Back to the daily grind.

Whilst most of my colleagues went back to work on the 2nd, I wasn’t quite sure if I’d be going back at all. Since my work permit application is taking a while, I’ll be in the UK for another few weeks. Thankfully BEET needed another teacher and I get to go back to my job for a little while longer.

What that does mean, however, is back to the never-ending nights of planning, creating worksheets and losing sleep over how I can help all of my students. I’m worried about how I’ll fit it all in with my packing and getting ready for China.

Yesterday afternoon I spent 4 hours trying to plan how I’m going to start off my lessons this morning… do I need worksheets? do I take it easy? Should I encourage them to write on a Monday morning? Should I bring games? I DON’T KNOW!!


I’ve missed my job so much in the past 4 weeks! My colleagues are some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met and knowing that I’m working my butt off every day to try and help make a difference for my students makes me feel so positive.

I’m back guys. I’ll be doing my very best for you. I promise.

Book Reviews, Education, Personal, travel

2017 reflections

Initial plans

Before 2017 started I was determined that this year my main goals were:
1. to beat depression (my new year’s resolution that failed in 2015)
2. to hold down a proper job and pay my bills, and
3. to re-ignite my love for reading

What I have accomplished this year is more than I, and more than my family, could have possibly imagined. The first thing that changed was I decided to stop going out every day to ward off my depression with coffee and talking to random people in coffee shops. What this first step did for me was gave me time to relax at home, in my own space, and focus on myself. What happened was, I stopped wearing make up, took time to write and, wait for it, READ. I told myself to read for 10 minutes every day, that’s all, but within days I had gone out and bought new books. I was reading two a day, sometimes three! It was like magic that my passion for reading flooded back.

Once I’d realized it was back, I looked for a reading challenge and decided to go with PopSugar’s version! I’ve enjoyed it immensely and recommend any book-lover to do it too! Total books read in 2017: 44!

This is honestly one of the best parts of 2017. I had forgotten how much reading influenced me. How moving words can be and what an effect they can have on us.

I’ll briefly share a few of my favourites with you.

A man named Ove, by Fredrik Backman – This had me laughing, crying and feeling so many mixed emotions as I saw parts of my grumpy self in Ove, but also parts of my Grandpa in that the love between husband and wife is unbreakable even after death.

Mad Girl, by Bryony Gordon – The first book I read this year that I couldn’t put down and without a doubt reminded me of how much I’ve missed reading. Despite the struggles of Bryony, she lets us into her world through humour and showing us that it is okay, ‘not to be okay’. I can’t thank her enough for sharing her story.

Baby Doll and The Walls by Hollie Overton – wow! Neither of these books were read lightly. Absolutely gripping at the pages as I read both of these, each in one sitting. The Walls actually gave me nightmares, it was that good! Twisted, warped stories that had my heart racing start to finish! Must, must read!

All the bright places by Jennifer Niven – oh my poor heart. What a moving story! It took me a few days to read this, as I started back in January when I wasn’t fully in the swing of reading but by the end of it I had quotes on little post-it notes around my room, I wanted tattoos, I couldn’t stop following Niven’s fans on instagram and twitter. I was sucked into the world of Violet and Finch.

My weight loss

This was a pivotal part of my year because growing up I was always extremely skinny, and sporty, and even at Uni I wasn’t ever more than a size 8, but once the depression crept in, then the medication, I ate and ate and ate… I never stopped. Dr Pepper, doughnuts, pizza hut, crisps, chips, chocolates, beer, wine… whatever I wanted, I ate. Immediately. I was eating anywhere from 5 to 10 times a day and I didn’t care. It wasn’t long before I was pushing a size 16 and 70kilos. My family were shocked, my friends of course didn’t say anything, and I felt repulsive. This year I put an end to it. How? Believe me, people have asked.

  • I started off by cutting out eating after 7pm. This made a huge difference to my bloating and discomfort.
  • The next stage, I stopped eating dairy products. No milk, chocolate, cheese, none of it! This made a massive difference and the weight started dropping quite quickly.
  • Then it was time for some hard work, I had to stop eating junk food. I cut out cookies and crisps, I went nearly 6 months without a single pizza (this was painful!). It meant daily smoothies, veggie sticks for snacks instead of crisps, soups when it was cold rather than 2 plates of pasta or pizza.
  • Then the real work, exercise! This was tough. My knees are weak and running is always painful for me… so I had to buy some weights and do things at home. Mostly squats, sit ups, crunches, jumping jacks, lizard crunches (seriously guys, do these!!) Plus the occasional swim or trip to the gym…

I’m still working on my weight, and I hate my stomach, but to lose 16 kilos in 12 months is a massive achievement for me and I feel surprisingly proud of myself!

First real job

After a few part-time job stints in 2016, I wasn’t satisfied with what I’d been doing. I’d enjoyed my job at the Little Red Roaster immensely, but because of my mental health I had to resign. My boss there was amazing and most of the customers were lovely, and in the jobs that followed I didn’t find either of those bonus points.

Someone recommended I apply for Coffee #1 in Winton and I had a great trial shift… two days later they called and asked if I wanted to train up as an Assistant Manager. Jeez… Where do I begin? A week after signing the contract they said I couldn’t stay in Winton and that I’d have to go to Eastleigh. Every day. I agreed, since I had no other option but that journey was awful. Getting the bus to Southampton, then a train to Eastleigh took about an hour in the morning, but coming home was awful. I had to get a train back to Southampton, which depending on what time I closed up that night could have me waiting in Eastleigh for an hour. The coach times changed and sometimes I was waiting in Southampton for an hour, or longer. On average, coming home took between 2 and 4 hours, for a 30 minute car journey. I didn’t get paid for my travel time, as promised. I didn’t get compensation half of the time either. I enjoyed the job I was doing but most of the time, I was on auto pilot. The hours were awful, the travelling was even worse. I’ll skip the other finer, irritating details of what I had to put up with, but eventually I handed in my notice. It was absolutely the right decision for me and I’m so glad I walked away from that place.

No money

With my first solo trip booked, Switzerland!!, and no job… I was in panic mode. Do I cancel my holiday? Do I retract my notice? No no no! I went to Zuerich for three days and had the best holiday ever! I saw old friends, went to the FIFA museum, walked along the river and I barely bought a thing except for food. Have any of you been to Zuerich? What did you think of it??

The turning point

One of the biggest points of 2017 was my Taiwan holiday… Leigh and I had argued, big time, before I flew out and I was back at a really low point. I didn’t know what to do next with my personal life, my career, my education. Everything felt like a complete mess. However, I took myself off to a little coffee shop and explored my options.

I started working on my mindfulness, writing a journal again and learning how to be more reflective on situations.

NOW was the time to step out of my comfort zone. I signed up for a CELTA course. After years and years of uhmmmmmm-ing and aaaaaaaaah-ing about whether to go forward with teacher training, this was it! I started the day after I arrived home in Bournemouth.

I’ve said it time and time again lately but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. That CELTA course pushed me to study again, to make some wonderful new friends and, believe it or not, almost cure my stage fright! I honestly had no idea if I was going to pass the course or not, but I applied for a summer teaching job at the sister school, BEET. I had a few interviews and finally, as long as I passed, I had a 4-week contract!

Now I won’t go into too much detail about the job, because I’ve blogged about it a fair bit already but this job has changed my life. I have found a passion. I love this job with my heart and soul, and the people that I’ve met through it have inspired me, supported me, and some have also left me feeling totally drained (but that’s a rare few!)

I’ll be forever grateful to those two people who gave me this opportunity, and to everyone who has supported me along the way. If I could work there forever, I would.


If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it…

Okay. We did. But I’m not going to blog about that now…
August 30th 2017 – Leigh and I got engaged.


As the year draws to a close, I’m still glowing from my wonderful holiday in Germany with our friends, a lovely Christmas with my family and Leigh and I are in the process of signing contracts for teaching jobs in China.

We went up to London yesterday for our medical exams, and have a week to wait for the results. In the mean time, we are going to enjoy THREE WHOLE DAYS OFF together! Then it’s crunch time. Packing up my things, throwing away what I don’t need, etc etc.

I cannot believe that I’m about to move to the other side of the world and finally move out of my parents house. Hopefully for the last time! Does this mean I’m officially an adult now? Let’s hope so.

I hope everyone has a lovely New Year’s Eve and that 2018 is absolutely wonderful for you. Please let me know what you’re looking forward to, if you’re doing any book challenges or if you’re also going to be teaching abroad!


Lots of love



Education, Personal

The last teaching day of 2017

Well, I know I haven’t been updating my blog as I should have but I feel as if today is definitely deserving of a post.

Today has been my last day of teaching for 2017 and I’m feeling fairly emotional about it, as I knew I would be.

Not only does Christmas bring lots of goodbyes and holiday wishes, but today felt even more emotional saying goodbye to student that I’ve been teaching for 2, 3, even 6 months! People that have taught me about different countries, religions, traditions and most importantly, friendship.

Watching these students come together from totally different worlds, some with almost no English and others with a seriously impressive standard of English, has been wonderful.

Working at BEET has inspired me more than I thought could be possible. I’ve finally found my career path, I’ve found something that I want to do forever. A job that makes me feel, mostly, positive, happy and yet at the same time drives me crazy and causes me to lose hours of sleep over planning the best lessons, trying to help students focus on their weaker areas and excel wherever possible. I’ve never lost so much sleep before.

My colleagues are extremely inspiring. They are intelligent, intellectual, hilarious, kind, thoughtful and have made me feel completely welcome at the school.

I will miss them in many ways and I can only hope my new colleagues will be half as amazing as them.

6 months ago I would never have thought I was capable of teaching, but thanks to the people around me and the students I’ve taught, I have a new found confidence in myself, and a new passion.


What the hell are you doing woman?!

… is what I’ve mind-shouted at myself numerous times today.

I absolutely, completely, utterly, totally messed up my Upper-Intermediate lesson today after going over the notes SO MANY TIMES last night. I had it all planned out nicely, had a little conversation / starter ready, had a movie trailer to link in to the ‘film review’ section we were working on.

And guess what guys? Guess what?


I ended up just washing over it completely and moving on to discuss writing a film review, then getting the students to write one themselves, then pair-check for errors and suggestions.

I could have just smacked myself on the head for my complete stupidity and total lack of awareness of my own plans.

I felt guilty. I’m not going to lie. I spent a good hour questioning my worth as a teacher.

  • Did I let my class down?
  • Were they bored?
  • Oh god they hate me.
  • Why am I such an idiot?
  • Why can’t I teach?!

Above are the thoughts that flashed in my mind continuously throughout my afternoon.

I’m sorry guys. I am.

I’ve spent the last 4 hours planning for my lessons tomorrow, and honestly hope that it all turns out at least 100x better than today’s disaster.


Back to school

(Not just for the majority of the UK, but also for me.)

I’m heading back to BEET language center for another 3 months and I’m ecstatic!

My classes will be different once again as I go on to teach Pre-intermediate first thing, followed by an Upper-intermediate class before lunch. I’m super excited and I’ve been told that the majority of my Upper-ints will be Italians… So I thought I’d brush up a little.

Key phrases to remember

  • Buongiorno! (bwohn-johr-noh) (Hello! and Good morning!)
  • Come si chiama? (koh-meh see kyah-mah) (What is your name?)
  • Come sta? (koh-meh stah) (How are you?) (Formal)

I’m sure they will be absolutely wonderful and have no reason at all for me to speak any Italian, but I’m hoping with a few greetings they’ll at least be pleased! I never did get the hang of Italian.

On another note, teachers, what’s your favourite way to start your first lesson on a Monday morning? Surely not everyone wants to talk about their weekend, right?

Let me know in the comments if you have a favourite ‘opening’ chat or activity.


Education, Personal


Happy Friday lovely followers!
Hopefully you’ve all had an enjoyable week.

I realize I’ve been awfully quiet the past two weeks and this is mainly due to the fact that I’ve not been working at BEET. I have been inundated with emails, interviews, skype calls etc all for heading out to China.

Last Thursday I had finally made my decision – the offer was great and the people seemed absolutely wonderful – the contract was being drawn up and then dot dot dot the Director of Studies at BEET called and asked if I wanted to work until December. I couldn’t say no. It’s what I wanted from my second week of working there. I just knew I wanted to stay.

I wasn’t quite ready to leave Bournemouth (I know, I’m always complaining about it), or my boyfriend, or my somewhat settled life. It felt awful to have to turn down the other company in China though, especially as I’d been talking to them for nearly a week. My heart was set on going, but it just wasn’t ready to leave, if you catch my drift.

So I’m heading back to BEET on Monday, I’m beyond excited and desperate to improve (quickly) as a teacher. If anyone has any suggestions of courses or top-ups to help, please let me know in the comments.


Education, Uncategorized

Teaching – Feelin’ good on a Wednesday.

Firstly – has anyone seen the South Park episode with the song about Lorde? My boyfriend finds it absolutely hysterical and as he repeats it every few minutes, it’s been stuck in my head for absolutely days. Especially now that it’s Wednesday.

Ya ya ya, I am Lorde (Youtube link here)

Anyway, now that I’ve got that out of my system I thought I’d update you guys once again.

still haven’t heard back from any of my interviews and it’s driving me absolutely insane! I’m going out of my mind not knowing their decisions and can only hope for the best. Of course, I don’t want to leave my boyfriend behind, but at the same time I am so desperate for a change of scenery, a bit of excitement, some adventure.

Today I took on an extra options class at work, which was focused on ‘reading’ at an Upper Intermediate level. Jeez, these guys were good! I love reading, as you may have guessed, but it’s not exactly an easy skill to teach – is it? Thankfully they were a great class and hopefully they got something out of the lesson.

I am absolutely shattered. My brain is shutting down but with some smashed avo on toast and a cup of tea, I’m powering on. I’ve taken on an extra three hours of work tomorrow so I absolutely cannot let the students or my colleague down.

I asked my Intermediate class to write a poem for their homework, after teaching them about onomatopoeia, alliteration and rhyme today. I’m curious as to how they’ll turn out (stay tuned…)

I’d better catch some zzzs. It’s been a long week and it’s only Wednesday.