Sunday, 30 November 2014

52 Lists / Forty Eight

This week: List your favourite flowers

They are so simple and yet so cheery.

Picture source
Lily of the Valley
My Grandma was called Lily and was from a mining village in the South Wales valleys, 
so these always remind me of her.

Picture source
They arrive at the point in the year when you need some sunshine.
They are sunshine on a stem.

Picture source
I love traditional roses, mostly in pinks, purples and creams.
Sweet Avalanche reminds me of our wedding as it was in my bouquet and used in all the arrangements. Aw!

Picture source
I have five plants in my little garden. 
If I could I'd have a garden full of them, they're so beautiful.

Picture source
For their scent alone.

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Just lovely.

Picture source

What flower fills your heart with joy?

Sunday, 23 November 2014

So cute!

The strangest thing happened this week.

We held the first of two Parents' Evenings at school and after her meeting a parent whose child is currently in another keyworker group (I'm the teacher overall but I have two Early Years practitioners who work with two of the keyworker groups and I work with the third. We rotate termly so we get to know all children and it helps me to plan and assess them more effectively) came back into the classroom and over to my desk to say "I wanted to tell you that you're a very cute lady". She's a very kind person herself so I was rather flattered but thought it was the strangest comment.

Is being cute a good thing? For me it has slightly negative connotations for adults. Do I look cute, is it what I think or what I do? Hmm.

Then this morning my husband pondered out loud  (after I'd been singing aloud about how cosy the cat was asleep on her chair): "I don't understand how you can be so clever and good at school and yet your head is full of so much fluff?"

Oh dear!

Despite being 32, having a 1st class degree and having the important responsibility of teaching 78 little people, I suppose my head is often full of fluff.

Why? I can give you so many answers but this is what candy floss is filling my head this week.

Picture source - Belle and Boo website

I have become besotted with Belle and Boo images, particularly there cosy Christmas ones. I seem to have recently acquired lots more postcards that I have blu-tacked around my desk. I think it's something to do with having the exact same hair-do as Belle, complete with sticky out bits at the back.

I am so excited about the new Paddington movie and will be hopefully watch it on Friday. I haven't ever been to see a film on the first day and there I am getting all excited about a children's film.

I am getting ridiculously excited about Christmas and got so dizzy when I walked past the local hairdressers and saw snowflakes and fairy lights in the window.

I saved a slice of marshmallow cake all week to share with Andy. We finally indulged on Friday night with a mug of hot milk with more marshmallows on top.

It is not a good list is it.

I fear that I'm like a dog owner who is slowly turning into their dog. I'm turning into the three year olds I teach. I hope that being on the same wavelength as a three year old means that it makes me a wonderful teacher but I'm not so sure. It's worrying!

So I confess,
My name is Joanna and I am cute.

Monday, 17 November 2014

52 Lists / Forty Seven

This week: List who (dead or alive) you would invite to an imaginary dinner party

Camilla Parker Bowles
I think she would be jolly and could share all sorts of secrets

Miranda Hart
To provide the humour.

Clare Balding
I just think she'd be lovely and provide some brilliant sporting anecdotes

Nancy Mitford
So that I can discover what she was really like, find out if she was like any of the spectacular characters in her novels and probe a little further about her fascinating family.

Mary Berry (or Delia Smith if M.B. was otherwise engaged)
She could give me a few handy cookery tips.

Audrey Hepburn
She was just charming and I'd wonder at her elegance.

My Mum
Just because she's my Mum and she's a lovely dining companion.

Anton Du Beke
As a dancing partner for all the ladies after the meal.

If the food could be cooked by Mrs Patmore,
we be waited on by Mr Carson, 
the location be an ornate dining room in a vast country house
then I would be more than happy.

Who would you invite to your imaginary dinner party?

Sunday, 16 November 2014

52 Lists / Forty Six

This week: List where you would go if you had a time machine

London in the late 1920s
I'd love a day as a lady in London in the 1920s. I'd go shopping in all the best places, stop off for afternoon tea, go to the theatre in the evening followed by dinner at The Ritz and some Charleston dancing in the Cafe Royale.

Millenium Eve 1999
I'd quite like to go back to 31st December 1999 and be with exactly the same people (Mum, Dad, my Auntie, Uncle and 10 year old cousin), in exactly the same place (watching the fireworks in London). We didn't do anything fancy - ate a pizza in a very 'interesting' restaurant in Shepherds Market before heading down towards the river. When we got home in the middle of the night, we stayed up until America had seen in the new year. It was a magical feeling: I was greeting the dawn of the new millennium aged 17, on the threshold of adulthood and the start of a new beginning. 

The Franco-British Exhibition at White City in 1908
I live just a stone's throw from White City and would wander around the amazing gardens and enjoy the beautiful white marble buildings. I remember a few of the buildings in situ until they were demolished for the Westfield development and I've always been curious to know what my local area would have been like a century ago. I think I might just have to go off location a bit and take a walk to see my house - it would have been considered a new-build back then!

Victorian England
I would love to see London in Dickens time, observing both the richness and poverty. Hopefully I could do something to help the most needy. Maybe I could help out some of my Rogers, Coldrake, Dawson, Stephens or Doran ancestors?

Andy Murray winning Wimbledon
I'd love to go back to 2013 and be on Centre Court. I'd love to relive the special moment.

The building of Stonehenge
This neolithic wonder has fascinated me for years and I wouldn't mind seeing how it was built. Did they really pull the rocks all the way from Wales?

The Euston Hotel, London - 1930
My Grandpa was one of the first English head waiters in London and one of the first cocktail waiters when American Bars started to open in the city. I would like to be a guest at The Euston Hotel where he worked and where he met my Grandma who was a maid. It would be super to see him at work as a young man in such an exciting position. He was in his seventies and eighties when I knew him but he had never forgotten what good service was all about, and loved to visit restaurants to see waiting done properly.

What place and time would you be transported to if you stumbled across a time machine?

52 Lists / Forty Five

This week: List your favourite sweet treats
(Can you tell that I'm starting to get desperate for list ideas?)

Rich Tea biscuits
Perfect for dunking.

The chocolate variety not the bird. Memories of childhood.

Any day. Any time. With anything.

Whipped cream and sprinkles 
On hot chocolate.

Rhubarb Crumble
Preferably with custard.

Hokey Pokey Ice Cream
Otherwise known as honeycomb weaved  through vanilla ice cream.

Stemmed ginger cookies
I love the warmth in every bite.

Rhubarb and Custard sweets
Can you see a theme developing?

Christmas Cake
I just love everything about it: the brandy-soaked fruits, the marzipan, the crunchy royal icing. Mmm!

Ice-Cold Strawberry Milk
Usually hurriedly made out of a tub of Nesquik.

Percy Pigs
Because I'm a child at heart.

Charbonnel & Walker Champagne Truffles
My choice of chocolate. The type that you savour one at a time and not just troff.
(Oh, and I love Rose and Violet Creams in the same way. Just call me Grandma)

Any biscuits, pastries, cakes or puddings with cinnamon and spices
Those Christmassy flavours are about my favourite thing ever - to eat or smell.

Jaffa Cakes
Are they are cake or a biscuit? Whatever - they are delicious.

It wasn't too hard to write this list, even though I would say that I don't have a sweet tooth and the fact that we can have biscuits, chocolates and sweets in the house for months and not touch them. We even still have an Easter Egg waiting to be eaten!

What are your favourite sweet treats?

Sunday, 2 November 2014

52 Lists / Forty Four

This week: List the things you are still desperate to do in your hometown

It cannot be denied that if you live in a big city like London there is so much to see and not enough time to do it in. Despite living here my entire life and experiencing so many of the wonderful things the city has to offer, there are still lots of big and little sights that I have never or not properly seen and there are so many special events that I would love to go to but never actually get to. Here are a few of things that I think that I've missed out on not doing so far.

Watch the sun rise over the Thames 
(and that means somewhere grand like Westminster Bridge not Chiswick on my way into work)

Spend an evening enjoying Vivaldi by Candlelight at St Martin's In The Fields

Visit the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum
(without accompanying a party of school children)

Write to my MP and ask to visit St Stephen's Tower (Big Ben's tower)
- apparently this is who you need to get permission from

See a Shakespeare play at the Globe Theatre

Visit the National Gallery and not just wander around finding my favourite paintings

Climb to the top of Tower Bridge

Visit Smithfield Market early in the morning

See London from the top of The Shard at night

Ride a Boris Bike through London's parks

Dine at The Dorchester and have cocktails at Claridges

Explore Primrose Hill and admire the view over the city

What do you most want to experience in your hometown?