Wednesday, 18 December 2013

The Hair, Tattoo followed by Lots of Experiments, Last Meals and a Belt to Hold them in, and I'm a Hero and want you to be too!

So all of this happened...

My housemates never used to believe me when I said that brushing out my curls would give me an afro...

My head's not that big, there's just lots of hair!

They do now!!

My housemate got a tattoo, and I went with her for moral support...

We did some fun 'science' experiments in Practical Skills, like this:

Which is called Dancing Raisins - you drop raisins in lemonade, and they rise and sink alternately due to bubbles of carbon dioxide getting caught in their wrinkles, then popping when they reach the surface...

And this one, which mimics the impact a meteorite would have upon hitting earth - you sift flour over a tray so that it is half an inch thick all over, then you sift a very thin covering of cocoa powder over that. Then you drop tasty little chocolate balls (whose name rhymes with walteser) from a height and see how the top soil is thrown everywhere and a crater is left...

... And we did this experiment, which was meant to show how different temperatures of water work but wasn't so successful - you submerge a bottle full of hot blue water in a bowl full of cold yellow water and in theory the blue water will stay near the surface so only the top water will be blue or green. In reality it didn't come out of the bottle at all, so we just tipped the bottle and enjoyed watching the colours blend!

And we tried out beer goggles to teach us to be careful when we drink:

As you can see, they made standing straight a challenge, and I had to hold onto things to stay upright! As for caring for children...

Note: no babies were harmed. Or real.

My face says it all. I almost stepped on another baby on a 'safe spot' on the floor trying to reach this one. And that's why you shouldn't drink whilst working with children!

We had a controlled conditions, timed essay which stressed everyone out. So the morning of the essay, we made pancakes, and generally behaved as though it was our last meal on Death Row!

I got awarded my brown belt - which you get in exchange for completing a whole lot of work! So I was very pleased to be given it. Ignore the wonky bow, and note that by this photo it is not at all obvious which nanny college I go to!

And then I came home to Manchester for Christmas, and yesterday I went and gave blood. I know, I sound all braggy! But I really believe that if you can, you should give blood often. One day it might be you, or your friend, or your baby, who is in that hospital and desperately needs blood. And a stranger will have donated their blood to save you or your friend or your baby. I find the whole experience sort of fun - the actual donating doesn't hurt at all. Sticking the needle in hurts a little, but not even as much as stabbing yourself with a pin. After that, all discomfort is done with. It takes about 10 minutes, and you won't even feel the blood coming out. I find that the needle doesn't hurt at all when it's being removed, and they plaster you up to make sure it stops bleeding quickly! The donor carers are lovely, and laugh with you, and exclaim over the little fellow painted on your thumbnail:

They were shocked that I'd done him myself (note: cotton wool bud and head of a pin are all you need tools-wise!), and jokingly made requests for me to do their nails too!

 and there's barely a mark to show after donating - look:

 This is my arm the day after. That little red dot just below my elbow? That's where they took it from. If you didn't know I'd given blood, you wouldn't notice it. It aches a little when I stretch my arm out as straight as possible, and they say not to do any heavy lifting, but otherwise I have no side effects at all.

It's so important to me to give blood as often as possible. It really is saving people's lives. It's a free way to find out your blood group - I'm B-. And you get free crisps, biscuits and and a brew afterwards. Just think how easy it is to save people! Being a hero and lying down at the same time? the best kind of heroism! And what better time to do this than in the season of giving? They do those corny adverts about giving the gift of life, but it's true - you really are giving someone the best gift.

I spent today catching up with a friend, then visiting my grandparents, who spoilt me rotten as they always do! Tomorrow, hopefully I will be seeing another friend, and Friday I'm seeing another! So it's all go-go-go here! What do you do over your Christmas holidays? Have you ever given blood? What science experiments do you remember doing when you were younger?

Love love xx

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Snowy toes, Sewing for Children, Natural beauty, and Birthdays

Why yes, those are my toes - and yes, I painted those snowmen myself! No, I don't really have the time to be wasting on things like this - but I did it anyway. And it's lovely to see blogger allowing me to load a picture for once! It's been so frustrating recently, not being able to.

So here are a few photos of what I've been up to recently:

Sewing a 'taggy' for Nanny College - it's a lilypad!

 And the back...

 ... And a close-up! So we weren't technically meant to quilt it, but I wanted to sandwich the layers together, and after I'd done it the teacher looked at it and told me it was a good use of the pattern of the fabric! Win for disobedience!

Then a scary creature attacked me:

 Isn't it beautiful?! I know you can't tell from the photo, but this butterfly was huuge!! Here, let me show you another picture of it...

Isn't it amazing?! It flew into my room, so as the good human that I am, I caught it to release it, and as the blogger that I am, I photographed it lots before I released it! The colours were just incredible on this peacock butterfly...

And this little one turned 1!!! I can't believe it - a whole year of this little boy! So I went back to Manchester and went to his birthday party, which was brilliant. I got to see him walking around, which was the first time I'd seen it. I gave a book of his year of photos as a gift - more for Manndibles than Bilbo really, but what mum has time to do a photo album?!

I finish Nanny College in 2 weeks for Christmas - very exciting! I'm looking forward to going home, but first I have to complete 2 modules and part of a third. So it's off to work I go!

Love love xx

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Issues with Intelligence

Blogger has been taking issues with me posting photos, so there will (hopefully) be a post soon with lots of lovely photos of what I've been up to recently. In the meantime, there's something I want to talk about, something that's been on my mind and my heart for a while.

I am intelligent. I know, sounds like I'm boasting, but actually it's just a statement. I am intelligent. I did very well in my exams at the ages of 11, 16 and 18. I speak Spanish fluently, and I see maths like artwork. I love Maths because there's only one right answer, and I love English because there are so many possible answers. I love the beauty I see in the world around me because of science and God, and I love to sew thigns of beauty. My sister is incredibly intelligent, unbelievably intelligent. She has been reading since she was 2, reading adult books and classic literature since she could read. She excels in near enough everything she tries. She puts a lot of effort into learning and developing skills, but she has natural aptitude in academic areas too. In fact, my entire family is intelligent. we're all academic. I am the stupidest of all of us, and I'm intelligent. My family speaks french fairly fluently, and enjoys discussions about politics, the economy, controversial topics, the mechanisms in life, and intangible concepts. They use language that has rarely been heard in the last 2 decades, and joke about the crossover of sounds of words and meanings of words. We enjoy our intelligence, and enjoy learning, and consolidating learning. I don't think my family would disagree with that statement - we take an interest in knowledge and wisdom and understanding.

So why am I made to feel ashamed to speak in college? Why must I feel too embarrassed to contribute to discussions in lectures? The girls all complain about how annoying it is for people who haven't done well academically to be held back by streaming, or teachers, or situations. They talk about being able to do better - indeed, so many of them beat their predicted grades in school. But when they talk about it, they talk about predicted grades of D's and U's. They beat the predictions by getting C's. And that's great. But if I try to agree, or mention the challenges of being at the other end, the pressure of being intelligent and the stress it brings, or the frustration of being held back because you're already in the top set and the teacher has provided nothing more to challenge you - well, I haven't mentioned half of those things, because I've felt too embarrassed, ashamed, guilty. When I have mentioned any of these thigns, I've been shot down, sneered at, or disagreed with that it's not a problem at all, and I should redirect my focus down to the unfairness that they experienced.

I know that this is a practical-based college, that the academic grade expectation is low. But in a society, and particularly in a college, which believes that every child should have their needs catered to, why are mine not? In fact, when I tried to talk about this with a friend in the college, even she shot me down and told me that everyone was catered to, and when I said that only the majority was, she told me that meant everyone was. Not only is that incorrect, but it's also unfair. If you only ever cater to the majority, the minority suffer. In a world that believes 'no child should suffer', why is this ethos allowed to continue even subconsciously? I know that change takes time, and I'm not even saying that I shouldn't take classes with people who are less academic than me.It is great that their needs are catered to, that college is accepting of all, that students with dyslexia, dyscalculia, or cognitive delays have their specific needs catered to. But the emphasis is always on catering to those below the average, never on those above. We challenge below-average children to fill their potential - what about me? What about all my potential that I'm not being challenged to meet? Why is there no provision for helping me to be better, learn more (or anything, as it currently stands)?

I realise I sound like a whiny child. But I am tired of listening with sympathy to people complaining that their below-average needs deserve to be met. Everyone's needs deserve to be met. Yes, you have individual needs if you have dyslexia. Yes, you have individual needs if you have dyscalculia. But guess what? I have individual needs too, that involve me not sitting in lectures or discussions all day every day being bored by having to go over information I have heard 5 times before, that I understood half an hour ago. I have needs that involve me not having to sit silently through discussions because I might upset people by talking about the challenges of being intelligent. If you can talk about how challenging it is to suck at maths, I should be able to talk about the challenges of being incredible at maths, at having a teacher who refers to you to check that her answers are correct, at having to teach yourself your GCSE because you're 6 modules ahead of everyone else.

When will we stop focusing only on the people who can't, and start focusing on the people who can as well?

I can't say any more. I realise this is a rant, and that maybe there is nothing constructive in what I say. I don't know how to solve this problem. Maybe the majority feels that there isn't a problem. And I guess majority rules, right?

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Excuses, excuses...

I've been very idle about my blog. There is a reason for this, albeit not a very good one: my camera memory card got full, so I couldn't take photos, so I felt like my life suddenly got very boring. Told you it wasn't a good reason! I have also had my first week back at college, mind, so I have been super busy and super tired. Hopefully I shall go and get a new camera card tomorrow or Saturday, so i shall post some beautiful and very amateur photos again soon.

PS. I also didn't realise how useful my politics and philosophy A levels would be to me when doing a degree in Early Years. strange!

Love love xx

Saturday, 19 October 2013

21st celebrations, including lovely gifts and cards and experiences, plus my mum came down and brought my sewing machine, the first sewing project made in Bath, and my week working on Maternity ward

So, it's official! I'm 21! I had an amazing birthday the other week - my placement were very excited! The mum gave me a huge balloon:

Which is still floating in my room!! Very impressive, definitely earning its moneys-worth! It makes me smile every time I see it, bobbing around.

She also gave me this beautiful card which she made herself:

Isn't that just stunning!! It's such a beautiful card, I can't believe the effort she went to! And she wasn't the only one...

The 4 yr old drew me a card as well! There is nothing I love better than a card which a child makes for me; it shows such care on the part of the child. For them to focus on something like this for such a long time -!

My placement family also gave me this book:

It's full of projects to make, with beautiful photos all through. There are so many things in there which I want to make, and the images are so inspirational. Even the front cover - I love the style! It's a book brought out by a (for want of a better word) store in Bath, which runs courses and classes in sewing and making, called The Makery. It also hosts parties and sells habadashery items. Very cool!

So I was given all of that amazing stuff from my placement family, then we chilled at home in the morning before going off for cake and coffee early afternoon with a friend and their child. The 2 older children were pretty tired from school in the morning, so their emotions were running a little high; but it was a lovely afternoon, with chats and laughs.

My mum came down the weekend before, and stayed a night. It was lovely - we chilled out Saturday evening, and went to Newark Park on Sunday. It's a lovely hunting lodge, not too big for a ramble, but very interesting and really pleasant. She also brought down my sewing machine:

And the bag of sewing machine extras (I made the bag with my sewing machine!!):

 And the gift my sister got for me:

An ice cream maker!! Very exciting! I can't wait to make some ice cream! I've wanted one of these for so, so long, so I can't wait to try out some recipes.

My mum also spoilt me by getting me an extra gift of this adorable fabric:

 Isn't that just ridiculous?! I'm so grateful - she knows what I like!! It's one of those fabrics you just can't leave a shop without buying.

 I got this lovely card from my Friday babysitting family:

 The 3 yr old drew these pictures of himself (left) and his little brother (right) which was just lovely and sweet and oh-so-cute! And they gave me a gift card to buy a book, and some delicious chocolates!

 And my housemates also got me some yummy chocolates, which are mostly stashed at the back of my cupboard in order to savour them(!), and this notebook, which is utterly stunning:

 It has a quote from the bible on the front of it - to be exact, Exodus 33:14. Notebooks come in so useful for studying the bible, so I know I'm going to love writing in this one!

We also went to La Tasca as a house, and had a delicious meal together which was lovely - our first meal out as a house!

And the final thing I want to show you is this:

 yep, I wanted to use my machine, so I threw this quilt together. Oh yes, I did just say 'threw together'. Because I took blocks I already had, joined them together, and quilted and bound it in a day! It nbow sits on my bed, and is super warm and snuggly! the batting in the middle is 50% bamboo, 50% cotton, so it's really soft and warm and delicious! I also ordered some other materials to start another quilt, and I know there are some bits and pieces in my room at my parents' house for quilting too, so it's going to be a busy quilting year I think! I used fabrics I already had for the back:

See how simple I kept it?!

And then a super simple siggy block on the back, too:

Just my name and the year it was made, nice and simple! I love the wavy stitch here - it's really simple as well, but it's very pretty and covers a multitude of sins easily. It also can give the impression of there not being a seam or an edge there, which I love! I've used it before on my mum's machine, when I made the wife's quilt, and when I made my laptop bag. I used bias binding I already had for this quilt, just to keep it quick and simple. I like making my own binding, but pre-made is just as good, and much quicker to sew.

So yeah, the last 2 weeks in pictures! I've spent this past week working on the maternity ward, which has been an incredible, indescribable experience. Lots of baby cuddles have happened, and baby baths and topping and tailing and first nappies and lots and lots of changing beds. It has been a full ward all week and I've loved it! I've had some hilarious conversations with mums about the real nitty gritty details of giving birth - those things you don't usually learn about until you actually have your own baby! One mum said that she didn't know you had to deliver the placenta after the baby; lots of mums said there was no preparation for the amount of pain having a baby came with; many of them described the tenderness and discomfort of the aftermath (the waddling that doesn't stop once you've had a baby!); and many of them talked about how weird it was that that was inside them only a few hours before. Truly a worthwhile experience, and I feel so lucky to have been able to do that. Having said that, I got a sicky bug from one of the mums and ended up missing out on the last day because I was ill. I feel much better already, but I didn't want to risk passing it on to any other mums or their babies, so I stayed off yesterday.

And that's all for now!

Love love xx

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Turning 21, and a flurry of photos about myself, including making, baking, jamming and a whole lot of Nature

Tomorrow is my birthday. My 21st, to be exact. Scary stuff! I don't feel old enough to be that old - it sounds like such a big, grown-up age to be and I'm not a grown-up, am I? But apparently so.

I've had an amazing few weeks at placement - the mum is lovely, the boys are sweet and amazing, and I have so much fun!

So what have I been up to recently? Brace yourselves for a whole lot of photos! Well, this happened at home:

 This is bubble dough, made according to these instructions which I pinned on Pinterest.

 See how it breaks?


 And stretches...

 And then I made it with the older boy at placement - again, it stretches...

 And snaps!

And then this happened:

Yum! That, my friends, is a plum crumble! My placement mum spoils me, sending various treats and tidbits home with me all the time. On this occasion, she sent me home with a bag of plums, which duly got made into crumble for the whole house to enjoy.


 Isn't that beautiful!

Then there was a day at placement where I discovered this:

 Isn't this just incredible?! A stunning butterfly got stuck inside. Being a good person, I released it. Being human, however, I took lots of photos first! It was a great opportunity to get close-up photos:

 How stunning is that?! Hold on, let me give you a bigger photo...

Just look at that! Okay, maybe I'm some kind of sucker, but I just love the details that went into creating such a tiny, perfect, fragile creature - the downy fur near the body, the colours, the actual symmetry!! How is that even possible??

I find nature to be incredible - it works so perfectly, it doesn't seem possible at all. But it is. Another few photos:

 Sunset outside placement...

I walk this walk twice a day, to and from placement, every day. Am I not the luckiest person alive?! I mean, it's really super steep, and I'm always out of breath climbing to the top. But in exchange I get to see all the amazing colours, and leaves and plants and life mingling - truly, the colours I see are just awe-inspiring...

See?! I'm not sure that there's a single shade of pink or purple not found somewhere in there...

 As far as I can tell, these are snowberries. They look beautiful and plump, and bursting with white juiciness. They're poisonous. It's a shame, because they're everywhere just now, and do look so attractive to eat.

After going blackberry picking with my placement family, my housemates and I caught the bug and went out near our house - there's a field right outside with bushes dripping with berries. I turned a few of the berries into a fruit mix with pears which was stewed gently and made for a bowlful of yumminess when mixed with yoghurt - again, an idea I got from my placement. I love how my placement mum feeds the family, and I'm constantly making mental notes all the time I'm there, not even for future children or anything, but for myself!

The rest of the berries got turned into jam:

 For most of my housemates, I think, this was the first time they'd ever seen jam being made. Fascinating for them to see, especially when ti came to the wrinkle test (checking if the jam is set).

We got some jars of dark, beautiful goodness from the berries! It tasted great on toast!

And speaking of jam, I made plum jam at my placement:

Again, it looks so beautiful! Such a pretty colour, and it tasted wonderful! My placement mum so sweetly sent 2 jars of jam home with me, one to share with my housemates and one for myself!

The hamsters have been a lot of fun so far. One of them, Houdini, earned his name because the minute the lights go out he heads straight for his wheel. the minute you switch on a light to catch him in the act, he's gone. No matter how fast you are, it's like he senses it! we managed to capture 2 photos of him in the wheel, I think? after an hour of trying!

And finally, one of my housemates got this beasty on her wall. Needless to say, she was terrified, and mama Beth had to remove it...

 that's all - a long post of photos, I know, but I hope you enjoyed them!

Love love xx

PS. a couple of amusing links for you to enjoy:

Miley Cyrus Wrecking Ball Parody

Ylvis - The Fox (What does the Fox say?)

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