Top tips needed for starting a new job in a new workplace!

26 Feb

In preparation for starting my new job, I’ve been reading Michael D. Watkins’ The First 90 Days – all about the fact you have just 3 months to ‘set out your stall’ in a new position. It gives suggestions of things you should and shouldn’t do in order to be successful and create a positive impression in your new role.

It then got me reading about organisations that are failing. Somehow it feels easier to learn from a system that’s struggling – it’s sometimes hard to spot what makes a successful organisation so outstanding because they do it so well it looks effortless! But you watch an organisation that’s lacking and you can’t help but be filled with ideas of what should be happening!

This will be my first new job in a new organisation in over 14 years! What are your dos and don’ts for making sure my first 90 days are successful?



With every germ of truth, her heart breaks a little more…

8 Nov

I’ve had a very difficult conversation with my 5 year old daughter tonight. She has always known about her birth family- everything I tell her is the truth but it is age appropriate. She summarised all that she knows so far and then asked me a very difficult question about them.

I have always vowed to be honest with her – after all it is her story not mine. So. I was truthful with my answer. And I think I broke her heart a little 😦

Adoption is a really, really amazing thing! I’m so lucky. But with it comes the knowledge that your child has had a heartbreaking start. You can’t take that away from them and each time they learn something new about life before their forever family, their heart will get broken a little bit more.

For some children the hurt and abuse is so much that they won’t ever really recover or will find it difficult to form any kind of trusting relationship. Going to the park or to the shops might be too much for them to cope with. Being told off in public will reinforce their deep seated feelings of rejection and they will withdraw or behave so badly that any ‘normal’ form of discipline just doesn’t touch them.

But it’s these children who need forever families more than ever. Sadly the longer they have to wait the more ‘unadoptable’ they become. If you or anyone you know is thinking of adoption (or fostering) I’d urge you to look into it.

Hopefully this link will work. It’s a really good intro to the basics you have to face re adoption.

Thanks for taking the time to read

It’s National Adoption Week 2013

3 Nov

It’s National Adoption week this week. To dispel a few myths I’ve had to tackle over the years…

No I didn’t adopt cos I felt I was a failure!

Yes I realise I am single…single parents are not the enemy you know! My mum brought up three university graduates all on her own. What finer role model could I have asked for?

What will I do for Childcare? The same as other working mums…find a wonderful childminder!

Yes I’d like to have given Lily a forever daddy as well as mummy. Unfortunately I haven’t been lucky enough to find a decent guy…should I have left Lily where she was?!

I suppose I could have given birth to a child, but I chose to be the mummy of a child who was already here.

Lily IS my own child.

Of COURSE she calls me her mummy…I AM her mummy!

Yes she knows all that it is age appropriate to know of her birth family. After all it is HER story, not mine to hide away. And one day if she wants to meet them I will be by her side.

Of COURSE I love her…she’s my baby!

Across the UK 4,000 children are waiting to find an adoptive family, but for 1 in 4 it is likely to remain only a dream. And for every year a child waits their chances of being adopted reduce by 20%. National Adoption Week is for anyone who would like to help change this, so that every child waiting in care finds somewhere they can feel safe and loved. We ask you to think about the children who wait the longest. Please consider making room in your life and your heart and start your journey below…


Thank you

Not for the faint arted

30 Jun

How we laughed!

I love the idea of being ‘arty’. But the fact is, I’m not.

I studied Art ‘O’ level years ago – 1985-87. I had to fight to be able to mind. I was strongly encouraged to choose an ‘academic’ subject. Fortunately I was a stroppy cow even then and stood my ground. I can’t remember being particularly good at art as a kid or being especially talented. I did enter a competition to design a poster for The Language Festival in 1985 in my 3rd year of secondary school. Came first with a tribute to Toulouse Lautrec dontcha know?! I enjoyed drawing and I wanted some light relief in amongst the Latin, chemistry and maths I was going to be studying.

I was disappointed with my lessons once they got going to be honest. Our motely crew had to share our teacher with 6 form photography students – guess who…

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Well it’s what you wanted!

30 Jun

It’s been 9 months since I had any ‘me’ time. By that I mean a whole 24 hours all to myself: no morning routine to abide by; no child to get ready for school or drop off at childminder’s; no job to do; no chores at home that must be done in snatched moments of time before bed.

Before I became a mum one of the main pieces of advice people kept telling me (aside from “Calpol is the answer”!) was to make sure I made time for ‘me’. Especially as a single mum.

Let’s be clear…I set out to be a single mum all on my own. I wasn’t in a relationship with someone and now have an ex who shares my daughter at weekends. I didn’t become a widow. I was already single and decided I wanted to be someone’s mum. Well. Now I am. And when I feel like this – knackered and burnt out – I have only one course of action…suck it up! I chose this life you see…it’s what I wanted…so tough tanarnies!!

Hmmm…this martyr business is wearing thin. I want a break. Actually, no….I NEED a break. And I don’t mean an hour snatched at the end of the school day when Squidger goes to swimming or Rainbows. Don’t get me wrong…these precious two hours are gratefully received but they’re often spent doing an extra hour at work or getting a bit of shopping in. Once in a while I’ll get home early and drink a cup of tea in silence! Generally these little breaks keep me going through the week. But I now need a proper break.

Let’s explore this ‘me’ time people speak of…’Get up an hour earlier’ someone advised me. Are you insane?? I already get up at 6 and this is a huge stretch. I go to bed between 10 and 11 to get a full 8 hours. Getting up at 6 is a nightmare! When I do, I have enough energy to shower and get Squidger ready and that’s about it! Squidger is up at the same time anyway…she has the ears of a bat and can sense when I’m up before I’m even up. All getting up earlier will achieve is the same routine at 5 am but us both sitting around like lemons ’til it’s a reasonable hour to go to the childminder!

I try to ‘relax’ in the evening. 7pm comes around and I’ve a whole 3 hours to myself! Whoop! Three hours to make packed lunches, sort out uniform and do one of the household chores eg clean bathroom surfaces. I used to save all the chores ’til Saturday morning…not great! I now have all the chores split evenly throughout the week. If I do one 15 minute job every night I need only do a cursory Hoover on Saturday and get the wash on! So, my three hours in the evening are reduced to perhaps two and a half. Two if Squidger doesn’t go to sleep on schedule(!) I may spend these two hours watching TV, or reading or bathing. Generally, they keep me going. But as we speak…I need a proper break.

Some people find refuge in their work when home life is really busy. I’m a teacher. Secondary school, with some challenging classes. There’s not much down time in my job. Lessons aren’t copying out of a text book you know. It takes oomph to be engaging (Did I mention my OFSTED ‘outstanding’ judgement from last week?!) in a classroom! I sometimes forget/don’t have time to a) drink and b) pee during the course of a working day. And I don’t really class going to work as ‘me’ time. My time is being paid for and I’m earning my keep!

Weekends…surely time for ‘me’ there? Well, you know what I do Saturday morning! The rest of the weekend often involves a Squidger type activity…a party or a trip out somewhere, usually interesting to the both of us. I also encourage Squidge to play by herself…and she does…brilliantly. But I am then subjected to a couple of hours of ‘Barbie, The Opera’ as she sings her way though the various dramas of 12 plastic dolls and their compadres. Our flat is small. There is no escape.

So. ‘Me’ time. What does it look like to me as an ideal? Well, pretty much what it looked like before I became a mum…its defining feature? Peace. That’s it. Were you expecting massages, book reading, walks along the beach? All I need…but I do need it really badly right now…is peace. Home is noisy, my job is noisy, life is noisy. Most of the time I thrive on this. But. It’s been 9 months since my daughter went to stay at her aunty’s for the week because our October half terms didn’t coincide. I cried when I left her. I came home and the house was too empty and sad without her. The quiet was sometimes too much. But I needed it. I didn’t realise at the time but it helped to recharge me.

We’ve had a particularly busy couple of months: Lily’s dear Grandad (Foster carer) died; we lost our nanny and had to start a whole new routine with a new childminder; Squidge put herself in A&E, “Is that Lily’s mummy? She’s had a fall. She’s unconscious. We’ve called an ambulance”; at work our new school year starts in June, not September, so I’ve had all new classes to deal with and Ofsted to boot; Lily’s started Rainbows and swimming; she’s also turned 5 and has all the chutzpah of a 15 year old!

I’m so, so lucky. I adore Lily and I love our life, but this week end (the past two weeks?) my patience has been less than paper thin. I need some peace and 24 hours of it please. I’ve done the usual – bath, book read, walk. It’s not enough. I need recharging and I need some peace before I tackle the next 9 months. It’ll come and there’s little pockets of me time coming in the next couple of months. In the meantime: no radio on the way to work; I’ll continue bathing and reading in the evenings; I’ll try and come home early and enjoy that Rainbows cup of tea, just to tide me over til I get my 24 hours.

If all else fails, I might try that Calpol stuff out myself.


Silent Sunday

13 May



Silent Sunday!

6 May



Silent Sunday

29 Apr


Silent Sunday

10 Apr


Silent Mothering Sunday

18 Mar