Saturday 28 February 2015


Phew - made it.  It is now Saturday and I may have woken early but I can snooze during the day if I feel the need.  I tried to stay awake as long as possible last night and actually managed to stay awake and upright until 8:30 which is much more sensible.  Then it was up to bed and out like a light until about four this morning.

It doesn't look so cold out there this morning.  No frost as far as I can tell.

I have a fair old list of things to do.  After a little argument with a kamikaze pheasant before half term, there's a wee dent spoiling the pristine shininess of my new car.that needs to be sorted out so I am off to a local repair company this morning for a quote before deciding if it is an insurance jobby or not (I suspect not).  No, Diane, I didn't stop to pick up the body, poor little bird - as far as I know it's the first time I have killed a creature when driving and I was sad!
I have some shopping to do for Beth who has what seems to be a nasty dose of flu.  I have bread to make, not-really-flapjacks to bake, reports to write, writing to level . . .

I might also start a baby dress, if I have time.  A dear friend recently had a wee baby girl and another lovely friend gave me a copy of an old pattern she has for an old fashioned smocked baby dress.  I love smocking and made Beth many a smocked dress when she was very little.  The pattern I have been given looks very similar to the one I used then and I have some lovely small check pink gingham to use.  I haven't smocked for decades now and am so looking forward to getting back to it.
Not exactly the same but similar and so very pretty.
(borrowed from Google)

Yesterday was a good day, albeit punctuated by yawns.  Some sad news filtered through in the evening that Leonard Nimoy has died.  Anyone of my generation cannot fail to have registered the impact that Star Trek had in the 60s, the character of Spock in particular.  I was a Star Trek fan, watched all the episodes and recorded them too and thoroughly enjoyed the films.  It just wouldn't have been the same without Mr Spock.

I'm glad the week is over.  It's been a very tiring one.  Next week will be better, I am sure (I hope, anyway).  Before then there's the weekend.  Enjoy!

Friday 27 February 2015

Friday after school

I made it.  I'm now  plucking up the energy to go home.

But first - a visit to Morrisons alcohol shelves.  It's Friday!


This is getting perfectly ridiculous.  Awake at half past two, wide awake, no possible chance of getting back to sleep.  By the time the children come in I will have been awake for over six hours.  Small wonder I am utterly worn out come the evenings.  But what to do about it?  I don't know.  Perhaps if I didn't have so much on my mind, maybe?   My eating has all gone to pot too and I am sure that's mostly down to tiredness.

Anyway, enough whinging, sorry for that.  It's much colder again this morning and there's a frost on the car.  Just when one thought it was getting milder and more spring-like too.  The forecast is OK though.  No rain, plenty of sun.  That's good considering it is outside games today!

Yesterday was OK, I guess.  The tangram maths was great with the extra thrill of using the laptops.  There was a meeting after school to discuss this, that and the other which went well.

Well, I'd better make breakfast, I suppose.  Given how I am feeling, it can be bacon sandwiches.  Comfort food extrordinaire!  And maybe REAL coffee!  With caffeine.  Aren't I the little rebel this morning!!!

Thursday 26 February 2015


Welcome to another milder morning here.  No frost, no chill in the air.  Cold, yes, after all it is February still, but no need for extra covers, heating up or even slippers!

Yesterday was a fairly stressful and emotional day so by the time I left school after a (thankfully) shortened staff meeting I headed straight for the comfort food in Morrisons and ruined my healthy eating for the week!!!

Ah, well, one day is one day and today is another day, etc.

I was so worn out that I went to bed at seven intending to read and unwind but went to sleep with the light on.  Apart from a wake up with rather uncomfortable cramp in one foot, I slept jolly well, waking very early, of course.  I'm now paying for the binge with a slightly muggy head and churny tum, but nothing too bad, probably less than I deserve.

The trouble with letting go like that is that one then continues to feel hungry so I will have a battle on my hands today.  I'm sure it is an emotional hunger, not a 'real' one.

Actually, thinking about it, there were some good bits yesterday.  The maths was fun, as was the science, for example.  The children were, as always, delightful.  I'm very fond of my class.

So, on to today.  Another mathematical problem solving activity.  This time it is all about tangrams which is a bit different!  I must remember to grab the laptops when I get into school.

Well, I'd better look through the planning and get things ready - after all, I didn't really have the opportunity yesterday evening!

Have a great day!

Wednesday 25 February 2015


So here we are, almost half way through the working week already.  It's certainly nowhere near freezing although the skies are clear and starry and I'm now quite looking forward to the time when I can come down without a dressing gown and feel comfortable and warm.

Yesterday was a long and busy day.  Not quite twelve hours of school but almost.  Quite hectic for much of the time, one way or another too.  One thing stands out particularly.

We are doing problem solving this week.  Primary teachers will know what I mean.  The kind of thing where they have to find all the possibles and show a systematic, methodical approach to working it out.  Yesterday it was monkeys and nuts.  Three monkeys, twenty five nuts, shared out so that each monkey had an odd number of nuts and no monkey had the same number of nuts!  Yeah, I know, but there you go!

Well, for a start they found it very hard to accept that those poor monkeys were not going to have the same number of nuts each.  It wasn't necessarily even going to be close.  That was just NOT FAIR!  Slowly we worked our way through, finding all the different ways.  So last night, after getting home with not enough unwinding time before I fell asleep, my dreams were haunted by those darn monkeys arguing over their nuts!

(don't laugh!)

And no, they're not old enough for the sort of joke that immediately came to my mind when I first read the problem - or not old enough to mention it during the lesson anyway.  Maybe I am just rude!

Today is playing cards and totals.  Please think of me!

As some of you who look at my other blog might have noticed, when cooking I am now using frozen mixed peppers rather than fresh ones.  At £1.00 for 500g I thought they were good value, better than fresh, but I'd never tested this.  So yesterday I bought a pack of 3 peppers for 99p which is pretty good value really.  When I got home I popped them straight on the scales and they weighed just a fraction over 500g.  That means once the core and stalk has been removed they will be significantly under that weight so I was right.  Frozen is the frugal way to go in cooking, fresh is for salads!

Today's meals are porridge, beans on toast for lunch and then a reheated Chinese takeaway for dinner.  I shall need a bit of a treat after staff meeting and this is one from the freezer, left over from a previous indulgence.  I have noticed that I'm getting short of soups so I will have to stock up again, soups being a mainstay of my school lunches.  Fortunately they are dead easy!

Wednesday is the interesting day of the week with Reading Revelry and violins (it is not library week this week) in the morning and the PPA in the afternoon.  I enjoy Wednesdays.

Tuesday 24 February 2015


Good morning, everyone.  It felt cold again overnight but it isn't frosty and iPod says it is above freezing, so that's all to the good, isn't it?  I know there's been snow in places but not a hint of any flakage here.  We did have a few short, sharp rain showers yesterday but nothing too daunting.

Yesterday was back to school day and it was nice to see the children again, although by the evening I was desperately tired.  It doesn't take much to wear me out nowadays, I find.  Getting old, that's what!

Today there is a governor's meeting at six and as muggins here offered to represent the staff on the governing body for a short time, I have to go.  Sensibly, it starts at six, so I can stay and work and then go straight to the meeting.  When I did the same thing years ago the meetings used to start at seven or maybe it was even seven thirty, which meant going home and turning out again.  Painful!

The mornings and evenings are rapidly getting brighter now and Spring is sprunging for all it is worth in the garden.  Yesterday morning before school I popped out and took a few photos and here they are.

Pretty little snowdrop

Mini-daffs.  These are about 10 cms tall

A splash of colour.

The leeks are still alive . . .

. . . as are the two broccoli plants and the strawberry runners have rooted well.

Well, it is nearly five and I need to get going with the review of today's lessons.  See you tomorrow!

Monday 23 February 2015


Well, yesterday was pretty parky all the way through the day, despite some lovely sunshine in the morning.  By mid afternoon the wind was up and the rain was pouring down.  Not at all nice and it stopped me from doing any more with the chest freezer in the shed because it was so flippin' cold out there.  Also the extra cover stayed on the bed overnight!

However, I made bread, I made sort-of-flapjacks (and have posted the recipe on t'other blog, here), I made roast dinner, I went to Aldi, I got the planning done and dusted and I even did a bit of gardening in the morning as there was a tangle of old stuff on the middle bed hiding the snowdrops, hyaconths and mini daffs.  Yes, there's colour again out there and very cheering it is too, even when the wind howls and the rain lashes.

Aldi was a bit of an eye opener.  I haven't been for a while - in fact, truth be told, I haven't been since I did Live Below the Line last year, I think.  That's mainly because Morrisons is pretty good price-wise nowadays and is very, very close.    I got there just before ten and there were a number of cars in the car park but not too many and there were some people waiting so I joined the short queue.  Five chilly minutes later when the shop opened there was a fairly long queue and when I came out before half past ten the car park was full and people were trawling round and round, waiting for spaces to become available.

Aldi has really taken off as a place to shop, it seems!  I can see why too.  They've enlarged it for a start and the aisles are much wider which is just as well given the way people crowded in and were rushing around.  The displays are better.  There's more choice than there used to be, I think, especially in the fruit and veg department.  I can see that I ought to go there more regularly for some things that were significantly cheaper that anywhere else, although Morrisons is better on some items.  The main disadvantage is that it is the other side of town.

Dinner was delicious.  I always like chicken and you get so much from a chicken.  A main meal, the pull off bits, boiling up the carcass . . . even the small ones (and this was fairly small) lasts for a fair old time.  By the time it's bulked out with stuffing, roasties and veg it makes a jolly good meal.  Thjis particular chicken provided me and Alex with a Sunday dinner, then I had chicken sandwiches for tea.  Today I am having chicken with tomatoes and coleslaw for lunch at school and the rest will go into the freezer in two portions covered with stock from the boil-up for later on in the week.  The little bits will make a nice pasta sauce, curry, risotto or whatever I fancy.  Seven good portions plus stock isn't bad from a small bird.

As the oven was going to be on anyway, that's where I roasted it, not in the halogen over as I usually do.  I did it upside down which makes the breast lovely and moist although the skin stays white and soft.  This isn't an issue as I always take off the skin anyway, which goes into the pressure cooker with the rest of the carcass for boiling up.

Well, finally, I've tried not to mention it, but, sadly, I have to.  Back to work today.  Ho hum . . .

I hope my readers have a good day anyway!

Sunday 22 February 2015


Good morning again!
It felt like a jolly cold night.  I went to bed early feeling chilly and shivered until I dug out the extra cover and popped it over the duvet.  Even so, it took a while to warm up (or it felt like a while) but really helped as, when I woke in the night, I was comfortably warm.
There's a fairly hard frost right now, so I guess that's why.  IPod tells me it is below freezing - well, what a surprise!!!

Yesterday was interesting.  The car had its service, I popped into school, realised the bay wasn't as messy as I had thought it was and came home again.  Oh the commitment.  Actually, I was yet again thankful for the hard work last summer holiday when I went right through all my cupboards, sorting everything out and throwing away piles and piles of historic stuff.

I had thawed out some sausages so, with one, I made stuffing for Al and me today and with the other three I made meatballs in a tomato sauce.  The two portions they made will go back into the freezer, but I had used three containers of sauce and the sausages, so I don't feel guilty about that.  Both those are now only one step away from being eaten!

I did a bit more sorting out the chest freezer.  Now too much because it was jolly cold, but a bit.  It's looking a bit less messy and a bit more organised in places now although it's going to take some time before it's the way I would like it.  I keep unearthing packets of frozen meat which will all be used when Beth and I have our mammoth cook-in over the Easter break.  The way it is going, we won't need to buy very much meat at all which is all to the good.

Today is Sunday and I'm doing a roast chicken dinner.  Chicken with stuffing, roasties, runner beans and sprouts, etc.  No dessert but there is fruit if wanted.  The chicken is currently soaking in brine and as the oven will be on for the roasties, I will use that for the chicken as well rather than Handy Andy (the halogen oven).

I'm making some more bread for Beth today so I'd better get the process started.  Also I feel the need for coffee . . .
Have a good day and stay warm.  I hope any coastal readers haven't been troubled by this very high tide that was supposed to happen.

Saturday 21 February 2015


Good morning and welcome to the weekend!  At the moment it is pretty cold with a frost on the roofs and the cars but I doubt it will last much beyond dawn.

Yesterday was marked by a few interesting things.  First of all I googled a bit for proportions and then 'created' a mini-quiche recipe.  There's a reason for that which I will go into at some point in the future.  It's pretty frugal and rather tasty so I have posted about it in Teacher's Recipes, here.  What really made my day was that I have little pots that are just the right size for putting them into before freezing which will keep each little quiche safe and unbattered.  One think I love about them is that one is perfect as a main meal with a salad and fries or new potatoes but also as a school lunch with carrot batons and tomatoes!  I'm glad I worked on this recipe - it is not original (can quiche recipes ever be original nowadays?) but isn't directly adapted from another one.

Then I went shopping and not only found quite a lot of what I had on my list on special but also a huge big bag of 'general purpose' spuds for £2.  Of course, I am sharing them with Beth.  She's taken a goodly pile home with her.

When I got home, Beth had arrived and after lunch (a very tasty spiced lentil soup, four pots out of the freezer) she helped me take down the Christmas tree.  Yes, you read that right, but there was a very good reason for keeping it up - wasn't there, Sonja?  It's now all away and things are back to what passes for normal.

After she had gone I set to and made some of Jack Monroe's carrot, cumin and kidney bean burgers, using some kidney beans I had in the freezer.  So now I have a selection of meals in the freezer for Beth when she comes for lunch.  I also moved some more stuff round so the upright freezer is now fuller again but there are some definite gaps in the chest freezer.  I'm getting there, slowly but surely.  At the moment I am taking out more than I am putting in which is the main thing.  Also, everything that goes into the upright freezer is a home cooked 'ready meal' and is recorded on a list.  So much more organised!  Since Beth had some of the ready meals, she has found the same thing and we have decided that come the Easter holidays we are going to get together to produce a whole stack of meals to stock up our freezers, and continue to do this on a regular basis.  Should be good!

Oh, and I made some more bread because I won't have time this morning.  The car goes in for its 1000 mile service (more like just under 200 miles in actual fact, but never mind).  It's only a short service and I shall take a book to read.  They do quite nice coffee there so I won't be lacking refreshment.

That's about it really.  I've treated myself to a pot of 'real' coffee this morning and it smells as if it is about ready to pour so I'd better go and do so!  Have a wonderful day, one and all.

Thursday 19 February 2015


Good morning yet again!    It seems quite mild this morning and it is very wet outside.  Nice and warm inside though!

I had a lovely day yesterday but, my goodness, it was very dull and gloomy.  Rain, rain and more rain and, as a result, it felt colder than it really was.

First of all I finished repairing the skirt, wore it and felt perfectly safe!  As I - er - reduce in width, I can tighten the elastic, if needed.  Well worth the effort.

While thinking of width, I used the new scales and let's just say it was better than I feared but a lot, lot worse than it should be.  Fingers crossed I can stick at it this time.

I went over to a friend's for lunch and we had a great gossip session and a delicious lunch.  Thanks, J.  I enjoyed the drive too.

Finally, I managed to stay awake long enough to watch Sewing Bee.  I love that programme.  It was all about vintage clothes, specifically from the 1950s, with a focus on the New Look.  They produced some gorgeous clothes and great ideas.  I loved that they had to use old Singer machines for two of the challenges - I first learnt on one of those as a child.

Today I go shopping and I hope Beth is coming round.  Apart from that there's very little planned.  Just right for the last day of the half term bread (weekends don't count).

That's about it really.  Now for another coffee before going over the final shopping list!


Wasn't yesterday a glorious day?  Wall to wall sunshine and quite mild at times.  Morning and evening were both very chilly, mind you.  Brrrrr.
According to iPod, it's going to be dull and increasingly damp today, perhaps with some strong wind to help it all along.  A shame after two lovely sunny days but there you go!

Beth came over for lunch and I was able to use up several pots of my home made tomato soup, made with last year's wonderful tomato crop.  It's a gorgeous soup and the fresh bread we had with it was pretty delicious too.  I ought to make some more at some point, although it won't be quite as lovely made with tinned tomatoes as it is made with fresh, just picked ones.

After that Beth and I went to Hobbycraft (Wot, again?  Yes, again!) and from then I popped along to Argos to get some bathroom scales.  I have some, I tidied them up a while ago now and do you think I can find them?  No, I can't.  I got fed up and bought a reasonably priced set.  So no excuses now!  Actually, after using them, I am quite surprised (in a good way) but there's a very long way to go yet!

And what's the betting the old ones will turn up now, eh?

I've been unpicking the waistband of a skirt.  The elastic had almost totally 'gone' and the skirt kept threatening to fall down.  Not a good idea really!  It was not home made so there was an awful lot of overlocking to undo but it's now all tacked up, ready to stitch later on today before threading through the elastic.  Then I can wear it again.  I didn't sew it last night as the cotton is black and that's hard on the old eyes.

Yesterday was half way through the half term break.  It's all downhill from now on, unfortunately.  And to celebrate, it feels as if a cold is landing.  Just what I need.  I took meds last night which helped quite a lot and feel OK this morning, so fingers crossed.

Well, the bread dough is rising (I hope), the porridge is waiting to be cooked and there's a lovely day ahead of me with just one sad thing - S and M are on their way today.  I know I will miss them very much.

Wednesday 18 February 2015


It feels a bit cold but I can't be bothered to look out right now.  I have the holiday-idleness!  Just checked iPod which tells me it is minus 1 so I guess it is cold and frosty.

Yesterday was gorgeous.  Wall to wall sunshine and warm enough not to need to wear a coat for the brief time I was outside.

Lunch with N was great.  We went to the Hare and I had a mini burger (taller than it was across and most delicious) with some coleslaw and a few chips.  Just the right amount.  I followed it up with one scoop of caramel ice cream and felt very satisfied indeed.  We talked and talked and talked about all sorts of things.

I played with the new toy again, of course.  I made the first skirt, a very easy pattern with just four pieces and an elasticated waist.  I can't wear it yet as it's very thin cotton, but it will be great for the summer.  I also stitched together some squares to make a little quilt for a friend who has just had a baby girl.  Now I HAVE to learn how to quilt, don't I?  I can't go any further with that until I have the backing fabric and some wadding - oh, and it appears you can get 'invisible' thread so I must look out for that too.  I think I feel another Hobbycraft visit coming on.  I wonder if Beth would fancy coming with me today.

The sewing machine came with just four bobbins.  Now, I know from past experience that four is nowhere near enough, especially if you are like me and have several projects on the go at once.  I Googled, found a shop and looked.  It was most confusing as there seem to be so many bobbins of different kinds around.  Again, from past experience, I know that Husqvarna does not use the conventional sized bobbins so I emailed to ask.  Very quickly an answer popped through, excellent service I thought, and I have now ordered 20 bobbins which should keep us going for years to come!

I took a few photos of the owl fabric.  Apologies for the angle but when I tried to take it straight down I cast a shadow!
Each owl is about 2.5 cms high.  Very cute!

It's getting light now (before seven - Spring must be on her way) and I can see that, yes, there is a frost!  I think I need a coffee to warm me up!

Tuesday 17 February 2015


Good morning!  Welcome to Tuesday.  It looks OK out there for now and the forecast is for sun, which would be lovely after yesterday's afternoon rain.  It was a four o'clock start tday which is better.  Still too early but better.

I am becoming a Lady Wot Lunches this week.  Yesterday I was out at a friends (and it was lovely), today I am out with a friend and Thursday I am out at a friends.  Talk about living it up!  Yesterday's little jaunt was to see a friend who used to be my SEN cover at school and who have a little 6 month old as well as her three year old.  The older child was at nursery but her baby was awake and ready to talk.  What a sweetheart!  Thanks for a lovely time, C.

Today I'm taking a friend out to lunch.  I haven't seen her (except on Facebook) for ages, so we will have a lot to catch up on.

I went to Hobbycraft yesterday and got some bits and bobs that I needed.  It's all been reorganised since last I went so I simply HAD to look all round.  Because of the sewing machine, I went to look at the fabrics and saw some lovely owl print fabric which will make a perfect fun skirt for me for school this summer.  I asked for three metres (only needed two but I liked the fabric) and there was about another third of a metre left on the roll which she threw in for nothing.  Excellent!  I'm not going to make it up yet as I want to practise on some cheap fabric first.

When I got back from C's, S and M had just arrived so we all had a cuppa coffee together.

All in all, a very pleasant day.  I hope yours was as nice in its own way.

Monday 16 February 2015

Diane asked . . .

. . . where's the photo?

Here it is.  Apologies for the poor quality.


Here I am at 7:38 (according to my PC), still in my bed things, having spent the last four hours (yes, I woke at idiotic o'clock yet again) at the sewing machine, making up a jelly roll into a bed cover that looks a heck of a lot more clever that it really is.  My back aches but it was worth it.  Given that it is just sewing long, straight seams, I am ridiculously proud of it.  I won't be wadding and quilting it (give it time and maybe one day . . . !), but I will, obviously, be framing it with a plain fabric and then backing it so that I can use it on one of the beds in the guest room.

It's dull and gloomy out there, just escaping a slight mist.  Perhaps the sun will break through later.  I hope so - it will be nice for the children to have a sunny day during their half term.

Yesterday was an industrious day.  Morning was lazier, spent preparing and cooking what turned out to be a pretty traditional Sunday roast:  slow roast beef, roast spuds, Yorkshires, broccoli and runner beans from the garden - from the freezer really - and gravy, followed by bread and butter pudding that I made with the fruit loaf I accidentally defrosted the other day.  It was all highly scrummy and there was precious little left!  Oh, and I made three loaves of bread too, for Beth and Alex.

In the afternoon Beth and  I set to and continued with her sock cats, we on the sewing machine and her taking the tacking out and turning the bits the right way out.  It took a while but we got there!

Then we both trundled down the the shed and sorted out some of the food for Beth to take home and use.  That should keep Alex going for - ooooh, perhaps a week!

After the very early start this morning, I have things on today's list.  I have to go to Hobbycraft (oh, the hardship) to get some bits and bobs and I am off round to Carly's for lunch, something I am very much looking forward to.  Sonja and Milli come back here at some point too, which is lovely.

Well, it's nearly eight and I need to get going if I want to fit everything in.  Have a super day, one and all.

Sunday 15 February 2015

About time too

When ironing I remembered that a quilt cover and a fitted sheet both have torn seams and have had for a number of years.

No longer though!


Good morning!  It's a cool, damp morning as far as I can tell and I was up at three.  It's a right pain but there's not a lot I can do about it really, just hope that by the end of the week I will be sleeping a bit longer.

After such an early wake yesterday too, I was sure I'd be asleep again by 10:00 am but I wasn't.  I got stuck into the ironing and cleared the basket while watching Eat Well for Less and then Sewing Bee and that kept me awake.

I was aghast at Eat Well for Less.  This week's couple had little idea of how to use up food and were throwing away piles of food each week that could have been used in all sorts of ways.  Also the lady had what was describes as 'freezer fright' and if anything had been in the freezer for more than a month, she chucked it.  Mind you, I hate to think what she would have though about my upright freezer (more further down).

Suffice it to say, by the end of the programme she/they had seen the error of her ways.  I'd love to revisit some of these families several months down the line as they used to do in Ground Force and see if they are still applying what they learnt.  I gather it was a very short series of just three, which is perhaps just as well as the format is very similar from week to week, but I hope they will bring out a second series: I saw an advert asking for families to come forward if they wanted to appear on the programme so it looks likely.

They have all been lovely families with delightful, unfussy children.  This week's children were Ava and Sofia, the same names as two of my daughter's cats, right down to the spellings thereof.  I can't say I learnt anything new this week but I do want to make my own chicken nuggets at some point, maybe when Alex comes to stay.

Anyway, back to yesterday.  I went out to the shed and 'audited' the chest freezer.  I think it is safe to say I was horrified (in a sort of positive way) with what I found.  So much food, so many delicious home cooked ready meals.  Well, they are all on a list now together with which shelf they can be found so there's no excuses, is there, especially as I now make a weekly plan before I shop?  Despite a few recent blips everything I found was fully labelled, thank goodness.
Fortunately, Beth has said she will take some off my hands.  That would be a kindness to me and very helpful for her too.

Will I tackle the chest freezer.  Well - not sure really.  Perhaps half way is enough for now!

I am looking forward to today.  Beth and Alex will be over and we will do some sewing (Beth and I, I mean).  I am also hoping to unload some freezer food in exchange for a sock cat that I can use as a pin cushion!  I've bought a few paper patterns online and perhaps Beth will like the pattern for elasticated waist trousers and a top.  It looks really very easy to make so fingers crossed.

The pile of 1m lengths of poly cotton that I ordered last weekend arrived a few days ago.  Yesterday I took a close look and found that they all seemed a bit twisted and to have been cut squiffy.  I knew that couldn't really been so, so I put the lot through a wash and gentle tumble dry before ironing and folding which sorted out the problem but the ironing took a bit of time.  Never mind, I now have a lovely neat, clean pile of bits of fabric to play with.  I've set up a corner for sewing with a go-pak table and a convenient window for the best light.  In the last two years, the parents have given me two wooden boxes and they have been brought into action, one for fabric and current projects, the other to hold the patterns.  It looks good!

And I don't have to do any planning today.  I might, but I don't HAVE to!  You know why?  NO SCHOOL TOMORROW!  That feels really fantastic.

Bring on the coffee!

Saturday 14 February 2015


Half term has landed.  The alarm is off for nine days.  Unfortunately, this hasn't prevented me from waking at stupid o'clock but never mind - I can snooze whenever I like, more or less.

This weekend is devoted to easy stuff: breadmaking, auditing what's in the upright freezer, messing about with my new toy, maybe even making something.  The house is clean if not tidy.  I'm a little fuzzy around the gills after a bit of a skinful with last night's Chinese but I did manage to clear the kitchen and pop two portions of Chinese, one pot of egg fried rice and one portion of battered chicken wings in the freezer.  Waste not, want not, as the saying goes.

Yesterday some paper patterns arrived.  Two were for itsy bitsy things - pretty aprons, oven gloves, and the like, useful for learning how your machine works while two were garments, including a very likely looking skirt pattern in ten different sizes.  What I call a Useful Pattern.  Dead easy too with an elasticated waist and only four pieces.  Summer skirts, here I come!
However, I need to start with some practising - straight seams and the like.  I'm well out of practice.  The jelly roll should see to that as I intend to use it to make a cover for a bed and I have a pile of poly cotton pieces that I want to use to practise an easy way of making pinwheels that I saw on YouTube..

So - today is a take it very easy day.  No planning, no marking, no evaluating.  Just easy peasy, lazy, snoozy stuff with rubbish telly in the background.  I have to catch up with both Eat Well For Less and the Sewing Bee so that will keep me entertained.

And with that I will wish you a very happy day and get some more coffee!

Friday 13 February 2015


So here we are at the last day of the half term, all eager and ready for the break from  - well, I was going to say 'work' but, of course, it isn't.  There's marking to catch up on, assessments to make, reports for consultation evenings to  write and, if time permits, I could get started on the end of year reports with brief notes to organise/adit later.  Oh, those 'long holidays' that teachers get!

I'm a bit weary this morning.  I wasn't in bed much later than usual but, after a jaunt to the Flyer last night for a farewell get-together, it took me a little while to get to sleep and I had a wakey spell in the night.  Never mind, I don't have to cook this evening (S and M are treating me to a Chinese takeaway) and we will have it  early so that we can all have an early night if necessary (and I guess it will be after some Friday alcohol).

It was a lovely get-together for A.  A, who is retiring, was my TA for many years before my move to Y4 and she lives just down the road.  We've always got on well together and her contact with the school is as long as my own, her daughter being the same age as Beth.  I will miss her.

It was a day of farewells.  Two of my TAs have left my class, one to a permanent post in the school and the other to leave the school entirely.  So it was pretty sad, one way and another.  Ah well!

It's a bit damp out there today.  I needed to go to the freezer to get a loaf of bread and got my feet wet.  It was predicted so no surprises and it serves me right.  I should have been more organised and got the bread out yesterday evening!  The temperature seems to be hovering around the 2/3C mark so chilly but not icy.

The food is all ready for the day.  Scrambled egg on toast (yum) for breakfast and then for lunch it is the keema curry that I should have had yesterday evening but didn't.  Dinner is all sorted, thanks to S and M.

Edited to add:  ooops - the bread I got out of the freezer was a fruit loaf.  So no scrambled egg, more like toasted tea cake.  I guess this means a sort of bread and butter pudding on Sunday as I'll never eat the lot before it goes off!

I'm hoping there won't be too much sorting out to do today.  My lovely TA stripped the display board and got the backing paper up so that I was able to print out and mount the banner with the new theme title which is intriguing the children.  Grand Designs, it says.  Of course, it is a Design Technology theme so there will be plenty of making going on!

Thursday 12 February 2015


Only two more days until half term.  Rarely have I felt more in need of a break - we are all utterly weary after this half term.  Waiting for OFSTED to pounce is very stressful!

On to nicer things - the weather.  Dull (cloudy, anyway) and chilly but not freezing.  Typical, in fact, for the time of year!  I was glad I had my dressing gown on when I went out to the garage just now!

Yesterday was a long day but an OK day really.  I managed to stay up although not necessarily 100% awake until after a very funny Comic Relief Bake Off which resulted in a much more sensible waking time of 4 o'clock this morning which was a huge relief.  I'm hoping it is enough to ensure that I manage to stay awake for the farewell get together at the Flyer this evening.  I was originally going to just stay for a drink or two but I've just decided to stay for a meal as well.  The keema I got out of the freezer for this evening can wait until tomorrow's lunch.  It can't wait for dinner because S, M and I are having a Chinese takeaway!  Can't wait for that!

Today is a teach-all-day day which is what it's all about!  Maths, English, some comprehension and geography in the afternoon!  And Take Your PE Bags Home-time at the end of the day!  Hope the weather stays fine so they can go out to play!

I'm looking forward to toast and marmalade for breakfast.  I haven't had that for several days now and I dearly love it!  Lunch is tomato soup, also home made, and then I hope to be able to keep going until dinner which will be about 8:00-ish, maybe a bit later.

But first, there's coffee!
Image result for mug of coffee
(borrowed from Google)

Wednesday 11 February 2015


Good morning.  Welcome to a comparatively mild start to the day.  iPod informs me that it is 4C in Chelmsford which means no frost!  Certainly I was cosy all night long without any need for an extra cover.

Being cosy didn't stop me from waking very early again though.  Before three o'clock two mornings in a row is beginning to feel like a habit.  I know it's connected to early bed times but when one is falling asleep, what can one do?  At least I know I am getting enough sleep, it's just all several hours earlier than the sensible majority of the population.  I should be going out for a meal on Thursday evening to say goodbye to a colleague who is retiring at half term, so I'm a bit concerned, but there is something I want to watch this evening that finishes at nine o'clock, so perhaps that will break the pattern.  Finger crossed, anyway.

One thing about waking early is that I seem to get a lot done before the rest of the world joins me.  Today I sorted out my spice shelf.  The spice order I made last week arrived yesterday so it was out with the old (and tasteless) and in with the new.  I'm afraid I had to chuck out a fair amount because it was well (and I mean WELL) past its use by date.  The cupboard now looks wonderfully neat and tidy again and the bin smells fragrantly spicy!  The next curry I make should have a much better taste.

How many years have I had my range for?  Must be nine or ten now but yesterday, for the first time, I used the oven timer, set to come on at four and go off at six, to bake a potato so it was ready when I got home.  How ridiculous not to have used it before.  But you know what - it worked perfectly!  It was a bit more complicated than I remember my old cooker being.  That was just turn a few knobs and press a button.  This time I had to set the cooking time and the off time which meant the clock had to show the right time!
Must use it more often!!!

I can see this new sewing maching will be expensive.  Craft fabrics in Hobbycraft are so, so costly that I trawled around the internet and found plenty of places that sell fabrics very  reasonably.  The flip sides are that postage is quite a lot and you can't see before you buy so goodness knows what the quality is like.  As far as postage is concerned it stays the same however much you order so I < cough > made the most of that.  Then I fear I had an impulse buy and bought a jelly roll.  Making it up will teach Beth how to sew basic seams although, knowing her, once she gets a handle on it she will be off and overtaking me!  I'll keep you informed.

There's a couple of family birthdays in March and the possibility of family get togethers here so I want to make some bunting over half term.  Easy with my new toy!!!  I also want to make some summer skirts so will need to trawl around for some patterns.  It's so long since I made anything that I have no idea where my patterns are, no idea at all.  They could be anywhere.

Today is Wednesday - always an interesting (used in the usual sense of the word) day.  Reading revelry, violins, library, then class time, then PPA in the afternoon.  Staff meeting after school which I hope isn't too long.

Anyway, enough rambling.  I ought to think about meals for today.  Porridge with yogurt and pineapple for breakfast, beans on toast for lunch (we have a toaster and microwave in the staff room) and then for dinner I'm having burger in a roll (both home made) with fried potato (yesterday's jacket potato was so big I only ate half of it) and coleslaw.  Very nice too!

But first - coffee!

Tuesday 10 February 2015


Remember I said no car to scrape yesterday.  well, I was wrong - it was frozen water, not frost.  The thermometer said 1 degree but it was cold enough to melt water.  Fortunately it didn't take long to clear and today it feels a little warmer and therefore not likely to freeze.  There was fog in the night but that seems to have cleared too.

I was up very early (just before three) and came down because I've a fair amount of work to do that I had no energy for last night.  Marking, preparation, and so on.  I'm working my way through it all fairly well, which is a relief, and don't feel at all weary.  Fingers crossed I will still feel energetic at around six o'clock this morning and even more so, this afternoon, which is when tiredness has a habit of landing.  I'm quite looking forward to my afternoon snoozes during half term!

Yesterday was OK.  It's the last week of the half term so there's a fair amount of tidying up and finishing off to do, so every minute will be allocated to something.  Four more days to go!

Well, seeing as I came down early, I'd better get on with things, hadn't I?  But first, I need a coffee.  Fancy being down for nearly an hour and a half and not making coffee.  While I'm there I can sort out lunch and dinner so I may be gone some time!

Have a great day!

Monday 9 February 2015


No frost again!  That doesn't mean it's not cold, of course, it is, but it does mean no scraping of car windows!

I normally get between twenty and forty readers (usually nearer to 20 than 40)each day - I think it's called 'hits', isn't it? - according to the gizmo on my page.  So I wonder what there  was about Saturday to send the number up to 80!  It makes me nervous when that happens although the chances are it's someone who has stumbled across the blog and has back-read a bit.  Anyway whoever(s) you are, welcome and I hope you enjoyed the read.

Yesterday was a little less active than Saturday.  Though I said it myself, I cooked a mean lunch for me and Beth (Al didn't come) and there's enough veg left over for today.

I made beany crumble for Beth and it was good (she said) so I shall be posting the recipes in two parts.  I decided that as I seem to have run out of beany mix and it is so useful to have some in the f ridge for when Beth comes over, I'd make a batch and ditto for the crumble topping which, for once, I remembered to weigh out as I made it.  So the freezer now has four portions of beany mix and five of crumble topping (it made seven but Beth had one yesterday and I shall be having one today).

Then we started on the sewing machine.  Beth is making some sock cats for people so I sorted out the bobbin winding, threading, etc, and helped by sewing up some bodies, heads and tails.  They are very cute and I wonder if I can find something via Google to show you . . . yes, here you go.
And here's a picture.
Borrowed from Google
Cute, aren't they?

Today is the usual Monday.  Never mind, five more days and it is half term.  Excellent.

Sunday 8 February 2015


It's mild (in comparison) this morning.  No frost for the first time in a week or so.  The extra cover is now off the bed and the heating is down again.  Yesterday was mostly murky, mild and mizzly and I gather today might be more of the same.  Ah, well.

I am a silly.  If you remember, regular readers, I said yesterday that I would have to make some garam masala as I'd run out and the order hadn't arrived.  I was going through my spices to get the ones I need when I found a small jar of roasted garam masala.  I then remembered buying it, being attracted by the name.  Anything with 'roasted' on it gets my attention - I'm as bad as those families on 'Eat well for less' or whatever it is called.  Anyway, it was unopened so it was fine, as will be the new order garam masala that should come this week.  I'm going to have to make lots of curries to use it all up!  Oh, dear, what a shame!

The keema was good.  I'm a bit timid with spices so I felt I was adding loads but it worked really well.  Being me, I changed a few things - added some crushed ginger and used some frozen mixed vegetables, partly because I have no frozen peas (it's on the shopping list now) and the mixed veg really does need using up and isn't good enough for just boiling and serving.
I also added some rice to make it truly an all-in-one.  It made four portions, all for the freezer.  Oh, well, I took stuff OUT of the freezer to make it so it's swings and roundabouts really.

I had a bit of a goof with the bread.  I started off the yeast, then tipped in what I had left in the wholemeal bag without setting the scales first.  So I added the white by eye, started the kneading, thought it seemed a bit solid so added some water, then it ended up rather too soft so I had to zizz some more flour into it.  As a result, I had enough dough not only for my usual two 1lb loaves but also for three rolls.  Useful as well as delicious!  I think I might up the flour to 600g and the water pro rata to get a few rolls as well as the two loaves.  Useful for school soup lunches.

I cheated with the con carne as I had a tin of mixed beans in chili sauce that had been in the cupboard for rather a long time.  It made life easier though.  Again, I cooked some rice in with the mix, rice that really does need to be used up.  So now I am down to one opened packet, not two!

The savoury mince - well, what can one say?  It's a bog standard thing and always scrummy.  Useful for pasta, jacket potatoes, pies, crumbles, etc.  The main problem was that I had run out of tomato puree (it's on the list too, as is vegetable oil) but that can be added before reheating.  The sauce is quite tomatoey anyway because I used home grown/made passata from the freezer (three containers' worth).  I didn't add rice as it will be for 'bottoms' or with pasta or whatever, so I did the other frugal thing and added two handfuls of lentils and one handful of oats.  Apart from making it all go further, the lentils add flavour and the oats create a lovely thick sauce without need to use flour, thickening granules, etc.

I decided to use the last pack to make some mini burgers that could also be rolled into meatballs after thawing, if wanted.  I think you call them 'sliders' or is that when they are cooked and in little buns?  I don't know.  Anyway, that's what I made.  I used mince (obviously), finely chopped onions, breadcrumbs, Dijon mustard, an egg and seasonings.  Very simple

I used lots of things from the freezer so that was good.  The flip side is that yesterdays efforts resulted in four portions of keema, five of chilli, nine (yes, nine - the portions were smaller because it's not a one pot thing) portions of  savoury mince and twelve sliders.  I don't mind though - things needed using up and I will get through what I have made in the next few months although I think my target of defrosting by Easter might have to be delayed a bit.
By the way, I use those plastic takeaway containers for my 'portions'.  You can buy them, you know, online, so I have plenty.  They might seem a bit expensive but can be used several times and it's a lot cheaper than all those takeaways!!!

Today is more cooking but just for dinner.  Lamb leg steaks for me and Alex and a beany crumble for Beth, both with mushy peas and roasty things.  Should be tasty!  Breakfast is porridge and tea will be cheese on toast, I think.  All very scrummy!

Well, there's crumble topping and beany bottom to make (butter beans and veg out of the freezer, yay), not to mention my porridge.
Better get going then.

Saturday 7 February 2015


Yay - it's Saturday!  A fairly cold and frosty Saturday at the moment but, if it is anything like the past few days, the frost will be gone as the sun comes up.  It's not too cold inside anyway.

Lots of plans for today.
The bread is on.
The minced steak has thawed overnight.
The ironing basket is full.
The flapjack recipe has been printed out.
I have a sewing machine!!!!!

School yesterday was OK.  Outdoor games was OK - bit cold but OK.  I whizzed home after school because lovely Sharon the Hairdresser was due to arrive.  Beth was already there and she'd brought over our new shared toy - the sewing machine.  It is a Husqvarna Viking (have I already mentioned that?) and she showed huge restraint in not unpacking it before I got there.

It looks lovely and, from a quick glance at the manual, seems to be very like my old Husqvarna but more updated.  I shall have a wee go with it today so tomorrow I can show Beth how to wind the bobbin, thread the machine, etc.  There's loads and loads of accessories and, somewhat unexpectedly, there was also a bundle of other bits and bobs attached.  We're presuming it's a sort of freebie because we didn't order it but it included things like a bobbin case, three pairs of scissors, fifty (yes, fifty) spools of different coloured thread (probably not the best quality, but even so), extra bobbins, and all sorts of other bits and bobs.  Very exciting!
I need to dig into my cupboard to see what sort of fabric I have so I can do some practising before deciding on a project.  I'm not sure what I can make first - something not too big.  Maybe a shopping bag or something of that kind.  Google, here I come.
I'm so looking forward to sewing again after so many years.  I used to enjoy it so very much and there are some great patterns around now.  Must find a few online communities.

As far as the mince is concerned, I have four packs of 440g.  I'm thinking of making a sort of keema curry, some con carne, of course, and some just savoury mince for all sorts of things.  That will give me enough variety.  I can start the lot off together in a big pan, browning off the mince, and then portion it out.  The house should smell good anyway!

Having looked up some keema recipes, I note that I need garam masala, something I have finished off and have ordered on line.  Never mind, I shall find a recipe for it.  I have plenty of spices so I'm sure I can put something together that is vaguely garam masala-ish.  That's another new thing for me.

According to my meal planner I am having beans on toast for breakfast, soup for lunch and frozen take away for dinner.  No, it won't be frozen when I eat it, don't be daft!  It's just that when I order a takeaway, in order to have a half reasonable selection I order way too much so what I don't eat gets frozen in single portion containers for another time.  It works well and makes a takeaway treat far less un-frugal.

Sorry, I seem to have waffled on for quite a long time this morning.  I'd better shut up now and get breakfast while the dough is rising!
Have a good day!

Friday 6 February 2015


We had snow yesterday.  Real proper snow bracketed fore and aft by rain/sleet.  It looked OK for a time but was too wet to last, didn't settle and after a while the sun came out and it was all lovely!  Bit cold for those doing outdoor games, mind you . . .  It's getting a bit milder now, even though there's a frost at the moment, so I'm hoping it won't be too bad this afternoon for our games lesson.

I'm trying to think of anything out of the ordinary about the rest of yesterday and can't.  It was all lessons, more lessons, a few playtimes and finishing off with lessons.  Just a bog-standard day really.  Ah, there's one thing.  Lovely Sharon comes to do Beth and my hair after school.  That means I can't hang around at school so will get home earlier.  Excellent.  I always feel better after a hair do!

Maybe today will be more exciting.  You never know, do you?

I've woken stupidly early - even stupid for me, that is.  Before three is still the middle of the night.  I shall pay for it later on so thank goodness it is Friday and I don't have to work this evening.  As always, it is Things On The Mind!

Thinking ahead, I am a bit torn.  I have a stack of recipes I want to try out, mostly involving what I already have in cupboard or freezer, but at the same time I need to use up the frozen ready meals I already have.  Most of the recipes are for four so that would mean one to eat and three to freeze.  I like cooking and it's a Saturday thing for me.  I suppose I would be using up freezer things and I do have a stack of meat that needs using up in some way or other so perhaps I can justify it in that way.  Decisions, decisions!

But soon it's porridge with fruit, orange juice and coffee and very nice too!  Then it is soup and a muffin I dug up from freezer depths yesterday evening for lunch and then it's lentil bake for dinner, an all in one that will just need heating up.

Right, well seeing as I have this extra time this morning, I'd better get on and look at today's lessons and get things sorted.  I hope the days goes well for us all.

Wednesday 4 February 2015


Still chilly with frost.  Still extra covers on the bed.  Still glad of central heating although I'm wondering how expensive it is going to be this year.

Yesterday was a long one.  Awake before four, at school by seven thirty, staff meeting after school, but bed by half past eight.  The trouble is, waking before four means that I am at least three hours ahead of most sensible people so it's really half past eleven!  A long day and a bit stressful too!

Today I have my coordinator time, much needed, I am sad to say.  Hopefully I can get plenty done.

Breakfast today was going to be a bacon sarnie but I think I might go for scrambled egg on toast with some orange juice instead.  And coffee, of course.  The planning and resources are all ready so better go into the kitchen and get busy then!


Welcome to another freezing cold Wednesday.  A hard frost, a bright moon and a warm indoors.  I was wrong yesterday, we had a teeny bit of snow, an icing sugar shake of fine flakes that looked like frost but brushed off the windscreen without any need for applied heat.  Today it looks as if a good old scraping session will be needed.

(Edited at 7:15.  Where's the frost?  It's obviously warmed up several degrees in the last few hours!  No scraping needed)

I was nice and warm overnight though.  Before I got into bed, I grabbed the extra cover and spread it over the quilt.  It makes the covers slightly heavier than I would like but I was so tired yesterday evening that it didn't bother me and it certainly did the trick!  So I'm working downstairs, not in the bed.  It's not really a habit I would want to develop really (working in bed, I mean).

I looked for a web site for herbs and spices and found several.  I ordered from a likely looking one and - well, we will see, won't we?   I will recommend, if I can.  It will be nice to be using fresh spices again and I need to make a proper list of what I want and what I haven't really used.  Like anyone who is interested in cookery, I have a heap of herbs/spices that I bought for a one-off reason and haven't used since.  My spice shelf is full and needs some sorting out anyway so this is a golden opportunity.

The 'use up food and be frugal' thing still holds.  I find that if I get the next day's frozen stuff out the evening before, I will stick to it.  If I leave it until early morning I can find far too many excuses!  So yesterday evening I got out some soup (the cream of celery soup that I wrote about in Teacher's Recipes and it really is delicious - must make some more this weekend) and some pork and chick pea chilli and that's me set for today.
Having said that, when I retire it will be so nice to cook on the day for the day without feeling pressured and too weary to bother.

Well, I must stop.  I have to do a restart now that my anti-virus thingy has updated and, anyway, the coffee mug needs refilling.  See you tomorrow and have a great day.

Tuesday 3 February 2015


Brrrrr - it has felt a very cold night, extra-cover-on-the-bed cold in fact.  No snow as far as I can tell but I'm staying in bed until things warm up a bit.  Thank goodness for laptops!

I have a couple of friends staying with me again.  It's very nice to know that there are others under the same roof.  They arrived yesterday and are around for a few weeks.  Welcome, S and M!

Yesterday felt like a long day but I had totally forgotten that it was my fortnightly hour of PPA in the afternoon.  That was great because it enabled me to get all the maths marking done so I didn't have to take it home to do.  Today is swimming which reduces opportunity to load myself up with more marking.  Yay!!!

I'm doing OK with the frugal push!  Spaces are gradually appearing in the upright freezer as I use up the ready mades (home made, of course), both mains and soups.  There's still a way to go but I'd like to be in a position where I can properly defrost the main freezer over the Easter holiday, having already defrosted the upright one earlier.  Then I can have the fun of stocking up again.

I made a curry sauce over the weekend and realised that many of my spices are old and lacking in ooomph now.  I have some Morrisons vouchers so I'm going to use them, or some of them, to replace some spices.  It seems a waste but they're not doing the job any more.  Actually, thinking about it, I might look online first!  The vouchers won't go to waste, that's for sure.

Well, it's feeling a little warmer now so I may as well stir my lazy bones and go downstairs.  I need coffee!!!  I've quite enjoyed staying in bed to work though.  I might start a habit . . .

Monday 2 February 2015


Good morning.  It is a chilly one but not too cold inside

It's been a weekend of contrasts.  Big decisions to make, worries to face, damaged confidence and a wonderfully restful and relaxing day and a bit with my lovely mum and dad.

Apart from the fact that I love them to bits, there was another reason for going up - last weekend it was their 65th wedding anniversary.  My brother went there last weekend and they went out for a meal.  I went there this weekend and we went out for a meal.  A bit of a pattern there, I guess.
It was great to be able to talk to them, share things with them and  just pass the time of day.  It'll soon be half term and I hope to go up again then.

The drive there was great, in spite of heavy snow, and the drive home again was lovely.  The car behaved, it was so good to be able to put my foot down and get an immediate response, I didn't hold anyone up or get frustrated and embarrassed and I wasn't exhausted when I arrived home.  And I realised that sometimes the SatNav showed speed limits on roads.  I think that when I was in Hertfordshire it did and when I moved into Essex it stopped.  Intriguing!

The weekend finished on a very, very sad note as news filtered through that was both shocking and sad.  RIP, C, now at peace.

Take care, gentle readers and stay warm and safe.

Sunday 1 February 2015


A short one because I'm feeling a bit bleugh and will be trying to get some more sleep.

Driving along in a snowstorm is fun.  Yes, I mean that.  It was daytime and I was part of a short convoy of vehicles and it was lovely - great big fluffy white flakes and lots of them but only settling on the road in a few places.  The new car handled beautifully and it was all dead easy.  No complaints.

Today, boringly, is work, work, work.  Sigh!

See you tomorrow.