Monday 24th June 2019

Self Care. Share Your Story.#2.14/51. #LifeThisWeek. 36/2019.

Self Care. Share Your Story.#2.14/51. #LifeThisWeek. 36/2019.

In the past seven weeks what has been my self care routine?

Pretty much the same each week.

I know though that I need to remember self care before I notice I NEED to do something.

It can be so easy to forget what helps me remain as well as I can emotionally because I can get caught up with achievements, busy-ness and striving.

  • Striving.
  • Achievements
  • Being Busy.

These are words I am deleting as part of my past vocabulary.

I have been a striver, an achiever and a busy person since… 1970!

Just noticing the difference in me has been interesting to say the least!

Here’s what I notice:

  • I am walking more slowly
  • I am noticing more around me
  • I am prepared to actually sit and just enjoy being relaxed
  • I give myself permission to go on social media for a while but to be careful to notice when social media changes me emotionally…then I get off
  • I can actually waste time. Some would be horrified at this but I now know I can!
  • I like to read books and articles I enjoy and sometimes learn more but I can also just ‘chill’ like this
  • I can go outside and notice what is happening in the garden

I am still enjoying my dress with purpose and having a photo taken.

I love going out for a solo coffee still

I do like catching up with people this way too.


What does your self care look like these days?

Are there changes you are making?

Tell us more!


Linking here on Mondays with Kell for Mummy Mondays.

You can link up something old or new, just come on in. * Please add just ONE post each week! * Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not. * Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do! * Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right! * Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine! *Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice. * THANK you for linking up today!

Next week’s optional prompt: 15/51 Share Your Snaps. 15/4/19


You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


My Typical Day. 2018.48.

My Typical Day. 2018.48.

Now that we are in our fourth year of living on the NSW Central Coast in full-retirement mode, I thought it might be a good idea to share what my typical day is like.

Be aware, of course, that “no two days are the same”, so this is a snapshot of last Friday!

Before I start, I shall remind my readers about what I did BEFORE (first) retirement in 2003.

I wrote a blog post called: My Morning as a School Principal here. Most readers tired out by the end as they read through. I know I did as I lived it! I was a school principal in a relieving capacity for some years and got my own position as Principal in this school in 1999:

The School Where I was Principal. 1999-2003.

From 2003 until we left Sydney in 2015 I worked part-time: some roles in K-6 schools, another in my business as an Education Specialist helping families prepare for school, and as a University Pre-Service Co-ordinator and Tutor to Masters’ Students. I really did like using my education experience and knowledge to help others. I reluctantly ceased all paid (and voluntary roles) in 2015 as caring for my emotional health became my priority

All gone…students…late Friday afternoon. Final Tutorial for the week.

We also cared for four of our grandchildren on some days of the week when I was not working. We did this from 2007 until the end of 2014. It was a joy, delight, privilege and exhausting. But I would not have swapped it for anything.


I am leading up to this: It has been very challenging for me to come to terms with the notion of planning my own days and enjoying them. It truly has. It might sound funny but when you have been used to a life-long career and caring for family and they are no longer responsibilities suddenly: I get to decide what to do with MY DAY.


My husband and I do some things together but generally we give each other the space to determine what’s on that day.

Friday 1 June 2018.

  • 8.00. a.m. Cool start to the day, stay in bed for a bit, then rise and stay in night attire aka nightie and delighted that today’s Sydney Morning Herald has been home delivered THIS time. We have been here for almost 2 months, and gave plenty of notice for change of address but delivery is inconsistent. I am so sick of complaining Fairfax subs now rings me to see  if “we got the paper.”
  • 8.30. a.m. One load of washing on (thanks to husband – we share washing duties) and another awaits. Rainy looking day so we determine some of the load will be air-dried on covered terrace, others in the drier.
  • 9.00. a.m. Eat my 2 weetbix and milk as I read the Herald. Ah bliss. The time is just the best. What I do NOT miss from working was a quick read of the front page and then off to school! As far as breakfast is concerned I have NEVER been a cereal eater (always toast and tea) until I had my mouth reconstructions and now, it is one of my faves. Who knew!!
  • 10.00 a.m. Somewhere in this morning time, before getting dressed, I will check emails and social media. As Friday is not a link up day I will not be ‘as busy’.
  • 10.30.a.m. Ablutions, decisions made on outfit of the day – determined by the weather AND activity. Today it is cold/rainy and I want to go to local shopping centre as it is under cover (for coffee, not for parking). Photo taken outside in between raindrops and away I go.

  • 10.45- noon. With no reason to rush or complete chores at the shops today, I browse and enjoy some people watching. After a 3/4 double shot latte (no food today, it is too hard to eat in public just now) I mosey into Millers and come out with some specials. LOVE saving some money on clothes. In fact, I have not paid full price for a long time. So many shops with so many every day specials.
  • noon – 1.p.m. I admit, lunch is a hard meal to determine and I end up with crumpets and honey. I cannot bite into them but I can get a piece in my mouth, soften and move it around and swallow.
  • 1.00 p.m. Check social media. Upload my three instagram photos for today and comment on others I follow:
  1. An Outfit of The Day pic – see above
  2. A noticing nature pic – made this ‘about my cancer’ – i.e. part of nature, right? I want people to know how common this cancer is.
  3. A creative photo. This one heralds the start of the 61 day creative challenge I have been part of since 2013.

  • From Jan 1 2018, to give me routine and a challenge each day I said I would post the above photos and I have stuck to this. For me, routine is important even in a more loosely organised day like mine now.
  • 2.00 p.m.- 4.00 pm
  • Check washing and as it is cold, bring it inside.
  • Do a little bit of art – adding colour to a very large A4 collage I have designed.
  • Have a cup of soup and eat the inside of a yellow kiwifruit with a teaspoon.
  • Read a Good Weekend from a few weeks back.
  • Some social media scrolling.
  • Think about my dinner. My husband sorts his own meals. It’s been that way for a long time. Once I am eating with teeth again, I hope this changes.
  • Take one of my many made-for-me frozen meals from the freezer and contemplate what else I might have tonight. Add two savoury  muffins that I can eat bit by bit from the insides. This is another reason I find it hard to eat in front of anyone – it’s pretty messy!
  • 4.00 pm.- 6.15 pm.
  • Check computer for blog comments and emails.
  • Do some more art
  • Get my camera gear sorted as I may take the camera tomorrow because of the rough sea conditions.
  • Read more of “Laughing At Cancer”… and an definitely nodding my head in agreement so far.
  • Watch the last 5 minutes of Millionaire Hot Seat (to see if the person wins) and then watch the first 15 minutes of the local News. NBN.
  • 6.15 p.m. – shower and bed by around 7.30 these days! We sleep in separate rooms and watch our own TVs as we have completely different tastes in shows. I am also ready for bed by this time, even if I do not sleep. Body gets tired more! I am often up and down though – make a cuppa, find something I can ‘dip’ into it and chat to husband (who, most inconvenienced by this, has to remove his headphones to do so. I try not to do this much!! Of course, I often multi-task – or switch TV off – and scroll through the Ipad or play a mindless game or two.
  • 11.00 p.m. lights out..for me, and maybe listen to something soothing as I drift off to sleep.

And that, dear readers, is my typical day (at home). A day including a trip to Sydney for various reasons is obviously a lot different as is one where I may have appointments or decide to go for a drive to the beach.

What did Friday 1 June 2018 look like for you?


On Tuesday this posts links with Kylie here

On Wednesday this post links with Sue and Leanne here

On Thursday this post links with Leanne here.





My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

My Mondays. #LifeThisWeek 19/52. 2017.65.

Mondays do have a flavour all of their own don’t they? I’m going to tell about some of My Mondays. As a Principal. 1999-2003. As a Grandma. 2008-2014. As a Retiree. 2015 – All three Mondays have memories for me, and of course, the present status as a retiree means that this one is the freshest!

As a Principal. 1999-2003.

Mostly Mondays would actually start on Sunday afternoons and evenings as my planning for the week ahead continued and I heard from staff members who may need to be absent the next day. I would spend Sunday night getting ready for my Monday mornings and from memory, not one was ever the same!

  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least the front page of the paper and drive the 30 minutes west to school. No mobile phone so no idea of what might lie ahead when I arrived.
  • Often 2nd to arrive in the carpark as one staff member was always there before me!
  • School was unlocked as the cleaners were still there. Phew, no evidence of any vandalism over the weekend meant a less stressful start to the day.
  • Into my office, unpack my bag and computer and check that the morning’s organisation (and the week ahead) was on the whiteboard and planner for staff as they arrived.
  • Say g’day to most people as they arrived via the staffroom and grab myself a cuppa on the off-chance I might drink it hot. Put lunch in fridge and hope to actually have it at lunchtime.
  • Out to the playground as the children and parents start arriving to say hello, and to see that all is as ‘ship shape’ as it can be in an ageing play area and in classrooms.
  • Once the line-up bell goes, I’d step up the microphone and lead the school in the weekly anthem, flag raising and announce any messages, wishing everyone a ‘good morning’ as the classes and teachers left for their rooms.
  • Walking back to the admin block and office, chat with my staff and see what phone calls I will need to return and what mail (snail) there is to manage. Emails were only starting as I finished up as a principal.

As a Grandma. 2008-2014.

Even when I had returned to work part-time (after my principal role had finished) we offered to care for our grandchildren while their parents worked and studied. For more than 6 years this was a part-time role and much loved. We cared for up to 3 grandchildren at one time. When some came to us they were as young as 4 months. It was a learning curve again but much loved. My most recent memories of Mondays are documented here!

  • In the years gone by the children’s parents would bring the kids to us but in 2013-14 the crazy roads of NorthWestern Sydney meant that the parents would battle traffic twice getting to us, then getting to their workplaces, so I made the offer to drive to their house on Mondays to do ‘pick-up.’
  • Leave home after breakfast and reading at least one part of the paper to arrive and pick up two little people I love and help them into car seats and hopefully have a non-tearful departure. Most times it was.
  • Drive slowly home to our place via places with no traffic…we’d sometimes drive out to Riverstone and the back of Rouse Hill (this is pre-BIG developments) and see the horses and the animals in the paddocks.
  • At our place and warmly greeted by their Papa and into the house.
  • I would have placed the various toys and activities out for the day and the children would head for where they were.
  • A morning of play, chat, snacks and engagement with our grandkids mean outside, inside and sometimes to the park.
  • Morning tea of course and time for a cuppa for us.

As a Retiree. 2015 –

It still is quite a shock that my Mondays are ’empty’ of roles and activities based on other people’s needs as well as mine and it actually makes Mondays not as distinct as the beginning of the (formerly) working week. However, there are some routines and that is always helpful I find in retirement.

  • With no reason to be up nearly as early as in my previous life, I might be up around 8.00-8.30.
  • Morning paper brought in by my husband who will have been up for a while and had his breakfast.
  • Every 2nd Monday he goes to his brother’s to do some outside renovation work so I am alone for the day.
  • After my breakfast with the paper…which I can read all the way through as I have time, I turn to social media.
  • The blog needs attention and as it is Monday and my hosted Link Up there is some work to be done.
  • Later in the morning I will meditate as is my daily practice.
  • Morning tea might be quite late – but is often a cuppa with something homemade and I may read some of the magazine supplements from the weekend.
  • Art will be something else to do and perhaps a walk outside in the garden.

So, what do your Mondays look like? Ever had Monday-itis?

I am joining Alicia here this Monday for Open Slather and Kell here for Mummy Mondays.

Denyse.   Thanks for linking up today for Life This Week. Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.

* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.

* Please add just ONE post each week!

* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.

* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!

* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!

* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!

*Posts deemed by me, the owner of the blog and the link-up, to be unsuitable for my audience will be deleted without notice.

* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “Favourite Junk Food”.


Back To Routines. #LifeThisWeek 5/52. 2017.17.

Back To Routines. #LifeThisWeek 5/52. 2017.17.


Str- e- tch!

Oh, here we go, back to routines!

Is this how it is for you right now?

I chose this prompt for this week as it is, for most of us, back to whatever routines form our lives.

We have, in many cases, had some time off from the usual routines and now it’s back to real life!

In our case, it’s actually been interesting NOT to have to get back to real life because we are retired from paid work, family responsibilities now our kids have well and truly left home and needing to be anywhere, somewhere by a certain time.

However there are days where we need to attend appointments and in my husband’s case perform his volunteer roles but we can take our day at a more leisurely pace. I know I needed routine in my life as a mother and a professional and it was via lists, preparation of meals and clothes ready to wear and generally having a running diary both in my head and on the fridge calendar.

Now, there are some routines I need to follow: eating meals, going for a walk, doing the blog and so on but it is less-timetabled and more free. It has taken me some time to become used to it all but now…love life with fewer routines!!

This sums up me in quite a few ways! The old me really.

I am someone who enjoys helping others and I also did some on-line research about the value of routines and agree that they are good for consistency and a smoothly operating family life…as best as can happen! I love this site that is Australian based and has many, many more helpful ideas for families.

Why routines are good for parents
Routines take some effort to create. But once established, they have lots of benefits:
* They free up time for you to think about other things while you work.
* Regular and consistent routines can help you feel like you’re doing a good job as a parent.
* When things are hectic, routines can help you feel more organised, which lowers stress.
* A routine will help you complete your daily tasks efficiently.
* As children get better at following a routine by themselves, you can give fewer instructions and nag less.
* Routines free you from having to constantly resolve disputes and make decisions. If Sunday night is pizza night, no-one needs to argue about what’s for dinner. Source: here.

What does “Back To Routine” mean for you?

Have you had a break from routine?

Do you find you can keep to a routine most days?

Can you give yourself permission to vary the routine and have some extra fun?



Here are the rules for the link-up “Life This Week” is a link up that runs every Monday and remains live for until Thursday at 5 p.m.during that week.
* You can link up something old or new, just come on in.
* Please add just ONE post each week!
* Feel free to go with the prompt for the week to add your ‘take’ on the prompt. Or not.
* Please do stay to comment on my post as I always reply and it’s a bloggy thing to do!
* Check out what others are up to by leaving a comment because we all love our comments, right!
* Add a link back to this blog in your post somewhere. I don’t have a ‘button’ so a link in text is fine!
* THANK you for linking up today! Do come back next week. Next week’s prompt is “What’s Enough Money?”.

I link up here with Alicia on Mondays and here with Kell too! Pop over and link up too!


My Morning By A Principal. 366/285.

My Morning By A Principal. 366/285.

I was a school principal in NSW public schools for part of the 1990s and early 2000s. The role of principal has changed as far as added technologies, 24/7 communications, pressures from more entities along with direct and indirect accountability.  Essentially though, the day-to-day has not changed significantly. This account  is based on a typical morning of mine from my role then. I add, it was fun to write it and be a leader in NSW schools was a privilege not given to many, but I admit to being glad to have retirement status now. I hope you enjoy the read. Denyse.


7.30 a.m. Drive to School.

Do not think about school. Much. I tell myself. I listen to news & to traffic reports. Then comes the phone call from Executive Staff who cannot find a casual teacher for Class 5K. Think ‘oh no’ not 5K teacher away again. Oh. Tell Executive Staff member to keep on calling central casual booking office till they find someone.

8.00 a.m. Arrive at School.

Park car in space for ‘Principal’ after waiting for the service truck to pull out of there after delivering ice creams to the canteen. Get Out Of Car. Come on, you can do it! Mobile rings. “I found a teacher for 5K but it will be 10 a.m till he can get here”. See you in a minute.

8.10 a.m. Walk up Stairs to Main Building Where Office is.

Notice that bins have not been emptied. Again. Make note in admin book for cleaning supervisor to see. I place lunch in fridge and hope to see it again at lunchtime (that would be a record!!). Greet the early birds in the staffroom with warm smile as they chat about day ahead and ask “have you put your footy tips in for this week?” I will!

8.15 a.m. Unlock Office Door. The room looks exactly as it did at end of day yesterday at 6.00 p.m.

Start computer, after putting my bag down (finally!), and wait for the emails (that did not get checked at home this morning) to flood in. They do. Office Admin Staff pop in with snail mail and warm greetings. It is nice to start the day that way! Oh no. There’s more to the greeting. “A parent” from the “class we all know well” needs to see you stat.

8.20 a.m. Parent Meeting. Matters Discussed: attitude of teacher to ‘his child’ and ‘homework’.

Listen and make notes as well as reassure the parent that I will be following up with issues discussed with the teacher and will be back to him by the end of the day. Parent leaves reluctantly as he does like a good whinge chat but the bell for playground duty has sounded.


8.30 a.m. Playground Duty. Morning. Once A Week.

Ideally the principal would LOVE to be out and about meeting and greeting families as the children arrive at school but school-business of all kinds can take precedence inside. One morning on playground duty is one way of sharing the teachers’ duties more fairly and getting to experience ‘first-hand’ what is happening on that day, with the kids and the school. So this is why I did playground duty!

9.00 a.m. Morning Outside Assembly. Led by The Principal.

In this school of over 400 students it is the one time each child and teacher is together in the one space to start the day. Families do hang around a little to hear announcements which are kept brief but are encouraged to leave so the school day starts with less distraction and more concentration on the day ahead. As the children leave in lines, with the class teacher, I observe them and note that one of the support staff has taken 5K until the relief teacher gets here. Then….just as I am about to leave the area I am found. By my office manager. That’s her job!!

9.05 a.m – 11.00 a.m. First Of My Day’s Business Via The Messages, Phone Calls, People Waiting to See Me and MORE!

  • respond to requests from my office manager for signature on documents and checking first that all is there as needed
  • speak to waiting people who are there for reasons such as monitoring the back to base security alarms, wanting to tell me about a new product for student reporting, a sales rep from a school photography company and many more who often ‘turn up’. I choose to meet outside my office with some of these people as it can be more time efficient and I also may refuse to see someone unless there is a valid reason. Schools can be seen as ‘cash cows’ by some less reputable firms and I have full responsibility for financial management
  • new families waiting to meet me and to enrol their children. With or without an appointment, these people take priority and once my office manager has verified their eligibility via residence, age of child and more, then I invite them in and off we go on the process. This can take from 15 minutes to an hour.
  • phone calls and emails from families, my superiors, other schools, the staff and so on are managed as they come in (or can be left until later) and are done in between face to face meetings.
  • moving around the school to visit classrooms is a priority but cannot always occur when more urgent business comes up. However, there is a plan to see at least one class per day and to interact with the children as much as possible.
  • when out and about around the school I observe the physical resources of the school making note of any potential repairs required or areas which may need closer maintenance and discuss this with the two days a week grounds person. Of course, if he is not in, I note it in the communication book and we chat once he is back. Anything urgent, I place safety barriers/tape around the area and ensure the staff and children know about it and report it to the company responsible for maintenance of our school.
  • I may have time to visit the ‘loo when I am out of the office and this is important!!
  • I may receive a visit from class reps who want to show me their ‘lovely work’ and this is always a reason to stop, and invite the children in.
  • As I am the only non-teaching executive in the school, I try hard not to interrupt the teaching day of my fellow executive staff and wait for them to be on face to face release for our meetings. Each Monday we get together over lunch for an executive meeting cover all the issues relevant to the school and wider education community.
  • I may be called, via the internal phone system to a classroom where a child is having some behavioural issues and it may escalate. The policies I introduced via our school management will help here, but in the end it may be ‘just me’ and perhaps a member of the support staff to help calm a situation. Each situation must be dealt with fairly and with no or minimal risk to the students and ourselves. I have had to, in the past, ensure a rescue of students from areas out of bounds including up on a roof and escaping outside the grounds. Fortunately each of these was resolved safely but they did require a LOT of follow up and in some cases, a new program, class or even school for the student. That is an extreme outcome.


Note Paper with yellow pencil

11.00 a.m. – 11.30 a.m. Morning Break For Students and Staff.

We chose to add 10 minutes to this break and take 10 minutes from the longer lunch break once schools were able to make internal timetable changes themselves. This one gives us 10 minutes eating, then 20 minutes at play and gives all teachers at least a 10 minute break for self-care. I have learned to grab my cuppa a few minutes before the bell, sit with my office staff to recover  chat about the morning and prepare for the rest of the day/week. I like this time to talk with teachers or just listen! Sometimes its their only time to connect with more of the staff and with me. A lot gets covered and there are noticeboards with info as well as pigeonholes for them to check the latest…and of course, emails. 


11.30 a.m. – Midday. Children Assemble Outside Their Rooms and Return to Class.

I spend some time outside while this is happening as it is another way of connecting with the students and I am scanning the areas to ensure that it is safe, all the children are back where they should be and that teachers have arrived to take their classes. On time. It is always my hope anyway!! 

Rather than go straight back to the office, this is time for another walk around these large grounds where I can ascertain that the repairs which were supposed to have been completed to the fence after the last storm have been done. I see that there are classes which stayed outside to complete their fitness after recess and it’s good to know the all-weather sport court is used! It cost a fortune!

Next time I will post about My Afternoon By A Principal.

So, how did you find reading this?

Are you surprised by anything in this?

Does it seem like a role you might enjoy?

Let me know in the comments!


education 150

Joining with Kylie Purtell and friends over here for I Blog On Tuesdays.