She is basically a hardcore homesteader – she wants to have some bread, so she grows her own grain, harvests it, mills it into flour before baking it into a beautiful loaf that she eats all by herself.
As a parable in the the world of finance, I assume she would end up with an excess of bread, sell it to the other animals in the story, re-invest the funds into her business and basically take over the ranch/farm, keeping a close eye on her finances so she’s never ripped off by that layabout cat.
When I was little, I loved the theme of self-sufficiency that ran through that story.
I didn’t need a rat, cat or dog to help me out! I could do it all by myself, with just a little hard work!
And maybe in another time, that is what this blog post would be about.
So, this blog post has been brewing for a while and it’s not as fun as my usual ones, so I beg your patience and indulgence as I sort my thoughts.
When I started this blog, it was based on my identity as a Black woman who is a daughter of immigrants, a mother and wife and a teacher.
And this pandemic has sharply thrown all of those aspects of my identity under the microscope globally and nationally. At the same time, I’ve been nervous this past year and a bit to talk from the perspective including all the nuances of my identity for appearing too ‘niche’.
Friends, explore with me. I’m going to work chronologically.
Do you point out someone in the same profession as you just by looking at their clothing? I definitely couldn’t! So how (other) teachers and educators dress is infinitely fascinating to me. Read: I’m super nosey.
The image of what a teacher looks like will vary greatly from person to person but speaking for myself, my fashion inspirations are Ms Frizzle, Emma Pillsbury from Glee and probably any Stateside elementary school teacher with an apple on their desk. Peppy, proper and fun, amirite?
HOWEVER. I live in the UK, not TV school nor am and I have to dress for my context. I’m the kind of teacher that very often can be found crawling around on the floor picking up bits of paper and stationary, or running in the corridors speed walking to the store room. Paint is a mainstay, as is fabric dye, watercolours and glue. School is messy. Then there’s all the school restrictions – no denim, which bits of skin of skin are exposed (very little, in the winter) plus whatever else the headteacher might decide to implement on a whim. Plus, I have the Hatchling to deal with after hours – so my clothes need to allow me to move (and run) and preferably be machine washable.
So much as I love floofy dresses that make me look very prim and proper, you’ll see very little of that here – petticoats are really tricky to commando crawl in. This is what made the cut for me this winter:
Children taking the marshmallow test is one of my very favourite things to watch on Youtube.
The premise, if you’re not familiar with it, is simple: “Hey, kid. Here’s a marshmallow. I’m going to leave the room. If that marshmallow is still there when I come back, you get another one.” Adorable hilarity ensues.
Apparently, the studies done into the Marshmallow Experiment proved a whole raft of benefits for those who were able to delay gratification. Fortunately for those of us who struggle to resist or delay temptation for 10 minutes or more, the results are in doubt since they’ve never been able to fully replicate the results of the test.
But it did make me think of what I would have done if they’d done that experiment on me as a kid.
I am notorious amongst my friends for my clothing…er, choices.
“Nice skirt! Charity shop?” “Nah, she must’ve got it on sale!” “…Like, 15 years ago?” “Or someone gave it to you? Which favourite aunt didn’t want it?”
Yep – my clothes are either old, or from a charity shop (and probably still old) or something I bought for a ridiculous price in a sale (“What do you mean FIFTY PEE?!”) or a piece that a family member was getting rid of and I snaffled up.
In the personal finance world, this is a marker of pride – clearly, I’m thrifty. Clearly, I’m frugal. Clearly I live so farrr outside the mainstream that I no longer have need of the eeeeevil high street any more.
I defy you consumerism and fast fashion and the unsustainable capitalist cycle of consumption we find ourselves trapped in!
And then my favourite shoe shop shut down (sob! RIP Shoes Of Prey) and I got pregnant and nothing fit and was comfortable and now I am no longer pregnant but I do actually have needs that my clothing needs to accomodate.
Needs that a lot of my clothing (bought pre-baby – heck, pre-marriage) doesn’t really work for.
Which, practically, meant I needed to go shopping. For actual clothes. And I found myself surprisingly resistant to this idea. Why? What were my reasons? Turns out I had a fair few presumptions stopping me.
Shoutout to the Hatchling for sparking off this whole process.
‘Cos you know what helps me declutter faster?
A baby/now toddler being able to open and access the drawers I traditionally keep my clutter crap in.
I started off with some of the things in there:
Empty sunscreen bottle – …I’d forgotten it was in there. Neutralising gel An AHA facial cream – I ordered it specially from Poland. It used to make my face feel all burny even in the midst of winter and I took that as a sign of effectiveness. I’m past that now. One hipster mug/jar – the Hatchling sliced open a finger on a metallic design detail. Out. A watercolour set and paintbrush One mobile phone (including battery) – I didn’t realise you could give non working mobile phones to charity shops (specifically, Oxfam in this case) for them to be recycled. Normally, I pass phones on but this phone has some sort of dodgy adware installed into the phone itself. uHappy? No, I am not. Out. A Monopoly cat figurine – Confiscated however many years ago when my (class) kids were having an argument over it. I don’t know why, the top hat is clearly superior. Anyway, it has been returned back to its rightful game.
…but then decided I needed to be more systematic than tossing random items I didn’t want my child to try and devour.
I have (another) confession to make – I’m a (not very) secretive romantic. I love being swept away by the sudden or building depth of someone else’s ardent emotions; catching the little moments that add up to great significance; the swell of genuine feeling that knocks you off your feet when you realise just how much one person loves another.
So you’d think I’d absolutely love Valentine’s day and that my loved ones would be awash in red, pink and chocolate.
Er, not really? But daily snuggles, nose bumps and lots of kisses are our regular. The Hatchling now looks up at anyone showing affection expectantly, waiting semi-patiently for their own shower of adoration, so there is that. They’re already spoilt with love.
In celebration of the weekend of lurrrrrve, I thought I’d round up 5 posts that gave me ALL OF THE FEELS.
I was raised to be quite an ambitious person and new year’s resolutions were always a part of that. It started to reach a point for me in my early twenties where the idea and the reality of my resolutions just weren’t matching up. I’d have a great big long list and barely anything ticked off.
Now, when it comes to my target setting, I find I’m far more successful. It took me a minute to work out why. I mean, yes, I use the SMART acronym to help me but it was zooming in on the ‘R’ (realistic) part of it that really made a difference to me.
Making a goal that was specific, measurable, achievable and time-constrained (almost always a year, max) came easily to me. Making sure it was realistic? Whole other ball game. I had to make a lot of mistakes before realising how to make SMART goals work for me.