Saturday 30 October 2010

Weeknote, 30/10

Many things, as it happens! Well, two things.
The Washington Square Vest is going; it's a little dull, but it's going. I need to put it on a longer cable really, because I am afeared it will be too big.
I have also hauled out some squishy, softy bulky acrylic I bought on our knitting retreat to Westbury Sub Mendip in March, and started a Cherie Amour. I started on a 9mm needle but it was way too big, so I went down a size. It's still too big, but since I am knitting a 38" when I'd normally pick a 42", I'm going to knit the peplum with the 8mm needle and then go down to 7mm for the top lacework. This should be enough to compensate for my hippiness.

Going to:
London, to see Wicked. We stayed in a lovely B&B just off the Brompton Road, which was warm, comfortable and an absolute steal. I visited the Science Museum the next day, but it was crawling with children, of course. As a teacher, anything kids might be interested in has been ruined for me, forever.
Ben & Kirsty's, for tapas and Cava. It's always nice to go and spend an evening with them; and they may have talked us into getting a woodburner.

Though I haven't eaten it yet, last weekend I made mincemeat, and I have also made a Christmas cake, which came out of the oven today.

I use Delia Smith recipes for both of these, with a little twist of my own. To the mincemeat, I add dried cherries and cranberries, and use Becherovka and Cherry Brandy instead of Brandy. Becherovka is a long-time favourite spirit of mine; it is Czech and it smells and tastes just like Christmas to me. This is why I also replace the brandy in the Creole Christmas Cake with Becherovka. One can never have too much, imo.

I have also, today, made some blueberry nut flapjacks to hand out to any unsuspecting Trick or Treaters. We're terribly humbug in this house and normally turn the lights off and pretend we're not home; but this year I thought I would hand out something home baked.

How to use Google Reader, although it did something screwy to begin with and continually logged me out of my account. Now I am sorry I didn't learn it sooner: it's so convenient.

Obsessed with:
Catching up on everything recorded on the TV drive. I have basically achieved this, now. Luckily the Christmas holiday is quite a long one this year, so I should have plenty of time to achieve it again in December.

Entertained by:
Wicked! What an amazing show. We had amazing seats, too: front row of the circle; they were a third off the regular price because apparently they had an obstructed view. This obstruction turned out to be....a tiny, thin guard rail, to the left of where the seats were. Not an obstruction by any stretch of the imagination. Result!
Being on of those intensely irritating people who finds musical theatre so moving I am basically on the edge of crying throughout entire performances, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Amazing performances from all involved, and excellent music. I like a live orchestra.
I even splashed out and got Mother Hand and me drinks for the interval, though I wished I had asked the price of the cute-looking mini bottle of Prosecco I ordered for myself, before selecting it. Granted, it came with its own pink ice bucket; but I could have got a month's subscription to a national newspaper on my Kindle for less.
We also found the queue for the ladies so long that in the end we hot-footed it across the road to Victoria station and used those instead. It was funny being back in the area, which was the scene of the Google thing in July. It quite brought it all back to me!

Generally recharged! Just as half term should make me feel. Though, I'm slightly apprehensive about the work that's coming up in the next two months....

Friday 29 October 2010


Katy picked this week's word. It is the apt eldritch. I appreciate a word that makes me learn something!

It made me think, first, of Bodie, where le hub and I visited last summer. It's a ghost town on the border of California and Nevada; it was a bustling centre as long as the mine lasted, and then slowly fell out of use over time. A lot of the buildings are still there, and full of stuff; some places look like people just got up and walked away. It is maintained as a site of historical interest, so of course bits and pieces have been reconstructed. The whole place is a little eerie though. I like such places; it's interesting to think about the people who have walked the streets before me.

Two things that interested me about Bodie: firstly, the old Chinatown and red light street had been completely razed to the ground and there was nothing to be seen of it. It was just a grassy field. It seemed strange to me that that part of town had been completely destroyed, where the rest was still just about standing.

Secondly, apparently there's a curse attached to all the stuff there! If you find something and take it away with you, you will have terrible luck. There's a whole folder of letters from people in the visitors' centre, who found this to be true and sent the items back.

How much of that is created by the site managers to stop people stealing stuff is for you to decide; it did make me throw back a little piece of weathered, purple glass I'd picked up, though.

Eldritch being an old English word for something weird or other-worldly, though, I continued to think on it and it made me think of the Weirdstone of Brasingamen, a book I loved as a child, by Alan Garner. I can't remember very much about it, other than it involved some pot-holing and an adventure through old English countryside, similar to The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper, another favourite.

Sometimes when I am wandering around the countryside I get the same feeling I did in Bodie: who else has walked on this bit of ground, over the centuries? The wealth of history that is lost to us forever is something I can think about for hours at a time, especially when I'm thinking about Wiltshire, which has such a rich pre-historic tradition.

Christine is picking next week's Weekword so pop over on Monday if you want to take part!

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten things I love about Autumn

1. The colours of the leaves as they turn. So very pretty.
2. Blustery days. The same weather might occur in spring but not be worthy of the word blustery, I feel.
3. Being in bed on such days and knowing one does not have to get up (very specific to half term)
4. BPAL autumn fragrances. I have some perfumes that go with seasons, and BPAL Pumpkin with Spiced Apple and Punkie Night are all autumn for me. Every December I put them away and it's always such a pleasure getting them out again in September.
5. Soup. Especially pumpkin soup.
6. The clock change. I might be the only person in the country who likes when it starts to get dark early again.
7. Having the spare room duvet downstairs to snuggle under. I am not a fan of high central heating and prefer to layer up.
8. Weather days like yesterday - bright blue skies and very sunny but chilly, chilly, chilly. Perfect shopping days for me. Trying on clothes gets me all hot and bothered and cold weather is the perfect antidote for this.
9. Christmas teasers. I made mincemeat and prepared the fruit for my Christmas cake this weekend, and the whole house had a whiff of the Christmas about it. It's too early for wholesale Yule yet, but I like enough to know it is coming.
10. Cold weather knitting: big, chunky jumpers and scarves; mittens and handwarmers; and this year, some long spats which will enable me to wear my lovely heels all winter long without freezing my lower legs off.

Et tu?

Saturday 23 October 2010

Weeknote, 23/10

Not a stitch on anything, unfortunately. Boo to me.

Going to:
Between governors, circuits and my personal trainer I didn't even make it to knitting group this week. Rubbish. I have been precisely nowhere of note. I did have the Malaysia trippers over to school for a meeting, though; they seem like a nice bunch and I am even more exiected about the trip now. Four weeks today!

It has been National Baking Week and I hoped to bake every day but this only lasted until, hmm, Sunday. Boo.
On Saturday I made Key Lime Pie, slightly adapting Jamie Oliver's recipe.
4 egg yolks
1 tin condensed milk
6 tbsp fresh lime juice (about 5 limes’ worth)
2 limes' worth of lime zest
A packet of ginger nuts
45g caster sugar
135g melted unsalted butter

Crush the biscuits, melt the butter and combine the two with the sugar. Press into a flan tin (I used a loose bottomed cake tin). Bake at 175 degrees for 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks. Add the condensed milk and the lime juice, plus the finely grated zest from 2 limes. Pour this into the cooked biscuit base and return to the oven for 15 minutes, until set.
Chill overnight and serve with cream.

And on Sunday, I made my famed chocolate caramel shortbread; and beacuse this leaves me with half a tin of condensed milk which usually ends up being binned, I doubled the quantity of caramel and tried my hand at creating something new, in the form of banoffee flapjacks. I searched for a very basic flapjack recipe and took it from there.

6 tbsp Golden Syrup
250g butter
350g porridge oats
12 ginger nut biscuits, crushed
1 quantity of caramel, however you make it
2 bananas, mashed

Melt the syrup and butter together. Pour in the dry ingredients, stirring well to coat.
Line two swiss roll tins with parchment, and divide the mixture evenly between the two, smoothing over and pressing down lightly. Bake at 180 degrees for 25 minutes, until browned. Remove one layer to a wire rack for cooling; leave the other in its tin.

Make the caramel. Stir in the bananas, then pour over one layer of flapjack. Turn the second layer of flapjack onto the first and press down lightly. Leave to cool and then cut into small squares - it's very sweet and quite rich.

Unfortunately, when I added the mashed banana to the caramel it became twice as viscous and then refused to set without serious fridge time, resulting in a very sticky treat. It was widely lauded, but I think I need to try again, only this time either boil the caramel longer or spread the mashed banana over the flapjack and then spread the caramel over that.

How artefacts can be used in the classroom, at the federation teacher training day on Friday. A truly inspiring session which now has me watching medals on ebay and considering a trip to the Keynsham cemetary, which is apparently dug through a Roman villa and has loads of Roman finds in amongst its soil.

Obsessed with:
My new Kindle, which finally arrived on Wednesday. Mr Z kindly took msot of the day off to wait in for it, only for me to discover when I checked the tracking at 3pm that it had been delivered already. No card anywhere...he went next door, and apparently my neighbour had been in the garden when the CityLink (surprise, surprise) dirver just walked over to her, thrust the parcel into her hands and muttered, "Here, can you take this?" before stalking off. Thank goodness we know and get on with our neighbour.

Shifty couriers aside, it is very lovely. The screen is eminently readable and I like it not being backlit. It was already switched on and ready to go when Mr Z got it out of the box and he spent some time trying to remove the sticker with the picture on it which covered the screen....only to realise, it's not a sticker, it's the screen itself. It looked that real. The book I had bought on Wednesday morning had already been downloaded to it in transit (I went for the 3G option) which is very nifty.

Entertained by:
Hung, returned to More 4 this week. I am very annoyed that they put it on a graveyard slot, late Sunday night, with little or no cross-channel advertising; if I hadn't been looking for Desperate Housewives on Catch Up I never would have known it was back for season 2.
I fear this is going the way of the dodo soon enough, which is a great shame. I love the characters and the way they are developing. For those unfamiliar, a down-on-his-luck teacher is being pimped out by a neurotic woman. The interesting thing about it for me is how they handle these roles. The reversal of tradition and what they make of it (neither of them are especially comfortable) sort of fits with my take on feminism, which is that women should glory in, promote and value what they are already best at, instead of trying to take on traditionally male roles.

Very, very tired. I have had two very restless nights this week, where I have not slept til gone 2am. It's very upsetting because I lose an evening. On Monday evening I staved off sleep by going to circuits; on Thursday I gave in and went to bed at 9pm.
I don't know what has kept me awake. It may be worrying about work (on Wednesday night I got up after an hour and set myself a to-do list email, but it didn't help) though I don't know what specifically I am worrying about. It may be food: I had some double cream on my pie both evenings, which doesn't seem to agree with me.
I hope I am not developing A Condition. Mother Hand has a problem with sleeping quite often and I am nervous about it being hereditary. I do so love my sleep.

Anyway....that was a bit dpressing, but at least today is the first day of half term, so I am feeling elated! I have a week of rest spread out before me, with maybe a half a day's work to do, thanks to my tireless and dogged attention to assessment marking in the week just gone. And we're going to see Wicked on Tuesday! Woop woop!

Friday 22 October 2010


This week's Weekword was picked by Sally at SowandSew and she chose JOY.

The best thing about this word is that it reminded me of someone I knew and liked from uni, who I haven't spoken to in many years; but I just found her on Facebook. So, that was a lovely serendipity.

Here are five things I find joy in.

1. Weddings. I love them! It's the unbridled glee on the faces of the bride and groom that gets me every time. It makes me think of my own wedding, which has to be one of the most joyful days of my life.

2. Skiing. I get such a buzz from it; I can never understand people who sack it off as cold or too much hard work. Flying down a slope in the fresh air, with beautiful scenery all around, and feeling my muscles working together to keep me upright and's just awesome.

3. Being in water. Swimming, splashing about, floating....very calming. Unfortunately the daily lake-swimming experience on Camp America took the shine off normal swimming for me forever; I just don't enjoy swimming in chlorinated or salt water as much.

4. A nice kid comment. Like when I did assembly last week and I'd been really nervous, and one of my tutor group saw it and afterwards we passed in the corridor and he said, "Morning Miss....well done!" It made my day, it did.

5. Coming back to Mr Z after an absence. I do travel a lot without him, it must be said; but I still get the butterflies when I'm coming home.

There were lots of things to choose from. It reminds me that I lead quite a charmed life, really.

Next week's Weekword is going to be posted on Katy's blog on Monday, if you want to take part.

Saturday 16 October 2010

October Goals

BAD! Very bad. Here we are at October 16th and the goals are not yet published. I am really feeling the strain of coming to the end of a term which had no right to be so busy. I have had these goals marinating since the start of the month....
  • Complete Malaysia paperwork (the clock is ticking)
  • Call my gran (especially if I want to stay with her overnight one night in half term)
  • Cast on for a decent-sized knitting project
  • Plan a week of decent assemblies for school
  • Finish the sparkly hat
...and I want to put in a couple more, but will have to make sure I am not cheating and putting in anything too easy for me; I feel I can't help but cheat, though, since I already know how I am doing with the goals above (hint: very well).
  • Mark all five sets of KS3 assessments before half term
  • Wash the dining room and kitchen floors
I think that will do.

Weeknote, 16/10

The sparkly hat! It is done! It will be having its own post on Monday. I finished it on Thursday, and gathered together yarn and paraphernalia for three other projects to take to knitting group today, where I basked for over 4 hours, putting the first inch on the Washington Square Vest, having finally achieved gauge.
I'm back, baby!

Going to:
Parpy Jo's wedding, on the SS Great Britain.

For the occasion, I crafted this rather fetching headpiece and went to the hairdresser to have my hair put up into a big beehive, a style which she seemed incapable of completing to my satisfaction. I wasn't happy, but everybody else said it looked good so I just had to suck it up.

The wedding was lovely; Jo looked radiant, the new Mr Parpy Jo couldn't stop grinning and a good time was had by all. And a lot of wine was had by me. And champagne. I managed to score 4 glasses of champagne in the toasts because most of the people on my table were driving.

I apparently decided the best way to tackle this situation was to down a glass for every toast. This was never going to end well. I won't go into details, but let's just say that it took bloody hours to extract all the pins out of my hairdo because by that point I had lost most of the function in my hands.

I had a hankering for chocolate mousse at the weekend. I made this recipe (in order to link I must apparently put in this piece of text: "Jim Fisher is an English chef who runs relaxed friendly hands-on cooking courses in the Dordogne region of south west France. Contact him via: or Tel: 0033 (0)553 302405" but I can't vouch for him, though his courses look pretty good) because it seemed nice and simple.

320g (12oz) strong dark eating chocolate
30g (1oz) unsalted butter
6 eggs
pinch of salt

Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a roomy bowl.
Break the chocolate into small pieces and put them in another roomy bowl. melt in the microwave. Add the butter and allow to melt, thanks to the contact heat of the chocolate; put back in the microwave for another few seconds if necessary.
Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and whisk to the soft peak (floppy) stage. In a separate bowl, break up the yolks.
When the chocolate and butter have melted and have been allowed to cool for a couple of minutes stir in the yolks. Cut and fold in the whites in three batches until seamlessly combined. Pour into ramekins and refrigerate for a couple of hours to set.

Unfortunately, it didn't work for me. I left the chocolate to cool, though maybe not for long enough, because when I added the egg yolks to it, it basically solidified and getting it stirred into the egg whites ensured all air was thoroughly removed from the mixture.
Added to that, I decided to put this chocolate paste over a few broken up muffin bits sprinkled with Amaretto. Turns out Amaretto will go off, if you leave it long enough. It was a bad job all round, really.

I think next time I will whisk the egg yolks with a little sugar first (I used very dark chocolate and could have got away with a bit of sugar) and then pour them over the chocolate in a steady stream, whisking constantly. I will also let the chocolate get very, very cool.

  • That children, when set a creative homework they do not want to do, will attempt to bribe with cake
  • That when your Asda order gets delivered to the wrong house and then gets redelivered to you, the contents should be checked extremely carefully
  • To swing 20kg of kettle bells! Things are going extremely well with my personal trainer. I haven't lost any weight, but today I discovered I can now remove my jeans without unbuttoning them. Progress, people. And this week I graduated to swinging 2 10kg kettlebells, and I also did lots of squats with a big leather croissant that weighs 17kg (it's called a Bulgarian something). I was feeling pretty good about myself by the end. I think my PT likes me, because I always say, "Hmm, well, I'll have a go."
Obsessed with:
The Kindle. I have been looking at it for a few weeks now. I have a bit of play money leftover from the remarks and was really wanting one, but since I don't have a great deal of time to read these days, I had sort of talked myself out of it.
But, I kept visiting the Amazon page and finding new reasons to buy. Like, I can put PDF knitting patterns on it. If I have a book downloaded to it that I am too tired to read, it will read it to me. I can lie on my back in bed and hold it with one hand. And I can put the Kindle app on my Desire and read on that too.
I succumbed. Kindle should be landing in Bunnyland in the next 3-5 days.

Entertained by:
I have developed a very secret guilty pleasure. It is dreadful and I am SHAMED. Oh good grief, it's so embarrassing I don't actually want to post it. But I must confess.
I enjoyed reading the Daily Mail TV & Showbiz online columns this week *hangs head in abject disgrace*
It's just so calming to read reporters making enormous mountains out of very teeny tiny celebrity molehills. They work so hard to create news where there is none, and I sometimes like to apply this new reality to my own life and imagine the headlines.
'Sally Tweets: "Ultra marathon - where they put two in one packet?" - does new chocolate obsession mark spiral into depression and further fugly flabbiness for our heroine?'

Steadily more drained and a little demoralised, TBH. I had another satisfactory lesson observation this week. I struggle, because people seem to think that I am a good teacher; but this is not backed up by the observations. While I normally don't care, since imo Ofsted criteria are not especially helpful for anything other than making teachers feel bad about themselves, I do have to produce two good observations this year to move up the payscale.
Ian said I could choose which lessons he was to observe and we'd do as many as we needed to to meet the target. I know he was trying to be nice, but, meh.

I think I really need a break from work.

Friday 15 October 2010


(Better late than never: I entirely forgot to blog this on Friday but have fixed the date so it looks like I was not duffering from temporary dementia yesterday)

This week's word, from Mandyland, is temptation. Pop on over there for a list of everyone else blogging about temptation this week.

It made me think of Oscar Wilde and his quote, "I can resist everything except temptation."

It made me think of this CLASSIC Heaven 17 track (whatever happened to them, eh? Since they were churning out music this good, I am stunned they never made a long-term career out of it...)

Mostly though, it made me think of my two main temptations: yarn, and food.

I have a roomful of yarn to attest to its tempting properties. I am particularly drawn to anything blue, as I've mentioned before. I am also tempted by silk.

Food is the big one, though, there's no doubt about it. I just find it so very tempting! In spite of my efforts to stay on the wagon and diet, so I can wear all the clothes I like to pore over and fit into plane seats more comfortably, temptation is never far away. This week, I was determined, but unfortunately....
  • on Tuesday, I had a stupidly long work day and allowed myself to be tempted by a fish supper.
  • on Wednesday, I hadn't made a lunch and had buttered toast with spaghetti hoops instead
  • on Thursday, my year 8 students brought me in some cakes which they had made as part of a creative homework on John Cabot (they know me so well...not much info, so let's stick it on a cake and she'll never notice) and it seemed rude not to, you know.
  • on Friday, there were birthday cakelets on the table at lunchtime, and then when I got in I was so very tired I succumbed to the lure of the local curry house.
It doesn't take a dietician to point out that two takeaways a week is not conducive with weight loss, even with a personal training session thrown in for good measure.

I wish I found exercise and salad tempting. In a way, I do: I added some rocket to my lunch on Thursday and have been hankering after more salad ever since; and I get quite jealous when I see people out running, and wish I still could. But, whether it's easier to eat than to run, or whether the temptation of cakes is just greater, I'm not finding it easy to resist.

I am usually quite good at resisting in other areas of my life. I suppose everyone has to have their weakness; I shall persevere in my attempts to conquer it. Next week is National Baking Week, you know, so it's not looking good.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten Things To Look Forward To

1. This weekend. My endless day of work has totally wiped me out.
2. Making Christmas cake. I am getting the fruit this weekend so it will be able to soak ready to make in...
3. HALF TERM! Only a week and a couple of days away.
4. Wicked. I love a good musical. Mother Hand and I are going to see it in the Smoke in half term.
5. Fibre Flurry. A new opportunity to augment my stash at the Knitwitches stall.
6. Malaysia. Once again, can't wait to get everything done and actually get out there. I can't believe how quickly it has come round; 5 weeks on Saturday until we leave.
7. Mother Hand's 60th birthday bash. She is having a "swinging 60s" party which will definitely involve getting dressed up in bad 60s costume.
8. Staff Christmas party. An annual highlight.
9. Having an extra-long Christmas holiday, thanks to a twilight day and an extra bank holiday. And, although I was looking forward to doing the ski course, I am not SO disappointed they changed the dates and I can't do it now, because I think I could do with the time at home.
10. Next year's excursions. I will be off to Iceland and Australia, amongst other places. Muy exciting!

Number 1 on that list should have been bed, though. I am off there now, I think.

Friday 8 October 2010

Weeknote, 9/10

As you see from my triumphant Monday post, I have knitted a chunky cowl. It has been less useful than I'd hoped this week, as we've seen an imprvoement in the weather, but I was still glad of it.

I believe I may have finished the sparkly hat, too. Although I wanted something slouchy, I don't think the yarn will lend itself to such a plan, and in any case the crown is very stretchy so the slouchy bit would be very pointy and night-cap like in comparison to the rest. So, it may be cast off this weekend.

And it's not knitting, but I finished my head piece for Parpy Jo's wedding, which is today. Pics to follow.

Going to:
Brown's, with Jen, for cocktails. This was a good night. We cut it short but stood in the street making rude comments about other people's outfits until Dru picked us up, for old time's sake.

A careers evening. I had an idea for one last year and told the administrators for the Federation about it and they loved it and POOF! It happened. No effort on my part, which was nice. It was very well-attended by our target pupil group and there were lots of very interesting employers there, plus a couple of useful contacts I might find to help me wedge some more tech into my classroom.

The sponsored walk. It finally took place on Friday, and my legs still feel like they've been had at with a crow bar. Nine miles of hilly off-roading. I was the first teacher out of the gates, other than the pace setters, and only the 4th back, so I didn't do badly, and I didn't really stop, except for water, which was good and an improvement on the last time I did the walk (admittedly, 2004). I didn't even cheat this time; I usually do, but the sixth form marshalls were well-armed with barbecues and tins of sweets this time which I found very motivational.

I made a beef biryani this week, using stewing beef. Traditionally I mess up any kind of beef cookery unless it involves mine or a slow cooker, but I seem to be on a roll (she types, cautiously) and this recipe adapted from Delia Smith's forums was delicious, easy, and made dinner for two plus two lunches.

2 large onions
2 cloves of garlic chopped
1 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
1 fresh green chilli, chopped
Large handful of fresh coriander
1 tbsp groundnut oil
3 tbsp veg oil
2 tbsp sultanas
500g braising/stewing steak cubed
1 tsp ground coriander
1tbsp g turmeric
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
pinch of ground cinnamon
175ml natural yoghurt
275g basmati rice
1.2litres chicken stock or water

Roughly chop one onion, and put in food processor, add the garlic and ginger and chilli, fresh coriander and half the almonds, pour in the water and process until you have a smooth paste.

Finely slice the other onion into rings or half rings. Heat half the groundnut oil in a good large pan, and fry the onion for 10-15 mins until deep golden colour; remove from pan. Fry the sultanas until plump, remove from pan.

Heat the remaining ground nut oil with a further 1tbsp of veg oil, and brown the meat in batches until nice and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan.

Wipe the pan, then add the remaining oil and add the paste you made earlier, cook for 2-3 mins to cook out the flavours, stirring all the time. Stir in the additional spices season and cook for 1 min.

Lower the heat stir in the yoghurt, a little at a time. Return the meat to the pan, stir to coat in the paste and spice mix, cover with a tight fitting lid and simmer for 45 mins until the meat is tender. Meanwhile soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 20 mins.

Preheat the oven to 160c. Drain the rice, place in a pan and add the hot chicken stock or boiled water with a touch of salt, bring back to the boil, cover and cook for 5 mins.

Drain the rice and pile it ontop of the meat mixture, in a casserole. Using the other end of a spoon, make a hole through the rice into the meat mixture. Put the reserved onions and sultanas on top of the rice, then cover the casserole dish with a double layer of tin foil and put the lid on top of that. Cook in the pre-heated oven for 30-40 mins.

I'm certain I must have learned something this week, but tbh it passed so quickly I can't really remember what it might be.

Obsessed with:
What my phone can now do after its update to FroYo. I am impressed that I can now turn it any way up and the screen changes, as opposed to just one option each for portrait and landscape; it is altogether a lot smoother and easier to use. The battery drained right out on Tuesday, though; it seems the Facebook app has a bug in the code so I forced stop on at and it's been better ever since.

Entertained by:
I am naturally still loving all the dance shows that are back, along with My Family's Crazy Gap Yah.

Like I'm finally getting on top of things, but not looking forward to next week at all. On Tuesday, I take assembly, then I teach 6 lessons, one of which is an observation by my HoD and a bod from county, followed by teaching a 3 hour knitting workshop, followed by making a presentation to governors. It exhausts me just thinking about it.
At least half term is in sight!

Weekword + Fave Friday

This week's word, chosen by Christine at Silver Linings 4 Me, is Senses. She has written a very interesting post about butterflies that I urge you to go and read.

Well, there are five senses (officially) and I usually have five favourites on a Friday so this seems to fit quite nicely.

Favourite smell:
I love grapefruit, and lots of fruity scents as long as they're not too sweet; coconut as long as it hasn't been crossed with pineapple; light, grassy, green scents; fresh lilies; the city when it's been hot and has then rained; the countryside from my car window driving home late at night in summer; the mitten when she's wet; the nape of Mr Z's neck when he's still sleeping first thing; coriander. And probably a dozen others.

Favourite taste:
I mostly have a sweet tooth, but I like things that taste quite fresh, too. I am a fan of Mexican flavours: lime and coriander. And I don't like TOO sweet. Cake is good.

Favourite touch:
I am quite tactile and love smooth, silky things. I can often be found with hair wrapped round my fingers, smoothing it, when it's recently washed and very shiny (right hand side of hair is usually curlier due to this). I like silk and silk blends, alpaca and bamboo to knit with.

Favourite sight:
Difficult to say. I like driving home and seeing the houses round the corner and knowing I'm nearly there. I like looking at shoes.
But these aren't really favourites; a favourite would be something my eye always finds pleasing. In which case, the answer is blue. I love looking at blue things, especially large bodies of water. My iGoogle background is a picture of Lake Tahoe and I find it incredibly soothing. I knit with a lot of blue, too.

Favourite sound:
I like the sound of silence. I seem to have sensitive hearing (whilst at the same time being largely deaf when people are actually talking to me) and I like having it quiet. The TV is almost always too loud for me.
But for music, I would describe my taste as "depressingly mainstream". Last song I downloaded? The explicit version of Cee Lo Green's Forget You. It is very uplifting in an inappropriate way.

A lot of the kids I teach think I have a weird sixth sense, too, because I am always catching people doing what they shouldn't. However, this is a combination of sensitive hearing and being able to read people. If you're looking in your lap, it's probably a phone. If there's a noise and people are looking at a kid, it's probably him/her. If you're whispering about weekend plans in a quiet room, I can probably hear them. It's not rocket science.....but I quite like them thinking I am a little psychic, I think it makes my job a little easier ;)

Next week's Weekword is going to be listed at Mandyland. Join in!

Tuesday 5 October 2010

Tuesday Ten

Ten things I regularly say to myself

1. You'll never manage to pull all the greys out. Leave them, it's fine.
2. There is no glory in winning an argument with a teenager.
3. If you eat that, skiing will be much tougher next year.
4. You can definitely have a long nap as soon as you get home if you get up for work now.
5. You promised yourself you'd be in bed by 10 tonight, remember?
6. Yes, but, will you REALLY do it at the weekend?
7. If you do x, y and z, you can probably put off going to Asda until next weekend (or, if it is the weekend, "I'll go in the week when it's quieter". Hasn't happened yet.)
8. You work hard for your money, you deserve the shoes.
9. Go to circuits, you know you'll feel much better afterwards.
10. Why don't you have a to-do list? Make a to-do list. Do it now. (This last usually followed by a period of intense interwebbing).

It's disturbing how many of those things are lies!

A quick tweet share. Having just tweeted something about a cunning plan, I shouldn't have been surprised (but was) that Capt Blackadder responded, via Twitter, to ask how cunning the plan was, exactly. I am loving the randomness.

Monday 4 October 2010

Weekend FO

*Does victory lap around blog*

I finally finished something!! Which is secret code for, "You must suffer terrible late night camphone pics".

Pattern: My very own Speedy Snood (pattern details can be found in my Ravelry projects or in the blog post linked below)
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Bulky, in 2 shades of blue. Used basically 2 whole skeins.
Needle: 12mm

I first knitted this for someone on the Lush forum as a dupe of something she'd found for crazy money on ebay and it has been cold this past week and I remembered it as being a snuggly, warm sort of thing and heaven knows I needed a quick knitting win, so I bought the yarn on Saturday and knocked it up last night.

Unfortunately my gauge is considerably different. It may be the 3 years of knitting experience, or it's possible that I knitted it on straights last time whereas this time I used a circ, but it's way smaller than I expected it to be. At first I was put off but I quite like it now I've been wearing it round the house a bit, and it matches my winter coat perfectly.

Bizarrely, I just measured my gauge and it looks to be the same....v odd.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Weeknote, 2/10

Sparkly hat. Yawn. I have done very little; but at knitting group I am going to buy some chunky Brown Sheep to make a cowl with. It is starting to be cowl weather, I think.

Going to:
I haven't been anywhere exciting this week! How dull. I have had a hellishly long and exhausting week, involving a long governors meeting, a deeply innapprioriate gesture from a student, an open evening and the cancellation of the sponsored walk, which was the one good thing about the whole week: no lessons on Friday. Unfortunately it was deemed too wet and letters went home on Thursday to say it was postponed until next week.
Since it hammered down all day on Friday I must grudgingly admit they were correct, but that still left me with four lessons to plan whilst also, somehow, participating in open evening. And when I managed to do this, management decided to ring the bell for the end of break 5 minutes early without any warning, so I had to grandstand with my year 9s for additional time. This led to me being fesity and rude to the head, for which I had to apologise.

It really wasn't a good week. Thank goodness Jen is here today and we are going out tonight.

Nothing remotely interesting.

I learned how to embed an exterior object into the school VLE. I have not yet learned how to make the quiz to go with it. That activity is being saved for next week. However, I was quite proud of the original embedding.

Obsessed with:
Getting the week over and done with.

Entertained by:
Trying to complete all the things on my monthly goals list. Not quite sure what happened to September.

Very tired this week. I have been snappy and unsympathetic. But that's now half way through the first term: more than, really, as only 3 weeks to go until half term. Thank goodness! Hoping for a better, more productive week next week.

Friday 1 October 2010


This week's weekword is TEN, chosen by Domestic Scribbles and inspired by her 10th wedding anniversary. There are lots of wedding pictures over on her blog this week if you want to go and peek!

For my part, I have been racking my brains for a week to think of an original way to do 10. I do 10 every week on a Tuesday so I didn't want to do a list.

I've tossed the word around in my head all week, and all it reminds me of tunes! It made me think of the film Nine, the remake of which I saw last December with Mother Hand and Sib, and which I loved, especially Fergie -

(I feel guilty just picking Fergie out beause, truthfully, they were all wonderful).

It also made me think of the Bellgaio fountains. No matter how often I visit Vegas, I don't get bored watching. The most memorable show was during a Christmas visit in 2003 when they were playing show tunes. It was the song that goes, "One....da da da da dada...." yeah, I don't know the words. It's too bad, because this weekword has had me humming it all week but I cannot figure out what musical it is from!

So instead....the Bellagio fountains dancing to another Fosse classic.

This has been something of a miserable week, and it's cheered me up no end looking at these videos for this post. So, if you fancy ending the week on a high in a similar way, toddle on over to Silver Linings 4 Me on Monday and sign up for next week's weekword.

September Goals Round-up

Finish knitting something - I intend this to be the sparkly hat
No, but I am getting there.

Have a initial consultation with personal trainer lady
Better than that, I have now had three sessions with her! She is lots of fun. We do kettle bells, which are very good exercise.

Clear yarn mountain from between the arm chairs
I need to find somewhere to put it first, and the spare room is already starting to look a little like a jumble sale.

Cut back all dead plants ready for winter (this is one for the end of the month, really)
This isn't finished, but I did make a good start.

Consolidate the four boxes of stuff on the office shelves into three (or less) boxes
I managed to get four into two. Lots of sneezing occurred. I am trying to talk myself into getting rid of all my PGCE notes but it's a battle.

Pack up and post this secret swap gift I have been putting together for, oooh, a month.
It's wrapped and ready to go, but I don't have a suitable envelope for it yet. That's a task for this week.

Post Father Hand Viz and a birthday card
Done. He still hasn't emailed to say thanks though. How rude!

Clear out and consolidate worksheets/paper pertaining to at least four units of work, from my overstuffed and long-suffering filing cabinet.
I am getting there. I cleared out quite a lot of folders and got rid of mock exams going back 4 years from another drawer in there. The problem is, I don't really use my filing cabinet daily, so once stuff goes in there it is liable to stay for quite some time.

Complete my map of the pioneer trail, with online quizzes to accompany it for homeworks
I enjoyed doing this a lot and it has received positive feedback from people so far. I haven't done any actual quizzes, but there are a number of accompanying tasks.

Be in bed by 11pm on a school night, 80% of the time
It didn't start well, but as I got back into the swing of things, my bedtimes got earlier. I have found that I spend a lot more time at the computer now, and a lot less watching TV, so it is easier to slope off to bed any time I want because I'm not waiting for a program to finish.

Not as good as last month - but not bad!