Right, before I begin I have a confession to make. The healthy eating and getting fitter is off to a slow start, and when I say slow, I mean slower than a snail’s pace. In fact, much, much slower than a snail on a bad day! The good news is that a Percy Pig has not touched my lips. The bad news is that my end of year gifts from the littlees in my class included enough chocolate to fill a Bag for Life carrier. I have given away a box of Thorntons but the rest are just begging to be eaten. So far I’ve demolished bags of Twirls, jelly beans and Gummi Bears and stuffed the empty wrappers down the back of the sofa to hide the evidence. Am I a hopeless case or what!

I’ve found a possible yoga class that’s for beginners that I’m tempted to go to. Now to find someone to go with me. I don’t know about you but I’m a right old wuss when it comes to trying anything new and the thought of walking through a door to a room full of strangers terrify me. I’ve done it before when I went to Night School – aww, remember Night School in the old days- but I didn’t have to wear yoga type clothes to learn French for beginners!

Yay! It’s the school holidays and I’m a lady of leisure for six long lovely weeks. Getting loads of holiday is definitely a perk of the job. One of the reasons I became a teaching assistant way back in 1999 was so that I could work but be around during the holidays for the boys. Living in rural Kent back then meant finding childcare during the school breaks was near on impossible, so working in a school made perfect sense. It was and still is a brilliant job, but sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice and should I have been a little more ambitious with my career path? Have I always taken the easy option?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a ballerina. I blame Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes for putting that idea into my head. Despite all the lessons and the tutus my mum took hours making, a ballerina I was never going to be one. When I was 14 I decided to be a skinhead instead! At secondary school I wanted to be an English teacher but the careers lady suggested applying for a job at C&A, British Home Stores or Fine Fare. The thought that I might end up wearing a nylon overall horrified me and I told her politely where she could stick her suggestions!



Not having a clue what to do with my life, I did what any sensible girl would do and do the same thing as your friends have decided to do! So off to college I went and combined A level Social Biology, Home Economics, O level psychology and sociology with a pre-nursing course. I wish then that I’d been told to take O level maths after failing my CSE at school as that would have been very useful in later life. (I spent all my maths lessons writing steamy letters under my desk to a boy called Ali who was at boarding school on the Isle of Wight!)

Two years later I’d failed one A level – guess which –  and served countless cups of tea to patients at Frenchay Hospital and the BRI in Bristol whilst gaining experience of what nursing was all about. Stole a boyfriend from a friend whilst she had glandular fever – oops – got friendly with a student who just happened to be on day release from open prison, and to this day I believe to have been Dirty Den from Eastenders and had a Saturday job at Boots, where I thought I was a cut above the rest of the Saturday girls as I worked on the pharmacy counter and had to log all the sales of Dr Collis Brown mixture which contained Morphine. What power I had  to refuse possible addicts!

boots the chemist

And so I became a nurse. Not because I saw it as my vocation, but because again it was what my friends were doing. I took the easy option and copied them. The most exciting prospect of training to be a nurse was that I was going to live a number 9 bus ride from central London and that I’d get to wear white tights and white shoes like American nurses.

Had I made the wrong career choice? Surprisingly not. I look back at those three years training at Charing Cross hospital with great fondness. I wasn’t very good at the theory side but I loved my time on the wards with the patients. We got paid a salary back then and as the nursing home was cheap to live in, I had a very healthy bank balance and enjoyed shopping trips up west, fab holidays and fab nights out. I had some great jobs once I qualified but what I regret is that I had no ambition to specialise in anything. As always, I was happy to just coast along without putting myself out by training to do anything other than do the job I was doing.


A staff nurse at last. Me and my proud parents. I love the sign behind that asks smokers in the hospital to use the ashtrays!

I didn’t regret giving up nursing when son number two came along, but there is a part of me that regrets it now. I was once a qualified someone. Today I’m an unqualified someone. I pity those poor nurses on the ward I was on with the dreaded lurgy having to listen to me reminisce about ” Back in the day when I was a nurse we used to…….” I think I actually saw one or two of them yawning!

So here I am twenty four years later doing a job I love but feeling in some way that I  that I’ve missed out and that I’m unfulfilled. If I’d had that maths qualification I might have become a teacher. Why didn’t I go along to night school then and get that GCSE? Was it self-doubt that I could hack it, or just laziness? Anyway, I’ve missed that boat now and unless I could be a teacher in Finland, I don’t really think I’d like to be a teacher in 2017. It’s a hard, stressful job and the pay doesn’t reflect all that you have to do. Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy workwise, but just a little annoyed with myself for not taking risks.

Oh for goodness sake Brigitte enough of being serious and regretful, lets lighten things up and  take a look at what I’ve wanted to be and what, in a fantasy world, I’d like to be.


English teacher

Au Pair or Nanny and get to travel the world

Holiday rep

A housekeeper in a big house

A house mistress in a boarding school

Run a vineyard in  France

Run gites or a chambre d’hote in France ……..hence the french lessons at night school

Cupcake business……. I have a box of business cards for a business that never was

Run a teashop or cafe preferably by the sea in Cornwall. I even found the perfect premises for sale in Newlyn. It’s now a very successful seafood restaurant and every time I see it on Tripadvisor, a little bit of me mourns for my cafe that never was.

Work in John Lewis

Work in Seasalt

A bed and breakfast owner

A bespoke holiday organiser (is there such a thing?)

A tour guide of Bristol

A hotel inspector

Blogging as a business

Work in a cookery school for children

A novelist. I have that novel in my head ticking away. If only I knew how to write one!

Well, that’s it for this week. I’m off to a garden centre where they serve particularly delicious cake and sell Annie Sloan paint. Until next time!

Brigitte xx