Tag Archives: career

2016 :: A Year in Review

2016 Year in Review - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It is not, it appears, the fashionable thing to admit that 2016 has been a rather good year for “one”. But disastrous referendums and potential WWIII aside, it was a year of much joy for me personally, and one that I will no doubt look back on fondly.

2016 was the year in which I ceased to be a newlywed, and became just a ‘wed’, and I feel I truly embraced the role of a wife. Y’all, I wifed my damn butt off this year, and in return, Mr H husbanded me even better. Admittedly, that makes me seem like some kind of farmyard animal, but it remains nevertheless true. After the initial honeymoon phase of marriage began to dissolve, I was left with the most wonderful life partner who actively cares for me each day.  What a boon.

Allotment 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

It has also been the year where I have developed a taste, if not skill for gardening, and seen my beloved allotment go from strength to strength. It was our tentative first year, with many mistakes made, but I can’t help but feel incredibly proud that I stuck to something for so long. I have no plans to give up the sacred plot in the foreseeable future, rather the opposite, I heartily plan for years of dragging reluctant future children over to do a spot of weeding.

Portugal with T - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

In the summer I went on holiday to Portugal, with my wonderful sister T. It made me remember what a privilege it is to have your family close, and that there are very few people in this world who know and tolerate me as well as she does. It also made me realise I am not, and never was a party animal, and that one should not book an AirBnB in Biarro Alto if one values their sleep.

My Career 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Professionally this year proved my most challenging to date, and although there were many days where I woke up thinking that I couldn’t possibly continue to do this for another day, let alone for the rest of my life, there were also many days where my heart sang for the joy of watching young people learn something, or at the least run around the playground pretending to be a horse. Teaching is a bloody hard job, for want of a more eloquent way of describing it, but I am a long time from throwing in the proverbial towel, just yet.

Teaching also gave me the opportunity to realise a long dream of mine, to direct my own play. It’s not something I think I’ve mentioned on the blog actually, but my school was a part of the 2016 Shakespeare for Schools Festival, and I was the Teacher-Director of a 20 minute production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It was a huge undertaking, with 22 primary school students taking part, most of whom had never performed before such a large audience before. It reaffirmed for me the realisation that seeing others perform under my guidance gives just as much of a thrill as performing myself once did.


But what of 2017?

What indeed. I have the somewhat expected goals of getting fit, losing the extra heft I’ve carried for the last three years, but what else?

To tell you the absolute truth, I’m not exactly sure. I have some abstract goals that I don’t feel ready to share just yet, but also I’d quite like to continue in much the same manner as 2016.

I would, however, like to focus more on 2017 being the year of friendships. My dear friends have taken a rather paltry 3rd place after Mr H and my job this year, and so during the next I’d like to perhaps place maintaining and developing friendships slightly higher on the list of priorities. One tends to miss one’s friends, even more so when one is almost entirely to blame for not seeing them.

And so, to you my dear (possibly imaginary) readers. How has your year been? What goals or dreams do you have for the next? I raise a glass of mediocre but cost-effective champagne to you all.

What Does Success Look Like?

We’ve spent part of this semester at university talking about assessing our future students, and how the way we assess has an effect on our student’s success. Sharing ‘success criteria’ with our students improves their performance – sounds obvious I know, but it was a bit of an eye opener for me. Knowing what success looks like, and knowing what you need to do to be successful means it’s easier to achieve it. Talk about woah.

It got me thinking, what does success criteria for life look like? I’m not so sure that it still looks the same as it did 20 years ago, hell, even 10 years ago when I was daydreaming about being an adult! When I was 16 I thought success was being an actress on stage, in a slinky frock at awards events. I thought success was having people think you’re great and telling you constantly.

Some people think success is having a few extra zeroes on the right side of their bank balance, and some think it’s having that corner office with the view. Others find themselves out of the workforce in their late 50’s but sleep easy knowing that they raised human beings that they’re proud of.  I know the huge amount of work that all of those types of success require, but I’ve also come to terms with the fact that they’re not the absolute definition of success for me.

What’s my definition? I’ll show you:







Photo on 11-08-2014 at 2.28 pm



Good food, a happy home, two lovely cats (formerly an oxymoron), a lover whom I adore and a brand new career ahead of me.

It was a long and winding road to get here, and it sure would have been a weight off my mind if someone had come up to me five years ago and said “Here. Here are the things that will make you happy. Do life like this”. There are times when I wish someone had, but more often I think I wouldn’t have listened, and just thundered on regardless. We value things when we know how hard we worked to get them, and that they came at some sort of cost.

It might not be the done thing to decide that you’re successful at 26 when you’re still in university and not earning a wage. But on this bright, cool Tuesday morning while I am avoiding my last paper due on Friday, I say to hell with it. I’m celebrating the successes I’ve had so far in my life, and looking forward to many more, no matter what shape they take.