Chai And A Chat #61 #ChaiAndAChat

Happy Monday to you all! And it’s the first Monday of December. Seriously, where has the year gone? Right, you got your drink? I’ve got mine!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d start by telling you that illness appears to have left the building… well, for now, anyway. Though Hubby Dearest was complaining of another sore throat last night… *Go away evil bugs!!!* And the kids at school appear to be a lot more hardy too this week. There were a couple off, but not the hoard we had last week. Good thing too, as we have to start the Nativity rehearsals!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that I do love the lead up to Christmas in school. The children have been practicing their play songs, and slowly, the parents are getting the costumes in. I just hope they are all in by today as we need them for rehearsals! I was busy on Friday, with one of my dear colleague friends, creating a Post Office for the children, removing the Superhero HQ that they have loved so far. Just hope they aren’t disappointed with the change! And I put a few decorations up ready for December too. The children will help us decorate the tree this week.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to mention my observation. I am pretty confident as a teacher. I know the children and their wellbeing, as well as their learning will always come first to me, but when I am being watched, I end up like a bowl of jelly… I know I will do everything, but I will forget little things. I even got the wrong group of kids to come to work with me! But realised pretty fast, and changed over. Aside from a couple of silly mishaps, it all went well, and my feedback was pretty much all positive. I don’t know why I worry, but you know, I’m only human!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to say that it was my five year Blogiversary too! I am always amazed that this little blog that I started on a whim, has now got just shy of 8,000 WP followers, and over 14,000 when all followers are included! Awards won, blogiversaries celebrated – that’s all fantastic, but the biggest things to have come out of my blog are the friends and Blogily I have met and the encouragement to write. Thank you all for that. I wouldn’t be where I am right now if it wasn’t for you all!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that I am aiming to get my time management into gear, thanks to a great book I read at the weekend. I feel quite fired up, and have even written some goals out too! Time Management for Writers, by Katie Forrest. Available on Amazon, if you are interested!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that we had a lovely chilled weekend again. After swimming, Lil Princess and I went to get nails done and my eyebrows threaded, then we had a takeaway dinner, and it was great to be able to switch off from the madness that is my life usually.
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d also have to tell you that on Saturday was my Finndian nephew #1’s fifth birthday! I’m always gutted that we aren’t close by, but a video call with him and the rest of my Finndian family made things a lot better! He is such a little clown, and makes us all laugh!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to mention that it is now December! Yes, the decorations came out and the household was Chrismassed up! Advent calendars were opened and all is well!
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Yup… Christmas is here! #christmastree #christmasdecorations

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  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that we are going to be busy this week, getting all festive at school! There will be rehearsals, and Christmas crafts starting up, and to top it off, the children will be having their Flu Spray immunisations too! fun and games!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d say that I have another Dr’s appointment on Friday. Let’s see if there is any other joy as to why I am still getting these pains. Tiredness has been less, thankfully, but I still need that hot water bottle on my knees every night… Ow!

Right, that’s me done Peeps! Let me how your week has been.

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 248 – Educate


“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Benjamin Franklin

Many thanks, Spidey for this particular quote.

Yes, I am a teacher, but I am not thinking specifically about my career when I read this quote.

We are, no matter what age, capable of learning new things. I don’t believe that old ‘you can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ baloney at all.

And in that vein, I love to educate myself more on topics that are of personal interest to me.

Right know it is all about my writing, and the craft of writing.

I have build an arsenal of craft books to refer to when at the editing stage of my writing. But do I have the time to actually write them?

Sure, I dip into them once in a while, but I haven’t fully devoured them.

Then today, I was made aware of one that I thought might be a perfect read for me… and I started reading it, and have only a little bit left to read now.

It is called Time Management for Writers by Katie Forrest, and I am going to to all out there and say, if you need some help with managing time, whether you are a writer or not, you SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!

Sprinkled with personal anecdotes, Katie has really broken down the whys and wherefores of how we spend our time each day, and some extremely easy ways to identify our goals, our ‘Whys’, (as she calls them), and then implement strategies to maxinmise our efficiency.

I, for one, am definitelty excited to start a routine where I am more conscious of when I am productive, and how I can create a world that works for me, in my personal life, professional life and with my passion for writing.

Part of my new routine, to be established, will be a set amount of time, 3-4 days a week, where I read a craft book, and actually digest what I am reading and take notes.

This will enable me to hopefully create better words from the off, when I get back to my creative writing.

See. Educating myself!

And if you are interested, here are my ‘Whys’ for writing.

So… tell me, is there anything new you are learning right now?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

November Books #BookReviews

The penultimate month of the year, it will no doubt be filled with the odd festive read, along side the arcs I have to complete!

Wish Me Home

Wish Me Home by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an emotional read!
I really enjoyed the story of Cara and her tumultuous journey, both physically, and emotionally, to find herself.
And when a four legged companion in on the scene, that can only make things better!

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine

Timothy Mean and the Time Machine by William A.E. Ford
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a lovely, imaginative book, filled with rhyme and adventure!
Ford has crafted a beautiful rhythmic tale about Timothy and his time machine, and all the adventures he is able to go on, fuelled by the imagination of a child.
As a teacher, I find that we seem to shut down our children’s imagination, somewhat, catering to curriculum needs, but this book is a reminder to adults as well as kids, that we need to be able to play, pretend, and whisk ourselves off to other worlds sometimes.
A wonderful premise within the book, and lessons to be learned!

Christmas Party

Christmas Party by Karen Swan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s not often you get to read about a modern-day knight, and in The Christmas Party, this is exactly what we get. Well, actually it’s more the legacy of a knight.
Declan Lorne is the last surviving knight in Ireland, his family having carried the title over 700 years. And it looks like he’s going to be the last ever knight too, having a family consisting of his wife and three feisty daughters.
His sudden demise leaves a huge gap in the lives of all his family, and his will sets many cogs turning.
Will his wife, Serena, ever accept being relegated to the Dowager House?
Will Ottie, his oldest daughter, ever get over being the disappointment of a girl, rather than a boy, and not the heir she felt her father always wanted?
Will Pip, the middle child, manage to control her own inner angst, and follow her dreams?
And will Willow, the youngest daughter, ever find her true place in her family?
I really enjoyed all the twists and turns within this book, filled with tragedies, and misplaced trust, love and loss.
Oh, and I’d love to see a pink castle!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Forgotten Hours

The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Katie’s life, on the surface, is pretty simple, and straightforward.
She rents a nice flat, has a good job, is in a relationship with a great guy…
Has divorced parents, and a father in prison charged with statutory rape – the rape of Katie’s best friend, when she was fifteen.
Memories of idyllic summers spent at the cabin by the lake are blemished by this one accusation that changes the lives of many people.
Katie has spent most of the last six years erasing the connection between her and her father’s name, to escape the awkward questions from others, but she still loves her dad. After all, it was a mistake, a wrong conviction… wasn’t it?
The impending release of her father brings ripples to the smooth waters of her life and the ripples reveal many secrets, things Katie was never aware of before.
I read this in one day, as I got so into the story.
A really tough topic to write about. The rape of a minor, and the way people cover things up.
Seeing it from the perspective of a different victim, the daughter of the accused, shows another dimension.
Very well written.

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life

How to Be a Bawse: A Guide to Conquering Life by Lilly Singh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoy watching Lilly Singh and have felt a certain Punjabi pride at seeing one of ‘our’ girls do so well in her chosen career as a YouTuber, with her hashtag and now as one of the first late-night female TV show presenters in the USA.
I must admit I have had this book on my kindle for a while and it has taken a while to get to it, but I finally did this week, and I enjoyed the read. There were several chapters that were really poignant for me.
I shall try to introduce more Bawse-ness into my life!

More Than Just Mum

More Than Just Mum by Rebecca Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What’s not to like?

Hannah Thompson is a woman – so am I
She is a wife – yup, same here
A mother – nods I’ve got 2 kids, a fur baby and two feathered ones, she has 3 children and a dog
A teacher – yes, yet another similarity!
An aspiring author – yet another similarity
Has a hubby who is quietly supportive of her dreams but doesn’t always get the support quite right – check!
Works part-time – no… alas I am a full-time teacher, wife, mother and wannabe writer!

Oh my God, if this woman had only 2 children, and worked a couple more days a week, this book might just have been my life!

Hannah is feeling the pressure.
She has one child about the fly the nest, off to university, one teen who is keeping her on her toes with the company she keeps and the questions she asks and a young not quite tween, who is inquisitive and has a pet hamster which causes his own grief.

Working three days a week (not by choice), Hannah knows that the money isn’t exactly flowing into their bank accounts, and they have a child to send off to uni imminently, and the thought of having to finance two more is, quite frankly terrifying… and her headteacher is not keen to give her a full-time contract.

Until she has the bright idea to write a book on her days off.

Will her head have a change of heart and increase her hours?
Will she finish this book or not?
Will she find a way to publish?

Well, you know I’m not going to tell you. What I will say is that it was a fantastically funny book. I was able to relate to so much of it, and Hannah’s life echoes that of many working mothers out there.

Definitely, one I recommend!

Many thanks to NetGalley and One More Chapter for an Arc in exchange for an honest review.

Published 7th December, 2019

Convenience Store Woman

Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second Japanese book I have read this year and I have to say, I found this one much easier to read.
We follow the life of a 36-year-old woman, Keiko, who has her own social difficulties and finds her comfort in her part-time job as a worker in a convenience store.
It’s been eighteen years since she started at a job where most would have thought of it as a stopgap between studying and proper career.
However for Keiko, yer job in the store allows her to function in the world and be viewed as normal, rather than the oddity she has been regarded with all her life, but both her family and friends.
There is even the contemplation of marriage, which is an alien concept to this middle-aged virgin.
A short read about someone who, I think, is very much on the Spectrum, as they say, and her way of dealing with it, so she fits in with the rest of the world.

You, Me and the Movies

You, Me and the Movies by Fiona Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of the movies, and the old classics are special to me, so to read a book that referenced so many fantastic films was great!
Arden is a woman who is in a dark place, after the end of an awful marriage. She has shut herself away from everyone who cared about her, partly because her ex-husband made her, and partly because she feels shame at being so weak.
A twist of fate finds her visiting a friend in the hospital, and finding someone else there she knew before.
Mac – a film lecturer from her university, and her big love.
He’s older and injured.
Unable to speak from injuries sustained in a car accident, they begin to share evenings together as she visits him, and revisits the past, recalling a list of movies they watched together, cataloguing their affair with each other.
Of course, she doesn’t have him to herself. She shares her Mac with James, his neighbour.
Together, they ensure his visitor chair is never empty, and build a special friendship, sharing secrets about each other, that they’ve never told another soul.
Mac used to talk about Arden finding her Bigger Love, but she never believed him…

I really enjoyed this book. It was a little predictable with the ending, but sometimes you just want simple stories that don’t have huge twists in them.
Saying that, it isn’t a simple romantic story in the least, dealing with issues such as loss and separation, and the relationships between parent and child.

A recommended read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK for an arc, in exchange for an honest review.

Published 26th December

Gravity Is the Thing

Gravity Is the Thing by Jaclyn Moriarty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A strange read. It took me a long while to get into this story: a tale of Abigail and her quest for the truth.
A grown-up woman, divorced and mother to a 4-year-old, Abi is constantly on the lookout for answers in life to one big question. Where is her brother?
Robert, her brother, disappeared when she was 15, and there has never been any information about where he went, or what happened to him.
Ironically, that same year, Abi was sent a chapter of a self-help manual, the Guidebook. The chapters kept coming throughout her life, and she felt a link between her brother’s disappearance and the words in the guide.
A request to come to a retreat, where the Guidebook would be the centre of attention draws her into another chapter of her life, filled with different discoveries.
It was a strange story, based in the past as well as the present. I did find myself slightly confused. Are we meant to fly? Or was it all a euphemism for life?
But I did like Abi, and her little son Oscar.
Many thanks to Netgalley, Atlantic Books and Allan & Unwin for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 2nd January, 2020

Such a Fun Age

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A book I managed to finish within a day, which, recently has been a struggle for me!

I was intrigued by the blurb. Would this story about a young African American woman, who worked for a successful white family, be something like a lot of social themed novels recently, chanting #BlackLivesMatter?

Well, it did, a little, but that wasn’t the entirety of the novel.

Emira, the babysitter is a twenty-something woman, similar to many out there, unsure of the direction of her life, plodding along, trying to find where she really wants to be.

She just happens to be black.

And the regular babysitter for Alix and her family, looking after two-year-old Briar, and on occasion, her baby sister, Catherine.

Alix is a thirty-something woman, married with her two beautiful daughters and a successful husband, riding on her own social media successes, and in the process of writing a book.

What happens one night in the local grocery store, when her babysitter is falsely accused of taking a child, who is obviously not hers, sparks a chain of events that explore so much more than racial stereotypes. Sure, that is a big part of it, but it is approached from two very different angles, that of a black woman, and that of a white woman.
Neither is racist, but both have stereotypes foisted upon them by others.

Add to the mix, crossed wires, and past secrets, and you have one heck of a delicious novel!

Many thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published on 7th January 2020

Lady of the Ravens

Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’ve always been a fan of historical fiction and jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of The Lady of The Ravens by Joanna Hickson.

Set in the times where the Tudors took control of the monarchy, the author has cleverly interwoven fact with fiction to create a compelling story that weaves the legend of the Ravens at the Tower of London, with a fictional tale of Joan, a young lady who starts her life of royal duty by being a companion to Princess Elizabeth, and, as time goes by, works her way up to the rank of Lady in Waiting for the then Queen Elizabeth. Along the way, she is chosen to marry Sir Richard, and becomes mother to six stepchildren, despite never wanting to bear children herself.

Joan develops something of an obsession with the majestic black birds that frequent the green around the Tower, and despite the belief among the commoners that the monarchy and country is safe, as long as the ravens roost at the Tower, she is horrified at how the archers use them as target practise, and the treatment of them.

I loved how the story of the ravens and how they appeared to become more accepted, and the life of Joan blended in with the real facts of the monarchy and events that happened at this time.

The characters came to life, and I became a champion of Joan and her cause through the book!

Definitely a recommended read if you are a historical fiction lover!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Published 9th January 2020

Well, there you have it, my reading journey this month!

Which one has caught your eye?

Chai And A Chat #60 #ChaiAndAChat

Happy Monday to you all! Can you believe it? we’ve been sharing a cuppa every Monday for 60 weeks now? That’s mad! Now, if you’re ready with yours, let’s go!

  • If we were sipping chai together I’d start by telling you the lurgy hit the household this week! Hubby Dearest and Lil Man were struck down by Man Flu, then Lil Princess did something to her neck, and was full of sniffles too. The bins have been overflowing with tissues… perfect! And me? Well, I think I have saved myself mostly from the lurgy, but the pains, well they are still around. Anopther Dr’s appointment has been booked but it’s not for another two weeks… And at school we haven’t been safe either. On Monday I had 21 students in, instead of 29, many off with a Norovirus style bug. Then we ended the week with one confirmed Chicken Pox case… let’s see what this week brings…! I’m due to have my flu jab on Friday. Hope I can last until then!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that we had our anniversary last Monday. Being a school/work night, we didn’t really do too much, and with Hubby’s Man Flu, we’ve kept our celebration on ice for now. But I was gifted beautiful flowers and a gorgeous figurine by my wonderful man, as well as a T-Shirt I was joking about… what do you think?
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to mention that despite my aches and pains, I had a date with Lil Princess and our friends, to go and watch the real Little Mix in concert on the Thursday night! It was a rush to get there, after school on Thursday, but we did it, and had a great meal together, before watching the band. The girls loved it, and I think is mums might just have enjoyed it a little more!
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#LM5 #littlemix5 #reggaetonlento #live

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Slightly Older Mix going to watch @littlemix at their #lm5 tour!

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  • If we were sipping chai together I’d tell you that I was shattered by Friday. This out on a school night really is too much for me now! I got through the school day, and rushed home to get cleaning done, and then whizzed to the shops for the grocery, then once I got home, I was ready for bed. I had a fantastic sleep! And we did nothing this weekend, bar rest, eat, read and watch TV. A much needed set of downtime!
  • If we were sipping chai together I’d have to tell you about something really fun that we did at school this week. We have been learning about seasons and decided to make season bottles with the children. I have to say, I was pretty proud of the ones we made with the kids in our class… Check them out below! And nativity song practice is in full flow too. We have been singing our play songs each day, and the children have really impressed me with how well they have picked up the words! And I have mentioned this before, but they really do sound so angelic. I can’t wait for the performance!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d mention that the week may involve less children, due to sickness, but it also affects adults, and I already know one of our team is going to be off for one day, due to her own kids… Tis the season to be sicky, fa la la la la, la la la la!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d tell you that I am a little nervous as I am being observed on Thursday too. Being observed is never fun. I hate that we have to be judged on a 20-30 minute lesson, when I KNOW I am a good teacher… but hey, at least I know my observer well!
  • If we were sipping that chai together, and possibly reaching for cake or cookies I’d let you know that it will be my Finndian nephew #1’s fifth birthday too this week… where did that time go? And that means that I’ll be celebrating my five year Blogiversary too this week!

Right, that’s me done Peeps! Let me how your week has been.

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 247


“It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.”

Mahatma Gandhi

Thanks for the reminder, Spidey.

This quote comes at a timely fashion, as the household is battling the coughs and sniffles that the onset of the cold weather tends to bring.

It’s not easy when your Lil Man grows up. Because that means that there are now TWO individuals liable to get MAN FLU!

Yes, yes, I’ve read the articles claiming that MAN FLU is real, but I am so not convinced.

You have a cold, plain and simple. It’s not nice, I get that, but still – MAN UP!

I’ve spent time finding Vicks Vaporub, locating cold medications to ease symptoms, and found a set of tablets, that my 14-year-old can take now as he feels he is too grown up for syrups now. And then furnished the Hubby Dearest with his tablets too.

He’s had it bad, I have to admit, needed a couple of days off work, and that in itself is unlike him.

But, as I said before… it’s a COLD!

I’ve been battling my own health issues as you all know, and still am none the wiser as to the reasons for my aches and pains. I think another trip to the doctor to get some more investigations, is in order.

And to top it off, I found a rash, small and pink ringed, on my leg. The consensus was ring worm, but it is one isolated case and I have been given cream, and was told that, yes, it is contagious, but as long as I keep my leg covered, use the cream twice daily, wash my hands a lot and make sure I don’t share towels, things should be okay. But it is now a little blister, sans ring… was it ever ringworm? I don’t know.

Then poor Lil Princess. She’s sniffling too, but has strained a muscle in her neck so she isn’t a happy bunny right now, either.

And at school it isn’t much better. On Monday, I had eight of my class off with a Norovirus style bug. And by the end of the week, one confirmed case of chicken pox… the lurgies are spreading!

I am booked for my Flu jab at school on Friday too. Here’s hoping I don’t succumb before then!

But it is true though, if you have your health, you are better off than a lot of the population out there. Wealth is great, yes, but what is it, without health?

I might not be working at 100% myself right now, but I am still capable of moving around, going to work, caring for my family. What more can I ask for?

So… tell me, are you grateful for your health?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

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