Tuesday, 27 October 2009


Autumn, I do love your colours, and I love you even more when you decide it's ok to let the sun have a look in.

Today has been a grey and dreary day, but that has not stopped my productivity. I have cooked, cleaned, e-mailed and completed my teacher training application. Success! And all before midday. The moment I clicked the 'form complete' tab on my application, the sun started shining. I decided not to waste the glorious moment, grabbed my camera and ran out the door to the park next to my house. I took one photo only to discover that the memory card was not in my camera.

So I ran back to my house, praying that the sun would keep on shining, just for a few more minutes, retrieved my memory card and ran back to the park. It was a wonderful interlude to my day, just me, my camera and the leaves in all their crunchy, colourful splendour.
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Friday, 23 October 2009

Birthday Cake

Last weekend was my 25th birthday. It was wonderful for the celebrations to be spread over the whole weekend, spanning from Friday night to Sunday. Every day featured cake of some kind. Lots of different kinds, in fact, so here's a little rundown of the cake-friends that attended my birthday celebrations:

some of my very own :: vanilla & orange combo

seriously thickly coated vanilla with chocolate orange

mini meringues with pistachios & white chocolate

crafted by Mr Dave Evens :: chocolate lake

courtesy of the Hummingbird Bakery :: chocolate brownie with raspberry cheese cake

black bottomed cupcakes

Thankyou hummingbird bakery for enticing me with your spectacular cakes, comfy stools and bright, classy pink decor. You were brilliant.

And last but not least on the cake list, lemon drizzle cake, made by John's Mum. Thanks, Sarah! This one managed to get consumed before I was able to take a photo so you'll just have to use your imaginations...

Needless to say, I was a bit sugared out by Sunday, yet somehow I have managed to gently graze my way through the leftovers this week.

Introducing: Mr or is it Mrs Spider

So, spiders. They're not everybody's favourite thing. I used to hate them. Now I just feel a little bit sorry for them - that they get so much stick, when all they like to do is hang out in their webs, catch some flies and have a little munch. Sure, they don't look very pretty, but they really are very clever, being able to spin such incredible webs. Webs that are beautiful in form and look even more wonderful when they've caught water droplets from the rain that decided to throw itself at their web. This little critter featured here lives at the front of my red brick house. Prime location to avoid the traffic noise found at the back of the house. Well done Mr(s) spider, well done. The time is fast approaching when I need to have a little chat to my outdoor resident, and I'm not quite sure how to break the news, so I thought I'd have a practice run on here first. Here we go...

'Hello! I'm really glad you've enjoyed living outside my front door for the last few months, taking in all the comings and going around St Werburghs, but I'm afraid I need to tell you something. I'm moving. And I'm a bit concerned that if I leave you and your glorious web here, the new residents might just ask you to leave in a not-so-friendly fashion. So I'm going to have to ask you to find a new home too. Oooh, maybe you could come with me! How would you feel about that? I'm not going very far - just up a few hills. There's lots of lovely green space at my new home which you might like. What do you think of that idea? I could find you a nice pot for transportation to keep you safe, and then you could spin another incredible web! You never know, there might be a few more friends who are just like you - so what d'you say? Do you want to come?'

Wow. I never thought I'd see the day where I wrote about a conversation with a spider! If you are new to this blog, welcome! I promise I am not always quite this mad.

I'll let you know the outcome...
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Monday, 19 October 2009

This is how my day goes

There are times when I am sure that my job is partially, or maybe even wholly, responsible for my memory loss.

The thing is, when you are surrounded by 30 three year olds, they need a lot of help. While we are forever encouraging and fostering independence in themselves, there are still a lot of things they can't do. Let's have a little look at today...

I was about to help one child change her pull-up, and had just adorned myself with the appropriate latex gloves, when a child comes in from outside, telling me that Horrace had hurt himself. (All names are substitutes to protect the identity of the children, so enjoy my choice of names, and yes, it is ok to laugh.) Knowing full well that the class teacher was outside, so would probably be aware of Horrace's injury, I asked Penny-the-messenger if Miss M (teacher) knew. Penny nodded so I asked if Miss M needed my help. Another nod. By this stage, two more girls have come into the bathroom, needing to wash paint from their hands. An easy task, but not so easy when you are these two particular girls. They are joined at the hip. In the metaphorical sense. So that adds a fun dimension to things. Then Timmy joins the steadily growing Bathroom Tribe and insists that he needs to take a towel outside. Penny-the-messenger likes to help people, and so tries to give Timmy a towel to go outside while she is mid-sentence, telling me exactly why I need to go outside, thus resulting in her losing her train of thought. Another member joins the tribe, to tell me that Miss M would like some more baby clothes outside for the children to peg on the line.

So, I finish instructing Helena (another tribe member - see how it loves to grow?) as to how exactly she needs to deal with her wet underwear, having not quite made it to the toilet in time, while carrying a spare latex glove under one arm, collecting some baby clothes from the Home Corner, instructing a child as to how they need to put their apron on (rather than just doing it for them), finding a towel and dealing with Horrace's bumped head. Did I forget anything there? Probably.

The knock-on effect of this constant need to thing along multiple trains of thought is that I will later on think of something that needs to be done, walk to do whatever that may be and forget on my way there why I was going. Today it was opening the curtains after showing the children a video clip about Divali. I only remembered what I was supposed to be doing when I saw my colleague doing it. I also talk to myself. All the time. Is working with children bad for my health? Answers on a postcard please.

P.S There will be a post or two to come, following the weekend of birthday fun!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009


Autumn is well and truly here. Hello Autumn. The time has come to layer up when I leave the house in the morning, and feel the chill of the Autumn air on my hands and face, which at the moment is just cool enough to give that rosy glow without biting.

This afternoon as I left the house to go to my childminding job, I donned my running leggings and dug out my winter running top - suitable for super cold weather conditions - knowing that I was going to get well and truly soaked by the rain pounding down. This part of Autumn I do not love. So I took a deep breath, jammed in my ear buds and turned on my ipod to help me through the journey to work. I have broken the habit of listening to music while I cycle - in part due to the concern of my boyfriend that this is not very safe - and also due to me finding a little enjoyment at hearing everything that's going on around me again instead of wanting to block it out.

But today, I needed the music to block out the rain and the noise and make me feel a little less exposed to the weather.

I found as I cycled that my thoughts formed clearly. A very refreshing feeling after this morning at school, finding myself repeatedly stumbling over names and words - something that happens around this time in the term when the constant requirement to be following five trains of thought simultaneously becomes a little beyond me. As the thoughts formed of the words I wanted to write down, to type out on this blog came to mind, I found myself wondering once again how it is always at times when there is no way to physically record my thoughts that they come in the greatest clarity. I wondered why this is often the case.

The realisation came to me that this is so because when I am going through the in-between in my journeys to and from work, this is when I have head space to think about what's going on in my life and my head, as opposed to responding to the constant needs of the children around me. As I cycled and the old familiar scenery changed with each road passed, my thoughts travelled right along with me. Thoughts of how things in my life are gradually and steadily changing; Of how I will not be cycling along these same familiar routes for much longer; Of how I am enjoying the process of change. Of how change is oh so good.

I am in the process of applying for teacher training. As I complete each stage of the application, the little hexagons representing stages, adjacent to oneanother change. There is a small satisfaction in seeing this change occur, seeing the single lined hexagons become doubled as each stage is completed, reminding me of the individual cells of a bee hive, separated yet becoming more complete as all that is needed to be added is put in place, just so.

Later on, the journey home from school greets us with more rain. I comment on how we need to walk in formation like penguins, we three huddled together under the single umbrella to ensure maximum protection from the elements. That with penguins as they travel throughout the harshest phase of Winter, they have to stay in formation, yet with incredible skill, change their position in the formation to protect oneanother. Change is a necessary and sustaining thing.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Cookie Time

One of the perks of my job is that I get to cook and bake a lot. Whenever the kids request to bake, I am there, ready and waiting with the ingredients to hand in no time at all.

This week, it was double chocolate muffins for homework. (How good is that? Getting to bake for homework?!) Last week, chocolate cookies for a friend's birthday. One piece of kitchen equipment which is quite brilliant and almost vital is the good old electric beaters / whisk - whatever you want to call them. Unfortunately, Grace does not like the sound of them. So this time, instead of running from the room when it was time to turn on the noise, she came up with an alternative method. Hold a beater in your hand and whizz it as fast as you can. (See bottom left photo.) It was surprisingly effective!
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Friday, 2 October 2009

Cancer Research Run 10k

The day for my 10k run in aid of Cancer Research was here. Having dreamed the recurring dream that I had massively overslept and missed the race, I was grateful when I woke up to see I was right on time. The Autumn weather was fickle, first thing in the morning. A light fog surrounded Bristol, along with a chill in the air that told me that Autumn is most definitely here.

I filled up my tummy on trusty weetabix, banana and sultanas, having carbo loaded (at Pizza Express) the night before. I was ready to run. My wonderful boyfriend graciously picked me up, having run around various shops en route, trying to find me some safety pins so that I could pin on my race number. I knew I'd had some in my sewing tin, but I'd forgotten that I'd ended up using them to make badges for the kids at church. Considering this was first thing on a Sunday morning, I'm very impressed that John managed to find anywhere that was open & sold safety pins. Not your everyday buy.

At 9.30am we made our way to the beautiful Ashton Court Estate to be greeted with the sight of 1000 runners, dressed in blue, all helping to raise money for Cancer Research. It was such a lovely atmosphere, people running for loved ones who have suffered from cancer. There was no sense of competition at this run, just a mutual understanding that we are stronger together than we are apart, and that we want to help the ones we love and will go to great lengths to do so.
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Afternoon shadows

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