Friday, 1 June 2012

A word of thanks

It's done!

My masters is researched, articles read and it's finally written. It is now ready to be printed, copied and sent in for submission and marking. Eek! Apart from my other half, my supervisor, the second marker and the external examiner no one will probably ever read it, unless I attempt to turn it into articles for legal journals. Even if this happens no one will ever read page two, acknowledgements. The most important bit. So here is it.


The experience of writing this LL.M. project has been similar to the spinal tap procedure I underwent in 2008. Necessary, stressful, grueling and not a process I wish to repeat in the very near future. Though I have not come out of this experience unscathed I have learnt much about myself and my strengths. Perseverance, determination, hard work and sheer bloody-mindedness. Hopefully I have developed greater research, writing and analytical skills too. I would not have survived at all without the support of a number of people.

Firstly, my project supervisor Simon who provided me with support and guidance. He was always available, prompt in his response and knowledgeable.

Secondly my Twitter followers. Throughout I have tweeted #dissertationwatch, announcing my word count and the percentage of the project completed. They have spurred me on with their support and words of encouragement. This has helped greatly during those difficult stages when I couldn't see the wood for the trees or had writers' block. So thank you tweeps.

Thirdly, my boys Harry and Tom, for putting up with me working in the office a lot. I know that they are too young to really understand why I have been busy but at least now they have their Mummy back.

Finally and most importantly my husband Paul. I really would not have got through it at all without him. I owe him everything. He has ensured, without question, that I have had the time and space to complete this project. He has been there to bounce ideas off, listen to my rants, deal with my dark days, as well as proof read my work even after a long day’s work himself. I am eternally grateful to him. Thank you.

Friday, 30 December 2011


It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? Looking back at the past year, slightly dejectedly. It’s always the same. It feels like I’m standing at that crossroads towards a brave new world whilst turning around, looking back at the year before which quite frankly has been a bit of a letdown. I’ve eaten too much, drank too much, weigh to much, watched too much crap TV, done too little, wasted my time and the small opportunities that came my way, plodded, coasted and generally didn’t get any further forward than the previous year. 

Do you feel like that too? No? Just me then.

I’ve done it so many times before, it’s like a bad habit isn’t it. I’ve made resolutions and written lists of how I’m going to make this next year more fulfilling, more worthwhile and generally better than the previous year or indeed the previous umpteen years. I've told myself that this year is going to be THE year where things change for the better. I’m not talking about my marriage or my children all that's fine and for that I am grateful and thankful. No, I wouldn’t change those things; well maybe I’d change the youngest one and get him to sleep through the night until a more human hour of 7:00am perhaps. No, I’m talking about me personally, me as an individual, not as a wife or mother but just as me. My list normally includes a combination of the following each year.

Be healthy
Start exercising
Learn to run
Loose weight
Drink less
Stop smoking
Sort my career out
Change jobs
Do something enjoyable & worthwhile
Move abroad
Make more money so I can stop working
Be confident
Be assertive
Don’t be a pushover
Say what I mean and take no crap
Be decisive
Be creative
Take photos and make a scrapbook
Keep a diary
Stay calm and relax
Be happy
Live for the moment

I even had the audacity one year to resolve to write a novel. Yes a novel, me the dyslexic. Hilarious! Oh yes I was very enthusiastic about this resolution. I actually wrote about 25,000 words, still have it somewhere. This was going to be the thing that would get me out the shitty job I detested at the time, the job that was making be bloody miserable. This was going to be my “get of out jail card.” Hmmmmmmm, maybe not.

Standing in that space between the old year and the new year, there is always a feeling of positivity, optimism, a clean slate, and a new start. It’s a nice feeling isn’t it? It is comforting to have my list, my plan, my enthusiasm, my hope and my security blanket to start the new year. There is always a will to change things and to live up to my potential, whatever my potential maybe.

My resolution for 2012?

To stop writing stupid bloody lists!

Happy New Year.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish ......

In two days time my bubble bursts and I return to work full time. It has been a lovely existence over the past 15 months with my two boys. I’ve been getting to know Tom and enjoying Harry’s first year at school. It has also given me time to breathe, enjoy people around me and not have to deal with work which had slowly ground me down. Returning to work takes me away from all of this and brings this lovely time to an end. There is also another consequence of my return and that is in relation to my time on Twitter.

I joined Twitter in May 2009 under my real name. I only really used it to follow celebrities,@schofe, @stephenfry and the like. I had about 50 followers and tweeted a couple of times a day but I didn’t interact a great deal with anybody, I think I got a couple of replies from @schofe, nothing more and I couldn’t see the attraction with Twitter.

In October 2009 however I found out I was pregnant for a second time and apart from my husband and one close friend who lives the other side of the country I had no one to talk to. I needed to talk about how I was feeling, especially as I had a bleed and early scan at 6 weeks but as I couldn’t tell anyone I decided to set up a second twitter account, @apregnantpause. My first post announced my pregnancy and showed a picture of my positive pregnancy test.

I never really expected anyone to follow me but during the course of the past 23 months, Twitter has become my friend and I have made friends on Twitter. It has supported me and has kept me company especially during the many long evenings when my husband @MrDaddyFixit has been at work. As Twitter is very transient I always have someone to talk to. There have been the hardcore Twitter people who have been with me from the start, those who have come but now gone and those who have followed since I gave birth to Tom. My evenings could have been very lonely but they haven’t been. I have chatted whilst watching X Factor, Big Brother and other highbrow evening programming about everything, anything and nothing. 

I’ve tweeted my excitement, scan pictures, first baby movements and the size of my bump.

You’ve given me tips, advice and helped me through morning sickness, shared my Braxton Hicks, normally every Thursday (on one occasions in the pasta aisle of Morrisons), my waters braking, which I initially mistook for wetting myself, contractions, baby blues, colic, Tom’s milk allergy and feeding problems as well as Harry’s first day in Reception class at school.

Twitter has made my maternity leave a much more positive experience than it would otherwise have been. Since giving birth to Tom, I have been on a number of tweet-ups. I’ve met 22 people from Twitter to the astonishment and concern of my mother. The first person I met was @somethingblue_2 on the 27th September 2010 at a shopping outlet in Derbyshire. My mum didn’t want me to take Tom with me and I was told under no circumstances was I to leave @somethingblue_2 alone with Tom. I did leave Tom with this person I’d met on the internet whilst I went to the loo and I’m pleased to say that both were still there when I returned. Since then I have met @somethingblue_2 on a number of occasions and had the pleasure of sharing JW’s first birthday.

I’ve been to Tweet-ups in York, Manchester, Lincoln, Huddersfield, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle for coffee, lunch, soft play dates, park picnics, birthday parties and a fantastic pre birthday weekend of shopping and mojitos with @helen71, @seeyouatthebar and @loveitloveitlove.   

 Did I tell you that I met @seeyouatthebar after I stalked her and left an award winning pork pie boxed and wrapped at her Chambers reception? Anyway I digress I am hoping there will be more Tweet-ups in the future, including another evening of mojitos with the Newcastle trio plus some of the lovely southern twitter ladies once @nudieprincess gets her backside back to work and starts earning some money!Tom and I have had a fun and very busy maternity leave, a good job really seeing as my so-called work “friends” have only contacted me on three occasions in 15 months.

I have stayed anonymous throughout my time, even after I told friends and family I was pregnant. I know some people have joked about my identity but I remained in disguise simply because it’s quite liberating being able to talk freely, not worrying that I’m being judged, that someone has preconceived ideas about me or that they may know the people or places I’m talking about. It is quite cathartic. Also as I am a University Lecturer it means that none of my students can find me. Thank god! Even though I have met a number of people from Twitter, all of them have respected my anonymity for which I am grateful and for that I want to say a big thank you.

 Twitter has also helped and supported me through my recent weight loss. I never lost my baby weight after Harry and was carrying over a stone and a half extra and that’s even before I got pregnant with Tom. This combined with my Egg Custard Tart survey meant that by Easter I was at my heaviest at 12 stone 10lb, the top end of a size 16 and a BMI which had just moved from overweigh to obese. With my return to work four months away I was unhappy  with myself and wanted to do something. I have tried in the past to lose some weight but have never been successful and after a twitter conversation with the lovely @kateagreen which spurred me on, I got started using the myfitnesspal app. Over the past four months you’ve put up with my daily food log posts, weekly weigh-ins and have supported me every step of the way. After my weigh in this  week I have reached my target losing 38lb in total and have reached 10 stone. I know that I wouldn’t have managed it without the comments and support of people  on Twitter. Thank you so much for helping me, it really has been appreciated.


So there we are, back to reality. Twitter has been such a big and important part of my life over the past 23 months that I felt I owed an explanation. Don’t panic! I’m not closing my account or retiring completely but my life is changing and as such I have to make adjustments to accommodate everyone and everything. Contrary to popular belief, a few of us in the teaching profession do work long hours, not all but some of us. Prior to getting pregnant with Tom, I normally worked a 50 hour week (not a complaint, merely an observation) and I fully expect that things will go back to that level upon my return; this coupled with the Masters that I am STILL attempting to research and write, plus the increasing pressure from my University to write and publish articles in law journals means that something has to give and for a while that is going to have to be Twitter.  I will still tweet when I can, no doubt about my arse of a boss BUT my tweeting is going to decrease even more than it has done over the past couple of weeks and as a result it is going to be hard to keep up with everybody’s tweets and news. Hopefully this reduced service will only be for a short while so please don’t unfollow  just bear with me, however just for now so long and thanks for all the fish...