. And a bed ha.

First up: my shelf of “favourite” picture books.

img_1165

These aren’t all my favourites because there’s some at school, and there’s some in my ‘Picture books for school’ box too. As you can see, they’re roughly split into hardbacks (I do own the other hardback HP books which are out now too) and paperbacks. There’s some candles in the middle from when my friend owned a candle shop, some zippy pouch things filled with samplers from YALCs past (the blue spotty one with the black zip is actually from a bag making workshop I did with Melinda Salisbury – my one true queen).

Next shelf down: my YA faves shelf

img_1166

I don’t think anything on this shelf will come as a surprise to anyone. (No I don’t know why my collection goes picture books, YA books and then MG books either). This shelf is pretty much front and centre on my bookshelves, so it has pride of place in my room. As you can see there’s some absolute Steph faves on these shelves. This is where you’ll find my collections of my fave authors. And it’s fair to say that these books are by my utter faves. There’s proofs and finished copies of books where I can have them too (and even some American versions of Sara Barnard books, provided by the lady herself. Sara, I love you!) I really need more room for my YA books because there are so many more books I’d love to ook at everyday, but these ones are my utter faves. The book wrapped in a map is actually a copy of Scarecrow Queen by Melinda Salisbury that I was sent for being on her blog tour, but I can’t bring myself to unwrap it! Don’t be fooled by these shelves though… I own multiple copies of every Mel book. In the black drawstrings you can see, there’s my hardback State of Sorrow book that was a Fairyloot exclusive. So yeah. There’s my YA shelf!

Third shelf down: My MG faves!

img_1167

Much like my YA shelf, this shelf and the books on it will not come as a surprise to many people! Front and centre is of course my fave Maz of all time. These shelves house some of my favourite kids books that I’ve read in recent years (as well as a few candles from my friend’s now non-existent candle shop). This shelf and my YA shelf really highlight to me the love that I have for fantasy books. Bloody love me some fantasy! And yes, yes, I do own 3 copies of The Explorer by Katherine Rundell (a proof, a hardback and a paperback… sue me!).

And that’s it for today! If you’re interested in seeing what my shelves USED to look like and seeing if they’ve changed recently, go check out THIS POST.

Have you shared your book shelves recently?
What’s your favourite thing about your book shelves?
What’s something you’re surprised to see on my shelves?

Talk to me in the comments! I’d love to know your thoughts and I’d love to see your own shelves, cause I’m a nosy person!

S x

A-Z of me (part 2)

Happy Monday!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments about my post last Monday – A-Z of Me (part 1). You are all wonderful. As promised, today is the second part of that blog post. So here we go…

azme2

N – Nebby

This is a word I use ALL the time and it is a word that confuses the hell out of a lot of people. It’s a wonderfully Geordie word which means nosy. It’s one of my favourite Geordie words.

O – Oranges

satsuma

SPECIFICALLY SATSUMAS. GUYS I LOVE SATSUMAS. They don’t get enough love to be honest. I just love them: they’re the perfect amount of sweet and sour. You have to get the ones which are more than yellow than orange though. People often tell me that there’s no difference between satsumas, tangerines and clementines and let me tell you, there is. I LOVE SATSUMAS OK?

P – Pride

 

Now, this isn’t something I talk about very often because I don’t feel like it’s something that I NEED to talk about, nor is it something I’m asked about often. I am incredibly proud of who I am. No, I’m not straight. No, I don’t feel the need to tell everyone about it all of the time. No, I don’t know how I identify. I am attracted to the people I’m attracted to. 

Q – Quilliams

 

Ha. Those of you who know me will know this is no surprise. So Quilliams is a wonderful teahouse in Newcastle where I am OFTEN found. It’s one of my favourite places to visit. I’m usually found there on a Sunday. I don’t go every Sunday, but I probably go twice a month. I’m not a massive breakfast fan, but when I want a cooked breakfast, then I’ll go to Quilliams. If you’re ever in Newcastle and you want somewhere to go for breakfast, I can not recommend Quilliams enough!

R – Recommending books

2019 loves

I’m very lucky to have this platform and a job which allows me to recommend books which I love the most. I’m also really lucky to have friends who will take on my recommendations (thanks Charlotte) and read them and then let me freak out about them as much as I want. Recommending books and giving them to their “perfect reader” gives me such joy. There’s nothing better as a teacher to give a child a book you think will be perfect for them and then seeing them fall completely for that book. It does happen. It never stops being wonderful.

S – Scarves

This was originally stationery because I LOVE stationery, but now that it’s Autumn, it’s SCARF WEATHER. I bloody love a scarf. So so much. I think I even wrote a whole blog post about it once… you’ll find it here! The bigger, the warmer and the more checky the scarf, the more I love it!

T – Trains

img_4738

I bloody love a bit of train travel. If I could travel on trains to everywhere, I think I would. I think living in the North means you have to appreciate train travel because that’s one of the only ways to get to the South (where everything bloody happens). I don’t drive and have no ambition to drive at all, so train travel is my go to. I love a journey down to London because I can get so much reading done, I can do some blog planning or life planning and still have time to have a little snack. Let’s be honest… one of the best bits of going on a train is train snacks. I must say though for all I love travelling on a train I STILL get unbelievable anxiety around train travel… luckily I have some absolute brilliant friends who accept the fact I need to be at the train station an hour before my train. (thanks pals)

U – University

 

(Sunderland graduation 2017//Newcastle graduation 2018)

For those of you who are new around here, you might not know about my journey into teaching, but it wasn’t your usual journey. I didn’t go to uni until I was 25. I wasn’t ready for university when I was 18, so I didn’t go. I worked my arse off at the shoe shop I worked at, and then I left at 20 to go and work in the school I work at now. I worked there for a few years until I was eventually ready to go to university. I did it part time through Sunderland and as exhausting as it was going to university 5-9 every Thursday, it was incredible. I was in a cohort that was really small (I think there were only 14 of us) and we were from such diverse education backgrounds that I learned so so much. Most of the people on my course worked in apprenticeships, so something totally different to my experience. My time at Sunderland helped me gain a degree in Education and then I did a SCITT (School Centred Initial Teacher Training) at the school I work in through Newcastle University and the local high school SCITT. It was a GRUELLING year with more essays that I dare to recall, but it was incredible. I FINALLY graduated as a teacher in July 2018 and, despite the fact my journey was not conventional, I wouldn’t change it for the world. The friends I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and the people I met made the whole experience so incredible. Follow your dreams friends. It’s really bloody important that if you’re passionate about something to do it!

V – Vocabulary

Here. I am a MASSIVE fan of learning new words. And a massive fan of teaching new words. One of my favourite things to teach is new words, using them, working out what they mean and trying to get used to it. Learning new words is one of those gorgeous things in life. I have my own little “new vocab” book in my handbag for any time I come across a new word in whatever book I’m reading. There’s something so full of potential with a new word – you might finally have a word for something you’ve never had before. I’m really quite secretly a massive nerd.

W – Writing stories

This is one of my favourite things to do. I don’t do it because I want to be published one day, oh no. I don’t think I have that kind of story in me to be honest, but whenever I need a model for school for the children to see what I’m looking for, there’s nothing better than coming up with it myself. I think it’s a BRILLIANT thing to do. It keeps my brain ticking over. It gives the kids such wonder and awe to know that I wrote the stories. They’re probably not perfect, but it brings me joy!

(Soz X, but I genuinely can’t think of something for you pal!)

Y – Year 5

img_0819

I think ever since I knew I wanted to be a teacher, I knew I wanted to be a teacher of primary school children. I can’t imagine being a secondary teacher – I think they’re a very special group of people who can tolerate teenagers, but I don’t have that skill set. When I qualified, I was asked what my ideal year group was and I genuinely didn’t know. I just knew I wanted to be a teacher. This year sees me being in Year 5 for the second time and I genuinely love it – I think it’s the perfect place for me right now. I would never say no to going to another year group, but I really love being a Year 5 teacher. Year 5 feels where I need to be right now.

Z – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Sleep. Sleep is my friend. I’m one of these people who CAN function on 4-5 hours of sleep a day, but I don’t think you’d like to meet me on those days. I try and get 8 hours a night sleep and most nights I succeed. There’s nothing more wonderful than snuggling in bed with my pyjamas on, especially when it’s cold outside!

A-Z of me! (part 1)

Hello one and all!

After the success of my A-Z of Back to Schools posts (see part 1 and part 2), someone suggested an A-Z of me post! I thought this was a great idea. For new followers, long time followers and everyone in the middle, I’m going to try to give you the A-Z of me. See this as an insight into me!

azme

A – Auntie Spot

Ha. An interesting one to start with, but quite a big part of my life! My goddaughers, Ruby and Poppy, and my godson, Joey, call me Auntie Spot and they’re the absolute lights of my life. I feel so bloody lucky that I have them in my life. My cousin Kate (their mam) is one of the best people in my life, so any time I get to spend with them is just the best.

B – Books, books, books

img_3146

I guess this one is quite predictable. I am SURROUNDED by books. I wouldn’t have my life any other way though. I think books are important and necessary in the world. If my blog didn’t give that away, then I might need to rethink this whole blogging thing, ha! I’ll not rabbit on too much about this one!

C – Colouring in

img_0818

One of the things I do when I’m most stressed/anxious/sad/whatever is colour in. I find it’s great for just switching my brain off and it’s just really relaxing. I’m not a fan of colouring in pictures, more a fan of colouring in patterns. If they’re geometric, that’s even better. A good set of felt tip pens, Youtube and a colouring book is what I need when I’m at my most stressed!

D – Dreams

img_0819

There’s so many things I’m doing now that I never even dreamt that I could do. I chair events; I talk about books every day; People read what I have to say; I get to teach in my very own classroom. Some of these things were just pipe dreams a few years ago, some of these things weren’t even dreams because I didn’t know they were possible. I’m a firm believer in following in your dreams. If you want something bad enough, you’ll get it… you’ve just got to work for it.

E – Emotional

img_4914

If you know me in the real world, you’ll know that I’m very in touch with my emotions. I’m not afraid to cry. I’m not afraid to be happy. I’m not afraid to express myself. I feel every emotion quite deeply. I love hard. I fall hard. I cry hard.

F – Finishing books

This might seem like a strange one, but this is something I am quite stubborn with. If I start a book, I am DETERMINED to finish it. I always think that books can redeem themselves, so I worry if I give up on a book that it’s not going to get the chance to redeem itself. I think there’s like 3 books in the past 3 years that I have DNF’d. I just don’t believe in DNF’ing books! I also think that just because you’re not enjoying a book at a certain point in your life, doesn’t mean you’ll never enjoy it. I’ve found myself reading a few chapters of a book and then just putting it down with the idea that I will come back to it.

G – Geordie extraordinaire!

img_0803

Being a Geordie is a BIG part of my identity. I’m awfully proud to be a Geordie. I’m often told that I don’t SOUND like a Geordie because everyone has this stereotypical impression that we go round saying, “whey aye man” and things all the time. We do say them… just not all the time. I love being from the North East… I just wish it weren’t so far away from EVERYTHING ELSE. All the best things come from the north: Ant and Dec, Geordie Gifts, the Great North Run and me!

H – Holidays

Now… I am A BIG FAN of a holiday. I love my time at work, but man I’ ready for a rest when it comes to holiday time. More so than just being off work, I love GOING on holiday. I haven’t been on holiday for a while, but my gosh, give me the sunshine, an unlimited supply of drinks and a massive pile of books and there you have my perfect idea of a holiday. I’m not a big sightseeing kind of holiday gal, but I’ll do a day or two!

I – Inspirational quotes

img_0774

It might seem cheesy to some people, but I love a quote. I think it’s nice to know that you aren’t alone; that you’re not the only person who has ever gone through the thing that you’re going through. They crop up occasionally on my Instagram feed and it’s really reminiscent to look through and think “Woah, yeah that’s how I felt at that time, but I don’t feel like that any more”. They’re not for everyone, and some people really hate them, but I love them!

J – Journeys

img_4738

Life’s full of journeys. However, I mean literal journeys here. I love going places. Discovering new places is a great joy in life. More than that, I love the ACTUAL journey. Give me a train/car/bus journey of more than 10 mins and I’m a happy happy gal. Journeys are where I do the biggest chunk of my reading and I love that!

K – Kids

Yes, I want my own kids. Yes, I feel like a bit of a failure because I haven’t got my own kids yet. I also know that I have 30 kids every day (well 5 of 7) who rely on me. Whenever anyone asks me if I have kids yet (eyeroll, you should never ask someone that question), I always say I have 30. Now THAT gets some interesting reactions! I’d love to be blessed with my own kids one day because being a mam is one of the things I’d love most in life… but for now, my 30 kids at school keep me on my toes enough!

L – Laughter

img_0216

Something people comment about me most often is my laugh. Ask anyone who has met me, my laugh is one of the most notable things about me. I’ve been told it’s one of the best sounds on the planet. I have a big laugh and I love it.

M – “Miss”

Being a teacher is a massive part of my identity. It’s probably too big of a part sometimes, but when you’ve chased a dream for as long as I had, you’re allowed to. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher since I can ever remember. It was something I’ve wanted since I was about 6 or 7. I didn’t have the traditional route into teaching. I didn’t do my GCSEs, then my A Levels, then go to uni, then qualify. I did my GCSEs, did my A Levels, wasn’t ready for uni and worked full time in a shoe shop (which I adored). The time came though that my dream needed to be chased, so I became a TA in my school. A few years later, my dream was shouting at me. I didn’t go to uni til I was 25. I was determined to qualify before I was 30 and I did. I made it with 6 months to spare. Hearing those 30 kids say “Miss” every day might be irritating (trust me), but it reminds me that I’ve made it. I’ve got a lot to learn, but I’m doing it now.

And there you go! The A-Z of Me (part 1). Part 2 will come next Monday! I hope you enjoyed learning a little bit about me!

Have any of these things surprised you?
Have you learned anything about me?
Is there anything you’d like to learn more about?

Let me know in the comments!

S x

A-Z of Back to School (part 2)

Hello everyone!

Last week, I posted the first half of my A-Z of Back to School post and this week it’s time for the end of that post! I had such a lovely reception to last week’s post, so I hope you all enjoy this one just as much. (I’m well aware we are WELL into the swing of things, but I really wanted to share these!)

BTS 2

Here we go…

N – Noticing change

Now, this could be anything from how much taller your class from last year seem to be, to changes around school. There’s always a lot of things that change over the SUmmer (it’s 6 weeks – you’d expect some things to change!)

O – Overpreparing and not needing it

I don’t know if this is just me, or if it’s everyone. I always overprepare for that first week. I have so many activities ready to go, but then I end up not needing them. I think it’s hard to pitch things at first, so there’s always too much to do and that’s OK. I have an activity that I’m still waiting to do 3 weeks on (it’s not an essential activity, just something a little fun).

P – Picture books aren’t just for EYFS

One of the things I love doing the most is using picture books to inspire writing. As a Year 5 teacher, this may be looked upon with scorn, but there’s a fair few of my writing units based on picture books. I use them not just for writing, but for inspiration for everything. I think people can forget that within picture books there are some amazing stories. I think picture books should have a place in every classroom up and down the land, no matter how old the class are!

Q – Quick toilet breaks

Man… going to the toilet whenever you please is such a luxury that Summer Holiday Me doesn’t realise. Those first few weeks back are all about retraining your bladder to only go to the toilet at break time/lunch time and after school. It’s a real thing.

R – Reading a whole new bunch of books

Another lovely thing about getting into a new year and a new class is that their tastes might be entirely different to the class you just had. My new class love a scary story, whereas my class last year weren’t that keen on them (or at least never expressed that they were). I’m loving finding new books and new authors that I’ve never really delved into before.

S – Stationery

WELL YES. Do I need to explain this one? I love a bit of stationery and a new year is the PERFECT excuse to have to get some new stationery. I think teachers fall into 2 categories with stationery: obsessed or non-plussed. I am definitely the former. Even as a child, there was nothing more exciting than going to Stationery Box and Woolworths (man, I miss those places) and getting my pens, pencils, rubbers and stuff for the year ahead. Stationery, like books, is just one of my loves!

T – Turning the alarm back on

BOOOOO. This is always the worst. You’ve had 6 weeks of not having to get up via an alarm (or however long you’ve had without an alarm) and now here we are, alarm time again. It’s not fun at first getting up to the sound of your alarm… *weep*

U – Using my favourite stories again

I can’t wait to get to use my favourite stories again. I’ve just done a unit of writing with The Day the Crayons Quit; we’re moving on to doing Journey by Aaron Becker next. I bloody love being a teacher and using books. It’s something I could rabbit on about for words and words.

V – Venturing into the unknown

This year I have more responsibility than I have done in previous years and that’s a new thing for me. I don’t really know what to expect. It’s my first year as a qualified teacher when we are expecting Ofsted, which is again something I’ve never experienced before. These things are all TERRIFYING and thrilling… most of the time.

W – Working differently

I think as every year passes there’s things that I’ll start doing differently. For all I’ve worked in school for 10 years now, I’ve only been a qualified teacher for 1. I passed my NQT year this Summer and I’m an RQT this year. I think with a new bunch of kids, a new bunch of responsibilities and a new outlook on teaching (and its politics), I’ve got a few things I’m changing.

X – EXtra responsibility

Lol, I’ve mentioned this 3 times in succession now! So, I’m PE lead, MFL lead, Library lead and one of school’s Maths Mastery lead teachers. That’s a lot to have on my plate, but you know what? I’m someone who loves a bit of responsibility. I love a challenge. Don’t get me wrong, there’s days I’ve felt a bit overwhelmed and worried that I’m not going to do a good enough job, but I know that I’ll put my heart and soul into these roles. If I’m not the right person for the job, then I’m sure I’ll find that out too!

Y – Yes, Miss!

It’s those lightbulb moments that make this all a bit more bearable on the days when it’s just a challenge. I love watching a child who DOESN’T understand something just click and when they do get it, there’s the inevitable “YESSS” moment. That’s always a lush lush touch.

Z – Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Getting back into work is EXHAUSTING. I love my job; I work with an incredible bunch of people; my kids are wonderful, but my lord is it exhausting. Going from living life at your own pace to having to be FULL ON is a lot. So yes, I’m tired. I’m always tired ha! (I imagine you’re either exhausted or have had enough of hearing about being back to school now, so congrats for getting through this post ha!)

And there we go! My whole A-Z of being back at school. I really enjoyed doing this! I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know the A-Z of… I might make this into a series!

See you tomorrow!

S x

A-Z of Back to School (Part 1)

Hello there! Friends, teachers, non-teachers, educators, non-educators, readers and everyone!

Today, I’m coming to you with something a bit different. Something a bit serious, a bit fun and a dive into the world of teaching. As you may know (if you’re new around here, hello, come say hello to me!), I’m a teacher and as it’s September, it’s back to school season. Yes, we’re 2 weeks into the term now, but hey ho, this post is better late than never, right?

I stole this idea from someone on twitter (I don’t remember who it was! If it was you, let me know) and it was great fun trying to fill in the A-Z of back to school while I was flapping on a train a few weeks back. So here goes…

bts 1

A – Anxiety

Being off for 6 weeks and then going back to work is a scary thought. I can’t lie and tell you that I wasn’t anxious about going back to work because I was. I’ve had a few ridiculously anxious days since being back too.

B – Bye Bye NQT Year!

When you qualify as a teacher, you have to get through your NQT year (Newly Qualified Teacher). It’s a good year where you get loads of extra support and more time than “regular teachers” out of class to use to help you keep progressing as a teacher. It’s a scary year being an NQT, but it’s a great learning curve! I passed my NQT year which was a PROPER lush feeling!

C – Chatting about Summer

YEP. That first week that’s all you talk about: what you got up to, what you didn’t get up to, how your Summer went. To be honest, after the first 3 conversations, I’m over it hah!

D – Deleting emails

This might sound like a funny one, but deleting the emails you’re sent over the Summer from companies is a proper delight. I love a good clear out!

E – Excitement

Along with the anxiety, there’s a whole load of excitement. A new bunch of kids, a whole new bunch of responsibilities and a new outlook on things. Sometimes you need to step back to see the wonderful things and then dive back in. We also got a library over the holidays which is WONDERFUL.

F – Friendships

Working in a school is like working in a microcosm of the real world – there’s people you’re really close to, there’s people you only speak to at certain times, there’s people you don’t really speak to. One of the things that keeps me going is the friends I have at school. I’m really bloody lucky to have the colleagues I have. Some of my best friends in the world are the people I work with. Friendships make my job so much easier!

G – Getting to know a whole new crew

Having a whole new 30 children to get to know is a daunting prospect. If I think of how well I knew my class from last year, I think to myself “there is no way I’ll know a class that well” but I will. I know I will. I can’t wait to get to know this new class – they’re very different from my class last year!

H – Having routine back in my life

You all know that I love a bit of routine in my life. I talked about it in a blog post during the Summer. Having the holidays and there being no routine messes with my head, so having routine back in my life is SO SO lush. As much as getting up when it’s dark is SHITTY, it’s nice to be back into a routine.

I – Imposter syndrome

I could go on about this for words and words. I think imposter syndrome is something most people feel at some time in their lives. I have days where I think I feel like I’m just “playing” teachers and someone is going to come along and take this all away from me. Or when someone emails me and I’m the one who is in charge of that thing… like… CLEARLY A FAKER HERE. Ha.

J – Juggling 72934745639 things at once

Teachers have many hats that they wear during the week and it’s sometimes hard to keep all of those things afloat at once! There’s SO MANY THINGS that need to be done and prioritising is SO BLOODY important! I’ve learned that and I’m learning that some things don’t NEED to be done.

K – Knowing I’m chasing my dream

Many many moons ago, I knew I wanted to be a teacher. I think I was about 8 when I knew I wanted to be a teacher. It took me an awfully long time to get there, but it was something I never gave up on, even when I went off path slightly. I think if you’ve got a dream you want to follow bad enough, you’ll get there. Never give up on that. Knowing that I’m living out the one thing that I’ve wanted for all of these years is still quite surreal.

L – Lost PE kits/jumpers

THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE LBR. Please label everything ever. This makes it so much easier to give it back to the rightful owner. “Miss, I’ve lost my jumper/PE kit/pencil” is one of my least favourite things to hear ha!

M – Mourning the departure of Summer

I can love my job but also be SAD that the Summer holidays is over. Getting up when my body is ready, making plans with my friends to see them DURING THE DAY and just reading all of the books is SUCH a lovely way to spend my time that not being able to do that anymore is SAD TIMES. But also, I love my job.

OK. Well we’ve made it to the middle of the alphabet! Come back next week for the rest of the alphabet!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this installment of “A-Z of Back to School.” It was certainly a lot of fun to write! Share your thoughts in the comments: I’d love to know what you thought!

See you tomorrow!

S x

It’s OK not to be OK

Hello there friends.

How are we all today? I mean, really, how are you today? 

I’ll be honest… I’m OK, but there’s a little bit of struggle about me at the minute. Nothing too bad, just a niggle here and there. Just a worry that won’t go away. A thought that sometimes spirals and then won’t go away. A clump of thoughts about all kinds of things about like that sometimes just get me a little bit down. You might know the thing: there’s a worry and it just grows because you don’t know how to talk about it… nor is it so big that you feel the NEED to talk about it.

Most of the time I can make myself be fine, I can distract my brain enough until it’s not feeling meh anymore. I can read, go for a little walk, go into town, text my friends. Sometimes however, the spiral into a bit of a rut works much faster, or draws itself out in much longer of a rut that it’s harder to shift.

It’s hard to pretend to be OK when in reality you’re not. It’s hard to be a cheery, happy person, when you just don’t feel like that. As I write this, I’m not 100%. I’m alrite, but I’m not chipper to be honest. I’m not normally one to talk about things like this on my blog – I’m much more likely to post a blog review and ignore the reality of whatever is going on in my life. But I want to be transparent with you all (whoever it is that’s reading this, if anyone is in fact reading this) and talk about NOT being OK.

I don’t know the ins and outs of where it all stems from, but I can tell you that, as a teacher, 6 weeks off is a long time. I miss the routine. I miss having set things to do. I do really well in term time. I know what’s going to happen (not day to day because hell that’s a thing that always changes!) and what to expect. In the holidays, I don’t have that. I’m single. I don’t have kids. So those two big “distractions” (I can’t think of a better word for this right now), I don’t have (we’ll not talk about them being one of my other worries at the minute… that’s a bit real). A lot of my friends are still at work during the holidays. My teacher friends all either have their own families, or live really far away.

I know people will say, “You shouldn’t complain about having so much time off”. I’m not complaining about the time off… trust me. We need it by the time it comes round to July. Teachers need to recharge. I love the summer holidays, BUT I’m a lover of routine and that goes out of the window during the holidays. My eating pattern goes out of the window. My sleeping pattern changes. Sleep is one of those things that can massively impact some people’s moods and I’m one of those people: if I’m not sleeping well, I’m more likely to get into one of those negative thought ruts that I then have to pull myself out of.

I don’t think I’m the only person in the whole world who gets like this. I think there’s properly a good handful of teachers who are in the same boat as me. I don’t want to speak for other people. I can only speak for myself and how I feel. I like to be busy. I love my job an awful lot. I’m quite easily one of those people who could be married to my job. I just struggle with 6 weeks off. I get to week 4 and I’m like, “Yeah, OK, I’m rested now, I can go back to work”. This is always an interesting thing to say to people… one that gets pretty much the same reply every time.

I’ve been lucky these holidays in that I’ve been in to school quite a lot doing a lot of moving of books and creating a library, so getting to the end of week 5 (as I write this) and only now getting restless and bored is really good for me. My mam is ALWAYS saying, “She gets cabin fever after week 2” and it’s true.

I’ve not written this as a, “Oh man, everyone give me sympathy” kind of post. I’ve written it because it’s who I am and how I’m feeling right now in this moment. It’s what I’m going through right now and there might be other people who are also feeling this. It’s nice to not feel lonely in your feelings. I’ve also written it because I want to let myself be ok with the fact that sometimes we have to NOT be OK. We’re all allowed to not be OK. Not being OK means we will be OK again.

The past few days, I’ve been a bit sad (not tragically, but just meh). I’ve been listless (I don’t even know if this is a word, but it keeps being a word I want to say). I’ve felt a bit lost. Maybe a bit lonely. I’ve been restless.

So I’m here saying if you are someone out there who like me struggles a bit, I’m always around to talk to. If you’re someone who needs someone to talk to at any point, I’m around. My twitter inbox is open, my emails are always open: I’m happy to talk. Even if you don’t want to talk about the thing that’s making you not OK.

Remember: it’s OK not to be OK. 

S x