Saturday 29 August 2015


I've re written and deleted most of this post twice as it was a lengthy moan fest.  I'm struggling atm.  Having to work in the place where I've been rejected twice for a permanent job is very difficult especially as I have a challenging class.  A challenging class that I was asked to take as it "wouldn't be fair for a new staff member to take it." My work/life balance is seriously screwed up.

So I'll just mention this one positive thing.  Our HMI report went public this week.  The education dept press release had this little extract:

"In both the primary and nursery classes, children are now making good progress in their learning and the standard of children’s writing and numeracy in P1 and P2 is high. Across the school, the pace of learning and level of challenge have improved which has led to better progress in literacy and numeracy overall."

I was the P2 teacher at the time of inspection.  No other classes were named.  The highest authority in education in Scotland has noted that standards in my class are high.  I'm desperately trying to be happy about it.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Kitchen floor decisions

I have very clever chickens.  Every one of those first 3 eggs was a double yoker!  :-) I made a goat's cheese omelette and it was delicious.

This is the inside of my lovely floor to ceiling cupboard.  As you can see it holds a lot!  However, when I had it built I didn't think it through.  It has been built directly onto the tiled floor, which would be fine if I wasn't changing the floor.

I really need to remove these tiles because A. they're old and grubby and B. they're spoiling the clean fresh look of the kitchen.  Plus I don't like them!! I've done my research and have taken advice from professionals.  I have 2 options. 
1.  Lay a floor directly on top of the tiles.  My options are laminate or vinyl. 
Laminate will raise the floor level significantly (it's already higher due to the tiles) which means you would have a teeny step up in and out of the kitchen from the hall.  And I'd have to take about an inch off the bottom of the purple door and cupboard doors. 
Vinyl would be quick and cheap but the grout lines on the tiles will begin to show through so they'd need to be filled and levelled before laying. 
I've found a product that combines vinyl on a laminate style board that clicks together and can be laid directly on the tiles IF they're completely level.  It's only 6mm thick so wouldn't raise the floor level much.  Downside is the cost :-(
2.  Remove the tiles back to the floor boards  This would be messy and time consuming, and I'd need to use some sort of angle grinder to cut the tiles round the cupboard that sits on the floor.  I'm not confident that I could do this myself.  But I could then choose a less expensive flooring option.
Mess v cost v convenience.  The frugal choice would be suck up the mess and save money.  But I'm back at work now and frankly it's not showing signs of being any easier than last year.  I'll know by tomorrow if the floor is level enough for the vinyl tile option.  Then I'll agonise over the cost!

This is poor Emma's ear.  She has a haematoma probably due to the amount of scratching she does.  She also has really mucky ears and hates having them cleaned out.  It's a 2 man job!  She's currently on steroids and antibiotics but after a week it hasn't improved much.  It may need surgery to be drained but that's a last resort.  She's really not herself and is very subdued.  I really hate it when animals aren't well as you have to second guess how much it hurts.  Fingers crossed it improves this week.

Friday 21 August 2015

First eggs

Every morning I've been checking the nesting box, just in case!  And this morning there were 2 eggs :-) Then when I came home from work there was another one!  Clever girls!! 

I am ridiculously happy over such a simple thing. No idea yet how I'm going to use them, I think I'm going to just look at them.

Saturday 15 August 2015

New kitchen on a tight budget Part 1

My kitchen is almost finished! HOORAY!!  I am so tired but all the painting and sanding and waxing is finally over.  I've created a unique kitchen for a fraction of the cost of having a new one installed.  The colours are claret and soft sage and brilliant white.  There should be a decal in the space above the cooker but I had a slight mishap(!) with it so a new one has been ordered.

This is what it looked like before.  It was filthy and covered in grease.  It was dark, dingy and just not nice to be in.
Yep, I painted a purple door!!  It'll have hooks to hang up my aprons.  I'm waiting for the joiner to return and custom make a door for the dishwasher and I've still to choose some new flooring to replace the manky floor tiles.  I haven't decided yet what to do.

My upcycled whiteboard and console table

These cupboards were built for me about a year ago as the kitchen really lacked storage.  This was my biggest expense.
I've still to put up my blind (reduced in the John Lewis sale!!) and add a few finishing touches. But all the hard work is finally over.  But was it worth it?  I've gone through phases where I regretted even starting this project.  I've made loads of mistakes, some of which resulted in making more work for myself.  That's a blog post in itself!! 
A joiner fitted the cupboards and I got someone in to replaster and tile 2 of the walls. But apart from OH doing the electrical stuff and my lovely mum spending one day helping with the ceiling (it hurts my back rollering a ceiling and this ceiling needed 3 coats of paint!!) I've done everything else all by myself
I'm proud of that. 

Monday 10 August 2015

Final week

With only one week of the school holidays left, I'm trying to pack in as much as I can.  Chickens are still alive.  They're now 20 weeks old and should be nearly ready to start laying :-)

I tried a new slow cooker recipe for pulled beef.  So easy!
Balsamic pulled beef
1 small brisket joint
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup water (original recipe said beef stock but I didn't have any)
1 tbsp. Worcester sauce
1 tbsp. tamari (soy sauce)
Mix wet ingredients and pour over joint.  I did it 1 hour on High then 6 hours on Low.
It was melt in the mouth delicious! Next time I'll try less vinegar and add some honey and maybe some chilli.
I'm doing loads of painting, sanding and waxing in my kitchen.  I've made a few mistakes in the order that things should have been done but you live and learn.  I've made life harder for myself. Hey ho! I'm going to Glasgow tomorrow to try and find some fabric to jazz up a plain white roller blind.  The Teenager thinks the kitchen is boring as it's all painted white.  He can't imagine it once I've added all the coloured accessories.

This console table was very dark.  It's had the first coat of chalk paint.  I'm thinking it might need 2 more coats of paint then waxed.  I am determined to get this kitchen finally finished! 

And here's The Teenager all ready for his work experience.  He loved it and is sure that radiology is want he wants to do.  Phew!!

Wednesday 5 August 2015

The comedy cupboard

Sarah, this is the comedy cupboard.  You know, the one where you hold everything in and shut the doors quickly.  The one where everything falls out when you open it.  The one that you keep meaning to sort out.  The one where you don't actually know what's in all the boxes (definitely crafting stuff, I think!)  We call it the comedy cupboard cos it made OH laugh the first time he saw it.
What do you call that cupboard in your house folks? :-)

Tuesday 4 August 2015

A productive day

It's exam results today here in Scotland as thousands of anxious teenagers and their parents find out if they've achieved the grades for university.  I am so proud of The Teenager as he got the 4 Bs he needed to do a degree in Diagnostic Radiology. Tomorrow he begins 3 days of work experience in the radiology department in 2 of Edinburgh's hospitals.  The course he wants to do requires some hospital experience as well as the exam grades.  He can now enjoy a gap year knowing that he has the option to go to university if he wants.  I'm not placing any pressure on him, it's his choice.  Only pressure I'm putting on him is to get a job, paid or voluntary!  I think all young people should experience how hard you have to work for minimum wage.  I had a variety of jobs as a teenager including working in a video shop, a pharmacy and customer services!  I wouldn't say I enjoyed them but it gave me money in my pocket and experience to put on application forms.

In a concerted effort to use what we already have I'm continuing to organise and decorate with what we already have.  I've found a few things in the garage that I'm going reuse in a different way.  Watch this space!

And more reusing. This watch was a 21st birthday gift for my oldest son from an old girlfriend (he's now 28!)  He'd never worn it and gave it to The Teenager.  The strap was too big and the battery needed replacing.  A quick trip into town cost me £8 for a new battery and £9.99 to get it resized.  Similar styles are around £100 so he's got a decent wearable watch for less than £20.
I also put my main sewing machine into the shop to get serviced.  I was gobsmacked that it cost me £89!!  It's not been running well and had never been serviced in the 10 years I've had it so hopefully I'll see a huge difference when I get it back. Then I can get on with some curtain making, again using fabrics I already have in my comedy cupboard. 
I had a gift card for Waterstones so treated The Teenager to a graphic novel.  He had a gift card for Next so got himself 2 work shirts and a tie.  Cost us nothing!
All in all, a productive day so far and it's only 3pm :-)

Sunday 2 August 2015

Scuppered again!

I really shouldn't make big plans for the school holidays, they always get scuppered.  Last summer, I put my back out.  This summer I developed stomach issues that needed kick ass antibiotics and painkillers *sighs* 
One thing I hadn't taken into account was that in removing gluten from my diet I also removed the easiest source of fibre in wholewheat. Being stressed for the last few months at work followed by being lazy about my holiday eating habits (not enough fruit n veg and too many 'treats') resulted in a bit of a collapse.  I had an infected colon.  Abdominal pain akin to labour pain isn't fun!  But I'm nearly back to normal, with a mission to consciously watch my fibre intake.  I'm hoping it was a temporary issue fixable by diet and not the long term diagnosis of diverticulitis my GP suggests :-(

So I've been taking it easy, just doing a few wee bits n pieces of painting and sorting out stuff.  Today I finished waxing my chalk painted kitchen cupboard doors. And as a reward I baked myself some scones.  Not from scratch but from this mix that's been in the store cupboard for ages.  I added Pure sunflower spread and some sheep's yoghurt to the mix.  I had some with my lovely mum's raspberry jelly.  They were really tasty!