What I’m wearing: Friday at work

But I can’t show you!! I have mislaid (or possibly lost!) my camera, so I have no photo. Sad face.

I was, however, inordinately pleased with my outfit. I have a new black skirt. It is a real innovation for me, as it is knee length, and practically every skirt I have owned, ever, has been mid-calf. But this is just above my knees. I don’t like my knees as they’re a bit squidgy, and ever since my accident with Gavroche (scroll down here to the section titled “My Version of River Dance”) my left knee has been very puffy. But with opaque black tights they’re not too horrendous.

I have a pair of black-and-grey oxfords – they were light grey all over, which didn’t go with anything I had (but I bought them cos they were cheap!!) until last October when I got a Sharpie pen and coloured them black, except for the tongue. The laces are also still grey. So I wore those on my feet, which looked fine.

On the top I wore a long navy-and-grey tunic. I wasn’t totally sure about the navy with black but it looked okay.

But I was very pleased with the skirt…I had been looking for one for a while, but don’t often get the chance to look round the shops. I can squeeze in about 30 minutes on a Wednesday before my lessons start, and so three weeks ago I did a very quick trawl round the shops. I found a black skirt in Armand Thiery, and not having time to try it on, took it home. It was not at all right, so I took it back for a refund the following week. Popped into M&SModes and saw another black skirt. Again, not having time to try it on, I took it home. Not at all right (and a size too big, which was a pleasant surprise, as I’d taken what I thought was my size!) . So I took it back the following week for a refund. And just popped back into A.T. to have a last look at the sale rack.And there, reduced by 60% to 13€ was the exact skirt I’d been looking for – and (as I’d discovered I was smaller than expected!) in a size I could fit into!

It’s a look I’m planning on exploring a little bit more.

This is the look I was going for, but my skirt is shorter and I’m nowhere near that thin!!

 

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Today I have mostly been…

…teaching and filing papers!

Over at Fat Dormouse I was bemoaning the fact that I had a difficult lesson today – catching up with a group for their final 16 hours after a 9 month break. It wasn’t easy, and there was way too much Teacher Talking Time (a no-no in ESL training!) but it wasn’t quite as difficult as anticipated. I hadn’t planned quite enough of the right level of revision work, but I was pleased with my on the hoof fill-the-last-30-minutes exercise.

They’d already worked in pairs to complete a questionnaire entitled “How Healthy Are You?” with questions like “How often do you go to the gym?” (we were practising using adverbs of frequency/ frequency expressions) so I asked them to work in the same pairs to create the questions and marking system for a questionnaire called “How hard do you work?” They managed to come up with some appropriate questions and possible answers (How often do you have a coffee break? How often do you sleep at work? etc) , and by the time they’d asked each other the questions, the last half-hour was finished!! Huzzah!

My other lesson later today will be easier – already planned, with one student. And dinner cooked by Mr FD on my return.

The other complaint at Fat Dormouse was the fact that, having cleared my teaching shelves, I have an awful lot of filing of random worksheets/lesson plans/resources to do. Instead of tackling it all at once (which is very unlikely to happen!) each time I sit at y desk to do some work,I take a small/large handful of papers (depending on how urgent the work is that I’ve got to do) and file them before starting anything else. Gradually, the pile should diminish! Except I didn’t do that before starting this blog post, so I shall do it now!

Play Your Cards Right!

We have two lovely neighbours who live across the square from us, called Monique and Michel. I don’t think I have ever met anyone as generous and giving as they are. Last Monday we went across for a drink and a “Happy New Year” – there had been a mix-up (not sure if it was my French or not!) and they arrived Chez Nous but on seeing my confused face, they quickly invited us over to their place (as I had expected!) We spent a couple of hours drinking vin de pamplemousse (grapefruit wine) and eating smoked salmon, and chatting away in a strange mixture of French and English.

Here’s a very wonky picture of their shop & house.

I took a plate of chocolate chip cookies, a bottle of wine & some chocolates for them, plus the handmade card I showed you last week; but we were bowled over by the generosity of their gift for us – two lovely cups, filled with Werthers Originals & chocolate plus a vintage serving dish! It is always a pleasure to spend time with them.

It has been decided that we are going to start playing cards with them (TBH I’m not a great fan of card games, but I didn’t have a lot of say in the matter!) So next Monday, they are coming to us to learn how to play Crib – about the only card game I’m willing to tolerate –

and then the fortnight after we are going there to learn how to play Tarot –which is nothing to do with telling fortunes, but a card game which looks exceedingly complicated!!

I’m not sure how easy it will be to describe how to play crib – and I think I may need to remind myself before we start! It’s been a great many years since I last played!

15 things about me.

Unsure about what to blog about I resorted to some questions that were on someone else’s blog. I’m not sure how interesting you may find them though…They’re all fairly standard fare.

1. What is your middle name?: Sarah. I quite like it, but I’m not totally wild about my whole name. I remember saying as much to my sister, who said “What would you change it to?” and I couldn’t think of anything I preferred!!

2. What was favourite subject at school?: English, no question! Especially English Language, which was an option up to O-Level. I enjoyed Religious Studies too, which I did because I wanted to, unlike most of the class who did it because they weren’t “allowed” to do Latin.

3. What is your favourite drink?: Wine! I really enjoy a glass of wine. I don’t know much about it, and generally choose wines by the label (If it’s pretty I buy it!) but I like a glass of the red stuff. Or the white…

I’d be quite tempted by any of these…

4. What is your favourite song at the moment?:  I don’t have one. I’ve been listening to quite a lot of Richard Hawley at the moment though, but I wouldn’t say it was a favourite.

5. What is your favourite food?: Again, I don’t really have one, but if its on a menu I will usually choose duck. Having read Lovely Grey writing about cassoulet recently, I may be including that in my week’s menus sometime soon!

6. What is the last thing you bought?: (that wasn’t food) A black skirt that I’m going to take back as it doesn’t suit. It’s A-line, but I think I want something more fitted. It was in the sales but it still wasn’t that cheap!

7. Favourite book of all time?:  Absolutely no way I could choose! Partly because I’ve probably forgotten it! This year I’ve decided to note down all the books I read. I am actually reading less at the moment – I think I read more in the summer when I have lunch on the balcony. Mr FD likes watching TV while he has lunch, and I can’t read while the TV is on. So if I’m outside I can read without being disturbed by the TV! I also read if I’m having lunch in a company where I’m teaching, but I’m not doing that at the moment.

8. Favourite Colour?:  A nice blue – the sort that you see on shutters….

9. Do you have any pets?: I have 4 cats, which I suspect you will know if you spend any time around this blog…

10. Favourite Movie?: Not sure, but I’d probably plump for either The Shawshank Redemption or Truly, Madly, Deeply.

Alan Rickman in “Truly, Madly, Deeply” Ah, that nose! Those hands! That voice!!!

11. How tall are you?: Just under 6 foot. Everyone in my family is quite tall, thanks to my dad measuring in at 6’2″ and mum at 5’8″. My brother is the tallest though at about 6′ 5″!

12. Can you cook? Yes, I can. I prefer cooking for friends than everyday cooking…I do get a bit stressed if things don’t go right though, and I’m not very good at tasting and working out what is lacking. My presentation leaves much to be desired!

13. Can you bake? Yes, but simple things. I’ve never had success with bread, and fancy cakes and desserts never seem worth the hassle. But loaf cakes, chocolate banana cake and other straightforward cakes I can do! I’d never make it on Bake-Off

14. Can you knit or crochet? Knitting I can do – just purl and knit though. I get lost following fancy patterns and my one time knitting a pullover for myself was a disaster! I would like to crochet but I didn’t have much success when I tried to learn a couple of years back. I ended up with a tiny yamulka rather than a flat granny square!

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Pooh-Bear models the tiny yamulke

15. What skill would you like to have that you don’t have? Many! Whatever people I know can do I wish I could do it… Paint, sing, write…I don’t feel at call talented at anything and wish I was!!

More cards…

I spent a little while making cards yesterday – still enamoured with my butterfly cutting die and my Big Shot I used that to make this card for our dear neighbours across the way:

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I used some lovely vintage paper that I was sent last year with the cracker swap. I’ve never used it – I think it is too lovely to cut up! – but I finally decided that I really should use it for what it was meant for! I picked out the gold with the butterflies; the bottom part cut from two different gold cards, and the top using some gold recycled wrapping paper.

Inside I wrote:

En 2016 il y aura

  • des sourires, pour chasser la tristesse;
  • de l’audace, pour que les choses ne restant pas en place;
  • de la confiance, pour faire disparaitre les doutes;
  • des gourmandises, pour croquer et deguster la vioe;
  • du reconfort, pour adoucir les jours difficiles;
  • de la generosité, pour se nourrir du plaisir de partager;
  • des arcs-en-ciel, pour colorer des idées noires;
  • du courage, pour continuer à avancer

which could be translated as:

In 2016 there will be

smiles to dispel sadness;
daring, so that things do not remain in place;
the confidence to make doubts disappear;
delicacies to munch and give life a good taste;
consolation, to alleviate the difficult days;
generosity, to nourish you with the pleasure of sharing;
rainbows, to brighten dark thoughts;
courage to keep moving forward.

The other card also used the butterfly die, and an embossing folder too. It is a beautiful design, which I only seem to use for condolence cards at the moment. I really must use it for something cheerier:

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I just used cardstock that I had around. The embossed design was highlighted using a little known technique – brushing it carefully with old eyeshadow that I no longer use! I also used the same shade of eyeshadow to give a little colour around the sentiment.

I like both of thse better than the other card that I showed you earlier in the week with butterflies. I really need to learn that it’s better not just to plonk things on the base card, but to add another layer first!

Cancel Christmas!

It’s funny how the deaths of famous people affect others differently.

David Bowie died at the beginning of the week, and I thought for a moment “That’s sad” – because the death of anyone, especially through bastard cancer, is sad – but I wasn’t sure I could understand the gathering together of people in Brixton, New York, Berlin and the enormous laying of flowers. Yes, he was a pivotal player in the development of modern, popular music and I can see how many musicians today were affected by him, but I felt no more than a fleeting moment of sadness.

But Alan Rickman…? His death does bring tears to my eyes. Not just because I thought he had the most beautiful speaking voice ever, but he was a very good actor too. Sadly he won’t be sitting in his rocking chair at 80 years old.

There is also the fact that, for some inexplicable reason, he always made my heart flutter just a little bit.

If I’d been Maid Marion I would have left Robin Hood without a backward glance!!

RIP Alan Rickman.