Tag Archives: it could be worse

This Week I am Grateful For #9

Gratitude Series No 9 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Some weeks gratitude is a little bit harder to come by than others. There appears to be no reason for me to feel like this at the moment…and yet….

I’m really pleased to say I’ve been offered a permanent contract at work, which really is wonderful, and is also something I know I am very grateful for. It has just also coincided with a spectacularly busy and changeable period at work, which has left me on the back foot, big time.

As a teacher, you’re constantly assessing. Assessing your students’ understanding, their work, your displays, your colleagues’ work and displays, your class’s behaviour. You assess so much, and so frequently that it’s virtually impossible to not be constantly comparing yourself.

And I currently am in a ‘compare thyself’ frame of mind, and frankly, I feel I’m coming up a bit short.

When I was in Primary school, my Mum, for one reason or another, was given a silver necklace with a silver circle pendant. Engraved on it was the saying ‘This too shall pass’.

“Even the good stuff, Mum? But what if you don’t want it to pass?”

Even the good stuff passes, it seems.  But if the good stuff passes, then so does the bad. So I can take comfort in knowing that a spell of time at work where I’m not particularly enjoying myself will pass. And for that, I am very grateful indeed.

Life Lately :: March 2016

Life Lately March 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Long time, no blog! I’d apologise, but….I won’t. As the title of this post suggests, life kind of got in the way of documenting it. I’ve made peace with this style of blogging, and I hope you have too!

Since last we spoke, I’ve had a week’s half term (by which I mean, 3 days since I tend to work a couple of days during each break), and then have headed straight back into teaching, which I’m sure most of you can understand, is undertaken at quite the relentless pace.  Ho hum.

I also had a suspected broken nose after spectacularly hitting myself in the face with my car door. It was dark, I was trying to check my parking, and was sufficiently convinced of its poor quality that I went to move it and – WHAM. Door to the face time. Noice.

In the spaces between, here’s what I’ve been up to. Clockwise from top left:

  1. Super bargainous £4.50 hat from the M&S outlet down the road. Headache-inducing-frozen ears no more!
  2. Getting my allotment on – after a couple of month’s break Mr H and I got the ol’ wellies on and trekked up the hill to our piece of earth. There are few things as good for the soul as a couple of hour’s worth of fresh air.
  3. Work, bitch. I spent a small, insignificant, teeny, tiny (I swear!) portion of my most recent paycheque  in the Body Shop last week. I wanted to check the wear on it, so pre-work selfies it was. Plus, let’s all agree that the eyebrows are on point, no?
  4. I made a thing. A trial run quilt for a couple of lovely pals who are currently pregs. I completely and utterly winged it (shock horror), and to my actual surprise, it turned out rather well.
  5. Planting seeds in trays – I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but let’s not dwell. One more example of my current obsession.
  6. Champs in front of the TV because broken noses hurt and being tired is laaaaame.
  7. I’m getting….older?! The shape of my face is changing, and getting a bit saggier, but I actually quite like it! Another example of the Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Yorkshire Rose. It smells really nice, and it has Aloe Vera in it, so my skin has been rather good lately! I also picked up the Fresh Nude Foundation Brush, which is seems to be a cross between a regular foundation brush and a kabuki – I like it!
  8. Getting in to work at revolting-o’clock isn’t quite so bad when you get to see a sky like this.
  9. My main man. Over half term we went out on mini-dates several evenings in a row, and it was double delicious spending time out of the house, on a school night, with him. We made a pact to get out more during the week once the weather improves!

The days are now becoming lighter, and so I am taking it upon myself to take a few more photos for this here blog, and even once coat weather has been banished, perhaps even a mini shoot! What do you think, pals? Can I do it without being totes awks? Not sure.

Hope all is well for you all out there in Blogtopia.

xx

Sam

January Joy :: Done and Dusted

January 2016 Instagram - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

This January has, far more than any since I moved to the UK in 2010, been about hunkering down and getting through. I’ve really suffered this year from the January blues, which I think is a combination of being halfway through my academic year, not exercising at all enough because of the pants weather, and oh yeah, the consistently pants weather.

Admittedly, however, it hasn’t been all bad. Here’s a minute collage of some of the nice bits of the first month of the year. Clockwise from top left:

  • An extreme buffet of cheese, crackers, veggie sticks, hummus and scotch eggs. A couple of episodes of Graham Norton with my husband and my Dad. Say no more, agreed?
  • Heading back to the allotment after a few weeks’ break. It’s grassy now, instead of muddy, but a lot better than we expected after such a mild winter. We feared our hard work in October might have been in vain. Once I’m on half term we’ll start terracing!
  • Achieving a goal: 30 days without a drink. As I said in my Dry January post, I don’t usually drink during the week, but when I found myself in social situations this month, it did take a bit more oomph to opt for a 0% lager instead of my usual glass o’ red.
  • ENGLAND vs AUSTRALIA. The Aussies won, by 15 goals (CCCCC’MOOOON!) and an English player was sent off! Never seen that before in a pro game. It was a messy game for both sides, but I really enjoyed introducing Mr Hello to my favourite sport.

I’ve got plenty of things to look forward to in February as well – a week’s holiday (which is 2 days in teacher-speak as I’ll spend most of it in my classroom!), a couple of friends going public with some GREAT NEWS, my first V-day as a married woman, which co-incides with 6 months of marital bliss!

So here’s to a great February. If you’ve had a kind of crap January as well, fear not, we’ll stand together in solidarity and flick the bird to it.  Then we can have a drink to celebrate! Yee-haw.

Dryathlon 2016 – 1 Woman, 30 Days, 0 Drinks

Yes, it’s true pals, I’m doing it. During what was a rather spectacular festive blow-out, I seemed to see adverts for the 2016 Dryathlon everywhere. It was the universe making itself known to me – it was time to get my social drinking in hand, hopefully shed some kgs and do a good deed in the meantime.

Sam's Doing Dryathlon 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

A few days after signing up, a friend of ours revealed some terrible news – her partner has cancer and the prognosis isn’t looking good. It’s brought a whole new level of meaning to the Dry January challenge, and if the meagre funds I manage to raise have any hand in preventing one more family from going through the hell of a Cancer diagnosis, then 30 days is the least I can do.

So far? So good. Three days in and I haven’t yet been tempted, although I don’t return to work until tomorrow, and one never knows what’s around the corner! As a rule I don’t drink during the week, unless I’ve got an event, but I have to admit that I am probably a binge drinker on the weekends, polishing off a bottle or two on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Wine? Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Says Yes

Drinkaware states that binge drinking is drinking more than 8 units of alcohol for men (about 3 pints of strong beer), and 6 for women (only 2 large glasses of wine!!!), in one sitting. Needless to say I could probably drink all of that in one night if I’m in the right mood.

It’s not been good for my waistline, as the wine makes me hungry and even a slight hangover even more so! It hasn’t been great for my productivity either – in my job I regularly have to do a couple of hours work each weekend, and it seems like such a drudgery when I’m tired, and snuggling down on the sofa seems like a necessity.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been merrily beavering away at my planning this weekend, and secretly I’ve actually quite enjoyed myself. Going back to work tomorrow doesn’t seem nearly as depressing when I’m organised, and I really do feel like being alcohol-free this weekend has played a part in that.

Having said all this, if you could be compelled to part with any of your hard-earned dosh this month, I would be forever grateful if you’d consider sponsoring me.

Although it’s been smooth sailing so far, I fully expect the first weekend back at work to be a major challenge! I’ll be sure to check in here and let you all see me in my misery!

On Not Being the Most Productive Person in the World.

HSGS at Thetford Forest

Now that the dust has well and truly settled on the wedding, I’ve settled into a semi-pleasing routine of work, rest and just the tiniest amount of play.

Shortly after returning from honeymoon, I started a new job in a primary school. Some of you will remember that I actually trained as a secondary drama teacher, so taking on one class for 100% of lessons took a little getting used to. I am incredibly lucky however, having lots of support among my colleagues and a class that are so cute I could squeeze all the air out of them.

The thing about teaching though, is that it is relentless. My first term passed in a blur and now that Term 2 has arrived I’ve realised that the key to keeping sane during term time is definitely routine, routine, routine. I like to think that I thrive in spontaneity, but pals, it just ain’t the truth. Mr Hello actually has to tell me the whole plot of movies with any form of suspense, and I think I’ve got a similar approach to life – tell me what to expect, and we’ll be juuuust fiiiiiine.

Here’s the rub: on my walk home one day this week, it struck me that since leaving for Australia over a year ago, I’ve done approximately 0.25 things creatively. I officially cut myself some slack during wedding season, but now that it’s all over with (apart from the whole, you know, marriage part), I haven’t quite seemed to regain my doing-creative-and-entrepreneurial-things mojo. I’m not sure I like being someone who has a job and then just…goes…home? Even if home is shared with the delicious beardy one.

I thought perhaps that settling into my routine would be the key, but so far, nothing seems to have changed. I’m still just pottering about at home each evening, somehow genuinely forgetting the list of things I need to do.

Perhaps it’s teacher brain. Perhaps it’s some kind of latent post-wedding blues? I don’t think so, but can you actually be blue without really feeling it? I don’t feel sad, rather the opposite. But there is a lack of motivation at the moment, and I just can’t seem to work out why. Perhaps it will get better. But right here, right now, I not producing anything and especially not the answers to this little conundrum.

Toute Seule

The Vines in Rochester - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Sam in The Vines - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

New Sandals - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

After having spent the best part of 2014 on my own in Australia, this weekend was the first since returning to England, that I have not spent in the company of Mr H.

He’s off camping with some friends, and so I’ve had a whole weekend to fill with activities toute seule, as it were.

I’ve had a haircut, caught up with some friends, wandered around lovely Rochester, gone to the films (Jurassic World ftw!), and now I’m down to the last activities on my list, namely avoiding prep work and procrastinating over some housework. Le sigh.

On a better note, I’ve finally worn in my new specs (does one ‘wear in’ new glasses? It feels that way sometimes), and have had the occasion to wear both my favourite denim jacket and my new leather sandals, courtesy of the Mecca of fabulousness TK Maxx.

Life ain’t so bad really, it just sometimes feels a little less ‘yay’ and a little more ‘meh’ when you do it on your own.

 

Change of Direction, Change of Heart

A NEW DIRECTION - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I’ve been feeling guilty.

Sadly this is not a new phenomenon, I feel guilty about something all the time, as a rule. 

If you had asked me a year or two ago what I felt most guilty about, my answer would have included things like: not Skyping my family enough; not responding emails fast enough; that I was spending too much time in my regular day job and not being creative enough. If only I could get my act together, everything would just be…perfect…

The guilts are strong in this one.

Because I can’t work in England until I pick up some paperwork, I’ve been a temporary housewife for a couple of months. It’s been problematic for several reasons, not least because I feel guilty for not contributing financially to my household for a few months more. What it’s been great for is getting me focused on the renovation work we need to do here. I say need, the truth is we already have a wonderful home and I am so unbelievably lucky to live here, but there are some cosmetic elements we want to change to make it more ‘us’. Cue several weeks of tradespeople traipsing through the corridors measuring and delivering upsetting quotes that have commas after the £ sign.

I’ve spent an unmentionable amount of time on eBay, searching various combinations of ‘Victorian front door’ or ‘reclaimed Georgian door’ or even ‘Victorian/Edwardian front door with glass’. For a task that seems so boring straightforward, deciding to replace one’s front door means deciding to offer up weeks of your life to the Gods of Time Wasting, who’s powers seem to miraculously focus on fast-forwarding the clock to 16:30. Another day gone. Another attempt at vanquishing guilty feelings before I can sleep.

On the one hand, I find myself excited by the work and recognise it as part of a recent spell of nesting, which I think is symptomatic of my impending wife-dom. I want our home to be finished, because then it becomes our home, not just the one Mr Hello bought (he’s kinda great like that). I feel like it is valid to be excited about this.

On the other, more insidious hand I feel guilty about spending my life in this way. I’m focussed on my home at the moment, and by default that means I’m not focussed on becoming an amazing teacher or creative businessperson, or writer of great repute. I feel frustrated because I don’t feel like I am achieving at a pace I expect of myself, and then I feel more frustrated because I can’t cut myself some slack. My attendance at local events has dwindled, and I’m not sure who I am if I am not that person who is at every arts event. That’s the core of it. If I’m not a creative ‘face’ around Kent, then who am I? Am I just like the colleagues I used to turn my nose up at, who came to work and then went back to their own lives without engaging in myriad extra curricular exploits? Or does nothing change at all? Am I still Sam, just the Sam who’s priorities have changed?

Our lives change directions so suddenly it seems, so why is it so hard for our expectations to keep up?

Hello Again!

Hi guys! You may have noticed things look a little different around here, and you *may* have experienced some issues reading the blog in the last couple of days. That’s because I’ve made the jump over to self hosting this here blog, and really,  I have no idea what I’m doing! HA! That just means it takes twice as long as I think it will, because I spend most of the time frantically Googling ‘why isn’t this working????’.

I will be back to normal posting soon!

Here’s a photo for you:

I feel like it sums up the last two days quite well.

 

 

This Week I Was Grateful For #4

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha - The Vines

I’ve posted a similar picture of The Vines in Rochester before, but this is the park seen through new eyes. It all feels wonderfully similar, and wonderfully different since my Australian jaunt.

The path in this photos reminds me of the journey I’m on at the moment. I’ve got a few professional challenges coming up this year, and instead of freaking out about it, I’m choosing to be grateful for the opportunity to stretch my comfort zone.

I hope you all have a great start to the first week of March 2015. Do let me know what you’re getting up to in the comments!

The Everyday Rhythm

Home Office Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Week 2 of my return to England is imminent, and so I thought a little catch up might be on the cards to let you know how I’m settling in. It’s been an up and down sort of a week to be honest, but let’s start with the positives because that makes us all feel better, no?

UP:

  • Actually making it through Customs at Heathrow. Despite the fact I am doing absolutely nothing illegal, somehow the powerful stares of the Border Agency staff make me regret every decision I have ever made, particularly in the lead up to the moment when I’m asked to plonk my passport on their tiny desks. I made it through, as you may have guessed, and it was a GREAT MOMENT.
  • Home. Bed. Cats.
  • Wandering around Rochester and feeling both the foreigner and the local. An odd yet pleasing sensation.
  • Picking up long awaited packages from the Post Office. Hello engagement present vouchers and Liz Earle Skincare. Nice to meet you.
  • Having time to make dinner in the evening. I love to cook, so this is fun for me!
  • Catching up with dear friends and feeling as if nothing has changed. Em, I adore you.
  • Snuggling with Mr Hello in the morning for five more minutes before walking him into work.
  • Getting excited for phase 2 of Operation Finish The House Before the Wedding. The phase where we freak out, that is.
  • Exciting meetings with exciting people about future potentially exciting jobs. I may very well soon be an employed teacher! EXCITING.
  • Catching up with Mr Hello’s folks. They are totally delightful and indulged my loves of their son, eating lots of delicious food, and looking at old photos. A Sunday well spent.
  • Sitting in our study (above) and watching people walk past our house as I type.

DOWN:

  • Turns out it’s not that much fun not having a job. On the one hand, there is more time for Parks and Recreation viewing, but on the other there is more time for getting the guilts about being a burden on society, and more to the point a burden on Mr H. Plus it’s a bit boring.
  • No Polish passport as yet, which means no working until it arrives. A couple more weeks, but then hopefully I will have that burgundy booklet it my hot little hand!
  • Missing my family. Goddamn it, why do I have to feel the feelings?
  • Extreme hair has arrived. Something in the British water takes a while for me to adjust to, and in the meantime my hair freaks out in an unmanageable way, making me feel more self conscious than I already was. Thanks Life!
  • To top it off, I am having a particularly bad skin phase, hence the timely arrival of the Liz Earle goodies.
  • I have a wedding to co-plan in six months. How, where and why did that happen? Last time I checked, it was over a year away. God preserve me.
  • It’s effing cold here and I am a delicate flower who has become accustomed to a certain level of UV radiation every day.
  • This may well be the most boring thing in the world to approximately everyone, but last night I had a dream that Hannibal Lector (yep, that one) was showing me his latest victim, and opened up a hole in the ground to reveal a naked and screaming Jodie Foster within. I was subsequently stabbed. Got a bit freaked out by that one, I must admit, and it was only worsened by the fact that when I checked the time it was only……11:57 pm. Not even midnight, shamefully. I then had to calm myself down by reading blogs and looking at silly gifs on Tumblr until 2am. Whoops.

Hope all is well in your lives. Seeing as I am currently a member of the unemployed, I suspect I will be dropping in to HSGS Headquarters on a semi regular basis. Here’s to seeing a bit more of you!