Friday, 27 February 2015

Ten things in ten minutes

I'm linking up with the lovely Kate on thin ice where she challenges us to 'Change your life in 10 minutes'. Go have a read and join in if you want!
I decided to share ten things I could/sometimes/actually do in ten minutes to make my day better/nicer/easier. I deliberately chose things I do do that do not involve anyone else.

1. Paint my nails - look better, feel better.
2. Read something, fiction - lose yourself in non reality - forget about your worries, feel better.
3. Read something, non fiction - learn something new, improve your knowledge, feel better.
4. Take ten minutes from your lunch hour and pop a casserole in the slow cooker - come home to the comforting smell and the realisation that you do not have to stand and cook - feel better!
5. Tidy that junk drawer - feel uncluttered, feel better.
6. Read your blog list and comment - know that Bloggy types love comments - feel better!
7. Hoover through - your rooms will look 100% better than they did ten minutes ago just for having a clean floor - feel better
8. Take ten minutes and change your bed - later that night climbing into a fresh clean sheeted bed will make you feel better.
9. Lie on the bed and listen to your favourite songs and daydream your favourite daydream.
10. Go online and browse your favourite stores or actually buy something. Give yourself a budget. It has to be less than £5.00.  It could be a free book for your kindle. It could be new wool off eBay, it could be a present for someone. Feel smug in your bargain hunting!

What ten things could you/do you do to make your life easier/better/nicer?

Love from
Rachel *I'll just be ten minutes* Radiostar

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Shingles, the whiney edition.

Hello lovelies, one and all, welcome to the post in which I'm going to describe Shingles. Hopefully those of you who have already suffered at the hands of the  herpes zoster virus will nod in agreement.

Shingles - it sounds so innocent. Almost fun. It rhymes with a lot of fun, jolly sounding words.

Mingles - what one does at a party. Parties are fun and jolly. I don't think I was ever taken to a chicken pox party in the 1970s. I'm not sure if these were urban myths. I cannot believe a mother would do that to her future grown up child. Mingles were also a delicious mint chocolate one bought at Christmas.

Jingles - goes with bells. CHRISTMAS bells. Always a fun and jolly time.

Dingles - a fun, jolly family on a TV soap called Emmerdale.

Singles - tennis, badminton, vodka, whisky, gin, brandy, no whiney partner to contend with, nights to mingles with other singles, all of these are fun and jolly.

Pringles - massive round crisps in a tube. Lots of flavours. The adverts for Pringles show people having a very fun and jolly time. I did go off Pringles a bit when I saw a false lady health guru - she was a real lady, the Doctor title she awarded herself was false - but, she set fire to a Pringles and each one yielded a teaspoonful of oil.

Tingles - a word assosciated with excitement, ergo fun and jolly times.

Well, let me tell you, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Bloggy Reading World. Shingles is NOT fun and definitely NOT funny.

Thanks to my childhood bout of Chicken Pox, the little Herpes Complex virus has been lying dormant in my body. Something woke it up and it travelled along my ganglions to my head. It's a bit special, because apart from one sore that refuses to heal, I've no outward tell tale rash. This can happen.
So the right side of my scalp, my right eye and forehead are where most of the fun and jolliness is occurring right now.

Here are a few of the sensations I've had. I promise you I've not made them up. I've tried really hard to put it into words.

My scalp is tender and painful to touch. Almost like it's been pulled into a tight ponytail for several weeks. It also prickles. Like non painful pins and needles. And then it will suddenly turn to red hot needles jabbing into you. This sensation travels diagonally  down across my forehead, along my eyebrow and then down and round my eye socket. Early on it would also send a surge of burny hot pain upwards back into my head. Thankfully, these surges are less frequent. But when they occur, it makes you wince. Almost as soon as you've registered the pain, it's gone.

Then there's the itching. Long time readers may recall my whingeing about the dreadful all over body itching produced by my jaundice when I had a blocked bile duct. Dark days indeed. But just this odd top quarter of my head gets such itches. Scratching brings no comfort.

Sometimes it feels like you've got a strand of hair on your skin, and you go to grasp it or brush it away...only there's no strand of hair at all. It's your skin playing tricks on you. Bizarrely my nose will feel like it's hot and cold alternatively.

Another 'fun' feeling is the feeling of  tiny microscopic little termites creeping  in single file along my  top eyelid. They then creep along my eyebrow. Last night there was a new sensation that I can only describe as 'crinkly'. Right in the corner of my eye, next to my nose, it crinkles for a few seconds. I've videoed this. But of course I cannot see anything outwardly but man it's slightly uncomfortable and extremely annoying. Also, a feeling of numbness, then hot, then cold moving around my forehead and eye occurs at random.
It also happens in waves - imagine those long, rope lights people have up at Christmas, like chasing sequences of pulses of light - THAT'S How all of these sensations occur.

When my face feels 'hurty' it is like a thousand nettle stings at once, but times the pain by a zillion. Just when you feel you can't take it anymore, it goes. Then it'll feel jingly right along my hairline. You don't get a minutes peace. It makes concentrating on one thing tricky. In fact I have wondered if anyone with Shingles ever murdered anyone. It is driving me to distraction. I've tried knitting - but I have to keep stopping to itch. I've tried reading and watching TV - but I have to keep stopping to rub my eye.

Normally when I'm ill, I recognise the feeling of getting better day by day. Whilst I am sure my scalp is less sore than it was in the beginning,my eye looks as swollen right now, as it was on day one. The scabbed over sore on my eyebrow looks no better either.

I'm just a grumpy, funless, jollyless,fed up one eyed whinge bag!! I'm on the list for a head transplant.

Ok, let's finish this post with some photos. Knitting I've done.
I finally finished this little peach lacy cardigan.
I've started a new girls cardigan for my friend's baby.

The peach one WAS for her. It's size newborn. She was born months ago!! This new one is around
12months size so hopefully I can finish it in time for it to fit!
I've also started a little boy cardi in pale blue.

Crochet News - in one of my last posts, I declared war on crochet. I have been battling with hooks and yarn and with the help of the very nice lady from Verypink Knits on you tube, I've managed to produce something that looks like a granny square.  Things I have learned are I need to use wool of the same thickness and I cannot crochet alone yet! I still need tuition. As for the patterns- they are written in some language I have never seen before. But I have not surrendered just yet.

Off to read and comment on some of your blogs now.  Then I'm going to put out my old tumble dryer fluff in a suet feeder for the nesting birds. I got a whole load of seed delivered for my garden pets as I calls em. The delivery driver called me and my friend 'crazy bird ladies' ! 
In case you are interested, we got 20kg of black sunflower seed for £19.99 p&P free!! From Garden Wildlife Direct. 
Well time for my QOD. 
Have  you had Shingles? Where was yours?

Lots of love from

Rachel *nerves well and truly jangled* Radiostar xx

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Feeling meh

Hello me lovelies, I've woken up with an eye that looks like I've been ten rounds with Mike Tyson in the night. Highly highly attractive. So I'll be traipsing into town to see the same doc at 11am. You know, people slag off GPs and the NHS. I won't hear a word said against them. Doctor Google and I are 99.9% sure I do have shingles. But I will let you know later how I got on!

Had a lovely lazy day yesterday. Faffed about on Facebook and spotted this picture/page and immediately thought of Pam. I read Pam's blog everyday and she makes THE most beautiful quilts I've ever seen.
I now follow the 24 Blocks page. Here's another shot of the quilt. 

It's gorgeous! Pam told me yesterday that she once made a skirt from men's ties! How swishytastic!!

Yesterday, when I finally found my crochet hooks, I used You Tube and tried to make a Granny Square ! I tried so hard! As a knitter I find it difficult using wool and fingers!! But I will persevere!! My efforts are here... Looking NOTHING like the tutorial pieces!! 

My first attempt at the round bit. 

My second attempt looks NOTHING like the neat purple square my online tutor has.
I had one last try.... 
You can see how dreadful I am at this hooky mularky!! But I can also see there's a slight improvement!! The top one I tried two colours. 
I will persevere though. More dreadful efforts heading your way soon then! 
Had a clear out yesterday. This was the first live concert I took my five year old to at the Manchester Arena! I'm trying to de clutter so into the recycling in went! I almost rescued it again but no, I let it go!

Right then, best get ready to go show the doctor my gammy eye! Lucky him!

Hopefully you are having a better week than me! Love from 
Rachel *swollen Eye*  Radiostar xx ! 

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Happyish Half Term Feb 2015

Happyish, because I am ill. Well not ill ill. Just not right.
On Thursday 6th FEBRUARY whilst at work I became aware of my scalp. Just on the right hand side top quarter. It felt like I'd had my hair up in a tight ponytail all day. It was tender to the touch. It felt like I'd banged my head and there was a bruise. Only I'd not banged it. It was very odd. The next day it was still there, only I'd get the odd surging, searing pain that made me wince. I took painkillers. Whilst they dulled it, it was still there.
By the time we'd broken up from school on Friday 13th, I'd listened to my work chums, telling me to go to the docs if no better.
Of course I'd already been on the t'internet and self diagnosed! I had some alarming diseases for sure!
Anyway, on the Saturday, the HG and I got the train to Manchester as I'd got tickets to see Phoenix Nights Live at the Arena. I whinged a little bit about a sore throat. Took painkillers and ceased whining. My scalp was still sore. No better, no worse.

We checked in early - The hotel was just fabulous! We's only gone to dump our bags as check in was officially 2pm. But at 11.30, we were given the key to our room! So we settled in, had a brew then trotted into Manchester for some Manchestering around!
I bought some little stud earrings and the HG got some new jeans. We headed back to the hotel to get ready for Peter Kay's Comic Relief extravaganza. 

We were not disappointed. It was brilliant. I think you have to have watched the TV series to get the most from it. I have got the Black Bin Bags song in my head!!

We enjoyed a pint of Dark Fruits strongbow cider. It was delicious. So it should be! £5.40 a pint. Bloody daylight robbery! We sipped it n made it last!!!

The hotel is just over the road from the Arena so after a five minute walk, we were safely back!
That's when I noticed I had a lump on my upper eye lid. It was definitely not there beforehand. I'd put make up on so I would have noticed it. It wasn't itchy at all and I couldn't see a bite mark. We just didn't know what it was. The next morning ( Sunday ) it was bigger. My scalp still hurt. I'll tell you about the breakfast after I've finished telling you about my illness.
The return journey was looooong.
We left Manchester on the 'Northern' service to Bolton, ( This made me giggle! Seriously, that's what the announcer/tannoy man called it.) at 11.23am
Then it was a bus replacement service the rest of the way. Bolton is approximately one hours drive away from my house. We went to places I'd never even heard of! I saw some really fancy what I call 'Lottery Win' houses. TEN PAST FRIGGING FOUR was when we got to our house. Epic journey. My head hurt. I whinged a lot! The rugby was watched. WALES won but I have to say Scotland do look much improved than last year. Didn't have much tea, still full from Breakfast! Off to bed.
It didn't take long to fall asleep, but I was woken at 4.14am by a hurty ear. On the same side. Not my ear as such, but now there was a lump front and back of my ear . Very strange. So I decided to heed the cries of all my loved ones and go and see the doc. Surprisingly I got an appointment for 10.15 off Luke, the new receptionist. I say new, I have not set foot in the doctors since I was yellow and that's three and a half years ago now!
I predicted
He'd say .... It's a virus                         I'd say .... I guessed that.
He'd say ..... You are too fat                 I'd say ..... I know
He'd say........ You are due a smear       I'd say ......I know.

Actually he was lovely. I explained about the scalp ponytailesque pain. I showed him the lump. I showed him the photo of the lump on Saturday. He poked and prodded all over my head. He introduced scopes, made me say 'ahhhhh' with those horrible wooden lolly sticks. He shone a bright light into my eye. He was looking puzzled. He said he was thinking three things.
1. It's a virus ( HA! Ten points to me ) as even though my throat wasn't sore, there were spots on it at the back - although worryingly he mentioned tonsillitis. I've not had tonsilitis since my eighth birthday. This is due to the fact that on my actual eighth birthday I had my tonsils and adenoids out.
I wasn't aware - despite my years of high quality medical training - that tonsils can grow back.
2. It could be shingles but the usual tell tale rash wasn't visible, but it could be on the inside.
3. Temple arteritis - the one I'd come across when checking with Dr Google.

He said my symptoms didn't all quite match up. He asked me if I minded if he went to ask his colleagues.
He came back and said that I'd got four doctors puzzled.
He examined me again. He asked if I wanted some Naproxen for the pain. I declined because Naproxen made me feel worse when I was yellow. He asked if I wanted codeine. I declined because they give me weird weird dreams. Also, I wasn't in pain, pain. I was just aware of my skin the whole time and when pressed, the lumps hurt.
Anyway, upshot is, I've been given some tablets to try, for nerve pain for two weeks and I've to go back if I'm no better.
Fast Forward to now. Wednesday morning. My eye is now red, the swelling is larger but flatter and is really sore to touch. My forehead is a little itchy too, over the eye. I've a little pea sized lump in front of my ear and the gland is still up behind that ear. The tablets knock me out and render me useless til Lunchtime! It's a good job it's half term!

Right, breakfast. I'd read the reviews on Trip Advisor and was a little worried...
My Facebook status was -

 The breakfast? Well, yes I did feel like a borrower as the tables were super high!!! But luckily I own a 6ft HG
Just the neat layout and the vast vast VAST array of all the different foods was outstanding!
Bread for toast was on one whole table. Sliced white n wholemeal. Then real uncut farmhouse loaves, rye bread, granary cobs. Continental rolls, pancakes, waffles and the obligatory croissants and pain au chocolate

Then there was the continental ham n cheese n fresh fruit table - positively groaning with salami, ham, cheese and freshly chopped fruit.

Then there was a cereal bar with four types of milk.
Costa latte/cappuccino or filter coffee  from the waitress or tea  and coffee to make yourself.
Four different fruit juices with, get this, tall glasses. Bottles of chilled still/sparkling water
The hot table
Super posh heated stainless steel lidded bins With little gas lights underneath.
Bacon, sausage, scrambled egg, beans, boiled egg, fried and poached to order, tomatoes which were beautiful, black pudding, Mushrooms, hash browns, Bottles of real hp n ketchup .
Then if you had any room you could have made a start on the muffins. Fruit. Cheese.
Jams, Nutella, marmite.
Think that's about it!!!
Oh  sorry, forgot about the yogurt!

Next time we go to Manchester, we have no hesitation about staying there again! The food was delicious and the staff were just so lovely and made sure we felt welcomed and relaxed!

So, that was a long old chinwag wasn't it?! I'm going to sort out my wool stash today and locate my missing crochet hooks. I've looked everywhere. They are not where I thought they would be. I'm going to have another go at teaching myself.

How's your week going? Just a little note to Carol here - hey lovely, sending you a big Internet hug and love xxxxx

Love from
Rachel *Currently Lumpy* Radiostar xxx

Friday, 13 February 2015

This post is still relevant three years later!

I wrote this back in April. Everything is still relevant today! 
Will I trot this out every Friday 13th? Yes probably! 
 Basically, I want your superstitions please. I may try some out. I find the best ones came from the black n white days of yore that your Granny will have told you. Please share.

Are you superstitious?

I like to think that I'm not. After all, I am expecting..

OOOO I was cut off mid sentence by the

knock on the door of the person I was expecting! My hero aka Mr Dishwasherfixerman. The nice one.

He took apart my machine and found what is hopefully the problem. Yes Les n his mate had fitted the new parts - I never had problem with that. They simply hadn't wired them back in! Something that I think an electrical engineer, working on an electrical appliance that requires electricity to make it go would check! So he reattached the wire then reprogrammed the on board computer to my machine. This consisted of lots of holding the buttons in in different combinations whilst he squinted at his laptop screen to check he was doing the right thing! He finally altered my salt settings. Which was very kind of him!

So ... it's now purring nicely and I m waiting, biding my time, before I go to check if it is heating up and the water is HOT instead of ice cold!
I have his mobile number! He is only round the corner! I have been instructed to call him if all is not well! So....those of you who are superstitious and those who are not, cross your bloody fingers for me that when I go down in approximately 13 minutes time - warm water is present.

Sooo Friday 13th.

Lets have a quick round up of common superstitions my Nanna taught me.

  • NEVER EVER EVER put new shoes on a table. I have no idea what dreadful demise this causes because I have never ever put new shoes on a table.
  • Ears hot n itchy? Then people are talking about you. Left for love and right for spite.
  • Palms hot n itchy? It is money. Right to receive ( yay) Left to leave. I am pretty sure I have the world's itchiest left palm.
  • Never cross anyone on the stairs. and if you meet someone - they have to go up - you NEVER EVER go back down. The devil is probably waiting for you.
  • Spill some salt? - Then throw some over your left shoulder. 
There was one about dropping cutlery on the floor but I can't recall it fully. But it was probably linked with a long, slow death.
  • Do not walk under a ladder.
  • Do not walk on mirrored floors. (I LOVE THIS ONE) 
  • The black cat one I was never much good at. Did it HAVE to cross your path in order for you to be lucky? I have pissed a lot of cats off on this one - always getting in their way.

I had some Chinese customs that interested me in the 90s when everyone went Feng Shui bonkers. I say some - I actually meant one. It was the money behind the front door lined up in order of value which was supposed to welcome money into your home. I was always nicking it for my bus fare and the milkman so it did not work.

And my particular favourite that Lisa and I both do - and when we are in the car together we do it simultaneously - synchronised Magpie Saluting!.
If I see a lone magpie - one for sorrow - I have to salute it and if I am alone I will say out loud, good morning/afternoon Mr Magpie/. If in company I ALWAYS say it in my head and always get asked
"Who are you waving at?"

So Lisa and I were off in the car somewhere and we both must have seen the same magpie because we both used our left arm to salute him. We then laughed as we noticed what we'd done and we were both then discussing how our men folk always ask the 'Who are you waving at?' question. As we were doing this we both spied a magpie on the other side and in pure synchronisation we saluted the bloody thing with our right hand! It made us laugh a lot!


11.06am - WE HAVE HOT WATER!!!! Um admittedly most of it was on my kitchen floor. I am confident this is not supposed to happen! I called Dishwasherfixerman to say we have heated water but it's not going to clean my dishes unless I spread them on the floor due to the fact that it is  leaking
 now - which we didn't have before! But HUZZAR for the hot water!

SO that was April. July is here and I think I am still alive because I follow all of the above. But I would like some new ones to try! 
What are your favourite superstitions? I might just adopt some of them! Be lucky folks xx

PS. I have also copied and pasted the comments from the original post
 a) because I can and 
b) because it makes me look popular!

Fast forward to February Friday 13th 2015. Trotting this post out AGAIN

A) because I can and

B) because it reminded me of my lovely Nanna

Here's my latest 'off the needles'

It's for Madeleeny. She was jealous of Harry's teddy, so of course Aunty Rach indulged her!

Any more superstitious folks out there? By the way, my dishwasher is still working perfectly! I'd forgotten I'd had my salt settings altered!

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Sunday's Post

Its been a lovely weekend.
The BBC's 'Game of Thrones' style Six Nations video is just genius. I can honestly say, the TV coverage of Friday night's opening game betwixt my Wonderful WALES and the English was actually outstanding. It relayed the atmosphere magnificently. You all know it's my dream to actually get to the Milennium Stadium one day to watch a game, but the BBC transported me there in my own living room.

It was a fantastic game, and even though it wasn't the result I'd hoped for, whatever had gone on at half time in the English changing room worked. They came out and trampled all over us!
The Italy Ireland match, for me wasn't as exciting as the following France Scotland game.  This was the match that had me shouting very bad swear words at the telly. Bad swears. All the swears. The Scots proved formidable, just not enough luck went their way. I hate the bloody French!! I love the Six Nations!

The Uni one has been home since Thursday and it's been lovely. The house feels right with four of us in it. She's been sorting through some of her childhood treasures. Unearthing the full set of Percy the Park Keeper magazines we used to get her! Probably at least £300 quidsworth! You know the ones, get the first issue for 99p and then sign your wages away for the next 145 issues else your child will be scarred for life and never ever forgive you! I love Percy the Park Keeper.

Last week it was all about cooking beef low and slow. This week, thanks to me salivating, ok actually drooling at Jamie Oliver's pork shoulder on his Friday Night Feast programme last Sunday ( I was watching on catch up! ) we had overnight roast pork shoulder. Except I didn't do it overnight. I did it all day Monday! I know. I'm such a rebel. But the best bit is that my massive pork shoulder cost me less than £4!!
The HG and I had called at Booths and we noticed the lile shop boy working his way down the fridges with his little yellow sticker price gun. I'd already seen the last piece of pork shoulder on the shelf. It was already half price at £7.50. BUT it had no days left on its use by date. So we sauntered round. I could have picked it up and asked him to reduce it but I didn't. ( wuss )
Instead, I bumped into an old friend and stood and chatted for aaaaages! When she went to the till, I dispatched the HG to the meat fridge to see if it was still there. No, it had gone!! I scanned the aisles for the customers who had picked up MY shoulder! Fear not, it had been reduced and it had been put into the reduced bit of the fridges!! Cackling inwardly ( and maybe a bit of outwardly smugness ) it was MINE!!!

So here's what I did. I copied Jamie by removing the skin, and cut it into long strips ready for crackling. I've never done it like that before, but I will from now on! So easy and the crackles were perfect! Then into my trusty roasting pan went some quartered onion, carrot chunks, celery and a couple of halved apples. Oh a bendy leek went in too. A knorr vegetable stock pot cube went in. Jamie used cider, I didn't. The shoulder went straight onto its vegetable bed and it was tightly secured in foil. Into a oven about 130 - 140 fan for 12 hours. Don't look at it. Just leave it. The house, once again, smelt divine! The resultant pork just fell apart and was so juicy and succulent.
This photo does not do it justice at all! The bit of meat you can see is from where I burnt the skin off my fingertips snaffling a morsel for tasting! 
There was enough for a roast dinner for Monday, Pork, chips and gravy on Tuesday, sandwiches on Wednesday and I made a pie to feed four easily on Thursday! That's in the freezer, we were a bit porked out!  All greedy pig portions too!  Not bad for under £4!!

There's one week left until half term! The first 'Hilarious Moment Of My Week' came from the daily reading session with one child I'm trying to move on with their, erm, reading! The story was called
'The little red car and the bullocks' it's quite an old fashioned reading scheme but it does the job perfectly. Of course you can predict the first moment of mirth. The 'u' in bullocks was indeed pronounced as 'o'. It was calmy and professionally corrected by a calm professional me. Inwardly I was laughing my head off! Then I asked the question, 'What is a bullock?'
The answer was ' you know, like a bullock proof vest'
I'm at this point ( on the inside ) rolling on the actual floor laughing with the picture that painted. On the outside, a calm and professional me explained the life stories of boy and girl cows. On the inside >>>> A bullock proof vest!!!!!! 😂😂😂😂

The second  'Hilarious Moment Of My Week' was provided by the same child. The lesson was RE led by the class teacher. The objective was for the children to say what the Kingdom of Heaven looks like to them. There were the expected, I suppose, suggestions of golden castles, vast green fields filled with children all happy and playing. Rainbows, big gates, blue skies, lots of loved ones there etc etc.
Not so for bullock child. Their answer~ a swimming pool full of kittens.  I have google imaged this and there is an actual picture to help you see. What the kingdom of Heaven actually looks like!!

I love my job! ( which I'm doing out of my own time and the goodness of my heart.....)

More work related stuff now. This week was assessment week and one of the writing tasks was to give somebody at school an award and explain why they deserve that award. I, dear readers, was given two such awards!!

The reasons were extensive ( one piece of work was over a page long ) and genuine! Parts I enjoyed the most were the bit where it said how I give up my time to look after the children who can't go home because their parents are working. GIVE UP MY TIME!!!!! And how I cut the paper so their work fits in their books!! Who knew the children were so observant and how important correctly sized worksheets are to them!!

So now, when  the class teacher - who was awarded numerous awards - for being funny and a 'grate teecher'  asks me to cut the paper, we joke about my prowess!! I'm putting 'award winning' down on my CV!!

Right, much to do this fine Sunday morning. Sadly, it will involve taking the uni one back to the train station. The teen ( who passed his driving Theory test on Monday! ) has his girlfriend coming over today. I've no idea what I'm making to eat. She is one of these strange people who dine on plants only!! ( a slice of wafer thin ham perhaps?!) I love the Royale Family! Do click the video, it's only a minute long!

I might make a cheese quiche! ( panic ye not folks, I've loads of vegetarian recipes in my repertoire! )

I will leave you know with a possible new knit project. I was intrigued by the title. Biological Knitting. It takes me right back to my Biology lessons at The Grammar school! As my sister said, I can smell the formaldehyde now! 

What's new with you? Do you eat Dairylea?! 

Love from Rachel *award winning* Radiostar xxx  

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Le Post about Le French Lesson

When I first started this blog I used to blog about my favourite days when I was teaching the cherubs in Year One. I just checked before and there are a few from their time I taught them in Y3.  Well, they are now my class in Year Five! I know, doesn't time fly! ( also a lot of posts are bizarrely half missing! )

Well, yesterday, the lady who covers the PPA was poorly so I covered for her. I didn't mind. I sometimes miss my hectic days of HLTAing in all the classes teaching all the good subjects.

It was French. I taught this class in Y3. They were BRILLIANT at French. ALL of them! The subject we are now learning about is food. They know how to instruct someone in French to make a sandwich. They know how to order an ice cream. This lesson's learning objective was to be able to say which food they did and did not like.

We went through the vocabulary. We played games. We practised saying it. Then they had two pieces of work to do. One was a shopping trolley. It was the ' J'aime ' page. They were to draw the foods they liked and label it correctly. The 'Je n'aime pas' page was a waste paper bin. The work was for display.

They produced some fantastic work. But one superstar's work made me laugh. A lot! Now this little star had joined in with all the oral/visual work. We played 'Kim's game' with the food items we'd been learning; the missing item's were identified in perfect French pronunciation.  Perfectly. I had a look at the work. In the shopping trolley, beautifully drawn and presented were
Le cheese
Le chicken
Le chips!!!!!!!
I asked what do the French call cheese. The work was taken  and brought it back with La cheese!!!!
I love this star!! It was then correctly written as Le frumarge! (sic) Phonetic perfection!

But in the waste paper basket .....
This child does not like cabbage for one!! Le cabej.

My job this year is a dream!

Now, I've been writing this post for so long, the above is week old news!  I can report that I was lighter than I was the week before and I'm lighter than I was last week. ILTIWLW is my new and current aide in my eternal quest to let my inner thinness out!

Frugal Food Recipe Alert.
Last Wednesday, it was all about the smell of beef slowly cooking.
The first dish was braising steak, simply done in the slow oven of my main oven with some sliced onions and stock. The second was oxtail.

The HG had spotted some big fat juicy oxtail reduced in the Bury Of Sains from just under £6 to £2.?? ( I can't quite recall ).
So out came my trusty slow cooker and here's what I did. And what you'll need if you want to try it.

2 big slices/chunky cut oxtail
Plain flour
Seasoning of your choice
Two onions chopped/sliced/quartered/diced - up to you
Large carrot as above
Celery as above
Stock I used one oxo and a knorr beef stockpot
Some people like to add ale. I'm not keen on ale done in my slow cooker - it's better in my oven, I do not know why.

I seasoned a plateful of plain flour with paprika, chervil, salt and pepper and a bit of steak seasoning.
I pressed the oxtail ( bone in ) all over in the flour and sealed in in a frying pan in some sizzling hot
Beef dripping. Drained it and put it on the carrots and celery in the slow cooker.
I then fried off the onions till brown and crispy ( caramelised for modern chef types) and added them.

Next, I poured over the stock and set it to low for the next 12 hours.

The result was a dark sumptuous smell throughout my house and a deeply dark delicious dish.

However, because I'd already braised the braising steak, we ate that for tea. The oxtail was destined for far better things.

The next bit, I learned from a TV chef. Dunno which one. But if you remove braised meat out of its cooking juice to go cool, if not eating straight away, it goes dry. Leave it in the liquid to go cold and it stays perfectly moist. I've found this to be true for years!
So the oxtail was left to go cold in the crockpot. I did try a bit first. It just fell off the bone and tasted nicer than the best braising steak we'd just had for tea! But in the fridge it went.

The next day, I was faced with a solid stock. Jewelled jelly surrounded the meat. But in I went! I discarded the chunks of carrot and celery. They'd done their job. I could also discard all the fat as it was set hard white. To be fair, there wasn't much, but the fact I could remove it all was a bonus in the battle of the bulge. The meat fell off the bones and I ended up with a surprising amount of meat, shredded for a meat and potato pie! The oniony stock was saved too. A little bit was mixed in with the meat and some crushed boiled potatoes were added.
Shop bought ( gasp) shortcrust pastry was used. The pie was served with chips and peas and the delicious gravy. Best. Pie. Ever. Obviously I had IWBLTLW portions!

The only other thing I wanted to share with you was this popcorn. I say, I wanted , alas I can't. Because it's all gone. It was soooo lip smackingly moreish! 

What have you been eating lately? 

Love from 
Rachel *IWBLTLW* Radiostar xxx