A Round Up: November 2020


November, where did you go?


I must admit, I wasn’t expecting November to be a good’un but it has actually been somewhat surprising for many reasons. I still cannot believe that 2020 is nearly over and I cannot wait for my December round up. It’s going to be intense. But, before I jump ahead, let’s take a little stroll through my November, shall we?

I’ll miss this lovely jungle room!

  • Be a better teacher

Although November has been a lot less exciting than October’s teaching review (read here!), I’ve still enjoyed my teaching. An amazing couple stopped their lessons because they went back to work and my regular students became busier with their own jobs, so my schedule was emptier than ever and I felt so lost.

The upside of this, however, was that I had a lot more time for reading, connecting with other teachers and preparing additional materials. I had time to make even better resources and lesson plans for my students and think about how best to execute them. I have really enjoyed the additional time to be able to do these things and it has certainly paid off.

I challenged my students, which in turn challenged me too, and I feel as though I was able to get to know them a bit better through these lessons. They showed me what they were really capable of and how well they dealt with a much higher level of English, not just couple of new words.

I also had the opportunity to sign up to, and attend, a few CPD sessions. Not as much as I would have liked to attend, but I did go to two that were both insightful and interesting.

A few of my November teaching blogs can be found here:

November’s teaching blogs

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  • Continue being healthy

UGH! Claire, what’s your problem?

I’ve tried to work out. I have tried. I promise you. I have.
But? I have been eating like a complete piggy and I feel horrible. I absolutely will not be starting my 30s as a fit and healthy young lady, but, I’ll keep trying! I promise!


  • Work on my languages

Yes x 10! I have absolutely been working on my Chinese! I would love to say that I’ve been studying two or three languages, like my 10 year old student has, but I haven’t. Despite being incredibly busy, I have made a few hours each week to study Chinese and have continued with my one hour lesson every Friday.

My teacher is absolutely amazing and we’ve decided to change over to a Taiwan-based text book so that I can re-learn traditional Chinese characters. I’m really excited! The topics are easier, but having to study traditional characters after 10+ years is immensely difficult.

I have also been using Duolingo for 1-2 hours a day as well. I have found the ‘leadership board’ to be really motivating and it’s helping me review basic words, phrases and grammar! If you’re on Duolingo, let’s follow each other!

P.s. Learning Chinese weeks 7/8 blog post is coming soon, I promise!

How it’s been going so far:

Learning Mandarin Chinese Online 3.0

And I’m fascinated by words that can be used for two completely different scenarios. Although, that is definitely going to be confusing for me.

Learning Mandarin Chinese Online 2.0

As some of you will know, I have recently started taking Mandarin lessons again. (Previous blog post here!) The last time I had a lesson was back in 2015 when I was studying for my MA Chinese Studies at Sheffield University and in all honesty, I didn’t enjoy them that much* so this had always… Continue Reading →

Learning Mandarin Chinese Online

Over the following days I practised my new vocabulary on homemade flashcards and the Duolingo app and I was thoroughly enjoying it. I was learning important, useful new words and I pushed on to prepare for my next lesson!


  • Work consistently (and if possible, full time)

November is the first time this year that I’ve actually had a break. I have still worked 6 days a week, but it’s not been as full-on as every other month. In all honesty, I missed being so busy! However, it did give me the chance to read, focus on my Chinese and do a few extra things like arts and crafts and I’ve been writing a lot more often as well – which has been super!

I have been reaching out to potential students and signing up for other platforms, as well as applying for some writing jobs to help me stay busy over the festive period. So far, December is looking busy and I’m excited for it!


  • Reach 7,000 blog views

Well, well! This is the interesting part. This year I have received my highest number of visitors and highest views of my blog. More than any other year since I started this blog in India, in 2013, and I’m ecstatic! I’m so grateful to my followers, my readers and to anyone who has shared or recommended my blog!

I honestly do try to keep my blog as real as possible, without sugar-coating too much. I know people don’t want doom and gloom, but I also want to be honest about my experiences and how I deal with them.

I haven’t hit 7,000 views yet – but there’s still time!


  • Calm down

November wasn’t fantastic for this either, but things were looking much brighter as Jonas received the go-ahead to work from home for a few months. This has meant we have been able to move and finally live somewhere quiet, calm and homely. A big first for us!

Jonas and I also went out for a lovely meal last Friday and it was really nice just to feel normal again for once! We had beers, fish and chips and a really yummy dessert! Thanks to Tir a mor in Llanrwst.

It was also so bloody great to spend a day with my mum. I got my eyebrows done for the first time in a year, we had coffee and wandered around the shops. It was brilliant!


  • Stop buying things I really don’t need (and save money!)

Yes! Once again I have been sensible with my money and haven’t bought anything unnecessarily. Okay, I bought some birthday decorations and treated myself to a final ‘morning out’ in Manchester with bubble tea and bubble waffles. Cheers to Ohayo tea!


  • Enjoy being me

I have definitely been more appreciative of myself in the last few weeks. I have struggled with my mental health, I’m not going to lie about that, but I have made an effort to sleep more and tell myself that I am doing the best I can. I genuinely believe that I have worked myself silly this year for all the right reasons, and I am reaping the rewards now (or starting to!).

The only thing I’m not happy with is my weight. But hey, I could be skinny and broke, or not-skinny and have a job. I could be skinny and sick, or chubby and healthy? It’s all swings and roundabouts and I cannot manage it all. Perhaps next year?


So, what has December got in store for me?

  • HOLIDAY TIME! I am absolutely, 100% treating myself to two-weeks off over Christmas. I have worked 6-7 days a week, 10-16 hours a day for many of them, and I’m exhausted. I can’t wait to just chill out and not think about anything for a while.
  • Carry on with my Chinese lessons. I’m super excited about this and am hoping to make more progress once we have fully moved!
  • I’m hoping to find / meet some new students, but December really is going to be about winding down and recharging for me. After this crazy year, I know I deserve it!
  • And finally, the big three-zero is almost here. I can’t believe it and I’m so excited!

Do you have any goals for December?

Are you working hard for the next 4 weeks? Or starting to wind down? Do you have any ‘last minute’ goals you want to achieve before the end of this insane year?

Feel free to message me over on Twitter or leave a comment here!

My mum to the rescue, as always!

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