Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Festive food.

Cocoa with chocolate squirty cream after Midnight Mass

Marzipan-ned and fruited Christmas Cake. I forgot to take a pic of the pudding before we ate it!

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Getting ready . . .

I have learnt two new skills to decorate the tree this year!

Needle felting with the lovely Jane at Tea and Crafting at Camden Lock:

Easier than I thought, and great fun, and I only stabbed my finger twice!

And with Poppy Chancellor, ( http://poppychancellor.com/papercuts/ ) after seeing her demonstrating on Sunday Brunch on television, paper cutting at Selfridges.

Again, easier then I imagined, and no injuries!  I just need to get myself a nice sharp scalpel!

One cake ready - for Mummie.
Hope you are having a lovely Christmas Eve!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Christmas Fayre at School

On Friday evening we had a jolly Christmas Fayre; persuaded Mr Rooke the Chemistry teacher to be Santa, and had mulled juice, mince pies, carols, tombola, raffles and games.

I had my Rainbow Crafts stall - here is a little selection of goodies I made. (Plus six jars of peach jam, which I forgot to photograph!)

 Aren't these sweet! Mummie gave me the pattern from the Operation Christmas Child Boxes appeal we support. They only take me about an hour to make. 

We popped some stripey tiny candy canes in as well.

And some cards as well, which sold out really quickly, and I had a commission to make 10 more! I will show you them as a gallery on a separate post.
We raised over £1100 for school PTA funds, ultimately the children will benefit from subsidised school trips, etc. Jolly good show, girls! 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent Sunday

As we get ready for Christmas, time to make the cake! Fruit soaked in spiced rum and tropical fruit juice overnight.

Two hours in the oven, and then feeding with more rum, marzipan-ning and topping with fruit just before Christmas!  
I shall spend this evening making Christmas cards and finishing a few things for our school Christmas Fayre on Friday: show you when they are finished.

Saturday, 30 November 2013

30. The End

Well, as this month draws to a close, so does the Blog Every Day in November challenge.  I have managed to do so, often late at night, as I have taken on the responsibility and would not shirk! It has been fun, got me out of my comfort zone by having to blog about all sorts of topics I wouldn't normally cover, and has still attracted some kind comments, so many thanks for those, dear readers!

I take my hat off to bloggers like my dear friend Riitta in Finland, who posts at least once a day. Catch up with her gorgeously colourful and cheerful blog at: romulyyi.blogspot.co.uk Always a delight to look upon!

I shall aim to blog more regularly now I have got into the habit, but not daily, and return to the familiar territory of things I have made, played, sung, seen or discovered!

In Winchester today with Mummie, so here is where I have been,

what treasures I found in charity shops,

and what I made on the journey!

And a very Happy St Andrew's Day to those of you with Scottish ancestry, especially Liz in Greenock and Kirsti in Inverurie if you happen to visit!

Friday, 29 November 2013

29. All I want for Christmas

Gosh, I can't think of  anything I desperately want or need. I always love anything I receive, as the giver has put such thought and consideration into the choice of gift. My girls at school present me with chocs or stationery or things for the bath - always gratefully received and shared (choc) and used enthusiastically (bath things and stationery). Of course anything musical, crafty or a book is always a bonus! My family get me lovely quirky presents, and if it's handmade then I am doubly excited!

I enjoy excellent health, as luckily do those I love, so I would wish that that continues.

I made a felted bauble at one of Jane's fab Craft Nights (teaandcrafting.co.uk) yesterday, of which I am most proud! I will show you on another post, but on the way home, I saw this sign, which raised a smile!

What do you want for Christmas?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

28: The Great Outdoors

I love Autumn; crisp bright days and gorgeous hues in the trees, lovely warm colours of yellow, orange and red. Trees on my walk to school have surpassed themselves. So while it's still light in the mornings, here are a few:


This gorgeous jasmine, still in full flower and scent. So pretty!
Enjoying the colours now before they drop. the Polish word for November is Listopad, literally, 'leaf-fall'

And a very Happy Thanksgiving to those across the Pond! x

27. 'Yes' moments

As a teacher, I have Yes! moments when my pupils achieve something fantastic, and not just in the classroom. Twelve of our Year 8 girls are in a production of Emil and the Detectives at the National theatre, in the children's chorus; with three casts, all named after fictional detectives, (Sherlock) Holmes, ( Nancy) Drew and (Jane) Marple. Last night Sam, Angela and I went to see the show with Emem, Katherine, Britney and Melanie's cast. I am so proud of them! They are juggling school, rehearsals and performances, and managing to do it all brilliantly! Well done, girls.

I read Erich Kästner's book at Junior school, and more recently when I came across it in the school Library. Great adventure story! It's a wonderful production, working on many levels for both adults and children, and the fact that there are so many talented children with major parts makes it really appealing. Think a Junior Tin-Tin set in pre-war Berlin. Do go and see it if you are in London and are looking for a Christmas treat. It's on in the Olivier Theatre on the South Bank until March.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

26. Home sweet Home

I haven't shared with you the news that we became the proud owners of a little weekend bolthole in Wiltshire at the end of August. Land in Kent sold, we were looking for somewhere we could renovate and make our own little place in the countryside.

So this little cottage is ours, and with an addition up and out and into the roof it will be the perfect getaway for two people with lots of 'stuff '! I shall have a sewing room in the cellar, Sean will have his forge and workshops in the garden, and we hope to restore it to its original glory, as it was built in 1889. Just at the planning and architect stage at the moment,  I will keep you posted!

Monday, 25 November 2013

25. Till Christmas!

One month to go. I have nearly finished all my gift shopping, as I do it all year round and replenish my Pressie Box! I have to be organised, as December weekends are so busy, and I am seeing Mummie on Saturday, so the family presents need to be ready by then. And soon after, the posting deadline to Australia. Sean's father has been visiting, so he took back the New Yorkers' presents.

Stir-up Sunday was yesterday, so after I got back from singing at Peter's church I made the puddings. Three; one for us, one for Mummie and one for Breda. Eight hours steaming, and they just need a couple more on the day. The cake will be made next Sunday.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

24. Motivations

I am pretty much a self-motivated person; I love my job, I enjoy my down-time, I don't often sit idle, unless I need to re-charge my batteries.
But, having said that, I am a bit of a procrastinator. I am always busy, but not always busy doing what I should be doing! Deadlines are good for me, I always meet them, and they help to focus me on the essential rather than the pleasurable! I have just competed almost 500 termly reviews, so feel I am due a treat or two. So I have gathered together all my Christmas card paraphernalia and will enjoy making my cards this week, when I have a free evening!
So, to stay motivated, this is what I aim to do:
Live life to the full.
Always look on the bright side of life.
Carpe Diem.
Don't worry, be happy!
In the words of one of my Music heroes, Prince, "Positivity, yes! Have you had your plus signs today?"

23. Date night

I signed up for Groupon and Amazon Local to take advantage of their special offers. So far, I have learnt Chinese, made jewellery, bought some vintage clothes, had afternoon tea, got discounts on vouchers for Starbucks and M&S, got some luggage, and some other small treats.
As well, Sean and I have celebrated special occasions with weekends away. For my birthday last year, we went to the Brooklands Hotel, for our Anniversary, a few days in Snowdonia, and for Sean's birthday, Reading Lake Hotel. For our tenth Anniversary we are going to a hotel in the Cotswolds.

So, my ideal date would be a weekend away to celebrate our birthdays or Anniversary, in a pretty part of the UK, with good walking close by, camera in hand, and some little shops to buy some souvenirs. After exploring, we would have afternoon tea, and later dinner in the hotel. A nice change from cooking, and the chance to be away from work and everyday life.

Tea at Brooklands
Wild waterfalls in Wales

Friday, 22 November 2013

22. Leaving on a jet plane

I have been lucky enough to visit five continents. I went to Hiroshima in 1982; my Daddy was working there and we went to visit him for Easter, cherry blossom time, and Sean and I wished in the New Millenium in Beijing. I explored central and eastern Europe by train in my twenties, Sean and I celebrated my 30th birthday in The Gambia, Sean's parents live in New York, so we have the chance to go to the Big Apple, and this summer I completed the set by going to see my sister and family in Sydney.
I don't like the environmental impact of flying. I admit to having done plenty in the past, thinking nothing of quick city breaks in Barcelona or Bologna, but these days I travel by rail or coach if I can (I don't drive). So, embarking on a long haul was a big thing for me, but I am so glad I did it. Mummie wouldn't have travelled on her own, so that was another reason to bite the bullet.

 A garah, he's pink!

Terrigal, central coast

 Coming into the Harbour by boat from Parramatta
 The Three Sisters at the Blue Mountains
 The best bit - Pippa and Emerson's wedding at Sea Farm.

A wonderful holiday!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

21. World Television Day

I don't watch much television, really. I have favourites that I try not to miss, but other than the news, Newsnight, some comedy (Have I Got News For You, Mock the Week, Q.I.) and historical dramas, and wouldn't miss it too much

This has been my favourite 'must-see' of a Sunday evening - have to wait for the Christmas Day special now!

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

20. It's only fashion, baby!

Just a quick look at my usual school 'uniform' - skirt, (usually thrifted, in the sale or vintage) T shirt, cardigan / jumper, corsage / brooch. Usually pink in there somewhere. And a flower in my hair. And matching shoes and bag. This skirt is from our local Charity shop, linen, Marks and Spencer Per Una, £3!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

19. Newsflash

Saddened by the typhoon, hurricane, cyclone and volcano disasters, I was looking for something to cheer my heart. Reading the paper this morning,  I smiled to see that Sophie, Countess of Wessex (Prince Edward's wife) hosted a party to celebrate 50 years of Doctor Who last night. Happy memories of hiding behind a cushion to avoid looking at the monsters which seemed always to appear from a stony Cornish beach. That was in the Jon Pertwee days, my favourite Dr Who, although I do rate David Tennant and Matt Smith as his latest regenerations.

I found this Dalek in a charity shop about 5 years ago.
Incidentally, I met the Countess when I took some children to a concert at Buckingham Palace about 9 years ago. She is such a pleasant and down-to-earth Royal; we had a lovely talk about her learning to play the piano as she had just started having lessons alongside her children, and she was charming with the girls, chatting with them too.

Monday, 18 November 2013

18. Anti-Bullying Week

This week is Anti-Bullying week. At school we are focusing on encouraging the children not to be bystanders if they see bullying happening, and have the courage to tell someone. It is not a problem we have to deal with often, luckily; our girls are on the whole kind, considerate and friendly.

Let's hope for more peace, harmony and love in the world!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

17. Relax

I am quite a calm person anyway, even though I am usually dashing around, but to relax, I like just to sit quietly and read, or sew, or knit, or occasionally watch television. Preparing for Christmas at the moment, making things for the school Fayre at the beginning of December.

And have a nice Lush Bath Bomb soak.