Saturday, 30 November 2013


It's cold, dark, probably dismal, but I don't care!  Friends are coming round for lunch, people I haven't seen for a while, and I'm all excited about it.

Looking round the room, oh, drea!  It's not going to be tidy right now, not with spare room stuff piled up, but I think it could be better than it is, so a quick tidy up is in order.

As they are coming for lunch, I dithered about what to cook and decided comfort food in the shape of cottage pie or something similar would just fit the bill.  With that in mind, I wandered out to the shed and brought in two packs of mince before going to bed.  On Friday morning I started preparing the mince for the slow cooker and realised I had defrosted pork mince, not beef mince.  Doh!

Never mind, I did the necessary with the frying pan and piled it all in the slow cooker to simmer all day long.  I used carrot, onion and celery, cumin, coriander and cinnamon, chopped tomatoes and tomato puree, stock, lentils and oats and some salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar and as an after thought I threw in some dried cranberries (no idea why, it just seemed like a good idea).  The resulting goo is quite tasty and I've decided that I will serve it with pasta (home made) with parmesan on top and garlis bread on the side.  A right mix up but I reckon it will taste well OK.
I need to saute some mushrooms and peppers and might also add some red wine and frozen peas too and boil it all off.  It'll be a right conglomeration but I reckon it will be more or less OK!
Casual, that's me!!

I hope it's not too bad because it's going to provide the basis of several meals through the week too!

And now I need to start getting things ready!
Have a great day.

Friday, 29 November 2013


Well, I survived yesterday.  As I suspected, it was terribly busy and I didn't get a break all day.  I was a bit late in, nearer to eight than seven thirty but it was straight into preparation, the the children arrived, I took assembly so we could practise songs, then I was on playground duty.  Over lunchtime I had a meeting and a rehearsal and then the afternoon was our first full rehearsal followed by an extended playtime and guess who was on duty.  Yup!  Me.

Mind you, I am reminded that if a thing is worthwhile it is worth working for.  I was amazed at how good the first full rehearsal was.  Very few glitches, everyone did their dance (we allow a 'walk through' for the first full rehearsal if the dance isn't quite ready) and now I am worrying that it is peaking too soon.  The weakest point was the singing so we have to blitz that over the next week.

I've been really nagging my littlies about listening to the music in our dance.  In the dance practice they were much more confident and, as often happens, started anticipating the next bit too soon, so we worked intensively at that and it worked.  They were SO proud of themselves afterwards.  And so was I.

And I slept like a log.

Thursday, 28 November 2013


Good morning, everybody.  When I peeped out this morning it felt cold but not freezing and it hasn't been raining, which is good.  I'm on playground duty morning and afternoon today so staying fine is definitely what the teacher ordered.  Warm would be better but I'm not daft enough to expect that!

Yesterday was another lovely day with a lot going on and, for a change, staff meeting was encouraging and positive.  We looked at the new maths curriculum and compared it with current expectations.  As we have always delivered beyond what the expectation for the year group there weren't too many nasty surprises although I suspect those responsible for the new curriculum don't have an awfully in depth understanding of maths and very little children.  Having said that, we left the meeting feeling pretty encouraged and not too worried about our ability to deliver it without too many unsettling changes.  So all very good really!
I suspect it will be very different when we look at the new orders for english/literacy!

Today is a right mish mash of a day.  It starts normally enough with Reading Revelry, Word Workshop and literacy but then it morphs into Christmas show stuff for the rest of the day.  I am taking over assembly to continue teaching/practising the songs, after play my class has a dance practice and the afternoon is taken up with our first complete run through.  That, combined with playground duties and a lunchtime rehearsal for the cast, gives me a very busy, packed day and I suspect I will be fit for nothing this evening.  Never mind, the show must go on as the saying goes!!!

And so must I - I need to iron some clothes and get myself ready!!
Have a good day and Diane - take it easy and stay warm and rested.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


So sorry about the non-appearance of the blog yesterday.  Somehow it just didn't get written one way and another.

On Monday, as I wandered around a few shops, I remembered that my duvet had become rather lumpy and bumpy.  That's what happens when you buy cheapos, I guess.  My Internet friend, Diane, has a silk duvet and I'm sure she never has that problem!!  Anyway, I do like a fluffy duvet so I bought another one (still cheap) and have enjoyed the last few nights with a bouncy, soft duvet wrapped around me.  Bliss.

I suppose that if one must buy from a posh place like Liberty, one must expect great service, but I wasn't prepared for the arrival of the owls on Tuesday, seeing as I only ordered them on Sunday evening, but there they were, beautifully packed  with tissue paper and a lovely purple carrier bag laid on top (not sure why but I'm not arguing), each owl in a rather nice purple box that I will be able to use for other stuff (like jam).  And the owls are bee-yoo-tee-ful!  What with flu and stuff, I didn't manage to get a special decoration last year so maybe I'm just catching up!

Yesterday was coordinator time followed by PPA and I managed to get so much done!  Report back to the head, message for the newsletter, pupil perception questions prepared,  next week's planning done and most of the reading assessment data entered into Tracker.  Amazing!  No wonder I was tired in the evening.

However, today I have my class all day which is really very nice.  Reading Revelry, Work Workshop, literacy, maths, D&T, library time and a dance rehearsal.  No wonder they go home rather weary.  Then it's staff meeting, just to finish things off nicely!

I should sleep well again tonight!

Monday, 25 November 2013


Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble

Aren't they cute?  Owl baubles and I have ordered three from Liberty at an outrageous price but they are my 'special ornament purchase' this year.  Each year I try to buy something different for the Christmas tree, just one thing (or, in this case, three):  it's now something of a tradition.  As soon as Beth showed me the advert (an insert in one of the Sunday Times magazines) I knew I would HAVE to buy them.  There was also a card with £30 off which would have been nice, leaving the shop owing me money but, unfortunately, you have to spend £150 and much as I love the ornaments I don't want that many!

Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble

See - overkill!  Too many eyes following me around!
I did take a wee look at rugs (for the 'new' bedroom) but after recovering from the choking fit brought on by the price, I decided maybe not this month/year/decade/century!

Today is a non pupil day so no rush.  I have to go into town later anyway, to have a whinge at my bank which I don't like doing but I'm going to have to.

Yesterday was, as I hoped, lazy.  I made the plum and apple jam which turned out scrummy and we had the Saturday made soup for lunch and that was also scrummy.  Alex, having gone to karate in the morning, had three bowls full as he was very hungry.  Beth and I were full after one bowl.  There's a bit left over for tomorrow too so that's great!

Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble Gold Antique Effect Owl Bauble
(and that's how many I could buy for £150, not counting postage!)

Sunday, 24 November 2013


Still cold, still damp, still dark!

What a lovely day it was yesterday.

I made bread.  I decided to try and up the oat content so I used 150g oats and 350g strong flour.  The flavour is great, as it the texture but the colour is not so fantastic.  Probably better to use wholemeal flour from the colour perspective.
This week I tried a five strand plait and I looks as if I am getting used to the whole pattern of plaiting, because it worked!

I used up most of the shop bought carrots making a spicy carrot and butterbean soup.  the spices (cumin and coriander) have counterbalanced the sweetness of the carrots and it tastes great (I think).  The recipe is here.

I got George to pull the remaining carrots from the garden while he was doing his hour and I then prepared, par boiled and froze them, ready for Christmas.  I am sure most of my readers can do this standing on their heads but I described what I did here.

I had some punnets of plums that really needed using and a bag of apples, very sound windfalls, that also needed using so, with Christmas pressies in mind, I made a large bowlful of plum and apple jam - well, I did the first half of the process and the actual jamming will be done this morning.  The jars are in the dishwasher as I type!

In the fridge I have some puff pastry that needs using up so, for lunch dessert today, I will make some mincemeat puffs.  Fancy name, simple thing - just like pasties but sweet.  Dead easy.

Today is going to be a lazy, easy, cosy, comfortable day.  I need one!

Saturday, 23 November 2013


It's still cold but, joy of joys, the inside of my freezers are much colder.  Yes, the electrical problem has been sorted and it was as I suspected, connected to the work in the spare room.  When the power was restored the warning lights came on for both freezers because the temperature had warmed to minus 10 but that's not going to be any kind of problem, is it?  Three cheers.  A plus is that now I know where the power from the shed enters the house.  Another plus is that now all the extension cables can be stored in one place.  I seem to have a fair number of them one way and another and very useful they have proved themselves to be over the last 24 hours or so!
This is the best I can do at the moment.  I can't get any further away because on all the desorating clutter, etc.  It's starting to look really good (potentially), although there's a way to go yet.
I got up really early today - before four o'clock - so I came down and pottered, then felt the sleepiness returned so went back up to bed again.  I woke suddenly after seven, remembered that my friends, Sonja and Milli, were dropping in at about nine-ish so got going with my bath.  Little did I know that they were outside the house, having had a good drive around London and they had sent me two texts and an email.  Well, I never hear much until I have put in my hearing aids!!!
Fortunately, as I got out of the bath, I peeped out of the window and saw their car!  Eeeek!  So I let them in and rushed with drying and dressing!
They're on their way again now but it was so lovely to see them and to have a bit of time for a chat.  And that's why this entry is late!

It was another good day yesterday.  I didn't do half of what I wanted to do but never mind, I had a great meeting with a brilliant LSA and I got some paperwork done and dusted.  It was cold all day and even the children didn't ask about coats, they just put them on!

And now it's the weekend.  The house is tidy, well, downstairs is anyway and I had a panic tidy up of my bedroom yesterday morning in case the electrician needed access.  I really couldn't have let anyone in in the state it was.  Another half hour or so and it will be spick, span and tidy too.

It's bread making day, of course.  As well as that I want to pull the remaining carrots and deal with them (blanch and freeze).  Also I have a pile of apples and plums and intend to make some more spiced apple and plum jam which will be Christmas presents for all the lovely school people who help and support me so much from day to day.  Then I will defrost and use a couple of the packs of mince I got from Donald Russell.  I have veg to use up so it will be ideal for that.  Cottage pie for lunch tomorrow, I reckon

The planning is done, the resources are made, the weekend looms, plenty of cooking and the electricity is working.  Sheer bliss!

Oh - and a bedroom to finish tidying (you never know!!!).

Friday, 22 November 2013


Another week over, another week done (all but today, of course)  For teachers, weeks run from Monday to Friday and weekends are something entirely different!  Again, it's cold outside and the heating has clicked on but maybe it will warm up a bit later on.

Yesterday was a funny old day.  Highs and lows.

The highs:

The choir (and I) went to a rehearsal of the Christmas songs (including mine!) to a lovely secondary school.  I was really pleased with the interpretation of the song by the conductor (who happens to be our school's head too) and I didn't make too many fumbles while accompanying them either.  I'm not a great pianist by any means but if I can't play my own music it would be a poor thing!

Then it was back to school for a nice lunch followed by performance management interviews which also went well.  All done now!

While social networking after school, I read a message from my daughter announcing that Alex has been given an 'award' (whatever that means) for academic progress and academic achievement.  Wow and double wow.  This is the lad who was at a special school for PMLD (profound and multiple learning difficulties) with an autism base until the summer of 2012 and who hadn't done the national curriculum in any subject but maths.  He's now top set material in science based subjects, despite the lack of previous learning.  I am so, so proud of him and of Beth too - she's an amazing mum.  I'm feeling tearful just thinking about it now, in a happy way, of course!

After three good (brilliant) things there had to be a counterbalance and when I got home I discovered that there was no power out to the shed.  The freezers are in the shed!  Eeeeeeek.  Thank goodness Beth was here and had asked for something from the freezer or it would have been several days, maybe, before I noticed that the shed was out.  After a quick phone call, the lovely lad (OK man, but he's a lad to me seeing as I remember him at primary school, poor bloke) who is doing up my spare room came over and said he would sort things out for me today, starting with a temporary rig up from the house so that the freezers are OK.  Phew. And not long afterwards I discovered that all the sockets in the extension area of the house and upstairs are out and they were OK this morning so whatever happened, happened today.  Good news for the freezer contents.
So I rigged up some lamp lighting in the bedroom (lucky for me I have a number of extension cables) and also connected the alarm clock although that wouldn't have been a problem as I always wake well before the alarm!  It's there more for peace of mind than anything else!

Today is SEN day and as always I have a list of things as long as my arm.  Keeps me out of trouble, for sure!

Stay safe, everyone!

Thursday, 21 November 2013


Another cold start to the day, especially when one wakes up before the heating comes on.  I suppose I could set the heating to come on earlier but I don't want to - it's expensive enough as it is!  A very quick peek outside shows me that it's windy right now which means that it's going to feel jolly cold!  Brrrrrrrrrrr.

The built in wardrobes are coming on up in the spare room.  They're nowhere near finished yet but you can see how they will look with the eye of imagination and the storage they will give me is very impressive.  I'm glad I am having it done now.  I wasn't last week as everything was dismantled and a right mess and I was missing the old and familiar.  But now - well, it will be good!
Floor to ceiling fitted.  The unit on the right is the hanging space with shelf above and below, the rest is all storage.  The shelves you can see are fixed shelves and there will be several moveable ones as well.  Great use of the alcove, I think!
Yesterday was a very confusing day!  I had to swap a load of things around in order to get a dance practice in the morning because I couldn't have it at the scheduled time of the afternoon.  That had a knock on effect so most things got swapped around or discarded.  It didn't help that I needed to schedule in a 'last chance family assembly practice' as well.

We did get some work done though, you will be relieved to read, and I was so pleased with my class in family assembly.  They spoke up, remembered to stand up and sit down at the right times, didn't forget what they had to say and generally did themselves proud.  Three cheers, it was worth all the hard work before hand!  And that's me done this term - the next one will be in March some time.

The afternoon was taken with me observing a lesson and undertaking a work and planning scrutiny of one year group.  It's the first one I have done for PSHE, which I started coordinating in September.  It was actually very interesting.  Because PSHE is a 'small' subject, there wasn't an awful lot of hard work involved in looking at the work and the planning and the lesson observation was a delight from start to finish. Amazingly, I finished all the work, including the write up, by the end of the day, with a little more done after staff meeting ended.  I'm well pleased with that!
And to cap it all, the cover teacher told me she had a lovely time with my class!  Big smiles all round!

Today is also - different!
This  morning I am off with the school choir to a local secondary school for a rehearsal of the songs they/we will be doing at Westminster Cathedral.  I have a sort of terrified/excited feeling inside at the thought, so heaven only knows what I will be like in six or so hours' time!!  I leave my class with an agency teacher who has taken them several times before and with whom they get on really well, so no concerns.
The afternoon will see me finishing off the performance management interviews for the LSAs and I will be glad to draw a line under them, not because they have been a bad experience but because they should have been finished last week and weren't because four were absent for one reason or another, so they've been hanging on rather..

And all the while it will be getting colder, I gather.  Brrrrrr.  Time to get out the blankets!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


. . . and there's a very hard frost out there!  In fact, when I came out of school yesterday evening, the car windscreen needed de-icing before I drove away.  Winter has started.  No snow days though, please, pretty please!

It's a funny old week.  Monday was OK, then yesterday it was PPA and coordinator time, today I am out of class in the afternoon observing and doing a planning and work scrutiny for my subject area, on Thursday I am out of class all day with a choir rehearsal in the morning (at a local secondary school) and finishing off the performance management interviews in the afternoon and then Friday is my SEN day.

This morning is all muddled around too.  because I am missing my dance practise today and tomorrow (and the supply cover can't do it because it's for the Christmas Show) I've swapped around which means that after play is dance, not ICT.  This is a Good Thing because I can now move it to next week where there was something of a gap before.  It's nice to have the flexibility!

Amazingly, this is coming to the end of the third week of the half term.  It has flashed past.  Soon all the Christmas stuff will take over with brightness and sparkle and that will be it!

Have a lovely day.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013


Another day on, getting colder (I've just looked out), getting older!  Insted of turning the heating on earlier (I was awake very early, even for me), I tried out the halogen heater and I have to say it is quite effective.  I think it will be a worthwhile purchase.

There's not a lot to say really except that it's all got to calm down at some point, hasn't it?  Surely????

Have a good day.

Monday, 18 November 2013


Wasn't it a dull and dreary day yesterday?  It certainly was here.  Mum and dad arrived just before lunch and decided that they needed to leave earlier than expected because they drove through some mist on the way here that looked as if it was only going to get worse.  By the time they left, it was obvious that they were right but they got home without mishap in a good time.
Borrowed from Google Images
Peeping out of the front door it's misty, wet and cold.  Deelightful!!

Lunch went down well.  What with seconds, etc, there isn't as much left over as I had expected, but there's certainly enough to see me through several lunches at school, three cheers!  Beth and Al took a good chunk of the cake, which turned out extremely well, unlike the last one.  I think the recipe is at fault because this time I changed the timings and speeds (using Thermione) and it was so much better!  There's not a lot of bread left either.  It was a very attractive four strand plaited loaf and the taste and texture were both great.

For a while now I have been intending to get some 'steps' for my three doors, all of which have quite a drop on the outside.  Not that I'm getting old or anything, you understand, but anything for an easier life.  There's a fairly local company in Bishop's Stortford who do them very reasonably and here's a picture.  Ignore the walking stick!  My parents brought three over with them and now they are in the relevant places around the outside of my house.  It doesn't half make a difference when I'm balancing a tray of stuff on my way to the freezer, believe me!

Today is frantically busy from beginning to end.  I sorted out all the programmes for the show, split them into class numbers and generally tried to make it as easy for my colleagues as possible to allocate them to the families.  However, I left the covering letter at school so will have to sort that out at some point today, playtime probably.  There's no violins today and no assembly because of individual photos, so it's going to be a very long day, I think.  Then after school we're having our Christmas meeting to get everything ready for the show - allocate tickets, paint the back drop, eat mince pies and pringles, drink . . . oh, you get the idea.

I will sleep well tonight!  :-)

Sunday, 17 November 2013


I'm writing this rather later than usual, having has a wonderful night's sleep and waking at a time which, for me, amounts to a good lie in!  Excellent.  It's not so cold outside this morning - no frost, unlike yesterday and Friday, but I gather much colder weather is on its way!  What will come, will come!

I had a busy morning.  My friend couldn't come which is perhaps just as well because the shopping took much longer than I anticipated.  I managed to get most of the stuff I needed but I realied later that one of the things is wrong and I will have to buy again - a right pain!

On the way to B&Q I noticed that the fuel light was on so I stopped off at Sainsbury's to fill up.  Not only was it about the cheapest place in the area, I also got a voucher with £14 off if I spent over £70.  That's not bad in anyone's book so on the way back I stopped back off and did some shopping for Christmas, etc, to use it up.  There's always a short expiry on these things and I do tend to forget I have them.

Back home I set to and made some soup.  Two soups, in fact, one a mixed veg and lentil and the other a spicy carrot and lentil.  I do love lentils in soup!!!  They're both delicious and it is nice to be able to offer my guests a choice.  I have posted them both over in Teacher's Recipes, here and here.

This morning I have a downstairs to tidy, dust and sweep, bread to make (it's rising as I type) and a cake to make, hopefully a bit more successfully than last time.  Better get going!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Saturday! Yay!

. . . and it feels jolly cold outside.  Dressing gown is on and I must locate my slippers too (or get some more from Matalan).  A bedroom tidy up is long overdue, I feel.

As usual, yesterday was a good day.  As it was SEN day, I had two meeting, one of which was 'important', both of which went well.  My children produced some good work for C.  I wasn't on playground duty (because of the meeting!!!) and that's good because it felt pretty chilly, despite the sun.

 I am back on the Saturday Soups now, with some left over bag that needs using up so this soup will have spuds, carrot, onion, leek and celery with lentils and marigold veg stock, plus whatever seasonings come to mind (or hand).  I'm looking forward to great use of Thermione through her first winter with me.  lest weekend I saw, in Morrisons, that they had  quality carton 'fresh' soups on sale as a BOGOF so I bought two cartons of  Glorious New England Butternut Squash soup but you know what - it was too sweet and too salty and I didn't really like it at all.  I ate a bit and B and A had their share but no-one wanted any seconds and I threw the remains away instead of taking it to school for lunch on Monday.  What a waste but I've learnt a lesson - home made soups are best!

Today, early, I am off to B&Q with a list.  Handles for the new bedroom units, lights (two wall mounted and one ceiling, a curtain rail, granular salt (for the water softener) and a spray bottle.

The spray bottle is because over on facebook someone posted a tip.  Three parts vinegar to one part water, in a spray bottle.  Spray it over your car windows if it's going to be frosty and in the morning (so the tip says) there will be frost on the windows.  Well, I reckon for the cost of a spray bottle (which I will use for other things if it doesn't work), it is well worth a try, especially with frost forecast.  I dislike scraping the car in the freezing cold!
I've just googled (how would we ever manage without google nowadays?) and it is on this site plus lots of other ideas/uses so I reckon it's worth a go.
I'll let you know!

Now I'm off into the kitchen to get the soup on, empty the dishwasher, etc, etc, etc.  Have a great Saturday!

Friday, 15 November 2013


Good morning.  Those who know me will be glad (I hope) to read that I have recovered my equinamity after a most discouraging meeting on Wednesday and yesterday was a Good Day (yes, with capital letters too)!

It's amazing how quickly us teachers can bounce back.  It doesn't take much - well, it does, but 'much' often happens.  For me, yesterday, it was the results of a phonic assessment covering the phonics done so far this term.  They were very good and very encouraging.  As L said, they may not always look as if they are taking it all in but they obviously are!  Three cheers.

I was on playground duty twice.  My goodness, it was jolly cold.  It was coat and gloves weather so it's a shame I didn't have any gloves with me.  I need to dig them out from wherever I put them when winter finished.

The newspapers online seem full of this shocking winter we are supposed to be having starting as soon as next week.  You'd think it was armageddon, looking at some of the headlines . . .

'Coldest winter in modern times'

'Winter weather hell as killer storm heads towards BRITAIN for Christmas' (capitals are not mine)

. . . to quote just two.
The met office, on the other hand, is not at all impressed with the dramatic predictions.  Trust them to add a good dose of common sense to the mix!  However, even they seem to feel that it's going to be quite cold next week!!  This morning I stuck my head out of the window and it smelt icy, if you know what I mean.  I looked again a few moments ago and it seems to have warmed up a bit (and clouded over).  Does this mean a wet day to come?

As we practise for our Christmas show, Snowman at Sunset (maybe an inspired choice this year???) my thought go back to two years ago - no, three years ago, 2010 (according to my entries here) when we had several snow days at the beginning of December and the show had to be moved back a week.  I do hope that doesn't happen this year, it was a right pain!!!

Not that hoping will change what is to be, of course!

Thursday, 14 November 2013


Wasn't it cold yesterday morning?  Well, it was here, with the first real frost of the season, a car-scrapingly cold start which slowly morphed into a gloriously sunny autumnal day.  It's cold again this morning and I'm sitting here with a fleece wrapped round me, thinking I really ought to dig out my dressing gown at some point soon bacause I am NOT going to turn up the heating!

It was a good day too, the children  were fun to be with most of the time and it's a shame it all ended with the most demoralising, depressing, self esteem and confidence crushing staff meeting I think I have ever been to - so I am saying no more about it!

There's been more progress with the bedroom.  All the old paper has gone, the artex has gone and it's shiny new all over with fresh plaster on walls and ceiling.  It now has to dry, of course, and the house feels slightly damp as it does so, but never mind.  Next will be the painting and then they can get going with the rest of the job - building the units and laying the flooring.

Looking better!
I remember when they had just plastered the extension and I decided that the plaster colour was more or less what I wanted the final walls to be painted, having previously really struggled to decide what colour I really wanted.  That's not an option in the bedroom and I'm going for bog standard magnolia which seems to go well with just about anything and is great as a neutral background.

So this Saturday I am on a hunt for lights and rugs and a curtain rail (must remember to measure up!).

Wednesday, 13 November 2013


 . . . and heigh ho, it's nearly half way through the week, time certainly flies when you are busy, doesn't it?  Yesterday was another busy day with plenty to keep me out of trouble.  Today I have my class back which is a great joy as I have missed them very much.

The curriculum is certainly fragmenting rather as Christmas show rehearsals take over.  If OFSTED came a-calling in the next few weeks they'd get a somewhat distorted picture of life in the Infants, that's for sure.  I think it is all going well but it's hard to tell really.

I wanted to print out the programmes yesterday but found that there was no coloured paper.  Thank goodness one can order and it arrives the next day.  Now I need to store away what I don't use for next year AND remember where I have stored it.  Big ask!!!

When I left for school yesterday my spare bedroom was in pristine condition, much more so than usual as I had cleared the room of all but the furniture.  When I got home, oh dear, such a change.  It will be worth it but I will miss the room that was, even though the room that is to be will be good, hopefully better.
Dire, isn't it?

Tuesday, 12 November 2013


It was all go yesterday.  I was involved in leading performance management yesterday which was very enjoyable but not completed because four were unable to make it so we continue later on in the week.  We had a first read-through rehearsal of Snowman at Sunset over the lunch break and the children all seem very keen.  I sent them away to learn their parts on page three so we will see today . . .

Today is coordinator time (much needed) and then PPA, so I haven't really seen all that much of my class yet.  I did pop in to say hello to them all a few times and the cover teacher seemed to be getting on well with them.

With all my thinking about trying to reduce fuel bills, I noticed that Morrisons had halogen heaters for sale, not all that expensive, so after school I popped over and bought one.  It seems more sensible to use something like that rather than turn the heating on or up, when all that is needed is a bit of short term spot warmth.  Anyway, we will see.

And now I must finish off clearing the spare room and work starts on it today!  I'm nervous about that but I'm sure it will look lovely when it is done.

Monday, 11 November 2013


After a chilly night (the heating clicked on overnight), there's no frost but I looked out over the fields a moment ago to see a rainbow.  Very odd as it isn't raining (yet) and there's no sun (here) but rather nice all the same.
This morning I will be stepping into a very busy week with rehearsals every lunchtime and a family assembly to practice.  At least I can feel I am earning my pennies!
Have a good day, wherever you are and whatever you do.

Sunday, 10 November 2013


Another dull, cool and breezy morning today with evidence of rain having fallen not so long ago and, probably, more to come.  I suppose it is only to be expected in November.  The trees are suddenly looking remarkably bare and, despite a good tidy up yesterday, the back garden is littered with dead leaves again.  Winter is chasing autumn through the branches, that's for sure.

George came yesterday and, bless him, dealt with the last remains of the wonderful summer we have had.  the runner bean leftovers all went into the garden bin and he gave the front and the back a good clear up and haircut.  It looks a lot better and, since I got rid of the old and very battered garden chairs, the whole place is looking a lot better.  Now i am wondering whether I need to get any more gsarden furniture.  Usually there's only me and I have one really good reclining chair plus three of those metal and canvas fold up small and put in a bag type chairs (sort of directors chairs) so I think I am all set really.  I don't sit out very much, there's always something else to do!

Yesterday I finally dealt with last week's left over cream by churning it into butter.  I then used the buttermilk to make a wholemeal and oat plaited loaf and it was truly delicious.  I had some warm with the home made butter (slightly over salted, I think, but very nice all the same) and it was as good as anything I have ever tasted.  The butter has a freshness that bought butter has lost and the oats really add something to the flavour of the bread while the buttermilk makes for a good rise.

Home made butter has a limited life span so I think I shall portion it into little pots and freese it, which should do the trick nicely!  In one of the Little House books, Laura describes how Ma liked the butter to look pretty so she grated carrot, squeezed all the juice out and added it to the butter to make it yellow.  I don't think I will be doing that: i like my pale cream butter just as it is.

I had fun with the plaiting of the bread.  I'd forgotten how to do a four strand plait and couldn't find anything on Google which was all full of the Hollywood eight plait (which I didn't want).  In the end I sorted it out myself and then looked again and found something on a hairdressing site which was exactly what I had done!  Clever me???

Today is Delia Day.  Beth will be bringing over some red cabbages and we will be turning them into braised red cabbage with apples, a traditional Christmas dinner ingerdient in our family.  I've just read through the recipe and ooop, I need to buy some nutmeg as I am nearly right out.  I have loads of cooking apples and onions though.

 Christmas Easy: Braised Red Cabbage with Apples
Borrowed from Delia's site

Saturday, 9 November 2013


Yes, at last it's the weekend.  Five days back and already we're walking around like zombies.  It's been a very intensive week what with all the normal stuff plus diving headlong into Christmas show stuff.  This is now my fifth year of 'producing' (for want of a better word) the Christmas Show and while the actual show work itself is still as much hard work as usual, the 'peripherals' get easier - things like inviting the governors, making the programmes, etc.  It helps that I always keep things from year to year so have sort of templates of things to re-use.  It makes a huge difference.

So the script is out, the parts chosen, rehearsals for the acting parts start Monday lunchtime.  That's farewell to my lunchbreaks for the next four weeks and hello to super-organisation before school starts, to make sure the afternoon resources are ready and waiting!
The hall practice timetable is on the staff board (no complaints this time - phew), colleagues are deciding on what they want for costumes so we can let the parents know, the 'Christmas' staff meeting is set (very early this year as the date I wanted is an INSET day) and I know what we need to make for the backdrop.  All good and all done!

Yesterday was SEN day and I had a long list of things to do that didn't get done because pastoral things needed my attention.  Bit of a pain really - the not getting things done, I mean, not the things that did need doing.  Ah, well!!!  I'm sure there will be a spare three or four hours at some point in the next seven days - but it won't be this weekend!!!

Have a good one!

Friday, 8 November 2013


Good morning, friends!  It is Friday.  Nearly the end of the week.  One day to go.  SEN day so there's a great long list of Thing To Do.  Useful, helpful things though, so that's OK.

It's getting colder though, isn't it?  There's a definite chill in the air once the sun goes down, which it does rather quickly at this time of the year.  On a couple of nights I have put an extra cover on the bed to keep me toasty warm as I hate waking up cold in the middle of the night.  Mind you, when that does happen, the feeling of gradually warming up again is lovely!
I've started wearing tights again - I try to avoid this for as long as possible, but playground duties and schools after the heating goes off then the children leave were getting somewhat uncomfortable.  So tights it is!

Amazingly, our rehearsals for our show dance are going really well.  Not sure why but they are.  Fingers crossed for the next few weeks . . .
And finally, yesterday I did something that I have had on my mind for several weeks, something I was avoiding (never a good idea really), something that I wasn't sure about.  And you know what - I'm still here!!!!  I didn't spontaneously combust or whatever!  Amazing!

Thursday, 7 November 2013


Sorry about yesterday.  Things were a bit hectic and there was little time to collect my thoughts, one way and another.  Today is also busy but not quite so much!

It's jolly cold outside but, thank goodness, not raining.  it seems to have done nothing but rain for days with wet playtimes and restless children all over the place.  Rather wearing really!

This is short - I need to get on with stuff.  I hope all my readers have a lovely day and I'll be back in full voice soon, I am sure!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013


I'm awake and up good and early this morning so have a little more time.  I've emptied and reloaded the dishwasher (much needed) and taken a peek out to see . . . well, not an awful lot really because the street lights are still out.  The ground is wet, the cars have raindrops on them, it's cold but not icy so who knows what today will be like from that.  Popping over to the BBC weather, it tells me that it's raining and that it will carry on raining more or less all morning which puts the clappers on the outdoor games lesson right enough!  Extra maths, here we come!
Borrowed from Google Images!
It was jolly cold yesterday, despite the sun.  A school like ours, open plan round a central corridor, loses heat quite quickly after the children have gone and the heating goes off so by five it was dark and quite shivery working alone in the classroom.  When I got home the warmth was very welcoming but, after warming up, I turned the heating down a couple of degrees and intend doing this whenever I can (i.e. whenever I don't have guests and when I remember) to counter balance the financial damage wrought by the fuel rises a bit.  After all, at home I can wrap up in fleeces, quilts, etc, and put on extra socks to keep my tootsies warm when necessary.
As a certain business says, 'every little helps'.
Another borrow from Google Images!
Well, we are back into the swing of things very quickly.  I was a bit panicky over half term because I had ordered materials for our Infant Christmas Show ages ago and they hadn't arrived.  Now that's something of a disaster because getting it all ready to suit our needs can take several days of spare time so I like to have it all ready before half term so my colleagues can start thinking about their dance, sort out suitable music, etc.  After a number of sleepless hours (funny how these things always seem more worrying in the middle of the night) I decided to use a show we have done before, a while ago now, Snowman at Sunset.  I still have the script for that and, even better, I have the 'choreography' (cough) for the dance my class did so I don't have to spend the first few weeks trying things out!
Of course, having made that decision and told my colleagues (nobody minded, everyone was happy with that), it was inevitable that the three show books and DVDs should arrive and so they did, with the morning post.  Too late now!  However, looking on the bright side, I have three new shows to pick and choose from so that covers the next three shows after this one and by then we can repeat without any clashes as we will have seven show resources - Snowman at Sunset, Oops a Daisy Angel, The Sleepy Shepherd, Shine, Star, Shine and the three new ones.  That will CERTAINLY see me up to retirement, however long I stay on for!!

So my coordinator time today is fully booked up with Christmas Show stuff after which it should more or less run itself for a couple of weeks.  Which is just as well because in three weeks' time it is our Family Assembly and I have NO idea what we're going to do.  Better start thinking, quickly!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

Monday and back to school

A quick one today as I'm quite busy.  It's chucking it down with rain, very dismal and miserable, but never mind.  In a short while I will be seeing all my little friends again which will be great.

I love this half term.  The theme is interesting and good fun and the lead up to Christmas is always lovely.  Should be good.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Oh, dear!

The third post today - fourth if you count Teacher's Recipes.  Maybe it's an avoidance thing.

Anyway, I was sort of roughly working to how much money I have wasted - I mean spent - this week and it's a bit scary really even though it was all for good reasons.  So for the rest of this month and the first bit of next month it's back on the old frugal thing again.  I reckon spending a tenner a week plus what I have in fridge, freezer and cupboard should more than see me through.  I'm hoping the tenner will also do some non food items as well. I get paid monthly so I will budget on a monthly basis.  Fingers crossed.

So - no school dinners, get my act together and make my own at home, no take aways, no expensive and less tasty ready meals.  Lots of good, home cooked stuff.  Looking forward to it already.

And, of course, I have no more family celebrations until Christmas.


Yesterday's Novemberish gloom evaporated into a rather lovely day, bright and sunny although not terribly warm.  No chance of mist this morning as it is really quite breezy although nothing like last weekend, thankfully.  The sky looks quite clear so I am hoping for sun again to cheer me up!

Yesterday went really well.  It was a busy time as it always is when there's a houseful, but it was good.  I do have quite a lot of food left though - I'm really bad at estimating amounts for more than three or four and, of course, I had catered for two more anyway.  I was able to unload some onto Beth and can use the rest, all but the trifle.  I just made way too much.  I'll eat what I can and the rest will just have to be chucked sadly.

There's left over cream which will make butter again, this time trying the muslin method as Mary Berry suggested.  There's quite a bit of ham as I knew there would be - you are ruled by the size of the joints in the shop, after all.  The cooking liquid is rather nice and not too salty so I will be making some ham and lentil soup later on, using faithful Thermione.  There's also some rolls left and I think I will make ham rolls for school lunches and freeze them.
There's also some leftover wine and beer (shame!!!!!!!) and it is just possible it last until Christmas but I'm not betting on it!

I've spent rather a lot this half term, one way and another, so the rest of the month is going back to frugality.  A tenner a week plus whatever I have in store.  More than perfectly manageable when you see how much there is.  I think the only thing I HAVE to buy soon is dishwasher powder and I might pop out to get that today.

So this morning I am sorting out the freezer.  I have no idea what's in it at the moment and it's all an almighty mess with very little extra space.  So it's everything out, everything listed, nearly everything back in a more organised way (I hope)!  That should help considerably.

This afternoon is, sadly, back to school work.  Can't turn up tomorrow with no planning, after all.  It's been a wonderful holiday but life goes on . . .

A few adverts

This post is a couple of adverts.  I don't usually do adverts and the ladies concerned have neither requested or paid for this.  I am advertising them because I think they are brilliant!

There's some very talented ladies connected with my school.  First of all, JustJules, who makes THE most wonderful cakes, cupcakes, etc.  She made this cake (apologies for the poor photography) to celebrate four family birthdays for my do yesterday.  All the little sugar paste model reflect the four people's interests, one way or another.  Here's just a few of the photos I took.

Music, sewing, computers


JustJules can be found on Facebook or she has her own site here.  For up to date photos, use Facebook - you can message her from there.
If you're local to me, she is well worth using - not cheap but brilliant!  She's the best!

Secondly, Lisa, who has her own business, 'Sweet Tooth Trees'  
Lisa makes sweet trees.  I don't know how to describe them really so here's a photo.  They are eye catching, unusual, can be made to order with your own choice of colour and sweets and, I believe, can be sent by post.  Last Christmas she made one for me on a cone to resemble a Christmas tree and she made one for my 'do' yesterday.
This is the photo Lisa sent me to show me what it looked like!
Lisa has supplied trees for Katie Piper and Katie Price.  The best thing is to look at her Facebook page where thare are loads of photos.  Here's just one, made to celebrate a birth.
Cute, isn't it?
She's a very talented lady and she's also my lovely class TA.

Saturday, 2 November 2013


Dull, damp, a bit misty - well it is November. I have always loved that poem by Thomas Hood which describes November so very accurately.

No sun - no moon! 
No morn - no noon - 
No dawn - no dusk - no proper time of day. 
No warmth, no cheerfulness, no healthful ease, 
No comfortable feel in any member - 
No shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, 
No fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds! - 

After that bit of seasonal culture, moving on, I had a great day buzzing around in the kitchen.  I used up the dry cake to make trifle and made two little ones, one without jelly for my vegetarian and one without cake for my gluten intolerent. (who now can't come, but never mind!).  I made two lots of rolls, white and wholemeal, both with oats as one of the ingredients.  The wholemeal ones look pretty - I did mini plaits and mini cottage loaves.  The white ones I shaped into knots but, unfortunately but amusingly, they look more like piles of turd so have been nicknamed turd rolls (in my own mind).  Never mind, I am sure they will taste delicious, which is what it is all about!

This morning I have to tidy the kitchen, do a quick dust and sweep and then do the last minute stuff - slice the ham (a lovely unsmoked gammon roll from Morrisons), make the salad, put things in dishes, etc.  I went to pick up the birthday cake yesterday and it is absolutely super - but no photos until tomorrow.  I don't want to spoil the surprise!!

Better get started then!

Friday, 1 November 2013


After a dull, sometimes damp day yesterday, this morning is chilly but dry (so far - but it is rather early still) so fingers crossed for a brighter day.

Yesterday was busy, busy, busy.  I did a big shop (big for me, that is) in preparation for Saturday family bash,

I boiled up a ham (the stock is reducing down as I type and isn't too salty so I think ham and lentil soup is in order here or maybe ham and pea - or both!

I made a batch of vegetarian 'sausage' rolls with a filling of breadcrumbs, cheese, onion, cream and various herbs, spices and seasonings.  Now, there are bound to disappoint because mum makes the best veggie sausage rolls in the world, but they're OK.  They can be cooked from frozen so they're now snuggled in the freezer.

Kevin came p.m. and the garage is now . . . well, not clear exactly as there was stuff I wanted to keep, but it is certainly a lot better than before.  At some point this morning I want to sweep the floor in there and organise what's left there more efficiently - which shouldn't take too long.  :-)
I had the strangest feeling as he got nearer and nearer to the back of the garage and things emerged that go so far back in my timeline that they are antiques.  Rubbish, sure, but antiques!  Four children's bicycles, two of which I hope he will be able to do up and maybe sell on, for a start.  However, he wasn't allowed to take the tonka truck, or the climbing frame, or the little wooden rocking horse.  Some things are seriously precious and of real sentimental value.  At the very last moment I got him to take the garden chairs.  No, not an act of madness, but they are so old and so filthy and battered and all this summer I didn't sit out on them once.  Definitely not earning their space.
I was well pleased.  At £40 and no effort on my part it was well worth the cash and I hope he will be able to do up and sell on a fair bit of what was there, although some is just plain total rubbish.  When you think the council charges £30 to take three items away (I think it's three), it puts it all into perspective and I'm well happy!
I will certainly use him again!  Why did it take me so long?  Why am I such a hoarder?

Another thing I did, which was a bit crazy really, was buy a big bag of spuds - Maris Pipers - which is now sitting in the shed.  I will share them with Beth, of course, but it's in the way of an experiment really.  They're in a strong paper bag and I shall keep them in the shed and see how long they keep.  Fingers crossed.
I Googled how to store spuds and it seems I need to go through them and take out any that are blemished, so I guess that needs to be added to the long list of Things To Do Today, below such delights as making the trifle, making the cheesecake, washing and ironing, dusting and sweeping, etc.  Fortunately the house is nice and tidy after last Saturday's party, so it's not a dreadful chore and, amazingly, the ironing basket is empty as the other big thing I did yesterday was ironing.

Well, it's a long list so I need to get started or I will not have enough day for it all.