Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Proud Teacher Moment

This is the teacher equivalent of a proud parent post.

I just have to share these animal pictures made by my class just before half term.

The children are only five and six years old (Year 1) but I was amazed by how beautifully they created them.

Over a couple of lessons, they patiently drew the outline looking carefully at pictures of lions, tigers, giraffes and zebras, then cut the slits and wove coloured paper through. 

Finally they used oil pastels to add some colour and bring the wild creatures to life.

If you knew the children you'd be able to see how a little bit of their personality shines through in each one.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Messing About By The River

Last Sunday I dragged myself away from planning to spend a couple of hours in the February sunshine.

River Thames at Chiswick

Hot Coffee out of a flask...with a piece of biscotti

Serenaded by a friendly robin

Watching teams practise for the Boat Race at the end of March

Oxford or Cambridge - who do you root for?*

* We cheer for Oxford! I have an (need to take a long, deep breath) Undergraduate Diploma in Local History via the Internet from the Continuing Education Department at Oxford and my graduation ceremony was held at the Sheldonian so I like to think there's a little bit of Oxford academia in me.

Friday, 22 February 2013


I haven't done one of these for ages but saw it on Shannon's blog. They quite daft but remind me of all the little questionnaires I did in magazines as a teenager.

As it's my birthday next week and I will be firmly planted in my 30s (31!), I regressed to the 1990s and decided to spend a few minutes 'throwing' my own ABCs list together.

A - Available or married?  Married for 2 and a half years but I've been with Mr P for 13 years next Tuesday. 

B - Book?  When it's not PGCE related, I've been whipping through odd books on my Kindle. I've just finished Jacqueline Wilson's new book Queenie (teacher research!) and before that read Andy Murray's auto-biography

C - Cake or pie? If we're talking about sweet things, then definitely cake. Sponge or fruit, I'm happy!

D - Drink of choice?  If it's a hot drink, then a Gingerbread Latte. If it's cold then I quite like Elderflower Cider.

E - Essential item?  iPod, camera and lipbalm.

F - Favorite colour?  Pink or Red.

G - Game to play or watch?  Not really a game, but I love a good jigsaw puzzle.

H - Hometown?  Shepherds Bush, London.

I - Indulgence?  Perfume and candles from Angela Flanders.

J - Job?  One the road to becoming a Primary School Teacher. Currently busy making lots of applications.

K - Kids and names?  Not yet but hopefully one day.

L - Life is incomplete without? Family, friends and a cat.

M - Music group or singer?  Kate Rusby

N - Number of siblings?  Zero!

O - Oranges or apples?  Apples, although I have to be very careful as they sometimes bring me out in a rash.

P - Phobias/ fears?  Missing deadlines. Being late. Not getting everything done. Disappointing people.

Q - Favorite Quote?  "A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure."

R - Reason to smile?  Always my godchildren and all the other little ones belonging to my nearest and dearest.

S - Season?  I always would have said Autumn and Winter, but I can't decide now. I like all seasons and the anticipation of what's going to happen as each one comes around. Seasons are one of the things I really look forward to teaching and celebrating next year.

T - Tattoos?  No. I don't really like them, so won't be getting one soon.

U - Unknown fact about me?  My first job was working at the Hanson fanclub in between GCSEs and A Levels. They paid me £45 a week.

V - Vegetable you love?  Parsnips, potatoes, and leeks - but pretty much everything!

W - Worst habit?  Worrying and procrastinating!

X - X-rays you've had?  Lots on my feet looking at my bunions - eeew!  

Y - Your favorite food?  The hardest question of all. I love everything but never turn down a roast dinner, preferably pork.

Z - Zodiac?  Pisces. I'd love to have the relaxed, creative personality, but seem to possess the more negative characteristics: escapist, indecisive and oversensitive!

Please feel free to join me on a regressing few minutes and share your ABCs.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Death By Planning

This is a photo of my weekend.

Diary, file, laptop, post-its.


I'm not a very happy bunny at the moment: tired, dry sore throat, in need of some sunshine and a change of scene.

I'm trying to decipher other teacher's medium term plans and it's like reading something in an alien language.

I'm also putting together applications to NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) Recruitment Pools. Boring!

Half term is just around the corner but seems like a million miles away.

And I need a fresh cup of tea!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Use Up Night

Wednesday Evening means sorting out the fridge. Filling it with veg box goodies, throwing out the icky stuff and clearing space for Thursday night's shop.

This week it was looking surprising tidy...

and healthy too.

Well, apart from the cream! (Naughty Squirty Cream is for Hot Chocs!)

But there was also lots of cooking to use things up.

Two huge butternut squashes...

and cranberries!

I must be the only person in the country with two bags of cranberries in the fridge at the end of January. I love things but they seem to disappear from the shops straight after the 24th December, so I bulk buy the week before Christmas and cook a bag each week with some oranges, cloves, a splash of orange juice and a trickle of Cointreau or Cherry Brandy to spoon onto my porridge each morning.

I may have used up all the fridge supply now, but there's still three bags in the freezer. Enough to see me out through the winter.

What is your favourite festive food that you just have to enjoy outside of the Christmas season?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

A Knitted Wonder

Meet my new friend...

It's Kipper The Dog!

At my monthly Saturday-night Ballroom Dance (Yes, Mr P and I 'do' ballroom dancing) there's always a raffle and I seem to win a prize every month. 

I usually pick the cuddly toy and then pass him on to be raffle prizes at the school where I  worked as a Teaching Assistant.

But this time Kipper is going to stay with me until he can go and live in my book corner when I have a classroom of my own.

He's great, isn't he? He must be the product of a lot of knitting hours. I'm surprised someone wanted to give him up.

I love him already...

and so does Sabrina. Who says dogs and mogs can't be friends?

(Apologies for the dreadful photos - taken on a Sunday afternoon when the light was fading!)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

A Sense of Spring

Last Wednesday I was only at uni in the morning.

Giving the choice, I could not have selected a better day last week to be able to be outside during the day and enjoy the fresh air and a few rays of sunshine.

There was blue sky with fluffy clouds.

And for about an hour I stopped my work and went outside.

I walked to the Post Office with a spring in my step.

I put some treats out for the birds (because We Love Them).

I planted a few bulbs for Easter

and I paused to watch the sunset.

Just for an afternoon it felt like spring was not too far away.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

A Month In Words: January

Throughout 2011 and 2012 I filled in an emoticon calendar to document how each day had gone. They started off as simply smiley or sad faces and then developed into all sorts of creative faces.

This year I decided to do something different and record a 'word of the day' on our bedroom calendar.

I thought it would be a nice way to document the ups and downs of the year and force me to reflect on the day in a positive way.

January had an awful lot of food listed. There was also the last few Christmas festivities, lots of snow and numerous illnesses and accidents.

My new Celtic & Co Sheepskin Mocassin Slippers. There were a very late Christmas present from Mr P. They should have arrived before Christmas but two days before the big day, my husband received an email to say that they were still being made. He did buy me a lovely pair of red cable knit slipper-boots to make up for it and since these have arrived I've had two pairs of slippers to keep my toes warm (much needed this month).

Salty Dog
Training to teach Early Years has given me the perfect excuse to indulge in some CBeebies. At the moment I love Old Jack's Boat with the fantastically amazing* Bernard Cribbins. It makes me want to go and live by the sea with all the other extremely eccentric characters - I'm sure I'd fit in. The bright skys and blue sea works wonders on dull wintery days!

My PGCE course has proved to be the perfect effortless diet. I've lost 1 stone (6.3kg) since September without even trying. I've gone down two dress sizes and when I needed to buy some new trousers for school, managed to get into size 12 corduroys. I was so pleased with myself that I bought two pairs: navy and black. Now I'm on a mission to keep the weight off and lose at least another half a stone before the summer. I'd better not venture into the staffroom at playtime!

Bargain Thursday
Mr P has discovered that if you go wander around our local supermarket at 6pm on a Thursday evening, you may be lucky and get a second-mark down. For the past few weeks we've had wonderful joints of pork and beef for a fraction of the price. He's also bought pheasant and duck for just a couple of £s. Our Sunday teas have been super and we've had very yummy sandwiches. The best thing is that now Mr B has a brilliant incentive to go shopping at a particular time, he now doesn't moan about going. Bonus!

So that was January. 
What is February going to bring?

*I have clearly spent too much time with my Year 1 class trying to squeeze at least two adjectives into every sentence.