National Book Lovers Day 2017


Hey everyone!! 

Happy National Book Lovers Day! Being as so many of us on here are united by the love of books and reading, I wanted to send you my love and blessings for this wonderful day. To be honest, I didn’t actually know this existed until I saw something online. Nevertheless, we learn something new every day. Today I learnt this. 

According to the National Days Calendar, today is the day we are encouraged to spend the day with a good book. As if by fate, I finished my book yesterday which means that I can start a new book today, especially for this occasion. 

I did pick up some new books yesterday whilst on a day out. These miniature anthologies are super cute. As you know, I always keep my eyes open for new books. 


I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a Bibliophile. 

Bibliophile Definition: a person who has a great appreciation for or collects books. 

Hmm. This sounds about right! Not that I want to shoehorn myself into a stereotype…

To observe this day I am doing two things: look for new books and read. The rain has been pouring all day so it’s the perfect weather to snuggle down with a good book. My next read is In A Strange Room by Damon Galgut. Again, I picked this up in a second hand book shop knowing absolutely nothing about it. However, I was taken in my the blurb. I’ll let you all know how it goes. If anyone has read it, let me know what it’s like please! 

So, Happy National Book Lovers Day, to all of you wonderful people out there! I hope you have a lovely day reading and absorbing yourself into another world. 

Big love to you all! Xx

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Filed under Books, National Book Lovers Day, New Books

Canons Ashby – National Trust

Hey guys! 

Happy Thursday everyone! I hope you’re all doing well and enjoying this week. 

Yesterday, I went on an exploring spree with my family to Canons Ashby in Daventry. I’d researched and recommended here so I did feel a bit of pressure, I have to say. Thankfully, it was amazing. It’s turned out to be one of my favourite places. 


The H shaped Tudor house was built by the Drydens using the remains of a medieval priory. The house, mainly, has remained unchanged since 1710! The things that building has seen, the people and the history really fascinates me. The house is presented as it would have been during Sir Henry Dryden’s time. He was a Victorian antiquary who was passionate about the past. Over time, other Dryden relatives have added to the house, making it what it is today. 

I knew I knew the Dryden name from somewhere and of course it is from my literary background: John Dryden. I was intrigued to find out more about his family home. His creativity in writing also helped with the creative decoration of the house. 

However, like with many other properties, the house began to decline in the 20th century, resulting in it being given to the National Trust. 

As always, I want to share anecdotes and photos of my favourite parts with you. Firstly, The Tapestry Room. I absolutely loved this room because of the story behind it. The sofa you can see in the picture was originally sold. However, by pure chance, a watercolour painting by Clara Dryden was found showing what the room originally looked like. It was from here that one eagle eyed person spotted the sofa for sale at an auction and informed the trust. Thankfully, it’s now in its rightful home. 


The next feature I loved was the fireplace and ceiling in The Drawing Room. It literally caught me off guard because there is nothing else like it in the building. Commissioned in the 1590s, it really has stood the test of time. The family have again added this over the centuries, for example, in the 18th century, Henry Dryden had to add cast iron columns to support the chimneypiece because it was sagging. Naturally, there has been some conservation work completed by the trust along the way. 


Another literary link now: Spenser’s Room. This room was named after the poet Edmund Spenser, author of The Faerie Queen. He was first cousin by marriage. Anyway, it is in this room that I saw something I’ve genuinely never seen before. Original murals are still there today showing the danger of worshipping false gods. It is thought that Sir Erasmus painted these himself. I genuinely cannot believe they have stood the test of time. It’s incredible really. 


This property also has a church attached, just across the grass and over a little road. I enjoyed sitting there for a little while just thinking. I’m not a religious person but I always find churches very calming and restful places. As you can see, this one is incredibly old. It was an insight to see the graves of the different Drydens too. 


My final favourite piece here is a statue in the garden of a shepherd boy and his dog. There’s quite an emotional story behind this as he was killed for protecting the family. Therefore, his statue is there, always watching and guarding the house. I make no apologies for the photo of me by him. Sadly it was raining! It’s not like we expect much else for a British summer to be fair. I always find a raincoat very useful in this country. 


There’s a lot more to this house than meets the eye and I will definitely need to return to learn and retain all of the historical knowledge. I also don’t want to spoil it for you if you decide to visit. However, I really found this place quite enchanting and fascinating. 

For more information visit The National Trust – Canons Ashby

Big love to you all! Xx

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Filed under Days Out, National Trust, Photography, Places, UK

More Than Reading: Unexpected Surprises In Books


Hey guys! 

Happy August! The weather doesn’t particularly resemble August or summer but that shouldn’t stop us from making the most of it. 

This post is something slightly different to what I usually post (I hope that’s ok!) because I realised that I’ve found books in various places which contained more than the story. 

You may remember from an earlier post that I love receiving books which include little messages inside. I keep them and treasure them. However, I also like to see what I can find inside books. I don’t look specifically for what’s inside; it’s what I’ve found in books after I’ve purchased them. The extra surprise you aren’t always guaranteed to find. 

I realised I’ve actually started a little collection! Well, 4. But it’s only the beginning. Therefore, to mark the start of August I wanted to share with you all what I’ve found and where. Maybe you’ve found something too! 


The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy

As my first find, this is a particularly awesome and surprising place to start. I wanted this book because I remember getting it from the library as a child and I wanted my own copy. They were my motives for buying it. However, as I was flicking through I spotted a letter. I was so intrigued for two reasons. Firstly, it was written before I was born. Yet, I found it years later in 2012. Secondly, the address (which I’ve coloured out) was a house near my grandparents home. 


Why did this get into a children’s book? Who are the people involved? What caused this letter to be mixed up or discarded? For me it’s about the person or people behind the book. I find it quite sad that I won’t be able to find out the answers to these questions. 

The Notebook – Nicholas Sparks

It was my Mum that actually recommended this book to me. One day when I was mooching about I found a copy. What I didn’t bargain for was the poignant message within the book. 


Now I have to confess that this made my cry originally. Everyone wants to have that one love that changes your life. I guess I kept hold of this book because I believe it can and will happen. 

Again, more questions. Who is Elaine? How many bad dates did she go on? Has she given up altogether because of unrequited love? A fitting message for a stunning novel. So beautiful. 

Bernice Bobs Her Hair – F. Scott Fitzgerald

This was a relatively recent find actually. Fitzgerald is a writer that I absolutely adore. The Great Gatsby is one of my all time favourite novels so I always jump at the change to buy more of his work. 


21st birthdays are quite important; they are a milestone birthday so why would this book be given away? Hmm. Yet more questions! Another story untold. 

Miss Treadway & The Field Of Stars

This was my latest find in Stratford. I really wanted to read this book anyway and I fell on my feet because I managed to find a signed copy! 


I guess this doesn’t raise the personal questions of the others. However, I still count it as an incredible find. I always seem to miss out on signed books so I was secretly quite pleased to find this. 

So these are my unexpected surprises from books so far. Have you ever found anything? It is difficult because shops do tend to go through them first, making my finds even more thrilling! I think I’ll keep this updated so watch this space. Here’s hoping I find more! 

Have a fabulous summery August everyone.

Big love xx

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Stratford upon Avon 

Hi all,

Just a quick post. Life is pretty busy (when isn’t it!) but I managed to sneak off for a couple of hours by the river. I took a couple of photos that I wanted to share with you all. 


It always amazes me how beautiful this town is. I feel so lucky that I am from here and I can experience this place with ease. The memories it holds for me makes it just as special. I love sharing them with people. 


This made me laugh. I just had to take a photo. Littering, yes. Humorous, absolutely. 

You never really realise how much a place can make you feel until it’s tested. Life throws things at us on a daily basis; small personal challenges or larger issues which require plenty of thought. I’d temporarily forgotten the sense of serenity and calm this place gives me. 

Whatever challenge you currently might be facing, find your place to think and feel personal peace. 

Big love xx

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Filed under Photography, Places, RSC, Stratford upon Avon

School’s Out! 


Hi everyone!! 

I’m so sorry I’ve not been around. I’ve been exam marking (more on this later) and desperately hanging onto the thought that it’s summer soon and I can finally stop and recover. It’s been a really hard year at school so I’m absolutely exhausted, like every teacher! (Fairly accurate visual representation below!) 


I was having a conversation with someone at school and I said “This year has been horrible.” Which I realise now, sounds rather flippant. It’s been difficult: workload, new GCSE, unknown grading, bright boys not wanting to work, difficult decisions that effect morale, staff leaving, new changes etc. He asked me if there’s been any good. I immediately replied with “No!” 

Now, in hindsight, that is absolutely ridiculous and I’ll freely admit I’ve been a fool here. So, I made a list of all the positives that’s happened this year. I want to share them with you all because when things are difficult, we tend to miss the good bits. If any teachers out there are feeling like myself, like they could sleep for a thousand years and that still wouldn’t be enough to feel human again, focus on what has made you happiest this year. I did and my perspective has changed. The hard work was absolutely worth it. 


Successes of 2016-2017

  • Year 11. Now I always have a love/hate relationship with Year 11. This year I’ve felt even stronger because I could physically see very bright boys struggle with the new, harder GCSEs. This meant that every success we had along the way meant even more. We were a team; they’d know I’d do anything and everything to help and support them. In return they gave me excellent lessons, where despite adversity, we still laughed and learnt ways to approach the new system. We learnt it together.
  • Prom. I always go to Prom because it is really lovely for staff and students to have a nice meal, take millions of selfies and celebrate the fact the year is over, whilst anticipating what is to come: college and results. This year was no different. I spent most of my time with my students and close colleagues. It was a really privilege to win an award from the boys: most helpful teacher. It was a night I won’t ever forget because of the people. 

  • Linked to the prom is the prom video. I work with some amazing people who make a video for the students every year. It’s the highlight at the prom as the kids see us in a different light. This means we usually dress up which is lots of fun. This year my floor dressed in the school uniform! The least said, the better. 
  • At my school we have a prize giving day where students receive awards for academic excellence and to reward those who have been a credit to our school. This year, for the first time in the school’s history (apparently) I got a personal mention. I swear my heart stopped for a second. The pride I feel every time I see prizes and celebrations is immeasurable. So, to have my own mention was such a surprise on a really important day in the school’s history. It was just a reminder that all the sleepless nights, the worry about the happiness and progress of my students was worth it. 
  • Linked to the above: “Thank you.” I’ve heard these words a bit recently and you should never underestimate how much they mean to you. The words I’ve received will stay with me for the rest of my life. I always keep cards anyway. But the ones that have hit me the most are: “I don’t think I could’ve made it if it wasn’t for you.” “You’re obviously a part of our family now.” “You’ve been an amazing teacher to me, the best I’ll ever have.” I obviously cried my eyes out when I read these messages. 
  • Strengthening relationships. I’ve only been in my current school two years now but this year I’ve really strengthened my relationships. I’m so pleased I’ve got such a good network around me. It only takes one person to change your life; I’ve managed to find a few. You may have remembered my post from my weekend away in Belgium. That really was an amazing trip with some fabulous people. 

  • Finally, I learnt a lot about myself. I’ve learnt that I will sacrifice my own happiness and time to get whatever needs to be done for my department and students. I’ve learnt that despite there being difficult times, I’ve become more resilient and I won’t let anything beat me. There have been times where I’ve just wanted to give up altogether but I didn’t. I’ve been exam marking which was particularly horrendous; the hours were relentless. Despite finishing my quota there’s still thousands of questions left to mark so I’m fairly sure I’ll mark more because that’s a child’s hopes, dreams and ambitions on that page. I don’t think I can ignore it. 

I’m sure there’s more but it’s taken me three days to get this far! I’m tired and emotional and trying to recover. I’ve got big plans for this summer. I want to read and visit new places and spend time in my beloved Stratford upon Avon. 
So, whenever you’re feeling sad or like the bad outweighs the good, spend a couple of days evaluating the full picture. There’s always good in there somewhere. We just need to keep hold of it. It’s probably one of my worst habits so I need to continue working on this really. 

Big love all xx

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Birthday Girl!! 

Hey guys! 

Just a quick post for you this morning because it’s my birthday and I wanted to share this with you! I always feel incredibly lucky and overwhelmed because it’s a time where I feel so loved and accepted. 

It’s my second birthday away from my family which is always difficult. I’m a real home bird but I love where I work and where I work is a fair few miles away. Moving away gave me such independence; I wouldn’t be who I am now if I hadn’t done that. But that’s why weekends like the London weekend really matter and days like birthdays are special. 

So, being as you lovely bloggers are a part of my life, I wanted to share this with you. It seemed fairly appropriate, not just for myself. Time to make my 27th year on this earth count! 


So whilst I’m surrounded by my wonderful students today and marking GCSE exams, I’m going to be thinking what my next dream is. 

Have an amazing day everyone! Eat lots of cake!! 

Big love xx

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London & Matilda the Musical

Hi guys!

Happy July! I can’t believe it. July is my favourite month so I’m quite pleased it’s here. 


I started this month with a trip to London. More tourist time! Originally this trip was for my Mum as we got her Adele tickets for Christmas. However, you may have seen in the news that she cancelled the last two shows. This caused a slight problem for us, but, I managed to book us tickets to Matilda the Musical. 


This musical started in Stratford but my mum gave her tickets away, meaning we never got to see it. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to finally see the show AND on the West End.


I do not have enough words to explain or describe how amazing this show is. From start to finish I was completely hooked. The kids are awesome, loveable and incredibly talented. It stuck to the original novel, with some tweaks and added catchy songs that I’ve had in my head ever since. 


The set was really clever. It was full of books (I LOVE) and lights and things popping up and across. It was always moving and constantly changing, keeping the audience captivated. The lights were a really clever way of showing the chalk writing and the chokey. 


My favourite (well joint favourite) characters were Matilda, played by Eva-Marie Saffrey and Miss Trunchbull, played by Craige Els. Honestly, Matilda made my heart melt. Miss Trunchbull brought the humour and entertainment to the show. It was a nice surprise to see this part played by a male actor too! Now I’ve seen it, I can’t see how it could be done any other way. 


I realise in every post I say things like ‘you have to read/see this’, ‘I don’t have enough words to say…’ but for this, it’s completely true. It’s just magical. I knew the ending of the story and I still had a tear. I felt on cloud nine when I left. It was truly amazing. 


Well, you know me. I love an opportunity to go exploring and be a tourist. I certainly did that this weekend and it was fabulous. Making memories with my lovely family, spending time together and living for the moment. It was lovely. 

I especially love these signs at the tube stations around London. This one resonates with me because it is absolutely true. If you’re around London, keep an eye out for them. 


Until my next tourist adventure! 

Big love to you all xx

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Filed under Exploring, London, Photography, Places, UK