Friday, 29 November 2013

First Week

Although it's early Friday morning I have already finished the first week in my new job. 
Today is an inset day and we are going in for staff training so it won't be a normal day.
But just what is a normal work day for me now?
 Incredibly busy for a start!
My head has been spinning all week and even though I am tired I haven't been sleeping well. There is so much to take in, as there always is with a new job.
It's very different to my old job, although that was busy too, this is a different kind of busy.
If I'm being honest I have to admit I'm not coping well with being the new person who knows nothing. In my last job I was the one people asked when they needed help. 
G says I am a bit of a control freak (tell me something I didn't know!) and I need to try and relax over the not knowing and just accept I will make mistakes and I can't learn a whole new job in one week.

I haven't been near my camera since Sunday and so the only photos I have to share whist I update my week are from our little walk around the park after we had been to a craft fair in search of Christmas presents.
I'm so glad G came with me as he was able to choose the gifts we are giving his mum and sister this year.

The park looked beautiful, lots of browns and golds.

As well as busy afternoons at work most evenings have had something happening too.
Monday was my sister's birthday so there was a visit to her for chatting, cake and presents.
Tuesday G and I went to see Russell Brand.
He does like to roam around the audience and I was only four people away from him at one point.
He is completely outrageous at times.
 He is incredibly articulate at times.
He is utterly mesmerising all the time.

Wednesday was quieter and a bit of this months book club book was read.
Last night G was at T's school for parents evening whilst I went to S's school for a meeting about a residential school trip she is going on early next year.
G heard the same things about T as we have heard before, if he pushed himself a bit more he could accomplish so much more. They all say he is polite (and quick to apologise if he isn't!) but with his options coming up he needs to step it up a bit.
S's trip sounds like it's going to be huge fun. A three day WW2 evacuee themed trip away in the middle of the Dorset countryside, exciting stuff.

Even though I love the golden tones of the autumn trees I do like the stark look of the bird and the sky in this photo.

Happy days.

There was also an extra nice surprise in the middle of the week when I had a visit from Clare. It was so lovely to see her again. 
And look what she bought with her. 
A present for me.
Made by her own fair hand.
The prettiest star garland to adorn the dresser in the dining room.
Clare makes the most gorgeous quilts and if you haven't discovered her blog then pop over and prepare for a feast for the eyes.
Thank you for my garland Clare, you are a star and I love it.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Bottom Half

One day last week I loaded up my shopping trolley with another batch of items from our home we no longer needed and trundled off to the charity shop.
I very nearly got out without making a purchase but the colours in this Marks and Spencer skirt caught my attention as I cast my eye over the clothes racks as I was leaving.
I liked it even more when I looked at the price tag and saw that it had been reduced to £2.00.
When I was little we always had a new outfit to wear Christmas day and it's still something I like to do.
I particularly like the velvet green ribbon and would love to find a top this shade to go with it.

I've been lucky enough to have a couple of little jaunts out Christmas shopping during my time off and am very nearly finished with my gift buying. I am planning on sharing a couple of my favourite present ideas soon, but now I'm off to have a cuppa and enjoy my first festive bakewell tart. 

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


It's time for another one of those catch up posts.
 All the things we've been doing recently, big and small, in a round up to bring this online diary up to date, starting with S.
During the first week back after half term S went to a Halloween disco at school. Fancy dress was optional and S decided to combine her spider web head dress with her favourite black and white party dress. Best of all she loved her star patterned tights.

S was nominated as Super Star of the week on Friday. Her teacher wrote this about her.
S has been a wonderfully kind, thoughtful and grown up member of 4HM since day one. She always works hard and is often finishing quickly, ready to challenge herself with the next task. She listens to every instruction and carries it out without a fuss to the best of her ability. Sge tries her best to include everything that has been taught in her work, even when it is a little bit tricky. S is an example to all and a lovely person to have around. Well done S for being wonderful:)
We are so very proud of her.

The same day S had her disco T had an off timetable day at school and the activities included baking cakes which he shared with us and were quite delish.

He was invited round to a friend's house to watch a Halloween light display, five or six songs were linked to a light show featuring singing skulls. Apparently the family do this each day to raise money for charity. 

It's not often T finds anything with his name on, so when he spotted this on a recent shopping trip I bought it for him. It was such a happy coincidence his birth family chose the same name as my dad, I love that they share that.
The biggest event for T is his recent two day school trip to Ypres.
The coach left at 5.30 on Thursday morning and they arrived home again at 7.30 Friday evening. It was a full on two days with visits to two cemeteries, museums, the Menin Gate and a chocolate shop. He was so tired but when he said to me in the car on the way home 'mum, it was really, really good' I could hear how much he had enjoyed it in those few words.

Last week flew by for me. I met friends in town for coffee and a catch up, I did some Christmas shopping, G and I had a day off together and I went into the school where I'll be working for a tour around the building and an introduction to the staff.
On Thursday evening me, G  and S went into town as the Christmas lights in one of the shopping centres were being switched on. In a very happy coincidence we bumped into friends of ours who have recently become adoptive parents and whilst we sat and chatted with tea and mince pies the girls sat together watching a Punch and Judy show.

It was lovely watching their faces when the lights went on and thousands of pieces of foil paper was released to shower down on us.

Saturday S and I went to a Christmas fair held at the City College. It's situated right next door to St. Mary's church, which is where our City's football team got it's name from.
There was a lovely festive feeling at the fair as we shopped to a local music society singing I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. I will show what I bought another time.

And last but by no means least, here we have G's mum on Sunday opening her birthday card from G and finding out he is taking her to the Queen's Gallery at Buckingham Palace and then on for afternoon tea at the Hilton. Well it had to be a special present as it was her 80th birthday.
Grandma was wonderfully generous and took 17 close family and friends out for a delicious 4 course meal at the Grasmere Hotel. She wanted to celebrate her day with those important to her and those who have helped her through a very hard year since she Grandad passed away last December.It was truly a day to remember with good food and very good company.

Monday, 11 November 2013


We decided Saturday evening that with a dry day forecast for Sunday we wanted to go for a walk of some kind the next day. There was so much rain on Saturday we also decided we didn't want to be going somewhere where we would be squelching our way round in wellies. 
Combine this with the fact that G wanted to look for a present for his mum's birthday next week I got my thinking cap on (well had a quick search online) and found that a craft and gift fair was being held at Whiteley shopping centre. 
Whiteley is a relatively new housing development, before being built on the area was farmland and coppices. There is still a lot of open space around and hopefully we'll go back in the better weather to explore it a bit further.

Just 30 minutes after leaving the station and wandering along the prettily named Strawberry Track

and stopping for a brief sit down on this unusually carved seat

we arrived at the shopping centre. We found presents for G's mum quite quickly and I found a few Christmas presents too.
We also found some very cute little sculptures by some of the seating.
Not sure what these creatures are (apart from S that is!)

but this is definitely a super sweet hare.

S asked if we could stop off at the playground on the way back to the station, she is nearly as long as the duck face slide!

I wanted to share a couple of things I bought which I was really, really pleased with.
First up a set of advent pegs from Tiger. 
I'm planning on making a list of things to do each day leading up to Christmas and these will be ideal for hanging up the envelopes containing each day's activity.
The list is things such as an activity to do together, or a craft, or a random act of kindness.

I was very excited when I saw these garden stakes, I couldn't decide which ones to buy. I wandered around, rang my sister for advice and wandered round a bit more. In fact I took so long to make up my mind the chap selling them pulled my leg by saying they had had a price increase since I first starting looking!
This first robin has got a rusty finish to it

and this one is a traditional robin red breast.
At only £5.00 each I thought they were excellent value and I bought one for us and more for presents.

Back home we sorted out our purchases and then I settled down to finish off a jigsaw I had started on Friday evening.
I'm glad I've done this as that means I can take it to the charity shop when I go tomorrow, along with the other four carrier bags of clothes and odds and ends I've sorted out. Where does it all come from?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

All Change

Something momentous happened yesterday.
I left my job of 21 years.
I don't actually stop being a civil servant until 24th November but yesterday was my last day in the office and I'm now on leave.

A few weeks ago I mentioned I wasn't happy at work and once I'd had a good whinge and got it off my chest I started to apply for a variety of different jobs.
There was one job amongst them all which I really, really wanted and I hardly dared hope that I would get an interview.

As it turned out not only did I get an interview (the very afternoon after I had been interviewed in the morning) they rang me and offered me the job.
I was speechless. I was thrilled. I was so happy. I cried.

My new job will be working in a school office.
 So close by I can walk, no more dashing off to the train station. 
I will be working every afternoon.
There will be time in the mornings to do all the stuff that needs doing and then maybe some time to do something I want to do.
I will be home during all the school holidays.
I consider myself to be very, very fortunate indeed.

When I got to work yesterday I popped along to see the work colleagues from my old section and took them a box of chocolate biscuits to say cheerio. We had a little chat, they wished me well and when things started to get a bit tearful I quickly waved goodbye and scurried back to my desk.
I find saying goodbye very difficult and am always very emotional at times like this.

Not long afterwards I was packing things away from inside my desk when I looked up to see them all walking towards me en masse, along with my current colleagues. They were all there as my former boss was going to say a few words and present me with some presents.
I wasn't expecting this at all.
It was too much. I buckled being the complete emotional wreck I am and spent the next I don't know how long sobbing. 
Tissues were quickly found and passed to me to wipe my eyes and blow my nose.
What a mess I must have looked. 
I could hardly speak I was so overwhelmed.
When I eventually pulled myself together I thanked them and told them not to say anything nice to me as that would just set me off again!

My former boss, who is also a friend, had been to the Country Living Christmas fair at the weekend and she had been in charge of buying my leaving presents.
I was so thrilled when I opened this haul of Rusty the Fox goodies, pencil pot, plasters, baking label set, lunch box and flask.

Plus the most beautiful cup and saucer decorated with white birds. I haven't looked him up on the internet but the chap who makes these is based on the Isle of Wight and he was voted best newcomer to the show, or so I am told.

I felt exhausted yesterday evening and yet I woke up at 3.30 ths morning and couldn't get back to sleep again.
I have such a mixed bag of emotions inside me right now.
Leaving after so long was hard to do. I have so very many happy memories, but these past two years haven't been the easiest and the time was right to go.