Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Equality and Diversity training

Mandatory Equality and Diversity training yesterday afternoon. We had to begin by going round the room saying our names, what our job titles were and what we expected to get out of the training - well given that we had all been handed the three-line whip about going, I'm not sure that anyone had really planned to get anything out of it!!!!

Then we did an ice-breaker which was vaguely related to the whole equality and diversity thing - the trainer asked a series of questions and we had to stand up if we would answer 'yes' to the question. For example 'who goes to sports matches regularly,' or 'who watches a soap opera.'

Apparently I am the only person in the office who regularly practises a religion. So that's me pegged as the religious nut in the office!!!

Actually, the more interesting thing was that a few questions before that she had asked 'who feels happy to say that they have no religion,' and out of the room of about 20 of us, 5 people stood. So taking off those and me, there's about 14 people at work who either don't want to say they have no religion, or feel they have religion but just don't 'practice' it 'regularly.' Whatever that means!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Salted Caramel Brownies

Yum, yummy, yum, yum! And oh so bad for you...

You can just about see the glistening caramel centre of the brownies - sadly not as obvious and impressive as the pic on the website! Recipe is here and it was lovely and easy to follow and you can really taste the caramel - I was a bit worried it would get lost in all that lovely brownie.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Golden Syrup Steamed Pudding

I love golden syrup steamed pudding. It's one of my abiding memories of visiting my Nan and our family in Cambridgeshire - winter or summer, there would always be a steamed pudding on the table, lovingly steamed by Nan for probably around 4 hours!

But I've never made one myself...until this weekend. Leigh found a recipe for me and I gave it a go today. Despite not really being able to check how it's getting on during cooking it came out really well. My only amendments to the recipe are that I had to add 5 tbspns milk to make it a dropping consistency (I stuck to my guns assuming that 'dropping consistency' was the key, rather than sticking to the recipe's 1-2 tbspns milk) and the whole things needs more syrup!

(sadly I forgot to take a photo of it before anyone got their spoons in!)

Ingredients :
  1. *   3 rounded tbsp Golden Syrup
  2. *   115g butter or margarine
  3. *   115g Caster Sugar
  4. *   2 medium eggs, beaten
  5. *   Grated zest 1 lemon
  6. *   175g self-raising flour, sifted
  7. *   1 - 2 tbsp milk

Method :
1. Grease a 900ml pudding basin. Put the golden syrup in the bottom of the basin.
2. In a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the beaten eggs, a little at a time and beat well after each addition.
3. Add the lemon zest. Using a metal spoon, fold in half the flour, then fold in the rest, adding sufficient milk to give a dropping consistency.
4. Spoon the mixture into the basin, cover with greased baking parchment or foil, and secure with string. Steam over a pan of boiling water for about 1½ hours until well risen and firm to the touch.

Saturday, January 19, 2013


We were predicted snow at the beginning of the week - and we just had a sprinkling really, nothing very much. Stories of blizzards and heavy snow in other parts of the country flooded in...and ours arrived yesterday! It snowed pretty much all day and into the night and was a veritable winter wonderland when we got up this morning. The boys are VERY excited - Zachary has been asking every day since Monday whether his school is closed because of the snow!

So, thermos in hand we went sledging today and it was fab. I don't think I've ever been real sledging before - I grew up in Great Yarmouth on the coast in a very flat part of the country and even at uni although I remember snowball fights and snowman building, I'm not sure I ever went sledging (of course, my memory isn't entirely reliable!) We went to Highfields Park -

 which is the front part of the University of Nottingham and there were quite a lot of people there, but there was still lots of room...despite which we still managed to knock over one girl and crash into a tree. We saw one boy almost knock himself out on the back of a bench when his sledge slid underneath it!

The boys loved it - even Leo was practically racing back up the hill to go again! He did however have some kind of (as yet) unidentified problem with his feet as we were leaving (we think he might have just been feeling a bit tender as he's starting a cold) so only Zachary and Leigh had a snowball fight in the back garden when we got home. Snowmen and more snowballs tomorrow!

Monday, January 14, 2013


We held the first Caple game-a-thon yesterday!

We are big fans of board games at home and are now just reaching the stage where both boys are able to play games with us at home. Certainly Leo's concentration will hold for the shorter games we have and it seems that he does better with a series of shorter games (like yesterday) rather than one longer game (like Mice and Mystics which we've tried a couple of times. Zachary can manage it in full, but Leo tends to switch off about half-way through!). But that makes sense really. And turning it into a competition made it an even more attractive proposition - the boys love competitions!

All our names went into a hat and were drawn out randomly although some how Leigh's name always came out first and Zachary's second! So we played :

Monster Factory - game I think of as a bit like Carcassonne! Basically you have to make monsters by matching up tiles - you either have to match a big purple section or a small green section. This game makes the boys laugh a lot - they love looking at all the different monster parts!

Loopin' Louie - protect your chickens from mad flying Louie

Mario Kart Wii - one lap of the Mario Circuit. I won that. Nice

The Enchanted Tower - a great game where Robin is racing around a forest trying to find the key to the Princess' tower before the wicked sorcerer who imprisoned her there. Once the key is found you then have to find the right lock as well - will the trials and tribulations of a hero never end??

Tier auf Tier - Animal on Animal, this is a balancing game and Leo is just about dextrous enough to enjoy this now and be able to balance some pieces

Nintendo Land - a bit of a race around some of the games on the WiiU

Expedition Dino - nice bit of archeology here uncovering a dinosaur and trying to find the most bones

Monza - a card car racing game, brilliant now that both the boys are hot on their colours

Beeren Klau'n - a game of berry stealing!

Gulo Gulo - another dexterity game for children, trying to steal eggs from a nest using some rather excitingly coloured wolverines!

Points were awarded to everyone (4 for first place, 3 for second etc) and there was a bit of fudging when we had to play in teams for some of the games, but the final result was ....

Yes, our 4 year old won and was extremely pleased with himself - hurrah!!

And to round off the day, Leigh and I played his new game Legends of Andor - we didn't complete the Introductory quest - if only we'd had one more hour!!!! (or had read the instructions properly about movement....)

All in all a great day which entirely made up for the fact that I dropped my phone into the toilet the day before. Good job I'd already ordered an upgrade!

Friday, January 11, 2013


n. noise with dirt on it

(from one of my friends' Facebook status' today!)

(Oh, and the appraisal went well too :-) )

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


I have my first appraisal at work tomorrow - aaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhh!!!!

But it's okay because I can make my life so much better (would just like to point out that I already use the fitted sheet folding method!!!)...

Sunday, January 06, 2013

New year, new me - well, sort of!

Despite a fairly constant cold for the past 2 weeks, I can genuinely say I've had a really great Christmas holiday. The boys have both really got into it this year and been excited about the build-up and Christmas day was lovely (although Zachary was awake at 3am asking when he could get up! Fortunately he dropped back off to sleep about half 4 until 7ish). We also weren't able to go an visit my family in Norfolk until after New Year, and being around about at home for that week between Christmas and New Year gave us all a chance to relax and not feel as though we were haring about the country. I even had a few evenings where I wasn't thinking about things I ought to be doing!

But the decorations came down today and it's time for work tomorrow. I'm not dreading it but I've got far too used to being at home again and getting up at 6.30 is going to be a killer! I've already got a list of jobs to do on Thursday...

We've managed to do quite a bit of sorting and clearing out over the holiday - not that it's created a huge amount of new space, but certain areas of the house don't feel quite so crowded now! The cook books have been sorted through and a few designated for the charity shop, the loft/games room/hobby room/craft room has had a good tidy, and we've sorted out all the 'baby' toys from the toy storage to make room for Christmas presents - the boys were pretty good about that, they were both keen to point out things they felt they had grown out of. The annoying small plastic toys they get from McDonalds and from the front of comics were a different matter though and I had to be more discrete about those. I wasn't entirely successful on my first try - cue Zachary standing over the bin - "but I need that" small, plastic tractor which has a wheel missing and who's trailer cannot be found! Gentle persuasion and further 'tidying' after they'd gone to bed sorted that one out...

I have also made some tentative resolutions - I've tried not to be too ambitious because I know I'll fail immediately! I'm going to try to make further contact with some of the mums of children in Zachary's class and have some of his friends over for tea occasionally, there's the annual promise to myself to try to eat less cake, but I haven't made any resolutions about exercise! I know I need some but not quite sure how to fit it in yet! It appears my work has got corporate membership at the local golf club which has a gym and swimming pool so I may be able to start making use of my lunch hours there.

I'm also going to try and be a bit more go-getting at work - my first step on this is to try and arrange some management training, or something similar. I want to work towards promotion at work and I really need to get myself into gear management-wise so I can be a bit more proactive.

Finally I've have thought about some female role-models to help me on my way - okay that sounds a bit weird when I type it, and please don't laugh when I tell you who they are. Out of the many noble and successful women I could choose, I have pitched myself at, a lady at my previous work who is not much older than me but always impressed me with the way she worked and was just ultra-organised (she also won some kind of young achiever of the year award a few years' back), Tina Fey as she is just brilliant and successful, and Miranda Hart for generally being happy with who she is (and her clumsiness reminds me of me!).

Happy New Year!

Friday, January 04, 2013

Robot bums

One of my regular Christmas presents from Leigh is a wonderful calendar choc-full of family photos from the previous year (and with really big boxes to write stuff in!).

Zachary was having a look through it last night and reading out some of the public holidays and important events which the calendar people print in it. He was a bit confused by 'robot bums' night though....that'll be Robert Burns night to everyone else!!!!