Tuesday, 31 December 2013

to say farewell to 2013...

As far as years go 2013 has not been without it's challenges...if I'm honest I'd say it's probably up in the top 5 of crappy years, for a variety of reasons - some I've blogged about, some I haven't.

It's been a year where I have questioned a lot....questioned my life, my past, my present, my future...questioned my beliefs, my friendships, my values, my dreams and even my career.

It has been so easy for me to focus on the negative this year with each challenge that has been thrown my way but I know that that is not helpful or productive so today I want to look back over my year and focus on the good things that have happened.....

1. I started my blog!

Of course this is a positive! I have met so many wonderful, inspiring people in the blogging world through doing this. It has not been without it's challenges, time being the main one, but I have enjoyed learning and sharing a part of me with you all. There is that fine line between becoming an oversharer and writing from the heart which I am sure I will continue to struggle with in 2014 and while I consider myself still such a novice and my blog completely still under construction beginning this blog is definitely something I am glad I did

2. I completed 2 rounds of 12wbt!

This link will take you to the blogpost of when I reached my goal weight! I have blogged a lot in my early blogging days about my 12wbt journey so if you are interested scroll back to the beginning. Again Michelle Bridges 12wbt was something that I had thought about for a while but this year just felt like the right time. It also was not without it's challenges and overcoming a lot of those was a challenge in itself and while I am a little heavier now than I would like to be (far too many treats!) and I will admit that my goal weight didn't hang around for long, I know that it's possible and I know that I am MUCH MUCH fitter and stronger than I was 12  months ago - and that I am proud of.

3. I got a new job!

It has been a job that has given me many challenges and much enjoyment at the same time. It has allowed me to meet some wonderful new people and learn so much! Still not quite convinced it's my dream job but I have enjoyed it and something that I had been working towards for many years.

4. I met one of my favourite Australian bands!

I will shamelessly admit that when it comes to meeting celebrities I could be mistaken for a teenage groupy and meeting the boys from McAlister Kemp when I went to CMC Rocks North Queensland was no exception! I have loved their music for a while now and had been wanting to see them in concert for ages. They were such lovely guys and it helps that they look mighty fine as well! Was such a fun day!

5. I sold my house!

I was so disappointed in how my house was left when my tenants were evicted that it felt like selling it was really my only option. Being a landlord was beginning to feel like more like a burden than I wanted/needed it to be. Couple that with the dramas I had with my real estate and insurance company and I am happy to say goodbye! It has held mixed emotions for me but selling my house has taken a big weight off my shoulders! Technically it does not settle until next week but the paperwork is all signed and now it's just a matter of time..

Looking back over 2013 it was actually a lot easier than I thought to come up with 5 things, I could probably have kept going but don't want to bore you too much!

A lot of people have talked about their dreams, their resolutions and even their theme words for 2014... I am not going quite to that extreme at this point, I am not necessarily convinced that 2014 will be any different or better that 2013 but what I do know is that almost everything that will happen for me will be a direct result of a decision that I will make, so it will be what I make it... and I am going to try like hell to make it a good one!

Image Source

Til next year!

Linking up for the final time for 2013 with Essentially Jess for #IBOT!

Saturday, 21 December 2013

for new social media buttons!

After all the helpful advice I received from people about how to improve my blog I've decided to put some into action! You may notice above my new (extremely large) social media icon buttons!!!

I went on to trusty ol' google and searched 'add social media button to blogger' and stumbled across this wonderful blog post from DIY Design Fanatic... Now she says it's easy and she is NOT lying! If you have been wondering how to do this video is so stinking easy even I could do it! It is specific to Blogger but if you click on the you tube clip on the page you can go through to a similar clip for Wordpress..

Now as you will notice my icons are huge and so I have placed them at the top - this is because I thought I had resized them but obviously I did something wrong and they turned out that size. When I put them on the sidebar they just looked even sillier than they do up top but this was the best of 2 bad choices... Consider my blog a work in progress over the next couple of weeks as I start to try and customize it and make it more 'me'...

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

to wrap the pressies!

I like to try and have a theme for my present wrapping each year - this year I went with brown paper and red ribbons....

What do you think?

Linking up with all these Wonderful Wordless Wednesdayites! 

Twinkle In The Eye  My Little Drummer Boys  http://www.sakuraharuka.com/search/label/wordless%20wednesday  http://www.thatsuburbanmomma.com/

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

for tips!? Pleeeease!

I have been contemplating for a few days now what to write about this IBOT... My posts have been few and far between lately for a variety of different reasons and to be honest I feel like I have hit a bit of a wall, lost my mojo...not that I am sure I ever really had it.

I feel like I love my Monday and Wednesday link up parties - Monday, Kirstie tells me what to blog about and I love that...Wednesday, no words are necessary and I can just find a beautiful pic to post which I also love.

Monday, my first offical day of holidays, I met a friend for coffee and then slothed on the couch for a few hours, Ipad in hand (If you read my confession post you are probably thinking I should have been upstairs cleaning my wardrobe!), scrolling through Pinterest I came across a few articles on 'how to make your blog better'. My blog is almost 12 months old and originally started as a way of sharing my 12wbt journey but in all honesty, I started it on a whim. I really had no idea what blogging was really all about, had never heard of linkys and widgets and really didn't do any research before starting. Truth be known, I didn't even regularly read any blogs before I started my own - so I really had no idea what I was doing or getting myself in for.... almost 12 months down the track and I am not sure that I am that much wiser when it comes to this blogging business!

So as I scrolled through article after article of blogging tips and blogging mistakes people make (yep, I've made them all!) I feel even more confused.

Publishing Platforms/Web Hosting/Analytics/SEO/Host your own URL/Web design v template/Advertisements/Sponsorship......huh????  :-/

A lot of the tips talk about having a theme to your blog - something you blog about regularly not just random ramblings..... well looking back I think I definitely have the random ramblings things covered. Now that I have had time to reflect over all of this as I have slothed on the couch is that a lot of the blogs I follow and enjoy do have a theme, most of them are Mummy bloggers (which don't get me wrong I love) and considering I am not a Mummy that rules that out.... Then there are the Crafty Bloggers...nope not me. The Chef/Cooking Mummy Bloggers...again, not me.... Fashion Bloggers - huh not likely! So that has left me thinking, what do I really have to blog about???

A lot of the tips talk about being yourself, "write as if you are talking to your best friend"...well if that happened I may never have another reader again! Lol... There are also some things best left unsaid, especially when you never know just who might be reading! Another tip suggested knowing your stats, now when I look at them it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me... apparently most of my page views come from something called vampirestat.com?? Anyone explain that to me?

I discovered today that most of the tips I read I actually do do them, so perhaps things aren't all that bad! My follower numbers are slowly increasing so some of you are finding something worth coming back for.

Having said that though, I would still cherish any other advice or suggestions you may have? Obviously I am a "blogger" blogger and I would like to know more about making my blog more appealing, to look at and to read, so any and all advice welcomed? How do I take my blog from 'template' blog to 'MY' blog?? When coming to a childless, craftless, non-chef , single (non-cat) lady blogger's blog what would you like to read about??

I know I have blogged about my blogging mishaps and asked for advice before but I still feel like I am muddling my way through so am hoping some on you IBOT ladies can help a girl out!!!??


Monday, 16 December 2013

to take a peek inside my wardrobe..

This week over at My Home Truths we have been asked to confess our go-to fashion accessory! Well I have a bigger confession to make..... but first...

I have blogged about fashion before. Those of you that have been following my journey from the start may remember a little challenge a friend of mine set me. She was appalled amazed at the amount of clothes I had and challenged me to see if I could wear a different outfit to work everyday for the whole of Term1, and not buy any new clothes for the term as well.... Apart from purchasing a green shirt to wear on Gonski Day at school (because believe it or not I did not have a green shirt!), I succeeded at both challenges. You can check out some of the updates here and here..

Then my friend Marleisa over at This is who I am... started selling scarves on the side which prompted me to write about my obsession with scarves! (I am a little embarrassed to say I have more than 48 now...)

Now for the even bigger confession...... This is my wardrobe as of 10 minutes ago...

(covering my eyes in shame!)
Yep...you could totally be excused for thinking that that is my wardrobe, I promise you all of them are clean (not that that's really something to be proud of!)... when in fact this is my wardrobe....

Not much better really!
This is not something that always happens, the life of a teacher at the end of a school year is crazy busy and it's often things like housework that is the first to go! The life of a Guidance Officer is not as busy at the end of the year, but the life of a GO who's sister was living with her while she waited to have her gorgeous twin baby boys was, and so once again the housework suffered!

Since we are all about confessing on a Monday - I must confess the following...

* I do not remember the last time I folded clothes up and put them away... I fold them and put them on my blanket box or leave them in the basket but then I just never quite get them into the cupboard...

*There are clothes in there that have never been worn...

*There are clothes in there that still have the price tags on them...

*I often forget what clothes I have - and when I 'discover' them again it feels like Christmas...

When it comes to accessories I am usually a scarf or jewellery type of person and always matchy matchy with my shoes (that in the pic by the way is only about half of it - have another basket of shoes by the front door)

Just some of my collection!

Cleaning up my wardrobe, going through all my clothes and having a BIG cleanout is definitely high on my to do list these holidays!

So there you have it...I confess...I have a serious clothes, shoes, scarf, jewellery addiction! But the way I see it, there are worse things I could be addicted to and spend my money on!

What's been your go-to accessory this year??


Wednesday, 11 December 2013

to meet the twins!!!

So this happened on Friday!!!

Yep! Those are my gorgeous twin nephews!

Me with my adorable baby twin nephews!

Twinkle In The Eye  My Little Drummer Boys  http://www.sakuraharuka.com/search/label/wordless%20wednesday  http://www.thatsuburbanmomma.com/

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

to run!

On the weekend I decided (in my wisdom) to see how I would go running 10km on the treadmill, and while I'm not exactly stoked with my time, I ran the whole way with no stopping and on a slight incline..... Another step closer to achieving my goal of running a half marathon in 2014!...

Linking up with these other Wordless Wednesdayers..... 

Twinkle In The Eye   My Little Drummer Boys  http://www.sakuraharuka.com/search/label/wordless%20wednesday    http://www.thatsuburbanmomma.com/

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

to discuss my profession...

Teaching, and education in general, is something that has gained a lot of media attention of late, and not necessarily for a good reason - but then that wouldn't be news worthy now would it! Again I never intended my blog to be a political forum and the thoughts expressed here are mine and mine alone.

A few weekends ago the following article popped up on Facebook.

Now it would appear that this article was actually written back in 2011 but with the beauty that is social media it has reared again.

If you can't be bother to check out the article I'll try my best to summarise it's main points....


Each and every one of us chose the profession we are in and I feel we all have a choice to change profession if it ain't all it cracked up to be. I didn't necessarily grow up desperately wanting to become a teacher, I knew I wanted to work with children so I guess it seemed like the obvious profession. A few years back I had decided that I had had enough of the classroom, for many of the reasons listed in the article above, so I completed my Masters and did just that, left the classroom, but am still obviously working in schools.

The main theme of the article is the unfair treatment, and what they refer to as bullying, that so many of my colleagues and I are faced with on a day to day basis. A 2009 survey identified 99% of teachers were the victims of bullying. It doesn't necessarily state who is doing the bullying but it could be assumed that it's from students, parents, colleagues, or a combination of all of the above.

The following cartoon that also pops up from time to time may seem funny to some but it is all too true in many classrooms and teacher parent interviews.

The article suggests that problems began to occur around the same time the cane was phased out in the 80's. I am not sure I think that taking away the cane made things worse, any more than I am that bringing it back would make things better.

Truth is, kids have changed, family dynamics have changed. Heck... the world has changed, but for some reason Teachers and Schools seem to be the ones who bear the brunt of these changes and for the most part - and for what is published in the newspapers and shown on the 6pm news - it's not all positive.

At times we teachers might come across as whingers and whiners and like we want more but I assure you we are there fighting the good fight every day to get the best outcomes for the students in our class which we feel a professional responsibility to, especially when (in some cases) no one else is!! I have experienced a lot of the scenarios mentioned in the article; kids threatening me, parents abusing me and questioning my professionalism, six year olds turning up to school at 8:30am with a bottle of coke and hot chips for breakfast, teenagers walking in to school on their second can of Mother/Red Bull/V for the morning, making students lunches because they have no food at home, students being kicked out of home, students being abused/neglected by their parents, students who have had no sleep the night before and being so tired they curl up on the bottom shelf of the bookcase and fall asleep...... and while all of this is going on we are expected and pressured to maintain a high level of education and produce high standards of academic results of National Standardised Tests...

The statistics of teachers suffering mental illnesses due to stress, bullying, pressure etc is too scarey to even contemplate. The number of teachers leaving the profession within the first 5 years is startling and concerning. What is happening in our schools, society, government at the moment is not making the profession an attractive one at all. All of this together with the latest announcements (and then backflips and then backflips on their backflips - no wonder they are confused by all this backflipping and then finding an extra 1.2billion???) by our current Prime Minister and our Federal Education Minister makes me nervous. Headlines on the QLD news about students ranking teachers to help determine pay just makes me feel sick to my stomach! Performance based pay is an absolute joke and not practical at all. What other profession would even have this considered.... What, I'm only going to pay my doctor if he cures my ailments...? I'm going to determine how much I pay my accountant based on if I am satisfied he has given me a good enough tax return...?

So many people who are quick to judge teachers and put forward their 2 cents worth are usually the ones who will just as quickly turn around and say "I'd never be a teacher"...."I don't know how you do it"....

What teachers need now is support, parental support, societal support, government support...not more pressure. So to those of you that are parents - if you are still with me - as the school year draws to an end take some time to thank your child's teacher. Yes, they are doing the job that they are paid to do but there is no greater profession than educating our future leaders, our future Prime Ministers, our future scientists, inventors, accountants, doctors, even our future teachers.....because after all teaching IS the profession that creates ALL other professions! and in a sometimes thankless profession, it is nice to know we are appreciated...

Another way you can support teachers is by talking to your teachers/Principals/P&Cs and finding out about the Gonski Review or by checking out the I Give a Gonski Website... Here's the link to help you!

Linking up this rant and rave with Essentially Jess for IBOT!


Monday, 2 December 2013

to confess feelings about Christmas

Kirsty at My Home Truths has asked us to confess how we really, truly feel about Christmas this week.....

mmmm...this could really open up a can of worms..

Image Source
When it comes to the true meaning of Christmas....Don't ask me.. I am one of the 85% mentioned above. So, sometimes I do actually feel like a bit of a hypocrite, we are not religious, we don't know go to church, not even at these special times of the year. Sometimes it feels like we spend a stack of money buying presents, get together and eat a shiteload of food just because society tells us we should. 

But having said that, if the true meaning of Christmas is about getting together with the family and being with the ones we love.. then I guess we have that covered. We generally do the same thing every Christmas. Generally something along the lines of big breakfast at Mum and Dad's before Mum heads off to work and then lunch with my older sister and her 4 kiddies watching/helping them with all their new toys and gadgets, afternoon nap and then leftovers for dinner! Day done...

I am one of those people though that does groan and roll their eyes when they see decorations and Christmas promotions in store as early as September....seriously!!

Christmas is also a time of sadness.... remembering all those no longer celebrating with us, especially my younger sister. The holiday season is also a time where loneliness creeps in, despite being surrounded by many family and friends there is always that feeling that something/someone is missing from my life.... *sigh*

So how do I really feel about Christmas.... I am by know means a grinch, I do love checking out the lights, the decorations, singing along to the odd Carols by Candlelight. Christmas is a great time to remember the good, enjoy the spirit of giving, catching up with family and friends and celebrating with food and drink and more food and more drink...it's just a shame that we seem to need an event like Christmas to make that happen.

I am definitely looking forward to some down time after quite the hectic full on year so bring on the Christmas holidays I say!

How do you really, truly feel about Christmas?...go on spill!