My first day as a supply teacher

supply teaching in london blog

I recently shared my brand new 'back to school' bag and some of the things I'd prepared to take with me on my first day as a supply teacher......well here I am, safely out the other side!

Firstly, I am fully aware that my face is here, back when I was a teacher 'proper' 8 years ago, I shared my life anonymously online (I've always shared my life online in some form), and I only 'revealed' my face on my blog once I'd left teaching. I also covered all my tattoos when I taught back then. I was younger, and less sure of who I was I guess. So it's just something I need to bare in mind. But the world is different now. I'm different now. And it feels ok.

what is first day of supply like

Being in a school again, after so long, felt a little alien, and the building was a modern purpose-built school, which is the opposite to the schools I used to work in (old Victorian schools). It was a rather unusual start, as the class teacher was actually in the school that day, but working on a different project. So they were able to show me their room, and quickly run me through the day. The downside was that the class teacher was there when the children entered, which made it harder to establish the tone that you'd usually want to do as a stranger in the classroom. But all good.

If there is a supply teacher god, they blessed me for my first day. The class were a joy, and the lessons went as planned. We managed to get the work done, enjoy a story, and leave the classroom tidy. I marked the maths books, and even had time to call the children back who had made errors, and go over their mistakes with them (the fancy term for that is 'Assessment for Learning, where assessment of work isn't just for scores, but for helping children move forward).

At lunchtime I was told the school had already asked me back, which gave me a nice pat on the back, and that evening I was booked for 3 dates at this school, and 3 at another. 

While it was a relief that my first day supply teaching went smoothly, I know I can't get comfortable. I know that I'll stumble across children that prove more challenging, and classrooms that are less easy to slot into. 

The school was very very different to the schools I've worked in before. In so many ways. It was fascinating to be reminded that not all schools are like the ones I've known.

Day 1 - tick achieved!

Getting my gait measured and trying yoga pants to run in

getting gait measured

I've been running again for about 7 weeks, and I've been getting such tight calves. Its not an injury as they loosen up when running, but gosh they started feeling so short and painful. To prevent injury, and of course to lose the pain when I start running, and after trying stretches and ball rolling, I decided to buy some 'proper' running shoes. You know those trainers that are expensive but not really the main brands you've heard of? Those.

I arrived at the running shop, and asked for help buying some shoes. Now I've read on the internet that measuring gait is pseudo-science, but having someone just help me pick some decent shoes should help at least. I was previously running in some Adidas running trainers, that cost me about £45. 

female running shoes always pink

He brought out these pink trainers as a starter pair, to run on the treadmill with. I was definitely wearing the wrong bra. He filmed me running, and then declared that I was largely 'neutral' but perhaps my right foot was slightly pronated. Anyhoo, he also taught me that my running shoe was supposed to be half a size bigger than my foot, which I hadn't know. Silly me.

He went to bring me an assortment of trainers to try on, but I told him I was strictly no pink. He explained that I'd have far fewer options if I wouldn't wear pink. I said that was bullshit wasn't it, and he said that many female customers complained to him about the same thing. In the end I chose these HOKA ONE ONE shoes.

hoka one one review

The first run out felt very bouncy, like walking with moon boots, and I found I caught my front toe a lot, as I had to learn to lift my feet higher! But I liked them enough to be excited about whether they'd show any improvements. That week I continued using a ball to roll my feet and my calves, and then ran again with the new shoes. I found my tight calves were definitely less tight, so I'm hopeful that over a few more weeks I'll have some new stretchy calf muscles in no time!

I was also sent some beautiful yoga leggings from Yoga Design Lab to review recently, and look how cute they are!

I was sent a size Small, and like every time I look at a pair of gym leggings, I panic they won't fit, but actually they were a great fit. They're not highwaisted, which is what I usually go for, for comfort, but they didn't roll down at all.

The mistake I made was to sprint in them. I sort of forgot that they were yoga leggings, and that different leggings suit different activities. Running in them caused them to scruff up on the inside seam, so I'll keep them for weight training days, rather than running! 

They're so cute I may even just wear them for a lazy weekend outfit....that's ok these days right? 

yoga design lab

Rockalily Cuts - Triple Awards Finalist

This week Rockalily Cuts recieved 3 finalist positions, two in the Salon Business Awards 2018 and one in the Hair Awards 2018. There is no voting to promote, we just need to wait and see!

Even if we don't win, being nominated against some big-boy chains is still something to be proud of. 

rockalily cuts team 2018

My salon has been open over 6 years now, and from a crazy impulsive dream from a blogger with no experience, to a really kickarse little business with 5 members of staff (plus me!) it's been a really colourful journey.

I'm so proud of my team, and so pleased that we have so many loyal and lovely clients. Thank you if you've ever visited us, or ever told someone about us. 

So we're up for 'London Salon' in the Hair Awards 2018, and 'Digital Salon' and 'Ultimate Salon' in the Salon Business Awards 2018. It would be amazing to win, but as a small independent I don't expect to. However the finalist positions feel pretty awesome as they are! Wish us luck!

I'm about to become a supply I bought all the things

punky pins

I left school almost 20 years ago, but I still remember the excitement of getting a new school bag. So, when I got booked for a day's supply teaching, I knew I'd have to treat myself to a 'supply teacher' appropriate bag. It came with the toucan patch, but I added the Punky Pins after they were sent to me to review (review sounds silly, they're pins, but you know what I mean).

I used to be a primary teacher, perhaps 8 years ago now. If you want to learn more you can read about in these old blog posts:


10 things I learned from being a teacher and What was the final straw that made me leave teaching?

I completed a 4 year degree in teaching, including a placement in Arizona, and summer camp teaching in New York. I taught in London for about 2 years, and then I became a secondary school librarian. Then I quit it all, and started my own business. Fast forward to over 7 years of self employment, and I fancied dipping my toe back into the education world.

So I've decided to supply.


This could well be a fantastic idea, or a terrible one, but worth a try I reckon! Some of my old colleagues who left education have also returned to long term supply, and they're loving it, and if I don't like it, I don't have to continue, right?

Me, being me, it's been a great excuse to buy some stuff, and get organised. 

supply teaching supplies

Of course I printed personalised labels with my name on. Of course I ordered a personalised marking stamp. 

book for supply teaching
supply teaching stickers

I've used it as the excuse to buy new books, and I started with Ada Twist, Scientist, as a the ideal filler story. Off the back of it, you can work on rhyming pattern, a research project on Ada Lovelace, science explorations with any questions we can come up with etc. I also bought a billion stickers, as children just never get tired of them. They're great rewards. The pug ball is great for controlling who talks, or who has a go next, when you throw her around the room.

supply teacher note

I'm so extra that I designed my own note to leave the teacher, because why not do what makes us happy, right?

Now, after all the faffing, the day has finally arrived, tomorrow I'm due to do my first day's supply. I'll be very nervous, I'm so out of the game I've long forgotten all of the rules. But I'll focusing on turning up, and seeing what happens. Wish me luck.

A doctor told me I needed to lose a stone to be a healthy weight

reeree rockette swearing

Today I visited my new GP, after discovering a mole that seemed itchy on my back (I'm very moley). I entered the room, happy to find a young female doctor sat waiting for me. She checked my shoulders, and said she couldn't see anything that seemed off, so I said thank you and started getting my stuff. It'd taken all of a minute. 

She said that as I was there, I could just complete some data about me. She asked if I smoked, to which I said no, never. She asked if I drank, and I explained usually once, every one or two weeks. All good there.

She then said they didn't have a weight for me, so could she weigh me. I stepped on the scales, and then removed my shoes to have my height measured. I apologised for the big hair.

As she entered the data into her system, she mumbled my weight and height, and then my BMI (27 I think?), and she said that I would have to lose  a stone if I wanted to be in the healthy bracket, "...if I cared about things like that".

Firstly, for an exchange that lasted two minutes, half of which were spent looking at moles, I don't see how telling me my BMI, and that I needed to lose a stone to be a healthy weight is useful or warranted.

I include my photo from today, but sort of know it is irrelevant at the same time. Say I was carrying more weight than I am; say that the amount could be a potential warning for health issues....I'd obviously know that. Who on earth doesn't know that excess weight can carry health concerns? Does telling me my BMI magically make me aware of that fact? But I include the pic to also show that I honestly don't believe the weight I carry is what my doctor should be concerning herself with, in a short appointment.

She doesn't know if I've had eating disorders, or if my weight has fluctuated massively recently. She didn't know if her super fast comment/advice would send me into an eating binge or self harm hole (it didn't....but still).

being weighed by doctor

If she's telling me I'm carrying extra weight to try and keep me healthy, shouldn't she have asked about things that relate to my health? Do I exercise (Yes, 3 times a week, I run and lift weights), and how is my diet (generally pretty healthy, with fruit and vegetables heavily featured). Or how about whether my bowel movements are regular, or what my periods are like, or whether I check for breast lumps regularly.

I've read some things online about why the NHS still use BMI in this way, and it all seems to say stuff like, "It's a useful tool to use to judge when people are overweight, because being overweight generally comes with health concerns." When arguments are made about it's pointlessness (particularly in reference to muscle-heavy athletes), they just shrug and say most people aren't athletes. That BMI is relevant to most people.

I've yet to work out why we/they need a scale like BMI at all, to work out if someone is overweight (and therefore worthy of being concerned about their health and potential issues they may face - which is a whole other debate). Surely doctors can just tell by looking at us? I just can't work out why GPs are still chucking our BMIs in our faces constantly? What do they even imagine it does?

Don't get me wrong, this rant isn't about my weight at all. It's about the fact that in a two minute appointment, my GP randomly told me my BMI, and what I'd have to do to be in the healthy BMI range. Who is telling her to do this? Why do they think it is a valid thing to say? 

I am fully aware that people who carry more weight than me, deal with this nonsense with almost every medical professional that they meet. That it is common for every ailment they bring to a doctor ends with a discussion about their weight, and the apparent revelation that they are deemed obese. I am sharing my experience as it angered me, but I aware that for many people this is a constant, and even more stupid issue than my two minutes with my GP.

Chucking someone's BMI at them is at best pointless and silly, and at worst harmful and damaging. 

I spent over £700 on a PT....was it worth it?

what is a personal trainer like

I shared my experience of having 10 sessions with a PT after having a personal trainer for 5 weeks, and now I've reached month 4, I'm back to update my experience 24 sessions later.

At the beginning of January I signed up with a PT. I'd fallen off the fitness wagon, and just lost my confidence with it. I really missed feeling strong, and most of my clothing didn't fit anymore, but I was just struggling to get into the mindspace on my own to return. 

I started with 2 half-hour sessions a week, which over time, dropped down to one session a week, as I added in other fitness activities (I joined a running club, and started going to my gym again). Its now the end of April, and in total I had 24 sessions with my PT, at a cost of over £700. Was it worth it?

After 10 sessions I'd learnt the following:

1. Exercise should feel hard. That's the point of it (if you want to change your body).

2. Target all muscles, not just your favourite ones!

3. It's absolutely part of the process to attempt and fail certain moves. The attempts are the exercise.

Do I have anything more to add, now I'm 24 sessions in? So much of exercise if about your mind, but at the same time, if you waited to 'feel like it', we'd never achieve much at all. I've learned the power of grit, and commitment. That I just need to make sure I keep turning up. I've learned that I can push my body pretty hard, and that's all that matters. It doesn't matter if the person next to me is performing the move better/faster, all that matters is that I'm pushing hard. That's what exercise is, and no matter how fit everyone is in the room, we should all be feeling that it's hard. That we're all pushing hard. That's the point.

Paying for a PT has done what I needed it do; I'm now going to the gym, and exercising in some way 2-3 times a week. I'm not returned magically to the body I used to have, as my diet isn't as committed as it was back then, when I was at my strongest/smallest, but I have changed my body a bit. Its definitely stronger. I've lost a bit of weight from my face. Fitness is back in my life again, and that was the point. Money well spent I'd say.

It's not something I can afford permanently, but this investment in myself was worth it.

Does Head and Shoulders really strip colour?

does head and shoulders strip colour

We advise people to use Head and Shoulders (or washing up liquid) to strip colour all the time. It's long been the advice of hairdressers and the internet. I've also enjoyed a lot of videos on youtube that show different quality shampoos being pitted against each other. So I wanted to give it a go. It didn't go as expected....

I coloured 4 blonde samples using La Riche Directions, which is the semi-permanent colour we use the most for rainbow and mermaid colours. I used Head and Shoulders, a cheap Alberto Balsam and the salon L'Oreal colour shampoo we tend to use in the salon at the backwash.

I took as much care as I could to wash and rinse each sample in the same way, and they probably got washed about 8 times.

testing different shampoos

From left to right: The unwashed comparison sample. Head and Shoulders. Alberto Balsam. L'Oreal. THEY FADED THE SAME.

I returned to some of the videos on the internet, to work out why I didn't get the results they'd led me to expect. Most of them seem to judge the colour loss by the colour of the water, which for many reasons, isn't really worth doing. All that matters is the colour left in the hair. steps for me. I want to compare another salon quality shampoo, to see if it provides any different results. Perhaps I need to try a permanent colour, rather than a semi-permanent. Perhaps semis just fade the same amount, regardless of product. Or perhaps, old ReeRee was right, it's all just a marketing this space.