Hello there. Can you believe that it’s been nearly a year since I last blogged? If you are still here and reading this then, wow, thank you for not deserting my little space of the world wide web.

So where have I been? Well…. for some completely nonsensical reason I decided to embark on a Secondary School PGCE teaching course in order to become an English teacher. Seriously, who on earth in their right mind would decide to retrain in their 30’s and complete a really tough course whilst trying to juggle parenting two little wild boys, having chosen to marry a man who spends over half the year working at sea! Can’t be as hard as training to become a lawyer right? Ermmmmm wrong.

Having trained to become a commercial lawyer for a large law firm, which was a pretty gruelling process, I can officially confirm that the teacher training process is way more emotionally brutal and I massively underestimated how hard I would find it to juggle so many plates!

Every lesson felt like an interview and the observations, oh the observations, the criticisms, the pre-loaded mentor questions of, “Well how do you think that lesson went?”

To which I would hesitantly respond, “Errr, ok? no, bad? no, very, very bad? horrendous? I don’t know!!!”

And then my mentor would so soothingly say, “don’t worry we’ve all had lessons like that, no one got injured”, or “I think it was your best lesson yet”.

I’ve had to get used to being very thoroughly scrutinised and I quickly realised that perfection is not achievable; a brilliant lesson for one observer is an appalling one for another. Fun hey, oh the wonderful buzz you get of being constantly kept on your toes.

And yet, to become a lawyer, I was paid a salary (yes I know that some trainee teachers get a pretty impressive grant… English trainees don’t). I had no dependants back then and I could just crawl out of the office straight into bed, (via buckets of wine). Not only has this year cost me an unthinkable amount in childcare, I’ve had to juggle life with the boys, which really wouldn’t have been possible without my Saint of a mother-in-law. There have been nights when I’ve had poorly puking limpets clinging to me and then I’ve had to get up and perform for a delightful audience of receptive teenagers.

Teenagers… what a fabulous species they are! No, I am actually serious. Yes they can be lazy, they can laugh rudely in your face, roll their eyes, forget everything they’ve EVER learnt (like what a capital letter is), BUT, when then make progress because of you, well that really is something! They are also hilarious and resilient and see the world in a way which we, as adults, should appreciate more than we do.

That being said, the hours that teachers work are not comparable to many commercial professions. I’ve not witnessed many teachers working past 5.00pm every single day (which is a half day for most law firms). Teachers don’t answer e-mails at 3.00am (because they have their e-mail notifications on vibrate under their pillow) and I highly doubt whether they work on Christmas Day. I’m sure you’re thinking that this is relative to the pay. Well to some extent it is.. and I think this is rightly so as most lawyers get less than 30 days holiday a year and even then, they aren’t be able to resist checking and responding to emails. However, many qualified lawyers start on a salary not far off that of a Newly Qualified Teacher and yet they don’t have 13 weeks holiday a year. Many of those lawyers can be found advising their clients in Police cells in the middle of the night, or providing 24 hour support and advice to vulnerable clients who have been taken advantage of in the most appalling of ways.

Yes, yes, I do know that teachers work hard, they do. And many teachers are wonderful, inspirational role models. Some are not!  I’m not going to get into a controversial post here about which professions work harder than others or give you my opinions as to why teachers feel they have such a difficult time (which some undoubtedly do), but that’s for another day, another platform.

Anyway, I’ve got through it. I can now officially teach English, Law or Business Studies up to A-Level and I don’t often blow my own trumpet, but I’m pretty proud of myself for having survived!

Overlooking Aberystwyth

And now I can spend the Summer with these crazies. Going forward I’ll be working fairly part time, which will mean that I can get back to my hobbies and start writing and reading again.

I cannot bloody wait!

A few weeks ago we went on holiday to Pembrokeshire (Wales) to visit family; I grew up there and often get this relentless itch to go back, breath in some coastal air and appreciate the beautiful Welsh coastline. I’m so lucky to be able to stay with family and have seen first hand that Pembrokeshire, and particularly Dale, is a fantastic destination for a family holiday.

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Dale Pembrokeshire

Dale lies about 25 minutes from Haverfordwest and about 15 minutes from Milford Haven. Set on a peninsular, it has two beaches: a safe family beach and a more adventurous surf beach within walking distance.

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Activities

With a waterfront Watersports Centre which offers tuition in sailing, kayaking, surfing and more, there is so much on offer for almost every age.

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There are some fantastic walks around the coastal path, as well as geocaching dotted around the village. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to catch your supper – you can even go on fishing trips from here.

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Whilst the beach isn’t sandy, it is relatively safe and there are rock-pools on one side and a pontoon which is perfect for crabbing, on the other.

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The beach is just as lovely in the Winter and almost completely deserted! I took Teddy and Arthur down here when Teddy was just a tiny one and there’s something so special about getting all wrapped up and going to the beach.

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Also in Dale, there is a lovely crafts centre  which offers afternoon teas and a number of galleries/ art exhibitions.

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Food

There are a number of options here: a fantastic Seafood restaurant/Pub, The Griffin Inn, which is right on the waterfront where you can have either a bowl of chips overlooking the sea, or a special meal if you fancy fine dining in their contemporary extension.

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There is also a great waterfront café and another restaurant and café in the Yacht Club (The Moorings) which has stunning sea views.

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Accommodation

There are plenty of options, either within Dale itself, or in the surrounding area. I would recommend checking out Spinnaker Reach, or Allenbrook for Bed and Breakfast.

If you are looking for a holiday cottage to rent, have a look on Coastal Cottages website to see what suits you.  For campers – go check Point Farm.

So you if you are thinking of holidaying in the UK – do check out this hidden little secret near where I grew up. It the above doesn’t sell it to you, then maybe this will…

Dale also really knows how to throw a party. I was down here for the Queen’s Jubilee and it was just brilliant. There are often events for August bank holiday, Halloween and even New Years Eve.

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*Please note that this is not a sponsored most and is 100% based on my own opinions. 

Packing my Suitcase

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

Darling Arthur,

I’m sorry that you won’t remember the wonderfully intimidating Big Sur – the lashing of the waves threatening the canyons below ominous bridges, or the towering gargantuan redwoods watching over us as we slept.

 

I’m sorry that you won’t remember how excited you were to see a blazing campfire for the first time.
I’m sorry that for you, watching the magnificent sun-set though port holes of an old water tower turned café, was no more stimulating than a regular trip out for lunch back home.

 

I’m sorry that we made you walk along yet another trail to see yet another beach.
I’m sorry that your experience of the fantastically daunting drive along this part of the Pacific Coast Highway was somewhat tedious as the laptop battery ran out interrupting Fireman Sam mid episode.
I’m sorry that you wouldn’t have noticed how happy Mummy and Daddy were here – to see the wonder in your eyes as you scrutinised rock pools, to hear your blissful squeals whilst running through waves and your little songs as you danced around our campfire with your torch searching for a real life bear.
How happy we were to have some time together as you and your even more feral little brother lay abnormally peaceful in the RV and we sat under the stars, alongside the trees, wishing we had just one more log to lay on the dying fire.
Perhaps one day we’ll bring you back here – when you’re old enough to appreciate how Big Sur truly is one of the most amazing places on this earth.
Love you more than bookshops,
Mummy xx
P.S Maybe these photographs will stir a little happy memory from your time here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel Monkey