A year ago my life was all over the place. I was newly divorced, the marital home (which I was still living in) had been sold and I’d been signed off work with depression. I didn’t know where I was going to live, how I was going to afford it or what my future at work held for me. It was all too scary I tried to ignore it which, of course, didn’t work!

Now, I have a little rented place of my own which I am far more comfortable in than I ever was in the marital home. I am at university, something I never thought I’d achieve.
But, more importantly and somewhat sad is that I can count my true friends on one hand. I’m not that sad about it though as the friends I have are the ones I’m keeping a very tight hold of 🙂


So, I have an essay to submit by 4pm next Wednesday. Is it nearly finished? Final read through needs doing? Just a quick spell-check and it’s all done? Errr, nope! I have some words down, ideas floating round my head which I can’t scratch out onto the page!

I do have a load of stuff round the place done, I have tidied and decluttered a kitchen cupboard, ironed and re-hung my living room curtains, done 2 loads of washing, some shopping, loads of Facebook and Twitter posts but not a huge amount of essay stuff! I do now feel like a proper student though.

Until today, the curtains that are now hanging in my living room were never going to make a reappearance. They were here when I moved into the flat and are not my taste at all. They do go quite well with my sofa which I moved the other day when I should have been writing my essay! This and the fact that I still haven’t chosen a pair I do like has meant they are now hanging back up. I ironed them too so they don’t look too bad at all.

My step dad told me on Facebook that my place will be sparkling by Tuesday and he could well be right but I really must get this damn essay done! Any hints to get my butt in the chair and my typing head on would be great! I wish I could change my head like Worzel Gummidge, essay writing would be so much easier! Hmm, definitely just aged myself there, now, what else can I dust…….

Can’t wait to try this with gluten free pasta

A Little Thought for Food

This is a classic Italian soup, full of many different textures and vegetables. But it’s also a little bit more than a soup – it’s almost a main course that you can eat with crusty bread for lunch. The idea behind most soups is to cook them as quickly as possible to keep all the freshness in. This dish is a prime example of needing to cook all the ingredients gently first in the oil and then adding the stock while it’s boiling. This way you’re not stewing it for hours and losing all the goodness out of the vegetables. The thickener of this soup, although it’s got tomato purée and all the vegetables in there, is the starch from the pasta, so don’t panic if the soup looks a bit thin at first.

Serves 4 and it’s Gluten Free too!


  • Olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and…

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Come to Rochester for Santa Charity Fun Run

I’d be there except I’ll be training in Canterbury and can’t get back in time!

Mark Reckless MP

Tomorrow Rochester plays host to our now annual ‘Santa Run’. Each year in the run-up to Christmas several hundred people, and hopefully next year if not this thousands, hire Santa Claus outfits and ‘parade’ through Rochester High Street and the Castle gardens and area.

Some run and some walk the relatively short route, but all have great fun, and it is just £10. It is an extraordinary sight to see so many people of both genders, from Medway and from further afield, and of all ages kitted out in red and white with fluffy white beards.

As well as bringing increasing publicity and trade to Rochester – the following weekend is the Christmas Dickens festival extending into the Christmas Fair period – the Santa run raises money for the Medway Rotary charities.

For pictures from previous years have a look at

You can enter at any time up until…

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So, yesterday was my appointment with Avanta. I HAVE to attend this so although I was off Uni due to a migraine, I dosed myself up with more painkillers and headed out to this appointment. I wasn’t looking forward to it, I am pretty good at looking for work myself and don’t really like being told what to do! My mum would agree with that wholeheartedly, I am sure. 

Anyway, I turned up and instant gloom descended on me, that has never happened to me before, my mood literally matched the room. Imagine if you can, a long room full of rows of tables, desks for the staff on one side and banks of computers for us to use, talk about soul destroying. I got irrationally irritated with all the signs they had up with their straplines all saying how they could help you. Thankfully, I can’t remember anything of what they said! 

5 of us were taken into a room to be told what this programme was about, I was the only woman so thought it quite amusing when he asked if I was Sarah, I felt like saying “No, I’m John” see, really not taking it seriously!

I know that the DWP say this is a service to help people on JSA and ESA to get back into work but I heard little of that really as they guy talking at us felt the need to mention several times that we could end up with sanctions if we didn’t follow the rules. That was the main thrust, I felt anyway as that’s the only bit I can really remember now. We had to then fill in some forms and do an induction thing online. 

By now, I was feeling even worse, thoroughly demoralised and although I hope it wasn’t meant that way, the tone of the induction programme was very patronising. 

Don’t stop reading though as there is some positive news coming now, my advisor was lovely, really friendly and chatty. I felt much better once I left. She assured me she would do her utmost to find me work around my studies which is good. I emailed her my CV which they can also help me rejig which is a good thing as it is 20 years old (when did that happen?!?!)

I will update you on this as I go through the work programme but I will also bore you to death about my course too, don’t worry. Oh, on that subject, anyone fancy writing an essay for me? lol

Promoting restorative justice

I have a growing interest in restorative justice since I first heard about it on Twitter. Now I am studying criminal justice studies so have a great excuse to look into RJ further.

Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

The concept of restorative justice has been around for sometime.

The idea is fairly straightforward. In the criminal justice context, restorative processes give victims the chance to tell offenders the real impact of their crime, to get answers to their questions about why they became vicitms of a crime, and an apology. Restorative justice holds offenders to account for what they have done, helps them  understand the real impact of what they’ve done, to take responsibility and make amends.

Restorative processes are also increasingly being used in schools, care homes and the wider community to address conflict, build understanding and strengthen relationships with young people. In these contexts it is also known by the names ‘restorative approaches’ and ‘restorative practices’.

Research from the Ministry of Justice suggests that restorative justice can help victims come to terms with what has happened to them and can reduce the rate of reoffending by…

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Talking and other stuff

On Tuesday, I am delivering my part of a presentation to the class. I am working with 2 other students and we have to stand in front of the others and talk, not my favourite thing! Well, I like talking but not like that.

I have researched a number of things that are reasons against having cameras in a courtroom and have a great friend coming over tomorrow to listen to (and time) me delivering it. I only have 3 minutes to deliver it in but when I’m nervous I do gabble a little which could mean I run out of things to say before my time’s up.

I have put this out of my mind now, have to, have an essay due on the 28th, lots still to do for that like research and write it!

People make jokes about students being lazy but believe me, it is far from the truth! I am studying at half the pace of a full time student, don’t work, have no kids and I am finding keeping up is a bit of a struggle on occasion. Next time a knackered person tells you they’re a student don’t assume they’ve been out on the lash, they might just have been working on 2 or 3 essays!

Watch this space, I have a jewellery making kit on it’s way to me. I might share pictures of thinks I’ve made, if they’re not too crap!


Well, I survived the job centre, they have referred me to a provider that will help me find work around my university studies. This provider tried ringing me twice but didn’t leave a message so I only discovered it was them thanks to Google. I called them back only to be told that I couldn’t arrange an appointment that way and I’d have to wait for them to call me again! When they called back yesterday, even the guy arranging the appointment agreed it was a ridiculous waste of time!
Putting them to the back of my mind this weekend, got to do some research about putting TV cameras in courtrooms and come up with arguments against with 2 other students so we can present it to the rest of our class, eek!