Monday, 29 April 2013
28th April 2013
The problem with Sundays is that Man Vs Food is on at precisely the best and worst time. It makes me sick and hungry at the same time.
This morning I saw it and all I wanted was a burger. I considered picking up my kindle and heading to GBK alone, but I'm not quite there yet. I wasn't sure if they did takeaway, so I managed to change out of my pyjamas to investigate and walked down the road. I couldn't be sure, so just headed into Hare and Tortoise instead.
This is a sushi place. I hate sushi. I keep trying it because everyone tells me it's great, but I'm sorry, I just can't get on board. But what I do love is vegetable tempura and edamame. Amazing.
I got my favourites in, headed back to the flat and settled down with When Harry Met Sally, one of my all time favourites. I was so entirely content with my day at that point. Loved every second. I'm even tempted to watch it again within the week I love it so much, and have been waiting so long to see it, because Nich keeps selfishly keeping all of her DVDs at her house. I mean, what kind of person does that?!
27th April 2013
Today's picture has little to nothing to do with my day. I was spending nearly the whole day out, but in pubs and bars and I didn't want my camera anywhere near that. I know my luck, and I'm not risking that. Occasionally out at the pub, but not on a night out. I'm not that silly. So just before I left I took a picture of my chair and everything that was happening to it. We have wrapping paper I was taking to Nich, hairspray I was taking to Nich, sellotape I was taking to Nich, post I was taking to Nich, (pattern, pshaw), my bag, my coat, and a Horrible Histories book Tom had just found under my old bed. Bloody love Horrible Histories, I'm sure you can see how battered that book is. Well read.
For my third day spent with Nich, blimey this relationship has become rather close quarters back off woman, we were heading into Clapham for some drinks with her friend Isobel from Paris. I enjoy Isobel, so this was a good thing. Our timing wasn't the greatest, so we didn't actually get to see a whole huge amount of her before they headed off for Nandos and a different drinkery. We had to finish up our drinks and get ourselves back into Central for drinks for Nich's sister Fiona's birthday.
The place was nice and made some awesome cocktails. We had a really lovely waiter who was very kind about me accidentally knocking a tray with Nich's drink in it out of his hand. I was trying to bring my hand up to steady my drink as I took it from him, not realising said head was directly under the tray. Oops. As I said to Nich at the time, at least it was hers which was gin and other clearer spirits as opposed to mine which was bright red and fruity and would have stained everything. Ahem. After many profuse apologies on my part he informed me that it was ok because the bartender had got him to try the one the replaced it with. Or something. All good.
We stayed there for a couple of hours, but only had a couple of drinks. Very tasty but very expensive. Eep. Fi ended having to leave pretty early to catch her train home, so we turned our thoughts to what we should do next, it only being twenty to eleven.
We tried badgering friends to join us, including Shreena. Our line "It's not 2am yet, GOOD THINGS HAPPEN BEFORE 2AM" didn't work. Pah. Marrieds. We briefly considered heading back to Clapham, but decided that was too much of a commitment to a big night out, getting home from Oxford Street is enough of a mission.
So was ambled to the tube, thinking we'd just get a drink at a pub when we arrived in Ealing. After being sat down for a short while I had that moment where I thought I saw Clare. You spot them, you narrow your eyes and lean out, trying not to be obvious cause if it isn't, that's embarrassing. As I said to my good lady wife "'I think that might be Clare...." she turned and it was, yay!!
She came and joined us and was going to join us wherever we found a drink, double yay!
Minus all the yays. We got to Ealing and wandered around for a little while trying to find somewhere to get a drink and it was apparently impossible. Come on London. Come on. We are youths. Well some of us (EYOOOOO), and we want to have a fun night! Pick up the pace, step up your game Ealing. Pah.
We wended our ways home after a fun if not entirely mental night. I had a cup of tea and went to bed. Rock and roll.
26th April 2013
Nich made me a very happy woman tonight. She made fondue. Drool town FC.
I don't eat cheese fondue overly regularly. It's been twice in the last year and that's probably the most in about ten years, but that does not stop it being one of my favourite creations mankind has presented me with.
"It's dipping stuff in hot cheese, what's not to love?" Damn straight Lily.
I headed down to Nich's and from there into town for to buy cheese and bread. We had a few moments debating which cheese to buy, that stuff is expensive yo. Eventually we came to the conclusion that as cheese was the main constituent of the meal to scrimp on it would not be great and plumped for the massive block of Cathedral City. Thanks to my eagle eyes we spotted a better deal on this later. Boom.
Mere minutes after arriving back at Nich's we realised that we had no meths for the fondue...damn. Not sure if Tesco would have it I called my mum for advice on where to buy some, who suggested the petrol station. This being far too far away we settled on using two tealights. Not ideal, but the cheese was already melted, it was more keeping it vaguely liquid. It would do.
Nich started preparing, Shreena arrived.
Nich has misremembered her mum's quantities and said we need a litre of wine. I thought it was a lot, but I do not question the cook. We had a fair bit leftover. Had.
It was not long before we were settled down to an absolutely delicious meal. Apparently this wasn't the best that the wife has prepared, can't wait for the best, I've barely stopped thinking about it since.
|Mrs. Punwasi displaying joy at cheese.|
|Just giving you a better view of the delicious cheesy goodness. There were vegetables too.|
25th April 2013
Thursday is quiz night in Ealing. We've yet to settle on one that suits us. A couple of weeks ago we tried out The Haven Arms, the pub next door to Nich and Ben, and came second. But this was because it was pretty easy. I maintain we should have got extra points for spelling Mr. Benn correctly, whereas the winning team didn't. Whatever, we got maltesers.
There's another quiz at The Grange, a pub we all highly enjoy, but apparently the calibre is much higher there, and we'd probably feel like the dunces of the place. It's a tough choice. We've not tried it yet, but one day soon I'm sure.
This week we had expected to go to the pub but when it came down to it the only people even vaguely available were Nich, Ben and myself. So they came over to the flat, bringing me jelly, and we did our own quiz. Ish. Well, I googled pub quiz and found a website. Actually turned out to be more fun than the pub ever could have been.
Originally I got them to make a buzzy noise when they wanted to answer, Ben soon found a soundboard, and we followed after. Brilliant. Nich's was Arnie, which was just perfect.
"I'm gonna ask you a bunch of questions...and I want them answered immediately"
There was one point where Nich and I were crying with laughter, actually crying, thinking about someone being from 'The first wave of fashion'. This will definitely not translate, but oh man...the thoughts ranged from Eve saying to Adam "ooh, hark at you with your leaves" to "they're calling it a ruff". Amazing. Somewhere in there the phrase "Clutching a barrel" happened, and we were messes. Absolute messes. Even the image now of us pretend to clutch a barrel makes me laugh. Good times.
After they left I looked out the window and spotted the lovely moon. This is the best picture I could get, I cannot find my tripod for the life of me - I fear it lost at uni - so I had to do my best with the window ledge.
24th April 2013
Damn you Book People. Those of you who work in schools or offices probably feel the same way. For those of you who haven't come across it, they bring in a box of books for you to peruse, leave them in the staff room with a little order form, someone comes back about a week later and drops off any books you've ordered. They're always really cheap and this is my downfall.
Sometimes it's really useful, I've bought presents for the kids from this a few times - it means I have more money to spend on fun stuff to make sure I maintain my position as ultra cool Auntie.
The problem I have with it is that they always have recipe books, which is a stroke of pure genius. If I'm in the staff room I'm either eating lunch or having a cup of tea and wishing I had some sort of cake. When there is a recipe book in there I would have to be a robot not to look through it, and you try resisting when the things all look so delicious and it's a fiver.
So this is probably about the 5th baking or cookbook I've bought since I started working at my school, and I rarely look at them again.
I'm hoping to change this, starting next week. It's my birthday on the 3rd May, and like most places there is that rule that you bring in cakes on your birthday. Where's the justice, eh? After the success of the cupcake maker I'm going to have a look through and find something pretty to make and take in rather than go for the bog standard box of mini rolls I usually go for. Wish me luck.
As for the earrings...they just happened to be on the book and they're my favourite at the moment. No reason they're in there. Aren't they pretty?
23rd April 2013
I've bought too many phone cases this past year. Two phones stolen along with their cases, two cases broken. I put up with my last one for an age, despite the cracks catching any hint of a loose thread/my finger any chance they could.
I just find it an entirely annoying thing to have to do. I drop my phone too much to not have a case, but buying one is not my scene. Don't want to spend a fortune, but if you even glimpse in the general direction of a stall selling them you know you'll have someone staring you down until you buy something and I just don't cope well in that kind of situation.
I decided to bank on where I got my last one, a little shop next to Ealing Broadway. I walked in, straight to the cases, flicked through, found one that worked for me and was in and out in 2 minutes.
Apparently I have a theme. The last one said hello too. You never want to be caught out without a hint of how to start a conversation. Just good sense.
22nd April 2013
I woke up with a rather sore throat. Until 2pm I had either a croak, a rasp, or an almost nonexistent squeak of a voice. After then it started to reappear bit by bit. I had a croak for a day or two still, but the worst was done.
It's that time of the year. Everything Bertha needs doing is within three months which is ever so slightly really quite painful on the old bank account. Service last month, tax this month, insurance next month. Sigh. After being pointed in the direction by my cousin, this year I got 6 months rather than a year so that I would offset it slightly. Still though, £93. Ergh.
That's a job that has been sitting on my board for a little while, so it felt too good to see it ticked and done for me to just rub it out.
Not looking forward to seeing "Insure Bertha" up there. Boohoo.
21st April 2013
Last week Naomi put a link up on Facebook urging people to volunteer to cheer with Macmillan at the London Marathon. It is a cold hard fact that I will never run the Marathon. I am, and always have been, terrible at running and alongside being appalling at it - I hate it. Ergh. Believe me, I have tried to get into running, but it's just not going to happen for me. So, with that in mind, I reasoned I should make the effort this way if I can't do the running part.
Of course after the events in Boston I felt differently about it. I didn't feel scared or worried that something would happen, but I thought there would be a lot of people running who may feel apprehensive enough about the run, let alone the potential for something terrible to occur. I was there to be a cheerleader and there might be people who needed it a little more than they may have before.
I met Tom and Naomi in our fabulous shirts (I was particularly happy, I love me a bit of green) and scouted out a spot for the day.
We were given some banger sticks to help us make as much noise as possible for the runners. Oh Macmillan, how little you know me. My sticks disappeared after a little while, but I was more than capable of making noise without them. I cheered and whooped at the top of my voice all day, Tom saying at one point when he was on a bridge overlooking us that he could only hear Naomi and I over everyone else. I got more than one comment on how loud my voice was, something I took as a compliment and thank my mum for.
Choosing a photo for today was unbelievably difficult, finding the one that conveyed the tone of the day completely enough seemed impossible. It was an utterly amazing day, and I will definitely be doing it next year if at all possible.
Team Macmillan were some incredible cheerers. Whilst we all shouted like maniacs for everyone, when someone came past in a green Macmillan shirt the excitement was as if all the A list celebrities in existence were trooping past handing out chocolate. I loved watching the faces of the runners break out into smiles as they approached us, you could see they were buoyed up and many who were walking would break into a jog. We were at mile 23, those coming past us were digging into their energy reserves in a big way.
We did spot a few celebrities going past, there were two we were looking out for especially as they were running for Macmillan.
Katherine Jenkins did a much better job of giving a wee smile. She's had a bit of stick over her 'look' for the day which is just the most ridiculous thing. We all know if she hadn't then that would have been plastered everywhere, so give her a break. She still managed to have hair that looked good after running that far - in that respect she is my idol. I can barely make it out of my room.
Last guy isn't so much a 'celebrity' per se, but a sports presenter on BBC Breakfast, Mike Bushell. I didn't recognise him for a while, but as he was someone with a name on his shirt he was someone I could shout directly at. He was having a slow moment so I shouted a "Come on Mike, keep going, you're doing SO well!!" and as he acknowledged my excellent acclaims I spotted the 'BBC Breakfast' written on his t-shirt and realised that I see him every morning as I get ready for work. Granted, when I do see him I know it's time to tune out as it means sports, but it's very useful that I recognise him otherwise I might find myself listening to sports news without realising it and no one wants that.
Much more fun than looking out for 'people what are off of the telly' was looking out for maniacs in costume or similar. This guy was kicking a football the whole way. AS IF. That's nuts.
This was the first costumed runner to pass us, so naturally we were very excited. We found out later that he got a World Record for the fastest costumed time. Yay Jack Sparrow!
This crazy, brilliant man was carrying a pint. Do I really need to say more?
This fabulous man represents everyone who ran in a wig or full costume as there were an enormous amount. It was a warm day, I can't imagine they with loving their decision, but extra lots of Kudos to you guys. Brave.
There was a lot of love floating around today. People would run past and look back in shock realising they had spotted someone they knew and run over for a hug. Lots of people asked us to look out for their loved ones and give them some of our own special brand of cheers. I had a nice little chat with a young girl as we looked out for her Dad together. We talked about why there were so many police and paramedics around, why people run the Marathon and how she would be giving her Daddy a massive hug when they finally found him. Eventually her mum realised that he must have passed us, so they headed off to meet him at the finish line.
This was my favourite moment of the day. The man on the right had been running towards us and we were cheering, when he went over slightly on his ankle. He stopped just in front of us to try and regain himself and tried to start running again, only to have to stop. The other man appeared, asked how he could help and then helped him up and walked him on. It was a truly lovely thing to see, strangers helping each other. Go guy on the left, you're awesome.
In all it was such a fun day. Naomi and I popped to the shops shortly after arriving and bought some wine and fruit to accompany our packed lunch, drinking wine in the sun surrounded by human spirit is rather nice. Of course, Naomi had to risk arrest or suchlike with the insane behaviour. Blatantly disregarding the sign that is RIGHT next to her. I should call her Evel Knaomi. Or Naomi Knievel. Or Badass. One of those.
We managed to get Tom to put on a wig, which would have been amazing in itself, but the icing was really put on the cake for me by this tourist who wanted a picture with him. HA.
In conclusion - go and volunteer at a cheer point for the Marathon next year, really really do. It was the best way I could have spent my day and it was totally worth losing my voice for.
20th April 2013
We occasionally make things at school with the kids. Gingerbread men, crispy cakes, fruit salad etc. When we make something that has to cook that means taking frequent trips to the kitchen to see how they're getting on, and it's not ideal.
I had a brainwave last week. We have a cupcake maker at the flat that just plugs into the wall, if I took that in we could make them and cook them in the room with us. Genius.
Except we'd never used the cupcake maker before, I had no idea how it handled...were the cupcakes any good? How long did they really take? I decided to take a test drive, and whilst I was at it try out some of my cake decorating bits.
Knowing it would be unlikely that we would make cupcake mix from scratch in school, I used a mix. I love Red Velvet cake and they have finally started selling a box for it, so I went for that. I've made a whole heap of mess making Red Velvet in the past, so I was hoping to avoid some. How naive of me. I decided to make my icing myself, so I felt a little better about using the mix. I'm so glad I didn't make all three, man alive.
So I was finally able to don my lovely apron, realise that I was surrounded by polka dots, and begin.
We realised recently that red with white polka dots is the uniform of the flat. I like to mix it up once in awhile and throw in some blue with red polka dots. I'm just that kind of out there maniac.
Making the cupcakes themselves was pretty easy, almost enjoyable. They took 10 minutes to cook in the maker, which makes 6 at a time. Yes, it was mildly aggravating to get up every 10 minutes to put another batch on, but they came out so beautifully fluffy and tidy that it was so worth it.
After they were all out and cooling I set to work on my icing. Oh my life. Why do I do it to myself? Rather than thinking "Hmm, I've never made fondant icing before, maybe I'll buy it ready made this time and work towards that for the next run" or "Well I'm making the fondant, so I'll buy some ready made icing", I of course decided I should make both of them. Sigh.
It wasn't necessarily difficult to make it just took so much effort to keep it from sticking to the mats, to colour, to roll out. Then once I finally had it ready to go, getting the plungers to do what they were supposed to was insanely difficult. I think it was worth it? Maybe? The bowl of decorations looks pretty.
The fondant ended up taking so long that it got to about 9pm and I realised I had to make the actual icing-y icing. I had of course found myself an interesting sounding concoction online, which meant that it had just those few extra steps that lead to regretting the whole escapade.
I chose to make a marshmallow icing, using marshmallow fluff. Now, I won't deny that the icing was tasty, it was awesome. But it took real arm work. Getting all the fluff out of the jar was insane effort. It was after this that I realised we didn't have our electric mixer anymore, and the 'beating until light' was going to have to be done by me. Then beating in the butter would have to be done by me. Then adding the icing sugar, slowly, a bit at a time, and folding in entirely...would be done by me. Good grief.
Icing eventually squeezed out and decorations put on, I turned around to see the world's biggest mess in the kitchen. Icing sugar all over me and the table, and so much washing up. By now it was past 10pm and I couldn't bear the thought. I piled everything into one place, soaked the things that needed it and, without even tasting a cake, went to bed.
The next day I discovered icing sugar footprints in the carpet. I have such mad skills.
Friday, 19 April 2013
18th April 2013
I took my camera into school today to take some general 'look at the fun we have in nursery' photos. I took it in for the snow and World Book Day, and loved every second, they're all so funny and such posers.
Obviously I'm not going to post any of those photos.
Here is some paint. Part of my life. I'm always slightly painty now, and I love it. A child said to me today "Miss Murphy, look, my hands are clean!" and it was more than I could say.
You're all amazed I chose to take the photo of the green paint aren't you? Yeah.
17th April 2013
You may remember the Army Men. The Flood set them up all over the flat to protect us. They're still around, but they're suffering somewhat. You can see this in the photo, his gun just isn't what it used to be.
I just wanted to remind her that they're still here, taking care of us all. Especially me. Don't trust those other two.
16th April 2013
...the sun is gonna surely shine...!
How good was Blossom, man? Loved that show. Makes me think of my lovely sister, Jen, and all the things we did together when we were younger. Jen is 6 years older than me, so she was an utterly wonderful sister to play with me as much as she did. I have a very clear memory of Jen bagsying the name 'Six' for one of her children. You failed Jen, mine for the taking now.
We used to make up songs and dances a lot. I think we danced so often to Material Girl that I now have muscle memory and will dance that particular dance given the chance (wahey, accidental poetry). The song that sticks in the brain, because it's awesome, is "'cause weeeeeee'rreeeee sisteeeers!" which was about how we help each other out when one of us couldn't do something or couldn't reach. Of course, back then it was me that couldn't reach. Aw, little tiny Jenna. We used to dance to it on the path between the front and back door at home, Jen on her rollerskates, me on my bike, Splash. Memories.
This demonstrates how tiny Jen is. She is 6 going on 7 here...I am a baby. I'm pretty much her size. 'Little' sister.
A few weeks ago for Ruthie's birthday we all decorated fairy cakes, they were delightful. I had real flashbacks to cooking with Jen when we were younger whilst doing this. We used to pretend that we were Delia Smith, and get all the ingredients into bowls all ready to go, and talk to the camera about what we were doing as we did. None of this faffing around weighing and sieving flour, then adding it. No no. All ingredients could be added on the go "First of all sieve your flour into a bowl, then add the sugar and butter" etc. If they could be in see-through bowls, excellent. Otherwise we'd lift them up and display them to the "camera" so our viewers could be sure what we were adding. I miss baking like that. I may do that next time. I should, in fact, do this with Jen as we now have matching-but-not aprons. (Jen, I totally got one for myself like yours! It's red and says Belle, amazing!)
I have the most beyond awesome sister, she takes such good care of me and we have the most fun together. She's given me three of the most perfect niblings in the world, what more can a girl ask for?
People say we look alike a lot. I don't think we don't look alike, but neither of us believe we are the twins some make us out to be. We found a picture of us side by side and scrutinised it and decided it's the chin. Our chin is the same and apparently that's all you need.
Whatever the similarities, I'm a lucky lucky girl to have her. I'm happy to have my name essentially be Jen-Steph cause it means people think I'm like her and that's possibly the biggest compliment I could ever get.
15th April 2013
Being the utterly messy person I am, it may come as a shock to most of you that often lose my keys. Not for very long, I hasten to add, but the phrase "How do you do this Stephanie, seriously, ten seconds ago you had them." They're never lost when I first need to get them, but much more so right after I've found them and put them somewhere where I will apparently lose them moments later.
So in my current be tidy kick (the one for this month - I'm not very good at it so it doesn't last very long) I've put my keys on a hook on my door. I didn't have a spare hook for such luxuries in the baby room, but now I do. My theory here is that I will put the keys back there and grab them as the last thing before I leave my room because they are staring me in the face. In. Theory. This goes so against my nature that I'm sure it won't be long before I forget. I would love to be really organised and tidy and if someone out there can hypnotise me or something, bring on the swinging watch. Sigh.
How much do you enjoy my keyrings? I really quite enjoy them. Two of them are Oz musical related, the hat from Wicked and the shoe is from The Wizard of Oz. Yes, there were originally two shoes, no, I don't know where the other one went. Home, I presume. There is a Team GB one lurking at the back, and nothing says style like a clubcard, right?
Sunday, 14 April 2013
14th April 2013
Today was a happy day.
This body spray was my smell. Besides deodorant, clearly, this was the only fragrance I would buy and use. I loved it, it was and is my favourite smell.
Then they stopped making it. So so sad. I had perfumes and things, but I always longed for this. Sigh.
Until....last night. Sam asked Clare to bring down her body spray, and this appeared. She spritzed, and suddenly I was 16 again, drinking pineapple Mr. Juicy and waiting to go into Spotlites. Will always amaze me how smell can do that.
I completely lost my head and asked when she had got it, she replied she was given it quite awhile ago. I instantly googled it and found it was still on sale and on offer.
Today we went into town for a restorative Shakeaway - peanut butter, banana and rusk as you're asking - and we went into Boots. It was 3 for 2, so now I have 3. I am never losing you again my love, never.
|Isn't she lovely...?|
12th April 2013
I have bought more of these than possibly anything else ever. Aside from maybe eyebrow tweezers, I've lost a hell of a lot of them.
These just disappear. I sometimes manage to keep hold of 3 or 4 for awhile, but then they too will inevitably magic themselves away to the depths of nowhere.
They leap from your hair into coats and jumpers, you forget they are in until you feel it in the shower and then have to either drop it into the unknown over the curtain or put in down on the side in the shower. From there it will either be entirely forgotten about, or suffer the dreadful plughole fate.
I put them somewhere safe and then they disappear from that exact spot seconds later. I'm determined this time that they will stay put. This is the closest I could find to a box at this moment in time, but soon I shall get into town and find something specific, with a lid. I will put them back in here when I am finished, I will put new ones I find in here. They will no longer elude me when I need them most.
I'm watching you Bobby Pins. Like a hawk.
No -ie or kisses for you. This is war my weird brown wibbly little friends. War.
Which is what made today that bit more of a surprise to me.
There I was, happily changing my sheets. I'm going to stop there, because that's clearly a lie, isn't it? Who happily changes their sheets? It's one of those things you have to do that everyone resents. Of course, you love the feeling of fresh new sheets, but taking them off and putting new ones on is just the definition of "eurggh, I don't wanna". Anyway.
There I was, grumpily changing my sheets. I grabbed the duvet, unpopped the poppers and started pulling out the duvet. Suddenly. Oh so suddenly. There was a monster. A massive great thick black legged spider came scuttling OUT OF MY DUVET. I want you to take a second to appreciate that. It was in my duvet. For how long? What else was in there? Was it mad at me for squishing it or for destroying its home? I did not wait to find out.
The second I spotted my new arch nemesis I screamed like a baby and ran out of the room. I say ran out of the room, I attempted it, but the door was closed and the wherewithal to open it was just not there so I ran into it and cowered in my dressing gown instead.
It has been a long long time since something has happened to me to make me scream with fear. I can't remember the last time. I never thought I was particularly afraid of spiders, I'd been called in to fetch paper from cupboards at school that others wouldn't venture into because of spiders as others coped worse than I did. But there I was, pacing the room, heart racing, wondering how on earth I was going to be able to deal with this. Would I have to wait until someone else got home? I felt it unlikely that Lynsey would fare any better than myself, was Tom afraid of spiders? What's the time....damn, far too early to wait. Should I go and knock on other flats in the building and see if my knight in shining armour was anywhere close by? Hmm no. That could be potentially inviting a serial killer not only into my house, but into my room.
I grabbed my phone and asked Nich what I should do. Her response was:
"Kill it. Kill it! Then take a pic and put it on facebook."
As I didn't get a picture of the beast you have to settle for a picture of the new sheets instead. I hope the idea of spiders sleeping with you freaks you out as much as it does me now. That's my gift to you. You're welcome.