My Cat is Still a Jerk

An angry cat…

I had planned to take the day off on Saturday and have a bit of self-indulgent me time while The Bloke was off on a photography thing. I had worked every day that week and was looking forward to having the house to myself, putting all the technology away, snuggling up under a blanket and watching a cheesy film and an unhealthy breakfast. 

The cat, however, had other ideas. 

We awoke on Saturday morning to see that Mr Jerk had developed a swollen eyelid and was busy shaking his head and attacking his little face. So, after the usual  ‘there’s-no-way-you’re-putting-me-in-that-cat-carrier’ power struggle, off we went to the vets.  Continue reading

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How to Leave Teaching

How to Leave Teaching

Today marks the fourth anniversary of handing in my resignation, leaving a secure and financially stable teaching job to head out on my own and start again. 

Like the thousands of teachers who leave the profession every year, I couldn’t cope with the workload and pressure and it was affecting my physical and mental health.

My reasons behind the decision to walk away are no different to the hundreds of teachers that have contacted me since I published that post – workload, expectations, behaviour, health concerns – and they have all shared their own personal horror stories about the things they have experienced within their careers that have made them realise that they need to leave. 

Of all the questions I am asked, by far the most frequent is simply this:

How do I leave teaching?
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Pancakes, Pancakes, Pancakes…

It’s Shrove Tuesday – Pancake Day – here in the UK, so The Bloke and I decided to make a morning trip into the city to have them for breakfast. We went to Cherry Reds who were offering all-you-can-eat American style pancakes with syrup. Of course, I made a statement to The Bloke about wanting to eat as many as possible and then could barely make it through two of them, but it was a treat to get out of the house and go out for breakfast. I like Cherry Reds, it’s reasonably priced, a really nice atmosphere and the staff are lovely. Always a nice way to start the day… Continue reading

Things to See and Do at Witley Court, Worcestershire

The Bloke and I have taken to going out on day trips mid-week as of late, taking advantage of the general working day and term-time schedules to visit places that would be busier at the weekends. We’ve got Annual English Heritage passes which allows us unlimited free entry into English Heritage sites and discounts on other places like Blenheim Palace, and living in the West Midlands means that we are lucky enough to be a short drive away from some stunning stately homes, castles and historical places of interest.

One such place is Witley Court.

A hidden gem, I couldn’t believe that I had never heard of it before (despite living in Birmingham since 2001), and it is just a forty minute drive away from where I live.

Witley Court and Steps

Witley Court and Steps

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Metamorphosis at The Old Rep Theatre, Birmingham

Kafka’s Metamorphosis

Kafka’s most famous story of a man who inexplicably finds himself transformed into a beetle gets a fresh adaptation from Bath-based company Beyond the Horizon.

Adam Lloyd-James had grown tired of the lack of creative control he had in the productions he was involved in as an actor. Out of this frustration came his company Beyond the Horizon, formed in 2015. It’s mission: to present audiences with a brand of live entertainment beyond what they usually see; something Metamorphosis definitely achieves. Continue reading

A Silent Disco on the Canal

‘Want to go to a silent disco on Friday?’

I love the random text messages I get from my friends. 

I’ve not been out and about for a while and unable to drink, so this was very much needed. My friend works for the Canal and Rivers Trust (incidentally, did you know that Birmingham has more miles of canal than Venice?), and her company was holding a silent disco in one of the lock areas last week. I’ve never been to one before, but the concept has always intrigued me – music is played through individual headphones rather than from large speakers, so while the participants still experience the feeling of being at a club or ‘disco,’ anyone without a set of headphones on can’t hear anything.  Continue reading

Blog of the Day: Lorna from Gin & Lemonade

Ever wondered what to do when the power is out?

Meet Lorna! She’s the creator of Gin & Lemonade and a prolific blogger. 

I’ve written about Gin and Lemonade before – Lorna has become well-known within the blogging community and I’ve watched her blog (and content) grow and evolve enormously within the last few years, particularly as she moved over from dot com to a new self-hosted blog. 

Lorna lives in Skye, writes, reads and lives quite happily with her husband, their daughter and lots of books. She’s in her 30’s, is a wife, a mother, and is a wheelchair-user. She explains more in her rather epic ‘About’ page: Continue reading

Have a Great Day, Neighbour!

Ever had one of those enormously frustrating days where absolutely nothing goes as it should? 

After waiting for nearly six weeks, I attended a very disappointing appointment yesterday. I had been almost looking forward to it in the hope that it would bring a resolution to an ongoing medical issue that I’ve been having, only to be called ‘darling,’ talked at for five minutes and then be told that what I needed should have been done by the person who referred me six weeks ago, which she hasn’t been able to do because of the condition that has warranted the referral in the first place. Continue reading

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace

Things to See and Do When Visiting Blenheim Palace 1

The Bloke and I decided to spontaneously go out on a day trip the other day – we’ve both been feeling a little low and have cabin fever from being in the house for an extended period of time, so we both took the day off and went to Blenheim Palace. As you do. It is something that has been on my UK bucket list for a while, the weather was fairly reasonable and surprisingly, it’s only a 90 minute drive away from Birmingham. 

Most famously known as being the birthplace of Winston Churchill, Blenheim Palace is the principal residence of the Duke of Marlborough and the only non-royal country house in England that holds the title of ‘palace.’ Built between 1705 and 1722, it was a gift to John Churchill – the 1st Duke of Marlborough – by Queen Anne in thanks for his victory at the Battle of Blenheim in 1704, and was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987.  Continue reading

That Time The Bloke DIDN’T Propose…

As it’s Valentine’s Day I thought I would share this story again…

Suzie Speaks

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Valentine’s Day has never really been a big deal for The Bloke and I. I’m not a particularly romantic person at heart and generally we spoil each other throughout the year, so aside from exchanging cards and the odd gift, February 14th is a day that is no different to any other.

Last year, however, I had been particularly looking forward to it. We’d had the usual discussion a few days before:

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