Friday, 2 December 2016


In my ongoing effort to remain at least somewhat down with the kids, I've been playing with Dubsmash a bit this year. It's really simple. There's a soundtrack, you mime over it, that's basically it.

There was the tribute.


There was 'trying to be funny late on a Friday night'


There were the school trips.



There was being Maria.


Luckily for you, that is all I have downloaded. There were several musical ones and even one involving the cat. To say I have fun with it would be an understatement.

In related news, my Snapchat experimentation buddy Vikki and I have had a great week playing with the voice changer filters and having some competitive teacher whinging. Suffice to say we find each other highly amusing.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Throwback Thursday

This song cycled round on my mp3 player on the way home this afternoon. I drove Mother Hand absolutely nuts when this came out by recording it off the radio onto a tape and playing it over and over again in the car. I think this must have been the summer we went to Cornwall. That's a long car journey.

Anyway, because I'm a geek there's a line in this that makes me chuckle about how dated it is. The second verse is all about how he thinks his best friend probably knocked up his wife. Very hmmm. But he points out that they were so close they had the same blood type.

Pre-genome, of course. That was the only way you could test paternity, back in the day (explained for the benefit of any youngsters).

It does make me chuckle. Makes very little sense now. Still quite enjoy listening to it, though.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Today I wish I was... to get a good picture of the sunrise. The only benefit of a frost so thick it didn't thaw all day/being at work before the sun comes up/having to climb up endless stairs to get to my office has got to be the gorgeous clear skies and beautiful colours. I spent some time with my arm wedged out of the classroom window 4 storeys up, trying to get a picture of the colours, but to no avail.

In other news, I may need to cave and start wearing tights. This bare-legged lark is all very well when I'm walking to my car and back, but the bus was late this morning and that was not fun. If you thought it was cold when you got up, you only have my sympathy if you were also up and out of the house by 6.20. In my humble opinion, 6.20 cold is considerably colder.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Plum chia seed pudding

(I know, three posts in one day: I told you I was on top of my workload this week).

Much as I was enjoying the apple chia seed pudding, I thought I had better mix it up a bit, so I brought home some plums at the weekend and had a go with them. It's a new favourite.

5-6 plums, quartered and destoned
1 star anise
Vanilla caster sugar, to taste. Normal sugar probably OK too, especially if you use vanilla yogurt. Or you could put a bit of vanilla pod in with the plums
2 cups almond milk
200g Greek yogurt (I ended up using honey yogurt, because Asda delivered it to me by accident and I was already stirring it in by the time I realised it wasn't ginger)
Half cup chia seeds
2 tbsp flaxseed (this is a usual inclusion, only left out of the previous recipe because I had run out)

Stew the plums with a little bit of water and the star anise until they have disintegrated. Fish the star anise out and add a bit of sugar if the plums are a bit sour. Wait until they are cold, then mix everything together in an ice cream tub and put in the fridge overnight.

I am not a huge fan of aniseed in its most common forms (balls, Pernod) but this is an absolute winner of a combination. The flavour is quite subtle and - I can't put it better than this - cold, but not overwhelming.

I might try again this weekend if I remember to buy a cinnamon stick - I think that would be a great further addition.

The Bikram Diaries: 9

You might be forgiven for thinking I'd jacked in the sweaty yoga, since I haven't blogged about it since last December. Well, we're all on a journey, aren't we? My journey has not involved masses of visits to the bikram studio this year, but there have still been some. Nineteen, to be precise, so I will aim to get to 25 by year's end. I am managing once a week now that I have figured out Monday is always a better day to go than Tuesday, on account of Tuesday being a lighter work day every week. I did go on Tuesday this week, though. Managing my workload slightly better this week.

As I commented to the very keen lady who recently completed a 30 day challenge tonight, the only problem with only coming once a week is that progress seems to be non-existent. I grope for my foot in standing head to knee and standing bow, and it never feels like it is getting any closer. I lean back in camel, but my back bend is no deeper. I tilt my pelvis and think fondly of gravity, trying to lower my bum actually onto my heels, in half tortoise, but there is still at least a finger's width of air between them.

I had a very busy day today (my Fitbit congratulated me on reaching my best-ever score of 50 floors climbed today, which explains why I am so tired) and as soon as I got into class my mind just exploded, like I had been ignoring it all day. So I wasn't fully in there. But having said that, a little progress tonight: I did manage to catch my left foot very briefly in standing bow, but only briefly, and then I hurt my shoulder and had to be a bit careful for the rest of class.

Laura came over to help me with the lying down bow pose too, and even though she retreated the first time (probably in horror at the enormous crack my hip made as she attempted to lift my foot for me), when she came back in the savasana and tried again, I was successful. It was a joyful moment that has not occurred for going on 18 months and I wanted to remain in that pose for the rest of class.

I also have to take my wins elsewhere. I can now get through an entire class without drinking and without wiping my face. Small steps. My self-control is improving, even if my muscles are not.

Another little positive: I have lost 10lbs since starting the new job, purely through the additional walking (it must be, because I still eat too much cake). I only know this because the number on the scale has changed: I don't notice the difference in the mirror. But I did tonight, as I gurned through another set of Awkward pose, posed like a duck and sucking in my stomach. It looked flabby and hideous, as usual, but there was a ghost of something underneath it all that I hadn't seen in a while.

So yes, bikram. Still happening. Still hard. Still magic afterwards. Even better in this freezing weather.

Tuesday Ten: The Avarice Edition

10 things I'd like for Christmas

1. A new cord coat, exactly like my old cord coat but not faded and with no loose buttons. Said cord coat is now 8 years old and has been through the washing machine several times, but there's no denying it looks its age. I have been hanging out for Boden to release it again, but not happened yet.
Really I should be asking Santa for a sensible long waterproof coat with a hood, but I haven't seen one I like.

2. Some L'Occitane Cherry Blossom shower gel. I got a mini one in my beauty box subscription one month this year and I love the scent, AND it hangs around for a while.

3. The perfect navy blue gel eyeliner. It doesn't exist. Shu Uemura did a great one which I am still mourning. All the others seem to have some sparkle or are the wrong colour blue.

4. That Marc Jacobs scarf I mentioned a few weeks ago. I might end up making this a present to myself.

5. A digital radio walkman, ideally one that is also an MP3 player. I haven't found one that does both yet. I think I must be searching for the wrong thing. I really miss Radio 4 on my journey home from work.

6. Some fancy headphones to go with my new radio MP3 device. Bose ones would be nice. I don't want to have to listen to people on the bus.

7. A Tiffany mini smile necklace in rose gold. I perused these in Singapore and they are lovely and understated. The chain was a smidge too short, though. I wonder if they do extensions. They are eye-wateringly expensive so I would hope they could be accommodating.

8. A fruit bowl for my office at work. I'm tired of keeping my fruit in a drawer.

9. Swarovski bracelet. This one, ideally. One of my A-level students works for them and is always rocking plenty of crystals - I love these bracelets. When they're not being worn they're like fascinating sparkly snakes.

10. A Bunnies and Zen yoga towel. I really, really do not need one of these - I already have two yoga towels which is excessive - but they are exceptionally cute. Even the twee ones.

Mr Z said he would get the decorations down very soon. I can't wait to get my robins back up. Robins are more a winter decoration than specifically Christmas, aren't they?

Monday, 28 November 2016

Blue Monday

June 2015 turned out to be my last ever Murder Mystery weekend with my old school. It was my 11th, and made all the better by the fact it was taking place in June rather than March. It was knocked on the head this year because apparently enrichment for the more able is no longer desirable. Totes not bitter about this, as you can tell.

Part of what I loved about MM, other than the aforementioned enrichment, was the opportunity to hang out with colleagues and spend time talking to them about Stuff They Know. In school, outside of the department, people rarely talked about Stuff They Knew, preferring the more mundane entertainment of, how many times in a row can you get the ball in the cup, or how much is too much to spend on Lego? and the like. During the school day, when you're in the zone, isn't the best time to try and inspire colleagues with your knowledge.

MM, however, it the perfect time. Everyone is slightly giddy from lack of sleep and trying to make enough fake evidence to throw the kids off the scent of the murderer. Hence, we found ourselves (staff and students) crowded onto the lower field on Saturday night while Mr F the physics teacher told us all about what was happening in the sky.

It was a glorious sky, too. 10.30pm and there was still some dusk left in it.

There was a very bright star. Or was it a star? Mr F explained that this was actually two planets - Jupiter and Venus - converging in the sky so that they shone doubly bright.  This is a very rare occurrence.

Of course, this sort of thing is very tricky to catch with a phone camera but I did my best. Very blue. One of those perfect midsummer evenings.