Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 290 – Caring


“The more we genuinely care about others, the greater our own happines and inner peace.”

Allan Lokos

Thank you so much, Spidey for such a profound quote, today.

Care is something on my mind a lot, right now, because, as a teacher, it is our duty to care about the pupils under our wings.

Especially now, care is so important, because of what has been happening over the last few months. (Pandemic, anyone?)

We’re watching these tender souls, whether young or old, reaching out to them all, especially the ones who have had awful experiences during lockdown. From illnesses and losing loved ones, to possible exposure to abuse, both physical and verbal, social anxieties and worry about being with others again, we’re seeing it all.

And I tell you what, we do care. A lot.

So much so, that sometimes the emotional workload doesn’t leave our shoulders when we depart from our school building. It follows us home, as a worry, a concern, a deep need to want to do more.

We try to do what we can, but sometimes it doesn’t feel like we’re doing enough.

But the feeling we get when a parent appreciates how we are helping their child, or them, and when a child turns to us for comfort, or confides in us, because of that circle of trust we’ve built – that’s priceless.

That care doesn’t stop with my pupils. It’s there always, from my family, to friends, colleagues and my blogily. And if I can reach out to help any one of you, it enriches my life as much as I hope it helps you.

So… tell me, do you find it easy to care?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps.  And enjoy your week!  

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 288 – Resilience


“Some days there won’t be a song in your heart. Sing anyway.”

Emory Austin

Thank you, Spidey, for finding a wonderful quote exampling resilience.

I wanted to consider resilience with you all, today, after finishing my first week back to school, with the children.

We were faced with a whole school filled with children, the majority of which haven’t stepped foot inside the school building for over five months, and some, the youngest, who have never been to school, before.

I was dreading it.

Not only the safety aspect, but the wellbeing of the children.

  • How many would come in distressed?
  • Are they all going to be happy to be coming back to school?
  • What might they have witnesssed, or experienced during lockdown?
  • Have any children experienced bereavement?
  • What backsteps have been taken, academically?
  • How much work to we have to do to get them back on track?

Every single one of my 28 students came in. RESULT!

Only two cried on the first day. By Friday, after moments of tears, they were happy.

I can remember all their names. All of them.

I am already in love with my new class, and have identified my pickles already, but, what a bunch!

And in my capacity as EYFS Phase Leader, I had even more things thrown at me.

From a key member of staff going on early maternity leave, so having to train up a supply teacher, to taking part in my first interview process to find permanent cover for this teacher.

My teaching assistant being off sick (get well soon!), so managing twenty eight 4-year-olds, with one, not two helping hands.

Meeting with a parent regarding a new Special Needs pupil who will be joining, to try and explain why we need to take time to settle the child in.

Stepping in to assist the nursery, where there are at least five 3-year-olds who spent three hours screaming.

I’m eternally grateful to my team who have been genuinely amazing. They’ve picked up the slack where we are staff down, and all put the children’s needs before their own.

Having to assist with my special needs pupil from last year, who hasn’t taken this transition to another class well, at all.

Trying to digest a new set of paperwork that the Government were meant to have given us in July, regarding a new curriculum we are going to be using this year. (We got the paperwork on Thurday night… after school had already started. Great timing, Government Peeps!)

Alongside the pallaver of work being done in the house (OMG, the stress!), and sending my own two children back to secondary school, in a very different environment.

Appointments, cancelled or not, have been attended, rushing here and there after school.

It’s all been happening.

And yet, here I am, still standing, after the week.

Showing my resilience.

Sure, I’m tired. I’m drained. But I’m proud of myself. And I’m happy.

Still singing, even if the music isn’t playing.

So… tell me, do you consider yourself to be resilient?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps.  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 281 – Supportive


“Behind every young child who believes in himself, is a parent who believed first.”

Matthew Jacobson

Thank you, Spidey, for finding another great quote to illustrate what I’m thinking today.

Today, we spent around eight hours travelling to, and from, and sitting through, another of Lil Man’s cricket matches, as a family.

(Granted, Lil Princess was dragged, with no interest at all, but she did sit, so props to her for not complaining too much!)

Lil Man loves cricket with a passion. It runs in the family on both sides, with a dad who used to play as a youngster for the district, and an uncle (my brother) who played for Warwickshire county as aa young man, and now is in the Finnish national team.

This year’s season has been hit and miss, what with the Pandemic (as has so much stuff) but a few weeks ago, training resumed and he was so happy. Last week, he played a match, and came awaay quite disheartened, as certain adults were a bit rude to him…

But on Saturday, he was asked to play in his first Men’s match, with the clubs’ 5th team.

We travelled to near Whitstable, in the heat. Whitstable is a seaside town, so we were stuck in traffic, as all the rest of the cars wanted to head for the beach.

Once we arrived, the weather was glorious, and we set out our mats, to sit and watch, as he joined in the game.

He was nervous, slightly, because of the comments last week, but with us there to encourage him, I think it gave him a boost.

He was the last batsman, and finished the innings, with six runs from three bowls, including a four, and was not out.

Bowling is his forte, being a leftie spin bowler, so when they switched over, we waited with bated breath, for them to call him up to bowl.

It took a while, but being a forty-over-each-way match, there were plenty of chances.

He managed to take a catch, clean bowl someone out, and had another batsman run out from one of his bowls, so three wickets out of 9 were his!

Proud parents, we were, sat there, clapping him on.

They lost, but it was a tight finish, and the joy at seeing him being congratulated by the elder, more respected members of the team was heart-warming.

Talking of warming… it was boiling there, and we slathered on the suncream, but I obviously missed a spot, and am now sporting a burnt chest!

And at no time have we doubted his skill.

Lil Man is a fantastic team player. Academics may not be his thing, but sports are. And we, as a family, are right there behind him, cheering him on.

Not least because as a child myself (albeit a grown up one) I know that my own parents have been behind me my whole life, encouraging and pushing me to do what my heart believes, from my teaching, to my writing.

Knowing they believe in me, helps me believe in myself, and this is something I want to pass on to both our children.

So tell me, how do you support your children, or do you have supportive parents?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 280 – Read


“Reading is to the mind, what exercise is to the body.”

Joseph Addison

Thanks, Spidey! I always appreciate your quote selections, and I love that you chose to think about reading today. This quote makes me happy that my brain is being exercised as much as the rest of me at the moment, perhaps even more so!

I love books.

I definitely have an addiction.

I try not to buy too many physical books, because – space. But somehow they still end up in my basket. My Kindle is groaning with the amount of books I hvae waiting to be read.

I’ve even started adding ones I’d like to another list, on Amazon, so I don’t get them, just yet, as I must do justice to the ones I already have! (Unless they go on sale, in which case, it would be foolish to not!)

And as I read, I always review. I have done for the last few years, since I started blogging, and getting to know authors. The importance of reviews stretch beyond just letting other readers know what you think.

Well constructed reviews are also crucial for authors too. It’s not just about the ratings and getting five stars across the board. A good review will give the author food for thought. There may be huge praises involved for the writer, but sometimes there is constructive advice within reviews too, things that may help an author refine and hone their skills for the next book.

Since I started doing my monthly review posts, I realised that initially, I wasa automatically giving any book I read 5 stars, because I felt I should. And to be honest, I rarely read books that I wouldn’t like. Tried and tested authors.

But my range changed as I began blogging, and I found my preferred genres widening. Becoming a member of NetGalley further expanded my reading and reach, and I realised that blanked 5 stars were no good for anyone!

So, over the months, I honed my ratings to the meanings below. I shall be including this in all my round up review posts, so you will know what the ratings mean to me!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ - loved it so much, I need ALL the books this author has ever written!
⭐⭐⭐⭐ - great read, something I'd read again
⭐⭐⭐ - enjoyable storyline and characters
⭐⭐ - an okayish read
⭐ - really wasn't for me 

And please remember, your reviews and ratings mean a lot to all authors!

If you’ve read Marriage Unarranged, and haven’t quite got round to reviewing… pretty please do!

So tell me, how do you rate books you read?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤ 

Spidey’s Serene Sunday – Part 276 – Normality… Kinda?


“But I’ve strayed so far from normal now, I’ll never find my way back. And the truth is, I no longer want to.”

Alyson Noel

Thank you, Spidey, for another great quote!

We’ve been living in this way now, for twelve weeks. Some class it as the #newnormal, some think of it as a phase, some have barely changed what they were doing before…

It has been tough, for everyone, in so many different ways.

We lost the freedom to go where we wanted, when we wanted.

We had to learn to spent twenty-four hours with the people in our households. People we love, but who we’ve not spent so much time with, with out a break

We learned how to adapt our working lives or school lives, to working from home, with children bursting in, in the middle of Zoom meetings, or trying to calm a child’s meltdown as they didn’t get their home learning task. (quite often, it was the parent melting down because they didn’t get it!)

We adapted in many ways, using technology, where possible, to keep in touch with friends and family.

We tried our hands at different things, once we’d settled into this surreal way of living. Cooking different things, baking, DIY, arts and crafts, gardening. All sorts of stuff.

We almost enjoyed the extra hour in bed because there was no commute in the morning. (Unless you have a cat like mine, who sings the morning breakfast chorus in your ear at stupid o’clock, until you relent and go give him food.)

We took time out to go for walks, or attempted to use that one outing for exercise to cycle, or run. Something some of us had been wanting to do for ages, but never found the time for.

And now, as lockdown reaches the next stage of easing… how are we feeling?

I know I have had a strange one. Not totally isolated as I had to go into school regularaly, and get the groceries in. Planning and working from home has been a strange experience. Not seeing my class at all has been horrible.

But the extra time at home has been enlightening in so many ways.

My almost daily walks have been with Lil Man, and I am proud of my nearly 15-year-old, and his thinking. We have talked, frankly, about so much, over the last three months. I feel that our relationship as mother and son has reached a different level.

Lil Princess has been a harder nut to crack. She hasn’t taken to lockdown that well, and disappears in to her room for hours at a time, not wanting to go out, or even have conversations, but we’ve been trying. She’s really missing her friends. She will do all the online learning, but she misses school. And with no sign of her going back, before September, it is tough.

Hubby Dearest and I have reached a relaxed way of living. Work hours are just that, and breaks and evenings are spent sitting, talking, eating, planning the future…

I’ve written some, read lots, learned new crafts, baked, experimented with different recipes. I’ve let my hair go, the grey is rife. My nails are as au naturel as the day I was born.

Am I happy that my life is falling into more of the old normality, come Monday?

Hubby Dearest will still be working from home. Lil Princess will still be distance learning, as will Lil Man, but with some allowances for either video call or face to face meetings to discuss his next steps, as he is in Year 10, meaning GCSEs next year.

I go back to school to a much-reduced class, only 11 out of a possible 30, (and one of those is actually from the other class as we have a set of twins, and needed them in the same bubble).

There are mixed feelings.

I have loved being at home, spending time with my family, and being able to do more of what I love, on top of working.

But, I was born to teach. And I have missed my class far too much. I can’t count the hours I have spent, worrying about certain children and whether they are okay, if they are even trying to access any of the learning we are setting for them.

Yet, I still have an underlying anxiety about going back. And I blame the government and media for this. Is it safe to go back, or not? Are we the country’s guinea pigs? Some schools came back partially, a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve reported back that things are okay. Weird, but okay.

And as a BAME member of the community, should I be even more cautious? Hubby Dearest would much rather I didn’t go back. He even offered to keep the household ticking over so I could hand my notice in. He’s scared.

I can’t do that, though. School is so much a part of me. Yes, the idea of not working sounds great. I could legitimately devote all my time to writing, but that is one full income we’d be down by. I’d feel like I lost a part of my independence.

But, I do wish there was an inbetween. A little more home time, a little less school stress.

But, for now, I’ll just have a go at the cards we’ve been dealt, and see what happens… cautiously.

So… tell me, as things inch themselves back to a semblance of normality, how are you feeling?

Have a peaceful Sunday Peeps  And enjoy your week! ❤

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