Posted by: Nici | 28 October, 2012

Social work in the news again…

Feeling rather undermined as a social worker student this morning. I may not be of elite academic status having gone to Oxford or Cambridge, but does that make me less suitable to become a social worker? I have stacks of life experience which I feel enables me to be empathetic and allows me to help and understand situations better. I passed my second year practice placement with a ‘first’, yet I don’t have any A-levels and entered university having completed the ‘Access to HE Diploma’. Social work is not an ‘easy option’ – it’s a degree which questions everything you have ever thought, with academic work & practice placements. As a third year student, I can safely say that the last two and a bit years have exhausted me both physically and mentally. Being a social worker is an incredibly difficult profession. You are working with the most vulnerable people in society and seeing things which breaks your heart. But amongst this, you have to make decisions which affects people’s lives, and this isn’t easy. How this can possibly be an ‘easy option’ is unbelievable and a strange thing to say. Maybe some people think that, but they won’t make the third year of study if that’s what they think initially. Yes, there are some social workers who are not as committed as one would like and as a result there are tragic consequences, but it is unfair to tar every social worker with the same brush. In my limited experience over the past couple of years, all the social workers I have come into contact with have been fantastic and love their job.

Oh and before I sign off, how the heck has the social work profession managed to get dragged into the Jimmy Saville investigation? Oh yes, that’s why – because it’s easy to blame the profession.

Posted by: Nici | 23 June, 2012

Essential books for the Social Work degree

So I have just finished a very stressful, busy 2nd year at uni. I am now starting my 10,000 word Major Undergraduate Project, with the hope of getting the research and some of the writing done over the summer break. Whilst going through the enormous amount of books that I have accumulated during my two years at uni, I realised that I use the same ones again and again, and therefore thought I would share these books with other current or future students.

The Social Work Companion by Neil Thompson and Sue Thompson (Palgrave) has been with me since the begining of my first year. Covers everything social work in a clear, easy to read way. During my second year 100 day placement I found the references to what National Occupational Standards key roles were reflected throughout the book extremely useful when completing my portfolio. I consider this book to be an essential starting point.

Theory and Practice by Siobhan Maclean and Rob Harrison (Kirwin Maclean Associates) was recommended to me my social work friends on Twitter when I was stressing about relating theories to practice. This book has guided me through all of my second year assignments and my placement portfolio and I have recommended it to my fellow students who all agree what a great book it is. Written very simply and clearly in a manner which makes it very easy to find what you’re looking for, it has been the first place I look when needed help with theories.

Sociology and Social Work by Jo Cunningham and Steve Cunningham (Learning Matters) is again, an easy book to read and points you in the right direction for all things sociology.

Blackstone’s Guide to the Mental Health Act 2007 by Paul Bowen (Oxford University Press) doesn’t come cheap, but if you are interested in Mental Health law then this book is great. It explains the history and rationale behind the act in a way which is easy to read and understand. It includes the Mental Health Act 1983 and the Mental Capacity Act 2005 in full, so covers all bases.

Social Work Law by Alison Brammer (Pearson Education Ltd) was on our reading list in year one for our Legal Context of Social Work module. I still use this book for reference and clarification in all law based assignments as once again, it is easy to read and understand.

Modern Social Work Theory by Malcolm Payne (Palgrave) is a classic. More complicated to read than the ‘Theory and Practice’ book mentioned earlier, but great for more in-depth analysis of theories and their relation to practice.

Surviving your social work placement by Robert Lomax, Karen Jones, Sarah Leigh and Chris Gay (Palgrave) is a useful little pocket sized book which I read through and completed the exercises prior to my second year 100 day placement. It put my mind at ease, as the prospect of my placement was a little daunting and gave me things to consider and ask whilst on placement. Cracking little book to stick in your bag and dip in and out off.

Hope this helps! x

Posted by: Nici | 4 March, 2012

My favourite shop!

Those of you who follow me on Twitter will know all about my favourite little shop, French Quarter. Crammed full of gifts, jewellery, bits for the home and furniture, it really is gorgeous! Here’s my wish list of my favourite things in there at the moment. ❤

Find them on twitter at @Frenchquarter1









Yesterday my local newspaper published the below article which prompted me to blog about a personal situation I have recently experienced. Whilst I appreciate that some parents do lavish expensive gifts on their children as a means of showing love, does it apply to everyone? As a busy parent who is a full time student at university, my life can be very busy at times. I thought I would treat my 15yr son to say thank you for being so supportive during my first year at uni and as an ‘I’m sorry’ present for being so busy. This treat was an xbox 360 with a couple of games. This was the first big present I have ever brought him outside of Christmas and birthday and I wanted to spoil him. Most people think that this was a lovely thing to do, and didn’t in anyway substitute a loving family life. However, there have been some people who quite obviously disapproved.

So now I am wondering why I feel the need to justify myself.. I worked for 13 years in a job I disliked because it had child friendly hours so I was able to pick my son up from school every day and spend all evening with him. I have been single for quite a while now, by my own choice, so that I could dedicate all my time and energy purely to my son. It wasn’t until he was 14 that I decided to go back to education to get the training I needed to have a job that I wanted to do, not one that simply suited my lifestyle at the time.

My son and I are blessed with a wonderful relationship, to the envy of his friends, three of which call me ‘mum’ and turn to me with their problems. We spend a lot of time talking, laughing and just simply spending time together as a family. He pretty much tells me everything, very much to the amusement of my dad, and turns to me and listens to me when he has problems. He even rings me on his way home from school for a chat and to tell me about his day! ❤

So, am I a bad parent buying my son’s love with an xbox? Or am I simply showing him how much I appreciate his support, understanding and the relationship we have?

Are our children being spoiled with expensive gifts and designer clothes, at the expense of a loving family life?

Posted by: Nici | 10 September, 2011

Summer is very nearly over

So after four months off from uni, suddenly I am back on Friday. I can’t quite tell you how I have filled my time during these four months, all I remember is for most of it I was bored! But now with Friday looming ever closer, I’m reflecting on the huge workload which awaits me as a second year social work student. We have a Children and Families module which consists of a 3,000 word assignment and a 3,000 word group presentation. A 3,000 word assignment for our Context and Practices of Social Work module, a 3,000 word assignment for our Principles and Skills of Social Work module and a 3,000 word assignment Social Work with Adults module. This is all alongside an 100 day placement in which we have a HUGE portfolio to complete with a number of tasks, observations and various pieces of paperwork to complete. Our booklist for the above modules is in excess of ten pages long resulting in needing a new book shelf for the books I consider essential.

I am looking forward to the challenge and believe that if I am organised and stay behind at placement every day to complete my paperwork then I should just about cope! For those of you who are not regular readers of my blog, I am also a lone parent of a teenager who is taking his GCSE’s this year so it is crucial that I balance my uni workload equally with my home responsibilities to ensure that my son gets all the help and support he needs to successfully pass his GCSE’s. Thankfully, he is very understanding of my uni work and we tend to sit down and do out homework together!

This year will be hard, but I must focus on the end result – becoming a social worker. I am hoping to find the time to keep my blog updated of how I am progressing and tidbits of info which other students might find useful. I am determined to still have a social life, as all work and no play… Well you know the rest 🙂

Posted by: Nici | 10 September, 2011

Grassmarket Blood by Bronwen Winter Phoenix

From the first line of the ‘Author Disclaimer’ – I am a teller of tall tales – you knew that this was going to be a good book. As an avid reader of Bronwen’s first two books, I could not wait to get started on GRASSMARKET BLOOD. Fast paced from the beginning, I was absorbed instantly into the secret world hidden in the streets of Edinburgh. A thriller full of sinister suspense with a touch of romance and quick wit, it kept me turning the pages. Likeable characters with their own quirky traits, made Grassmarket Blood very readable as well as gripping. Once again Bronwen has written an extremely brilliant, fantastic book, which didn’t disappoint. Bronwen’s stories just gets better and better.

Posted by: Nici | 17 March, 2011



Thursday 17th March 2011

Outside my window ~ It’s 22.18 so it’s dark

I am thinking ~ I really should get of the computer and go to bed!

I am thankful for ~ My son. He is the most wonderful thing to ever happen to me.

From the kitchen ~ A cup of tea shortly

I am wearing ~ Skinny jeans, purple top

I am reading ~ Lots of text books for uni

I am hoping ~ That the people around me who are unwell start to feel better soon

I am creating ~ Nothing at the moment 😦 Haven’t got time for much creative time anymore…

I am hearing ~ Slash’s Top Ten Guitar Heroes on the TV

Around the house ~ Books and bits of paper relating to the Social Work degree I am studying and voluntary paperwork

One of my favorite things ~ Marshmellows

A few plans for the rest of the week ~ Uni work, spending time with my son, see my friends

Posted by: Nici | 14 March, 2011

Nikki Sixx you rock!

So as a bit of a rock chick in my youth, my love for music has stayed with me. Seeing Guns n’ Roses at Wembley Stadium in the 90’s was certainly one of the best concerts I have been to and I still listen to their music now as well as lots of other old and new rock. My respect for Slash prompted me to read his book (of the same name) which then prompted me to read Nikki Sixx: Heroin Diaries. For some reason Motley Crue had never really registered on my radar so after reading (and loving) the book I thought I would see what their music was like. Well all I can say is that it is rock-tastic. Nikki Sixx has now become my new idol so imagine my surprise when I posted the photo below to him on Twitter showing my new Motley Crue t-shirt and he replied!


It’s so nice to see that even with over 120,000 followers, he makes time to reply to his fans. Thank you Nikki, you made my day! 😀


Posted by: Nici | 17 October, 2010


My 14 year old son has inspired me to write this post as it’s just been one of those weeks, but first a little background. I have been a lone parent since my son was 2 years old, I used to work part time at an insurance brokers but decided that this was not the career I wanted to be in forever, so I took the decision to go back to college in 2009 to do an Access Course to give me the qualifications I needed to go to university. I passed the course and in September this year I started university studying the Social Work BA Hons Degree, with a view to working in Child Protection when I have graduated. I am only in university two days a week so am home when my son gets home from school and am studying when he is out with his friends at the weekend or whilst he is at school. I believe that I have got the baance right and certainly my son seems happy.

So imagine my surprise when I get a phone call from his school this week to ask me if I had been leaving my son by himself for the past two weeks whilst I was at uni! After assuring the school that I had in fact been at home and informing them that I was at uni as a student social worker, they were happy that I would deal with this statement with my son when he got home from school. Basically what had happened is my son had lost his school tie and instead of buying a new one with the money I had given him, he decided to spend it on food and borrow a tie from the Head of Year. When my son was approached by this teacher asking for the tie back, the *only* excuse he could think of was to say that I had deserted him so he wouldn’t get into trouble. After explaining to him that he cannot lie about things like that, he accepted that he was wrong and apologised not only to me but also the school.

Then on Friday, whilst he was at youth club, I recived a phone call from his girlfriend telling me that my son had been injured and I had to go there immediately. Once I arrived I was met by the youth workers and was told that he was listening to a live band, jumping around in the mosh pit and got pushed and accidently head butted one of this friends. An ambulance had been called and there was talk of him possibly needing stitches as he had cut his head. When the paramedics arrived, they checked him over and due to his paleness and feeling nauseous, recommended that he should go to A&E. So off he goes in the ambulance with me following behind. After 3 hours we were finally seen and luckily no stitches were needed, they simply glued him back up and was advised to take regular doses of paracetamol for the pain and the headaches. My son joked with the doctor that I had locked him a freezer and that was how he got the injuries!

I love my son dearly but wish he would rane in his imagination at times…. A student social worker with a son who says I left him alone for two weeks and then jokes that I locked him in the freezer when at A&E! At this rate I will be struck off before I even get started lol.


Posted by: Nici | 8 June, 2010


 Dreams are images in motion. These images are ideas and feelings that tell a private story. When you begin to investigate the amazing world of dreams, it is often difficult to know how to begin. Rarely is a meaning clear to us right away. Dreams have to be decoded to be understood in waking life. Also, we may not be ready to accept the dream’s messages. For example, a dream may suggest that we forgive someone, but in our waking life we are still feeling resentment. Linkie

I have decided to keep a dream diary. I have the most bizarre dreams and would like to start to understand them. The most common, reoccuring dream I seem to be having at the moment is that I am living in a towerblock in a small flat. Now although the flat is small, I quite like living there at there are restaurants and shops in the tower block! I also keep dreaming about being in a lift, sometimes the lift is very large with lots of people in it, sitting down as if it is a room, sometimes it’s small. The other night I dreamt that I had a big bunch of balloons which carried me down the road!

However, the night before last I dreamt that friends lived across the road to me and I ended up being in there longer than expected as my umbrealla had to dry and he said that it should be dry by 16.10, so realsing that I had left my front door open, I popped back home to shut it and heard music coming from my son’s room even though he wasn’t in so I called my friend across the road and he came over and we became trapped outside by the gate by several men who has been in my house. Two of them jumped over the fence and the rest came to us. The remainder of the dream is unclear…Goodness knows what they mean, but I intend to find out!

“Dreams are like stars…you may never touch them, but if you follow them they will lead you to your destiny.”

Older Posts »