what kind of world do we live in?

I got into a bit of trouble at work today and it’s made me really sad. On the one hand, I’m upset because I feel like I’ve let myself down in some way, and on the other hand, I’m even more sad that I got my hand slapped for something so innocent.

I have an Instagram account that I show all my art work on and it’s lots of portraits and landscapes. I’d quite innocently let some of my students know my account details.

I find it horrible that we’re not to do this because of safeguarding. Of course, I blocked those students and changed my account name when I was told it was an issue, but that is sad that we have to worry about something like this.

There must be some terrible people out there for us to have all come to this point. I was totally naive and I think I don’t always appreciate what horrible things go on out there in the world… and I’m glad I don’t to tell you the truth.

Much Love

Rachel xx

lunching on foreign food

fish sushi
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Little gyoza parcels

Dipped in spicy sauce

And curry fragrances

Permeating English air.

The stir fry sizzles

And the sushi rolls are dropped

In tiny dishes

Filled with hot wasabi

Mixed in salty soy sauce

For a perfect war

With something bland

Like egg and chips

Or anything potato based,

Plain, of course,

Except for ketchup dips.

British people have a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to food, and sometimes I think it’s a bit undeserved. Sure, there are Brits who go abroad and order egg and chips for every meal, but a lot of us are quite adventurous.

I like to watch a UK food blogger called Grackle and she eats so many different foods – and it makes me feel so jealous, and hungry.

I live with one of those food phobic Brits who will only eat chips, and so it means I’m limited in where I can go when we go out to eat. It’s only when watching Grackle, I realise how much there is out there and how much there is that I still need to experience.

I might need to go on a few solo restaurant trips just to try some things out!

Much Love

Rachel xx

we will remember them

A little piece I created for Remembrance Day a few years ago.

We will remember those who fell

The ones who signed up for

A world we couldn’t have a chance

Of imagining

Of understanding

Of knowing what

Was over there

On the orange lit horizon that

Is burning with a thousand lives

That wasted in the winter months.

It’s the weekend of Remembrance, and I think that it’s a meaningful period to really spend some time reflecting on mistakes we have made in the past, and thinking about how we should never make them again.

Unfortunately, human nature is such that we are likely to keep repeating these things, and there always seems to be a war or some kind of conflict somewhere in the world. Perhaps one day that will all change.

We had a wreath laying ceremony at our school and it was streamed into all the classrooms on Youtube. I had a goup of twelve year olds and most were respectful, but some were just treating it as a bit of a joke.

I chose to have a conversation with the whole class when the ceremony was over, and rather than scream at the naughty ones, we all talked about why we stop and remain silent for two minutes. I hope that the conversation will stay with some of the ones that didn’t understand.

Hopefully those kids will go out into the world and actively make sure that we don’t have to remain silent for another group of men and women that have to lay down their lives for the ego of a leader.

Much Love

Rachel xx

giving the other side a voice

woman placing her finger between her lips
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Some are silenced with a static sound

A snow screen for the ears to blank

The pain that needs to rush out in

An angry torrent to be heard

By a world that when we face the facts

Doesn’t listen to

Our whispered female voices.

I randomly picked a book by Rebecca Humphries called Why Did You Stay? I’m listening to it on Audible and I thought it would be interesting because it was about the Seann Walsh and Katya Jones scandal from the side of the jilted girlfriend.

For those who don’t know what this is, it was a very public relationship breakdown that happened because a celebrity and a pro dancer on Strictly Come Dancing were caught having an affair.

It blew up because the girlfriend of the celebrity released a statement that went viral, and now she has written a book. I wanted to listen to it because I’ve been cheated on, I understand that feeling of betrayal, and I have a bit of a sick need to hear from other people who have also been through it.

However, since selecting and starting that book, the boyfriend has appeared on I’m A Celebrity and we are hearing his side as he tells his campmates about it. I feel like I’m a child caught between two arguing parents as I watch him and then listen to her on my nightly runs.

I know that I shouldn’t really take sides but Rebecca seems so much more articulate (and innocent in the whole matter), so I am on Team Humphries. But it has made me realise how important it seems to be for people to scramble to tell their side of a story when something bad happens.

Someone once told me that whenever there is a falling out, there are three truths: one for each side and then the REAL truth. And that perfectly hits the nail on the head; we all bend the truth a bit, even if we don’t realise we’re doing it.

I just wish that Rebecca had a greater platform to share her story from. He cheated on her and yet he gets to go on one of the biggest TV shows to win over the public, while the jilted woman just gets a spot on one of the back tables in the local Waterstones.

Sounds about right.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the workplace bully

light room with table and chairs near whiteboard
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He wants to show his prominence

And throwing useless weight around

Seems to be the way to have

An iron grip on those below.

He gossips all about their faults,

The drinking problems, gambling

And who got off with who

At the Christmas party.

Stay away from him, or get involved

At your peril if you have

A heart as hard as stone.

The big story in the UK today is the rehiring of Gavin Williamson to the Cabinet.He has a lot of haters after he made a few clangers as the Education Minister and so I thought he was pretty brave in stepping up to the plate again.

But now, there have been allegations that he was bullying staff members last time he was in the Cabinet. He appears to have sent some pretty vile text messages to people and about people and it has come back to bite him on the bum.

And I’m sure that the stories that are being reported are bringing up horrible memories for lots of people – as there are a lot of people out there who have experienced that kind of behaviour before.

Most people will have experienced bullying in the workplace, and the bullies can do what they do without having any idea what kind of havoc they are playing on people’s lives. I got caught up in some nastiness and it led to a complete mental health crisis. I was paid off and that was the last those people probably ever thought of me.

However, good always comes out of the bad, even if you can’t see it when you are in the thick of it. I got sober out of that whole situation and so I could say that something that seemed very dangerous, actually, saved my life.

If you are stuck in a horrible work situation don’t battle on; get out and let the bullies eat each other alive. And remember that your outlook on what is happening will change over time. Things will turn good.

Much Love

Rachel xx

sleepless in seattle – part two

buildings with lights at nighttime
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The lift door closes as they stand

Smiling, hand in hand

And then they make it

To the frosty New York street

And find a coffee shop

Talking over life and love

They meet again in just a week

And married in a month

They have a kid

Almost get divorced

And Jonah tells them that they need

To remember how they met

The romance that could make

A movie plot, and so they kiss

And age together in a wedded bliss.

I just watched Sleepless in Seattle for like the millionth time. But in all fairness, I hadn’t watched it in quite a few years, and I had almost forgotten just how much I love it.

I know we got a second movie with the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks combo in the shape of You’ve Got Mail, but we never got a real sequel to follow on from the moment when the lift doors closed on Sam, Jonah and Annie. Did Annie move to Seattle? Did they get married? Are they still together? And what happened to Walter?

I do believe that now is the time to start a petition to get the Hollywood movie execs to think about a follow up. Who’s with me? Who do we get in touch with to make this happen?

Much Love

Rachel xx

the bookbinder

assorted books
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She tears and glues and cuts

Through cardboard covers

And the silky fabric sleeves,

Waiting for the press the set

The pages into perfect books

To sit on shelves in libraries for

The people of the bookish world.

I love watching videos of people rebinding books. And because I love beautiful books I like to see what they cover their creations with; the finished products are always stunning and they make me want to have a go myself.

There is something quite magical about a book that has been bound in a beautiful fabric and I would die to have a collection of notebooks all bound by myself in the prettiest designs.

Bookbinders fall into the same category as hatmakers for me. They seem a little bit mystical and a little bit mad – but totally genius. It’s an artform that seems to be dying and I can’t understand why. There are so many people that adore stationery, so why aren’t their more bookbinders?

Much Love

Rachel xx

The ghouls

what are you reading right now?

A little bit of book reviewing this evening. I’ve been lucky enough to read some cracking books of late so I thought it was time to share a few.

My first was Jeanette McCurdey’s memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died. This was such a sad and shocking read. I’m always super interested in the lives of child stars, and I feel really sad for the ones that go off the rails. I even find the psychology behind child stardom fascinating. And so this was a real eye opener as we saw what can really happen when children are pushed into the spotlight.

Keeping with the memoir, I then read Richard E Grant’s book A Pocketful of Happiness, all about the grief he has experienced since the death of his wife last year. He doesn’t hold back in this book and because it is narrated by him, you can actually hear his voice cracking as he talks about the moment he lost the love of his life.

Next up was Carrie Soto is Back which I devoured. I have a real love of stories about athletes and this one about a tennis star didn’t fail to impress.

I’m now on to a book called The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict. It is about an actress who somehow becomes tangled up with the Nazis before fleeing and then becoming a Hollywood star – and it’s a true story.

I’d love to hear if anyone is reading anything good that I should give a try. Have a fabulous weekend.

Much Love

Rachel xx

the day that twitter went poof

red blue and yellow textile
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It all came crashing down

That Friday afternoon

When everyone began to panic

Thinking that the worst was coming

Social media was finally ending

The bubble burst

As all our lives begin to fade

Into the world away from webs

A place were people live in peace

No need to share our meals each day

For acquaintances who have no say.

I don’t really know what is going on with Twitter, aside from the fact that lots of people have been laid off. But scanning social media, I have seen people sharing all of their other details so that they don’t lose their Twitter friends ‘should the worst happen’.

I had to smile reading the Tweets, and seeing them a little like messages being put into a bottle and cast out to see. They are saying that the world is ending but I’m still here, don’t forget me.

Can you imagine if this is the end of the world as we know it? I won’t know what Karen from two doors down did at Crossfit this evening? I won’t know what Tim from work ate for breakfast, lunch and dinner? How will we all survive?

I do feel terrible for the people who have lost their job with no warning; and in this economic climate, it can’t be happening at a worse time. I really hope things start looking up soon.

<uch Love

Rachel xx

writing a truly unusual book

opened book on tree root
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I was having a discussion with a colleague today and we got onto the topic of truly unusual books. Rather than books that just have a really different and original premise, we were talking about books that take on a whole new format that has never been done before.

My colleague is much younger than I am and she has only just finished her masters degree, so she has actually been studying this and has loads of interesting ideas that she has researched. I can barely get on board with a Kindle so some of these wacky ideas are a bit much for me, but some were really interesting.

We began by talking about The Appeal by Janice Hallett which I am actually really keen to read. This is a mystery novel that is made up entirely of emails, articles, reports and evidence and the reader pieces together the events to solve the mystery.

Then we really broke out the crazy and she told me about thise woman who wrote a whole book in the snow and took photos and posted them on Instagram. Obviously, once the snow melted, the only record of the story is the photographs.

My colleague then told me about the story she created for her final project at university and I have asked her to bring it in so I can read it because it sounds so cool.

Basically, she created a box full of random items that were actually all connected by her story. To access the story you had to scan the QR code on each of the items and then you could read the individual parts of the story online.

She’s lost the box but she still has the QR codes so she is going to let me have them and then I can read the mystery. And she’s kind of inspired me to have a go at writing something that is not traditional too.

Much Love

Rachel xx