Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Sunshine at last

We've finally got some real sun at last! Throughout the floods we'd have the odd day of hot sunshine and then 3 days of rain again. I remember thinking one evening that it's a sign I'm a true Brit when I can get up one morning and it be hot as anything and then get up the next and it be bleak as winter and not think this is weird!! My sister also pointed out that this unpredictability is perhaps why we're well known for our obsession with the weather - and obsessed we are - I know one friend who turns on the tv just to see what the weather forecast is and then changes channel to see what the other weatherman says because he will more often than not predict the exact opposite!!

Anyway, I wanted to thank anyone who popped by and added the flooding in their thoughts and prayers. The power is back on in Gloucester (although Kelly mentioned to me that reading Harry Potter by candlelight was very "Hogwarts-like"). The water, last I heard, had been turned back on but it was not yet suitable for drinking. There have been a few more casualties, but thankfully the fears of more flooding are now dropping. So thank you again! It's going to take a long time to repair the damage done but the clean up has begun. I'm also sending out my thoughts to those elsewhere, where the excessive heat is causing fires and other problems... whatever is going on I just hope it settles down soon!

On to sunnier news - I've been able to sit in our garden drawing illustrations for my handmade books - yep I'm finally getting round to making them and it is so exciting. I was originally going to start a mini-business making them but all the legal bits and bobs and finding the time to make sure I created enough products was too demanding at this stage in my life - so I gave up. But I had already bought the material (yes I am making the whole book by hand!!) and so I'm making up a few to begin with for close family and friends and we'll see how they turn out and just how much time is needed - perhaps a mini-business will evolve in future years.

I'm especially pleased to see the sun as I am going on camp next week. I go each year to look after disabled teenagers and I was not looking forward to trying to rescue electric wheelchairs stuck in muddy potholes!! I have to say that pushing manual wheelchairs up the hills is not all that fun when it's this hot either - but at least it's clean!! Don' t get me wrong - I have nothing against getting dirty myself but it's much harder to clean a wheelchair and trying to shower 20 odd campers who need hoists etc in a tiny showerblock with only 8 showers is not the easiest of tasks!!(note how the tents are much higher up than us - and that isn't even the steepest part of the camp - one thing's for sure ... I always come back much fitter than when I go!!) I don't know who I'm looking after this year but I can be sure it'll either be someone who requires a lot of manual lifting (as most of the other helpers are in their teens and that bit weaker than me) or someone who needs an older helper who is strict with them (like I had last year). It's always so much fun but SO tiring, especially when you're in a tent where you don't get much sleep. Last year I had a two day migraine and my vision started to blur and I spent most of that time with another camper who insisted I say "whoops-a-daisy" every 2 seconds whilst her helper took my camper swimming and on activities I couldn't cope with at the time... needless to say if anyone says "whoops-a-daisy" to me now I think of her!

Getting to and from the campsite is a pain too as I don't drive and it requires me going through London on a busy day with a huge rucksack and sleeping bag so to break the journey up I'm staying at my friend's in Cambridge for a few days afterwards. This is actually a real necessity because usually as soon as I stop running around after my camper has gone home I find it incredibly difficult to stay awake and I don't want to end up in Edinburgh because I fell asleep on the train hehe!! I can just about manage to stay awake the two hours it takes to get to Cambridge.

I'll also be going to visit the nursery again. I was talking to one of my old colleagues and she told me all about the babies I used to look after and how they're all walking now and how some of them have become biters *gasp*! Last time I went they all looked at me like they didn't know me - which was so sad... by now I think they'll have definately forgotten me *sniff sniff*

So, as you can tell it's gonna be a busy two weeks for me so I won't be posting for a while. But hopefully when I do I'll have lots of cool pics and funny tales to share!

Monday, 23 July 2007

Please add your prayers

I'm not sure how much coverage the current crisis in Britain has received in other countries but things are really critical here at the moment. We've been experiencing flooding for weeks now - first it happened in my area of the country and a man even lost his life trying to clear a blocked drain (and he's not the only casualty)! Thankfully we escaped the worst, living on top of a hill, but even we had flooded gardens and leaks in our roof due to the heavy downpours when a month's rainfall fell in a day or two...

It has now escalated and the South and West of England have been hit hard with the people in places like Gloucester, Cheltenham and Tewkesbury without power and down to their last jug of clean water due to the power and water plants being hit by the floods. Rescue workers and volunteers are working round the clock to bring the most basic supplies to these people and to try and limit any further damage which could come at any moment as the rain continues and the flood warnings are flashed at us on every news bulletin.

According to the latest report from the BBC News Team:

the Environment Agency has warned water levels are expected to exceed those of the devastating floods of 1947.

And according to a report on the 1947 floodings:

The flooding, which inundated nearly all the main rivers in the South, Midlands, and the Northeast of England, was notable for its origins, regional extent, and duration. Impacting thirty out of forty English counties over a two week period, around 700,000 acres of land were underwater. Tens of thousands of people were temporarily displaced from their homes, and thousands of acres of crops were lost.

Britain is known for its unpredicatable weather but we are very lucky in that we very rarely have such extreme weather. We haven't had flooding like this since 1947 - and yet if it is predicted to be worse than that this is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.

So I am asking you now to add your thoughts and prayers for those affected by the floods over here - to protect those who are vulnerable, to bring solutions to the problems and to prevent any worsening of the situation. I'd also like to ask you to join me in gratitude that so far no more lives have been claimed and for the overwhelming response of the public and emergency services and government alike for working together to do what they can to deal with the situation at hand.

Too often I see things on the news that make me wish I could do more to help and this crisis in particular touches me as I have so many friends in the affected areas and it really brings it home, you know? All I can do right now is pray for those in need, so that is why I am asking for your prayers as well. Thank you.

More pictures of the flooding.

Saturday, 21 July 2007

so busy

I have been so busy at the school and at home but I am so happy - I can't remember the last time I felt this happy, seriously!!

I've worked so hard at the school - listening to kids learning to read and helping them to sound out the phonics, supervising group play, reading stories, taking down and putting up displays (which involved double mounting all their work and their names and laminating loads of stuff!), marking homework and getting to the bottom of who was lying to me (the kids are at that age where if they have done something wrong they try lying their way out of it even if they know you saw them doing it!! They haven't quite figured out yet that lying doesn't work if it's obvious you're lying!), preparing paperwork ready for parents evening etc etc... apparently I have done more of the to-do list in two weeks than the teaching assistant has in 6! I did so much that the teacher ran out of jobs for me to do and had to come up with new ones so things like the displays would normally be done in the summer holidays and since she is getting married this summer it's nice to know that my help has cut down on the amount of time she'll need to be in school preparing for the new term whe she returns from her honeymoon!!

The experience has shown me that I was right when I always thought I wanted to be a teacher because even the long days and noisy kids and all the rest of the exhausting and very repetitive events has done nothing to convince me otherwise! I know that the work is hard, I have seen all the paperwork and demands that the teacher had to deal with and I am under no pretences that I won't get utterly frustrated some days - but that would happen in any job and I actually want to be in this kind of job and that's always good - wanting to go to work!!

So now I just have to wait until the next intake for teaching and decide one of two things: do I work as an unqualified teacher and earn 13k for the year but have to work the same hours as a teacher whilst doing coursework and assessments or do I take the slightly gentler route by going back to uni and doing placements and my coursework at different times and also earn a specialism in teaching german to young children but only earn 6k for the year, meaning I shall be pretty much dependent on my parents still. The other question is do I train to teach the younger age group (3-7) because that is the age group I have always preferred or do I teach the older ones (7-11) because there is far more scope for my skills as a linguist and in the creative side of things like sewing, art etc to be used in my lessons?

In the evenings I've been looking after my sister - or rather answering to her beck and call - my dad even said to her last night that you'd think I was her maid not her sister lol... I know my sister has been really depressed and that she is in a lot of pain with her joints - I know and understand because I have been there too and I know how easy it is to hide behind excuses and let others do things for you... but it really irritates me when I come home from a long day and have to cook just because she is too tired because she did something *yesterday* or on my day off I have to go to the library on my own for the *third* time to do research for her because she is too tired because she's been away for a *holiday*... I'm supposed to be her support worker and I desperately need the money but there's a difference between supporting someone by taking notes and proof-reading for grammar errors and doing the research and legwork for them... it's starting to really take the p*ss right now and I keep getting short tempered with her and she'll get that hurt look in her eyes and I understand so much how it feels to be that side of things, I really do and it makes me feel so guilty for being so snappy... but I have a life of my own and I am working damn hard for little or no money to get to where I want to be and I just don't have the patience for it anymore...

On a nicer note I spent my day off this week (yeah I got a day off because there wasn't much for me to do and due to the distance we have to travel to the school each day and the timing of an afterschool activity it just made more sense for me not to go) I went to my Grandma's to teach her how to crochet... that's right *I* was teaching *her*... the lady who taught me to knit, sew, bake etc etc... I got to teach her how to crochet and it was so weird... esp as I only taught myself how to do it a couple of months ago! I now have two scarfs and a baby blanket on the go 'cos I like to have a variety to choose from lol. I think people may be getting homemade gifts for Christmas this year!

Monday, 9 July 2007

School Days

I spent the day working in a village school today! One of my sister's friends is a teacher in a village about an hour's drive away and was in real need of some help as the year draws to an end so I asked if I could go and get some experience.

The school is unqiue in that although it spans the age ranges 4-11 there are only 3 classes... so this particular teacher has a class with children ranging from ages 4-7!! Not the easiest of things to plan for as whole class teaching needs to cater for all the age groups and group and individual work has to be set at each child's key stage plus their own personal levels!!

I really enjoyed the day, it was great being around the kids but I am exhausted as I had a busy weekend with friend's staying over and then getting up at half 5 this morning and only getting home at 6pm... I'll post an update later in the week along with (hopefully) some photos I took in the castle grounds and from the observatory tower the other day - they are cool!!

Talking of the observatory tower, we were climbing the stairs to it (and they were really steep), following this little girl and her dad. She said "I'm going up first" and then when we caught up with her I told her that she was doing so well because even I was tired and she showed me exactly how she was climbing up the steps (you know what kids are like when you praise them and they want to show you just how good they are!!). She then asked what my friend was doing (he was taking a photo at the time) and when her dad told her that was what he was doing she asked "is he taking a picture of me?" Oh, she was so adorable... and so cheeky!!!!

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Famous Lincolnshire

Did you know I come from a really exciting place in England?? No, I didn't either!! My hometown, Lincoln, is a beautiful place in parts with Roman ruins, a Cathedral with a huge history and a Castle and a Bishop's Palace where some of the richest Bishops in history resided.

The history is amazing but the present is rather dull. There's not much to do and since the University was founded in the 1990s modern buildings which stand out like a sore thumb have popped up everywhere.

So let's get back to the history - because it really is quite exciting (and this is coming from the girl who hates history!!)

Those of you in America may or may not already know this, but Captain John Smith, "The
man who was to become President of Virginia started life as the son of a tenant farmer in a small village on the edge of the Wolds." (The Wolds are in Lincolnshire - the area of England where Lincoln is situated. When Time Team (an archaeological programme in the UK) did a special edition on the founding of Jamestown they found that the houses built by the earliest settlers had a distinct style which is only found in one other place in the world and that is in rural parts of Lincolnshire! Researching deeper into the archives they then traced John Smith and some others from my part of the world... how exciting and how strange that I previously had no idea about this!!

Moving on from that part of history I found out last night that "haute couture" was actually founded by another Lincolnshire man... can you believe it? The Oxford English Dictionary have been asking the British public to help them research the history of certain words so that they can update their entries - where the dictionary had only previously found proof of word usage in the 70s (for example) the public managed to find anti-datings right back to, say, the 30s! There was a tv show about it all and last night was the last in the series, talking about the terms we use in the world of fashion. Apparently, this guy called Charles Worth went to France ans created women's fashion and, as Wikipedia states, "His reputation was such that the French government awarded him the Legion of Honour and when he died, 2,000 people, including the President of the Republic, attended his funeral."

You might be wondering why I'm thinking of this today? Well I met a guy in Cambridge and he's coming to visit this weekend and I get to play the tour guide and tell him how the Cathedral once burnt down in an Earthquake and explain to him the legend of the Lincoln Imp, and walk around the castle walls looking out over Lincoln and seeing the old prison where those to be hanged were locked away... I guess with all this history it's no wonder that there's a well-known British song which begins, "When I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire"

Sunday, 1 July 2007


I think I've got it sussed, finally. After lots of thinking I realised that really I always knew what I wanted to be and these past few years have just been "testing the waters" to check that it really is what I want to do... I want to be a primary school teacher! It's what I dreamed of being from about the age of 9 or 10 until someone put it into my head I should do something else first when I was 16. I've returned to the idea lots of times and I guess the message finally hit.

I emailed my old nursery manage the other day and she's told me to send her my CV so she can think about roles I could apply for in childcare but unless she can come up with a better opportunity I'm gonna work this next year as a support worker at the uni and apply to do teacher training next year. I have two possible routes - the first working as an unqualified teacher but being paid whilst training on the job - the second doing a postgraduate course which is more expensive for me but allows me to train in a language specialism for young children. I'll see what is available at the time.

I've spoken to my dad and he's ok with me working at the uni over the summer (which will only bring in about £25 per week, so isn't much but I can give him half of my earning and still have enough to have a bit of a life) and using the rest of my time trying to get some targeted work experience in child care settings, just to make sure that teaching truly is the direction I want to take in the childcare sector - but I truly think it is, this is just to be certain!

Then, come September when the students return to uni I'll have much more work to do and be able to hopefully save some money up and start applying for teacher training. I feel good now I have a direction and one I am happy with... I'd become increasingly down and stressed with the pressure I was putting on myself to find a job but now I know I have a direction I can work towards productively I feel ok with only working 4 hours per week and using the rest to prepare for the future.

I'm not closing my mind to any other options that may come available, but I know I truly want to follow my heart in childcare and this makes more sense financially and career wise as well as making me hapy and peaceful so it is nice to have the direction, finally!

And on and end note... I have finished transferring my posts from Typepad to Blogger so this will be my last post on Typepad as well as Blogger... in future you can find me here.

Moving again and it feels good - originally posted 25th June

I've decided to move back to Blogger. As I've mentioned before I only moved to Typepad because it was easier to use professionally when I wanted to set up my business. Now I am going in a different direction and spending far less time online working on my image I feel no need to continue paying for the service Typepad offers - even though I do so love it!

I'm currently working on moving my posts over (or the good ones anyway LOL) so if you get an email saying I've posted something new on Blogger chances are I haven't - sorry about that!

In other news - I am feeling much better, which makes me think even more that my hormones have a lot to do with my emotions! But I also made an incredible change the other day - I realised I had been so miserable because I was trying too hard to be someone I wasn't.

Let me explain... I was quite blissfully unaware of my talents as a child - don't get me wrong I was aware I was clever but not how clever I was. Once it was pointed out to me how far I could go in life and perhaps on occasions how far a should go I began to stress about it all. I had to get top marks. I had to achieve great things. I had to do more than the next person. But at the same time as feeling this need I also felt a kind of guilt... why was I so lucky? Why did I find things so easy? So I self-sabotaged - a LOT. I would doubt my ability to really do things, always expecting to be found out to be a fake any minute. I didn't go for jobs I could do for fear of failure. It was a double edged sword... I thought I should do more so as not to waste my "gifts" yet I didn't want to because I didn't feel comfortable and didn't enjoy it.

I never wanted to leave my hometown and when I did I was terrified of returning for fear of becoming who I once was because I thought I was lazy and never achieved anything... I got swept away in the tide of achievement and pressure that exists in the academic world... it was shameful to me to return home and want a simple life. But do you know what? That's exactly what I wanted. That's who I am.

Last week something just flipped. I was feeling so incredibly low for the umpteenth time and I realised it wasn't worth it. I realised I was trying to be someone I'm not and I was making my life miserable as a result. I realised that I was depressing myself because when I thought about life and took away the achievements and the stresses there was nothing left - no life. I realised I had lost my identity and I wanted it back.

I have spent this past week doing simple things I love... I have watched films without feeling guilty about them not expanding my knowledge. I have begun to read novels for the sheer enjoyment rather than feeling guilty about not developing my language skills. I have even begun to crochet a baby blanket for my cousins' baby which is due any day now. I have never made anything so big... I have always been obsessed by the end product rather than enjoying the actual process... this time even though I completely screwed up and had to undo two whole lengths and start again I have enjoyed sitting and stitching every single stitch. I have, in fact, had the most enjoyable week in a LONG time. And I feel good!!

So this is why my business idea failed... I didn't want a business for me but because I thought it was another achievement. But deep down I knew it would take away the pleasure of making things. I had far too many projects on the go which had to be finished asap... now I'm trying to enjoy each moment... I don't doubt it's going to be hard sometimes 'cos I'm changing habits which are deeply set in my life. But on the whole I do feel good!

I have an interview tomorrow for a job at the hospital in the records department. It's not what I expected to want to do and it's scary going for another job but I'm also looking forward to starting afresh. Wish me luck!!

Hormones? - originally posted 18th June

Hmmm I wrote a really long post about hormones earlier - but I obviously deleted it by mistake. It's probably a good thing because it was written in the middle of a really bad day! I was in two minds as to whether I should post it anyway so perhaps I subconsciously forgot to save it...

I'm still not sure whether I should post this or not. I want this blog to be honest and open but I also know that this is a topic which not everybody is comfortable talking/reading about. So I'm gonna post it but if you don't like talking about gynaecological issues then stop reading now.

I have to register with a doctor tomorrow so that I can make an appointment to have my coil checked. I have a Mirena coil and have had since 2005. I don't use it for contraceptive purposes as I am still sexually inactive. I have it because I have Endometriosis and my periods used to be so bad that at best they would simply be irregular (even weekly at times) and painful and at worst; causing me to stay in bed for 3 days due to unbelievable pain that painkilliers made no dent in and had me begging God to stop it 'cos I didn't know how much more I could take; sickness and diarrhoea; and fevers that had me mixing reality and the book I had been reading into one blurred world. I would even dream I was in pain if ever I managed to sleep!! Basically after years of suffering and being told I was "young, healthy, not trying for children" and so there couldn't possibly be anything wrong with me and that "a bit of pain is normal for some women" and being made to feel like a total fool I refused to be brushed aside any longer, demanded an internal exam (oh yes, I'd been prescribed pill after pill from the age of 15 with not even an external exam!!) and exploratory surgery to check I didn't have Endo because both my Grandmother and mother had suffered from it, causing them both to have early hysterectomies. And when they did the surgery they found that yes I did have Endo and that my ovary was enlarged and it and my fallopian tube were immobile due to the Endo amongst other things.

Sorry, bit of history there, but it's important because I am going to try and talk to the doctor to see if perhaps my hormones could be the cause of my constantly changing mood swings. I can't find any reason for them or for why sometimes I feel fine and others I find life so difficult... I wouldn't say I'm truly depressed because I never lose hope I just don't know what to do with myself - it's like a bad case of PMS every so often. Of course I haven't had periods since 2005 and even before that they were completely irregular, so I have nothing to work out if this theory is correct or not... but I realised today that I started feeling like this when I started using contraceptive pills and devices to try and help with the pain and it has steadily worsened.

But I am worried about going to the doctor because I hate going - I always feel so small and like I am wasting their time - and come out feeling worse than when I went in. I hate suffering from something that some doctors still believe is "all in the mind" or something women should just "put up with".

I hope you don't mind me sharing this with you - it's just today has been one of my "low days" and I really needed to share it and get it out before I go to the doctors 'cos the last thing I want to do is cry whilst there!!

3 things - originally posted 17th June

This week ended with three notices for me:

1) I received a letter from BLISS (the premature baby charity) to inform me I hadn't made it through to interviews.

2) I received a letter from the hospital asking me to an interview for the post of clerical officer in the health records department on 26th June.

3) I received a phonecall from the WRVS (women's voluntary service) about volunteering at the hospital until I get a job and I am waiting to hear back from the project manager about going up to meet her and disucss what roles I can be involved in.

I'm still waiting to hear back from my application to be a Health Care Assistant in the maternity ward - but I think this week was very productive :o)

Midwifery anyone?? - originally posted 13th June


I've thought about midwifery on more than one occasion through the years. As a child the idea of birth fascinated me. As a teenager it developed into a keen interest through watching medical documentaries and studying child development for my GCSEs. I sometimes wonder why I never considered this route when I decided what to study at university. I guess it was because I always had my heart and sights set on becoming a teacher and once that went out the window I was so lost I just latched on to the first passion I had at the time - languages.

But as my degree came to an end I considered it once more... yet the thought of doing another 3 year course kinda repulsed me. So I considered doula work, but on a single income it just wasn't practical. So again I went for any job I could get out of desperation and I hated it! Then I got to the nursery and I loved it and knew I was meant to work not just with babies but their parents as well - it was just so natural for me.

Now I don't want to return to a nursery situation because the pay is poor and it is so rife with illnesses that the babies get and spread around that I quite like not being sick every couple of weeks!! And when I found that job at the maternity ward my heart leapt with excitement. I spoke to my dad about it and he agreed that he thinks it would be the perfect career for me and I wonder once again, if I knew this, why did I take the other paths earlier on? Perhaps it is a case of needing to experience what I don't enjoy to fully appreciate what I do, even when I have bad days? Or maybe the reason is one I will never fully understand...

But the question is now - do I seriously want to consider a change in career (not that I currently have a career to change, mind you!) If nothing comes of this job application I will be gutted and that realisation made me think maybe I should put more thought into the idea of retraining...

I opened the newpaper today to read an article on the shortage of midwives and the pressure they are under and it was almost like a sign - my dad said the very same thing! I believe quite strongly in receiving answers to your prayers like this - in the seeming coincidences! So is this a sign for me? However tough the work of a midwife is in theUK right now, am I passionate enough to disregard that and want to help new and expectant mothers so much that I would cope? I'm beginning to think I might be.

In response to the news article (which you can read here) the following was submitted to The Royal College of Midwives:

"There is no doubt that this Government has invested heavily in the NHS after decades of under-investment. However, maternity services have seen little of this investment, and too often maternity services are the last to get the investment and the first to suffer cuts.

"Our own survey of Heads of Midwifery last month showed that three quarters had seen an increase in the birthrate on their units, and over eighty per-cent did not have the staffing levels they needed to cope. Almost forty per-cent of midwives are set to retire over the next decade and not enough new ones are being trained to make up the shortfall. And all too often we are also seeing newly qualified midwives unable to get a job.

"We have seen too many service cuts, too many midwives lost, and too many mothers and babies getting a service that should shame the fourth richest country in the world. .

"The Government's own ambitions for an extra 3000 midwives by 2012 are being built upon very shaky foundations. Action is needed, and needed now, to put the resources and effort needed into maternity services. If that is not done I can only see women and babies getting a third class service in a country that can afford a first class one, and that is not acceptable."

Do I want to make a difference? You bet I do!! Right now I'm researching various roles within the maternity wards to see what options I have because although I have no doubt that three years of work is well worth being able to help women and babies I don't know if it's quite right for me at this time... what I do know though is that I don't want to ignore my heart's call and my inner sense of purpose any longer!

Update - originally posted 11th June

Geez I've come back with a bit of a vengeance, haven't I? lol

Just wanted to let you guys know that I have just applied for a job as a Health Support Worker in the local maternity ward and it looks good - so I'm still holding a good thought that of all these jobs that I keep finding related to children and babies in some way I will snag one of them for in my heart I know I won't be happy unless I am working in some way related to them!

Movement - originally posted 11th June


I happened to read my horoscope this morning and the last line was "any movement is better than inaction". Wow, that's exactly how I feel right now! I have this strange inability to do nothing... when I finished my final exams at uni I couldn't enjoy my summer break because I knew I had to find a job. When I left the nursery I couldn't settle 'cos I knew I had to find something to do so I didn't fall into a state of laziness. That is the problem, you see, I know myself and I know that the longer I'm doing nothing the harder it is for me to start doing anything again... I think it stems from my inordinate shyness ad lack of confidence - if I haven't done anything to prove to myself I can do it I will begin to doubt my ability!! Doing nothing then becomes far easier than starting something new!

Once I'm in something I am ok and I love being lazy at the weekends etc. Someone once mentioned to me that it is difficult to enjoy being lazy when you actually have nothing that you should be doing. I'll probably regret not having enjoyed my time a bit more when I don't seem to have any time lol but I think I'll regret it more if I waste my time.

So I'm thinking of asking a charity if they can give me some work to do until I find a job - at least that way I'll be kept busy and I can see if any of the charities need help in an area where I am lacking skills which might help me in future job applications - i.e. admin or helping to run a shop.

My dad suggested to me that I should sign on to an agency - which makes sense - but I don't know how I feel about working in temporary roles - I don't want it to be like my first day at work every few weeks 'cos I really hate the first few weeks of work when you don't know the routine or the people you're working with very well. But "ay movement is better than inaction"...

Anyway, I'm off to the library now to help my sister and I'll eventually be paid a few quid for that so yay to that!

Thank you - originally posted 9th June


I know, I know... my break wasn't very long - but I feel the need to share some of what is going on in my life with you guys - get it out so-to-speak. I also wanted to thank those of you who left such kind and thoughtful comments on my last post. I'm considering moving my blog back to Blogger or on to Worpress (if I ever figure out the editing function there!) but I have grown so fond of Typepad in my time here I can't quite bring myself to make the move definite yet, regardless of having to pay to be here!

I feel like I'm standing in the picture above, right now, seeing the path before me but not quite sure what lies beyond the trees - I suppose we're always in that state but right now it is rather dark and confusing where I am NOW as well. I wondered if you might be able to help me a bit with your thoughts on the matter - sometimes a fresh perspective on things is all I need to clear my mind after having spent weeks going over something enough that I can make a clearer decision.

I'm currently unemployed, as you all know, and living with my parents. When I came home I felt the pressure to get into a job asap - with comments coming at me such as "You shouldn't be out of work more than a month or people will start asking questions" and the like. Well I've been home double that length now and I have got a job but because of the nature of the work it won't start paying well until September.

Do you remember me writing about a support worker role at the University here? Well they have accepted my application and put me on their books. Unfortunately, as it is a student support role, there is no real work out of term time. I'm currently signed up as my sister's assistant but only for between 1 and 4 hours per week. The job will be perfect come September/October time when the students return and with roles which pay between £6 and £10 per hour with some home working I can hopefully, if I am careful, budget enough to cover the shorter holidays and try and do some tutoring or something in the longer ones.

But the question remains - is it ok to remain practically unemployed until September? I've been looking for seasonal work but there just isn't any - and I've tried applying for shop work before and they don't even give my application a second look once they see I'm a graduate - the two shops that did (a post office and John Lewis) told me they had too many concerns that they would spend time training me only for me to get bored and move on. Specsavers were different, they needed people they could train in optics, but I hated that job so much I wouldn't want to return. It's not that the job was bad, because it wasn't - I just didn't feel confident enough in all I had to do and try and learn whilst in an extremely busy enviornment!

I've applied for a couple of jobs, one even in London, and if I got them I would have to give up the work at the University. If it were the right job then I would feel ok about that, but I don't want to give up the opportunity to any old job. My plan at first was to spend the summer setting up a business and then work part time at the University - but it was stressing me out far too much and I don't feel it is the right time to do that. I then thought I should spend the summer working on my languages so that I can actually use them (or feel more confident using them) for tutoring or something - but I don't know if I'll ever be confident enough in them - 4 year at uni certainly didn't help that!!

The problem is I lack confidence in my abilities. Many people have told me outright they don't know how I have such a lack of self-confidence and self-worth because I am very lucky and talented and have succeeded at pretty much everything I have ever done. This doesn't mean I find everything I do easy - the only reason I achieve such standards is because I put everything I have into everything I do - but I am lucky in that my work nearly always results in high standards!

So I hated University because I always questioned my ability and right to be there (I didn't even get in with my grades but they took me anyway), I doubted my ability to cope at Specsavers and although I was good at my job spent the whole time stressed out! Once I got to the nursery, though, things changed. I was with babies, who I have always adored, and I never doubted my ability to do a fantastic job there. But I was always sick and always counting every last penny because of the pay - so it seems that the work isn't for me at this stage in my life... but that leaves the question, what is?

I guess what I'm really asking is - is it ok to spend the next 3 months with no real job in order to then work in a role I know I'll be good at but really has no job security (i.e. there have to be enough students wanting support to finance me enough to cover periods when they aren't there). I feel too guilty living at home rent-free, especially as my dad is stuck in a job which makes him ill with stress purely because it is the only job which pays enough for him to meet all the bills as neither my mum nor sister work due to health issues. I have no real reason not to be earning - so I should be out there bringing some money in!

Guess I answered my above question lol - are you confused yet? I tell you, my mind is such a mass of thoughts, this is why I need a fresh perspective!

One last thing - I have applied for a job at BLISS (the premature baby charity) which is a charity I feel really strongly about and have applied to work with them previously. It is a well paid job in London and I would like a chance to go in and show myself and others what I can do whilst making a real difference to the lives of babies and parents - so could you all hold me in your thoughts and prayers?

Thank you all for your support and listening to me ramble

It's goodbye for a while - originally posted 31st June

Following on from yesterday's post I have come to realise that something in my life has to give. I have been lucky in my life so far in that whatever I have tried and however much I have had to do at once I have succeeded... this has, however, given me false impressions of how much I can fit into my life...

I am exhausted, stressed and my health is getting nowhere fast. As I have no savings (having graduated less than a year ago) finding a job is of the utmost importance - I cannot expect my parents to support me indefinately... so my business venture and my languages and other hobbies were all being squeezed into the little space I had left. Unfortunately, they are the things which must go on the back-burner for the time being...

This is a time I need for me, for I do not even know who I am some days I am so used to qualifying myself by my achievements! I stepped down as admin on a forum in April in order to focus my time on this blog and my others and my business ideas... but now I realise I need the time rather than the pressure to succeed.

I have loved posting here and will continue to read your own blogs but for the time being I am cutting back my hours here in order to regain some time and energy in my life. I hope to be back sometime in the future but I will not promise anything. For the time being I will leave this blog public but I may change my mind in the future (especially as typepad costs!)

Empty - originally posted thirtieth June

I'm feeling very empty at the moment - lacking in direction and completely overwhelmed by all I have taken on.

I finished editing my sister's essay today - which is a relief - I am not looking forward to having to edit her 20,000 word dissertation when it took me this long to edit a 6,000 word one!! My room move and clear out is almost sorted and my new bed has arrived. All I have to do now is move my craft materials into a cupboard, finish rearranging my books and get the bed put together. My parents plan to do that this weekend when I head to Cambridge for the Strawberry Fair.

I am looking forward to going to Cambridge as it gives me a chance to pop in and see the babies again - but it is also hard because I have to look back at what I left behind. It also makes me evaluate what I have done since leaving. And where I am going to from here. And I realise I have no idea...

I have finalised my business idea - I will be producing handmade giftbooks with a small selectionn of poetry on various subjects - I am excited about this but I am also worried that it will fall into oblivion because I don't have the time to devote to getting it up and running whilst looking for anothher job and, if I am successful, having a new job... I've had 2 jobs in the past year and each time the first month or two has exhausted me - as all changes do! I am struggling to fit everything in and do everything that is required of me and that I have agreed to do even now - and I don't have a job yet...

I know I am worrying about the future and that is pointless - but it is stressing me out somewhat - and I feel myself getting closer and closer to being so overwhelmed that I fall into that depressed sttate once again - and I do not want that... things were going so well I don't know what I am doing but I am sure I am self-sabotaging my chances somewhere...

I need to prioritise but not knowing my direction I can't find a focus for my priority so a good thought would be much appreciated right now.

Sorry to have posted such a moany post - it's just been one of those weeks! We'll be back to more positive posts when I return from my weekend away!

Have a lovely weekend, all
Amanda xx

More bitter than coffee - originally posted 21st May


I've been moving my poetry this evening from scraps of paper and the backs of envelopes to my hard drive to make it easier for myself when I take my business venture forwards (it's getting there). I'm not sure how much I have mentioned on here but I spent the most part of 2001 to the very beginning of 2007 extremely depressed. I would have happy lulls but on the whole I found life really hard and occasionally cried so hard I thought I might break.

I was very lucky to have amazing friends around me and a family who, although we may have rather large disputes, love me all the same. I also had my faith which never faltered - not once! This love and compassion I was offered and the faith that got me through was suddenly shown to me once more this evening as I found two poems written just days apart. I felt like sharing them with you.


More bitter than coffee (written 19/08/06)

I woke up this morning
with a tear in my eye
and my breath caught in my throat

Doubts and fears all flooded in
to fill my heart
So heavy, it struggled to beat

Hows and whys accompanied me to breakfast
holding conversation with my heart
more bitter than the coffee in my hand

The day was grey, though the sun shined
as I grabbed my coat and keys
and surrended to another day

And all I could do
was hope
That today would be better than the last.


You stood by my side (written 30/08/06)

From the depths of despair
to the heights of emotion
I came,
following your voice
through a myriad of feelings
to find my centre once more.
You stood by my side
whispering sweet words
that softened the blows
as they came one by one
to test me.
The strength and courage
I found
were just a tiny flicker
in my soul
yet you, with your ever-seeing eyes
saw them and nurtured their flame
until one day
I saw them too.
Sometimes no words were spoken
yet my heart vibrated
with the sound of your love.
And now I am here
offering you these words
as my soul begins to sing
once more.

For all you have done
and all you have been
this song will continue

I'd like to thank each and every one of you whose blogs inspire me to live my dream and whose kind words make my day so bright! You are all such amazing women and I feel blessed to have come across you all!

Have a lovely week
Amanda xx

Yay for Tagging - originally posted 16th May

Thank you Victoria for the tag ;o)

Although I asked to be tagged when it actually happened I found I really didn't know what I would write - you'd have thought I'd have been planning my answers from the start, wouldn't you?! I'm weird like that - you know!!

So, when I saw I had been tagged, I set my sister to thinking what the definitive 7 weird things about me are - which you'd think would be quite simple - seeing as how weird (and wonderful) I can be... not so! As my sister put it "I'm so used to your weird ways that I just don't notice them anymore!!

But, eventually I worked out which 7 things to share with you all - and here they are:


1. I have an overactive imagination - chances are if you could read my thoughts at any one moment you would find a story going on! I love to people watch and imagine what is happening in people's lives. I can't help but give my teddies, animals, even flowers personalities. I see faces in woodwork and faeries in the garden and if you choose your words carefully I might find some hilarious connection between them - although whether said connection is funny or not tends to depend on the person as I have a rather quirky sense of humour!

Just the other day my sister was editing her essay and meant to type relationships and actually typed relationions. I immediately lost the plot and started going on about two little onions, one with a pink bow in her hair and one with a bow tie courting each other at the local fun-fair! Later she mentioned her aches had aches and a little image formed in my head of little green blobs with close-set, tiny eyes peering out from under a mass of unruly brown hair!! It's a laugh a minute in my head ;o)


2. Cellos and certain words really turn me on - forget all the normal turn-ons - play me the deep, sultry notes of the lower scales of a cello or let me say the luscious, silky tones of a foreign language and bubbles of excitement form deep in my stomach! I cannot help it - I'm a complete language freak - and when I finally discovered how to roll my rs (something I thought I was completely unable to do) I spent every chance I had to practise!


3. I love to iron and clean but I absolutely detest tidying-up and dusting - there is something uniquely therapeutic about ironing away the creases or wiping a surface clean but I just never seem to find myself able to keep a place tidy or spare the time to take everything off a shelf to throroughly dust it - I just always seem to find something else to do. My mum is a tidy-freak and used to even go into my room when I was a teenager and tidy up which annoyed the hell out of me!! I might not be tidy by anyone else's standards - and this even bugs me at times - but I am clean and I do have my own system of doing things. When somebody changes that to the "logical" way of doing things it completely throws me! I also get extremely antsy about personal space!! Funnily enough, I don't mind tidying up when I am at work or in someone's else's house - it's just my own space I am terrible at keeping organised!

4. I really want to have a "retired cow" when I am older. However much I know this would not benefit me or the environment much, I cannot help but want to give a cow that is too old for milking a field of grass to live the rest of her days in happy, peaceful company of a goat and some chickens :o)


5. I am not a very good cook - I have an obsession with use-by dates and hate cooking meat and eggs in case I poison someone! This comes from a phobia of vomiting and eating which developed when I was 9 and escalated until I was so underweight I was referred to the hospital. Although it no longer rules my life I still have issues with it all - and I used to feel like an awful friend and feared I'd make a terrible mother because I couldn't stand being around people who are throwing up. It's not just a dislike of it - it's a full on phobia - but one I have started to overcome through sheer determination and working in a nursery where within the first two days of being there I was throwing up with a stomach bug!!


6. I dislike alcohol and absolutely detest nightclubs - you can tell I made an excellent student LOL. My landlady in Russia did not understand this at all! I am about the only person on my dad's side of the family that doesn't drink - mostly because I hate the effects - it makes me very sleepy very quickly and I have been hungover a couple of times and I sincerely do not wish to repeat the experience! If I did like alcohol I would probably be an alcoholic though because I have an addictive nature to things I really love - like chocolate! Although I am very particular and it has to be Green and Black's chocolate ;o) Anything else I will eat but really not enjoy - so if I were a drinker I'd be a vintage wine snob I think!!


7. I can't cry in front of people - not even those I am very close to. I have trouble trusting others enough to let myself be so vulnerable. This stems from a lack of self-worth and self-esteem. I got used to hiding my tears and vulnerabilites from a very young age and it is so firmly rooted now that I am rarely unguarded when it comes to my emotions - but I'm working on it!

Oh, keeping it down to 7 weird things was hard - I hope I haven't bored you and that they were weird enough for you all!!

Let's celebrate - originally posted 14th May


I have so much to celebrate and be thankful for right now...

As of Saturday I am officially out of debt!! I cannot tell you how much of a relief this is and it helps to make me feel better about leaving the nursery - when I left I was over £1,000 in debt - all because of things like my rent going out before I got paid each month and the cost of living in Cambridge etc etc - just by coming home and getting my deposit on the house back etc etc I have cleared that £1,000 in less than a month!!


I have also just applied for a job which is perfect for me and I think I have a very good chance of getting it!! There is a company who recruit Support Workers for the University here. My sister has assistants due to her physical difficulties and she told was the one who suggested I apply. I have, to date, worked with disabled teenagers, elderly residents in a care home and babies - my track record in care/support work is extensive, covering all ages and all kinds of dependencies from supporting those with severe physical disabilities to those with learning disabilities - I feel very confident about my application and can imagine myself enjoying the role!!


There is, of course, another advantage to this job too - the ability to pick and choose the hours you work!! This flexibility is crucial right now, allowing me, I hope, to continue with my business ideas whilst bringing in a steady income. The job also pays an awful lot more per hour than most care work - something I never thought I would come across!!


Having said that - I have to draw this post to a close - my sister wants help carrying books to and from the library ;o)

Have a lovely day x

Fabrics Galore - originally posted 8th May

I have had the most exciting couple of days!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon unstitching the following items of clothing:


However exciting new fabric is I cannot help but feel even more excited by the prospect of taking something old and turning it into something new! Last summer I found these gorgeous items in the charity shops and I finally found the time to pull them apart and store the different fabrics, buttons, laces etc ready for crafts :o)

I also knocked together a prototype of a butterfly I had in mind - however my sister told me it was too pointy and didn't look like a butterfly at all :o(

It's a little rough still - as I didn't get it finished - but, what do you guys think? Be honest!!


(I think I seriously need to figure this camera out to get better pictures!!)

I then went into town today to book my table at the university jumble sale on Friday - I'm hoping to finally clear some of the many books I have boxed up ready for new homes! And as I was in town and still have a fair bit of birthday money left to spend I went to the local craft store - and guess what I found there...



Hmmmmm - I wonder what I'll make with those!! I have some ideas - so keep your eyes peeled for updates!!

Royalty in the Garden - originally posted 6th May

Since coming home I have been greeted each morning by something new and beautiful in my parents' garden.

The lilac tree which smells so sweet


The clematis which gets bigger every year


The peonies, behind which I used to hide (I was much smaller then!)


And the daises who smile up at me like old friends


But the ones I want to share with you today are the Iris flowers that stand so regally in our garden.



Irises have always captured a place in my heart and when I decided to paint a vase for my mum's Christmas present a couple of years ago I turned to them for inspiration


And as I begin to look for new ideas for my first collection of crafts in my business I turned once again to the Iris... I won't give the whole secret away (especially as I haven't decided yet if this particular item will make the final cut) but as I am sharing the garden with you I thought I'd share my "Ode to an Iris"

Within your heart I see the thrones
of Kings whose lives are etched in stone,
Yet here, today, you stand by me
O Iris, how I bow to thee!

Have a wonderful week, all!

p.s. sorry about the quality of some of the pictures and the date on them all - I have borrowed my sister's camera and haven't yet worked out how to use it successfully!!

A sense of sisterhood - originally posted 4th May

I'm currently reading my way through Heaven and Hearth which is a glorious book full of old folk lore split into each month of the year. Today I began to read May's entry and found this wonderful paragraph:

"A sense of sisterhood and female camaraderie was essential in the days when every woman was her family's household manager, gardener, cook, pharmacologist and physician. With the late spring garden burgeoning with useful culinary, household and medicinal plants for stews and simples, and a huge harvest to come in the ripe summer months, it was essential on top of everyday chores to cleanse containers and bottles in the stillroom and pantry, and dry early herbs and flowers on hanging racks and (for delicate flower-heads) custom-built airing trays in a dark, dry corner.

It was common practise for women to help each other with these tasks, for the workload was enormous and the botany involved in picking and sowing seeds and plants at the astologically correct time highly complex."

(page 77)

I can't help but see a sort of resurrection of this "sense of sisterhood" in today's blogland! All the wonderful blogs I have visited of women living the homemaker's life, setting up a business with feminine values and all supporting one another with grace and gratitude. It inspires me so much!

And it reminds me of all my female friends who have supported and helped me in these past few years to grow into the woman I want to be. (Which also gives me an excuse to post old photos I have stored on my computer! If you didn't already know my camera ist kaputt! and until I manage to find my sister's to "borrow" it my blog will be fairly photo-free and boring!)

So, here are a few of those wonderful women and girls who have made my life so blessed by their very presence alone!


This is Maria, who looked after me during my first summer camp at Woodlarks. She inspired me to write so many wonderful stories and still contines to contact me. Her Nan and my mum became firm penpals and tonight are meeting for the first time (and I'm going with!!) It was also the wonderful girls at Woodlarks who showed me that caring for others is something I enjoy so much and am very, very good at and my experiences there gave my the confidence to work in a care home in Germany!


These are the girls who got me through Russia - three of the hardest and darkest months of my life (not because it was Russia but because Russia showed me parts of myself I really hated and had to deal with!) The girl in blue and the one in orange with the pink hat were absolute stars!


This is the wonderful lady who both presented me with such a beautiful song to write lyrics to and who also dedicated a story to me in her recently published poetry book! Her music and my lyrics (to the song Birth of the Four Winds) can be found here


And THESE special women have all had massive impacts in my life the past couple of years. The lady on the right is an American woman who asked me to help her run a new forum online when an old one was closing. She trusted me so much and showed me how much I could achieve. I recently stepped down from my role as admin but my year or so acting as such taught me so much - mostly about the importance of trusting others and giving others the power to rule themselves (our board has no strict rules but it works!)

The lady in green is like my second mummy! She has supported me and also challenged me in ways nobody else ever has. She has told me like it is and made me really look at myself and who I am and who I want to be. It has been hard - but it has all been done with the utmost love and respect and I couldn't have asked for a more honest relationship if I tried.

The other "shortie" in the picture is my dear friend from Switzerland. She showed me how good my German really is (as opposed to the university who told me it was rubbish) and built my confidence up again. She also took the step of selling on eBay with me, so I wasn't alone!


These final three ladies are just so gorgeous I cannot tell you! I never got to meet the one in black - this was at one of her "gigs" with her daughter. The one on the right and the one in the background gave me so many fits of giggles in our 4 days together that I thought I might burst!! I also received the most beautiful present, hand-crafted by the one in the background, and I so wish my camera worked so I could show you!

I also wish I could show you piccies of all the other wonderful women in my life - of which there are plenty - and I do promise to get a working camera in my hands soon! I promise - I do, I do, I do!!!

These women have all shown me such love and compassion and many of them I met online - how wonderful it is that we can meet and build such amazing communities with people from all over the world! I do find the land of bloggers so very inspiring and I hope to meet many more people to add to my list of "sisterhood"!

Russian Art - originally posted 1st May

My clearing out it about half way through - I now have to sort through the boxes of things to go and order them into things for charity, family and things to sell (i.e. books). I also have my boxes of coursework from uni to sort through and to streamline my collection of toiletries LOL

My mum has offered to swap rooms with me so that I have more space to have a table up permanently for my craft work - seriously, even after clearing out half of my belongings I still didn't have room to fit them in the room I am currently in!! But this, of course, means even more re-arranging *sigh*

Hopefully, in the next few days, I'll be able to finally start making some prototypes of my designs and see if they work :o)

This nearing of my clearing project got me to thinking about the things I have made in the past - the cross stitch kits I designed for my Design and Technology GCSE, the artwork I did for my art GCSE all those years ago, and most importantly - the trinket box and cheeseboard I painted in Russia!!

Though an incredibly difficult time for me, I learnt an awful lot in Russia, including how to paint effectively on wood! I'm nowhere near achieving the standard of work I saw whilst over there but I am very proud of what I did achieve.

Here is a picture of my cheeseboard - my first attempt at painting on wood. With the helpful instruction of my Russian tutor I learnt about the best way to design and then paint what I wanted to. She was very impressed with my work and thought I had painted before - I had, but not on wood LOL


I painted a second piece - based on the design of the following church in Yaroslavl'. Unfortunately I don't have a photo of it just yet! This little box has had all sorts of "unfortunatelys" attributed to it - the biggest one being that due to the varnish being put on too close to our flight home the lid is now "unfortunately" well and truly stuck on to the base! It is now just a showpiece in my parents' living room!


We had a great time creating our own "art" on the coast of the Black Sea during out two week break whilst there too. After spending 40 hours on a train (see the picture below to see our seating/sleeping arrangements!) we arrived at our destination to find a very stoney beach!


The stones were great for making pictures and statues:




We even made a short film of my friend knocking the statue down by throwing other stones at it - we decided it was worthy of a modern art prize - the downfall of society portrayed in stone - or something to that effect! Perhaps the sea air got to us LOL

Or maybe it was simply being able to sit at night listening to the waves pounding and watching the sun go down - Ahhhh!


p.s. sorry about the quality of the photos - I can't find the disk with my original files on so had to scan the prints!

Research - originally posted thirtieth April

Ack - I don't know where to start!

I've been thinking about selling my writing in various ways for a couple of years now. It seems that people love sending those little gifts with poems/phrases on and everyone I have met (from my old school teachers, through friends and family to random people online) have all suggested I should use my writing more professionally. So, I finally decided to try and incorporate my writing and crafts to make something sellable.

My problem is getting my ideas (of which I have plenty) through the market research and all the legalities of setting up a business, registering it, sorting out tax etc etc... I've looked at the businss link website and am working my way through the information there. Unfortunately, they don't have an office in my hometown so the best I can do is ask them for a callback. I've also looked on Shell Livewire and various other business websites. I think fear of getting it wrong and doing it alone is a major block for me.

So far I have some designs I need to make prototypes of. I am planning on writing a questionnaire (though haven't yet worked out a wide audience to offer it to), need to sit down and write a business plan and also need to work out time frames.

I've tried to be responsible and asked my dad for a set amount I need to bring in to pay rent etc (i.e. how much rent would he be happy receiving). But the response I got was "we'll think about it" and no further answer. Yet last night he said I need to start looking for a job, because this won't bring me success overnight and that if I'm out of work for more than a month people will start to question why.

I know this isn't gonna happen overnight - but I just can't help but worry that if I go into a job again straight away I won't get any further because the jobs I have had so far have asked so much of me I haven't had any energy left in my free time to do much more than sleep. I tried applying for jobs in shops etc - but they didn't want me because as a graduate they thought I was far too over-qualified and didn't even consider asking me for interviews for the most-part. All the jobs that do consider graduates expect a lot. Even the nursery, where I didn't need to be qualified, was really demanding.

I'm not asking to stay out of work - I just don't know how to balance work and setting up a business. I considered using my languages to teach independently - and although this would be good for me and there is a big market for it, there is an awful lot of research, planning etc to put into it and I don't want to take up my free time like that.

I'm a little confused right now and struggling to see the way forward step-by-step which is what I need. Today is a day of trying to work out a structure and work out how much I can put into this venture... after all, I may be single and free of many responsibilities - but I still don't want to take advantage of being home and not bring in any money.

Birthday Surprises - originally published 28th April

It's my birthday today and I got some wonderful surprises...

My parents, knowing how much I am getting rid of, decided to buy me something really useful and gave me three beautiful pine photoframes for use with my business venture! They also gave me £20 which goes with the other £45 I got from various people to help buy some more equipment :o)

Add that to the wadding, new cotton yarn and various other bits and bobs my Grandma treated me to yesterday and I have plenty of resources to get going with this new stage of my life! I am still clearing out, but my room is starting to look more like a room and less like a bomb-site all the time hehe

My sister has just asked me if I want to go do something today - so I'm considering what we could do... it is such a glorious day I would normally suggest a walk. However, my sister is unable to walk long distances, so I need to be a bit inventive ;o)

It's a wonderful day and I hope you all enjoy it completely!

Clear Out - originally published 24th April

I've spent the day listing books on eBay, sorting through my wardrobe and making one pile to keep and one pile to give to charity, and going through piles of paperwork. Phew - I am tired - and my room is a complete mess!!

It was funny looking through some of the stuff I had kept. I am the world's best/worst hoarder, you see, and I have letters from penpals from 10 years ago, old school work, receipts etc etc. I've started organising - there are now two or three files full of tickets, leaflets, photos etc from my travels which I am gonna try scrapbooking which should be fun. All other photos are going into a nice box. I'm only keep select coursework from university. I'm giving away my surplus foreign magazines/books and only keeping those I think I might use if I do decide to start teaching languages. And other things I have kept for purely sentimental reasons but really do not need to be kept are being thrown away. I am making space for the present and future and trying to hold on to only those memories that really deserve to be treasured for years to come - like my visits abroad.

I can't wait until everything is sorted. I feel as if this all needs to be done and order needs to be restored before I can really move forward - it's a time of change and what better time to make changes in all areas of my life. It feels good - but there's a long way to go yet!

Home - originally published 23rd April

It's strange being home. I haven't lived here for about 5 years. At one point I never thought I would leave my hometown - terribly timid and unable to do anything for myself, moving out of Lincoln never really entered my mind as a likely event. Then, after settling in at university, the idea of coming back filled me with more dread than never leaving ever did.

I'm ok with being back - it allows me to build bridges - but it is weird nonetheless. I worked so hard to get to where I was and it feels a bit like going back to square one. Leaving Cambridge is ok, I was unhappy with the way my life was going, constantly worrying about my finances etc. But leaving the nursery was so hard - so very hard!

Currently I am trying to sort out things at home and my dad keeps telling me to give myself time, something I am very hard at. I want to get going again - yet I am so exhausted I seem to have done nothing but sleep since coming home. This is a time of processing and meditating on exactly which direction to go in next. This is just a temporary measure, to sort my finances out and so whatever I do I want to be preparation for moving away again.

I have my ideas of what I want to do but keep being distracted by others' opinions. I want to be responsible about this, but I also don't want to restrict myself to what others think I should do. I have asked my dad to sit down with me and work out a minimum amount he thinks I should be bringing in per month to help me set out a plan.

Apparently there is a government initiative which brings in independent people to teach language classes and things in primary schools or something similar. My sister's friend is a primary teacher so I am going to talk to her about it. There is also a 6-week long work-experience initiative happening here soon, where graduates get paid a decent wage per day to teach in schools and get a taster of what it's like. My heart really doesn't seem to want to do that as I had felt if I were going to leave the nursery I would be going to do my own thing... I need to think some more...