Monday, June 24, 2013

This Week: 24th June

The weather ... where is summer? I'm tired of being cold. When the sun comes out it is nice enough, but as soon as it disappears it gets chilly again. Really it feels more like early May than late June. I took the two younger girls to a nearby kids farm yesterday. I wore a long sleeved t-shirt, a thin sweater and a weatherproof coat. And I was shivering.

I am wearing ... black jeans, long sleeved burgundy t-shirt, long cream cardigan, black studded ballerina shoes, black and silver heart-shaped glass bead pendant

I am reading ... just finished The Reluctant Yogi (I'm on a yoga kick!). Not sure what to start next.

I am creating ... still the same pair of socks. I never knit much in the summer.

I am listening ... to silence! Can hear birds and traffic faintly outside the window.

I am watching ... really I just don't watch much of anything. I have downloaded the first episode of The White Queen (historical drama series about Elizabeth Woodville, the wife of King Edward IV) but haven't watched it yet.

I am enjoying ... pink toenails. Even if it is too cold to want to wear sandals.

From the learning rooms ... Rose went on her first ever school trip last week, to the Roald Dahl Museum at Great Missenden. She was very anxious beforehand as she was worried she would somehow get lost. I eventually realised she was picturing somewhere gigantic like the Science Museum in London. The Roald Dahl Museum is rather smaller scale! In the event she had a good time and - surprise, surprise - did NOT get lost!

On the menu ...
Monday: whatever Tevye can find in the freezer as I have to work late
Tuesday: fish and chips
Wednesday: mango and lime chicken kebabs
Thursday: pasta with tomato sauce and meatballs
Friday: savoury bean pot (beans cooked with apple and carrot)
Saturday: ???
Sunday: roast chicken

On the calendar ... a pretty quiet week with not much out of the ordinary. Unusually I have to work on Sunday, leading a guided walk around three villages (the walk my colleague tested out a few weeks ago)

A picture from last week ... Rose at the farm

Thursday, June 20, 2013

And So To Work!

Helen has been offered a job! Or more accurately, an apprenticeship. In the UK most 18 year olds with the right qualifications move on to university, but faced with the prospect of repaying student loans for the next 30 years a growing number are choosing to go straight into work. In Helen's case the financial considerations were only a part of her decision not to go to uni. She prefers working to studying and is ready to get started on a career now.

The UK has a system of apprenticeships which allow companies to take on an apprentice at a (usually) nominal salary in return for providing training. Initially I think apprenticeships tended to be in more practical fields and geared to youngsters leaving school at 16. Now there seem to be a growing number of advanced apprenticeships and apprenticeships intended to lead into professional careers. The government has also put some money into promoting the provision of apprenticeships in areas where they think there are likely to be skill shortages.

The apprenticeship Helen has been offered is in digital marketing and is part of one of these schemes. A large technology firm has its own apprenticeship and training arm which has expanded to provide a number of digital marketing apprenticeships in partnership with other companies. The training organisation selects the apprentices, gives them initial training, and then places them in a partner company for a year. The apprentice is employed during that year by the partner, but is supported and mentored by the training company and spends one day a week there to study for a digital marketing qualification. The expectation is that at the end of their training apprentices will either be offered a job by their employer, or will be helped to find a suitable permanent job (or even to set up their own business) by the training company.

Getting a place on the scheme wasn't easy. They get a lot of applicants and Helen had to get through a phone interview and a three hour assessment which included group exercises, an individual interview and a demonstration of digital / media related work she has done. She loved the set up, said the people were all really nice - interviewers, existing apprentices and other applicants - and came home very much hoping they would take her, so she is hugely excited to have been offered the opportunity. The next step is to meet with prospective employers and get her work placement arranged. The aim is to match apprentices with companies that will be a good match for their particular skills. She has been told that she will get interviews with two or three, and that the process will be as much about deciding if they are right for her as the other way round. She will be working in London, and because she has to travel in from outside London they will try to put her with a company that is conveniently located for commuting

So all in all, VERY exciting times! We are very hopeful that it will be a good choice for her and that she will enjoy working in a fast paced, cutting edge media-techie field. I have to admit though, that the prospect of seeing my daughter heading off to commute to an office in London makes me feel very old!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

I promised some pictures from Rose's birthday, then realised that I can't post most of them as they show other people's children! She chose to go to Build-a-Bear with five school friends (the minimum number for their parties), then come home for a teddy bears' picnic - though in fact none of them chose bears and it was a monkey / dog / rabbit picnic!

Contemplating her options in Claires (she had a voucher to spend)

"I promise to look after my bear (or monkey) ..."

Monkey boxed and ready to go

Picnic time

Birthday cake - baked by me, decorated by Marie

Location:Rose's Birthday

Monday, June 10, 2013

This Week: 10th June

The weather ... Lovely when the sun comes out, chilly when it doesn't. Feels more like early May than June.

I am wearing ... black and white pyjamas.

I am reading ... nothing at the moment. I have lots stacked up to read when I come out he other end of studying records management (groan)

I am creating ... still the same pair of socks, slowly

I am listening ... a CD called Music of the Crusades, recommended by a friend. I'm on a medieval kick at the moment (generally, not just musically).

I am watching ... a short BBC series about imperial women of Rome (wives, daughters and sisters of emperors). Fascinating.

I am enjoying ... feeling well again after shaking off the after effects f the chest infection. Still coughing a bit but otherwise feeling good.

From the learning rooms ... Helen's exams are done and she has officially finished school. Marie has finished science exams but a maths tomorrow and Friday.

On the menu ...
Monday: chicken, mashed sweet potato, braised leeks
Tuesday: fish and chips
Wednesday: chicken thighs and veggies
Thursday: stir fry (assuming Helen us home as it is a favourite of hers)
Friday: vegetarian chilli
Saturday: wait and see! Maybe burgers?
Sunday: roast lamb

On the calendar ...
Tuesday: spending most of the day at an education and culture xhibition, promoting the archive's educational services; Helen has a job interview in London; maths exam for Marie
Friday: maths exam for Marie
Saturday: playing at a village fete with the band
Sunday: band again, playing at the band stand in the park in town

A picture from last week ... It was Rose's 7th birthday last Saturday, but I think I'll put pictures into another post. This one was taken by Tevye when I got jumped on by daughters last week.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Picture Edition

1. The view from my Kindle at the lakeside park on Monday.

2. The moment before a certain daughter realised her tongue had frozen to the ice lolly.

3. On the inflatable slide

4. Landing!

5. Two bookworms

6. The kitchen on Tuesday morning. Wall colour very pale green (I named this paint colour "anaemic willow", though I'm sure Dulux had a more appealing name when we chose it!)

7. The kitchen on Wednesday afternoon. Wall colour "vanilla sundae".