Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Time for Tea... Or Espresso?

I'm a little late to the lovely Abi's monthly tea party, but I've been reading all of your tea stories and I said I'd join in anyway! Pop on over to Abi's home on the web to share a virtual cuppa with bloggers from all over the world.

Anyway, hello, come on in through the door, the kettle is on the boil - as it pretty much always is in our house! I'm so delighted you've decided to pop by for a chat and a catch up, it has been too long. Please do excuse the mess though, I just returned from a fabulous week of holidays in Italy with my family, and I'm still in the process of unpacking. So, would you like tea or coffee? To tell you the truth, I never used to be a coffee fan - I loved the strong, heady smell of freshly ground coffee beans, but found the taste acrid and bitter. However, my experience on a school staff of obsessive coffee drinkers this year has definitely converted me! I may be becoming a bit of a connoisseur (read: addict) at this stage...so much so, I even hit the hard stuff when we were in Italia, the home of good coffee, yes, I drank espresso. And lots of it, along with several creamy cappuccinos and lattes. I'm seriously tempted to get a coffee machine now that I'm home and the instant stuff isn't cutting it anymore! One thing Italy doesn't have going for it is the tea though. I was literally gasping for proper Irish tea when I got home, with just a small splash of milk and never any sugar (because I'm sweet enough already). It's the prefect accompaniment to everything and the answer to every problem! What are your coffee/tea preferences? Whatever you fancy, pour yourself a cup or three and make yourself comfortable. And go on, you know you want a scone, Mum just made them this morning!

So what's going on in your world since we chatted last? I've been busy, but it's been fantastic to be on holidays and get a bit of a break at last. I turned 21 earlier this month, and had a party in my local pub with some family and friends. It was fantastic to get together with some people that I hadn't seen in almost a year, and to get together with friends from secondary school and university, along with cousins and family. We danced and sang and did the Limbo and 'rocked the boat' and just had such a lovely time. I'll have to tell you all about it again sometime, and I promise I'll show you the photos too! And then of course, I was in stunning Sorrento on the coast of Italy with my parents and sister for the last week. It was just bliss...scorching sunshine, azure blue cloudless skies, breathtaking scenery, quaint dimly lit streets, tangy golden lemons, fascinating history and culture, sparkling turquoise waters, crisp cheesy pizza... I could go on! Have you ever been? Or are you going on holidays anywhere this year? I think it's really lovely to get a break if you can, see somewhere different, even take a day trip to get a change of scenery and a break away from reality.

Speaking of reality, now that I'm back in the Emerald Isle, I have to face just that, and the painful task that is applying for jobs once again. Sadly, the job that I was in for most of last year was only a temporary contract, so it's back to job hunting for September. I hate the uncertainty of not knowing where I'm going to be or what I'll be doing for the next academic year. It's scary and stressful, but I'm trying to trust that what's right for me will come along and not get too worried as I send in applications with crossed fingers! How is work for you at the moment? Have you ever experienced the disheartening task of sending applications and CVs to no avail? Anyway, sorry, I promise that's my rant over for today!

Another scone? More tea? Some Milka chocolate from the airport perhaps? Go on, you know you want to! I'll make another pot of tea, why not? It is the summer holidays after all. Though you wouldn't know it to look out the window here at the moment! It's been showery since I got back from sunny Italy yesterday, but I guess I can't complain. We enjoyed a glorious three weeks of sunshine here in Ireland before I went on holidays, and when I say sunshine, I mean PROPER sunshine. The kind of sunshine in which you simply cannot wear jeans (though you still see some people in their skinnies when the temperature is above 30 degrees, what's that all about?!) and need to slap on bottles of sticky suncream and can sit out in a little sundress at night and still feel warm. The kind of sunshine that demands you drink endless litres of water and slurp ice-cream constantly to cool you down. The kind of sunshine we hadn't had in a LONG time in Ireland! But of course, there are some people who aren't happy unless they're complaining, so no sooner than the sun had peeked through the clouds, people could be heard, "wouldn't you just kill for a drop of rain?!" Not me! Sun is all good, I'll take some more thank you very much! So what's the weather been like where you are at the moment?

It's been just so lovely to meet up for tea again after so long. I do love catching up with friends, and what better way than over a hot beverage and some baked goods. I can't wait to do it again soon. And now that I'm back from holidays, I truly hope that more regular blogging service can be resumed! I have lots to talk about (don't I always!) and loads to share.

Thanks again for joining me (and Abi) today...even if I am a little late!

Sinéad xxx

Monday, 1 July 2013

Back West

Oh my goodness...it has been a while. Ok, it's been more than a while! But things have been busy, and I'll admit that the longer I went without blogging, the harder it got to sit down and write a post. However, the summer holidays are now here and school's out for a few weeks, so the time for procrastination is over at last!

I spent the last eight months teaching in a rural two teacher school on the west coast of Ireland. Now sometimes when people refer to the 'west of Ireland', they are alluding to the general area beyond the midlands remotely near the coast. So when I say I was teaching 'back west', I really mean west...so west, in fact, that the adorable local pub was advertised with the tagline: 'Closest Bar to New York'! (As the crow flies, of course!) The little village I lived and worked in is located close to Loop Head, on the very tip of Co. Clare, the part of Ireland that juts erratically into the Atlantic Ocean. What a setting!
So while the setting of my first job was slightly isolated for a young 20-year-old teacher, I can't deny I loved living by the sea, seeing the wild crashing waves and the stunning sunsets, marvelling at the breathtaking scenery, and taking lots of photos along the way of course! Have I convinced you to visit yet?! The Loop Head peninsula was actually recently named as the best place to holiday in Ireland - I'd totally be your tour guide if you came to visit!

It's been some year - expect lots of school stories in the next few weeks!