Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Fair Fa' Your Honest, Sonsie Face

Our Burns' Night 2014

Three generations of non-Scottish people: Mr P and I, my parents and my Great Aunt and Uncle.
Oh, and a rather sociable cat.

Three courses of traditional Scottish fayre:
Smoked Salmon Mousse and Soda Bread
Haggis, Neeps and Tatties
Cranachan with Lemon Shortbread (using this recipe - thanks Annatha)
Toasted Selkirk Bannock (a gift from a lovely colleague)
 - although we scoffed it before I managed to photograph it.

Served by my favourite Scot.

Hooray for Spotify for entertaining us with Robert Burn's poetry and other Scottish delights:
The Proclaimers, Deacon Blue and Karine Polwart
plus 101 versions of Auld Lang Syne, The Skye Boat Song and Donald Where's Your Troosers
played on the bagpipes.

We had a lovely evening that has become something of an annual tradition to cheer us up 
at the end of January.
A bit of jolly merrymaking to brighten up those gloomy, dark days.
I'm sure Robbie Burns would have approved!

Although with no Scottish blood I have no idea why we celebrate it.
I'm thinking I need to make a bit more effort now on St David's and St George's Days.

PS: How hard is it to capture decent photographs at a dinner party without breaking the candlelit ambiance? Very hard if you're me - apologies for the dire pictures! x

Monday, 27 January 2014

52 Lists / Five

Joining in with Ema at Made In Hunters and her 52 Lists project.

This week: Favourite quotes

"A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure."
Henry Kissinger

On Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers
"Sure he was great, but don't forget that Ginger Rogers did everything he did, backwards
...and in high heels."
Bob Thaves

"We all change. When you think about, we're all different people all through our lives, and that's okay, that's good. You gotta keep moving, so long as you remember all of the people that you used to be."
Matt Smith as Doctor Who in The Time of The Doctor

"The most important not winning but taking part: the essential thing in life is not conquering but fighting well."
- Pierre de Coubertin

The following three quotes are taken from my favourite book I Capture The Castle by Dodie Smith

"Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression."

"Things you let yourself imagine happening, never do happen."

"The key to all knowledge comes in words of just one syllable, apparently...
There's one last page left to write on. I'll fill it with words of just one syllable.
I love. I have loved. I will love."
* I've always thought the text in italics would be a lovely epitaph.

It's getting super chilly out there.
Wrap up warm and have a cosy week! x

Monday, 20 January 2014

52 Lists / Four

Joining in with Ema at Made In Hunters and her 52 Lists project.

This week: Things that remind you of home

Pottering whilst listening to The Archers omnibus on a Sunday morning

Chicken Stew with butter beans and pearl barley

The scent of an Angela Flanders Xanadu candle

Mr P singing in the shower

Sabrina snoozing and snuffling

Cold custard and tinned peaches

The sound of the milkman doing his morning delivery

Saturday mornings reading in bed whilst Mr P sleeps on

The first Camelia blooming in the garden

Saturday night Scrabble games

Hot blackcurrant squash in my big Emma Bridgewater mugs

University Challenge marathons

Keep warm this nippy week. 
Have a super one! x

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Talk To The Animals?

Today we were woken up by a most unusual sound.

It sounded like a cross between the characters Jim Trott from The Vicar of Dibley and Joe Grundy in The Archers.

Lots of "Oh no no no no no" - absolutely confusing.

When I looked out the window I discovered it was one of the local tom cats who is currently paying Fluffy Cat lots of unwanted visits as it's 'that time of the year'.

Did you know that cats were capable of talking?

A little bit of Googling later and I found this.


So what with this and the shouty squirrels, I am starting to think that my garden may be heading towards being a location of scientific history and I really might be able to talk to animals.

What do you think? ;0) x

Monday, 13 January 2014

52 Lists / Three

Joining in with Ema at Made In Hunters and her 52 Lists project.

This week: Things you like to do on a rainy day

Watch a musical (maybe something with Fred Astaire in)
or a quaint old British film (Ealing Comedies or something by Noel Coward)

Drink proper tea made from leaves in a teapot

Listen to the rain and watch it run down the windows - full of the smug feeling that I'm cosy inside

Stroke the cat

Sit in bed and read for hours

Be Peppa Pig (usually I go boss-eyed at the name of this hideous creature) and find a muddy puddle

Look at old photos or cards and reminisce

Listen to relaxing music by Debussy or Satie while I wallow in a hot bath

Think about doing some crafting and by the time I decide what to do it's stopped raining

Bake a loaf cake

Find a cupboard to tidy whilst listening to some unusual offerings on Radio 4

* Thought I'd do this post tonight because 
   a) It is raining
   b) I should really be doing my lesson planning for Thursday but cannot be asked. It can wait!
   c) I thought it would be out of character for me to do a post on a Monday. 
   d) I needed something to photograph for my Instagram project and as nothing of interesting has       
       happened today thought I could photograph that.

Have a super week! x

Saturday, 11 January 2014

52 Lists / Two

Joining in with Ema at Made In Hunters and her 52 Lists project.

This week: List your favourite moments of 2013

You can already read about my perfect day in 2013 here, but these are my favourite 5 perfect moments of the year.

Tuesday 16th April...Getting the phone call offering me my first teaching post. The realisation that I was going to be a proper teacher!

Sunday 14th July...Seeing Karine Polwart, Billy Bragg and Bellowhead at Kew The Music. Warm, sunny evening, picnic, Mum, Dad and Mr P, fantastic music, no worries. I could not have asked for anything more.

Thursday 25th July...Watching my little friend's face as she was presented with her Hansel and Gretel ice cream house at Fortnum and Mason. A face of awe...and soon to be a face of chocolate goo!

Tuesday 13th August...Sunset boat trip around the Farne Islands. Nature at its very best.

Saturday 14th December... Listening to Britten's A Ceremony of Carols at St Paul's Cathedral followed by dinner with my Mum, Dad, Mr P and my great-aunt and -uncle. A perfect pre-Christmas day.

It was so hard to choose them but I felt I needed to pick a range of days across the year and for lots of different reasons. I hope they show the sorts of days and moments that are so important in making me 'me'.

Friday, 3 January 2014

52 Lists / One

To achieve one of my 'things to achieve in 2014': blogging, Ema at Made In Hunters has kindly allowed me to join in with her 52 Lists for 2014.

I thought this would be the perfect way to ensure that I add something every week to my blog without it relying on photos because at the moment I don't have the time or the patience to take and manipulate photos to the standard I want.

The first list for 2014 was for goals for the year. I suppose I have already outlined these in great detail in my last post but didn't want to miss out on the first week's list opportunity so have selected my top three.

1.  Be Happy - hopefully helpful in achieving and the outcome of achieving

2.  Be Organised And On Top Of Things

3.  Get Fit, Lose 1 Stone And Complete A 5k Race (healthy body = healthy mind?)

I should probably add to these goals of trying not to worry so much about everything (I'm already having daft anxiety dreams again - a sign of going back to work on Monday) and making sure that I ask for help when I'm struggling, worried or unsure about something I'm doing at work rather than beavering on and hoping for the best. I need to keep reminding myself that I'm still only in my 2nd term of teaching rather than expecting to do everything confidently and successfully immediately and every time!

And in an effort to remind myself how daft worrying can be, I will add this song to my iPod for those manic moments.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

To Achieve In 2014

Instead of making New Year Resolutions for 2014, I have decided to make a list of things that I want to achieve in the course of the year.

So often I've made resolutions, worked hard on them for the first six weeks of the year and by March have forgotten what they are.

These year I'm feeling determined to work on them all year round so that I can count a good list of ticks and say 'job well done' in 364 days time.

During my PGCE year I seemed to spend a fair chunk of my time formally reflecting on and evaluating my progress and haven't done so much of that recently, even though it's a very worthwhile skill (according to HM The Queen in a Christmas Speech 2013 - she sounded like one of my tutors!) - so I've bought a lovely notebook and intend to review and reflect in there and on my blog each month.

So this is what I'm aiming for...
(and I should warn you I'm a bit of an list-obsessed perfectionist - eek!)

  • Be organised and on top of things - home and school (most important as it should allow the time to do all others)
  • Get fit, lose 1 stone and complete a 5k race (weight today 10st 11lb 6oz - yuck!)
  • Learn the proper foxtrot (because we never do the social foxtrot as it's "too ploddy")
  • Read at bedtime (not just flop!)
  • Properly plan a holiday (read the guidebooks before I go!)
  • See friends and family more...including the little ones who are rapidly growing
  • Blog!!!
  • Complete a 365 Me Instagram Project
  • Keep my nails painted - fingers and toes! (usually achieve with toes but never fingers!)
  • Cook and bake again (did not do anywhere enough of my share at home in 2012 or 2013!)
  • Start to learn an instrument again (choice of piano or ukulele)
  • Be happy! (hopefully achieved by working on as many of the above as possible)

Here's to 2014 and all that will be achieved! x