November bujo!

A new month is upon us, so a new bullet journal post is also upon us!

Thank you for all of your enthusiasm about my October bullet journal! post. I got some lovely comments from you all… I am still very much a bujo novice BUT I have started to see the benefit in using it every day. My bullet journal has quickly become part of my nightly routine – I fill in the mood tracker, my happy thing for the day and check out what is happening the next day. Not only that but it is now part of my weekly routine too, Friday night or Saturday night I will get round to doing the next week’s weekly page too.

Reflecting on the pages that worked really well in October, I have to say my mood tracker is easily my favourite mood tracker I have done so far – it looks SO colourful and gorgeous. I might share a picture on my IG/Twitter if you’re interested! I have to say November’s mood tracker isn’t nearly as fun, but I’m thinking about adapting the October idea for a Christmas theme… watch this space! Other pages that worked well were my book pages, primarily due to the fact I managed to read so much in October… 16 books in total! Wow! Thanks half term!

But anyway… now that we’re in a new month, we have a new set of pages! 

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This is my month title page. I am WELL CHUFFED with the lettering. I know it could be so much better but I am quite impressed tbh. The random splodges are meant to be fireworks: it worked in my head, not so much on the page. But I love this page.

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The next double spread is my mood tracker (see, not as fun as October’s umbrella) and my grateful page. I went for a maze of boxes and some new emotions to track this month. I definitely am still figuring out which emotions I feel most often to track BUT I think I’m getting there! The other half of the page is my thankful/grateful page. It says, “Find the sunshine in EVERY day” as I’ve come to notice that I NEED that look back and finding something positive about my days, especially on bad days. Looking back on these pages are great for my well-being too. Seeing the successes (no matter how big or small) from the months is definitely something to perk you up. 

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The next double spread is a bookish themed double spread. My book post page is becoming a staple. I am still so very lucky to get book post, so this page helps me to keep track of what I’ve received and from who, whether I’ve put it on my social media and whether I have read it or not. It’s interesting looking back to see how much of my bookpost is the stuff I have read! (side note: how cute is my little face on my title?!) The other half is my books read page – I’m being brazen and going for 9 books… I don’t know if I’ll achieve that but I definitely will be trying. I started tracking pages at the end of October, so decided to add that in on this page too. 

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My final double spread so far is the biggie – the weekly spread. I love the little flag post that helps me track the weeks (for those who’ve asked in the past, I track in academic weeks, being a teacher and all. My year works from September to August ha!) So there’s space for Mon – Fri, where I write in what lessons I’m teaching, training etc; a massive To Do box, because so much to do, and a Weekend box – if I have any plans that weekend (that don’t involve work ha!). On the other side is the basic calendar, a sleep tracker (I work better on enough sleep, it’s useful for me to track my sleep), a mood tracker graph (I don’t find my monthly mood tracker enough to gather lots of info about my mood over the day, but a mood tracker graph has become a fave of mine… I can track my mood in the morning, afternoon and night). There’s also a self care box (what have I done for my own self care) and a box for ideas (whether its blogging ideas, life ideas, lesson ideas: they can all go in there!). Self care and ideas is something new I’m trying, I don’t know if it will stay or not… we’ll see how well it works! 

And that’s it so far! 

What am I missing that you have?
Have you had a favourite spread that you’ve kept?
Which moods do you track?
Have you got any bujo tips for me? 

Talk to me! Show me your bujo. I love seeing them! You’re all so talented! Comment or talk to me on twitter/instagram (@eenalol). 

S x

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BLOG TOUR: Chris Priestley

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Curse of the Werewolf Boy: friendships, time jumps and hilarious Latin women. What more do you need?

“Mildew and Sponge don’t think much of Maudlin Towers, the blackened, gloom­laden, gargoyle-infested monstrosity that is their school. But when somebody steals the School Spoon and the teachers threaten to cancel the Christmas holidays until the culprit is found, our heroes must spring into action and solve the crime!
But what starts out as a classic bit of detectivating quickly becomes weirder than they could have imagined. Who is the ghost in the attic? What’s their history teacher doing with a time machine? And why do a crazy bunch of Vikings seem to think Mildew is a werewolf?”

I saw this book floating about on the Bloomsbury twitter so when I was asked to be part of this brilliant blog tour I jumped at the chance! Any book that looks as good as this one does is a winner with me.

In the book you’re introduced to Mildew and his best friend Sponge, two typical boys looking for a bit of adventure and fun in their school days! They go to a pretty fancy school, Maudlin Towers, and one day the infamous School Spoon goes missing. OH NO. So obviously the two boys make it their mission to try and track down the spoon. OBVIOUSLY while they’re on their mission things start to go awry. Strange ghosts appear, a Viking man is found wandering, there’s a mysterious time travelling machine left by a dead member of staff. All these things club together to make a very pacey and fun story!

(Plus, look at these illustrations! Love them!)

The friendship between the two boys was so spot on. It’s great to see a positive frienship at any time, but to see one written so well is a bonus! There’s some brilliant non-words (detectivating is a brilliant example), which definitely had me giggling. I really enjoyed the humour in this book. One of my favourite people is definitely Miss Livia – kids will love her situation, she’s ridiculous yet hilarious. There were some moments of absolute ridiculousness that I loved. All of the time jumping started to hurt my head, but I was hooked. I wanted to know what was going to happen, because come on WHO DOESN’T WANT TO TIME TRAVEL? This book would be perfect for the boys in my class: it’s totally down their street! If you’ve got an 8+ year old in your life, then get one of these for them! It’s perfect. 

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury and Faye for inviting me on this book tour! If you’d like to know more, check out the links below and check out the rest of the blog tour, it’s been great!

Goodreads Link: clicky
Amazon Link: go on, treat yourself (or someone else!)

Author Information

Chris P Author Pic 2016 MID RES (C) Martin Bond

Ever since he was a teenager, Chris has loved unsettling and creepy stories. He has fond memories of buying comics like Strange Tales and House of Mystery, watching classic BBC TV adaptations of M.R. James’ ghost stories every Christmas and reading assorted weirdness by everyone from Edgar Allan Poe to Ray Bradbury. He hopes his books will haunt his readers in the way those writers have haunted him.

Website: http://www.chrispriestleybooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/crispriestley
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chrispriestleywriter/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christopherpriestley/

Blog tour

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Me in TBR

Today I am doing something a little bit different! I’m going to list some books on my TBR (or which I need to put on my TBR) which spell out my name! I might have pinched this idea from my lovely friend Aoife (If you’re interested in her choices, check out her post here).

Six of Crows
The Dark Wild
Extinction Trials
Panther
Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella
All That She Can See
Northern Lights
Illuminae
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

What is your name in your TBR books?
Have you read any of these books?
Which ones should I read first?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I would love more suggestions, and I’d love to see your names in TBR! Thanks Aoife for the idea!

S x

5 weeks down…

Morning! Week 5 has been done and dusted and it’s mad to think that I’m 5 weeks through my teacher training… 2 more weeks until half term. This time is FLYING: part of me is terrified, part of me is thrilled. 

Last week was a really positive week! 

I taught Maths every day I was at school (I’m not in on Thursdays, those are our training days!) and one of those lessons was an informal observation. I was observed on Wednesday – the kids had been struggling with word problems and picking out the important information and then using that to calculate, so I asked the teacher if I could go off script and do a lesson with just word problems. We did a lesson of word problems, with me doing lots of modelling, and they had some word problems to do themselves. I thought the lesson went well, and the teacher agreed. She had some absolutely lovely things to say about my lesson, which was brilliant! There were things from the observation for me to think about too. 

The class teacher has been really supportive of me in the past few weeks. She’s stayed about in the lessons I’ve been teaching and she always gives me feedback. We’ve been working on Journey (Aaron Becker) in English. I recommended it to her for something a little bit different for narrative writing, and we absolutely love it. The kids are really gripped. We use Talk4Writing in my school, so last week we spent time looking at the book (it’s a wordless book!) then boxing up the story and finally we got round to doing some shared writing. The class teacher sat in on one of my shared writing sessions, to see how I did it, and she had some more lovely feedback for me for that lesson too. I love creative writing, it makes my soul happy. I definitely feel like it’s one of those passion subjects for me!

We spent Thursday at university, looking at assessment for learning and our upcoming assignments. It was an up and down day as I don’t feel we were as productive as I would’ve liked, but it was lovely to see all of the primary people again. The upcoming assignment requires recording myself teaching, so I am interested in how that’s going to go (I don’t think I’m going to like doing that!!). 

There’s been other teaching going on – I did some French and History on Monday, then Guided Reading. Lots of variety, always brilliant!

Last week in 3 words?
Invigorating. Reassuring. Positive.

Remember if you’ve got any questions, I’m happy to answer them! 

S x

October bullet journal!

After the success of my September bullet journal, I’m sharing some pictures of my October bullet journal today! Thank you so much for the positive comments about my bullet journal from September!

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I’m no artist… but October is definitely the month of Halloween inspired art!

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My mood tracker this month makes me so happy! I decided I needed to be able to track a bigger variety of emotions (the past few months I’ve only been tracking a few emotions!). I can’t wait to see what this looks like when it’s done!

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My gratitude page worked so brilliantly last month that I needed to keep it, and adapt it slightly (gosh darn you October having 31 days!!) but I think this has worked out well. I’ve loved looking back on September’s happy things, especially on tough days.

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My bookish pages are so important! They help me stay on top of my book post and the books I’ve read! This month I’ve gone for 8 books in a stack… we’ll see if I need to add more! 

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The last bit that I’ve completed is my weekly spread. I’m going to use this to help me keep on top of my blogs/my work and my assignments. I’ve added a sleep tracker tooI’m RUBBISH on little sleep. I’ve added a little key too for my ‘to do list’. A girl’s gotta prioritise in life! 

And that’s it for now! That’s the basic bones of my bullet journal. I spent a few hours last Friday doing all of this. I’m not the most creative of people, but the colouring in bit makes me so happy! 

What are your MUST HAVE pages in your bullet journal?
Do you have a colour scheme you like to follow?
What’s your favourite thing about journaling?

Let me know in the comments, or share your posts with me. I love checking out everyone else’s journals!

 S x

How time flies!

It’s Monday again, which means it’s a recap of my last week time! 

This week was week 4 and I was back to school after having 2 weeks of block training away from school. To say I was glad to be in school is an understatement. I was pretty nervous though: I’m not really sure why! I was worried that everyone would’ve forgotten who I was (ha, I know, unlikely!).

Monday
Monday was lovely. Seeing everyone again and the kids being glad to see me (and remembering who I was!) was lovely. It was like coming home! I spent time observing and working with groups in Y6. In the afternoon, I taught some History (The Great Exhibition), French (clothing) and we did some Guided Reading

Tuesday
Tuesday brought along a full day of teaching for me. I was in Y6 all day – we got up to all sorts and it was great to be back in my usual habitat, the classroom. It was incredible to build those relationships with the kids again and to get used to being around them again. There was a staff meeting on Maths reasoning after school, which was pretty informative!

Wednesday
Wednesday brought me a whole new challenge. Just as Tuesday, I was teaching all day. However I was teaching all day in Y1! It was a big challenge, and a massive change from Year 6, but I loved it. It exhausted me! From Phonics to doing some Talk 4 Writing, Maths to RE, we had a brilliantly productive day! The highlight of the day was definitely doing Venn diagrams with them and it working! The kids did some amazing reasoning using Venn diagrams too! After school, I had a meeting with my mentor. I’m going to have to learn to be kind to myself after these meetings. 

Thursday
Thursdays are my day out of school. We were at another local primary school learning all about Phonics. It was lovely to see all of my fellow SCITT trainees again and to be in another school, doing some learning and observing.

Friday
On Friday, I did some more observing and working with groups. The teacher did a brilliant lesson on personification in poetry and I loved it. More importantly though, the kids were all super engaged and loving it too! Friday pm is PPA time, so I spent the afternoon planning and doing things for assignments!

This week in 3 words? 
Exhausting. Invigorating. Home

Thank you all for the support on this rollercoaster of a ride! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. 

S x

Gratefulness

Happiness. Doing something I love doing. Books. Texts from friends. People saying lovely things. Being helpful and being helped. My family. Running in to the twiglets. My job. Working hard. Chasing your dreams. Battling demons. Moana. More books. Friends. Stupid pictures from the twiglets on Snapchat. Laughter. New friends. Old friends. Colourful pens. Bullet journaling. Chocolate. Watching CSI:NY. Relaxing. Being back at school. Work friends. Learning. Challenging. Teaching. Passion. Baristas in Starbucks only charging me for a grande, when I got a venti. Baristas in Starbucks recognising me. Lipsticks. Funny texts. Memes. Sleep. Matilda. Memories. Having a positive impact. 

SCITT update – week 3

It’s Monday again! As this post goes live, I am back in school, after 2.5 weeks of training at university and the training centre who are running my SCITT. If I’m being honest I COULDN’T WAIT TO GET BACK TO SCHOOL. My block training weeks were incredible and intense and overwhelming – I learned a lot and reflected a lot – but being in school is totally where my happy place lies! 

So what did last week have in store?

Monday
On Monday we were at a local 3-19 school for an EAL (English as an Additional Language) conference all day. There were some intense parts of the day, in particular when we were learning about the safeguarding of some minority groups, but overall it was informative. A few of the students from Year 10 came and performed a powerful drama piece titled ‘Colourblind’, which was thought-provoking. 

Tuesday
Tuesday took us back to one of the local primary schools for Day 2 of Teaching and Learning. Having had all of my experience in the same school, I love being able to observe how life runs in other schools. We had the chance to observe a phonics session and then a reading session within the year group we are having our first placement in. Those observations were both really interesting and I definitely magpie’d a few ideas from them! We also got to plan a science activity based on our year groups and then 2 of the group got to deliver it while the rest of us watched on! 

Wednesday
Seeing new schools totally different to my school is always an interesting part of this and on Wednesday we visited a school in the middle of the countryside. Our focus of the day was SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities) and I took a lot away from the day to think about and consider in my own practice. 

Thursday
Thursday was another university day (I am officially a student at Newcastle University, I know, how fancy am I!?). We were set up in a very posh, technologically forward room (there were boards EVERYWHERE, I loved it) and spent the day looking at pedagogy and the importance of subject knowledge. Thursday’s session definitely calmed my nerves about our first PGCE assignment, which is brilliant. 

Friday
On Friday, we were back in our training centre and the focus of the day was training standards and looking at evidence collection and what we can use as evidence. It was very useful to do BEFORE we started collecting evidence. The gentleman delivering our session was very funny too!

How am I feeling in 3 words?
Calmer. Eager. Tired. 

I look forward to the challenges this week holds!

Remember, if you have any questions I am more than happy to answer them! 

S xx

Operation Clean Up – blog tour

Hello! 

Today I have the absolute joy of being part of the ‘Operation Clean Up‘ blog tour! I think I am even kicking it off! How exciting! I am hosting the gorgeous author, Jason Tucker, and he is sharing his thoughts on something very close to my own heart – the importance of bed time stories. Being a teacher, I know the massive impact reading to your kids and with your kids can have! But without further ado…

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I did not realize how important a simple bed time story actually is until I started to see the impact for myself… I mean this for both the parent and the child. Believe me it really is fascinating.  I generally worked long hours and didn’t / don’t get home until late in the evening, I have 3 small boys (6, 4 and 1 years old each) and it’s my superstar wife who did the majority of the reading to our children, however seeing the impact early on pushed me to not only change my routine and read to them on a regular basis, but to also do it with a real passion and get them loving it too – here are my main reasons why it’s so important:

Nurturing the imagination: I like to read cool / picturesque stories that basically contribute to developing / widening my boy’s imagination, this for me is unbelievably important. This is what inspired me to write my book and explore the wild imagination of a young child. When reading a bed time story together we like to explore all types of books and the pictures within, and sometimes they develop almost a story within a story, its limitless how far this can go and a real positive to watch.  To widen the imagination means that you are developing an open mind from an early young age, and with an open mind you can achieve anything! Which I tell them at every opportunity.

Development of reading skills: Part of the whole bed time experience is getting my boys read to me as well, they may be a bit tired on occasion and take longer, but when a short story is read its basically an item achieved and I am full of praise for them, letting them know that they have read an ‘entire’ book… Giving it a Big WOW factor! Following up with ‘well done’ and ‘didn’t you do well’. The other piece is when they sometimes struggle with a certain word, I normally get that look which says ‘help’, then help is given… and when that word has come up again at a later point, and has been remembered and read out again correctly, I then get given that look of ‘I did it’… A small passing moment maybe, but priceless in the big scheme of things.

More Learning:  Apart from cool and imaginative stories, we also use bed time story reading time now and again to read some of the more educational books out there – I love being able to teach my kids things, and bedtime reading is another opportunity where I can do this. A big one for us is the Planets and the Universe, and Nature orientated books (animal kingdom etc.)… We read together, we name the planets, we identify the Rhino from the Elephant and they have then learnt something fun and real outside of their school environment.  Then they ask me ‘Daddy – you should write a book about that too J’

Confidence boosting: I’m fairly sure reading contributes to increasing confidence, my eldest was a very shy boy for a long while but at bedtime I think he absorbed reading in a different way as he was in a more relaxed environment without any real pressure – he now reads and asks questions and on a daily basis almost knows all sorts of new things and can explain things in detail to others in his age group. A number of things contribute to this I know but as knowledge grows, so does there confidence.

Removing Tech: Anything that keeps an IPad or tablet out of their hands is a plus point for me – Now don’t get me wrong the tablets and games on these have their place and can be life savers at times, but the traditional page turning of parent and child nighttime read has its own special moment and positive warm feel that cannot be outdone which leads me onto my final point. 

Quality time – Finally the most important and most essential item for me.  I have been extremely lousy in the past with not carrying out my fair share of reading to my kids at bed time (due to working late and other supposedly important things) . However the time spent with my boys reading is where some of those real memories are created (at least for me). These are the things I want to remember, and also want them to remember in later life, those fun bedtime stories with Daddy – not that Power point presentation Daddy had to work late on for his Client!! We’ve all got to remember that life goes by rapidly and that everything is just a buildup of moments and experiences, the great thing is we can choose what those are!

Thanks and I hope that you all enjoy my book.

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Operation Clean Up Day

This is the story of two very imaginative little boys and their resistance to cleaning up their toys…

Two little boys are about to go out for the day to the swimming pool as a treat. But before they can go, they must tidy up all their toys – which are all over the house – as requested by their Mummy. The boys consider this a mission! The boys attempt to clean up their toys in various parts of the house while making all sorts of excuses to Mummy to leave the toys where they are. The boys are easily side-tracked when attempting to clean up each room, as they find themselves playing with their toys again, their imaginations taking over. They find themselves driving trains, defending castles from ogres, climbing high mountains, flying spaceships, catching sea serpents and meeting prehistoric dinosaurs. All while trying to clean up their toys!

Written by Jason Tucker and stunningly illustrated by Nick Roberts, Operation Clean Up Day is a fantastic journey through the imagination of two children, who can turn a simple set of toys into an entire fantasy world, whilst teaching children the valuable lesson of tidying up their toys after playtime!

Amazon UK – click to buy
Barnes & Noble – click to buy

About the author: Born and raised in London, Jason Tucker is married and is a father of three young boys. He is enjoying an international working life basing himself between London and Dubai. This is his first published work with a number of other titles in the pipeline as well as working on a number of other ventures including TV, Film & graphic novels.

Check out the rest of the blog tour below! I can’t wait to see what else is in store!

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BOOKBLOG: Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe: a gripping, unique heart-racer

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“Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away? 
Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J. Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love. But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean? Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .”

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe (I’m going to call it Loneliest Girl in this blog, because well it’s a LONG title!) tells the story of Romy, who is the captain of a ship on its way to a new planet, with hopes to make it hospitable. She’s all alone on this rocket, with only audio/email messages coming from her therapist Molly. Something changes and suddenly there’s a mysterious stranger on the scene. This stranger is J, the captain of another ship, and Romy quickly finds herself falling for this mysterious stranger. When things start becoming a bit suspect, Romy discovers that J isn’t quite who he says he is…

I had seen SO MUCH about this book on twitter! Everyone was talking about it. I was SO ENVIOUS of all of the people who had advance copies. I needed to get my hands on it. I was elated when I heard they would be selling them at YALC. When it came to YALC, Kelly and I rushed to buy a copy (because we were afraid they’d run out of copies!) just to be sure we would get one. It has sat on my shelf since YALC but I was determined to read it before we did a SundayYA chat about it. AND READ IT BEFORE SUNDAYYA I DID. It took me all of about 4 hours to read. It is THAT GOOD. It’s so readable. Gripping. The kind of book that takes you by surprise (it certainly took me by surprise!) 

This book is very character centric and luckily for me, I loved the characters. Romy (the main character) and her story were very well written. The flashbacks of her memories growing up, her memories of the rocket were gorgeous to see. Her parents are very important to herboth in very different ways – I loved her relationship with her dad. Her relationship with her mam kept me very curious. The other character in the space world in Loneliest Girl is J: mysterious, handsome, seemingly perfect. Romy definitely falls for him fast. Her trust of him pulled the wool over my eyes. I didn’t like him from the start… there was something about him I didn’t trust. He was too convenient. He was the perfect, most sinister, creepy baddie though. He adds a brilliantly sinister dynamic to this book. Definitely kept me on my toes. 

I would recommend this book to EVERYONE. It is one of those that would appeal to SO MANY PEOPLE. It’s so clever and devious and delicious. I’m curious about the rest of the author’s work now… if they’re all this good I need to get them NOW (well, when September is over cause y’know book buying ban and all that!)

Have you read Loneliest Girl?
What did you make of J?
Do you think you’d cope with Romy’s life?

Let me know in the comments or on twitter! I’d love to talk about this book! 

S xx