Sunday, 19 September 2010

Recent Bargains

I've booked a one night stay in Chester at a Travelodge for £9 (about $13.50) for a family room. My friend recently went to Chester for a weekend and says it's a lovely city so when Travelodge had their recent sale I booked a room there. We are going at the end of January to tie in with David's work shifts. Can't beat a price like that can you!! The rooms are basic but clean and to be honest, what more do you need for just a one-nighter??

I also got a great deal on laundry products and shampoo at Sainsburys yesterday. Certain laundry products were on offer at half price which in itself is a good deal. But they had an offer where if you bought £10 of goods (including the items that were already half price), you got 2 x £2.50 vouchers - one for laundry detergent and one for shampoo (items that were also in the first deal). Now keep up here because it sounds more complicated than it was, lol. I spent £10 and got 3 bottles of detergent (already half price remember?!), got 2 vouchers. Went back and got more products that totalled £10, used the 2 vouchers previously given, paid about £5 cash. This generated another set of vouchers. Did this a couple more times. Finally, when I'd had enough!! I went back and used the vouchers for a laundry detergent and shampoo and only paid £1.50.

I now have 7 bottles of detergent and 5 bottles of shampoo. The value of these goods is £78.45
and I paid £24.20!! The detergent should last me at least 6 months and similar for the shampoo (they are big bottles). Deals like this are obviously only good if you actually need the items and will use them and if they don't have expiry dates on! Some people on the forums I visit have bought shelves and shelves of these deals! I only bought what was sensible for me to store.

Then yesterday afternoon I went into Ossett to get a few bits and bobs. I went into one store to get a few items for the freezer and at the checkout I was given 4 packs of yogurt frubes. Each pack has 6 inside. My kids have these in their lunch sometime so are items I normally buy. They are today's date and so they wanted to get rid of them. I brought them home and popped them in the freezer. I'll put one in each boy's lunchbox on a morning when I get them ready. They keep all the other items cold and by lunchtime they have defrosted and are ready to eat! They cost £1 a pack so I received £4 worth FREE. Can't beat that :)

New School Year!

Well we are now 2 weeks into the new school year and the days are flying by!! Nathaniel is now in Year 5 and Zac is in Year 3. Nathaniel has the same teacher he had 2 years ago so has just transitioned smoothly. Some of his friends are in the other class and so misses them, but has still got lots of friends in his own class. And of course he can play with the others during playtime. Nathaniel just get on with things. No drama, just plods along! Zac is in the class that I worked in last year so I know his teacher very well! It's a lovely class and he seems to be doing fine, if he just picks up the pace of his work. He struggles with his handwriting (being a leftie!) so it sometimes takes him a little long and looks like a spider walked across his page, bless him!

I'm finding the days busy and speedy! I'm in Year 2 from 9am until 12 noon. Then I assist a Year 3 child from 12 until 1pm. I have a 20 min lunch break then work in Year 4 from 1.20 until school ends at 3.20pm. I barely have time to breathe, but I love my job!! All the teachers, staff, kids are fab!! Couldn't ask for a better place to work!

This next weekend I'm going on a school residential from Friday until Monday so that should be an interesting experience! There will be about 45 eight year olds and 5 adults. I'm really looking forward to it, to get to know the kids better in a different environment. When we get back, we have the Tuesday off work to recuperate, lol.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Meet my Washer

It's here!! It's here!! It's here!!

My washing machine has arrived!!

My 'man with a van' delivered my new machine, plumbed it in, and took my old one away. All for £30. The store were going to charge £80 for this service. Even if I had been able to collect the machine myself in the car and plumb it in myself, the council would have charged £10 to collect and dispose of the old machine. As soon as it ready, I put in a few shorts and shirts of the boys and put it on a quick wash. 29 minutes later, freshly smelling laundry was pegged on the line. I can't believe how much I appreciate being able to do something simple as laundry my clothes again!! The things we take for granted.

Here she/he (what gender are washing machines?!?!?):

York part 2 - Site Seeing

I apologise for the poor quality of theses pictures. I used my iPhone to take them as I had forgotten to take my camera with me. There are lots more pictures on my facebook page. We had a lovely time just walking around the city. We went into the entrance of the Minster but didn't go all the way in as they charge admittance which would have been quite costly for the four of us. The boys enjoyed what they did see of it, however. We marvelled at how it amazing it was that something this awesome could be built without all the technology and machinery we have today. There is no way to get the whole outside of the Minster on one photo because of its vastness. It's truly a beautiful building!

We also walked down the cobbled streets, including the most famous of all The Shambles. I love all the quirky little shops and alleyways!

We went for a walk on the city wall. The wall is 1.9 miles around the city. The boys loved all the information that David gave them on the way around regarding the historical nature of the city. They loved looking through the slits in the stone walls that the soldiers would have shot their arrows through.

York is such a great city and we must go again sometime soon. Even at this time of year the place was heaving with people. I guess it was a beautiful day, around 70 degrees F. And it's such a tourist destination. The little tea-shops were full to the brim and the famous Betty's tea-shop had a long queue outside. I guess tea-shops are so quintessentially English that it's a must for a tourist to visit! When we were walking around the wall, we could see into the garden of a tea shop and it looked so civilised! Ladies sitting out having tea and cakes in an English country garden!

York part 1 - shopping

Because yesterday was the last day of the summer holidays that we would all be home together, we decided to have a day trip out. Plus, the weather was beautiful so it would have been a shame to have just stayed home. We debated on where to go and came up with York! It's only about an hour away but somewhere we don't get to very often. Since it was about 10am before we decided where to go, York was perfect as we'd still get there before lunch and have an afternoon out.

Now going to York with David and the boys meant that I wasn't able to go shopping. David suggested I go later in the year with either friends or sisters and go shopping, possibly Christmas shopping, so I'll be sure to do that :) There are so many beautiful shops (with prices to match!!) but what eye candy!!

Here are just a few drool worthy shops I saw. I couldn't take too many pictures as David and the boys were giving me strange looks!

David did comment on the number of jewellery and watch shops and enjoyed looking in the windows, as evidenced below. David likes watches but at these prices (notice the price of the watch at the back of the picture that David liked!!) we gave it a miss, lol.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Wash Day Blues

So I've been without a washing machine for a few weeks now. I have a combined washer/dryer and about a year or so ago the drying function ceased to function! It was fine for washing until the past few weeks. It wouldn't drain the water out. So I had to do it by hand which just isn't fun!! I've been taking my laundry to my mom's to do (she's fab!!) and last Tuesday finally got around to ordering a new one. They called me on Friday to arrange delivery for today. So I got up this morning and called the hotline to find out my 4 hour delivery slot. But of course they knew nothing of my delivery. It hadn't been entered on the system. They said they could arrange delivery for 2 weeks time. Two weeks!!! Mmmm, no way Jose!!! I told them I specifically mentioned that I needed it before Monday 6th since I was back at work then! The lady from customer services just called and said that she MIGHT be able to get delivery for the weekend but didn't promise anything. I'm waiting to hear back. If I don't hear back by lunch I'm going to call them to cancel and order from somewhere who CAN deliver me a machine!! Is it too much to ask that I can actually do some laundry?? And we are actually having some lovely drying weather this week. Just my luck!!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Thrifty Goodness

Most car boot sales are held on a Sunday, which is infuriating for me as I don't shop on Sundays for religious reasons. So when I find sales that are on a Saturday I get excited (I'm easily amused, obviously). I've been lucky this season to find a few to go to. The biggest and best is at a local rugby union ground. It's HUGE. It takes several hours to walk around. They have one on a bank holiday Monday in May (which I attended) and then one on August bank holiday Monday (next week!!). They have others throughout the summer but on Sundays. I also went to one at a local Catholic church, a couple at a field a couple of miles away, and then a couple just up the road from me. I've just the one at the rugby ground to attend next week then that's it for the year. I can't even tell you how much fun I have walking round the sales!!

So what have I bought this year? Well I've been looking at kids clothes (as usual). I buy jeans and tshirts mainly. My kids wear a uniform to school so only wear regular clothing for playing. Therefore, I don't want to spend a fortune on them! I usually spend either 20p or 50p and item. Last Saturday, I bought 3 pairs of jeans for Nathaniel for 20p each. My kids are growing like weeds!! Nathaniel has just turned 9 but needs age 10 jeans and I look for age 8 for Zach. I was also fortunate to get lots of hand-me-downs recently too so they are well stocked for the next year or two.

I've also been buying clothes for my nephew Eli who is about 20 months old. I've bought some fantastic items, again for 20p or 50p each including designer brands such as Diesel and Timberland. I'm glad I can help out my sister as she has very little time to attend sales herself as she's usually working Saturdays. Plus she's busy renovating a house they've just bought and looking after her little boy while her husband has his own business! AND she's just graduated from university!! Crazy busy woman!! And I have to admit, buying little boy/toddler clothes is far more fun than buying older boy clothes!

On Saturday I also bought a few bits for my mum. I bought her 3 Slimming World recipe books for 50p for all 3 total! And 2 cushions (Ikea) that match 2 she already has for Christmas.

I've been buying myself some fun costume jewellery and accessories this year. I have a drawerful and love to have a rummage in it to find bits to finish off an outfit. I've also been fortunate to find some shoes this year. One pair is from Wallis - black patent heels. Worn once. £1.50. And another sale I found a brand new pair of black patent shoes with cone shaped heel with a strap for £2.00. I'd been looking for a pair exactly like that so was excited and couldn't believe my luck when I found them!! I've also bought clothes for myself. I pay either 50p or £1 an item. In fact, the top I get the most comments on was £1 at a car boot in May!! Most of the clothes are smart clothes for work and church. I get a thrill looking at what I'm wearing when sat in church, knowing how little I've paid, lol. And they all look new!

I've also scored on some fab childrens books too. Again, either 10p, 20p or 50p each. I bought another copy of The Jolly Postman for school as the library copies are a little dog-eared since they are so popular. I bought it along with 2 others for £1 total. I also bought Pigeon Finds a Hotdog which has to be one of my favourite books for 25p. And last week I bought Man on the Moon (a day in the life of Bob) for 50p. At one sale I bought 10 books for £1 including a brilliant one on Ancient Rome that we were able to use at school. I have a 'thing' for kids books. I have to really control myself or I'd buy way more than I do!

I've also bought some magazines because I can't bring myself to pay full retail price. I got a pile of O magazines and some Everyday with Rachael Ray cooking magazines. 20p each is good for me! I've also bought a couple of DVD's for £1 each including Rat Race which the kids LOVE and Juno (which I'd not seen but wanted to!).

I know I've bought way more stuff than listed here - I should have made a list and taken a picture after each one! I'll have to have a wander through the house one day and take pics of things I've bought at car boots or charity shops and pop them on here just for fun. And hopefully after Monday's upcoming car boot sale, I'll have more bargains to show :)

Summer Time

Can you believe that we only have one more week after this one until we go back to school?? It's gone wayyyyy too quickly for my liking!! I was ill for the first two weeks though (some sort of chest infection that rendered me bed-bound!) so that shortened the actual time I had to do stuff and enjoy the break!

We haven't been away (we went on our vacation back in May) so have just pottered around here. Sometimes it's just nice to spend time home, doing very little, just enjoying each others company! We've had crazy weather though - some hot sunny days, some cold rainy wet days, and everything inbetween, lol.

A couple of weeks ago my grandad celebrated his 90th birthday and we all went out for lunch with him. He does so well for his age. He's just decided that he's not going to drive his car on an evening when it's dark as his vision isn't so good when it's not bright. Up until just a couple of years ago he used to go to mainland Europe for a month or so every August - getting the ferry and driving thousands of miles! And he speaks the language of wherever he goes. He can get by in Spanish, French and German. Pretty cool! I hope I'm as active as he is when I'm 90. Although I'll probably be drooling in a corner somewhere, lol.

My washing machine broke a couple of weeks ago so tomorrow I went and ordered a new one. It will most likely be delivered next week. That's one of the exciting things I have to look forward to before school starts again. It gets exciting around here I tell you!! :) I'm sure you're jealous!!

We went to Ikea yesterday as they were celebrating 15 years of Ikea in Leeds and they were selling their hotdogs at 15p at the Bistro. So I pushed the boat out and treated the kids, heck they could have two if they wanted, lol. They had a hotdog and an icecream each. So 50p total per kid. I'm generous to a fault, I am!! I actually had 2 hotdogs (no icecream). £1.30 for lunch. Excellent hee hee.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

As time goes by..............

On Friday we celebrated Nathaniel's 9th Birthday. Nine!!!! Can you believe it?? I certainly can't! He is growing up so fast. And my baby, Zac, is now 7. How I love those boys!! They are so different personality and looks wise.

Nathaniel likes playing with the bigger kids. He's a smart kid too. Loves Math, Science, History. Doesn't particularly like reading, literacy etc. Much more a facts kinda kid. And he know what he's good at, lol. He loves his sports - loves a game of footie and is quite good! He's going into year 5 at school in September. Just 2 more years until he goes to the high school. Gulp!

Zachary is my little cool dude. So loud and confident, whereas Nathaniel can be more of a thinker. He too is brilliant at Maths but he's also a fantastic reader. He loves reading and is flying through the books at school. He's a muscular, tough kid. He plays with kids his age or younger at school. He's very sensitive and has a strong sense of justice. He hates it when people get in trouble for things they didn't do at school and can get emotional about it. He still loves hugs and kisses from his mama!

Both kids are social and popular and are never short of friends. They are generally good kids but do have their moments (usually with each other!!). I do worry about them being sheltered. They aren't very 'street-wise' but I just want to protect them! I like them being at home or with family/close friends. They LOVE spending time with their Nana and Grandad and their other grandparents. They LOVE their aunts, uncles and cousins and are so blessed to have many of them close by.

I know my kids aren't perfect - but they are perfect FOR ME!

For Nathaniel's birthday, we went to Flaming Dragon - an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet. He took a friend with him and we had a lovely time. On the way home I dropped Zac and Nat off at my parents where they were having a sleepover. My boys (along with my nephew, Eli) are the apple of my parents' eyes. They dote on those boys and love them as much as I do. They would do ANYTHING for them and they know it :) They wrap my parents round their little fingers, lol. David and I had a quiet night in, watching DVDs and enjoying the quiet!

On Saturday morning we went to a local car boot sale. It was only a small one but I still managed to get a few fun things. I got a small tan leather bag for 50p, a larger Italian leather bag/purse for £3, a Bop It game for £2. Some clothes for Eli (mostly 20p an item, some 50p), a cute cotton tote bag for me made of an retro owl print fabric for 20p, a wooden airplane toy for Ethan for 50p, a few necklaces for 30 to 50p each. That's all I can remember for now! I'm looking forward to the really big car boot sale I go to on August Bank Holiday Monday.

Just 7 more school days to go until the summer hols. It's a long time coming! The summer weather has gone for now but I hope it comes back soon!! I'm actually looking forward to the break so I can get some jobs done around the house before I start my new jobs at school in September. I'll be working 30 hours so won't have much time for house projects!!

Here's wishing everyone a happy week :)

Thursday, 1 July 2010

Grinning like a Cheshire cat

A couple of days ago, the headteacher at my school told all teaching assistants what jobs we'd be doing from September. And I've been grinning like a Cheshire cat since :) At the moment I'm working 12 hours a week with a girl with a statement of needs for speech/language. I also supervise an autistic boy during the lunch hour. Well from September I will be working with the same girl on an afternoon and on a morning will now be a TA for a Y2 teacher (who I LOVE!!) covering the whole class. So working a total of 25 hours (not including lunchtime). The headteacher has decided to give me the extra hours and in a younger class on a morning to help me get more experience that will help me get on the GTP for next year. I'm so happy!! I feel really blessed that they are doing all they can to help me. Then hopefully if I get on the GTP next year, I will go back into the class I'm in this year. I need to make the most of these opportunities and use them to their fullest to get me on the GTP and then obtain QTS. I'm finally starting to feel positive and that I WILL get there!! And it's so great to have the support of my school.

Friday, 25 June 2010


I'm trying to get my mojo back.

After the disappointment of not getting on the GTP for this year I'm attempting to lift myself back up. I just felt disheartened, gutted, angry, annoyed and other such emotions. I started to doubt my own abilities and potential and need to shake those feelings off. I still have moments when I feel 'why bother trying, I'm probably not good enough'. The fear of future rejection sometimes scares me into thinking can I bear trying again. And I know that's just stupid. And then I hear of other people's successes and that just magnifies my feelings of inadequacy again. This probably makes no sense to anyone. Just what AM I suppose to do with my life??? Answers on a postcard.............

Thursday, 4 March 2010


I've just realised that I've not updated on my weight loss. I've now lost 28 lbs. Pleased about that, but this week I've just eaten whatever I've wanted - pizza, chocolate, junk!! Need to get back on track and get focused! It would be so stupid of me to undo the good I've done so far. So here's to the next 28 lbs!! :D


Oh how I've neglected this poor little blog of mine. Not that anyone has likely noticed, lol. We've had Christmas, new year, valentines while I've been absent. It's just a case of not finding the time!

In January I started a new job at school as a teaching assistant in the mixed Y3/Y4 class and love it! I work 18 and a bit hours a week which keeps me busy! It's so wonderful to get paid for doing something I just love :D

Working as a TA has just made me realise that I want to be the teacher!! So since this 'wonderful' country doesn't recognise me as a qualified teacher, I need to jump through the hoops to get qualified status here. Which is so frustratingly difficult really. There's no way I'm going back to university to get qualified (isn't my 4 years enough??!!) so the best option is the GTP (Graduate Teacher Programme). Basically this is a program for anyone with a degree that is relevant to an area of the curriculum and some classroom experience to gain qualified status. It's a classroom based program which means you are assigned to a school, get paid as an unqualified teacher, and work along another teacher gradually taking on more and classes as the year progresses. It's a year long program. So this is what I want to do. Along with millions of others!! It's ridiculously difficult to get a place on the program. Hundred and hundreds apply for a handful of places. In the school district I work in, there are 6 places for next year! 6! Well I applied but didn't hear anything!! But I also applied for a neighbouring school district (don't ask about the 10 hours it took to complete the application form and self-audit which I sent but don't have a copy as my old laptop died last week!!) which has 18 places available for 2010/2011. Well I have an interview!! In two weeks time! And this interview has been on my mind since I got the letter a couple of days ago. This is my one chance this year to move forward with my career. I want this soooo bad and the thought of messing up the interview, or not being able to impress on the panel my suitability for the program and how wonderful I am(!!) scares me!! So please be thinking of me on March 16th!!! Because not only may I not have a place on this course next year, I might also not have a job at all! Our school is having to make budgetary cuts for next school year due to having to make payouts for unequal pay in past years. So the only place they can make cuts is in TA staff. And me being last in doesn't bode well.

So the last few weeks (and the upcoming weeks) will involve me reading up on all current issues in education to prepare myself for the interview. My head is full of APP, Letters and Sounds, the new national curriculum, AfL, Every Child Matters, Safeguarding Children, Rose Report, blah blah blah blah blah etc!!

I hope to update with good news in the next month or so. If I don't, please be gentle with me! It's been over 17 years since I started on my journey to becoming a teacher. Surely I'm ready!!??!!