Chai And A Chat #222 #ChaiAndAChat

Well, hell,o February! The month of love and birthdays. Oh, so many birthdays in this family of mine!

I’m supping my green tea. What about you?

  • If we were having chai, I’d start by telling you all about our week in school. We had a couple of absences, plus there was the strike on Wednesday, as well as my all-day seminar on Thursday. It’s funny, but I am sure I have mentioned before, but there is one class where we have so much absence, and then there is the other where barely a child is off… ever. This was exactly the same last week. It was strange, as certain characters were unwell. You see how class dynamics change with these people missing. The Seminar was actually really good. There were some truly inspiring talks, as well as a couple that were a little less inspiring, but great to mingle with other Early Years educators and chat with like-minded people.
  • If we were having chai, I’d tell you the strike passed with around 5 members of staff choosing to take action. Again, it is a really hard decision to make. We fully support the strike action and why they are happening. It isn’t purely about teachers’ pay. It is about the state of education and fighting for the rights of the children and better funding for all those areas that have seen investment slashed, leading to the issues we seem to be facing more and more in classrooms. We were able to stay open, because though disruption is what unions want, as educators, we still have that head on us about the wellbeing of our children. Not enough teachers were off to warrant a school closure.
  • If we were having chai, I’d say that I was meant to have an official lesson observation on Friday, but due to lack of sleep because we have been having a bit of a week at home, I was in no fit state. I do love my Head. She knows what added pressure that would have put on me, even though I was (kinda) prepared. Next term it is, then!
  • If we were having chai, I’d tell you that by the time Friday evening rolled by, I was absolutely exhausted! Lil Man has been having his mock exams, and it’s never easy getting a teenage man-boy to revise… On top of a daughter suffering her own ups and downs in school right now. That, coupled with a busy week at work meant I was asleep before I could even think when I got back home.
  • If we were having chai, I’d mention that though I haven’t been writing on my WIP much, it was good to get poetic on Saturday…
  • If we were having chai, I would give you a snippet of Sonu Singh! I have had this soft grey cat bed in my office for over a year, and he never uses it. But this last week, he seems to have rediscovered it, so I spent time with him curled up in it on Friday night.
Bitmoji Image

This week is the last week of term before our half-term break. That means half the academic year is done! I think it is. pretty straightforward week, along with a few days where certain staff are in and out or swapping days, and then we break up. It is also Lil Man’s last week of mocks. Plus, it is Hubby Dearest and my mother-in-law’s birthday, too! Cake week!

And while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list? I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Spidey’s Serene Sunday #413 – Self Care

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few mintues, including you.”

Anne Lamott

Thanks, Spidey. I think we all need that timely reminder. I’m sure we have used this quote before, but it is such a good one!

There have been days, recently, when I have felt as if I am scraping the barrel to get the enthusiasm and energy required for daily life with a bunch of 4-5-year-olds, and then to deal with home life too. Oh, and as Perimenopause to the mix, along with not being able to get my HRT!

It’s not been easy, I have to say. Without going into details I have to say that sometimes, it feels like going in to work has been the calmest place, and if you have ever worked in the Early Years, you’ll realise the enormity of that confession.

Still, here I am. I’m still functioning. Still doing what I need to do.

I get asked by those of my friends and family who know the ins and outs, how I am coping.

It’s simple. To me, anyway.

There are times when I have to put myself first.

Not selfishly.

But I need to make decisions that will help me get through.

The first is to lessen the unnecessary pressures I put on myself.

I want to write. Sure I do. But with my brain not having the bandwidth to create, right now, I don’t force myself.

If I haven’t cleaned the house from top to bottom, I don’t beat myself up.

If I have had to order a takeaway or stick a ready meal in the oven, so be it.

And the second is to make time, even if it is only a short while, to do the things I love.

So I’ll read (lots, as you know). It may only be for a few minutes a night in the week since I am physically and mentally exhausted from work, but I’ll make up for it on the weekend.

I’m exercising, for me.

I have my weekly soak in the bathtub.

I try to meet with friends, away from the family, once in a while.

I’ll spoil myself with a little gift.

Because I need to feel that I am worth it, too. Only then can I get through everything else.

So, Peeps, what is your favourite form of Self Care?

#SoCS Feb. 4th, 2023 – Perfection

Linda’s SoCS prompt…


Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “perfection.’” Use it any way you like. Enjoy!

Do you strive for perfection?

Always seeking satisfaction
Of that perfect photo
Or the perfect word
The perfect recipe
The perfect song heard...

Or is good enough, enough?
Will it get you by?

Do we need to lower standards
To decrease the pressure
And ease our mental health?

Perfection is a thing of beauty,
When it's presented to us
by Mother Nature

It shows perseverance
If we achieve it
By ourselves

Some things, yes,
They have to be perfect

But some can slide
Don't give yourself the stress

Ritu 2023

One-Liner Wednesday – Habits

“It takes just as much time to build good habits as it does to form the bad ones.”

Ritu Bhathal

For Linda’s #1LinerWeds

January 2023 Books #AmReading

The first month of the new year – done!

I started with one ARC left from last year… heaven knows how many others will follow… but, that TBR… it’s still waiting!

Okay, so I read a few more ARCS, but I did read some current books, too! And I brought myself to a grand total of 12 books for the first month. Not bad!


The Situationship by Taylor-Dior Rumble
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Okay, so this is my first read of 2023, and I finished it in a day.
Tia is a young woman in her twenties in London, going through all sorts of angst about relationships, one specific one, and her place in a workspace that doesn’t seem to respect her ethnicity or many of those from minority backgrounds.
I have to say I am glad that, as a reader in my late forties, I have a teenage daughter, so some of the language and slang used were more familiar to me, and even some of the pop culture references didn’t fall on deaf ears…
Definitely, a book that Gen Z women would enjoy and appreciate, and if you are a little older, maybe a good one to read to understand a bit more about those younger than us since, even though we have been that age, life ‘then’ and life ‘now’ is very different.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone, Merky Books for an ARC.

Releasing 17th August, 2023

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5211858172

Scent of a Garden by Namrata Patel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Asha Patel is a young Indian American woman living in Paris, making her name as one of a handful of perfumiers. She’s on her way to the top, but Covid did on one her and robbed her of one of the most important senses in the world to her.
After a slight crash and burn, she is sent off for a break and returns home with her parents in Napa.
This story has many facets, including the strength of expectations on many children of Indian families. Asha and one of her childhood friends, Neel, are children of hotelier families. Businesses that have been built by grandfathers and passed down. The thing is, neither is interested in the hotel business.
Sometimes it does take a person a while to pinpoint their true passion, and this is what happens for both characters. They have to swim against the tide of disappointment as they attempt to venture out into the world for themselves instead of following a much easier, well-trodden path with more of a guarantee of financial success and stability. Which is what their forefathers always wanted to leave as a legacy,
Asha and Neel’s grandmothers live together after being widowed, and I loved their characters. a mix of pushy and supportive, they gave a much-needed sense of fun to the story.
I enjoyed it.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an ARC.

Releasing 27th June, 2023

Best Men by Sidney Karger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wanted to read more broadly, and MM romances ranked on the list of genres I wanted to delve into a bit further, so this coming up as a suggestion for me to read was a no-brainer.
It starts with Max the ‘gay’ best friend of Paige. They’ve been GBBFs forever, literally. Since they were around six-year-olds. Okay, so the G may not have been in the acronym at that age, but you know what I mean.
Paige is getting married and wants Max to help with all sorts of arrangements and to be her best man/man of honour, as you will.
She also wants to involve the best man from the other side, Chasten, who is her fiance, Austin’s brother, and who also happens to be gay… hmmm, possible attempts at matchmaking??
The story pootles along, with a will they-won’t they angle to the romance, as well as Max’s angst at not really doing anything of substance with his life, and not being the stereotypical gay man, so he feels his input into Paige’s wedding is minimal, because he’s not into fashion/going out/the usual gay musical tastes/all the on-trend things that are happening out there. He’s stuck in a job in HR where all he appears to be doing is being the messenger and letting people go as his company cuts jobs.
It’s a quick read, a little slow-moving at times, but easy.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for an ARC.

Releasing 25th May, 2023

The Bennet Women by Eden Appiah-Kubi
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Bennet Women is an easy-to-read, interesting take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, brought into the modern age, complete with true diversity.
We have a Black female MC, a transgender character, and all manner of other folks, all battling through life in their own way.
EJ, our MC, is pulled in two directions, with her goal-driven academic dreams vs A relationship that could lead to l.o.v.e…

Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to Your Second Spring by Davina McCall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh my goodness! Not quite sure what more to say than absolutely brilliant!
So many parts that I could relate to, and plenty more I now know I have to refer to in future moments of perimenopausal hell!
I have already said I would get this for another of my family members, and I would urge others who are nearing this time to find a copy to read. It is enlightening!


Love on the Menu by Mimi Deb
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not strictly a Rom-com, Mimi Deb’s book is more contemporary fiction, looking at relationships between family, friends, and romantically.
Gia, the female MC, is on a work visa from India and is perilously close to losing the one job she has, which would keep her in the country due to some mishaps. One at the work Christmas party that she is convinced will be the final nail in her coffin. She has a close relationship with Ma, her mother, or MiMasa as she is entered in her phone, Probably more open than the average relationship between an Indian mother and daughter, but then, Ma isn’t your average mother figure, either.
Gia writes a list of things she needs to do in the new year to make things better.
Somehow the list ends up travelling to her local Indian takeaway, of which she is a regular customer, and the list sparks the start of a note correspondence with someone who works at Namaste London – Ben.
Ben is the male MC, and he is struggling to find a place in the world that will fulfil his family’s hopes, as well as his own.
They disapprove of his job at the takeaway, but given the struggles he has already faced in life, they don’t say too much…
I enjoyed how the book was written, with the correspondences between the characters, as an end note to a chapter, or the beginning and the details of their lives, how they meet, and their lives intertwine as time progresses.
It is good to read of a heroine not cut from the same stereotypical cloth as many, with Gia being a woman of colour and not a lythe, tall, ‘dusky’ beauty, but someone with the beauty that shines from within.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Spare by Prince Harry
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How do you rate someone’s memories?
Spare isn’t a biography written by someone else, insinuating their own opinion upon the reader. It’s a memoir. Harry’s recollections (yes, written by a ghostwriter, but still, his own) of many critical moments in his life, from when he learned of his mother’s death to the present day when his Granny passed away.
Yes, we all think we know what has been happening in the Royal family. After all, anything they do is all over the news, and social media, before a second has passed.
But this candid book details Harry’s thoughts and the memories of his life.
So many out there have already slated the book as a load of untruths.
But it is stated several times in the book that he doesn’t have the best memory to remember conversations verbatim, and sometimes his recollections will be hazy.
Still, the most crucial part of these memories, I felt, was that we could read his emotions. No one else but him can ever convey those. (Not even the ridiculous personnel who write and release everything to the press!)
I read with a lot of emotion as he detailed his mental health. And this only highlights that mental health has no issue with who you are. If it wants to affect you, it will.
The first section and the last were the ones I felt most engaged with. The army part? Not so much, but it was by no means less necessary. There were light moments and several mentions of situations involving his private parts and various injuries, which made me giggle a little.
Who thought a Prince would write about his willy? And I don’t mean his brother, Willy!
His younger years, when he was innocent and vulnerable, just made me want to cry for that little boy who could barely hug his family. His romance and relationship with Meg was another section that made me feel deep sadness for them.
I felt for him throughout.
But can I say that just because I have read it, I can’t make judgements on others featured in the book.
I know these opinions are of one person, and as we all know, there are more than two sides to any story.
Person 1, Person 2, the media and the truth!
I have watched Prince Harry grow up. I watched his parents get married on TV. I stood with a line of schoolmates at the age of around 6, so we could wave to the newlywed couple as they did a drive-by through Solihull, where my school was. And the subsequent births of the princes, as well as the ups and downs of the relationship between Charles and Di. If I were to form an opinion, it would have been formed many moons ago.
What was also highlighted was the fact that the press is ruthless.
I am glad I read this. It is highly unlikely that we will ever read something so candid or intimate from any other Royals, but still… this opened our eyes to many facets of Royal life that none of us is aware of.

Lucy In the Sky by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved Hart’s Ridge, Kay Bratt’s first book in her new series. Quite a departure from her usual genre of writing.
Lucy in the Sky is the second instalment of the series, and, as the title suggests, the story focuses more on Lucy, the youngest of the sisters.
Taylor is still the second POV throughout the book, and a common thread to hold onto from book one, as the oldest sister in the family.
Lucy’s selfish character left a bitter taste in my mouth at the end of the first book, so it was good to read more about her and discover that she wasn’t as awful as I first thought.
All she wants, in the beginning, is to get to New York and see the Dakota building where John Lennon used to live. She gets that and a heap more, as she is initially mistaken as a new dog walker for one of the wealthy residents.
Suddenly she has a job, a roof over her head, and everything seems peachy… even the chance of a bit of romance, even though there is a ‘bump’ or two in the road where that is all concerned.
As for Taylor, she is getting back into her work as a Deputy in the Hart’s Ridge police force after an enforced period of absence, but something she finds out from her father’s post sends her on a journey of discovery that will change her life and that of her sisters.
Oh, and we can’t forget the dogs. First, we meet the two cute pups who Lucy starts walking, then there is Taylor’s dog, Diesel from the adoption centre, whom we met in book one, and he might be why she is on the road to romance herself…
I love that each story has an element that is based on a real-life crime or situation that has happened. It makes each story a whole lot more interesting!
I can’t wait for the third book to come out now!

Releasing February 13th 2023

Oh, Sister by Jodie Chapman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodness me! I know organised religion is a thing, but this was something else.
Chapman depicts a fictional cult where Christianity is at the root of the beliefs, but the followers/disciples are brainwashed into thinking that all that is preached by their ministers is the gospel truth.
Oh, Sister follows the story of three women. All three have been disfellowed from the cult because they are judged as having gone against the religion’s beliefs.
All it did was highlight the inequality between men and women in this particular one.
One woman is punished for being the one who suffers SA, yet, because she cannot provide two witnesses to the accusation, she is the one not believed.
One grieving a deep loss is punished for choosing to have a blood transfusion.
One is cast aside because her husband left her for a younger model, and she realises her life does not have to revolve around that man.
Not one of these women deserved to be treated the way they were. And yet, where is the sisterhood when the rest of the women in the cult sneer and ignore them?
It hit a nerve.
Many thanks to NetGalley, Penguin Random House and Michael Joseph for an ARC.

Releasing 13th April, 2023

Caroline, Adrift: by Kay Bratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Caroline is dreading the impending cruise. It was booked by her late husband, who fully expected to still be with her.
Instead, her daughters convince her to go, with them accompanying her. They have their reasons, which Caroline has some idea about, but despite not wanting to, she goes.
A beautiful story about a woman in her twilight years, navigating a road she always envisaged travelling with her partner by her side.
The cruise (I want to go on a cat cruise!) highlights many things to her, but the biggest one is that life does have to go on, and she realises this after meeting a new friend, Betty, who has been through the same situation herself.
I loved Caroline, and am so glad she was able to draw strength from an extremely tough time in her life, and that she was able to bond with her daughters in a way that would be more productive in the future.
And I think everyone needs a Betty in times of stress!

Releasing 22nd February, 2023

Releasing 10th February, 2023

So, tell me what you have been reading, and what caught your eye from the above!

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