Monday, 3 January 2011

A New Start

Firstly I'd like to thank all of you wonderful people who posted such supportive comments on my last post. The kindness and support of fellow bloggers never ceases to amaze me, I appreciate you one and all.


Tomorrow I begin my new job. As many of you will remember I posted at the end of October that I had been told I would be made redundant at the end of December, but shortly afterwards was given a bit of reprieve in the form of a one term secondment with behaviour support. Well tomorrow the secondment begins, and I have been told that there is unlikely to be anything further for me beyond the end of April, so I still need to re-evaluate what I will do then.

Still I have until the end of April and I am optimistic that new opportunities will present themselves before then. To be honest I have mixed feelings about the secondment and it is actually a relief that it will only last the one term. I will be working in a Key stage 3 Pupil Referral Unit as a classroom teacher. (For those that don't work in education that means I will be teaching pupils aged 11-14 who have been permanently excluded from mainstream school due to their behaviour.) I'm not new to this type of work, indeed this is how I began my teaching career, but that's just it you see - I feel like I'm moving backwards. Over the past 10 years I have striven to gain promotions, firstly becoming a Special Education Needs Coordinator within the Pupil Referral Unit, then securing the post of Head of Learning Support in a mainstream school. Due to the falling rolls in the school however I was first threatened with redundancy back in 2008, but secured a secondment into the local authority in an advisory capacity. This was always due to end in April, but due to government cuts the end for me was brought forward to December. So I am grateful that now I have work till the end of April as I first expected, but realise that I don't want to go back permanently to working in such a stressful environment.

In my last post however I said my word for 2011 was to be freedom, so really this has now given me the freedom to change my life, hopefully for the better. as a Head of Department I was enslaved by my earnings, worried that if I didn't continue to earn that level of salary I wouldn't be able to cope. The early wake up call has made me reassess my finances and how I live and made me realise I am fortunate. I could live on less and so now I have both the opportunity and the freedom to look for a job that will free me to have more time for things I really want to do - cook more, craft more and stop to enjoy the things that really matter.

So I'm beginning as I mean to go on. Making sure I reduce, reuse, recycle and live a more frugal simpler lifestyle that will continue to be sustainable when my salary decreases.

On New Years Day I made some Chilli Tomato Jam from this recipe. I've used it before and we have just ate the last of that batch, so when I got three punnets of organic baby plum tomatoes for only 20p each, I decided to make more.

Then today I decided to make plate mince pie for tea. Now usually I'd just have defrosted the mince and used the whole pack in one pie, but today I fried off a chopped onion, two chopped leeks and a large grated carrot before adding the mince to brown it then adding water, a little gravy browning and some cornflour to make gravy. This enabled me to stretch the mince to make two pies instead of just the one. I baked one which we had with roast new potatoes, carrots and parsnip cooked in the oven at the same time as the pie and froze the second pie uncooked.

I also cooked two sausages in with the vegetables and then chopped them up and added them to a tin of beans which made a filling for pasties to use as packed lunches. These were baked at the same time as I baked a loaf of bread.

Doing things like this isn't a chore for me, I thoroughly enjoy it, with any luck my enforced need to change will ultimately give me the freedom to do more.



  1. Good luck with the changes! I hope you get the freedom to do all the things you want to do.
    I'm just going back to teaching after six months away through illness.While I was at home I had the time to cook properly, and make double batches of meals so one could be frozen.I shopped when we needed things and hardly wasted a thing. I just know things will go back to the bad old days as soon as I get back into the classroom.

  2. Good luck with new job, I hope it goes well and as you say it's only until April, gives you time to find something else. The food looks great, I haven't had pasties in a long time, will maybe have to use some left overs for them soon! :) x

  3. Wishing you all the best for your new start tomorrow.
    That chilli jam looks delicious. xxx

  4. Good luck for tomorrow! I know what you mean about getting used to the earnings, I would so love to make a change and drop some hours and do things I want to do, but I am scared of losing the salary. I also understand your fears of going backwards, but the older I get the more I see that there is a lot to be said for going home with no stress and worries from work, and if that means a lower salary and less elevated job description so be it~ let the other daft buggers stress! I have shunned two propmotions as I just don't want the extra stress, we are only here for a short time and we should enjoy what we can.
    Will be thinking of you tomorrow.
    Kandi x

  5. I hope your first day went well. Please tell us about it xx. Your chutney looks delicious!

  6. The jam looks so delicous, and all the baking, you are much a domesticated goddess. I could only dream of being able to make such wonderful delights xx

  7. A thoughtful post and one that shows life can have the balance. I bulk mince out, it goes twice as far and is more healthy with the extra veg!

  8. I must make some of that Chilli Jam x

  9. Good luck in your new post. I remember when i was made redundant, after the initial shock it was really liberating knowing the world was my oyster again :-) You get stuck in a rut sometimes when your job is good and secure.

    Fab cooking, it will be great using everything to the max and will save you loads of money I am sure :-)

  10. My goodness you have really made my mouth water! Good luck for 2011 - heres to new beginnings love Annie xx

  11. Good luck with the new job, this could be a new and exciting time for you x

  12. Hope your day went well. And best of luck with all your changes and opportunities:)

  13. Keshling Pulls It Off!4 January 2011 at 23:49

    The pie and the pasties look totally delicious! I'm going to steal the sausages/beans combo for my own pasties next week! Good luck with your new start

  14. You enjoy doing it and I thoroughly enjoy reading about it! I must start saving your posts for when I've just eaten though as, yet again, I'm starving from looking at all that delicious food!

    I hope your first day went really well. Sounds like a tough environment to be in.

  15. I hope the job went well yesterday :0)
    I've just popped in to say hello, and read the last post too.
    I'm sorry for the loss of your Dad. 'Specially at a time when everyone else wants to celebrate.
    I lost my Dad 19years ago early in January. I was a Daddy's girl too, and I've found that the sense of loss doesn't go away, it just gets easier to bear :(
    My heart goes out to you.
    Your job obviously isn't helping you much either. i have a lot to do with SENCO as my eldest daughter has a learning disability and uncontrolled epilepsy (seizures every day and night). I do not envy your job at all. I might not get on with my senco all the time, but i do know that she does a fantastic job, under seriously stressful circumstances. We appreciate her 100% and know that if there weren't people like her and you about, our daughter would not be in school.
    Gaining your freedom sounds great, as you say, you have a few months to think about what YOU really want.
    I wish you all the luck in the world with your decision making, and remember, you can still change your mind even after you've made your choice :0)
    Your cooking looks fantastic too.
    Warmest wishes to you and yours :)
    Donna x

  16. Goodness!
    Sorry, i didn't realise I wrote an essay!


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