Monday, 30 June 2014


I have neglected my little blog of late. June has speed by in a blur of exams, reports, meetings with parents, interviews with incoming pupils, rehearsing for our school production........

                  I found this in the window of a shop waiting to be re-fitted. What a beautiful sentiment!

And to put it into practice, Sass-Belle were having a sale, and these lovelies were 50p each!

I hope July will be a productive month blog-wise! See you soon!

Monday, 9 June 2014

30 Days of Creativity Parts 10 and 11

I had a jewellery session after school with Breda a couple of weeks ago, as she wanted some earrings to match a necklace and bracelet she bought at the British Museum shop. They are golden fresh water pearls and amethyst, such beautiful colours. We experimented with the wires for dangliness!

We had enough for a kilt pin brooch as well!

And this one for Suzanne for her birthday. I chose white and crystal so it would go with anything.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Share the Blog Love - give a shout out to some of your favourite bloggers

A big "Hello my lovelies!" to the ladies who write such inspirational posts, share their lives, loves, skills and talents, and brighten my day with beautiful photos and words when I come home tired from a long commute, or to start my weekend.

So thankyou to Riitta (ROMUYYLI ), Rinda (galloorganico), Helen (helenphillips), Madelief, Hollie (mia fleur), Koralee (bluebirdnotes), Emma (mimiandtilly), Mama Syder, Betty (CUT AND DRY) Ylenia, Maria Glazacheva, Natalia Glazacheva, Liz (shortbread&ginger), Kathryn (Katgotthecream), Christelle (paysdemerveilles), Jane (yarnstorm), Elizabeth (rosalilium), talesfromanoccottage;  and new blogfriends Marion (mytwogirls), Ada (vintagesheetaddict), Daisy (lazydaisyjones), Heather (mylittleredsuitcase), Marisa (nourbesephotos), Aga (passionshake),  Ale (homemadeatmyplace). And for your sweet and encouraging comments on my blog; thanks so much for visiting, and please be welcome any time!

I would love to meet you all in real life too, for tea and cake in vintage china!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Day in the Life - take a photo every hour on the hour

A school day, so a usual day in my life

7am, apple puree, yoghurt (homemade) and granola. Fairly typical.

8am, on the Piccadilly line, just coming up to Hammersmith

9am, working on some admin

10am, writing some reports.

11am, on my way to class

12 noon, in my office before my next class

1pm, on my way to class after lunch

2pm, in class

3pm, on my way to register my form

4pm, making some earrings and a kilt-pin brooch for Breda from a bracelet to match another bracelet and necklace she bought from the British Museum, amethyst and golden pearls.

5pm, at Lambeth North tube station. 

6pm, walking home from the station, passing these gorgeous rhododendrons!

7pm, making nectarine, apricot and mango jam, stage 1

8pm, stage 2

9pm, stage 3

10 pm, peppermint tea

11pm, shower

in bed before midnight (fairly untypical!)

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Home Sweet Home

Mrs Robin in her nest, in a hedge in our back garden in Wiltshire. She's guarding 5 tiny eggs!

Our Home Sweet Home will be a while yet, but our onslaught on the garden continues. We are discovering lots of colour behind the forest of brambles!

Monday, 19 May 2014

Favourite Decade?

Easy! The 1920s. Sophistication, glamour, Lagonda sports cars, tea parties, cocktail parties, fancy-dress parties, shingled bobs, flapper dresses, cloche hats, Louise Brooks, Brideshead Revisited, Vile Bodies (my all-time favourite novel)  the Mitfords (a slight obsession of mine), Noel Coward, singing, dancing and piano playing....................... Just too heavenly daarling!
I know I would have had to have lived through both World Wars, but looking at my grandparents' photos of that time, it all looked like one amazingly happy decadent decade.

A most amusing read, from 1925.

National Museum Day : your favourite museum or experience

Yesterday was National Museum Day
My favourite museum? Too hard to choose just one! I love the Victoria and Albert here in London with its vast variety of beautiful archives, the National Gallery and Tate Britain for the Turners, my all-time favourite artist. But, I love the Uffici, too in Florence, and the Rennie MacIntosh museums in Glasgow, and the Russell-Cotes in Bournemouth, and the Ashmolean in Oxford, and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge.....

We went to see The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, Grayson Perry's Exhibition at the British Museum a couple of years ago. Fabulous! If you didn't seen it, he curated his own work alongside artefacts and pieces in the permanent collections that inspired him; from pilgrimages to amphoras. The entrance has his wonderful pink motorbike with a throne for his teddy Alan Measles (too precious to exhibit - he has a stand-in in 'Ted') for their roadtrip around Germany. We bought the catalogue and some postcards to remind us.

Here we are, reflected in the wheel cover!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Blog Chat - tell us what your fave blogging experiences have been

I set up my blog as a photo-journal, to document what have done, seen, made, found etc. Just to put things somewhere, really, rather than languishing on my camera card being forgotten. The sort of things I like to see on other people's blogs, too. Such as these oven dried tomatoes.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Walk to Work Week

I don't walk to work; it would take at least two and a half hours, but I walk to and from the tube both ends. So here's a little insight into my walks. I avoid the main road linking school and Waterloo, and instead take a probably longer but more pleasant, quieter and less fume-y route.

Monday, 12 May 2014

British Sandwich Week

I usually take a sandwich to school for my lunch, so here is today's; mature Cheddar cheese and baby plum tomato, on Polish rye bread.

World Fair Trade Day

Buying Fair Trade is much easier these days after the major supermarkets are on board, so here is a little selection from last week's shopping. Yes, I really do like bananas like that!

Yes, I really do like bananas like that!

Sunday, 11 May 2014


So, what keeps me going? I work hard because I do a job I love. Teaching has many challenges, more and more red tape these days, but if you teach a subject you are passionate about, as I do, you can balance that. I do get bogged down this time of year with 500+ reports to write and hoping I have prepared sufficiently the children for their exams, but I get to sing and play the piano every day, share my love and enthusiasm for music, hear children perform their own compositions, and am still recognised in the street and warmly greeted my past pupils (and, scarily, teach their daughters too) so I must be doing something right!

Our International Evening

I play hard, too. I love being in an orchestra or choir, with my own little bit of the jigsaw. I enjoy the challenge of learning new music and rehearsing, and the thrill of performing in a beautiful church for the concert.

All Saints church, Putney Common, with its wonderful Pre-Raphaelite windows by Burne-Jones, where we have many of our orchestral concerts.

Our little house in the West country is our most recent motivation. There is such a long way to go, and we face the prospect of planning applications, jumping through building regulations' hoops, dust, rubble and noise, but the prospect of a perfect getaway makes it all worthwhile.

And, ultimately, a long and happy retirement!

As ever, I say to myself every morning, "Don't worry, be happy!"

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Local History Month - talk about your local area

Hounslow is near to Heathrow, and although close, we are circled by planes rather than have them directly overhead. We have Hounslow Heath on our doorstep, once frequented by the dastardly Dick Turpin, and now 200 acres of Nature Reserve. The Great West Road was the main route out to Bath, along Roman roads and Ley-lines.

We also have a barracks, now for the Welsh Guards, established in the 1790s when the threat of a French invasion was imminent.

We also have a fine hexagaonal Art Deco tube station, built in 1931, designed by the architects Stanley Heaps and Charles Holden, with a wooden panelled ticket office by Basil Ionides. It still has all the original tiling as well. It was the end of Piccadilly Line until the early 1970s, when the line was extended out to the airport.

Gadgets - What are you must haves? Dream gadgets? Or what makes your life easier?

I must confess to being a bit of a Luddite with regard to 'modern technology'! Having said that, I love my iPad, and wouldn't be without it, as I use it every day. Hello Kitty keeps it dust-free.

I don't have an iPod or MP3 player; as a life-long musician I have one hard-wired in my head, and can recall any music where and when I like. I am a very recent convert to the iPhone, having inherited Sean's when he upgraded. Before that I was perfectly happy with my ancient pink Sony Ericsson flip phone. This takes better pictures, though, and it is handy to be able to check email etc. on the go. Don't you love the cover?!

In the kitchen, I rely on my trusty soup maker, a wedding present from Glinda, whose life was transformed by hers. It's like using a kettle, really. Fill her up with chopped vegetables and stock, decide on smooth or chunky texture and switch her on. 30 minutes later, tasty and healthy soup for dinner!

And for my daily smoothie, a glass jug blender. My third one in about 4 years, though, perhaps I need an industrial one!