Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Book 20 of January.
Book 20 of 2018.

I picked this book up in Sainsburys for £3.99 the other day (yay for Sainsbury’s books!) because I’d seen it on sooooo many peoples’ book instagrams, in the shops and in the Waterstones newsletter. I couldn’t keep ‘not buying’ it, right?

I’m currently off work for two days with an on-going issue, so I’ve mainly been sleeping, reading on the sofa or eating avocados.

I started the book the night before last and really struggled to put it down when I needed to sleep. It had me laughing continuously for at least 70% of the book, even though I knew something disturbing was either going to happen, or be revealed.

Sometimes I feel like Eleanor. I feel like not talking to anyone for days at a time. However, I thought about it and actually, I’m not like her at all. I couldn’t possibly not talk to people for 3 days or avoid social interaction, or not buy new clothes.

Her quirky personality develops as the book goes on, and we grow to love her and her friendship with Raymond. Despite Eleanor’s inability to filter anything that comes out of her mouth, her slightly warped sense of reality and the severely disturbing relationship she has with her mother, there’s something oddly charming about her.

The last few pages had me thinking, ‘What the f***?!’ but I’m so glad I read it.

I loved the way it was written, the dialogue wasn’t forced and the characters had enough personality to them without being over-done or pointless. I felt like every word of this book was relevant.

I’d rate it 4 stars (out of 5) and strongly recommend this book for anyone looking for something a little different. It’s not crime, romance, or thriller, but weaves in elements of those three. And sadly, it could easily be a true story.

Personal, Uncategorized

A singleton’s Friday night

As I sat in the staff room finishing my lesson plans, I was toying between the idea of either going to the pub with my colleagues or going home to a pizza in my pjs.

I didn’t have to wait until 6:45 for someone to finish work. I didn’t have to spend a fortune buying junk food for 2. I didn’t have to worry about being freezing cold in a crappy room in an uninviting house. No one to hover over my shoulder as I did the scratch card, telling me I wasn’t ‘scratching’ it properly. No music blasting out at full volume. Just a little bit of peace, quiet and calm.

Pjs. Pizza. Salad. Donuts. Hot Chocolate. Book. Gavin and Stacey.

This was an absolutely perfect way to spend my evening after a really stressful week.

I love my job, without question, but I’ve barely slept this week and it’s really taking it’s toll on me. I’ve been over-emotional, agitated, grumpy and I hate feeling like it.

At the end of the week it’s been just perfect to wind down on my own, in my own space.

Contrary to yesterday’s over-emotional post, I’m feeling much better about everything today.  I suppose I just needed to pull myself together, but thank you to everyone who messaged me – I really appreciate it! xo

Education, Uncategorized

Moral Dilemmas – A subject for the classroom?

For my first lesson back in the classroom I’m starting, conveniently, a brand new chapter of the book. The topic is morals and dilemmas, where half-way through the lesson there are two short stories that each contain a moral. It will be the students’ jobs to create an ending for each story, then decide what the moral is.

In the book I’m using, they never provide any warm-up or introductory activities and in many ways, I love it because it gives me the chance to create something myself. On the other hand, this usually takes me forever.

I’m going to start off by asking if anyone enjoyed reading as a child, if they remember any childhood stories and what do you think children gain from reading, or being read to.

(The answer I’ll be hoping for is that stories often have morals and children can learn from them, by remembering the stories.) 

Moving on, I have chosen the following three words

  • Moral
  • Ethical
  • Dilemma

for students to discuss what they think these words mean and then ask them to look up, and write down, the definition before moving onto a discussion.

I have chosen a few issues people may face and will ask them to discuss them in pairs.

These include, but are not limited to:

  • Your bank accidentally transfers you $100 instead of $10, do you tell them?
  • You win a lot of money on the lottery, a family member you dislike is in serious debt, do you tell your family about your win or keep it a secret?
  • Your classmate cheats on her final exam, do you tell your teacher?

I will allow 10-15 minutes for a discussion in pairs, then a class discussion on the topics given on the handout, to prepare students for the main part of the lesson.

Thanks to a member of TeacherTrove for writing this post, which gave me loads of good ideas for my lesson. Please share any suggestions or feedback you may have in the comments! I’m always looking for new ideas.

Personal, Uncategorized

Be kind to yourself post break up.

Going along with the advice I posted in my ‘break-up‘ post, I’m looking after myself big time at the moment. I’m trying to work out every day and on the days I don’t, I notice my mood is much more deflated. There’s some weird positive energy in those achy muscles that make you feel like you’ve done something great… even if it was just 20 squats.

On Thursday I decided to see some friends, eat brownies, drink some coffee and read my book – all before lunch!

Once lunch was over I decided to have a manicure and treat myself to some lovely new acrylic nails – wowee do they look lovely! There’s also something strangely satisfying about that loud drumming noise you can make on the table with long nails…

I walked past our favourite restaurant, almost sad that I couldn’t go in there anymore, when I stopped and thought for a second. ‘Why the hell shouldn’t I be going in my favourite restaurant? He’s not in there. It’s not his restaurant!’ So I turned around and went in… sat on a lovely table all by myself and relished in the fact that I could eat in peace and quiet, without having to deal with anyone else’s eating habits. It was so relaxing. I indulged in my favourite meal, Penne Arribiatta (okay, I can never spell that correctly) and watched the world go by.

I bought myself a new book and chatted to the staff in Waterstones about the latest novels, what we liked and didn’t like, and it was genuinely lovely to talk to people with similar interests… I just felt a whole lot bouncier and more positive about everything. Let’s face it, new books make us bookworms stupidly happy.

I returned some jewelry (charms with his initial and lucky number) and the guy laughed, saying “Oops! I guess that isn’t a lucky number after all!) Which as sad as it made me feel, is obviously true. It’ll be a funny moment for me to look back on that’s for sure. Plus a little extra money in my bank account for myself!

Then I came home, put my pjs on and read my books.

The most simple of things really can make a big difference to our mood and it’s important to remember that there is nothing wrong with spending time by yourself. In fact, it’s extremely important.

Be comfortable with being alone, make yourself a priority.

Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Book 8 of 2018 : Hopes and dreams amongst the Northern Lights

Sky Song – by Abi Elphinstone

My oh my! What a truly beautiful piece of art. This book contains so much more than just words. The magic within this book is dreams and love, friendship and bravery, family ties and determination.

Whilst I rarely ever read books like this, because I’m completely obsessed with crime, thriller and gore, I’m so glad I chose this.

As Waterstones’ book of the month, it was placed in piles around the shop and I couldn’t help but fall in love with the cover!

I would recommend this book to anyone with a hopeful heart and someone who enjoys a little magic. Two new friends will take you on a journey to save their divides kingdom, whilst making new friends along the way!