Ernie and his greens

August 11, 2016 - Leave a Response

Public Speaking Competition at School

D: Hello! Today I’m going to be talking about giant green sea turtles – and specifically one called Ernie [picture].

This amazing creature can live for up to 150 years – almost as old as your mum and dad!

Giant green sea turtles can be much much bigger than Ernie, who is about half as big as your car – and he is only 11!

Do you want to know why he’s called a GREEN sea turtle? Well, it’s because he eats lots of seaweed and greens – including brussel sprouts and broccoli – bleurgh! I don’t SEA (get it?) how he can eat those things. But, luckily (probably to take the taste away) he eats sea creatures like jelly fish. 

The reason why his species are greatly endangered is because they eat plastic bags like children eat fast food – because he mistakes this rubbish for jelly fish, floating on top of the water. It gets right into their guts and it takes ages to break down – as you’ll know from learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. 

This makes the turtles think they are full, but they’re not getting any nutrition from the bags at all, so they die. And then….REST IN PEACE turtles [rip picture].

But I don’t want to leave….

June 24, 2016 - Leave a Response

Me: Do you remember us talking before about the vote that people had about us working with the EU, the European Union?

D: Yes.

Me: Well, I want to listen to the news at 8 o’clock because that vote was yesterday and apparently we have voted to leave the EU.

D: But I don’t want to leave! Did you vote?

Me: Yes.

D: What did you vote?

Me: To stay with the EU.

D: Then we can stay can’t we? I don’t want to go!

Me: We don’t have to physically move anywhere, but we won’t work as closely with other European countries as we used to.


Me: Yes! By post, weeks ago. It’s not just about me – our country is a democracy, so however the greatest number of people vote is what happens.

D: Well I still don’t want to leave. What does “pound drops to lowest level since 1984” mean?

Marvellous Marking and Merits from Mum

May 8, 2016 - Leave a Response

It’s one way to get your mum’s attention when she’s marking Year 9 rendering homework: Do the same homework and add it to the pile with the request that it also gets marked! Fantastic effort, Dylan 👌

Car conversations: handwriting stress

April 15, 2016 - Leave a Response

“Your day will be full of luck”
D received this message in a fortune cookie he was eating in the car, as we zipped from childminder’s to karate.

D: Well that’s great – not. There’s hardly any day left!

Me: But has your day felt lucky so far?

D: No! I got told off for my handwriting.

Me: Oh. Why did you get told off?

D: We were told to do our best, and I did my best, but my teacher said: “Dylan, you need to do something about your handwriting. We can’t do it – only you can do it.” She said it in the voice that told me she was really annoyed with me and was telling me off.

Me: What are you supposed to do about it and when? Just try harder whenever you write anything?

D: I don’t know – I did my best. You told me my handwriting wasn’t that bad. 

Me: I said your handwriting’s a lot better than a lot of students’ work that I see in secondary school. Your handwriting isn’t GOOD, but it’s certainly a lot tidier than some that I see. I’ll show you some examples and you can see if you like? Shall I tell you WHY teachers get so worked up about handwriting?

D: Why?

Me: Because, rightly or wrongly – people will make a judgement about other people based on presentation. 

D: What’s ‘judgement’?

Me: So, if a new teacher was to look at your work and, even if it used some great words and sentences, if it looks messy, they might take one look and – without even reading it – they might think you’re no good. Sometimes it won’t matter what words you use. I don’t mean YOU specifically – anyone. It’s the same with speaking and giving speeches. You know about percentages? Well, if you write the best speech in the world, using the best words and what’s actually IN the speech is amazing, if you don’t present it well with body language and how you communicate verbally, people won’t listen. I think it’s something crazy like 80% body language and HOW you speak and only 20% based on the actual words and WHAT you are saying that people remember.

D: Well I think that’s wrong. It should be about what words you use. 

Me: I agree, but that’s just how people are.

D: But I can speak well.

Me: I know you can, and don’t you forget it – it’s one of your strengths.

D: So you’re telling me that if I write really bad words, but they look nice that I will get a “Well done, good work.”?

Me: Well, why don’t you test it out? I love testing things like that out – sometimes testing makes me feel better if someone is saying something I don’t agree with.

D: Won’t I get told off?

Me: Don’t write rude words, and promise that you will only do it for this and not give up on your amazing words which are your strength… but it would be an interesting test.

D: I wouldn’t write rude words! I’m going to do that. It makes me feel better when someone says something bad about me and I know it’s not the truth and so I can answer back saying something smarter – that makes me feel really good.

Easter Biscuits with orange & lemon icing

March 25, 2016 - Leave a Response

We made some awesome cookies today!!!🐣👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻P.S. the heart in the middle was called feathering.


100g unsalted butter
100g caster sugar
1tsp vanilla extract
175g plain flour
1 egg yolk
a dollop (about a dessert spoon) of golden syrup

Gas Mark 4 for 10-12 minutes

icing sugar with lemon extract; orange extract & orange food colouring to decorate.

Easter Courgette Cupcakes

March 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Some with fruit & all with veg! 

Makes 12 courgette cakes: 
50g soft brown sugar
50g butter
1 egg
60g courgette
90g self raising flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp mixed spice

Buttercream icing (140g butter, 280g icing sugar & 2tsp milk)

Decorations to suit

Warning: Robin Hood will steal your house

March 11, 2016 - Leave a Response


This is what I did – it was a poster from the Sheriff of Nottingham:

Do Not Enter This Forest

Robin Hood is a mean, disruptive figure who has no care for you and will have no care for killing you. He has not paid his taxes and will do anything to get his house back. He will even dress up as you and steal your house. So beware – keep away from this maniac person! 

I did a picture of Robin Hood with a couple of trees in the background; one with apples on, one with oranges on and one just plain. I let his arrows show and his face was like this [does sly look].

Top Tips for a Top Notch Performance

February 27, 2016 - Leave a Response

Can’t beat a bit of constructive feedback! The adjudicator at this year’s Milton Keynes Music Festival was very good – through her group evaluation, ideas and tips for a top performance, all the young musicians learnt that: a ‘phrase’ is a musical sentence; ‘articulation’ is the pronunciation of the notes – clearly defined or slurred through use of the tongue; ‘dynamics’ determine how quick or slow, loud or soft; try and rid yourself of the music stand if you can; and to bow and appreciate an audience’s applause.

Also that musical language like ‘tempo’ is Italian. Dylan would like to know why Italian – any offers on an answer? 

Strawberry & Chocolate Valentine Fudge

February 13, 2016 - Leave a Response

Today we explored the changing states of sugar and chocolate by making Strawberry and Chocolate Valentine Fudge:

  • 450g caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 170g evaporated milk
  • Half a teaspoon of Strawberry flavouring
  • Few drops of pink food colouring
  • Melted chocolate for topping off

Can highly recommend!

Happy Valentines Day 🙂

On your toes

January 9, 2016 - Leave a Response

Me: I read somewhere that rubbing Vicks Vaporub into children’s feet can help with a cough at night.

D: Really? …Mum, is there anything that can make painful feet go away?

Me: What do you mean?

D: I mean, when I go to Karate and we run around in bare feet my heels start to hurt. It’s not just in karate though.

Me: You might need to look at how you’re running. Do you run on the balls of your feet?

D: We’re not allowed to run on balls.

Me: It’s a part of your foot – the ball of you foot is just beneath your toes. You should run and do sport on the balls of your feet, without your heel touching the ground – it makes you springier and faster. If you’re running heel-first, you’ll hurt your feet and not be very fast. Have you heard the expression “having it away on your toes?”

D: Yes, but I thought it meant having your toes chopped off or something.

Me: Just remember, don’t put your heels down, stay up on your toes and you’ll be faster.

Next day:

D: Mum, it was awesome! I ran along with the fastest person in the class at break time. I don’t know if they were going at their top speed, but I was only a little bit behind. I reckon I’ve gone from the last quickest to the 5th quickest in the class.

Me: Because you were on your toes and able to spring?

D: Yes!

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