Sunday, 4 September 2016

Hello out there.... Can anybody read me? ... Is this thing on??

So it's fair to say it's been a while. 2 years and 7 months to be precise. Things got a little crazy just after my last post. It turns out training to be a teacher is really bloody hard! So hard in fact, I haven't had the time/ energy to do much else!! However, very recently, I did pick up the old knitting needles again and boy was it nice to do something crafty again. Don't get me wrong, I have made the odd Christmas card over the past couple of years but really, all my creativity has gone into my teaching which has left me pretty damn useless when it has come to creating anything in my own time, for me. 

I have my Aunties A and K to thank for dragging me back to my hobby and I say dragging because, to be honest I really wasn't keen on the idea. I have been madly preserving my brain power for the hours spent motivating teenagers into producing something resembling work. However, my need to be a dutiful niece won out and I went with them to Unravel (Festival of Knitting in Farnham, Surrey) earlier in the year. I was at the festival for all of a minute before that buzz started, quiet and low in key at first but soon erupting into all out frenzied over excitement. I managed to get around the whole festival once without buying anything... and then it began. Skeins of fleece, bags of home spun yarn and a glitzy turquoise drop spindle (courtesy of Spin City) were all purchased with relish and the knitting resumed as soon as I got in the car to leave.






Since then I have managed to complete a very simple project, a double sided patchwork cushion made from extremely simple diagonal squares with the balls of home spun purchased at Unravel. Although my knitting is a little rusty I love the colours and am pretty pleased with the finished item, I particularly like the stripy side. 




           

This one isn't for me though, a few years back a lovely lady named Carrie, author of the Life of a Knitphomaniac blog, sent me the Knitting Masterclass book by The Knitter. To Carrie I was a complete stranger but I had joined her group on Ravelry which was designed for members to knit the projects in the book and share their progress. At the time I didn't have two pennies to rub together but I joined the group to see the members' creations all the same. When Carrie got wind of this she contacted me and asked me for my address. A few days later the book arrived and I was completely blown away. I could not get over the generosity from somebody I had never, and probably would never meet. My thanks to her, although communicated via email, is well overdue and I promised myself that my next finished project would go to her, I just wasn't expecting it to take 2 and a half years. Today my gratitude towards this fabulous lady is once more extended because it was reading through her blog this morning that prompted me to blow the dust off this old page. So Carrie, thanks again!!

Without meaning to be a drama queen, the last 2 and a bit years have been really quite life changing. Looking back at my posts from back then feels like being transported back in time. Some things have altered so completely and others have stayed exactly the same. I have just returned from a trip to Wells-next-the-Sea, the holiday destination featured in my last post:




And I still love to cook. This weekend saw my first attempt at Butternut Squash and Chickpea Falafel. I followed the recipe in the link but baked them in the oven rather than grilled them (our grill sets off the smoke alarm). They took around 20 mins at 200 degrees and were really crispy.
 





Sadly my 'allotment' died a death (hoping to resurrect this hobby at some point too!).



And The Storage Beast still causes us problems...




Despite our best efforts!



But this one's still just the same... <3. (Right now I think he's a car thief in the Ghetto.) 



And his hobby has come in handy as I am now the Programme Leader of the Interactive Media and Games course at the college I work at. I trained in Film and Television so I pick his brains on a regular basis!!

Personally, thanks to the teenagers I teach, I have grown in confidence, and patience. I have had a real rollercoaster ride emotionally, this year being particularly difficult as I became a Programme Leader in my NQT year (first year of teaching) and had to design and launch a brand new course which wasn't my subject specialism. This was incredibly rewarding, creative, exciting and job affirming but also pushed me to the limits of my current stress threshold - which somehow keeps increasing, all part of growing up I guess! Without much warning I found myself responsible for 30 expectant 16 - 22 year olds who have been at times (and sometimes simultaneously) the bane of my life and the only thing getting me up and going to work in the mornings. I have made so many hash-ups I couldn't count them on all of my fingers and toes but somehow it all came together at the end of the year, with the help of the students, staff, family, friends and even the managers (I know!). Teamwork makes the dream work! My students love it when I say that. Not.  


Over the summer I've had time to restore and reflect and am really excited to go back tomorrow and kick start the new year. 



Except this time I will have 2 year groups to worry about... 

Over 80 students to keep track of... 
Oh bums. 


****See you in 2 and a half years!**** 


(Just kidding - I hope) xxx


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