Saturday, 30 April 2011

Cheers

The ice creams are of a fine vintage here!
 
Little B at Kew Gardens - 30 April 2011

My Royal Wedding Day

Ceremonial Soldiers
Fly Past
Flag Waving
Feasting
Fairy Cakes (with Union Jack cases)

Friday, 29 April 2011

Kate and William's Wonderful Wedding Day

Yes, I was there! Buckingham Palace, London - 29 April 2011
   
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's Marriage Prayer
God our Father, we thank you for our families; 
for the love that we share
and for the joy of our marriage.
In the busyness of each day keep our eyes fixed on 
what is real and important in life 
and help us to be generous with our time
and love and energy.
Strengthened by our union, help us to serve and comfort those who suffer. 
We ask this in the Spirit of Jesus Christ. 
Amen.

I chose to include this here as I think it sums up the day, their relationship and their future beautifully. 

It was a truly joyful day. 

I hope that Catherine (as we have to call her now!) and William enjoyed their special day 
as much as the rest of the world.

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Easter Sunday Stroll

I promised to tell you what we saw on our Easter Sunday stroll in the countryside.
 
There were sheep.


Cows on the move.


There was the sound of a cuckoo in the distance.

Stiles to perch on and relax for a moment or two.

Watching the world go by.

But best of all there were so many lovely bluebells...

Warburg Nature Reserve - 24 April 2011

The smell of the beautiful blue carpet was glorious.

You can't beat the English countryside waking up in spring!

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

We Are Not Amused!

I have some Year 5 (children aged 9 and 10 years) wisdom to share this afternoon.

Queen Victoria wore black because....


...she wanted to look slimmer!

The whole class was amused!

My second day as a TA went really well. I was helping with Year 6 English and Maths this morning and this afternoon I was in 'my' Year 5 class for a lesson on The Victorians. Playground duty was fun too. I think I've already made some little friends. The teachers and other support staff continue to be really lovely and helpful. 

And yes, I'm still smiling!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Late April - The Sun Has Come Back This Afternoon

Thank you so much for all the kind comments you left with this morning's post. It was nice to come home this afternoon (at 3.30pm - whoop whoop!) and read them all. It was lovely to discover that you were thinking of me and sending such special good luck wishes.

I love this picture. Although I hope my hair won't go so grey!

I'm sure you'll be pleased to know that I had an amazing first day. It felt like I'd arrived at home. I was in an environment which I knew something about and had a real passion and determination to do well. I left this afternoon with a real smile on my face and lots of interesting thoughts and observations.

Can you get a RSI from sharpening pencils?

Try to think of numbers in different ways. 
12 is not just 12, it is half of 24 and two times 6. 
It is also 10 plus 2 and 8 plus four.
It can even be 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus 1 plus....
Try to imagine these as cakes - mmm!
You can still see my parents' bedroom from my Year 5 classroom 
which is now the class that I am now based in.

There are lots of children in my class with names that could not have been imagined when I was at school.
This is the most unusual - Finesse.

I climbed to the 2nd floor of the school about 20 times today. 
I was lucky if I got up from my chair 20 times in a day in my old job. 
I love the person who decided to put the photocopier on the 1st floor.
Just think how many calories I will burn off! 

Today was a staff training day and tomorrow the children arrive. 

I might be feeling a little bit different about things once I've met the little people (more tired I'm sure) but for some reason I think I'll still be smiling.

Late April - Where Did The Sun Go?

Today I start my new job as a Teaching Assistant and my new career in Teaching.

I'm nervous - excited - nervous.

The quote on my bottle of shower gel* this morning seemed very appropriate.

Philosophy: Life is a classroom. We are both student and teacher. Each day is a test and each day we receive a passing or failing grade in one particular subject: grace. Grace is compassion, gratitude, surrender, faith, forgiveness, good manners, reverence, and the list goes on. It's something money can't buy and credentials rarely produce. Being the smartest, the prettiest, the most talented, the richest, or even the poorest, can't help. Being humble can help and it's a good place to start.


I think this role will require a lot of grace.

I'll let you know later today what my first day was like and how I got on.

*I don't normally have such expensive shower gel. I just thought that today was a little bit of a special occasion so I used the posh stuff!

Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Sunday Picnic

Yesterday we headed up to our favourite nature reserve in South Oxfordshire for an Easter Sunday picnic and walk with my Mum and Dad.

Mr P and I prepared the picnic...
Spanish style chicken thighs and drumsticks (cooked with chorizo and orange zest)
Tortilla with red and green peppers
Savory Feta and Tapenade 'Chelsea Bun' loaf

Recipe from Waitrose Weekend newspaper

Mixed bean salad
Butter bean and tomato salad
Houmous
Fresh salad leaves and tomatoes

Followed by...
'Little Pots of Lemon Cream'

Recipe from Nigel Slater's Real Fast Puddings

 Washed down with...
Fentiman's Rose Lemonade
Fiery Ginger Beer

We sat and ate our picnic lunch in glorious spring sunshine. It wasn't too warm but it wasn't cold either and there was no breeze. It was so peaceful, all we heard was the sound of a cuckoo in the distance.

All the food was delicious (if I'm cheeky and say so myself) but I really wanted to share the loaf recipe with you. As it came with the free Waitrose newspaper I don't feel too bad that the author won't lose any royalties!

Savoury Feta and Tapenade Chelsea Bun Loaf 
(Serves 8)
500g White bread mix (I felt very guilty using a mix but was in a hurry. I used Wright's Premium mix)
4 tbsp Waitrose Kalamata Olive and Anchovy Tapenade
100g feta cheese, diced
1 egg, beaten to glaze
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp rock salt crystals

Sift the bread mix into a large bowl and mix with 320ml lukewarm water to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for 5 minutes then leave to sit for 5 minutes.

Roll the dough to a 30cm square and spread with the tapenade right to the edge. Scatter the diced feta on top.

Roll the dough up from opposite ends to meet in the middle then cut across the rolls to make eight slices.

Place cut-side down in the centre of a lightly oiled 23cm loose-bottomed shallow cake tin. Arrange the rest around it. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 45 minutes until it has doubled in size.

Preheat the oven to 220oC. 

Brush the top of the loaf with beaten egg and scatter with the oregano and rock salt crystals.

Bake for 25 minutes until well risen and golden brown, remove from the tin and return to the oven for 5 minutes to cook the bottom.

The loaf should sound hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy!

Do you want to see what we saw afterwards?  You'll have to come back soon!



Saturday, 23 April 2011

Lighter For Spring

I have a new hair-do.

It's considerably lighter and shorter than I normally have it coloured and cut.

Me - April 2011
 It was a means to an end as I want to grow it longer and have it all one length. To achieve this, the straggly layers needed to go.

I don't instinctively feel like a short-hair person but I'm quite liking it being so thick and so manageable. Only a five minute hair dry required!

Anyhow, it's now lighter and brighter and perfect for the gorgeous weather!

Friday, 22 April 2011

One A Penny...

Hot cross buns!
Hot cross buns!
One ha' penny, two ha' penny,
Hot cross buns!
If you have no daughters,
Give them to your sons
One ha' penny,
Two ha' penny,
Hot Cross Buns

(Traditional English Nursery Rhyme.
The earliest written record of it was published in London in 1798.)


My first attempt at making Hot Cross Buns - Good Friday 2011.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Two Seascapes

The last time I saw the sea in 2010.

Old Orchard Beach, Maine, USA - 29 September 2010

The first time I saw the sea in 2011.

Mudeford, Dorset, England - 21 April 2011

I often wonder what it would be like to be seawater.
How much of the world you actually get to see?

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Well, Did You Evah!

Foxy Loxy Caught In The Act

Spotted!
One Tod Fox!
Seen Embroidering While Sat On A Window Sill In Columbia Road, London, E2!

Have you seen him?

One of my 'only to be found in London town' moments.

Deckchair Thrifty Find - Part 1

Two vintage deckchairs for £21 on Ebay.

Ignore the weeds!    


Needs:
Sanding
Varnishing or painting
Some nice new canvas in a jolly print.

Required for:
Reading
Relaxing
Enjoying the sunshine with a gin and elderflower cocktail in hand.

Watch this space!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Mid April - Sun Sun Sun

I promise I'm still here.

I'm just living through a manic fortnight.
  • Last week at work
  • Lots of goodbyes...and lunches...and drinks
  • Meeting up with friends
  • Homemade Social
  • Decorating our bedroom
  • Writing an essay
  • Trying to get lots of odd jobs done
  • Hair cuts and other appointments. 
The list could go on and on.   

I hope you're enjoying some gorgeous Easter break weather. It is unusually warm and sunny for April in London. It's good for spurring you on to do things but I fear we may pay for it in  July when it will probably be cold and rain.

I will be back in a day or two when things calm down. 

I do need my sleep right now.

I hope it will calm down. I need to pause and refresh myself before I start my new job on Tuesday.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Almost Mid-April - Sunny Sunshine

Hello,

This is just a very quick Tuesday moment as this week is so busy.

I finish up at work on Friday and I'm trying to get all the loose ends tied up there.

I'm also out every night this week, apart from tomorrow when I will desperately be trying to tidy the flat and make it resemble some form of tidy normality.

And I still need to write my OU essay!

Beyond the lack of rest and worries and stress caused by a busy week before holidays, I'm feeling rather cheery.

I'm being whisked along by the fact that it is so incredibly sunny and warm outside. I'm in summer tops already (although the sleeves are just a little 'snug' on the blouse that I'm wearing today which reminds me not to eat/drink too much at all my leaving drinks and lunches this week and to factor in some exercise and lots of healthy meal planning for next week).

I will be back with more posts later this week. I have some great photos from my weekend adventure at Columbia Road Flower Market. I also have some great thrifty finds to show you. I hope you will be excited about them as I am.

Have a good week - almost hump day!

Monday, 11 April 2011

"All This Nothing Has Meant More To Me Than So Many Somethings"*

Recently, in a bizarre moment, someone said the kindest thing to me. I was feeling sad and they said something which made me feel valued and confident.

I don't think that this person had any idea what their comment meant and how it touched my soul. It probably means nothing to them and is already long forgotten but in that brief moment it lifted my spirits at a time when I needed it.

They were just words but I will always feel pleased that it was said. 

It will always mean a lot to me. It was nothing, but to me it meant something.

It reminds me how we should feel valued and appreciated. It is what we need to thrive. Children need to hear these things and so do adults too. We all need to feel we belong. 

To be told such things we need to say them to others. Comments like these are like an everlasting circle of love - keep them going, never break the chain.

* This is a quote taken from my favourite movie You've Got Mail. The line just felt perfect for this post. I know I've mentioned the film before and I'll probably mention it again and again; it is so important to me and who I am. One day soon I'll explain this.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Paper Dreams

When I was trying to come up with a title for this post Paper Dreams immediately sprung to mind. You will find it suits today's musings perfectly. However did you know that the phrase Paper Dreams is actually street speak for dreaming of better times and of money and grandeur? I don't exactly dream of that but it would be very nice.

What I find myself daydreaming about is an emporium of crafting and pretty things that I found last year on my honeymoon trip to Boston.

As I know that lots of you are in the US and a few of you are going to have holidays there this year, I thought I really ought to pass my love of this store on. If only I'd known about it before my trip I would have saved my pennies and taken an empty suitcase so I could buy more things to bring home.

This crafter's heaven is called Paper Source and is a small chain in the US. You need to imagine it as a cross between Paperchase and HobbyCraft.


The stores have gorgeous windows decorated by the staff who really know their stuff. They have lots of tutorials and in-house events for customers to learn new skills such as making your own invitations, cards and learn more about stamping and embossing.

Everything is very tasteful (as much as I like HobbyCraft sometimes I find the things they have for sale a bit gaudy and garish). The colours of the card they sell - in so many shapes and sizes - are all very lovely and it's great quality too.

Paper Source sells a unique line of seasonal craft kits. We visited in September and October and it was full of things for Fall, Halloween and Thanksgiving.  



They sell paper wreath kits for each season. I have one in autumnal colours and another with poinsettia flowers for Christmas (like the one above). I also made a paper mistletoe kit last year.

Sadly they don't deliver to the UK at the moment, so lovely Shannon was very kind sent them onto me.

I continue to have daydreams about this gorgeous store and think of all the wonderful things I could buy.

Don't you just love this colourful wreath for spring?


I'm almost certain there will be a sunflower one for the summer months.

I think I'll stop drooling now, but hope that if you visit Paper Source in the near future you find it as exciting as I do. It's a store with so many paper possibilities.

And even though I said last week that I'd only my own run my own children's bookshop instead of teaching, perhaps I'll just have to add a papercraft shop to that wish list!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Early April - Wind & Rain

This morning I was thinking about what to post today. Then I remembered that it was Tuesday.

Not A Good Pupil
In the past two days I've had to bluff my way through a telephone tutorial with my OU lecture and complete my homework for curtain-making class at lunchtime. I had planned to do both study and handwork on Saturday when I had a completely clear day but had an all-day headache and didn't achieve a thing.

Now I have cleared the decks a little I should be able to get back on track with these things. In fact I believe I owe it to myself to stick to target and deadlines because how can I criticise a child for not doing their work when I'm guilty of it as well?

All Kitted Out
Yesterday I treated myself to a new pencil case and ring binder to get prepared for my new job.

Posy Floral Pencil Case from Paperchase
Isn't it cute?

It matches a notebook, pen and filing box that Little B and Little E's parents bought for me as a congratulations/good luck present.

I will try to be organised - start as I mean to go on and all that!

Holiday Plans - Eight Working Days To Go!
Now that my leave date is in sight I'm starting to think about plans for my 10 day holiday. Mr P has booked the week off work and so we are (finally) going to decorate our room together. I felt bad leaving Mr P to do it himself as I would be at work, but now that we can do it together I'm really looking forward to making it a joint project.

So by Easter I should have a nicely decorated bedroom.

But we have to finish decluttering the rest of the house first - long story!

But first, this weekend, we're going to Columbia Road Market for a little Sunday shopping expedition. The weather forecast looks good and I just can't wait.

International Friendships
For some unknown reason my stats in the past week have really shot up, with lots of new people reading my blog especially from the USA.

Out of sheer curiosity it would be great to know where you are all commenting from and how you found my blog. I'm just so intrigued as to how we find each other.

Have a happy Tuesday and a great week!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A New Mother's Day

Photo courtesy of PinkCatDad

A Mother With Her New Baby Boy

Born Mother's Day 2011 at 3.16pm - While We Looked On

Amazing!

Friday, 1 April 2011

April

April is the time in the year to spring back to life.

Time to dry clean my thick winter coat and put it back in the wardrobe to hibernate for the summer.

Time to write the first essay for my Open University course.

Time to get out in the garden to dig and plant.

Time to sit down with the manual for my new camera and properly work out how to use it.

Time to look forward to a long spring and summer and put events and meet ups in the diary.

Time for the new bed to arrive and finish decorating our bedroom.

Time to relax, sort myself out and prepare for the next term(!) during a 10 day holiday.

Time to cook healthier meals and make time time to exercise to avoid looking like a dumpling in summer clothes.

What are you making time for this April?