Friday 20th April 2018

January Days. Now & Past. 2018.4.

January Days. Now & Past. 2018.4.

Happy New Year!

Welcome Back!

Here’s to a great 2018 for us all.

This year, as I counted backwards on my fingers, is the 8th year I have been blogging. I started towards the end of 2010.

I blogged a lot in 2011  as newbie but who was completely engaged by blogging once I went to the first Aussie Bloggers’ Conference in March 2011.

And I was  even more engaged in blogging in 2012.

I slowed down as 2013 drew to an end and blogged most infrequently in 2014.

In 2015 I re-calibrated both myself and the blog to help me in the transition to retirement by blogging every day for 365 days. I did.

In 2016 I added some categories to blog within and by September 2016 began my Monday linky called Life This Week. Sometime later that year, I cut back my full-time blogging to only blogging on some days.

Into 2017 I was still blogging up to 3 days a week, then over time it reduced to 2 days. Mondays and Tuesdays.

This year I shall see how things go. I may add another day as some bloggers are coming up with another linky on Wednesdays.

What does that have to do with January?

Not a lot because, as much as I would like to share what I wrote back in those earlier years, I let those posts go when my blogs were filling up my account with my hosting service and I had to decided to delete two of the three blogs from 2010-2014. I did keep some of my education and schooling posts and have them in draft form if I ever want to refresh them.

In January  I often wrote about Back to School here and for many others. I am no longer doing those as I have fully retired from paid and upaid education roles. It is also time for others to take those tasks on and they will be more up to date.

So, to kick my post off for the first I Blog on Tuesdays & the second Lovin’ Life link up, I am going to add some photos from around this time of January for the past few years. January can be quite a busy time for many of us even if we are still on holidays or retired!

This week I will be meeting my daughter and her youngest who will be starting school this year and we will be buying her school shoes. That is a January tradition in our family.

I will travel to Sydney to see Dad for his 94th Birthday on Thursday taking him some goodies for a birthday morning tea which we will share with a couple who have been very kind to Dad during his time at Oceangrove.

As I write, it is the end of the most awful Sunday of HOT weather everywhere in most of NSW. We copped a temperature of over 40deg C and then…the worst thing happened. The power went off for around 70 minutes. It was close to hell on earth for us. Fortunately it kicked back on – there were district outages – and my hub could watch the Ashes and I could relax a little. Later on I drove over to the beach and the temperature was actually less than it shows in the photo.

Every day, for the past 5 weeks I have been enjoying getting dressed for a purpose. In other words, taking greater care of myself and having fun in the meantime. I also take myself out for coffee most days too. Sometimes I can even find something to eat that my poor mouth can manage. I often do a little art and journalling when I am out. It is a great experience and it sure is continuing in 2018! It’s the ultimate self-care.

I am committing via Instagram to post, on most days, a maximum of 3 photos:

1. Outfit of the Day. 2. Art/Creative 3. Noticing Nature.

So, how about you?

How has January been for you so far?

I would love to hear from you in the comments.


Joining my friend Kylie’s link up here called I Blog On Tuesdays.

And on my Dad’s 94th Birthday, I am linking with Leanne and friends here for Lovin’ Life.



What Art Has Taught Me. 2017.53.

What Art Has Taught Me. 2017.53.

In 2013 I was searching for more in my life to help me through the bumps and trials.

A friend suggested an art-based group in U.S. where there was an annual challenge.

I’ve written about this a few times on the blog.

Today I am listing what Art has taught me from that mid-point in 2013 until the present.

And it’s not always about Art!!

  • I can be patient
  • I can see the world from different perspectives
  • I can select what I want to do with my art materials with confidence
  • I now know the process is more important to me than the product
  • I find that I prefer to share my art, imperfect as it is, with many and am happy to give it away when people express an interest in it
  • I find it interesting that others see different things in my artistic pursuits than I do at times
  • I enjoy the way in which I became at one with the now when I’m engaged in a creative process be it writing, photography, art or gardening

In general, Art has taught me to allow my mindfulness to be part of who I am. I am no longer striving as much nor wanting to do the next thing. It is teaching me to slow down. 

This is a good lesson to be learned!

Have you learned lessons from life?


Glad to be posting again today for I Blog On Tuesdays over with Kylie Purtell here.

This link up is an original in Australian blogging land!

Only newly published posts are eligible for link-up.

A few years back this was very popular and I suspect many of those bloggers have new priorities.

However, new and established bloggers who have an original post any Tuesday are so welcomed over at I.B.O.T.! Lots of commenters and lots of blogs to read.

Come on over and add it to your blogging calendar. The link-up stays open for all of Tuesday of that week.


Educated As a Blogger. 366/339.

Educated As a Blogger. 366/339.

It takes a community to educate a blogger so I found out.

I used to think that I would write something of interest on the blog, publish it and some people out there would read what I wrote.And comment. Of course! Blogger gold!

Oh no, it does not work that way…well for me it certainly did not.

From pressing publish in December 201o to today, I know that the only way I learned about blogging was to be educated by others who blog.

Before I go further, I did attend courses and conferences and I met up with lots of bloggers too. I read some books, got some insights from blogging experts and gave my readers what I thought would be posts of interest.

It worked. Somewhat.

What made my blogging education better was discovering LINK-UPs …where bloggers invite others who blog to add their post and then others may see the blog too. I commenced doing this in 2011-12 and found link ups some of which have now ended. But my blogging education continued thanks to this one!

One which has been a consistent, vibrant and really inclusive LINK UP called IBOT. I blog on Tuesdays. It began when Jess blogged as Diary of a SAHM and then changed title to Essentially Jess.

But things are changing there too! Jess, who continues to be a writer, and a tertiary student along with raising a family of 4,  is finishing up by the end of the year and handing her link-up to Kylie permanently. I wrote a thank you here to Jess and one over at Kylie’s blog today too.


Thank you Jess for being a pioneering blogger and seeing a gap in the Aussie link-ups all those years ago to create “IBOT”. You know when I first came upon “IBOT” I was taken aback in 2012 ! I had no idea what it meant until I took a thorough look at your blog…which wasn’t even called Essentially Jess then, to get to know more!

Then I read what it stood for and why. You wanted to have a place for bloggers to add posts on a Tuesday that were created for the Tuesday – a quiet day in blogging then… I Blog On Tuesdays. Ahh! I got it. I loved gathering there and catching up and getting to know new to me bloggers and commenting too.

One day though you decided IBOT was becoming so popular that you were needing some help with comments. You put a call out for a “new to blogging concept” of having a Team IBOT. I do think that was another first! See, I told you about being a pioneer!  Warm wishes and THANK you, Denyse xx


It’s not often we get to meet bloggers in real life and I was fortunate enough to do that. I lived in Sydney when Jess flew in from Darwin for the Digital Parents’ Conference in 2013 and I did the airport pick-up and quick trip around places in Sydney before leaving her with our mutual friends to attend the conference.

Here’s a few pics of that morning way back Jess. I note you are not in these…as being a blogger, we tend to focus not on ourselves when it comes to images!!

Manly Beach. We had a walk around here after breakfast.

The walk from Manly Beach to Shelly Beach.

Early Morning Surfers at Manly Beach. We had breakfast in Manly.

The view from North Head back to Sydney and South Head. I enjoyed showing Jess where I used to live!

Now, it’s enough from me. I am looking forward to being educated more in 2017 and remaining part of #TeamIBOT each Tuesday as Kylie assumes responsiblity and we are joined by other bloggers who also love IBOT as much as I do!

Blogging on Tuesdays (and always a NEW previously unpublished post) is one blogging habit I will not break!

Did you link up for IBOT today? Here is the link! 



H is for Homework.366/47.

H is for Homework. 366/47.

As the school year gets going, and teachers and parents are meeting at school/class/grade information nights..the topic of Homework will be on the agenda. This post is a discussion. It is based on Primary Schools.

The following contains excerpts from a post “homework helpful or harmful” published on my old blog 3 years ago.

I am troubled personally and professionally about homework for students in Primary Schools.

I do not recall this being as an emotive a topic as in the past few years.

Has this come about for any particular reason?

I can look back and say that ‘homework’ used to be a simple notion. This is from my perspective as a parent and a teacher/principal.

Little people in the early years of school would be delighted to bring home a reader and to be doing so was a an exciting time. Then as they went into Year 1 and 2, some spelling words might be added to homework, and a simple mathematical exercise. This continued into the years of primary school adding more, often including an annual project and maybe an assignment like a speech.

Now I see more parents asking “what is all this homework about?” and teachers grumbling about “look at this homework I need to mark”. I wonder why. I can point to two things that may contribute. One is the access to the internet both at home and school (a good thing) which can easily lead parents into the path of “comparisons” of what is my child up to and compared to whom.

This can be healthy, when taken as a balanced view.

It is not healthy to equate homework setting, completing and marking as a competitive sport.

Schools are being pressured externally (government policies, funding and resources) to improve outcomes for students, via measurable means. More homework might help these kids improve. So schools are adding to this push. Yet both parents & schools may want a similar outcome as far as HOMEWORK is concerned.

Why aren’t they talking to each other more?

I found that every NSW State School must have a Homework Policy, and what forms part of it must be relevant, meaningful and taking into account the students’ ages, needs and levels of development.

I do think that some teachers and school principals are not adhering to this, or are indeed guessing that parents want more homework. What is the true story? I have no idea but believe there is a huge need for greater dialogue that is real.

The original post contained responses to questions some readers helped with but as time (and they in some cases!) have moved on from reading here this is my part of the discussion only. 


This quote from Professor John Hattie is very telling. Prof Hattie is currently chair of AISTL (Australian Institute For Teaching and School Leadership). He is just one source I chose for this.

  1. Homework–Homework has been found to have no effect on the progress of primary school children. To get it right without getting rid of it, children at primary level should be given less projects and more activitiesthat reinforce what they learnt in the lesson that day instead. Whilst homework does make more of a difference to secondary schoolchildren, too much emphasis is placed on it; 5-10 minutes of practising what was taught that day at school has the same effect as 1-2 hours does. John Hattie’s interview here.

Tell me your view on Homework and what your kids get to do for homework.

Would you be prepared to answer some questions for a future post about homework here? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you!


education 150

Joining Jess at Essentially Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.



School Holiday Fun For Free*. 366/5.

School Holiday Fun For Free*. 366/5.

By the time January arrives, Christmas is over and presents have been bought, played with and (I hesitate to say) broken or ‘lost’.

It can be a bit of a let down with a thud!

I know that there are sounds of “I’m bored” and “What are we doing today?” and conversations which tell us parents it’s time to spark up our holidays as there are about 3 more weeks at home. For survival mode I mean!

But, usually activity comes at a financial cost and knowing full well the “empty bank account in January syndrome” I thought a list of ideas for free (*or close to free) would be ideal.

I got some help from Instagram friends too. Let’s do this!

  1. Go to the beach, if you can, at minimal cost. Maybe you live close enough to walk.
  2. Visit your local library. Now the public holidays are over, libraries are back! @casojaha @kaz_phi tells me that many have school holiday activities too.
  3. Art Gallery! There are many in regional areas and of course capital cities. There is always something to see and do (and free admission) but it can mean transport costs. @onesmalllife
  4. Playdates with friends. At home. Even better if you have a pool but be prepared to supervise your swimming people! Or arrange swaps at others’ places as long as it’s even shares!
  5. Take scooters and bikes (helmets please) to local park and maybe a packed morning tea or lunch. @75aml
  6. From @lifesboost: collecting leaves and making your own picture….create your own pizza with your own toppings….hide and seek (yay!)…nerf gun wars outside….make some play dough or use commercial stuff and it’s fun for grownups too….visit a pet shop…make a cubby/creation out of cardboard boxes.
  7. Make a blanket fort inside and play games in it. Don’t forget old-fashioned board games and jigsaw puzzles (I saw ones for under $1 at my local Salvos) and also geocaching is fun according to @sallyturbit
  8. Get some large sheets of butchers paper (you can buy large rolls at Ikea very cheaply too) and have kids lie down and trace around them. You can also make ‘large dress ups’ from paper into different characters. @krasf
  9. My friend Pam tells me her artist daughter runs art classes for free at regional libraries near her place on the coast too.
  10. Colouring in – from the internet sources of which there are many, for those who enjoy some solitary time (and it’s even better when parents give it a go too).

My ideas as well!

  1. Cooking was always a favourite on a wet or extra hot day. Little cakes with patty cases means each child can make a few and then decorate once they are cool. I kept packet cake mixes in the pantry as these are ‘easy peasy’ and even the kids enjoy the mixer (and licking those beaters!)
  2. Paint the fence, the brickwork, the pavement with….water! Big (cheap) paintbrushes and little (cheap) buckets were always part of my staple play equipment for the grandkids and this was such fun on warmer days.
  3. Draw around your sibling (or grandma!!) with chalk on the concrete or pavement and then colour in. Each grandchild loved this!
  4. Rally around the house on little inside-bikes. This was for the cold/wet/rainy days and I set up obstacles with the dining room chairs and away they rode!
  5. Walk around the block and collect leaves – doesn’t matter that it’s not autumn – come home and do leaf rubbings on paper or draw the patterns or use as a collage.
  6. Lie on your back and talk about the shapes you see in the sky and then give it a go to replicate them in drawing.
  7. Feed the ducks (if its permitted) at the local pond, or riverside or waterways
  8. Browse in second hand bookstores with each person having a budget of say $2.
  9. Sort out the bedrooms   This is not going to happen is it? Oh well, an idea!
  10. Twenty questions about you. Each person devises 20 facts about themselves and the others ask away. Only YES or NO answers!

Has that been of any help to you?

I do hope that you can also enjoy the company of your kids (going through old photos is such fun too…) because before you know it, they will be busier than ever with school, after school and before school activities and sport and you will be wanting some of this time back!

This week is the first of my weekly posts relating to education and schooling using my knowledge, expertise and long career as a K-6 principal and teacher and I welcome ideas from you, readers, about topics of interest to you.

Joining Jess at Essentially Jess for the first time in 2016 over at I Blog On Tuesdays!

Happy 2016 everyone.



education 150


We Are All Teachers. 334/365.

We Are All Teachers. 334/365.

I believe we all can help each other in this world.

I’ve been a blogger since late 2010. Jess, from Essentially Jess became a blogging friend in 2011 as I met many new friends via blogging. When she asked about people to help her on Tuesdays with her phenomenally popular I Blog On Tuesdays link up (IBOT for short!) I was someone who put my hand up and my help was graciously accepted to be part of the first #teamIBOT. Now, over the years my life’s priorities changed for a while and I blogged a little (ok, a lot!) less and reluctantly handed back my status as a #teamIBOT member. This year things have resoundingly changed and I am a blogger every day! I am pleased to say that Jess has accepted my offer from a while back for me to come back on board should she ever need another #teamIBOT commenter. Today I am back! Thanks Jess!

I reviewed a post for today, Tuesday 1 December, which is one I wrote back in 2011. I was making the point about the fact that we are all teachers. What do you think?

  • YOU are a teacher, yes you are… we are all teachers.
  • Teachers of our children.
  • Teaching them about life, living their lives, and being learners so that they become teachers themselves.
  • We all are teachers.
  • What has a teacher taught you that you are grateful for?

My Dad taught me how to dance. It felt awkward ‘putting my hand in Dad’s’ as a teen but once I got the hang of it, it meant I could join in on social events. Remember, I am a child of the 50s and 60s. My Mum taught me about cooking. She wasn’t a strict measurer of ingredients, but she trusted me enough as a little kid to give me a go. The kitchen was not a forbidden place for me, and that has helped me be an instinctive cook too. My kids have become great family cooks themselves, so that is an aspect of teaching that has been passed on. My auntie taught me how to enjoy reading, Really get into it. She provided me with a range of materials that I devoured. My grandfather taught me how to go to the shops with the soft drink bottles, get some cash back then spend it on lollies. Gosh I loved that particular lesson!!! My grandmother taught me that life isn’t always fair and that you can make your life what you want it to be. In fact, she didn’t pay enough attention to this lesson, and was quite a sad and angry person once she’d been widowed at a young age. My granddaughter taught me that love is limitless. There is a loving bond between us which grows. They are but some of the lessons I learned from my teachers. My generations in my family.

Denyse xx



100% Better Now Than I Was! 250/365.

100% Better Now Than I Was! 250/365.

This time almost 2 weeks ago, I was in a low mood and visited the GP again. She’s been incredibly supportive of me and my health which has been impacted by life transition changes and together we have seen it’s likely I will get well over time.

On this occasion though, my doctor asked me to try a medication touted as being ‘good for depression and anxiety’.

Small dose. Take this dose until a week’s gone, then increase it. 

Ok, I agreed.

However, I was incredibly concerned because I was conflicted. I ‘knew’ I could get better some how anyway bit maybe this was the start of another way.

I took it. ONE dose. ONCE only. 

From around midday Saturday 29 August until sometime during Wednesday 2 September it was clear that it affected me.

Badly. Worse than how I was feeling at the doctor’s.

From the “tell your doctor if you notice any of these and they worry you” list:- enclosed with the medicine

dry mouth **

bad taste *

nausea – almost to vomiting ****

diarrhoea *****

loss of appetite ***

drowsiness **

feeling tired and having no energy**

dizziness *

anxiety *****

*= scale of horrible!

Thank goodness for commonsense (mine) and patience (husband) and time….as I NEVER ever want to go through that again, nor wish it upon anyone else.

My doctor was incredibly apologetic and I am now, thankfully, using my own inner resources, eating well, walking, art activities, meditation  and seeing a psychologist.

This is not an anti ‘anti-depressant’ post. I have had a medication quite some time ago (certainly not the one I trialled here) and was on that successfully and side effect free until there was no longer a need for it and with my old GP I was able to taper off it with no effects. I believe that people need to have and take whatever is required for them to function and live a life that is as full as it can be. This should always be with in discussion with your medical service providor – GP/or specialist.

Have you ever experienced something where the so-called cure was worse than the condition?

Denyse xx


Joining Jess for I Blog On Tuesdays.

  and for the weekend rewind here:

Weekend Rewind





All About YOU. 237/365.

All About YOU. 237/365.

This blog has been, in general, all about ME.

I guess that is why people (like me) have personal blogs.

Time to turn the tables.

I know other bloggers do this.

I also know it can be hard to think of what to write in comments if you want to share.

So, here’s my example:

I LIKE TO: talk to people from all walks of life and of all ages and learn more about them by being an active listener

I AM GOOD AT: taking impromptu photos in nature with an eye for beauty and shape

I REALLY DON’T ENJOY: waiting…for anything much at all. 

or choose not to use these and just tell me a bit about you!

Thanks for sharing (hopefully)

Denyse xx

Joining Sammie from The Annoyed Thyroid and friends who are part of the link. The Ultimate Rabbit Hole. #33.



Joining Jess and the I Blog on Tuesdays gang over here: