Wednesday, 31 August 2016

24 Clutch Bags to Fall In Love With

From novelty to sophisticated, I BLOODY LOVE CLUTCH BAGS! I have far too many clutches already that I've collected over the years, and struggle to part with them! I've rounded up my favourite clutches from a range of brands from high street to designer!

Kate Spade; my go to for all things clutch bag. Each season, I always end up scouring the Kate Spade site, searching for a gorgeous new design. I've loved last seasons floral & nature theme with watering can clutches a plenty! From the current stock, my ultimate favourite must have has to be the mix tape clutch bag (it will be mine soon!). They've just launched some Minnie mouse themed goods, and the glitter clutch is beautiful and would make for a stunning ootd in Paris! The Perfect Match & i+u clutch are part of the wedding belles collection; I'm thinking alternative bouquets for bridesmaids here! The tiki bar is perfect for the end of summer & the kitty cat would be perfect for a halloween-inspired outfit/everyday chic. 

Skinny Dip is pure novelty gold with a  load of sass added in. My first love was the coveted milk bottle bag, followed by the orange juice carton. The bee clutch is one of my favourites, even though I'm not the biggest fan of box clutches! The lobster caviar is a stand out for me as it is so unusual, bright & colourful! 

New Look when I was searching New Look for clutches I liked, I ended up bookmarking loads... there are so many clutches available on New Look all for a bargain price! As you may notice, I loved a bit of leopard print during my search, alongside some gatsby-esque inspired pieces.  

Selfridges have such a fantastic variety of high end clutches. I love glitter, and I appreciate winter seasons so much more than summer due to the acceptance of all the glitter! The First Aid clutch, really stood out to me as a statement piece as well as being a Boss Lady with the speech clutch #girlboss ! I also loved the YSL Black Glitter clutch, as a day or night time bag. 

Mini Year 1 Book Haul

The other day, I tweeted my shopping addiction - I honestly cannot help buying things I think my class will like whilst out and about. I brought these three books from The Works on offer for 3 for £5. Count to 10 with a Mouse caught my eye first, because counting is one of my first maths lessons planned for the year - I thought linking a text with maths will be a nice starter to a lesson and be an easy settling starter. Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush is a nursery rhyme book filled with classic rhymes - I brought this as I love singing in class, and as part of my timetable, have scheduled two 10 minute music sessions, so nursery rhymes would be a good filler for this! Finally, Dogs Don't Do Ballet was a bit of an impulse pick, as I love a silly story and as I was reading, I was hooked, so I knew this would be a funny read for my class!

What stories do you love reading to your class?


Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Roald Dahl Dream Jar Trail

I was really late to the party discovering there was a BFG Dream Jar Trail happening in London. I absolutely love the trails around London - it started when I spotted Cath Kidston buses one year, then finding Paddington's all around town. Luckily, with a last minute research, I spent an afternoon in London scouting out some of the gorgeous dream jars. The trail runs from the 9th July to the 31st August - so you will have to be quick if you want to find them! The jars are designed by celebrities and artists reflecting their dreams, and are being auctioned to raise money for Save the Children and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children Charity. Here are some of the jars I found on my trail... 


Becoming by Laura Jane Williams

"What I hope they say about me, in the future, when maybe I’m not around anymore, is that yes, I had enviably long eyelashes. But also, I want them to say,
"Hell. She went balls-to-the-mother-lovin'-wall on life, huh?" 

I've been reading Laura's blog for as long as I can remember, and I am a huge fan of her writing from her about page quoted above to the now two books I've read by her and absolutely loved

I remember when this post, 'Would You Like to Be My Literary Agent' was posted on her blog, and her description 'Set across Paris, Rome, Detroit and.... Derby, it’s Eat, Pray, Love meets Wild in a post-Lena Dunham world' was enough to have me wishing to click pre-order on the then titled 'My Vagina's Monologues' ... I am actually glad that it's not called that as I love the title and the #thisismybecoming hashtag! After reading The Book of Brave in one sitting and feeling inspired, as soon as the book was announced, I was quick to pre-order, and await June's release & signed up to the newsletter getting snippets of information, and getting more and more excited for Amazon to deliver especially after seeing the book launch party on Instagram & then reading about it on Superlatively Rude

What I respect so much about Laura's writing is how honest it is. Posts such as This is How Much Money I MakeSome People Try to Keep Us Small Just Like Them & The Letter show the raw truths of her writing. The most loved post for me that I have bookmarked and re-read over the years is A Note About Being Strong and Sexy but now is followed by the most recent My Home ; I remember reading the first post, and being wholly inspired to build a strong body and shift pounds and at the same time her most recent post, made me realise it's okay to survive, especially when everyone has their own shit going on in the world ... I've stopped beating myself up about not losing as much weight as I'd of hoped over the past few years and started focusing on what I actually have achieved health & weight-wise in that time (I'm looking at the Shine marathon, and not going past the biggest size I've ever been again which I vowed not to do!). 

I follow Laura across social media and through her writing and I find her to be an absolute inspiration. I feel if you are 18-30 you need to be reading Laura's writing. I wish when I was 18, I had discovered Laura's writing in my life, especially when I thought I was majorly effin things up in my life. 

Becoming is a memoir beginning with the man who Laura thought she would marry left and married her best friend and exploring Laura's journey from then on. Life takes many turns, and includes a year long vow of celibacy and travels from Italy to America. Everyone has their own stories when it comes to love and heartbreak and this story really had me thinking about elements of my past; I could resonate with so many parts of the story from saying to myself 'whatthefuckisallthisfor?' and falling in love too hard, too fast, too young. I would definitely sit there on certain dates, and imagine what life is like for people in that moment, imagining/torturing myself with the details of other people's happiness. And given the right situation I would fly across world to tell someone I loved them too. 

The book itself took two and a half months for me to read which rarely happens as normally I will rush-read a book, skipping lines & wanting to get to the end. This book was different. I read at most two chapters at a time, making sure that I was actually reading and taking in the words on the page. I would read at my parents on the sofa, in bed with my dog and on journeys. I was telling my work colleagues how I was reading a book that was changing my life. I sat and sifted through my 'One Line a Day' journal over the past few months, and I spotted that I often wrote about what I was reading, the impact it was having on me alongside some own personal truths the writing was making me realise. 

I loved reading chapters, and spotting elements that I followed alongside Laura's blog writing and trying to link the two together (I may have been well off with some points though!). I loved the different formats from flashbacks to flash forwards, e-mails and documentation of Laura's own thoughts. When I got to the end of the book, alongside nearly crying at the acknowledgements and the beautiful thank you's written, I had a brief 'oh shit, what will I read now?' moment, like when you reach the end of an addictive series on Netflix! 

Post - finishing the book, I've found a love of writing for myself, and have started documenting stories for myself, in a way that I used to when I was a care-free eight year old wanting to write short stories. I've also finally conquered some inner demons, and let go of a crap load of guilt that I was carrying on my shoulders for the past five years and feel content with being who I am, and having my own becoming. The book, sits at the top of a stack of my favourite reads on my shelf in my living room, and every day when I notice the hot pink spine on the shelf, it gives me a little boost - Marie Kondo definitely got it right by saying display objects in your home that you love and that inspire you! 

Next step; I'm currently into podcasts, and so I need to complete listening to The Becoming Podcast - I started with episode 5, and probably should've started in order but hey ho & continue watching some Superlatively Wonderful Youtube videos on Wonderful You's channel ... which is quite an unusual to do from me, who rarely sticks with watching on Youtube! Oh & I really really hope that there is a book #2 coming up! 

If you haven't read this book yet, I suggest you do as it worth every word on every page. Thank you so much Laura for pretty much changing my outlook & life in so many ways and are such a brilliant influence and role model. I can't wait to see what is next to come! 

Find out more about the book on Laura's site here

Other favourite posts from Superlatively Rude; 
How it feels to build a life of your dreams
That time I was naked in a field and posted the photos on the internet

Monday, 29 August 2016

What's Behind the Door? Display

My 'What's Behind the Door?' display from last year (not sure if you can tell it was Term 2 from the christmas tree!). I loved this display - I wish I'd taken more photos. The brown paper was the door which folded in to look like a plain wooden door then you opened the door to find the characters inside with extracts from the book, and children's work. The children loved this display so much so that they'd begin knocking on the display door (which did lead on to another classroom #whoops!). 
There were photos, children's work under 'What a Good One Looks Like' and what is being hidden by the door is the Word of the Week and Beegu Communicate in Print Word Mat. 


August Bank Holiday Weekend 2016

Thursday was #NationalBurgerDay so whilst I had dinner sorted, it soon changed after seeing everyone's mouthwatering snaps. I opted for a Linda McCartney Veggie Mozzarella 1/2 Burger with candied bacon, chorizo, melted cheese and sautéed onions with rosemary chips - it gave me serious #foodcoma .

Friday included:
♥ McDonalds breakfast at Victoria station, pre Roald Dahl day visiting.
♥ Visiting the Roald Dahl Museum & Story centre in Great Missenden.
♥ & walking the countryside trail which was beautiful.
♥ Going to Costa - ordering an iced latte, which is not the same as a Starbucks Coffee Frappuchino, luckily Brad had ordered a Green Tea & Mint ice cooler which we shared and...
♥ Whilst walking the #BFGDreamJar trail back in London I got my Starbucks Coffee Frap!
♥  During the journeys, I finished reading Hector and the Search for Time finally after starting it months ago!
♥ Catching Pokemon at Trafalgar Square (looking at you Dragonair!)
♥ Finding a Stylist magazine after years of not reading it due to not being at London uni.

Saturday was watching the football, picking a Fantasy Football Dream Team to have my main player sent off pretty sharpish (whoops!). Drinking Mint Juleps, and baking proper cheesecake (too much cheesecake)! Then drinking wine (too much wine!), watching X Factor (I love Honey G & Yes Lad!) & Dinner Date.

Sunday was spent lounging in the pool, chilling on my giant donut (we have now decided we need more inflatables!) and having dinner al fresco using the Andrew James Hot Plate I brought my Dad for Father's Day. Playing the A to Z game, and being ridiculous with the answers.

Monday included afternoon naps,  walks around the village, having an afternoon BBQ,  watching The Body Coach and half talking myself into building muscles & lifting weights!

Sunday, 28 August 2016

BFG Roald Dahl Dream Jar Trail

If you follow me over on Instagram, you may have noticed that Friday was a bit of a Roald Dahl Fest day! I was really late to the party discovering there was a BFG Dream Jar Trail happening in London. I absolutely love the trails around London - it started when I spotted Cath Kidston buses one year, then finding Paddington's all around town. Luckily, with a last minute research, I spent an afternoon in London scouting out some of the gorgeous dream jars. The trail runs from the 9th July to the 31st August - so you will have to be quick if you want to find them! The jars are designed by celebrities and artists reflecting their dreams, and are being auctioned to raise money for Save the Children and Roald Dahl's Marvellous Children Charity. Above is a snapshot of the jars I found on my trail - full sized photos can be found on my teaching blog here.

Wildflower HQ -  Twitter, PinterestInstagramTumblr & Snapchat - wildflowerhq

Saturday, 27 August 2016

A Trip to Great Missenden

Yesterday I spent a gorgeous day travelling to Great Missenden to visit the Roald Dahl museum for some content over on my education blog, Little Miss Cursive. We started by visiting the story centre which was so lovely. My favourite part was standing in Roald Dahl's actual writing shed, which is still in its original place. Then we went onto the Countryside Trail; the weather was lovely and it was a lovely trip to take and get inspired ready for the upcoming Ronald Dahl Day. 

Mistakes I Made in My First Classroom Set Up

These photographs were taken last year when a newly qualified teacher went to set up her first classroom!
I thought today I'd compile a list of the mistakes I made as a mini reflection, maybe may help some people or give you ideas. By all means, I am not saying this classroom was awful because actually a lot of the initial displays I put up stayed all year round and worked fabulously. Others however were changed rather sharpish-ly! And what may or may not have worked for me, could have an opposite effect for you.
  1. Laminating too much ; throughout the year I found a love of working walls, and by January I stopped laminating altogether for displays. 
  2. Too many words and writing on a wall ; I'm looking at that absolutely hideous word wall I made. I honestly thought it was going to be the next best thing, but it was taken down within a few weeks as the children barely acknowledged it! 
  3. The 100 Square ; I love the 100 square resource shown, but sticking it on the wall where it was unaccessible was no good. Unfortunately I didn't have a board by the front of the room to have it on so it went in a drawer for the year. In my new class there is one on the back of an easily movable board at the front of the room! 
  4. Keeping displays because the last teacher had it ; the construction site wall was there when I got there, and for thinking that I should keep it as it was last year for Year 1, I left it for a term and it was unused, as continuous provision actually didn't work for my class. If you don't like it, don't keep it! 
  5. Not having children's work up ; the easiest way to get a working wall going is to use transition and the term before the next term to get your working wall started. I used to let the children paint and design lettering for displays during golden time the term before we were due to start the next topic - this worked especially well with Animals, where the children drew animals inside each letter! For Transition my All About Me sheets I have backed on coloured paper and am hanging them on a washing line so the children recognise some work the moment they step in the classroom for their new year. I know it's not possible for all teachers, but I would say if you have a way of getting some work pre-start of the year madness, then do it! 
  6. Lack of independent challenges; One thing I grew to love last year was having independent challenges ready made for each topic. Twinkl have brilliant challenge cards covering so many areas of the curriculum across year groups or you could make your own! I used these focus boards at the beginning of the year, and typed a question on challenge onto A4 paper - later during the first term, I stapled an A4 plastic wallet to the wall and slid in a new challenge each week based on what we were learning (I made one for Literacy/Topic, Maths and Phonics) - challenges I got the children to write answers and their name on post it notes and stick to the wall - it was a simple easy way to create a working wall or extend the children and give them an extension if they'd finished all their work. 
And I think that's it? I'm sure I'll press publish on this and then think of loads more points I could've made! I'd love to know if you had any first classroom set up mistakes or even your most recent mistake? 


Friday, 26 August 2016

A Roald Dahl VCOP Display set for #RoaldDahlDay

It just over two week's time, Roald Dahl day will be upon us; 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl!  
One of my biggest projects pre-NQT year was creating my VCOP display. I am a fan of VCOP, and I love lots of resources created by organisations or shared on TES. When I was in Year 5 volunteering years before training, I remember the teacher I was with religiously using punctuation pyramids and they actually made a positive difference, and from this I firmly believe if whole schools adopted using similar resources and transitioned these from Year R to 6 they'd make a positive difference!

I remember though my only issue with VCOP is how straight forward it is - a full stop is a full stop, and connectives (now conjunctions!) are what they are - there was nothing personal about them! Roald Dahl is one of my favourite authors, and I knew I wanted to create a display that linked to this!

When I found out my NQT would be in Year 1 - I nearly scrapped this idea. I'm so glad I didn't! This display was on my wall from September to July, and was used by every child at some point through the year - my higher ability children especially used the more Year 2 based vocabulary and even moved them onto speech marks!

I made this display, alongside punctuation pyramids with correlating sections, and labels with LOs. The pyramids I loved, and had them out on the tables as much as possible. The only regret last year, was not reading more Roald Dahl with my class - we started James and the Giant Peach but then it got lost at the back of a shelf! Luckily this year, George's Marvellous Medicine is our first key text so I'm sure I'll be reading more Roald Dahl this year in class!

I'd love to know any thoughts on this display - have you seen any fabulous contextual displays? This year I'm looking to re-vamp my Maths working wall display!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Van Gogh - Sunflowers Year 1 Art

Late in the summer term, my class got arty. It all started with Van Gogh. On a whim to incorporate art and nature into Science week, I showed the class Van Gogh's paintings. I froze his famous sunflowers painting on the board and let the class go with watercolour pencils. And this was the result! It made me realise, sometimes you do not need to provide step by step instructions as children will use their own creativity to create something fabulous. We repeated with some other artists (The Scream painting was popular!) to finish the school year, and next year I'll definitely be using famous art pieces more!

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