Longlisted Loveliness in the V by Very Blog Awards 2017

Once again, I am humbled and happy to be longlisted for these Irish blog recognitions, V by Very Blog Awards. I read many of the bloggers’ work that has won or been nominated before and it is a little cosy hug of pleasure to know that my writing might be enjoyed by someone else as I have enjoyed theirs. My vanity has been tickled!bitmoji-20170902100006

I didn’t begin to blog for awards. I am not a blogger that is making money from my efforts as much as I admire those who can and do. I have been a Boolino friend (getting books to review occasionally) and I am sent the odd yoghurt voucher but that is it and that is fine. I don’t want my blogging to become hard work. I want to be a teacher by professional and writer by passion.

When my children were born, life changed. There were all sorts of magical changes and many difficult ones. Who I am changed or who I perceived myself to be. It soon became apparent that I needed to take a handle on this quickly or I would be swamped under.bitmoji-20170902015449

This is where blogging came in. I have been writing all my life. I wanted to publish my first ‘book’ when I was four. College allowed me a miraculous capacity for creativity but then you hit real life-wow. Isn’t it hard to get yourself off the ground? I had found myself reading and reading Family Friendly HQ. Their posts were so apt and timely,  I felt as if they were mind readers. One fine day when I may have had a slightly less than blurry mind and a bit of a brainwave, I decided to try blogging.  I had been taught how in college. I had Internet access. I could use my phone.  I also could do something productive creatively in those moments when the babies slept rather than mop the floor. Again. I mean I was killing it in domestic productivity already.bitmoji-20170902045323.png

I was pretty new to this virtual society that I now love and was very rose-cheeked to reach the short list. I had no other expectations but I will say that getting that far did make me value my blogging a little more. Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards Parenting Blog Shortlist…thank you for choosing us!  is a post about last year’s selection.

Getting named in two categories is even more exciting as I don’t feel as if I am niche enough to be exclusively one or another. I started this blog as a parent blogger dealing with motherhood and what it brought to the fore in my world.

I mean, I went from this to chaos. I needed a new outlet.

The blog brings me a chance to explore my identity outside mothering and this included lifestyle elements, travelling, eating, reading, theatre and film largely I mainly write from the angle of a mother and teacher.

So to conclude,  I am going to list the the benefits of blogging for those of you reading who may want to give it a go bit are unsure.  What do I get out of blogging? Here I go…bitmoji-20170902092051

  1. My Own Style. I can dress this blogger anyway I like. As you see, today I am a white rabbit. I can be me without leaving the house. It is a marvellous place to ‘find your voice’. You don’t need to be a wonderful writer.  You don’t even need to write. You can be purely pictorial. You get to choose.
  2. Express Yourself. I get to say what I want to. It doesn’t mean anyone needs to listen/ read but I can rant, laugh, race and review at will. Any time of day or night. You don’t feel silenced anymore. You don’t feel like you have nothing interesting to say outside of baby led weaning, babygros and burping. Not everyone is interested these topics, I soon realised, just when my brain started to limit itself to just the 3 B’s.

    Why are you looking so bored? These are the most beautiful baby pictures EVER. There any only 150, nearly there…
  3. Flexibility lives somewhere in my world now. I blog from a phone app. No more wasted time. I wait on a doctor’s office- I blog. I cannot sleep- I blog. I take a bath- I blog. You don’t need to overthink that last one.bitmoji-20170905014546
  4. No Pressure. I don’t have to produce to a deadline unless I challenge myself to. bitmoji-20170902020046I can hit that Publish button any time I choose. I can save titles, ideas and dip in and out. No one us expecting anything from me.
  5. Identity. Blogging had brought ‘me’ back. I am mothering, teaching keeping house and still being myself. bitmoji-20170902020215Life suddenly included me again.

So thank you blogging and bloggers. I have already won my awards in many ways. I link to several groups such as #bigpinklink and #fortheloveofBLOG and recently had the fortunate pleasure to be involved with Big Up Your Blog. Several people have been kind enough to grant me the blog hug that is The Liebster Award. I once read Family Friendly HQ but now I write articles for Family Friendly HQ! I have written several reviews for Boolino. As for for folk out there who think they should blog and are uncertain, I say go for it. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. It is a beautiful world out here in Blogosphere. bitmoji-20170902044855.png


Shotgun Wedding

I just went back to work. I work in a school and we have to return after our lovely long holidays. This is not unusual and is my annual event, which I have alluded to before in The Fear and A World of Pure Imagination. I found it tough returning after maternity leave, as is natural. I always quite enjoy the beginning of the year’s creative process too. This term was different again however. This term my school has amalgamated with another school and we were moving site (from our school, all boys) to the other school in the process (all girls) merging to form a co-educational school. We were leaving our home ground and moving into their stomping ground as it were. There has been much debate, talk, tension, excitement, anger and joy over the whole arrangement. It has been challenging, as they say, and there has been two years of this Great Unknown.

Today we finally reached that unknown. We fell down the rabbit hole. 6bc71eb8904335ce7f6bb2e3deea6c27We crossed the paths from the old to the new.  It felt so different to what I had imagined as these events so often are.

Today was meetings all day, information and dates and details. An amazing amount done and to take in. Our new management were most certainly informing us and today was the proof of a phenomenonal amount of groundwork having been undertaken.

For the staff, this is a quirky day. Many of us didn’t know where the toilets were. The exits. The cups. The spoons.

I can liken the feeling to being at a wedding that may not have come about in the most conventional sense.ShotgunWedding.jpgAn amalgamation. A joining.  A merger.pharmacy-1729445_640 One spoonful of the wrong ingredient and you could have a powerful explosion…

Here is a list of reasons how an enforced amalgamation of two schools is like a shotgun wedding.54382846

  1. Final Farewells. We had spent so much time saying out farewells to the past. This movement from the old life to a new was much like the tranformation of single to married life, as one of my colleagues actually talked about. fotb-kay-and-dadI was emotional leaving the old building, old home if you will, but I had said my goodbyes and was ready for this new life, much like a bride on a wedding day.
  2. Food

    We were fed, as all good weddings will do. Basic physiological needs were met by management with good old pastries for teabreak and a curry for lunch. Keep people fed, warm and safe and they will be able to fix the rest themselves. I fell on that 11 am Danish like a famished wedding guest to the obligatory bread rolls.

  3. Disorientation. 
    A filtered image of my daughter in Alice’s Curious Labyrinth sums it up pretty well.

    We were unused to the surroundings. At least, our side was. Again like the groom’s family, coming a journey, we were the ones at a loss. Where is this kept? I don’t know that way. How does this work? The bride’s family has the knowledge. The knowledge is power, or so it feels. By the end of the wedding, we will get our bearings. Just in time to Rock the Boat.

  4. Apparel. bulldog-2489829_640We were all in our best school gear after a long holiday in casuals and sportswear. Much like a wedding, there was pulling at collars and awkwardness in heels. Nails were gelled. Lipstick applied. Not a sign of a yoga pant. Shuffling about in M&S best but dying to get home and out on the pj’s. 
  5. Outward Expressions.e71b7ad06b30e45d24aece97e6bc9f87--fake-smile-funny-posts There was a lot of jollity and smiles, not overally false ‘face might crack with the strain of faking it’ ones I would say, but nervous and maybe even shy. There was a definite sense of ‘on our best behaviours’ about the whole thing. No one was going to be the one to cause any hassle. At least not until the toasts (to continue an analagy).
  6. Acceptance. There was an immense sense of relief almost. I can imagine there being a type of relief at a wedding that people have pressurised. Much like a forced wedding, we did not choose this path. We were brought together by an external factor and had no choice. Making the best of things is our only choice. Today is the first day I felt an acceptance in the room. We were coming to that stage of the grieving process. We were ready to move on and work with the consequences. The jigsaws might actually be completed.pieces-of-the-puzzle-592798_640
  7. Speeches.  wedding-speeches-2245545_640.jpgThe day was definitely like listening to wedding speeches, all day. Speeches that are a little bit awkward at as an ex may be mentioned unwittingly or a reference to the scandal that got us here in the first place causes raised eyebrows. A ‘don’t mention the war’ mentality. IDV5cjf.gifA lot was said, but those things needed to be said. This was the time I really felt like I was at a tense wedding, only I desperately needed the glass of wine a wedding would bring and not just my water bottle.red-wine-1506228_640.jpg
  8. Hope. I left feeling for hopeful for the future of the school and I think a lot of people leave a wedding feeling the same optimism for a newly married couple, whatever brought the marriage together. bridal-636018_640.jpg

Quite an unusual first day back to work! Hope our hangover stays away and we make it happily to the first anniversary where we will celebrate with a lot of paperwork. Anniversary one is paper, right? Let us deal with day one of the marriage first. A new beginning.


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