January 2021

I definitely benefited from writing these round up posts last year so I’ve decided that I’m going to continue doing them in 2021. I know some people have enjoyed reading them, which is great news, but they also give me a sense of purpose and provide me with the chance to reflect on my months as they go by.

Let’s get started then, shall we?


  1. Improve my quality of teaching and develop teaching knowledge further

I said this last year, but this is something I work on all of the time. From CPD sessions, teacher groups / chats, developing my own materials and more. This month has been no exception!

I have bought new software (which my students and I all really like!) and I have also bought some new materials – Key words for IELTS, Speak out Advanced and Raise Up!

I’m thoroughly enjoying being a part of the TEFL Hub that is run by Teresa and Simon over on Facebook. Although I’ve only joined one meet-up, due to my schedule, it was both insightful and amusing!

Overall, it’s been a positive and successful month with both new and returning students.


2. Keep up with my language studies

YES! Thankfully, I have managed to attend 2 Chinese lessons and… my first ever Spanish lesson, which I thoroughly enjoyed (and you can read about it here). I have been using Duolingo every day for Chinese, Spanish and Swedish, and am picking up some new phrases here and there.

I won’t lie though, I have found it really hard to keep up with my Chinese and I hope I’ll feel more optimistic about it in February (and beyond!).


3. Be healthier

I think I’ve done well here. I have lost a bit of weight, I’m not eating crisps or chocolate and I have finally started running again. I was tired, achy and a little stressed throughout January and this made it tough to stay focused. I’ve cooked lots of new dishes (Korean, Japanese and Indian styles) and I’m hoping to stay on track.

I’m also feeling really inspired by a few of my friends on Instagram, so shout out to Rosie, Katie and Lucy (if you happen to be reading this!)


4. Read 50 books

I’ve surprised myself this month by reading TEN books! I read the entire Wallander series and loved all but the final book. I have struggled over the last few days, as the final book was a little boring and lacked the real thrill that his other books contain. I also think it was poorly translated and edited, which made it hard to follow.

I don’t know what I’ll read next as all of my Nesbo books went into storage so you have some decent crime recommendations, please send them my way!

Can I read another 10 in February?


5. Stop spending and save

Hmm… I haven’t done too badly this month and I have definitely been able to save some money! But I’ve needed new materials and clothes, and Jonas and I treated ourselves to a new iPad (well, his first one!). I’ve been contemplating it for months and since we had some gift vouchers and a bonus, we agreed to go halves. To be honest, I’m obsessed with it and have been able to design some awesome things in procreate.

Stay tuned…


6. Work consistently but know when to take time off

I have worked a lot this month, but I have been good at saying no to working all day on Saturdays and refusing to work on Sundays (give me a break, right?!). I still haven’t got into the habit of switching off in the evening though. Even now, it’s 9:15pm and I should be calming down for the evening.


7. Stop stressing

No! Oh dear, Claire. January was a terrible month for this. Every little thing has been stressful from work to money, my appearance to my health. I’m cross with myself for allowing the stress to take over and I’m planning on ‘resetting’ my brain before I go to bed tonight, so I can wake up fresh for February / Monday.


8. Blog goals

I wrote 6/7 blog posts in January and received more views / visitors than January 2020, so I’m very pleased with that. I definitely want to write more EFL reviews this year (books, software and materials) and have a few in the works at the moment.

As always, thank you to anyone who reads, likes and / or shares my blog posts. I really do appreciate it. *virtual hug*

Want to catch up on January’s blogs? Here you go!

One year as English with Claire

I’m a little late in writing this post, but April started the one year anniversary of English with Claire! When the pandemic hit the UK last year I was extremely concerned about my job as I was the newest member of the team, and the company had admitted they weren’t sure what our futures would… Continue Reading →

Resources for learning Chinese

The reason I added this section was because of the university semester breaks, which left me without lessons for three weeks, and so I decided to see what else was available. This is how I found Richard’s Chinese Language…

April Chinese Study Plan

I really have forgotten so many grammar points and it’s completely embarrassing. For example, how do I use ‘了’ or ‘的’ correctly?

March 2021

Time has flown by and Spring is fully underway here in Wales. Little lambs are everywhere, the daffodils are popping up all over the place and, for this week at least, we’ve had some beautiful weather.

A Chinese Immersion Weekend

If you’ve been avoiding movies or books in your target language, this is the perfect opportunity to start. Or if, like me, you’ve been too worried about having a language exchange, do it now! I promise, it’s not as scary as you may think.


9. Travel again!

Oh yes. Going up to the coast of Llandudno for a food shop and vaccine jab really was an eventful trip!

Jokes aside, it was so nice to get in the car and drive to the sea, and I miss being able to do that whenever I like. We’re not going out of the village for anything else, but on that occasion we really needed to do a big food shop (after Christmas).


10. It’s a secret.

It’s a secret 😉


Okay, and that’s about it for January! Do you have anything to look forward to in February? As we’re in lockdown, not much happens in this little Welsh village so I’m just going to focus on my goals, save my money and think of warmer spring days that will hopefully arrive earlier than usual!

Feel free to share your January stories with me in the comments!

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