Foster Cat Corbyn - The Invisible Room Mate

corbyn the foster cat

Let me introduce my latest foster cat; Corbyn. He's been here 19 days and officially has the crown for the most invisible cat I've ever cared for. He still will not come out from under the bed.

His owner sadly died, and Corbyn was living alone for a while, being fed by kind neighbours. The neighbours were going on holiday, and were worried about who would care for Corbyn. I was advised ahead of time that he was a super shy cat, but friendly, so I wasn't surprised when he tried to run away from me, pretty much as soon as I opened the cage. My heart broke a little as he tried to get under the wardrobe, which is far too small, so it just resulted in him bashing his head against it in panic a few times. Sob.

foster cat corbyn

He then found the open wardrobe, and hid there for a few minutes before scooting off under the bed. Where he's lived for almost 3 weeks since.

Corbyn comes out when I'm asleep, he eats a bit, and he uses the litter tray. He rolled in some catnip one night I left it out, but ignored it from then. I've bought a Feliway plug to try and relax him, but so far, no improvement. He's even received distance reiki.

It's so hard, because he needs time, but time just feels so sad, and of course the dream foster cat is one who gives some fun and joy in return! I haven't given up hope at all, but he breaks my heart a little each day, as I think of him, all sad and lonely under the there.

I hope he starts to feel safe, and that he'll edge out to investigate soon.


ETA - At the 3.5 week mark I decided to reduce his hiding spot, and by the turn of week 4, he was snuggled up to me in bed. He now sleeps ALL night with me, as the little spoon. What a turn around!


I was interviewed by Stylist magazine (and how editing feels)

Last month I rushed from a day's supply teaching to do an interview and photoshoot with Stylist Magazine. I was interviewed alongside the incredible Laurence Sessou and our fabulous photographer was Sarah Brimley.

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I have to confess, when I arrived knackered and sweaty after rushing from a day's teaching, my heart sunk a little when I saw my photoshoot partner. I mean she's a model. If she wasn't so sweet and open, it'd be easy to envy-hate her, but Laurence was wonderful. We both found it hilarious how 'opposite' we were. Her tattoos and scarifications are all so spiritial and reflective of her sense of self, whereas mine are a jumbled collection of souvenir fridge magnets. When she explained why she had a lot of snakeskin tattooed on her (its her power animal) I asked her how she knew what her power animal was. I was treated to an incredible story about climbing mountains and closing yourself off from the world in a hut. I'd then explain how I just picked most of mine out of books!

reeree rockette stylist magazine 2018

Being interviewed is always interesting. You're laying yourself out, and you're often edited in a way that isn't completely accurate. I'm not blaming anyone for that, it would be an awful article if it was the whole interview, but it's always odd to read words that are being credited to you, but that you didn't ever say. Years ago, I was in More Magazine, and I learned this when the headline was something like, "Men love stroking my tattoos". The interviewer had simply asked "So, do men love stroking them?" and I'd said something like, "Well, its my naked skin so I guess so, but it's not as though you can feel them."

reereerockette 2018

You can hear in the video, my tone signifies being half way through all of my sentences, and it's interesting to consider how cropping thoughts in this way slightly tweaks the meaning of what I'm saying. Again, nothing that I hate, but its just interesting to notice. For example, it sounds like I got my READ MORE knuckles instead of a pedicure. It sounds like I said I regret my back tattoo. I'm not even sure what the ending of the story about my Valerie Vargas woman face tattoo was!

You can read the full interview online but of course seeing it in the magazine is always the most real!

reeree in stylist magazine

It's a shame they picked the photo but there you go! 

Teaching Blogging at CityLit

blogging workshop at citylit

I am aware of the heavy irony of this blog post, sharing the workshop I recently taught at CityLit, since I've been blogging a lot less in the past few months! But that's the beauty of a blog; it's your corner of the internet where you're in charge and set the rules!

You may have seen that I gave supply teaching a go recently, but I also tried something else new - teaching adults! 

city lit tutor job

My first day-long course was Blogging for Business, and I was a bit nervous! I arrived at City Lit, and firstly had to work out where my classroom was, and how to get into it! Next challenge was finding my register, and working out how to log into the PC. Final prayers were given that my powerpoint presentation would work. Woohoo.

The students were such a mixture, which is always the case with blogging, and everyone's goals and desired outcomes always vary. We had people who were doing something with Blockchain, from people in HR and yoga instructors. This is what can make blogging tricky to 'teach', as its almost just a genre, like writing. It can mean so many things!

My nerves soon melted away, as I realised I had a great bunch of people, and we all had things to share and discuss. Teaching adults is such a different pressure to teaching kids; they've paid some money, given up a Saturday, and expect a return on their investment.

I recieved a lovely email, afterwards, from a student, which sums up this pressure perfectly!

"...we thought WTF were we doing a blogging course on a warm summers day. We agreed we'd leave at lunch if it was as boring as expected. Well we couldn't have been more wrong - it was such a fantastic day, equally great in term of all the useful content and your engaging and captivating delivery of it."

Can you imagine the awfulness of students not returning after lunch? It makes my belly hurt with the thought of it! Ha!

At the end of the session, students are asked to leave feedback too, and again, once collected up and in an empty classroom, I opened with slight trepidation. This feedback goes to the my bosses at the college, and more than that, is just scary to read! It was so lovely to read such positive comments, and I forced myself to allow myself to feel some pride. Its an emotion many of us struggle with, I'd argue women, more than men, but definitely lots of us. So here are some of my comments:

"Phenomenal course."

"Really enjoyed the teaching style and conversations."

"Excellent at picking up and responding to individual people on the course. Would definitely do another course by Ree."

"Great how we individually got advice on our own businesses. Excellent teaching style."

"ReeRee was brilliant - highly entertaining and informative. Way exceeded my expectations."

I hope I haven't jinxed my next one now! I'm teaching "Writing for blogs: A taster" on 11th August (and again in December). Wish me luck! Teaching kids is much easier!


Can you supply teach with a neck tattoo?

supply teaching what to wear.jpg

I've officially done 17 days of primary school supply teaching now, so I thought I'd reflect on what I've learned so far.

Turns out, its possible to teach with hand and neck tattoos. I get asked a lot about this on social media, but its been largely unspoken of at school. The caveat to this is that I've only been to two schools - I just kept being rebooked by the same places. I have no doubt that some schools refused me, of which I'm blissfully unaware, but it's clear that its not impossible. One school was a church school (I attended weekly church with them 3 times), and the other a regular primary.

tattooed teacher at primary school.jpg

I've also been asked a lot about my changing hair (otherwise known as my wig collection), and as you can see from my supply teaching selfies, I rocked my hair as usual. The kids ask, I tell them, and then they like to tell me if they especially like one. They ask why, and I either ask why they were their clothes, or just because I like to.

I've been reminded that I'm willing to throw myself into things. I taught nursery, despite having never having stepped foot in a nursery classroom since I was in nursery myself. I've been in nursery, reception, year 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Which has been great for expanding my school experience. I qualified in 2007, and taught for a few years, before launching Rockalily in 2011. So it's been a long time since I've been in the classroom!

I was surprised at how, even on day 1, it almost felt like I'd never really left at all. I can notice some of the newer curriculum changes (definitely hating the new literacy, and have many questions about the new maths) but generally teaching is just teaching.

It's been nice, that even in a short time, I feel part of a community. Parents stop and talk to me at the end of the day, and I'm part of a staff team (as a business owner you can often feel lonely). The same frustrations are still there; children who can't behave during class, children who steal our learning time from us. Classrooms that are too small and too stuffy to comfortably house 30 children and the accompanying adults in. 

I've had better days, and worse days. I mean, it is called work and not play, and teaching is especially focused on the 'work' part of that phrase. Unlike when I worked in an office, you get almost zero 'down time'. No ten minute chat with a colleague, or an hour doing something a little more peaceful with your headphones on. No going to the toilet when you need to. It's full on, all of the time. But there are certainly worse ways to earn a living.

I only take prebooked supply work, I'm not up for waking up at 6am, waiting for the phone to ring, so I've been lucky to stumble into two school that have kept me basically booked 4-5 days a week. I'm now booked for the next two weeks, still at the same school, and then I'm off on my holiday to Spain!

Fostering Miss Katie and Kelly - 9 day update

fostering cats london 2018

I've had foster cats Miss Katie and Kelly for about 9 days now, and they've certainly required more 'care' than other foster cats I've had. Their old age means that they don't always use the litter tray, and they're very messy when they eat and drink. I've forever cleaning up after them. They're also very 'chatty', which again is most probably age-related. Kelly has confirmed kidney failure, and I'm 90% sure that Miss Katie has it too. They're old ladies, it's what happens.

fostercats kelly and katie

They have this ability to spill each and every bowl of water they drink from, which gets pretty wet. 

Miss Katie sleeps next to me each night, whereas Kelly loves her cat cave. They're super annoying but super cute! They don't do much, they sleep, wake up, meow for 15 minutes, eat, pee and sleep again.

My first Parkrun!

My first parkrun

After wanting to be a parkrunner for ages, I finally ran my first official Parkrun today! Firstly running as part of a large group is so different to running solo. It gives you a pack to belong to, as well as giving us that drive not to quit.

Parkrun is free, and happens every Saturday morning, and they try hard to foster a sense of community. There is a meet up after each race, and lots of cheering for others. As they say, its a run not a race, and its super inclusive.

This Parkrun was 5 laps of 1km, and laps 3 and 4 were tough. I annoyingly had to walk a few times, to give my body a little break, but my finishing time of 30:55 was still one I was happy with.

I've been working a lot recently, basically supply teaching full time for a few weeks, on top of owning the salon, so my fitness has taken a little back seat (remember, we can do anything, but not everything),  but running on a Saturday has remained constant. Its actually even been helped, as I'm now used to getting up early!

No matter how big or small, setting a goal, and then achieving it, is always good for us. Especially when it can feel tough going, or easy to quit. I wanted to run a Parkrun, and now I have. Next up is becoming a regular Parkrunner.

My top investments are my Hoka One One running shoes (£110) which instantly stopped me getting worryingly tight calves every run, and my BooBuddy (£20), which instantly made my boobs stop being an issue when I run.

I hit my target the first time I tried a 5km again

running 5k female

10 weeks ago I joined a beginners running group which I'm guessing is pretty similar to the 'Couch-5k' programme. I've written a lot about running over the years, which surprises me, as I so rarely think of myself who runs. I've blogger about 5ks, 10ks, Goodgym, Nike Runs, and what being a runner feels like.

My very first 5k run was 5 years ago, when Living Social put together a bloggers' running group to run the Brighton Colour Run

About 6 months on, another sponsorsed post set me the challenge to run my very first 10k, which I managed to complete under an hour, almost by accident. Run to the Beat was then my first official 10k race that I tried. Since then I've dipped in and out of running. In a period of being 'out' of running, I felt a little lost at how to return.

I found joining a group worked perfectly for me. We paid in advance for the 10 weeks, which means I turned up every week! Last week we did our first 25 minute run, where I ran 4km, and I secretly hoped for a 5km run this week when we'd be running for 30 minutes. I definitely prepared myself for that being unlikely though.

The run was tough. It was hot, and I felt really tired. I stopped and walked about 5 times, which is really unlike me. But I did it! I did 5km in a smidge over 30 mins (10 seconds over). I was pretty gobsmacked. I've got park run next week, and not really feeling great about it, as this run was tough. But I'm going to tweak my caffiene intake prior to the race, to hopefully lose the horrible tiredness I felt.

Wish me luck.

P.s - I blogged about buying expensive running trainers to help my tight calves....yeah it completely worked. I don't have tight calves anymore.