Sunday, 8 November 2015

Book Clubs

I've always fancied joining a book club.  I'm an avid reader, I always have two books on the go (on paper and one audio) and I enjoy talking to friends about books we've read.

Unfortunately, in term time, it can take weeks for me to read a book.  One chapter before bed is often too much as my eyes close involuntarily as I am reading.  I also can't cope with anything too "worthy" in term time, and leave those books for the Summer holiday.

So, two friends of mine, who are also stressed out teachers with families and sing in the Manchester Chorale, suggested we form our own book club and only meet up after we have read the book - no pressure!

In Summer we chose this:

Then, in October half term, we met up to discuss it:

(of course, if we can escape for a couple of hours, 
we need to have a lovely afternoon tea while we discuss the book)

Now we've chosen this book:

It's the first of series, which I'm hoping I'll enjoy and want to read the rest.

We've tentatively suggested that we meet to discuss it between the rehearsal and the performance of a concert we're doing at the Bridgewater Hall in December (with Aled Jones, so excited!). 

Unfortunately, I haven't even bought the book yet and with the next month full of parents' evenings, report writing, open mornings and daughter's piano exam, hockey matches (she's taken up hockey, deep joy) and horse riding, never mind the Christmas preparations, I don't think I'll manage to read it, even if I can manage to buy it!

The trouble is, I don't want to be the one that says I haven't read it!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Cinema Paradiso!

For the first time in over a decade hubby and I went to the cinema on our own, in the evening, to watch a film which wasn't made by Disney or Dreamworks.

While daughter was at a halloween party and sleepover (with the severed finger and eyeball cake) we splashed out on Premium seats and went to see Spectre.


There was lots of this:

and this:

and this:

(The story was good as well! He he he!)

Monday, 2 November 2015

Halloween Cake

True to form, daughter and I have been baking, and for halloween we abandoned the traditional halloween cupcakes we usually make and went for a sandwich cake instead.

Red Velvet ....

,,,, with severed fingers and eyeballs!


Sunday, 1 November 2015

Half Term Hi Jinx

I've been neglecting the blog lately, having been seduced by Facebook, so here's a quick round up of what we've been up to in half term.

While hubby ate chocolate in Berlin we went in search of Mr Darcy at Lyme Park:

Had afternoon tea at Slattery's Patisserie and Chocolaterie:

Went for a walk and a picnic in Macclesfield Forest:

 I sang in a concert at the Bridgewater Hall
(this is my view when seated):

I've made a lot of pumpkin cake, had the first meeting of a book club my friends and I have founded (one in which we give ourselves plenty of time to read the book!) and I've done a couple of other things that will appear in the next two posts.........

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Mindfulness Part 3

Do you remember my posts Mindfulness Part 1 and Mindfulness Part 2?

Well, ever since then I have continued with my mindfulness meditations and trying to live a more mindful life and it really seems to help. I haven't stopped encountering stress but I can control how I deal with it.

Then I got to thinking; there are a lot of issues with young peoples' mental health at the moment and it seems to be getting worse.  I've seen evidence of it myself as a form teacher.  As our young people live in a far more pressured world than I grew up in, negotiating constant exams and a minefield of social media, it's no wonder that some are struggling to cope.  NHS mental health services for young people are overstretched and I suddenly thought, "Why aren't we teaching mindfulness in schools?"

Well it seems some schools are.

There's a Mindfulness in Schools Project which is training teachers to teach mindfulness to pupils, so I looked into it and I've just told our deputy head I'm interested in training. She's a practitioner and  advocate of mindfulness herself and is delighted that I've volunteered because she wanted it to be introduced at school.  Talk about good timing!

So I've taken the first step.

Here's the founder of the Mindfulness in Schools Project talking about it, watch it and you'll see why we should be teaching this in school:

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Joining the 21st Century

I've finally done it.

I've updated from this:

 (my ancient, but trustworthy 9 year old Nokia brick)

and this:

 (my now obsolete 6 year old i-touch)

to this:
(my new i-phone 5s)

I'm loving the fact that my apps now work again and I can do my Tesco shop by scanning the barcodes on the products already in my kitchen!

I've also joined this:

Don't really get the point of it yet, but I guess it's hard to switch mindsets after blogging for nearly a decade.  

Now wrestling with the thorny problem of what to do when a "friend" of a "friend", who you know in real life, has sent you a friend request, but you don't really want them reading your facebook page. 

Oh, blogging is so much easier.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

WM's Tram Law

Yesterday daughter set off on her first Guide Camp.  Excited, but a little apprehensive, she sat on her own on the coach and we waved her off.  Immediately I worried that she had no friends, no one would talk to her, she would be lonely and unhappy for the entire weekend.

Anyway, my worries abated as I realised that this meant that hubby and I could go out on our own for the first time in ten months!

We booked a lovely restaurant in Didsbury and, since the tram network has been extended across Manchester, we decided to use the tram to get there thus enabling us both to drink alcohol and be really bad parents.

This involved changing trams at the Cornbrook stop.

This is where I realised that there is a tram law which I have been subjected to many times, but I'm not sure if anyone has recorded it.

"I'm going to publish it, so it's mine" I told hubby.

So here it is:

"A tram for every other possible line will pass you before the one you want arrives."

We saw two Altrincham trams, two Manchester Airport and one Eccles before an East Didsbury tram arrived.  And the same thing happened on our journey back!

In fact, when I think about it, every time I've stood in the city centre waiting for my tram, several others go past for every other line before the one I want.  

Now there's a law about it, it won't be so frustrating, will it?

Friday, 28 August 2015

God's own County

The school holidays are flying by and we're still enjoying ourselves.  We've had lots of days out, we sampled Chester Zoo's new Island Adventures, we've been blackberry picking along the Mersey, we've walked along parts of the Bridgewater Canal we haven't explored before and this week we went for a walk in God's own County, Yorkshire.

I absolutely love Yorkshire.  

It's such a beautiful place and so varied from the Moors to the Dales.  And right on our doorstep!

We ventured to Malham, walked to Janet's Foss:

 and then Goredale Scar:

Our original plan was to climb up the waterfall onto the top, but the sign said "Warning: Dangerous Climb" and it was roaring with fast flowing water.  (There is no footpath, you literally have to climb up the waterfall - look at the people in the picture for scale).  I have done it before, but as we were slipping around on the lower rocks and other people were turning back I decided it was too risky, so we walked back and along the lower path to Malham Cove.

Harry Potter fans might recognise the limestone pavement which featured in the later films:

We then walked down the side of the pavement to the bottom of the cove:

and back into Malham, past Town Head Barn, for a well earned cup of tea and a scone.

A great day out!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


Yes, we've been to Mexico!

We've been on a tour of the Yucatan Peninsula, looking at ancient Mayan ruins and beautiful Colonial cities:

We ate beautiful Mayan food:

 including, of course, chocolate:

then we headed for the beach at Tulum to relax.

I say "relax":