Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.

Monday, 21 December 2015

For the princely sum of £100 - Santa's coming!

So I took my £100 voucher and sorted gifts from the big man for our boys. I lucked out at Debenhams toy sale and managed to get...

As the main gifts for my two and some other little bits and pieces. I got a Dior lipgloss for my 11 year old niece and a batman egg cup and toast cutters...
There were some pound shop purchases to round off but overall have to say I am chuffed with my gifts. This plus the recycled gifts for the mother in law (Spiced Winter Berry reed diffuser), sister in law (candles), great uncle and aunt (marks and spencer chocolates) and my nanna (more Marks and spencer chocolates) means I have pretty much everyone covered. I got the brother in law and hubbie a Nivea shave set along with the niece a cute Fifi Lapin manicure set on their 3 for 2. 
My family will get some salt dough decorations the boys made - frankly I don't have a penny left and its largely their fault so hey ho - homemade and wholesome it is. 
I feel like I can settle into Christmas a little - just got to keep a real tight reign on the finances to ensure everything gets paid this month! 
Got some more fabulous news from freegle and am off to collect some curtains tonight! Heres hoping they are big enough! 

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Christmas at last!!!

I can't believe my last blog post was about having faith. I did - it came off already! Today I arrived in school and my beautiful children gave me a card where all of the parents had clubbed together and got me a £100 high street voucher. Now my other schools were both very different - they were both in deprived areas and I certainly received a lot of love from the kids but nothing like this! I couldn't help it - I cried a little. My boys will have presents from Santa after all!!!! 
Im overwhelmed by their generosity - although not in a deprived area they are far from wealthy and the level of organisation and sacrifice on each of their parts it must have taken has completely taken me aback. I also received some truly beautiful Bombki Christmas ornaments which I couldn't have even dreamed of owning. I have a thing about Christmas ornaments and have collected small ones for every year. They are like little memories hanging out for all to see. Far better then a photo they glisten and glow at Christmas full of the memories of Christmas past and living in the memory of the present. These delicate beautiful shepherds are so poignant right now to my life - the shepherds who had nothing were chosen by and trusted in God and wonderful things happened as a result. They looked to the star and knew there was something better out there for them. They were rewarded with the most amazing lives, blessed by the child and Gods love. A more perfect hope I couldn't wish to have. And now I get to look at that perfect hope hanging alongside the silver star I got for my son 6 years ago for his first Christmas and the gingerbread man I added for my youngest this year. 
I also got amazing candles, smellies and chocolate - I would love to keep these but in reality the candles would make a perfect gift for my SIL the room fragrance which is amazing will go to the MIL - another year I will luxuriate in these gifts for myself - this year I will luxuriate in being able to give.  Absolutely overwhelmed with emotion and love - so totally bowled over by their generosity. Its made me feel resolute to keep the faith in what I believe to be the right thing and I know everything will get better. Everything is going to be amazing. 

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Do unto others

So this is a weird title for my post but it relates to my job. So whilst struggling to afford food and Christmas presents for my children in work I am still a teacher and as such am expected to throw a class party for the kids, give them a small gift to take home and put in for gifts for other teachers. I have no idea how to say I can't afford it so I have taken on the - do to others as they do to you point of view. Just as I changed up my change jar to go to the pound shop to get candy canes and bought en masse the chocolate santa lollies (10 for a pound) for my class as gifts I know my oldests teacher will do the same. I gave into the collections the standard £5 for each teacher leaving (x2) and put in for the office and headteacher gifts collection because I can't let these people down - I am relying on the fact that they won't let me down either. Should I really need it I know I could turn to my TA and she would gladly take me and my family in for Christmas (I don't need to - I have the MIL for that! lol) but you get the idea. I'm finding me and my values again and didn't realise how much of a knock they had taken recently. Today I organised my class party - I went and spent every penny of the £15 they sent in and the rest of my change from my change jar. The wonderful job I have gives me the opportunity to give these kids lasting memories of Christmas at primary school and I have a duty to make it amazing - so I did. They loved the pass the parcel, musical chairs, newspaper fashion show and party snacks and all went out buzzing about the amazing time they had had together as a class. Memory making is amazing and Im glad to be a part of it for them. Such a warm Christmas feeling - happier days are coming... I have faith.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Festive fever pitch

So this week so far I have had four hours of Christmas carol concert practice, an hour nativity - my school then  an hour 'Around the World at Christmas' celebration followed by a Christmas disco. Tomorrow I have Christmas cushion sewing to finish, Christmas card making, Christmas biscuit making followed by a Christmas comprehension then more Carol Concert Practice culminating in the actual Christmas carol concert. The next day is Christmas party day, the following day is Christmas jumper day and the final day of work is our Christmas staff do. Think if I manage to crawl into bed covered in glitter and singing fairytale of New York I will have hit my Festive Peak??

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Passing it on

Now I would consider myself to be a generally nice person. I would struggle to say the last time I had a row and I always aim to treat others as I would like to be treated.  I bite my tongue to avoid hurting others and grin and bear it when I have to step up because others don't even though it very often piles the pressure on. However recently karma has been a treating me like a b***h! I had to move out of my family home with my smaller family with no notice or funds through no fault of my own. I have been left to pay for a Christmas for two children who are old enough to know with no money and, despite having windows at upper deck bus height, on a main road, have no money left for curtains. I have to walk and bus to school because my OH has the car for his work and have made a stretching a food budget a hobby. I have to admit - for the first time in the last ten years at least - I have found myself thinking "WHY ME?!!" Even whilst thinking this there has been the simultaneous thought "don't be so selfish there are people who are ill, or who have children who are ill, or you could have ended up in a shelter" then I'd feel guilty for thinking it and try to not do it again until I was soaked at the bus stop or shouted at in work.
Today that changed. I will no longer think "Why me?" because I had my first bit of good karma back to balance out the bad. With no money for christmas decs the cards the boys received from school have been making do on the window sill but now... thanks to someones amazing generosity (and the power of fragile)... we have a CHRISTMAS TREE!!! Its huge and fabulous and up ready for the boys to see in the morning. Praise the lord the tides are changing.

Heartbeat from homelessness

I woke up this morning and my first thought turned to the weekly shop. This used to be something that, despite being a chore, actually filled me with excitement. I would pile the trolley high with meals for the week and little treats for everyone. It would be rare for me to return without an item of clothing for someone in the family and my first job upon returning was to 'clear the fridge' of all uneaten items from the week before. The waste was disgusting and always something I aimed to sort out at some point.
Now I am in the situation where a slight overspend on food will render us homeless. Our budget has no wiggle room whatsoever and it fills me with dread. I hate the prospect of doing the shop and know it must start with making a list. Anyone with any budget but healthy food ideas - let me know!

Tuesday, 8 December 2015


Today I had the privilege of taking 8 of my stars to an event called Youth Summit at the City Hall  organised by Team London and part of the WEday programme. It was a day dedicated to inspiring our young people to create movements for social change in their local, national and international settings. So far so good. 
I  expected a day of chirpy teenagers bouncing around telling the children to organise a bake sale and smile at strangers. Now whilst there were elements of that to the day (plenty of blue t-shirted 'ambassadors' and smiley faces) - what I had forgotten was just how brilliant the young people I teach are. Although the warm up speaker interviewing the room when we got there was overly enthusiastic and a little ambitious asking children for contributions to a conversation when they clearly didn't have a clue what was going on, his heart was in the right place and it laid the foundation for the upbeat engagement that the team expected to see from the children. They settled following a speech from a para-olympian and an amazing performance of poetry (I didn't catch the speakers names so will look them up and let you know) This was followed by warm up games and then a workshop where they had to get busy. 
I had wildly underestimated their grasp on issues that effect them; particularly in the setting they are in,as unlike all of my other teaching jobs, these children are (on the whole) well loved, well rounded and reasonably well off. I somehow thought this would give them a narrow minded and shallow view of problems in the community however they immediately jumped on the idea of inequality and the need to promote unity within our community as things that they wished to focus on. They were able to identify and discuss why housing was such a big issue when it came to inequality and permeating the cycle of injustice. They came up with a clear plan for action and, when asked to present this to the summit at two minutes notice, acted like they had practiced it for weeks. They truly were incredible. They reminded me of me when I was their age. Oh how I wished I had someone to point out how truly wonderful I was. If only I had followed through all of the wildly ambitious plans I concocted to right the worlds wrongs I might have actually made a difference. Now what I have is the opportunity to do this through these children. To give them the push and the guidance to dream big and organise something amazing that they can be proud of. 
I know, with the madness in my own life, I should focus on sorting my own life out first - but the future can't wait. Mine didn't. 

Beautiful rainbow to greet us as we left. 

London Town

City Hall Building

Monday, 7 December 2015

Pound shop wins

Another day over - another day closer to Christmas! Got a heap of presents from the pound store yesterday for my boys. Little wrestling figures, toy guns, bubbles, popcorn, popcorn bowls, sweets, glow-sticks, books and I'm sure theres some things I have forgotten. It doesn't look that much on its own but I'm sure once it is the crate it will look amazing. All that for just £12 - don't suppose they will notice the difference too much. Would like to spend a few more pounds getting another couple of wrestlers for the older one. He doesn't watch it but seems to be quite into it with his friends and even though these cheap figures are nothing like the sturdy WWE ones from toy shops - they will do him just fine. 
I also have their night lights - winning! 
Work got more stressful today - trip tomorrow - off into London, trip the day after - that one doesn't get back until midnight! Hate being out of class for a few days on the trot like that. Makes me and the kids unsettled, still can't be helped I suppose. Besides, whats Christmas without a little mayhem! 
Hubby got the bunk beds up while I was at work today - so exciting!Here's my little angels fast asleep in them now...
Their room is starting to come together a little now - just everywhere else to do with no time to do it! 
Must book moving day from work - at some point!!! 
I feel like I could shut my eyes and sleep for an eternity. Not good news when we have trekking to do in London town with children tomorrow! To bed!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Getting there

Progress update - one clean bathroom, living room and toilet. 
Still to go - bedrooms x 2 and a kitchen!
Also have to get to Argos to collect these two beauties:

My boys night lights that I ordered yesterday. They will be part of their xmas prize boxes and the first thing ticked off the list. Have to get into the pound shop to get the rest of the bits and pieces aswell. Just time for a quick coffee before I go..

Day of doing

The boys are back tonight and I am now in a frantic rush of cleansing and organising because I know as soon as they return the daily routine of cleansing both children, their possessions and the whirlwind of mess that surrounds them wherever they go will consume my every minute that isn't spent working. Any hope of 'getting sorted' will be restricted to the wee small hours post dinner bath and bed time, after marking planning and admin where some semblance of a life used to be. Today therefore is THE DAY. 
I have so far got up, spent a couple of hours procrastinating, made myself the obligatory coffee (complete with 79p squirty cream from Aldi - a christmas tradition and cheaper then a trip to Costa but creating the same desired effect). So now the rubber gloves are out - the bleach is on standby and the hoover is plugged in. I have to collect a screwdriver for putting beds together in a furniture assembly nightmare of epic magnitude - a double bed and a bunk bed. Wish me luck! 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

So success. I found some curtains! Only one pair - one room sorted but thank the lord for small mercies. They were only ten pounds from the charity shop and whilst they may not be my first choice were I comfortable enough to choose - I'm not and they are clean and inoffensive. Result. I have also spent a large chunk of the day panicking about what to get the boys for Christmas and I think I have sorted that too. I bought these ... 


For a total of £15 and I'm going to make the boys a film night box and fill it with a blanket, popcorn, drinks, hot chocolate, marshmallows, sweets glow sticks a couple of cheap dvds. I have to get some paint to paint the crate before I put the stickers on. All in all I reckon I can get it all in for £40 for the two of them (the crates come in threes so I can do one each and keep one for the spuds) Im sure I have some ceramic pens somewhere and if I can dig them out I can decorate them a personalised mug each too. Then that just leaves Santa gifts but I might leave them to the other half as my creativity and funds are totally drained. 
I feel so energised by my minor successes - I might just pull this off!!
No one else will get presents. I don't have to worry about my extended family - they do some draw thing and know we aren't in it so I won't feel guilty. I'll have to do pound shop bundles for my niece and nephews and just a selection box for my friends children. No prezzies for the other half or other adults - just too poor. 

I so love Christmas it really does fill my heart with sadness that I can't do it properly. Next year will be better. And if the box comes off like this one I'll be chuffed. 

Starting Over

So by the age of thirty your supposed to have it in the bag right? This life gear? Your supposed to be a grown up?
Stability. A home, a husband, summer holidays and a car. A job, money to pay the bills. The husband the kids - icing on the cake. 

Well look at me now. According to my own criteria I would be a failure. All I have is the icing. I am starting over, starting from scratch just this time with three people who rely on me to get it right because I'm supposed to know. Im making a confession - I don't! 

Last week I moved my family into a new flat - well new to us. It wasn't a planned move as such and the first time I have felt my life spin out of control since my very early twenties. But now we're in I have no money to decorate it - to make it homely not even enough for a Christmas tree. But I'm going to do it. I have to. My boys are relying on me to make a home - so by hook or by crook I will make us one. I am going to peruse some charity shops in the hope of picking up some curtains and while they are away this weekend I am going to scrub the place until it shines. So much to do so little time. I'll upload some photos to trace my progress tomorrow.