Spring into new beginnings

Easter is always a bitter sweet time for me.  I have both fond and not so fond memories around Easter time, but the thing is as Easter moves every year the chances are I experience the memories twice, once during Easter and then again on the actual anniversary.

However, despite some sad memories I always look to Easter as a time of rebirth and rebuilding, its like new year for me, a time to put away the past and start again with the future.  Life is too short for regret and unhappiness and we should all go and find whatever it is that we need in our lives, whether its a person, job or a situation.  We only have one life, it needs to be lived in the way we want, with the people we want.  When we have found what we are looking for, we should grasp it with both hands and never let it go.

This Easter shows that yet again it is a rebirth for me, my health problems from the beginning of the year have now been fully resolved, thankfully after months of worry and I am grateful for the doctors and health workers who have assisted in the resolution.  I have also lost the weight I needed to to feel better and I feel confident in myself, I know I am a strong, loving, independent, woman (I have also been told beautiful too but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, who am I to say? I will say thank you though.)  I am a woman who can do whatever I choose to do, the world is really now my oyster.  Some of that has come from within but some of that has come from the special people around me.
The uni study is nearly over (1 month to go) and although I will miss the study I know I can always come back to it if I want later or if I need to, but life starts again and I don’t need to study to have what I am looking for as what I want career wise is now on its way, which means my mind moves to the other things, the other goals I have in mind for my personal life.  These goals will happen as I want them to happen and despite any wobbles I have had in the past I know I can do whatever I set my mind to, fortune favours the brave and if nothing else I know I am brave.
Lets hope the weather changes and improves now and show us it is really spring to match with my theme of new starts!  As this is a scheduled post (as I am not around) I wont be able to comment on the actual weather but I could end up like a polar bear.

So I want to thank the people in my life once again and say I am grateful for the support and love that has been given to me over the months and years whilst going through my transition.  I also raise a glass to the people no longer with us whilst sending you my love, a drink to my rebirth and lastly to you all on your tranistions.

Easter is a time of new beginnings, a rebirth, so with that in mind I would like to wish you all a happy Easter and may this be the start of what we all deserve.

Pascua es un tiempo de nuevos comienzos, renacimiento. Con eso en mente, megustaría desearles a todos una feliz Pascua yque este sea el comienzo de lo que todos nos merecemos.

Pâques est un temps de nouveaux commencements, une renaissance, donc dans cet esprit je voudrais vous souhaiter à tous de joyeuses Pâques et que cela soit le début de ce que nous méritons.

Now moving on

Its been an up and down few weeks, the last two were difficult and in among all the turmoil I had an OU paper to hand in. The fact that I was able to get it in a day before the due date was a feat in itself but it was done. I am up to date with the whole study thing for the first time this year and its a good feeling which means that I have cleared the way for the weekend. Happy days.
I need to let the OU know very soon who I would like at my graduation, I think I am allowed 3 people such a shame as I knew who I wanted to go with me but times have changed now.

I had some good news yesterday, I am being promoted at the end of this school year. Its for a position I had half an idea on and it appealed to me so I have decided to accept it and work on that for the next few years which means that the plans I had put in place for after my study ended mid May have changed. I don’t need the second degree or the GTP placement for the moment so I am happy that the study is stopping in less than 2 months. This means I can get on with the other important things in life like having a life!!!!
Normally I would thank the people who have supported me to this point and I would have said that I could not have done it without their help support and understanding over the months and years but unfortunately some of the people I would have thanked could not be bothered to hang about for the good times so alas I cannot express my gratitude.  However, I will thank those who are still around and look forward to the future with them instead.  Exciting times ahead.

Yesterday was also a good day in the sense that 180 students travelled across London by PUBLIC TRANSPORT NO LESS and they all got back all in one piece with no casualties.  More brownie points.

Today is comic relief day and the students are in good spirits along with the staff, money being raised is always a good thing.

One last thing, on line things like facebook, xbox, etc is a wonderful thing for communication and meeting like minded people but it always has a chance to catch up on you if you are doing something wrong!  Always treat others how you expect to be treated yourself! Otherwise you might end up with a moose!!

Overcoming nerves and being busy

Its been a whirlwind two weeks since my last post but I am glad to say that half term is upon me and its time to regroup and recharge.

Since my last post I have been lucky enough to escort the year 7’s to see Romeo and Juliet at the Royal Festival Hall with music from London Philharmonic Orchestra, thanks to the BrightSparks series http://www.lpo.org.uk/education/schools_brightsparks.html#ks3.  It was an amazing morning and by and large the students behaved really well considering most have never been to an event like that.  It was a morning that will stay with me for some time as it was captivating to watch and listen to.

I have also had to help lead a CPD session something that I was totally dreading, I hate standing up in front of my peers (who are amazing and well spoken and very clever) and deliver a presentation.  Ever since I had been told I had a strong Essex accent I have hated public speaking.  The session went well and has provided me with grounding for the big one that I have to lead on the 25 February, now if I can combat the nerves for that I can do anything.  I am looking for hints on how to combat nerves and awkwardness when public speaking, its different when in front of a class as I just get on with it but in front of adults feels much harder.  if anyone has any good tips for overcoming nerves I would be grateful.

I also had to cover for one of the PE teachers by accompanying the year 7’s to a swim gala.  The pool was where I had first learnt to swim all those years ago and where I did my first mile swim and five mile swim.  I also saw some of my old colleagues and students (who still called me miss).  The girls swam really well and despite it being a very long afternoon they behaved very well and I got extra brownie points for taking them.

Work has been very stressful these past few weeks, it would be a lie if I said otherwise.  The hours are long and although everyone is great some are nicer than others I am finding it hard to ignore the trumpet blowers.  I cannot stand those who feel the need to blow their own trumpet every five minutes or take credit for work they have not done themselves.  That happened to me this week, after working hard to put together a lesson for another member of staff that member of staff took the credit, I wont allow that to happen again.  There are members of staff who are so supportive of me and others are they are fantastic and they don’t feel the need to trumpet blow every five minutes and I hope these people get the rewards they deserve.  I was observed this week ofsted style and I passed with an outstanding, but its not easy being watched closely and I do strive to do a good job, I am there for the students and I don’t want to let them down.  It is thanks to the supportive staff that I can do my job as best as I can and I know I don’t need hand holding.
I was also shadowed for two days this week, something I absolutely hated as it was hard enough to do my job plus look after this person and make sure they were OK.  This person wants a job at my place but I am not sure it would be a good move due to lack of experience but who am I to decide on that??  A nice person but they were not sure what they wanted for a career, until they are sure then surely its best for the students to keep clear until they know?

The weight loss journey is going slowly, I have reached my first mini target this week and it has provided me the push to keep going but it is very hard when having to eat at certain times, not when I am hungry and hard as I HAVE TO eat the school meals as nice as they are they are energy rich.

I am sticking with my Filofax systems for the time being but added to the Arc system at work, I am using 2 A4 pads one leather and one normal and A5 leather.  The three pads are doing a fantastic job and have organised my clubs, day to day, lesson plans and calendar in a way that I can keep up with.  Disc bound systems are amazing and I keep thinking in the back of my mind that’s what I should be using instead of a Filofax but I am hanging on with the Filofax system for a while longer as its not actually failing me right me but we are only in month two of the year so it is still early days.  It would not surprise me if Filofax branch into a disc bound system at some point as the Arc seems to have become popular with those who like organisation without the failure.  Youtube show some great sets ups for both Arc and Filofax, worth looking at over the week.  Any comments regarding Arc v Filofax set up would be gratefully received.

Have a great week

Looking forward

Its been a quiet two weeks thankfully, allowing me to focus my time on the things that needed to be focused on right now and to think of tactics for the next few months.  A chance to look forward and keep to goals.

Slimming world is going just fine for me, its slow but sure progress and I think that’s the best way.  I am still not well enough to hit the gym, I am still breathless and in the really cold weather my chest still feels tight.  Really annoying as I need to get to the gym, after all its an expense that needs to be dealt with.
I decided to purchase a “colour a month” daily diary from moleskine to use as my food diary.  Great little item that can be slotted into my Filofax for when at work, or on my desk at home.
Each day is split between Breakfast; lunch; dinner and snacks, at the top of the page is a A and B choice in accordance with the slimming world plan and at the bottom is the syns and the total.
Plenty of space on the page to even include a note regarding how I feel should I feel the need.

On the study front since the day school last Saturday I have got my act together, the tutorials were great and I got the gist of where I have been going wrong.  The study still isn’t easy but at least I know what to focus on to get the better marks.  I have a phone tutorial today to ensure I am on the right track.  I intend to get to the Saturday tutorials in future, I have been silly enough to neglect them and I need to make the most of the remaining sessions.  I have reread some of my “how to” books such as “how to write essays & assignments” and “study skills for dummies”. I thought that although I am nearing the end of this degree I needed to refresh my writing style, especially after the feedback from my last TMA.  Its a scary feeling knowing that I am nearing the end of this degree with only 4 papers left.
I have decided that once I have finished this degree I want to start another one, providing my family agrees too! Yes just for my entertainment and hair pulling ha ha.  I enjoy the focus once I am focused on study and I don’t ever want to get stale, the fees have gone up and I am worried I may not be able to afford it but I am looking into it and hoping I can figure out if I can afford it somehow.

I have seen a pair of duo boots I like and I am hoping to get them for work, although they look high they are a platform sole and I need all the height I can get maybe I may get them for my birthday, if I ask nicely. 
Another birthday gift I wouldn’t mind would be another customised bag from Rickshaw.  I have the skinny commuter and have recently fell back in love with the versatility of it for work and when I go to tutorials.  I would like another one in a different colour range and full size instead of skinny for the days I need to carry more.  The only downside is the shipping to the UK but maybe if I am good I may get one for my birthday.

Finally, work is going OK, its so busy right now but I am attempting to balance things better whilst there.  Each day is different and although I get down about some things I also know I cannot control certain things and I am slowly learning to let go. I have been at this place 6 months now and I feel confident every day I made the right move to join.  My old place has been in the news recently and it has left me shocked and upset, I can’t and wont go into details here but I am so glad I am no longer part of that place and where I am now is different.  I really do feel that I am moving forward, steps in the right direction.

This blog should have been posted two weeks ago just found it in my drafts! D-oh

Time to move away from Filofax?

As this year ends and 2013 appears on the horizon like most I turn to thoughts of how to be organised for the next year both in a personal way and professionally.

This week I was almost tempted away from the trusty old Filofax by a new system made by Staples called Arc (click here for product details).  I started using an A4 Arc file alongside my flex for work, the flex contains my work diary, year planner and notebook but the A5 flex system although great is too small for everything I need for work.  I needed something that was flexible and could be changed around but also A4 size to take lesson plans, support plans and other printed material that I need to carry with me neatly whilst looking professional.

After reading some tweets and looking on you tube I started to investigate Arc for myself and once seen in the flesh I was taken with it. I rolled the A4 system out this week at work and I was very impressed as were my colleagues.
Filofax could learn a few things from the Arc folder system due to my initial impressions and recent gripes with Filofax.
Firstly, the paper quality with Arc is fabulous, I can use fountain pen, gel pens, felt tip etc with no worry about bleed through.
Secondly, there is a good quantity of paper in the folder when purchased and also in packs available to purchase and the price of the paper pack is reasonable, a choice of graph and lined paper (there may be others I didn’t see).  However if you purchase the hole punch for the Arc system you can also use your own paper.
Thirdly, no matter if you go for A5 or A4 size Arc folder the hole punch required is the same if you wish to add your own pages into the system.  This means a greater option to swap between sizes for those who need that versatility and A5 sheets can slot nicely into the A4 folder all with the use of the one size punch that is robust.
Finally, the ring size (or discs) can be enlarged or reduced according to the needs of the individual.  Meaning that the Arc folder can be beefed up at key times with 1 inch or even 1.5 inch discs and then trimmed down in a new year diet to normal size.

I have always been a huge fan of Filofax and have used different sizes and styles over the 20 odd years but recently I have become frustrated.  Filofax quality has gone slightly downhill, I have myself suffered from rings not meeting nicely and leaving a smooth join as a consequence paper gets caught in the gap and worse still fall out of the binder.  The paper quality and choice is shocking, again I am not alone in wanting cotton cream for my A5 and I really do not want to print my own diary pages onto cream paper, why can’t Filofax print diaries etc onto cotton cream if the demand is there?  I also love writing with a fountain pen and the Filofax paper really does not like fountain pens.
Secondly, having moved from personal size to A5 I have had to purchase a new hole punch, not very versatile at all moving up or down sizes appears to be more of a faff.
The choice of quality binders (step back Apex) is limited with Filofax especially with A5, the really nice binders also come with a price tag that is not so nice and for those on a limited budget but want a well made good looking professional binder (professional doesn’t always have to be black or brown) choice is limited unless there is an ebay bargain to be had.  I am also concerned with the new styles that Filofax seem to think we need, the mash up (click here) is funky and I can see it suiting some, mostly us crafters and those who wouldn’t take it out of the house but I am concerned that the patches would come apart after a small amount of usage and it is only available in one size.  Also any Filofax that needs to be priced at over £300, Temperley I mean you, is not for those I know who use Filofax for the practical things in life and I also think the Temperley range is ghastly (sorry to those who like it but its not for me).  Aimed more for the posh fashion victims I think, not suitable for me to chuck into my bag as I run out of the house in the mornings.
My last gripe with Filofax for now is the pen loop, I love my pens some were gifts from loved ones and I love to use them but the pen loops with Filofax are limited in size, there are only a few binders that can expand to take pens of any size and I hate having to try and push a beloved pen into the loop of a beloved Filofax.
All this means that at the moment Filofax have had a reprieve all because my 2013 diary has already been set up into my A5 Holborn and Staples have not as yet released a diary system for their Arc (but they will soon as its available in the US), as soon as they do and if Filofax does not improve their quality I may consider changing over.
The Filofax customer service have always been great when I have dealt with them and happy to help, maybe the design team need to start to listen more to the customers whilst also seeing what else is now coming out that could pull people away from their brand.

A week of arranging

Its half term which means lots of lesson planning, studying, arranging the study again as it looks a tip, ebaying my items and hopefully back to the gym.

First I have a gym fail, I was booked for a training session but I had a bad night and my back and head were hurting this morning so I cancelled and will go later this week, a shame but I have to listen to what this (failing) body is telling me.

I have reorganised my study and hopefully made it more streamlined, meaning I have my OU study books nearer to hand, books for work elsewhere but not too far for lesson planning.
I decided to use my A5 red domino as my book review and blog ideas filo. I have to submit book reviews for work to help the students decide what to read. My school actively encourages the students to read and us adults have to lead by example. Not that I have a problem with that as absolutely love reading but the issue I have is keeping tabs on what I have read, views on what I have read and what I want to read. So using the kindness of Philofaxy I printed off some of their files, if you are interested in some of their templates please click here these pages have now been added to my Domino, the reviews will be filed there to help me with keeping my views updated.
As much as I love the A5 size I find the inserts from Filofax sadly lacking by A5 is a good size to print out and therefore customisation is an option.  As a result I have also designed my own study planner page to fit my daily A5 that will sit alongside my week on 2 pages diary within my filofax.  I am seriously considering getting a zipped Holborn A5, there are not many about now in the colour I want but I love the Holborn range so much I will investigate my options there.
I have split my current set up between work and personal under their respective tabs.  Right now I have the following tabs:-
To do Personal
To do Work
Projects Personal
Projects Work
Information Personal
Information Work

The tabs are currently blank whilst I consider this set up, if I am happy I will ink the tabs.

With the clocks going back and the cold weather settling in my thoughts turn to the next year and goals and aspirations that I may have for 2013.  I hope that my degree will be complete in 2013 and I can turn to some different study that isn’t against the clock.  Tomorrow is a big study day and as I don’t want to get distracted with things around the home I am camping it out at the local library, I hope its warm in there.

Back off

It’s all gone slightly wrong.  I was getting back into the gym session when suddenly right at the beginning of BOKWA yesterday I put my back out.  I wouldn’t mind but I only did about 2 minutes of actual exercise and spend the rest of the hour having first aid applied and being completely embarrassed by the whole thing.
Problem being that the back is a huge part of the body and we never think much of it until it hurts.  My job today has been a total chore, I can’t help the kids as I would have liked, it takes me about 5 minutes to sit down and another 15 for the spasms to stop once seated.  Even stopping at red lights caused pain.
I am hoping with lots of heat and painkillers I am on the road to recovery by the morning, I can’t cope with the lack of sleep for much longer and I will end up getting high (or addicted) to the painkillers.

On another note half term is just a week away. Never has a half term been so looked forward to as this one has.  I love my job, absolutely love it and I really like the staff and kids I work with but it has been so full on for 8 weeks.  Need to recharge the batteries ready for the run up to Christmas and help the students climb the levels they need to climb.
I need to also study during the weeks break and catch up on some module reading that I have let slide whilst drafting my first TMA.

On a final note, kindle bah! A few months ago I purchased the touch only to see a new version paper white has been released this week, how annoying, is it worth the upgrade?? I love my kindle its a great little item so the fact there is a better version coming out is annoying.  I will have to check the reviews and decide.