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.


New foster cats - Miss Katie and Kelly

foster cats katie and kelly

On Friday night my new foster cats arrived. These two, Miss Katie and Kelly, and elderly ladies whose owner is currently unable to care for them. Their grumpy faces made me bond with them instantly. It's now Sunday, so I thought I'd share how we've settled in together.

Miss Katie arrived covered in sick and poo (from sharing a cat carrier with a male cat they'd lived with, who didn't travel well), so that gave us a rather smelly start. She wasn't cleaning herself, but did allow me to give her a little rinse under the tap. 

foster cat katie

Foster cat Miss Katie is braver than Kelly, so I've learned more about her so far. Her back legs are pretty wobbly, and she's got a swollen lump on her front paw. Both sisters seem VERY thirsty, which could be kidney failure, diabetes, hyperthyroidism or a UTI.  Miss Katie has already learned that the bed is a nice place to be, and she curls up on it with me. She really likes to be brushed. She had been using the litter tray, but this morning she tried to poo on the doormat (cue me grabbing her and moving her swiftly, mid-poo to the litter tray). I wonder if she's just slightly suffering from dementia. She's very vocal. 

foster cat Kelly

Foster cat Kelly is much shyer, and is still hiding away most of the time. She comes out to eat and drink, and once Miss Katie starts howling, Kelly often starts chatting back. They seem to like a good chin way at 4am.....

Kelly has had one litter tray accident so far, peeing on a scratching post instead of in the tray, so fingers crossed she figures it out soon.

A challenge for charities that offer fostering is that they often come with many medical issues, and there is a tightrope to walk regarding how much money you spend on each cat. This is especially true when you foster elderly cats, who will have a myriad of conditions no doubt. It would be impossible for each charity to magically pay for every medical condition to be fixed or tested for. They have to continually weigh up the small budget they have, with the needs to the cats they have in their welfare, and the ever-long list of people asking for their services. these two little ladies have been to the vet enroute to me, and I believe we're taking them on Thursday for vaccinations. I hope to go with them, as I'd like to work out whether they're in pain, or just very grumpy moany old ladies.

Jerry the foster cat is no longer a foster cat

jerry feline friends adoption.jpg

Jerry the fostercat has finally gone to his furever home. He arrived exactly 12 weeks ago, and after taking about two weeks to brave his way from under the bed, he settled in to being the perfect little cat pal. Unassuming, but loving, he would mew quietly when hungry, and curl up on my bed just chilling for most of the time. He wasn't interested in cat toys, nor catnip. He loved the same piece of string that my first fostercat Bronwyn loved though, who knew hessian string could be so exciting!

adopted jerry.jpg

When I foster, I take a lot of mental effort to not 'fall in love' with the cats, and I'm quite conscious about the language I use in my mind, and when I talk about them. They've never mine. They're always called my foster cat. I talk about their future forever homes, and when they'll be ready to find one. It's called a failed foster when a foster carer decides to adopt instead, and foster homes are hard to find, so I'm proud to be one.

It's often said that fostering saves lives, which may sound a tad dramatic, but it is true. Cats that need a new home can only be taken in if they have somewhere to actually go. I don't think people fathom how many cats there are that are in need, and it's easy to just think that charities can just absorb the impact. But every cat needs an actual bed, and charities are full. They can't magic up space everytime someone decides they can't care for their pet anymore, or when an owner dies. Or when a new stray cat is found. A foster home allows a cat to be take in, and provides that window of time for a permanent home to be found.

Jerry was originally fostered in the hope he could return to his home, after his owner become ill. That's why he was with me for a while before he was listed as available for adoption. Sadly he was unable to return home, but I still enjoy the idea that his owner knew that his cats were being taken care of, and that he had the possibility of having them back. People's cats become their families, and when people (perhaps financially struggling, or isolated) are ill, the possibility of having their pet fostered and returned is a magical gift to give someone.

Jerry is now with his permanent owner, and she's already sent me some pics! He's braved some strokes, used his litter tray and had some food. So I'm relieved that he'll soon be sleeping on her bed too, and feeling safe and secure.

I had planned to have a cat-fostering break as I have a holiday next month,'s hard to say no, and I think I have one due at the end of the week!

Taking myself out on a feminist date

suffragette film

Yesterday I awoke with a BBQ hangover, and looked out to see another hot day ahead of us. I didn't want to waste it, but didn't have any plans, so I googled what was happening today. Turned out that there was a free outdoor cinema screening of the film 'Suffragette' followed by a panel discussion. Perfect!

It was the perfect day to sit in a park, and I only regretted not bringing a cushion, after an ignored fleeting considersation to. I sprawled out and enjoyed listening to some actors who read (what I presumed to be accurate) speeches, as if we were back in time, hearing people give speeches for and against votes for women. Speeches were so critical then, as a way of spreading ideas and winning favour. The actors were great, and I really enjoyed hearing from the suffragettes, the suffragists, women against women getting the vote, and the men.

The film started, and I blame the sunshine for the 25 minutes I slept through. I enjoyed it though! It told the suffragette story through the experience of the average working women, who were so critical in the movement, but whose story hasn't yet been told by Hollywood. It showed how women lost their homes, their children and their jobs. Watching Emily Davison step out in front of the king's horse made my heart stop, despite knowing it was about to happen!

deeds not words

There was a panel discussion afterwards, with some historians, including Helen Pankhurst, the great granddaughter of Emmeline, and granddaughter of Sylvia. I couldn't resist getting a book signed afterwards.

It's been too long since I just went out and did something nice, flying solo. I guess it's harder during winter, but summer, especially summer in London makes it much easier!