Friday, 30 March 2007

Well earned rest.

Yes, it's the end of term again.
As usual it has been a hectic, but successful one for our faculty. Our most recent venture, the Spring Concert, which took place on Wednesday received fantastic feedback.
To celebrate the last three months we had a lovely meal at a quaint French Bistro; trying our best not to talk about work. Not everybody could make it - we missed you guys - but those that were there had a great time. We are now two thirds of the way through this academic year and the summer term is always the best one, not least because if the improved weather.
I will be spending next week with three of this lot, as we are heading off on a little adventure...

Thursday, 29 March 2007

No pens this time!

With reference to my 3 month post Grace said:


I really enjoy reading your blog. This b&w pic is really cute! What did you use to style your hair?


Thanks Grace! It was simple really, I put my hair into two loose french plaits before going to bed. I took them out in the morning and then finger combed. Voila!
I did take pictures of 'before' but they are not very clear; next time I do this style, I will take some more and than upload them :-)

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Are those glasses real or for fashion Miss?

Me: They are real prescription lenses...

Student: Oh, do you usually were contacts?

Me: NO, I'm far to squeamish to put my fingers into my eyes!

Student: How comes I've never seen you in glasses then?

Me: Mmm, well, I don't really wear them unless I'm tired...

Student: So, you have paid for glasses that you never wear Miss?

Me: Yes, I guess I have.

Student: How much do teachers get paid Miss?

Me: Not enough for this!

I don't wear my glasses nearly as much as I should, in fact I have two pairs, each spending most of the time in their cases. I only tend to wear them when I feel incredibly tired and my eyes are looking puffy.
In addition to the conversation above I received two-pence worth of advice from several students on why I should wear my glasses and I have said that I'll make a concerted effort to wear them as advised by my Optician.
So what does this have to do with my hair? Not a lot really except that I was reminded of the conversation when uploading this picture of my bad hair day! Overworked, tired and running late; I resorted to my old habit and pulled my hair back. No pretty hairtie, no ornamental flowers, no beads, no nothing, just back in a ponytail and out the door.
Not awful, but definitely not good...

Friday, 23 March 2007


Today saw the final performance of our current production, 'Red Sky'. These performances were part of the NT Shell Connections Festival; a fantastic project produced by the National Theatre(NT). Each year, brand new plays are written especially for the festival; participating schools, drama groups and youth theatres across the UK and Europe then select one of the plays to perform. Assessors from the NT watch the performances and decide on which groups will receive the ultimate opportunity - to perform their production on stage at the NT. We await their decision and of course I will keep you posted.

I am sure that I will take this photo down soon, as our 'official' photographer (Hey JonE - I know you're reading this!) will have taken some that are far better than mine. Massive congratulations to JayKay, Aubs, JonE and the students on creating a wonderful show...

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Had my camera this time!

It snowed again today. What is going on with the weather; doesn't British Summertime start officially on Sunday?
Whilst in the car on the way to work, I tried to snap a few pics of the snow (of course these were taken whilst the car was stationary and the engine switched off); unfortunately they aren't very clear. If you squint and look at the screen upside down while singing 'Let It Snow', you might just see a flake or two.

Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Busy as a Bee

I'm not sure what I am running on this week, but I think that I am just about out of energy!

Still, it's the end of term next Friday...

Monday, 19 March 2007

3 Months!

I can't believe it's three months already! I am really starting to see a difference in my hair, as are others. There is a lot of swelling happening at the roots; I now have between 21/2 and 41/2 inches of natural hair.
What a month it has been; I travelled and my hair wasn't an issue, I have tried to be creative with styling - not always with the intended results, I have had my long awaited second retightening, my hairties arrived but my hair was too small, my hair got smaller but big and I could wear my hairties, I think I found my first grey hair, but most of all I continue to enjoy my hair and the decision I made to embark on this journey.

Sunday, 18 March 2007

Happy Mother's Day!

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Enjoying the festivities...

My eldest son and I spent a couple of hours at the local St Patrick's day celebrations. Although the weather wasn't as nice as yesterday, we managed to have a good time. There was a live Irish band on when we got there and I listened intently whilst eating a plate of Irish stew. There was a lot to see and do, both inside and out and of course there was plenty of Guinness on offer. The highlight (for me) was the Irish dancers; I love Irish dancing and am always impressed by the ability the dancers have to keep the top half of their bodies still. I managed to get this picture of them (before my batteries went); you can see why SoftSpikes came about! I have known girls who do Irish dancing and it would take hours upon hours to get their hair right. As far as I am aware, points can be lost in competitions for not enough curl. I actually suspect that a few of the girls I saw today might have been wearing wigs; who could blame them, the thought of putting those curls in would give me a headache!
Happy St Patrick's Day!

Friday, 16 March 2007

The Big One

At school today, we made our contribution to raising money for this year's Red Nose Day event. Lessons ended at lunchtime and the fun and organised chaos began outside. Activities ranged from cake and refreshment stalls to a staff versus students football match (which the staff won!). Another popular event was the stocks - where students paid to throw wet sponges at various teachers (I can't think why they enjoyed that one so much...). Students had paid in advance not to wear school uniform and many teachers were sponsored to dress up in costumes.
My school has a long standing history of and commitment to raising money for others; the students work tirelessly to organise events like this with little intervention from staff. Things like this make me extremely proud, as we often hear about the negative behaviour of young people and seldom about their positive contributions to society.
I finished the day off by having several goes on the bouncy castle; before returning to my office to write reports...

Thursday, 15 March 2007

Threading in America?

With reference to my eyebrows, Alvina sent me an e-mail:

Hey Mel,

I was reading your blog and I saw where you got your eyebrows threaded. What exactly is that and do you think we have that in America?? Your eyebrows look awesome. By the way, you hair is too cute and who would have thought to roll it with pens. I love it.


Wikipedia says: "Threading is an ancient method of hair removal that is still used in parts of the Middle and Far East. Thin, twisted cotton threads are rolled over untidy hairlines, mustaches and so on, plucking the offending hair..."

I know threading is available in America but wasn't able to tell Alvina where. As she is a member of Lockitup, I posted a request for locations there. If any of you are able to point her in the right direction, please let me know.

And thanks for the compliments Alvina :-)


From the feedback in Lockitup, Threading is available in:

Dublin, CA
Southern California - a chain called 'Ziba'
New York
Yuba City, California

Hope this helps...

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Out of disaster, success is born!

Guess what fits my new short hair...

So the next time I want to wear a hairtie, I just need to reach for a pen!
Go shorty, it's your hairtie day...
(P.S How's my kitchen!)

Monday, 12 March 2007

An experiment too far...

Well what can I say? Sometimes I just don't know when my bread's buttered...

I've said already that I just love the twist out on my hair; more recently canerowing it has given pleasing results. So, I washed my hair yesterday and perhaps, because I was intoxicated with medication (I've not been feeling too well), decided to try a new way of styling. Now the reason I am going to suggest the medicine might have played a part in my decision, is that I used a pen to create this look. While my hair was still wet, I took sections if it and used a pen to create rolls which I secured with a hair pin.

With me so far? OK. So, what was I expecting to get from this? Well some nice loose curls, not disimilar to the SoftSpike look...

Ha! If only...

No, I haven't cut my hair! This is the curl I was left with when I took the pins out. I tried to loosen them, gently at first, and then with a bit more force. Absolutely no movement. I tried the 'head upside down and shake' thing, still no movement. I thought about pulling it back into a ponytail; the way I did when having a bad relaxed hair day. I just couldn't get it to budge.

In the end I settled for twisting the front and securing with so many pins I would have had trouble at the airport. There was nothing I could do with the back but leave it be. The funny thing is, I received so many compliments at work, from staff and students alike. Of course many people thought I had cut my hair and laughed with me (or was it at me) as I explained my little tale. Seeing my hair like this gives me an idea of what it would look like if I cut my relaxed ends off; a thought I toyed with for a nanosecond recently...

Friday, 9 March 2007


A while back I had a bit of an incident when I plaited my hair; since then I have preferred to twist it. This is what I decided to do on Wednesday evening, having not done anything with it since my retightening at the weekend. When I took the twists out yesterday morning, nothing, yep, absolutely nothing! I couldn’t see any difference from what it had looked like the night before. What is it with my hair? Just when I think I'm beginning to understand it...

So, last night I thought I’d try something new and I set about canerowing my hair. Without much attention to the parting, I put six relatively loose, large canerows in. I turned the ends up and secured them with hairbands; then did a light spritz with Tea Tree Oil and water.

I had no real expectations for the results, having already decided that if I didn’t like it I would wash it out this evening. However, I was pleased with the way it turned out, a soft curl that started part way down the length of my hair. Turning the ends under meant the hairstyle framed my face, giving a fuller look.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Austria, the final bits (for now)

The rest of my time in Austria was split between visiting schools and socialising. On the Wednesday afternoon we were invited to meet the Head of the School Board for the County in which we were visiting. This part was really interesting as we got to hear first hand the experiences of adults and children who had fled to Austria from other countries (mainly Turkey and the former Yugoslavia). I got into a bit of a 'discussion' with the main man when he took offence at my suggestion that the school system didn't allow the immigrant children to achieve their full potential. I don't think I quite ruined Anglo-Austrian relations, but I won't be expecting a Christmas card from him.
On Thursday we went to a school that is housed in a working monastery, what a beautiful place. We were given a tour of the church by the Abbott, and a glass of wine that had been made by the monks. There are several institutions on the estate, including a school that selects and trains the cream of the crop of youngsters at skiing and other winter sports. According to the Abbott they have had very good results with many of their students achieving highly in major competitions.
Friday we visited Salzburg, leaving our hotel at ridiculous o'clock to make the journey there; briefly crossing over to Germany on our way. After visiting a fantastic primary school, that momentarily made me want to teach 'little ones', we went on a tour of the city. To be honest, Monday's tour of Innsbruck had been more than enough for me and I would have been quite happy to sit down and have a coffee, but tour we did. After more than two hours walking the streets of Salzburg, I feel that there is so much that I can tell you about Mozart, his Dad, his Sons, his next door neighbour, the lady that sold flowers on the corner of the street half a mile from where he was born; but I won't. I wanted the the tour guide to dish the dirt on the man; I asked if he'd gone mad and OP said she was sure that he'd had syphilis, but both of these were vehemently denied by the guide.
We ate dinner in a fantastic traditional restaurant before returning, via Germany, to the hotel.
After a well earned lie-in on Saturday morning, we managed a small amount of shopping; OP and I picked up some ski stuff in the sales for a forthcoming trip we are going on. A quick drink at the 360 degree observation bar, with it's magnificent views over the city and then back to the hotel to collect our luggage and head for the airport.

Luggage Update - My case arrived in London the day after me and was delivered to my house by Speedy Baggage Company.

Saturday, 3 March 2007


I had my hair tightened today and I must say it was long overdue. It had been seven weeks since my first appointment and in between I had experienced some slippage. Parks noticed at work that my hair was looking 'spongy' at the root! This picture was taken last night after I'd washed my hair.

I thought that I would be at the salon for hours and hours, but it was only three and a half in the end.
I'd almost forgotten what my scalp looked like; but here it is, back with vengeance!

I have had quite a lot of growth; now that it's all been tightened I can really feel the texture of my locks (not that I sit with my hands in my hair or anything!). I am fascinated by my hair and the journey it's taking; it's like being on a mystery tour.

Friday, 2 March 2007

Guess what arrived in the post...

I know lots of you will recognise the beautiful little packages straight away; but for those not in the know, I have just quadrupled the size of my Brunsli Hairtie collection!

I am particularly impressed with this new batch - they are stunning pieces. Of course I couldn't wait to try them on

The only trouble is, that at the moment my hair isn't thick enough for the hairties and so they slowly work their way down. I know that they can be adjusted, but I really don't want to mess about with these works of art.

All is not lost though; I now have some headbands to keep me happy while my hair is growing up!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

World Book Day

My current book of choice is ... Review

With its gritty Tower Hamlets setting, this sharply observed contemporary novel about the life of an Asian immigrant girl deals cogently with issues of love, cultural difference and the human spirit. The pre-publicity hype about Brick Lane was precisely the kind to set alarm bells ringing (we've heard it so often before), but, for once, the excitement is fully justified: Monica Ali's debut novel demonstrates that there is a new voice in modern fiction to be reckoned with.
Nazneen is a teenager forced into an arranged marriage with a man considerably older than her--a man whose expectations of life are so low that misery seems to stretch ahead for her. Fearfully leaving the sultry oppression of her Bangladeshi village, Nazneen finds herself cloistered in a small flat in a high-rise block in the East End of London. Because she speaks no English, she is obliged to depend totally on her husband. But it becomes apparent that, of the two, she is the real survivor: more able to deal with the ways of the world, and a better judge of the vagaries of human behaviour. She makes friends with another Asian girl, Razia, who is the conduit to her understanding of the unsettling ways of her new homeland.
This is a novel of genuine insight, with the kind of characterisation that reminds the reader at every turn just what the novel form is capable of. Every character (Nazneen, her disappointed husband and her resourceful friend Razia) is drawn with the complexity that can really only be found in the novel these days. In some ways, the reader is given the same all-encompassing experience as in a Dickens novel: humour and tragedy rub shoulders in a narrative that inexorably grips the reader. Whether or not Monica Ali can follow up this achievement is a question for the future; it's enough to say right now that Brick Lane is an essential read for anyone interested in current British fiction. --Barry Forshaw

I'd love to know what you are reading and what you recommend...