Baby's age counter

Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Boxing Day Blues… NOT

Hooray for Boxing Day the shops are open again! Had a great Xmas day with the family – a few hairy moments with people not communicating too well but overall great fun. It was a bit unusual this year as there was just the 5 of us instead of the masses.
My Mother had gone all out in terms of provisions so we cooked up a delicious goose feast. There were home grown brussel sprouts and parsnips as well as home made desserts. Yum. Then after eating we settled down for some classy tv watching. Nice.
I was a little disappointed as I really wanted a Nintendo DS for Xmas but there were none to be had. A shame but there you go. So first thing today I thought I would have a little look online and low and behold there was one in Argos! Therefore I am getting ready to go and pick it up and I am about to explode as I am so excited. I love Boxing Day!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Curiosity

Last week I watched a tv show called The End of the World Cult about a man called Michael Travesser (born Wayne Bent) who believes he’s the son of Christ and predicted that the world would end on 31st October this year. The show, on C4, just let them tell their story. It was a very disturbing show. There were young girls saying how they felt compelled to get naked with this man who is in his sixties so that they would be closer to God. Many of the people had left members of their family to be close to this man, and it had torn parents away from their children. Members of the group had to give all they have (worldly possessions etc) to Michael. Marriages had been ruined, and Michael had even slept with his son’s wife a number of times, in the name of religion; despite this his son remains a devout believer. However, the most disturbing thing was the way the people in the cult talked about how they were looking forward to dying when the world ended. They were anxious and on edge and didn’t seem to be enjoying their lives at all. It was very sad.
The film crew made the documentary during October so they saw the people’s reactions to deadline Michael had given them. They seemed to be all over the place and not surprisingly a touch hysterical. A few weeks later the film crew returned to see what Michael made of the world NOT ending on the 31st. His followers were still loyal and he had made a new date for the world to end: 15th December 2007. Again, he seems to have got it wrong since we’re all still here. When will these people stop believing him?

Allergy update (2)


So everything in my mouth hurts. On Friday I ate some Haribo sweets (soft jelly type things) and they were delicious. However, a short while later I realised that my mouth was sore and over night sores developed. All weekend and even now I am suffering with swollen ulcer/sores. Very unattractive but the bonus is that my diet is coming along great. It’s too painful to eat much – even chocolate makes my body tense with pain.
Being a bit of a hooligan I tried squid last Thursday and… nothing happened! It turns out that squid is not a problem. This fuelled my next mistake which was on Sunday. In light of the squid eating success, when I was choosing a sandwich to buy in Waitrose I decided to get a prawn mayo sandwich. Unusually there was some logic behind this choice – most of the other sandwiches had salad which I have already concluded is baaaaad for the mouth. So prawns on brown bread with a little bit of mayo seemed harmless. What could go wrong?
I was so hungry that I inhaled half of the sandwich. A few minutes later my mouth felt odd. I dashed to the other end of the supermarket, dumped my trolley and ran into the Ladies to inspect my tongue. Oh yes, a nice fat melty patch was growing. Excellent work. Thank goodness I didn’t eat the other half of the sandwich. Instantly I ate a quick Piriton to try and prevent the situation worsening and focused on my little trip around the aisles.
Did you know that Piriton makes you sleepy? I didn’t. I thought anti-histamines just worked on allergies but it turns out they make you a bit dopey. So I drove home in a fog and collapsed for a short while so I could try and wake up a bit.

Monday, 10 December 2007

Moving update

Nearly moved everything out of my flat now! It seemed like there was so much stuff that my flat would never be empty. Fortunately with lots of help from friends and family my flat is looking soooo big and empty. It’s so sad to think I’m leaving it now. It was my first real home after leaving my parents.
On the other hand my new place is much nicer purely because it’s not rented. It’s been cared for in a different way and it’s not got weird pointy corners (although those have grown to be quite endearing in the old place!)
So Saturday was about shifting stuff and Sunday became about clearing stuff, cleaning the oven and fridge. The place has never been so clean and shiny! By Sunday night I was soooo tired, but luckily we didn’t sink into a pit of fatigue. Instead we met up with some friends and had a nice dinner in town.
All that remains to be done is getting rid of the futon, moving a few kitchen items and vacuuming. Voila la!
Talking of the futon; how amazing is Freecycle?! I was recommended it by a friend and I am soooo impressed. I put an ad on there on Saturday evening and already I have had three or four requests for it. How simple is that! Love it although I am getting the feeling that it might be a bit addictive.

Setting an example

At my school the kids have a Christmas celebration party in the 6th Form. The students go to a hotel or restaurant and have a sit down meal followed by a disco or similar. Oddly these events are always held on a Sunday night and it’s an unwritten rule that the kids needn’t come into school the next day.
I whole-heartedly do not agree with this. Many of the organisers argue that they would prefer it to be on a Saturday or Friday night but they cannot book a venue as it’s so expensive around Christmas. This year I was asked if I’d like to go, but I said I wouldn’t be able to. Not because I was busy but because I refuse to set them this example.
The students seem to drink no matter if they have turned 18 or not in front of staff and then they are let off the hook from school the next day. Is that the kind of behaviour we should be expecting from young adults? Perhaps without supervision, yes. But to actively encourage students to participate in such events, I feel, is unprofessional and wrong. Surely we should just want kids to have fun but respect their responsibilities at the same time?

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Working Life

The rules for office politics and the world of work were not something I was innately born with. Naively I thought that simply attending a place of work would allow me to learn the ropes, as if by magic I would be hardened.
Alas this was not to be; instead I have often stuck my foot in it, been taken for a fool or had my good nature abused. To be fair this was worse before I began teaching. Fresh out of university I hadn’t realised the necessity of learning how to say the word ‘no’ or how it doesn’t always pay to be a know-it-all. It took a few months of mistakes, irritating my colleagues and wearing myself out to learn these lessons. Now as a teacher I find I have to learn many more rules, such as how to network, how to prioritise and still get my work done to a standard I am happy with and how to be tactful. The latter is the most difficult area for me. I am blunt. I don’t think before I speak. I never intend to upset or offend but I have a natural knack for being, how can I put it? To the point!
Teaching can be a bitchy profession. There’s nothing more we like that for someone to do something that gets everyone talking about it. On the other side of this I have never felt more supported in a place of work. I guess you can’t have everything, but perhaps this is the idea for a book that I have been waiting for: How to Keep Your Sanity and Still Survive at Work.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Pie-tastic

Last night I was invited to a friend’s house to eat pies. Not just any pies though. He’s hoping to start a business selling the British classic of pie and mash in a takeaway. Last night was all about us trying out the pies his supplier makes and giving feedback. Six of us got through 18 pies! We also tried 6 types of mashed potatoes, including apple, garlic mustard and cheesey. All washed down with 3 types of gravy and lashings of peas and carrots.
To say we were all stuffed by the end of it is an understatement! Then it was Focus Group time, where we all talked about what worked, what didn’t and how much we’d be willing to pay for a pie and mash takeaway. My favourite pie was turkey and ham and I loved the apple mash. This was very odd because a) I don’t normally like pies at all and b) the idea of apple mash sounded revolting at the start of the evening.
Next came the problem of the company name… ideally the name should incorporate pie, mash and maybe gravy. The names came thick and fast but few were any good. That it seems is still a work-in-progress.
After all that hard work it was all I could do to collapse in a heap, holding my bulging belly!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

GettingTo Know All About Me

Okay, here's what you're supposed to do, copy, paste, and insert your answers. Don't be a SCROOGE!!!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper unless it’s too odd-shaped to wrap and then I cheat and use a bag.
2. Real tree or artificial? Artifical because although they are plastic and therefore seen as bad for the environment, I hate the thought of a little tree’s life ending because I want to put it into my house for a few weeks. So I have an artificial tree and I love it. No pine needles to tidy up!

3. When do you put up the tree? As close to the start of December as possible.

4. When do you take the tree down? Before the 12th Night of course.

5. Do you like eggnog? I’m not sure I’ve had the proper kind. I love sickly drinks but this might be a bit sickly too far.

6. Favourite gift received as a child? A bike when I was about 10. It was such a great surprise and I never understood how Santa bought my bike and yet my parents knew to buy me a safety helmet!

7. Do you have a nativity scene? No

8. Hardest person to buy for? My brother

9. Easiest person to buy for? Myself! Oh right, erm other people… my students

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Some weird make up that made me look like a drag-queen. Quite a look on a little kid, I can tell you.

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Posted and I am trying to make all my own cards this year too!

12. Favourite Christmas Movie? Santa Claus the Movie with Dudley Moore. 80s classic

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I have been known to start in the summer but usually October

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes but I can’t tell what it was!
15. Favourite thing to eat at Christmas? Selection packs.

16. Clear lights or coloured on the tree? White bright little lights

17. Favourite Christmas song? It’s Startin To Look a Lot Like Christmas… Or some other Crooner favourite

18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? Go to my parents for a festive family day.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Erm… Rudolph… I give up.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Star (preferably glittery)

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning although there might be one on Christmas Eve to help me sleep otherwise I get too excited.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? So much to do in such a rush – it’d be great to have more time to enjoy each moment.

23. What I love most about Christmas? Seeing everyone as it’s tough to get round everyone too often.

Xmas preparation update

So another week and now it's exactly 3 weeks til the big day! At the weekend I put up my tree, as you can see. Then I made 26 mince pies and got ridiculously excited about the school holidays coming. Goodness knows how the kids'll last til then. The staff will be half dead! The great thing about this being the longest term is that at least there is something exciting to look forward to at the end of the slog.
There's plenty of things going on at school to take up the time though. We're having a staff panto - as in the staff all taking part in a pantomime for the kids. Not sure what my role is as yet but I am sure to be part of it. It's hard to escape!
Back in November my tutor group requested a Secret Santa so there's that to prepare for and then there are muscial performances, theatre trips and prize giving galore.

Mouth Sensitivity

So last week I had my appointment with the Immunologist. I only had to wait 3 MONTHS for the appointment. During this time my food allergies were all over the place. I didn't know what to eat because things that I used to eat every day seemed to be upsetting me. I even had a trip to A&E after eating Quality Street Chocolates!

Actually it's not that funny. It's been a scary journey so far and even now I've seen the Immunologist the future isn't so great. So.... having waited MONTHS for the appointment, of course I was ill the day of it. I woke up the night before with what I will tactfully call gastric flu and spent the day leading up to the appointment feeling half dead.

I arrived at the hospital about 20 minutes early and had to wait for over an hour and quarter to be seen. It's not much fun to wait all that time under normal circumstances but when you're ill it's even worse. I just wanted to lie on the floor and go to sleep! Finally my name was called and I stumbled into his office.

Inside I had an audience! Not only did I meet the Immunologist but he had a mini-crew with him of a GP and a student planning to study medicine. Nice. After repeating my story that I have been telling my GP for months he suggested I have some more blood tests. I'm not sure whether he tested me for anything new but it took 6 vials of blood and plenty of drama to get them for him. Oh yes, and another 40 minute wait for them to take my blood.

By this time the Immunologist was clearly desperate to make his way home because he kept asking if I'd had my blood taken yet. When I went back in I was given his official verdict so far... oral food sensitivity. It sounds kind of rude and it's not a lot of fun. Basically I am not supposed to eat ANY raw fruit or vegetables. At all.

Most people I have told this to have responded with "Oh I wish I had that!" because they clearly need an excuse not to eat fresh food. For me, this is devastating. I absolutely hate not having fresh fruit and salads. I used to easily pack away 7 portions per day with lots of apples etc. throughout the day as snacks. Not any more. I am having to re-learn how to eat to all intents and purposes. I can't even drink fruit juice, eat salad that comes in sandwiches or eat healthy snacks. I am sure there are healthy options but in the meantime I am stuck having to take vitamin pills which I hate and lots of piriton (an anti-histamine). Not so great really.

The one slight glimmer of hope is that it's been decided that it's unlikely I am allergic to prawns and seafood so as soon as the blood tests confirm that I am going to go crazy at the fish counter in Waitrose!! Or maybe go to somewhere delicious for sushi. Best to focus on that happy thought for now.

Taking responsibility

Much as I love my job there is one thing about 6th form students that drives me to distraction… their lack of responsibility. Last year for example I took a class and prepared them for a case study based exam. There was one boy who had grown a bit arrogant after a successful result from his January examinations. All advice and preparation I tried to give was rejected as he’d decided I didn’t know what I was on about as I was a new teacher. He refused to complete mock examinations, practice questions or even attend lessons on time during the preparation time. When the results came out in August however, suddenly it was my fault that he had not achieved the B he wanted.
Now I am having difficulty with some students completing coursework. They do not focus in lessons although they’re not disruptive and they appear to be working. Clearly they are not bothered. They meet deadlines but hand in sub-standard work despite a lot of support. Instead they claim that it’s not their fault that their coursework is poor – rather that they’re stressed, or tired, or didn’t understand. However these are just excuses. I sound like I am trying to pass the buck but I am happy to admit that last year I did not do nearly as good job as I have this year. These kids have had much more support, guidance and help than ever before. Perhaps that is where I’m going wrong. Perhaps students would take more responsibility if they didn’t get so much help.
How are these students going to fare in the future? Will they blame their employer when they are unable to meet a deadline??

Thursday, 29 November 2007

hahahah

Last night I was taken out for a curry for my lovely BF’s birthday. We went with his family to quite a nice little Indian restaurant to indulge in some curries. Well, they did, I was still suffering from food poisoning so I had to live with steamed rice and garlic naan but it was still nice.

Anyway about half way through our meal a large group of people in their late 20s/early 30s came in. There must have been about 20 of them in the group and they were really noisy. After they’d wolfed down their starters we breathed a sigh of relief when they suddenly went quiet. It was only after a while I realised that the reason they were so quiet was because they were all outside SMOKING. Hahaha. It was freezing out there and they didn’t look like they were enjoying it too much. I love the smoking ban. It is possibly the best law to have come in over my lifetime. It’s just a pity there wasn’t any rain or snow!

Posh Chocs

One evening while having dinner with relatives I was introduced to some tasty chocolates by Rococo, an English chocolate company. The fillings were really unusual: rose cream, ginger and saffron fudge and my personal favourite, geranium creams. I quickly chomped on around 4 or 5 of them after dinner. They were absolutely divine.

Conequently I subtly hinted (obviously not really subtly) that I would like box for myself from BF. Being the nice BF that he is the very next day he went to source them from my favourite posh supermarket, Waitrose. Now, how much do you think a posh box of chocs costs that contains 20 chocolates? £7? £12? No, SIXTEEN pounds. I nearly fell off my chair when he told me.

Even more unbelievably he BOUGHT a box of them. I am truly spoilt, but I am still enjoying each and every one of them.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Bento boxes again

A recent trip to Cambridge to visit lil Sis has rekindled my obsession with Bento boxes. We went to a really great Japanese restaurant, where they served all types of Japanese food. We tried the sushi and then had our own Bento boxes, which you can see in the pictures. The best one was not my own (of course!) but the grilled eel one that my BF kindly let me try. Delish.


I've always thoughts of eels as rather ugly slimey beasts but it turns out that it's tasty so, perhaps its not so bad after all, although I've still not tried preparing it myself. Anyway it was so enjoyable we had to go back there a second time in 3 days for another helping. If only it was a bit closer to home.

On second thoughts perhaps it's better for my savings that it's not.

Moving Sucks

For the last few weeks I have been ever so s-l-o-w-l-y moving my stuff. I’ve got until the end of December to move EVERYTHING and this has put me into a very lazy frame of mind. I move the odd carrier bag of goodies at the weekend and feel proud of myself. Then when everything goes off near Christmas I’ll have to move lots of stupid furniture into a space that it won’t fit. What a pain. On the other hand, how will I fill my weekend when this is done? Currently I spend my weekends avoiding starting moving my stuff and the rest of the time tidying away all the cr@p I’ve moved in!

Only 4 weeks and 2 days til Xmas!

This weekend has been one long weekend of preparing. I’ve been making cards (I’ve now got 48 cards ready), baking, buying things that I need for gifts I’ll be making in the coming weeks…. It’s never-ending. The good thing is that all this should mean that I actually send my cards before Christmas this year. Last year, shamefully, I gave out the majority of cards AFTER the day itself. This year I started early – writing cards for my kids at school back in October!

Saturday was also a shopping day. Pretty much everyone is catered for this year. I have surprised myself at how much I’ve done in advance and the internet is my new best shopping partner. It’s amaaaazing how much you can get done while an episode of Eastenders plays in the background.

Goosey goosey

Friday was a first. I cooked a goose. Oddly I sort of fell into it so I wasn’t too worried. It wasn’t until it got into the oven that it started panicking about what the daft thing would taste like.

It started last weekend when we went shopping and saw that it was only £14.99 for a goose. We thought we’d give it a whirl. Or rather ‘we’ thought ‘we’ would like to eat one but it was just me that controlled cooking the birdie… anyway, it sat on top of the fridge defrosting for two days and then we thought we should put it in the fridge since it probably wasn’t going to last until Friday in the open air. I had read on the internet that it’s a good idea to prick the skin and let the bird sit in the open in the fridge for a couple of days to dry out the skin so it goes nice and crispy. What a stooopid idea. The fridge reeked for the rest of the week; in the end I had to get BF to open the fridge and get my soya milk out for breakfast it was that bad.

Friday arrived and I dashed back from work ready to throw the bird in the oven when I decided to change the recipe. I originally planned to cook it plain but with a rice and shitake mushroom stuffing. Instead I opted for the Radio Times recipe of the week involving lime zest and juice, honey and 5 spice. Meanwhile I had mislaid the piece of paper that I’d written the instructions which meant a phone call begging for help from Mum.

Three hours later and the goose was ready to eat! To be honest I was shattered by that point but it was nice. I enjoyed the leftovers even more the next day. Definitely going to have another goose for lunch on Christmas Day now I know how to do it!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Matchbox Twenty

They live on - their new CD comes out tomorrow!. I’d had the nightmarish thought that the band had broken up. I’d not heard from them since their CD ‘More Than You Think You Are’ in 2003. Since they are in my Top 5 favourite bands I was upset. I wanted more. In 2004 I came across Rob Thomas’s solo album 'Something to be' while on holidays in Malaysia. I liked this album but it's not the same as the old line up. I like their sound. I can't help tapping my toes in time to their songs and I NEVER get bored of their CDs.

In town yesterday I was looking for Amelie on DVD (it's time to get it on DVD as my VHS copy won't last forever as I watch it a lot!) and I came across their new single 'How Far We've Come' and it was bought on impulse. Surely I wouldn't be disappointed?

Luckily I was not. The first play of it, it's true I was quite non-plussed but after a couple of listens I was hooked. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard this tune today! Now I've ordered my copy of their new CD and I am beside myself. Hope the annoying postal strike does not delay it arriving through my door! yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, 8 October 2007

Cat personalities


I’m going to write about this in the full knowledge that I am going to sound like some kind of mad old spinster. You may want to cross the road to avoid me if you see me in the street but I keep wondering…. Do cats really have thoughts and dreams? I am pretty sure my cat has a very high level of intelligence and logically thinks through most things before he acts. His personality seems very human to me and I am certain that he forgets he’s a cat sometimes and thinks he’s a person! He’s surrounded by people all the time after all. Perhaps he’s forgotten that other cats exist… or maybe not since he still won’t go outside unless it’s not outside my flat.

Also he dreams. He likes to lie on his back, feet in the air and wriggle about while he sleeps. Perhaps he dreams about being on a treadmill or running through clouds. It’s a shame he can’t talk about these dreams. Also, perhaps he has freaky dreams – often on nights when he’s eaten some cheese the night before, he wakes up in the middle of the night and runs about like a cat-possessed. He likes to dart about with his eyes like saucers while he runs around or away from imaginary monsters or the like.

In the future I’ll have to conduct an experiment and get to know another cat so I can distinguish what is unique about my fur-baby’s personality and what is generically cat personality.

Finding a voice

As a relatively new teacher I’ve found that I am still finding my place in my school. I’m developing my voice as it were. I still get stomped down by some members of staff but then you can kind of argue that perhaps I don’t stand up for myself.

I thihnk it might be down to my natural personality. I am not a particularly confrontational person; occasionally I talk as if I am but I don’t really follow through. Sometimes it’s just easier to go along with other people. However after a while people start taking advantage of my good nature, and then I get dragged into things I don’t want to be or I am not consulted on things that I think I should.

The question is which battles to fight and which to ignore. Sometimes it is the stupid little things that make me really mad and it appears daft to confront someone about it. On the other hand if I ever want to gain respect from my colleagues I need to stand up for myself and show that I have a backbone and that I care about things to do with my work. Perhaps this is something you learn as you mature?

A quiet weekend


You know you’re tired when the week just draaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaags. To be fair it was a busy week last week. On Monday the school had ‘Open Evening’ which was ok but quite a long day – I ended up doing about a 13 hour day. Then on the Thursday we took a group of kids (4 coaches worth) to France for the day – this was another ridiculously looooong day – about a 17 hour day. I was dreading that day but it turned out to be great. I really loved spending some quality time with my tutees and it was fantastic weather so that helped.


However by the weekend I was shattered. I ended up sleeping for a daft proportion of the time and then feeling rubbish on Sunday night that I had not done anything tangible this weekend. It was quite frustrating. I did manage to get boring things done but I cannot wait for the holidays. Thank goodness for half term. It’s silly that I’m annoyed about that though because this weekend I did exactly what I promised myself I would do: as little as possible.

Most of my ‘quiet weekends’ of late have turned into mass social events with little time to sit around or be lazy. Take the weekend before: quiet Friday night, nooooo I went out for dinner with some friends. Saturday lie-in, nooooooo MOT and then dinner with other friends, Sunday lazy trip into town, noooooooooo lots of wandering about and then tonnes of school work. So you see, my plans just never quite come together. Until now. Yet here I am on Monday morning feeling like I could do with a couple of days off!

My only consolation… only 9 more teaching days til half term!

Addicted to YouTube

Last night I spent around 2 hours on YouTube. I am not one of these people who spends that much time just surfing about for no reason online but I was tired of watching rugby – I’d been present for 3 matches previously. Since I cannot access YouTube at work I took the opportunity to look up all those music videos I’d wanted to see or I’d heard about on the radio. It’s amazing how fast time can fly. It’s also amazing how good the quality of the video clips can be.

Music is a truly unique medium. Just the opening lines of a song can take you right back into a moment. A memory or a feeling can wash over you when you hear something that you associate with that thought or emotion. Why was I spending all this time on something that some might argue is pointless? Well, I was trying to compile my top 20 songs ever because really I should be able to answer the question without too much thought. The trouble is I have a big CD collection and my love of music goes far beyond my personal collection. The idea, originally, was to decide on my favourite song EVER, but that proved almost impossible. So I extended this to my top 5, then my top 10 then my top 20. Even then I am finding it tough to fit all the songs I love into that tiny category.

Songs on my list so far (in no particular order) are:
Authority Song by Jimmy Eat World
Winter by Tori Amos
’74-’75 by The Connells
Something by Matchbox 20 and Oasis

….oh I don’t know anymore! I can’t even think of songs because there are just too many zooming around my head. I’ll have to come back to this list.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Catherine Campbell


An Australian artist (or so I think) that I saw in a magazine my sister brought back from a visit to New Zealand, although I believe the magazine (Frankie) is Australian. I just love her work. It’s so cool and stylish and I want to be able to recreate it for myself. Maybe I could my own style based on hers.

Her portfolio is amazing. My favourite work is the collage work she does. It’s just gorgeous. I love the textures and simplicity of the designs. I hope she makes it over here at some point…..

Sunday, 23 September 2007

The Yew Tree Inn


Marco Pierre White’s restaurant. At least one of them as I hear he has a few. He's not a man I know much about but I had heard the name and he’s been on TV quite a lot recently (or so I hear). I was invited to try the delights and went along with a relatively open mind. I’m no connoisseur of posh places so I was somewhat sceptical. Still, I looked at the website during the week and tried to pick out what I’d choose off the menu, but without much success. It ALL looked nice.

Anyway after a rather long and windy drive to the restaurant we arrived in good time and made our way to the entrance. Who was by the doorway but the man himself. Not that I recognised him. I thought everyone was pulling my leg when they said it was him (I am known for being quite gullible!) but later on we saw him again and I conceded that it must be him; particularly when we heard the waiting staff talking about Marco’s Table.

The food was amazing – far better than I had expected – and the company even more so. We had some good chats, but the one distraction was the fact that Marco was about. Later we realised Paul Young was there too. The main funny thing about Marco’s Table was his young companion – perhaps his son? – who spent the majority of their meal with his head on the table and his chair pushed out into the walk space so that all the men had to ask him to move in order to reach the Gents.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Allergy delight

Last night I was treated to a Thai meal at a nice restaurant near my home. I tucked into the starter with gusto, dipping my prawn toast in sweet chilli sauce and nibbling the lettuce garnish. Then onto the main course; huge mounds of egg fried rice, vegetables with beef or prawns. Delicious! I dug in greedily and quickly polished off a plate with a little of everything before I started feeling a bit odd. My tongue felt a little ‘strange’, almost like it was developing a life of its own. I stuck my tongue out to show my dinner date who screwed up his face in distaste and suggested I go and look at it myself in the Ladies. Off I trotted with a knot on concern growing in my belly – my tongue was feeling VERY odd by this time. I quickly locked myself in and stuck my tongue out as far as it would go in order to inspect it fully in the little mirror and poor lighting.

It looked like parts of it had literally melted away! There were odd craters where my tongue used to live! At the back of my throat you could see massive red lumps rising. (I should have taken photos to scare people with.) The knot of fear tightened, after all how much would everything swell up?

Fortunately after about 30 minutes it started going down again. My only conclusion is that perhaps I had prawns or peanuts that set it off. This adds to the list of foods I now need to avoid: dairy, strawberries and now shell-fish. Plus, my delightful and sadly regular mosquito-bite swellings problem and a growing number of allergies to make-up/beauty products. All of my favourite things! Perhaps I should just give up and live off potatoes and water. It would make things more straightforward.

Hopefully a little visit to a specialist will sort out anything else I need to stop trying to eat. It’s so depressing. I am going to become one of those people who goes out to eat and sits there saying “oh, I can’t eat that as it contains x”. Those kind of people annoy me and now I am joining the club.

Friday, 24 August 2007

Italy


A lovely week in Sorrento. That was the plan.
The first few days were great. The area was beautiful (as is evident in the photo!) and the hot weather was a (mostly) welcome change. We had fun walking about the side streets looking at the different shops and restaurants, planning where we'd eat each night.
Then 2 days in... I got tonsilitis. How annoying. After a couple of days I decided to get some medicine for it to speed up my recovery. What an adventure! As a completely non-Italian speaker I was a little nervous as we took a taxi to the hospital. The whole episode turned out to be very confusing. First of all we sat in a little entrance bit which seemed like the waiting area, but were not able to find Reception. Being English we'd automatically joined the queue that seemd to be in place, but after about 20-30 mins some investigating was done. You had to go INTO the treatment areas to register and get into the queue!
Then George Cloony (or whatever the Doc was called) took me into the treatment area. There were a few drops of blood on the floor which was a bit disconcerting but I was a little happier when a guy starting moving the serious looking equipment. The doctor had only a tiny peek at my tonsils and then said "lots of inflammation" and walked off to write me a prescription. I didn't have to speak Italian at all!
Having sorted out the tonsilitis problem I thought I was safe to enjoy the rest of my holiday. I felt quite rough still the next day... and developed a cold! How unlucky!! Some would argue I had also contracted a serious case of Man-Flu, but that is by the by.
Although a lovely place to visit, my trip to Sorrento was seriously curtailed by my stupid health. At least the hotel was lovely and it was nice to sit out in the warm beside the pool. Moreover I've never had tastier tomatoes (when I could still taste them!) Next time I go to Italy I can't wait to hire a scooter and dash all around town!!

The trilogy

The lost memory of the Left Alone Trilogy… after about 4 years I have seen the first one again and also saw the two subsequent films. That first part seems to epitomise that moment in time in my memory of those guys. Love it. Plus I love the scenery (particularly the parts in my old university flat!)

The genius that is the film maker Robert Parker lives on. I really hope Rob does well in his career making movies because the trilogy shows so much potential.

However, the question I really want to know the answer to is: when will Den be starring in more movies?

Thursday, 9 August 2007

Birthday cake


Having the French girl around for so long means that she has also joined me on mundane tasks such as food shopping. One afternoon she spent a long time in M&S as I browsed which biscuits I fancied eating just then. Her attention turned to the array of birthday cakes. Strangely in France such cakes are not common for birthdays.

Seeing her excitement at the cakes encouraged me to purchase one for last night when she cooked us a dinner of traditional French crepes – complete with French cheese! Although it was not her birthday for another 6 weeks or so, I thought that would add to the surprise.

The crepes were delicious. My favourite turned out to be egg, cheese and ham. A short while later we settled down for a cup of coffee and a chat… we brought out the birthday cake with the addition of a candle. Never before have you seen such excitement on a girl’s face. She literally leapt up and was thrilled. When she cut up the cake she could not stand still and it was lovely to watch. You’d never believe she was about to celebrate her 19th birthday!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

My baby’s ill


Last Friday Liam the cat disappeared for a long time. This is highly unusual as he is a bit of a baby and rarely strays further than the back garden. Hours later he nearly knocked me off my feet and he leapt through the front door. Then I noticed that although he’d moved fast he was limping badly. He then threw himself down onto the floor and looked up mournfully, rather like Puss in Boots in the Shrek films (2 and 3).

In a panic I took him to the vet where they said he’s not well and kept him in over night. This, rather than calming my panic, only set me off into a greater sense of fear. My over-active imagination kept ticking over all the awful things that may result. The next day I went to fetch the little lamb and he was a little better. However, he didn’t stay better. He was pathetic all weekend so on Monday I was really happy to be taking him back to the vet. He had barely eaten anything at all and that was highly unusual.

So now I have to give him pain relief liquid once per day and one and a half antibiotic tablets TWICE per day. What a palava! So now, not only is he ill and feeling rough, he’s starting to resent me. I give him his medicine and then he goes and hides elsewhere and sulks until it’s time for me to pin him down again. Back to the vet this afternoon and hopefully he’ll get the all clear. Please…. No more medicine to administer!!!!

Summer holidays


Almost half way through the summer holidays and I can’t even think what I have achieved! But perhaps that is the point of the holidays – to NOT achieve things and just relax. Although relaxing is not something I can think of having done too much. I hope my colleagues and students have had more luck in that department.

The French girl has been here for almost 3 weeks and we’ve been tourists quite a lot. We went to Windsor and saw the town and surrounding countryside. It was a beautiful day and it was fun to realise that the Queen was in residence. I also took her to Hayling Island on the south coast. Unfortunately it turned out to be a nasty rainy day (despite what the weatherman had said) but we had fun nonetheless. We had the delights of a fish and chip lunch in the drizzle on the beach, where I introduced her to the delicacy that is mushy peas! We then spent a few happy hours playing with the 2p machines. Oddly they don’t seem to have them in France so it was quite funny to see the look of surprise on her face when she saw all these tiny English kids shoving 2ps into the machines like there’s no tomorrow.
To be honest, it’s been good fun to be a tourist and it makes me wonder why we all go abroad so much. In the same breath and just to be a total hypocrite, I am soooo excited about my trip to Naples next week. It’s going to be amazing. Lots of sun and the hotel will be right next to the sea. Once I am back from that trip I really will be focusing on getting my school stuff sorted out. I still haven’t been into school to do my filing or organised myself for the first few weeks of term! There’s so much I could do, it’s just a question of prioritising what would be the most beneficial.

Monday, 16 July 2007

Race for Life


Many of the staff at school signed up for Race for Life around Easter time. I thought “what the heck? Might as well…” As time went on I forgot all about it until suddenly last week it dawned on me that it was on the 15th July! Got up bright and early on Sunday morning, donning a delightful pair of leggings, school t-shirt and my old school trainers and dashed off to Reading. What a big event!
Obviously I knew that it’s a national thing but I hadn’t expected to see quite so many women all ready to race. My friend and I were chatting during the warm-up when she commented on the fact that she was surprised there were so few men taking part. I thought she was joking! Turns out she’d forgotten it’s women only!! It gave us a giggle nonetheless.
5km doesn’t sound a long distance. I was separated from the running crew so I ended up in the walking section. Easy, thought I, a little stroll around Prospect Park and back for a slap-up BBQ. It was a nice walk, and at the end I did a little sprint (to justify the ‘race’ part of the event) but there was a big hill. It’s hard to get up a big hill whilst chatting non-stop, I discovered. Or maybe I’m just not as fit as I had originally thought!

Still, it’s done now and it’s time to start harassing people for the sponsorship money they offered on my form. Always a good conversation starter…

School Musical


Last week there was a great deal of excitement throughout the school. There was the summer production of a certain (recently) famous Disney made-for-tv movie. Kids of all ages became like little Duracell bunnies, chattering and bouncing away non-stop. Out of pure nosiness I went to see it. I was blown away. I never knew there were such talented kids at the school. Weirdly I only knew about 5 of the kids out of around 80 that were involved. I was so impressed that I helped out on the final night. Among the drama queens, guys that think they’re the hottest thing ever and the giggling girls there were a lot of professionals! They did their part and really threw themselves into it. I stood by, watching like a proud parent!!
My colleague who organised the whole thing has absolutely amazed me. How did she know how to do this? Where did she get the energy from to keep this going?
It was a really great end to the year, marred only slightly by the fact that Sports Day has been postponed. Not that I am complaining because I never fancied sitting on a soggy field trying to entertain loads of kids who’d prefer to be wandering about than penned in.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Brotherly Love?


Today I had a particularly mean incident happen at school. Two kids decided to take it upon themselves to “decorate” another kid’s school bag while he was out the room when I turned my back. Obviously I was suspicious something was up but I thought I’d removed all the offensive items they could fiddle with. One of the kids was picking on his own brother!
Now, I’m all for keeping family close, but I am not sure that brothers being in the same class are a good thing. They can gang up on others when they are together if they are identical or they may well fight. I didn’t even realise these boys were related until about a term had passed – I stupidly didn’t click that their surname is the same! But as soon as I did notice it was clear as to why I hadn’t: they could not be more different.
Their time in the classroom together is spent in one of two ways… either ignoring each other or making little comments. Plus when there’s anything physical involved it seems different as I am sure brotherly relationships change the rules slightly on those sorts of issues.
However maybe it needs to be judged on a case by case basis. Some twins and siblings I’ve had in the same class have been nothing but a joy to teach. I just hope that these brothers don’t damage their future relationship by falling out too much now.
Image from: http://allyballysally.deviantart.com/

Thursday, 5 July 2007

McWorld

Yesterday I went on a course about McDonalds, run by McDonalds to gain information to use in school projects with my students. To say I am not a fan of some of their practices is an understatement. However I went to the session with an open mind; I like their fries so they can’t be all bad!
The course was far more interesting than I had ever thought it would be. Obviously there was quite a lot of biased language used etc. but it made me stop and think. Why do we often blame one company for the UK obesity problems? Surely we visit other restaurants and eat other foods. I honestly don’t know anyone who lives off McDonalds foods alone.
The film by Morgan Spurlock ‘Super Size Me’ was very extreme. While I do believe that living off that food alone is not healthy for anyone, I also don’t think that people should be daft enough to think they can get all the nutrients they need from a fast food restaurant. However, since the release of the film in 2004 the press has not let up over here about how awful McDonald’s is. They have a looooong way to go to get that trust back.
Now I am not saying that I have been brainwashed into loving McDonalds but I have certainly become more cynical now that I have heard both sides of the story. Perhaps I won’t feel so ashamed at buying the odd portion of fries!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

The dating game

Having been on my own for a while now I have begun to think about dating… I’m not in a hurry to go out with the first person who comes along but it’s got me thinking. I was chatting to a friend on Sunday about the ‘rules’ of dating. I didn’t realise there is a particular etiquette that we all are supposed to play by. Now I’m anxious… what if I slip up and don’t play by the rules? And anyway what ARE the rules?
At school the kids have boyfriends and girlfriends and they get all worked up about different aspects of it. Weirdly theirs do not seem different from adult relationships. There are still games to be played, confusion over mixed signals and second-guessing to be done.
If anything though, dating when you’re at school has to be worse. When things don’t work out you still have to see them around the campus all day every day. There is no escape. At least it’s possible to separate yourself when the going gets tough as an adult.
Then there are the student couples who seem like they are a mini-married couple. How do they do this? They have obviously been given a heads up in the relationship department!

Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Has the whole school gone crazy?

It always amuses me when the weather gets sunny. The British are so used to grey, drizzly weather that as soon as the sun pokes its way through the clouds we become fixated by it. Everywhere you look people start dressing in brighter colours, smiling and generally cheering up a great deal. What would happen if we had hot weather all year round? I suppose we’d become used to it and take it for granted. It’s much better to have it as a treat.
The only objection I have to the hot weather is the effect it has on my classes. They traipse in looking like they’ve been fully dressed through a grass-lined tumble-dryer. Ties hanging by their bellies, skirts rolled up and shirts open as if they’ve been to the beach during lunchtime. This is all very well but for some reason the way they’re dressed has a huge effect upon their attitude to learning. You start getting comments like “but Miss it’s too hot to work!” and “do we have to wear our ties?!” The biggest problem with this is that I too am over-heating in a computer room with no air, windows that are barely able to be opened and thick sticky sweat smells. Delightful. I’ve a good mind to tell them all to go home and relax but that probably wouldn’t go down well with SLT.
Instead I have to revert to Miss Tough-Enough and push forward with the work. Perhaps a little bit of rain wouldn’t go amiss after all…

Monday, 4 June 2007

Miserable weather Monday

It’s funny how half term seems a distant memory already! It’s only been 6 hours! Haha. Never mind. It’s been good to get back into my ‘normal’ routine and get going with a lot of projects that I’ve never had time to complete before. Progress has been made. It’s really exciting to think about starting the second year of my career and not having to do everything from scratch like I did this year. I spent approximately one entire day filing over half term so everything looks lovely and will make it easier. Now there’s just the decision about where to keep them: at home or school?

Anyhow, on a completely different note: There is exciting news in my garden…my first batch of strawberries is almost ripe! I’ll get some photos as soon as I can to post and show off. They are little ruby coloured beauties!! Shame I’m not eating strawberries any more but it’s still fun to grow them. I’ve decided it’s too risky to keep eating strawberries as it used to take an entire punnet to make my lips swell up but it’s become fewer and fewer and now just one or two makes them tingle. It’s a bit scary to think I could go into anaphylactic shock if it keeps becoming a more and more serious intolerance.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Back from der Schweiz!











Hoooray I am back from Switzerland
It was a hectic weekend but great nonetheless. It'd been 3 years since I'd seen my friend and we spent a lot of time chatting and catching up. Swizterland is a really great city and we had fun going around some shops and sightseeing. Naturally shopping became our priority!
On the Sunday we stayed in a looked at photos etc. We also decorated each other's hands with henna. (As you can see in the photo) It looked quite faint when we washed off the paste but the next day it had darkened a great deal.
The cute cat in the photo is my friends cat. She's really tiny compared to Liam and I think they'd make a great couple!
Now I am back home and it's raining and I am dreaming of the fun times I had at the weekend. Later this week I have exciting things like a revision class to run and some filing to do. Still, it's good to relax rather than be getting up at the crack of dawn for work...

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Time ticks on

Apart from the few posts I have put on here today, it's been ages since I've been on here. At first I thought there has not been nothing happening but that is not quite true. It's a week before half term - a whole week off.
This week has been hectic as I had a last minute cover on a school trip to the Black Country Museum. It was really good; far better than I remember. Plus I got to know some year 8s. We had good fun winding them up and telling them off for videoing us with their phones. Honestly, how did we all live before mobiles?
Actually I have a bit of a confession... I bought a new phone. It's a Sony Ericson v200i. It's orange and black and so pretty. Plus it is an mp3 player and radio too! Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How strange

I've been thinking of this tune for a long time. I heard it at a funeral last year, sung by a choir. It was so beautiful. Oddly a few days later I heard Westlife (who I don't normally like) had released it as a single. You can see the video here.
I associate the tune with this person and their death, which is funny because Westlife's video is all about a wedding. This version is not as good as the choir one at the service but it's best I have found on the net so far.

Jose Mourinho

For a while I have been looking for this song as it made me laugh a lot on the way to work one day. As I was watching the interviews after the FA Cup Final I stupidly realised I should have looked on Google. D'oh! Anyway I've downloaded it and it's still very funny. You can listen to the song here.

Monday, 30 April 2007

Old fogie

As time goes on I've come to the realisation I am not young and cool anymore. Sometimes when I listen to the radio I think "what is this monotonous noise?!" just like my mother used to when I was a teenager. That's not to say that is my opinion on all music on the radio today but a lot of it sounds the same. I remember swearing to my Mum that I would never feel like that!

However, I am still keen to listen to new music. Zane Lowe can be a bit much at times but there are some great bands like Razorlight and Fallout Boy and Artic Monkeys bringing out cool stuff. Lil sister has just put me in touch with Band of Horses and their tune 'The Funeral' on YouTube. It's really gorgeous. Have a listen and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Scrapbook club

After school art/journaling/scrapbooking class has begun! Last week was the kick off. Disappointingly only 2 takers but this week we hope to have recruited more. The 2 girls that turned up were really keen on the project and had a good time looking through examples and discussing ideas. This week we hope to start them off preparing their pages and maybe formulating ideas onto paper of their desired layout.
This has given me a real creative boost and I’ve completed a number of projects. Last night I got really frustrated while I was looking for a box of photos. After an hour I had a brainwave… maybe they were at my parents! Spontaneously I dashed out of the house, scaring the poor cat as I ran off in a whirlwind. Sadly I only found some old photos I’d forgotten about but it was nice to catch up with the oldies.
My brother’s saga continues as it turns out the nurse was really very defensive when asked about the incident. A stroppy letter has been sent off so we’ll have to wait and see what happens there.
Anyway back to the scrapbooking! I found a really old scrapbook that I started literally years ago. This was before I’d found out you could get top-loading pages that allowed you to work on a sheet and then slide it into place. Instead, I worked in a traditional photo album. The kind you were only allowed to look at when you were a child if you promised that you had only just washed your hands. The work is, to put it mildly, poor. Fortunately I seemed to know that at the time so I hadn’t stuck all the photos down. Now I have the fun of creating new pages to put these photos on. It includes stuff about my birthdays (14th, 18th etc) and trips and school bits and bobs. Hopefully all these examples of work and magazines that I’ve got should spark some imagination into the kids at school and we’ll get some magnificent work.

Friday, 20 April 2007

Soundtrack to my life

This might get edited over time but this what I'd have

Opening Credits: Real World - Matchbox 20

Waking Up: Local boy in the photograph - Stereophonics

First Day At School: There she goes - the La's

Falling In Love: Nightswimming - REM

Fight Song: I predict a riot - The Kaiser Chiefs

Breaking Up: With or without you - U2

Prom: Let me entertain you - Robbie Williams

Life: Bluetonic - the Bluetones

Making babies: I wanna have your babies - Natasha Bedingfield (!)

Mental Breakdown: Song 2 - Blur

Driving: Living for the weekend - Hard-fi

Flashback: I still remember - Bloc Party

Getting back together: Patience - Take That

Wedding: Wonderwall - Oasis

Birth of Child: When you dream - Barenaked Ladies

Final Battle: Evaporated - Ben Folds Five

Death Scene: Winter - Tori Amos

Funeral Song: In my life - The Beatles

End Credits: Exit Music - Radiohead

Yay it's the weekend


Hurrah it's the weekend already. Today I spent lots of time marking so my eyes hurt. Sadly I only got half way through! This week went fast & it's quite nice to know there is no need to get up at such a ridiculous hour for two mornings. You can see a photo of my fruit bag. It was more exciting to look at than the box but it's like Christmas when it arrives. So much to see.

There was something weird that happened to my bro today. He's going on a trip to Kenya in a few weeks so he went to have some jabs done. He went in with a friend for the talk and then they were jabbed. Unfortunately the nurse jabbed him with an empty needle... that had just been in his friend's arm! More scary than that is that she didn't really do anything more than briefly apologise. You can imagine in the USA how all the lawyers would be loving a case like that. Anyway, my Mum (a nurse) went mad and rang around to ensure they followed the correct procedures and he got some emergency blood test. It's highly unlikely it will be anything bad but you need to check, right? Silly nurse. I was livid when I heard her reaction. She wouldn't have bothered having him tested or even filling in the paperwork!! ARGH. Look out for an update.

Monday, 16 April 2007

Summer Term started

Crazily it's already the summer term, so this morning I got up at the crack of dawn. I actually thought it was the middle of the night, as it was still a bit dark and a far cry from the 11.30am starts I've become accustomed to. Still, the weather was warm and sunny so I slipped on a cotton skirt and sandals and leapt out the door. Thank goodness the weather held. I looked far more tropical than the rest of the staff so tomorrow I've sworn myself to being far more restrained and digging out some winter style clothes.

The day was far less hellish than I'd geared myself up for so with the residual energy I concocted my gift for my friend. She's got a baby and wants to know how to make him his first birthday cake so I gathered together all the necessary equipment and ingredients for her to try it out!! Thinking I was being clever I stuffed everything into a large-ish copier paper box, which unfortunately had no lid. Simple, thought I, just wrap paper over the top: problem solved. Oh no... this took 2 people a good 15 minutes to wrap and even then it looked as though a toddler had been let loose with a reel of tape and paper with no scissors. Ah if only...

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Life Path Number

Your Life Path Number is 9

Your purpose in life is to make the world better

You are very socially conscious and a total idealist.
You think there are many things wrong with the world, and you want to fix them.
You have a big idea of how to world could be, and you'll sacrifice almost anything to work towards this dream.

In love, you can easily see the beauty in someone else. And you never cling too tightly.

You are capable of great love, but it's hard for you to focus your love on one person or relationship.
You have a lot of outward focus, and you tend to blame the world for your failures.
You are often disappointed by the realities of life - it's hard for you to accept the shortcomings of the world.



Hmmmm.... I wonder if they are the same for everyone. A bit too general for my liking...

Friday, 13 April 2007

Look like a junkie!


Well... sort of. This morning i went to the doc for a check up and as i've been under the weather the doc suggested taking some blood. All very well, or so you'd think. I went up to the nurse's office in a freezing attic space, shivering in my flipflops and 3/4 length jeans. The nurse seemed really nice and we had a nice chat about her daughter at uni. Meanwhile my arms were being punctured! It took 3 goes before she hit the jackpot so I am left with a few holes in my elbow crease. Very sexy! Luckily it wasn't painful.
Fortunately I went off to Basginstoke shopping with Mum and sis to take my mind off it, and we had a great time checking out the clothes in the shops for this summer. I got a lovely dress and had a nice lunch at Wagamamma's. If you've not been you have to go there. It's amazing. The menu is so hard to choose from because everything sounds delish. They also have a few cookbooks which I've slowly been working my way through. Gyoza are the food of the Gods!!!!

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

If I were famous...

I can't take the credit for this because I read about it here.

These are questions you might ask me if I were famous:

What is your favorite word? puc
What is your least favorite word? android
What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)? the spark of an idea
What turns you off? (this is also a question from Playboy interviews) Burps - both types
What is your favorite curse word? poop!
What sound or noise do you love? the squeal my cat makes at me when i come home from work
What sound or noise do you hate? Squeaking doors
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt? author
What profession would you not like to attempt? being a pyramid builder
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? oh yeah i remember you!!?!

Scrapbook pages



I've finally finished my 12"x12" scrapbook! I've done about 20 pages showing things like holidays, Christmas and other things that I got good photos of. I've been really pleased with the results and I am now going to start an 8"x8" book. At first the big pages were really tough but the small ones seem challenging now as it's hard to fit more than one photo per page. (Apologies for the poor photos)

Green fingers

I've taken up gardening. Something that I swore I would never do as it conjures up images of wrinkly people pottering about in green wellies wearing special gardening gloves brandishing clippers. Well now that is me! Last year I grew a few things but this year I intend to grow much better stuff. I've planted tomatoes, peppers, coriander and wild flowers all from seed. If I manage to keep watering them hopefully I'll have some nice veggies and flowers at the end of the summer. The photos you can see are my tomato plants. Aren't they pretty?!
Now I know what all these people have been harping on about for all these years. It is so exciting seeing these little plants that I GREW! If I hadn't planted them and watered them they wouldn't exist. Magic. And not a wellie boot in sight!



Beaded beauties!

Here are a few of my creations that I just recently rediscovered. I really like them as they remind me of a time that I was visiting Seattle. The class where I made them was a birthday present. Since then I have made a few others but this class was really great as it was inside a bead shop so it was easy to pick out the perfect bead for each part of the doll.
I'm going to dig out some beads tomorrow and try to make some new ones.

Monday, 9 April 2007

What group am I?

I tried this quiz and it turns out... I'm a Rocker, Mosher.

Rocker, Mosher 35%
Goth 30%
Emo 30%
Trendy 10%
Skater 10%
Chav, Townie, Rude Boy, Ned, Kev 0%
Preppy 0%

Turns out I am not particularly anything though! Thought i would be more preppy or Emo-ish but it's the tight drainpipe trousers that let me down. Try this quiz for your self!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Japanorama!


I've recently discovered a new show on BBC3 about modern Japan and their culture. The show is presented by Jonathan Ross and it's a bit tongue in cheek. I never realised how different our cultures are. The funniest thing I saw on the show was Toast Girl which is a performance artist. This is a person who expresses herself through this hat. She also sometimes wears hoovers on her feet and slides about on them to show how women's roles have changed or something. A bit confusing but quite a good show. It's possible to watch clips on the BBC website.

Wedding before Easter

Last week we took a trip to Scotland to go to a friend's wedding. As money is tight we decided to drive there; it was a long trip - about 8 hours each way. We set off early on Wednesday morning and stopped off at Lancaster (after about 4 hours) at 10am for a trip down memory land. Sadly I stupidly did not take my camera so there are no photos but it was great to see so many familiar places. Marco's restaurant is still going strong (the menu does not seem to have changed even though I left 3 years ago!), and we also went to Brophy's Cafe, Half Price or Less and Single Step Co-Op. It was superb. Plus the weather was kind and it was sunny. We also took a quick drive around the uni buildings. Lancaster University has changed a great deal - the number of buildings must have almost doubled!
The first night we went to a pre-dinner meal and tried our first authentic taste of haggis. It was quite nice and reminded me a lot of black pudding. The next day we got up a bit later and went into Crieff town centre to look around. It's a quaint place with lots of pretty shops. Before we knew it, it was time to go to the church for the wedding ceremony itself. The church was not in Crieff but in a tiny hamlet about 25 minutes drive away. We were really glad that we'd driven at that point as we were comfortable in our own car. Anyway the ceremony was very sweet, especially since the bride's Dad is a vicar so he actually married the couple!

We went on to the reception which was very grand and lastly there was a traditional Scottish dancing band with caller and everything. It was so much fun and everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves.

Sadly the next day we had to leave and come back home but it was such a great trip. We met some interesting people. The groom is from Malawi and is quite a famous popstar. You can hear some of his music from his page.

I guess that's about all for now... However, I have made a lot of changes to the blog including more photos and pictures so feel free to take a look back at the past posts to see more.

My ceramics!

Here is a couple of pictures of my masterpieces! I am so pleased with them as they have come out even better than I'd expected. I'm taking orders if anyone is interested!!!!

I could paint an entire dinner service but I think it might take quite a long time. Perhaps in the future! I haven't managed to go there again but I will get there in the end.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Has it been that long?

Already it's the end of March. It's been a good month so far. At last the days are getting longer, and the daffs are out in force. It's the end of the second term this week and I'm still reeling in shock that we're so far through already. Last weekend I put my NQT folder together so pass this year and become FULLY qualified. Hurrah.
It's also been my birthday and it was a great time. Lots of cake and food! It's a bit weird to think that I'm now in my mid-20s but I have been told that it stays that way. Before long it'll be my 80th and I 'll still feel like a teenager! (in spirit if my body doesn't keep up!) There's been a lot of time spent with family which is good. I've come to realise that being around them is what makes me happy.
I've also taken up a new hobby: ceramic painting! It's true that I have only been once but I intend to go more. Hopefully one day I will have a whole array of hand-painted crockery that I can keep for a long while. Very addictive. I'll post a picture when I pick it up from the glazing place in Fleet (see photo for a rough location of the place!)
That's about all for this month. Looking back I am sure there's more or it's quite sad to think that about 30 days can be summed up in just a few paragraphs!

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Cheddar Gorge



Yesterday we had a school trip to Cheddar Gorge. It was absolutely beautiful and the kids really enjoyed the experience. It’s the place where Cheddar cheese originated and in May they are going to start producing ‘cave-matured’ cheese, which is something they used to do in the 1940s but back then there were fewer ways to keep rodents and bats out of the cheese. They are going to use lasers to ensure the cheese is kept hygienic. The kids went wild and climbed all over the place.
It was a rather long day… we didn’t get home until 5.30pm and it was more than 2 hours each way. Harder than a regular day at work! Still, it made a nice change from being in the classroom.
The kids had a right laugh and they spent the most time in the gift shop buying horrendously tacky gifts using their parents’ hard-earned cash! The most popular thing was sweets and plastic skulls. Nice.

Friday, 16 February 2007

Middle of Feb already

So here is a photo (as requested) of Disneyland Paris. As you can see, it was not the best weather but it was a laugh. No other photos are really suitable as they have students etc. sadly but all I can say is don't believe the brochure!


It's been half term this week and there was a short visit to see lil sis in Cambridge which was fun. We went to a formal dinner and had to dress up and be served by lovely looking waiters and waitresses. We also saw some relatives etc. in nearby Newmarket. Already it's Friday and half way through February when it feels only a short time since Christmas.


Today I went to see the film Hot Fuzz. It sounds rather like the name for a porn film but it's not. It's a BRILLIANT comedy. This site has photos, synopsis and trailer. If you get the opportunity go and see it! It exceeded my expectations - it's not often that I laugh so loud in the cinema that everyone looks at me. This film has everything: guns, comedy (British humour), action. it's just hilarious. Anyway, enough babbling about this fantastic film.... until next time.

Friday, 9 February 2007

The wanderer has returned…

Disneyland Paris was a great trip although blimmin’ cold. I also gained a new nickname: McMullen! It’s become a favourite now amongst staff and students alike. Although the park is aimed at 3-9 year olds there were a few fast rides and we saw a great stunt show as well as the Lion King (3 times, one of which was in French!). Since returning school has been good – particularly with the addition of some snow yesterday! The whole country went mad with only 3 inches of snow – schools closed, roads were ice rinks and everyone was very put out when our school remained open!! Hopefully I’ve got enough stuff to scrapbook so that I can add a few pages to my collection.

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Maybe things don’t change

Yesterday I went on a course about being a tutor and having students in your care etc. It was quite interesting but fast-paced which was tough going after a hard morning teaching! But the weird thing was that although we were all grown people being taught, there was still one person who kept talking the whole time the instructor was talking! It really annoyed me because we all knew, as teachers, how irritating it is when students talk over you. I just about managed to hold my tongue but it was a close thing. So after all that time, even though I was surrounded by adults, there were still childish people. Perhaps growing up so straight forward!

Other news... amazingly the lamp is still working. My spirits are (relatively) high. I LOVE this little piece of modern technology.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Woo hoo for the veggies!

My veg box arrived as promised on Wednesday and I've not been disappointed. We got loads! I've had to have major cook-off and have made: curried parsnip mash, a massive lasagne packed with veggies and a slow cooked beef casserole. Even better... there's loads still left! Not sure we'd cope with a box every week but it's nice for a change.

Other news.... yesterday was a bit of a family do and we went to a really nice pub/restaurant in Godalming, Surrey. It was funny because we spent lots of time with Matt and he only lives in the flat above ours! Still, it was a nice way to end the week.

Monday, 22 January 2007

Veg Box

After many months of um-ing and ah-ing we've done it! We've ordered our very own organic fruit and veg box which should be delivered on Wednesday!! It will hopefully really increase our intake of fruit and veg and cut down on our wasteful, extravagent trips to the supermarket. It should mean we can just buy milk and eggs every couple of weeks until we've eaten EVERYTHING out of the freezer.
They sell loads of other things. The best thing is that they distribute their stuff from local places so there are fewer carbon miles. We chose a medium box because that had loads of stuff grown in the UK and it's nice to think we're eating what's in season.
To add to our virtuous new pledge we've installed a giant compost bin in the back garden. Luckily the wall hides it quite well and it's quite exciting to think that we'll have made something so useful. Now it's just a case of eating our way to a healthy diet and a gorgeous garden.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

House headaches

The main thing that has been going on this weekend is working out possible mortgages. Oh my gosh there is so much to think about. Fortunately I've been given the thumbs up in terms of financial health from Dad but that still leaves so many confusing things to think about: how much, how long, what type and so on and that's after we've managed to pick somewhere to live. It's a bit daft really as it'll take months but it's quite stressful just as a thought. It was so bad I had to have a bath to calm my nerves!

25 or 30 years seems a very long time. I don't even know what I want to do tomorrow let alone with the rest of my life and a commitment like that. On the other hand it would be sooooo nice to have somewhere that you can do what you like and not worry about a landlord coming around or having to put up with boring coloured walls because they aren't really yours. At least then I might be let loose in a furniture shop and not be moaned at for wanting a new sofa instead of the comfortable but not particularly sexy sofa we have at the moment. Already I am collecting magazines of how I want my pad to look. I mean our pad. Haha.

On a lighter note away from the headache I've finished the book about Extreme Parenting I am relaxing and starting on 'Blackbird' by Jennifer Lauck. It's about a girl's perspective of her mother's illness in America. All these books half make having children sound great and sort of terrify me so that I wake up and think "Oh no never!"