Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Feasting and Flowers

Much like Christmas, Easter requires so much eating.

Breakfast on Easter Sunday

So many special foods to enjoy over a long weekend.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

Mr P and I decided not to buy each other an Easter Egg this year. Instead we pooled our funds to buy an amazing chocolate badger to share.

Betty's Chocolate Badger

Somehow I don't think he'll be eating for a while. He's just too pretty to scoff! 

There's also decorating to be done, in happy sunny, springtime hues!

Sunny mantlepiece

I love getting all the little bunnies, birds and lambs out of the cupboard each year. They brighten the house up after the longest winter gloom ever!

And we've gone daffodil mad - they're everywhere!

Adapted from Nurture Store

I even tried to make my own. I thought it would be good to have a go at some children's crafts for Easter in preparation for having my own class of 30 next year. This was very simple to make although may need a few adaptations for the youngest children. They are very simple, but I think you'll agree, very effective.

Happy Easter!
I hope your Sunday is filled with all kinds of delights. 

Friday, 29 March 2013

Spring Blooms

Flower baskets made by my Year 1 class as presents for Mothering Sunday.

Something bright to welcome the Easter Weekend.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A Month In Words: February

You don't have to tell me, I realise this is VERY late. March has been such a bonkers *(not to mention freezing) month, I'm glad it is almost over. Anyway, back to February: what happened then?

Apologies for the dark photos - February was a dark and gloomy month!

Biscuit & Jo Whiley 
On Valentine's Day one of my little pupil's gave me a homemade heart shaped biscuit because he said "I was the nicest and prettiest teacher ever". I was touched and that evening when Jo Whiley (Radio 2 Evening Show DJ) wanted to hear what people had been given, I emailed her and shortly afterwards she read it on air. Jo Whiley is one of my favourite TV/Radio personalities - I want her to be my trendy best friend as much as I want Miranda Hart and Clare Balding to come to dinner - so I was really touched when she said how much student teachers deserve a treat!

Toes Check
Back at the hospital for more probing at my feet and looking at my bunions. More x-rays and the possibility of a nasty steroid injection that would put me off my feet  for 2-3 days. Remembering the pain I had last year when I had a course of acid injections, I was feeling rather worried as it was meant to be an altogether more serious procedure. 
A bit of an update...Yesterday I went to my appointment and the consultant decides that it doesn't make any sense to have the injection. He said the x-ray showed my toe joints are looking much better and that he know thinks the pain could be caused by tendon problems. So an ultrasound is now booked to look into that. It's endless, I fear it will never be resolved!

City Oink, Baa, Neigh
With some uni friends I visited Mudchute City Farm to pretend that we were going on a school trip in preparation for a presentation to our tutor group. We had to make risk assessments and plan each stage of the visit in detail, exactly as we would if we were taking a class of 30 Year 1 children. We had such a fun time let out together to do the research, it really didn't feel like work. The farm is great and well worth visiting if you're in the Docklands area. It's free of charge to walk round and has a very nice cafe which on a cold February day sold lovely warming drinks!

Mudchute City Farm - A bit of the country in the city

Super Shard
One of my Christmas presents from Mr P was tickets to visit The Shard. We went with my parents on a very snowy February Saturday and despite it being absolutely freezing at the top, had an amazing time. The view is awesome and although you have a timed slot to arrive you don't need to be out by a certain time, so we spent about 90 minutes taking it all in. Highly recommended!

The top of The Shard

Puttin' On The Ritz
A pre-birthday treat to see Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag's dance show in Eastbourne. Again we with my parents and again it was snowing. The show was brilliant, the dancing amazing and Anton's humour very cheeky and tongue in cheek. He will be a brilliant candidate to take over from Brucie if he ever leaves his SCD role. Beautiful costumes and lovely music. I left wishing I could only dance half as good as Erin!

Big Day Tomorrow!
On 1st March I was due to have my final supervisor observation for this placement. I had spent the evening preparing all my lesson plans and resources for the next day. I went to bed feeling very nervous (I was teaching Maths!) but also a bit excited.

Goodbye To TVC

In the past I've been quite shy about saying where I worked prior to being a Teaching Assistant and then doing my PGCE course.

But I think it's ok to tell you now - I used to be a Personal Assistant at the BBC. I worked there between 2007-2011 and although for the most part I had an amazing time, I left under a bit of a cloud as I was really quite unhappy in my last job. On the plus side it helped to move me on career-wise and I love what I do now but the few months before I decided to go were quite tough. 

The front wall of TC1- the biggest television studio in Europe

While the closure of BBC Television Centre has been all across the media in the last few weeks, I feel like I've left the building and the organisation all over again. My Dad was employed by Auntie (nickname for the BBC) for over 40 years and we have always lived a stone's throw from the studios. My Mum has lived in W12 all her life and can even remember the building being constructed when she was a young girl in the 1950s. It has been a BIG part of all our lives. I know we've all shed a tear or two about it in the past weeks, it seems like such a waste to dispose and demolish most of what is an iconic building in cultural history.

The final office I worked in - 6080 TVC
Earlier this week, Dad and I were lucky enough to have one final walk round the building. It was like a ghost town, so different to the hussle and bussle I'd been used to. You could almost here the voices of the past as you walked around the empty corridors and studios and wandered around deserted offices trying to remember what had been there before.

When I was trying to lose weight before my wedding I'd run up and down these stairs to get to my office on the 6th floor at least twice a day.
The memories of happy times working there came flooding back. I was reminded of things I'd not thought about in a long time.
  • Brushing my hair in a lift on the way to meet a friend for lunch. The lift stops at the 4th floor, the doors spring open and Bruce Forsythe wanders in. Seeing me with my brush in hand, he offers to brush my hair and tells me how much he used to like brushing his mother's long hair.
  • Attending 'Take Your Daughter To Work Day' when I was 11 years old and being taken to the Newsnight studio where we took turns with the equipment and were mock-interviewed by Jennie Bond. I wasn't aware of it at the time but there was a photographer there and the next day I ended up on the front page of The Guardian. 
The view from the East Tower - home to BBC Children's
  • Washing everyone's mugs late on a Friday afternoon with Chris Evans watching me the entire time. There were a lot of mugs and it took about 20 minutes and I was so annoyed that he didn't even ask if he could help dry them!
  • Getting stuck in a revolving door with Charlotte Green (Radio 4 Announcer) for 10 minutes when I was supposed to be collecting a girl from reception to to take her for a job interview. Then I bumped into John Simms (Actor - Life on Mars) and ran into Graham Norton who had all these little handbag dogs with him. I went back to my desk that morning with a lot of stories to tell.
Empty newsroom gallery - looks like they've just left for lunch
  • Buying a salad from the canteen and discovering a slug crawling around in it. When I went back to ask for my money back they gave me money and said I could have anything I wanted - I ate cake and custard for my lunch that day. I've never felt so indulgent!
  • The woman who always strutted around the gym changing rooms completely naked. I passed her at the Tube station last Friday and couldn't help but laugh out loud to finally see her fully dressed.
  • Alan Yentob (presenter and very important BBC executive) telling me how lovely he throught the Christmas decorations I'd put up in my office were. I was so chuffed I took pictures of all of them and posted them on Facebook. Considering he usually seemed to be very miserable (and wore very strange baggy trousers) I thought it was quite a surprise to hear him be so positive.
Deserted Blue Peter garden - all the old pets have been dug up and relocated to Salford
  • Eating a homemade cake that Nigella Lawson had brought to a meeting and discovering that it was actually quite vile.
  • Always seeing Miranda Hart on her bike riding around the periphery before I even knew who she was. I thought it was hilarious to see such a tall woman on a silly small bike but remembered thinking at the time how amazing her skin was. 
  • Visiting the Broom Cupboard (Philip Scofield's starting place) when I was 4 and meeting Ed The Duck before going to watch my Dad film Blue Peter. I was in complete awe and have wanted to be a BP presenter ever since. I think I'm a little bit too old for the job now, so should probably put that dream to bed!
I really could go on and on (Dad's memories are even more special - full of stories about 'TV's Golden Days' filming Morecombe and Wise, Dad's Army, etc) but you're probably not that interested. I just wanted to get some of my memories down and recorded otherwise I know I'll forget them in the years to come.

The closure of Television Centre is a loss not only to the local area and for the staff who loved working there but for the BBC. For those who were part of her past or present, 31st March 2013 will be a very sad day.

Lights in TC1 Studio

Sunday, 10 March 2013

So time!

I hate writing these posts. The ones where you say you have so much to write, but no time in which to do it. I have that intense feeling of guilt when I'm writing an apology for not doing something and not even having the time to upload a photograph to make it look prettier.

But it's true, at the moment I'm up to my eyeballs!

I have just finished my teaching placement and have a stinking cold. I've got lots of tasks to write up for uni, as well as a big 5000 MA level essay due in on 21st March that I haven't even started planning let alone writing. I've also been invited for interviews for NQT (Newly Qualified Teacher) Pools and those involve time preparing and attending.

I should not really be moaning but at the moment I am counting down the hours until the start of Easter Holidays on 22nd March and panicing about everything I have to do in such little time.

I have been told that this is the hardest part of the PGCE course when there are lots of demands pulling you in 101 different directions, but I have been reassured that it gets better. I'm not sure how much better it gets, but in the summer term there are no tasks to complete and I can focus on just being in school and getting on with the teaching.

On reflection, I'm actually progressing really well with the course. I had an excellent final placement observation report from my University Mentor. I was delighted to be told (in confidence by the class teacher, perhaps so I didn't get too big for my boots) that it was outstanding for this point in the course. 

I have also been accepted onto one local borough NQT Pool already, despite me not having my finest hour in the interview. It was at 3.30pm and I had spent the whole day teaching alone as the class teacher had called in sick. I was exhausted and at 2pm made a frenzied dash across London to get to the council offices and then waited for 30 minutes as they were overrunning. But I made it onto their recommended list, so I suppose it can't have been too bad.

There may will be very little to come from me in the next week and a bit while I get everything that needs to be done out of the way. I am making a lovely list of non-PGCE things to do during the holidays (mundane but blissful things like tidying cupboards and tending to the garden) and promise to be back on track with my blog (and photos!) then.

See you on the other side! x

PS: At the moment, I am reading all your blogs. I read them when I'm eating breakfast or on my phone while travelling on the Tube. Like everything else, there's not much time for comments at the moment but I assure you that I'm enjoying all the lovely spring things that you're getting up to and very jealous of all the spring cleaning and redecorating that's going on! x