Family meal out at Jamie’s Italian, St Albans – review

Jamie'sMenuWhen you think of Jamie Oliver, what comes to mind? Ok, his personality may not be to everyone’s taste, or his concept of food on a budget within everyone’s budget, but I can’t help admiring his passion and sheer enthusiasm for what he believes in – preparing good, fresh food and empowering others to know how to do the same.  At least, that’s how he comes across to me.  In fact, and this is surprising even to myself, I can’t help but write the word ‘authenticity’ when I think of him, even if he does know a few things about self-promotion…

So when I was asked to review his Jamie’s Italian restaurant, I immediately was up for it.   Continue reading

(End of Primary) School Report

Best Teacher cardMy daughter is about to leave primary school.  It’s an emotional time for us all, but particularly me as I know how she has thrived in the small, relatively cosy environment that she has enjoyed for the past 7 years.  My nerves about secondary school are probably greater than hers, but they’re mixed in with a nice dollop of excitement too.  More on that in another post!

We received her report the other day, her last one for this era.  I honestly don’t think I could’ve read a better, more glowing report.

Forget the SATS results, the new ‘Working Above, At or Towards age related’ levels system that the government have introduced, forget how well she’s progressed in ‘working mathematically’ or in ‘reading with understanding’.  Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t bad, in fact, far from it she’s done incredibly well.  But what jumped off the page for me were the teacher’s general comments: Continue reading

‘Chain-tasking’ in June

The Never Ending To-Do List

“Chain what?” I hear you say. “Chain-tasking.”

Is it a new way of delegating that most delightful of girl’s summer activities, making daisy chains? Nope. It’s a new word that came to my tired little brain today that best describes what the month of June has forced me to do.  Going from one task to another, to another, to another, with very little pause for healthy breath, much like you do when chain-smoking.

Olympic multi-tasking was another that frequently flitted past my consciousness this month, but that’s a phrase, not a word, and I was inspired today by Post40Bloggers weekly Writing Prompt: Invent a New Word. Continue reading

The Book Project: a tale of motherhood, careers, and expired passports

MSTCBook_CovercopiaOn Monday, a book is being launched in London that has my name on the front cover.

This book is not a novel, but it does tell a story; in fact it tells two stories.

On the surface, it is the story of how the global aid agency, World Vision, came up with a new way of analysing politically unstable contexts using local perspectives, along with sharing what that method is (that’s the boring bit for most of you).

But the other story, what you won’t know by reading just the book, is the other, deeply encouraging story behind it: how 14 years ago a woman with a career in the aid sector got this participatory conflict analysis project started. She soon became a mother and gave up that career. That project grew and developed and became something so useful that 9 years later it was thought a book should be written to share those learnings. The mother was sought out, and asked to help write the book. That woman is, of course, me. Continue reading

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