Tuesday, 15 September 2015

An Evening with Fazenda | Wine Masterclass

Love meat? Love wine? Then look no further. 

Fazenda -  Leeds' holy grail of Brazilian gaucho dining never fails to amaze me. If you know anything about me at all, you'll most likely know that I absolutely love this place. Everything is gorgeous, from the decor, to the food, to the wine. You're in for a treat of all the senses as soon as you walk through the door. 

After my first week of teacher training (more to come on that later) I was in desperate need of something to look forward to, and luckily for me, that was a Fazenda Wine Masterclass. I have shared my love of these masterclasses here before, but, as every class is different and an event in its own right, I wanted to express my love one more time.

If you've never been to a wine masterclass before, I cannot urge you enough to start here with Fazenda. I was always a rosé kinda girl, never venturing into reds and just assuming I didn't like whites, until I attended my first 'class' many moons ago. 

When I say class, it's not really. Yes, you're learning, but don't worry, you won't be tested or picked on, or banned for not liking a wine. It's purely about trying new things and seeing which wines go with which types of meat and why. It's awesome, relaxed and a eye opener to all the tasty things out there in the world of wine!

This months masterclass was focused on American producer Charles Smith, a super cool and modern brand created in 2006, with the tag line 'it's just wine - drink it' it was completely up my street. And it's safe to say, as usual, I absolutely loved all of the wines that I tried (which is six in total - and the servings are generous).

The meat is served in order to match the wine; white wine is accompanied by the white meat - pork & chicken - and as the wines get heavier, as does the meat - sirloin, fillet, lamb - to name but a few of the 12+ cuts.

The beef is cooked medium-rare, but the super attentive staff are always more than happy to accommodate anyone who wants it any differently. There's also a handy little menu on the table, in case you've missed any of the meat selection, or you've found a new favourite and simply want some more! So although you're dining along with the other wine masterclass customers, it's a truly personalised experience. 

Overall, I left super full and super happy. It's always a pleasure to dine at Fazenda and I can't recommend their masterclasses enough to anyone and everyone. It's such a great thing to do with friends, family, or wine buffs alike. It's something everyone will enjoy (they even have vegetarians covered), no matter what their preference of wine!

If you're not a Leeds resident, luckily for you, masterclasses are now happening in Manchester and Liverpool, so make sure you check them out if you're a Northener (how lucky we are, in more ways than one!)

We were kindly invited to Fazenda and the meal was provided free of charge, however this is not a sponsored post and it goes without saying, my opinions are entirely true. (I bloody love this place). 

Thursday, 13 August 2015

The PGCE Chronicles : OMFG, I'm Going To Be A Teacher!

Dear little blog, 

I think the last time we spoke I'd secured a new job; I was full of blogging enthusiasm and ready for a brand new start. Clearly, that didn't exactly happen, but with good reason (at least, I like to think so)

If we rewind to April, I did indeed start my aforementioned new job and it was... really damn hard in parts, if I'm being completely honest, but massively rewarding overall. I never realised just quite how much children change between the ages of 6 and 11, but apparently it's quite a bloody lot.

You will go from spelling out your surname (Sun-der-land) to innocent faced, eager to please little cherubs - to hearing 'Miss Aston Villa! Miss Newcastle!' being teasingly shouted across the playground, by a child the same height as you. Not to mention the Sex Ed classes (so many questions about periods. SO MANY); a four day residential (aka. working 22hrs and being paid for six); and the high-school transitions - I felt like if I could get through all of that, I could get through anything. 

So while I was still settling in to the new Key Stage, I was invited to a very last minute, and very out of the blue, PGCE interview. If you've been dipping in & out of this blog for a while (thank you, thank you, thank you), you may have heard this being mentioned from time to time - usually something along the lines of 'another unsuccessful'. However, on this particular afternoon, I left work and headed off with my trusty Rainbow Fish lesson plan, that has been the best bit of reusable planning I've ever done, to give it my best and final shot. 

I was adamant that I would not apply again after three hard years of trying and being rejected - it is just plain shit to try so hard at something, that you know you would love so much, to just end up with an automated response and zero feedback to boot.

But if there's one thing I've learnt lately, it's that I'm a determined SOAB when I want to be. So I put it all behind me and for the last time, I jumped through all the hoops, I put on my best 'please believe in me' smile and mustered all the confidence I could find to get me through the three hour process.

And believe it or not, IT WORKED!

A few days later, I stared at the 'conditional offer' as if it was going to somehow change to an 'unsuccessful' before my very tear-filled eyes, as if it was all some cruel joke. It was emotional. I felt equal parts petrified, overwhelmed and 'omfg I'm going to be a teacher.'

And I still feel this way, two months down the line. With a pinch more 'petrified' in the mix.

Now there's exactly four weeks until I start at a new university, with new friends and a new trainee teacher status - and I can't wait! I really can't. Plus, I get to buy a shit load of new stationery, which sadly fills me with a lot of excitement.

So I hope you enjoy these little snippets, however few and far they may be between (because, lets face it, if there's one thing people like to scare you with - it's how little free time I will have come September) - maybe you're an NQT, a trainee teacher to be, or you just still want to read my ramblings (for which I'm entirely grateful) as I start this new and slightly terrifying chapter of my life... Thank you either way.

Bring on the stickers! 


Wednesday, 8 April 2015

New Job, New Blog, New Start

Remember me?

No? Fair enough... I don't blame you. 

It has been four months since I've even thought about this little space on the internet and in my mind, I couldn't just ignore that absence. It needs to be aired out and addressed. So, if you're interested, here's what has been happening since January...

I guess after Christmas my motivation, inspiration - all of the 'tion's - were at an all time low. I don't want to use the 'D' word, because I think it's thrown around too easily, but there was a heavy, empty sadness weighing down on my shoulders. Residing in my gut. I felt hollow. I couldn't shake it off. I couldn't perk up. I just couldn't get into anything... It went on for months.

As a result, I shied away from my blog (people, social media, life) and I just left it to gather dust.  I didn't want to force anything; I didn't have the enthusiasm anyway, but I knew it would do more harm than good. And so I waited, and waited, and waited some more for that excitement - passion - desire to share, to come swimming back to me. 

As with everything, time heals all, and here I am... spewing words out into the universe, again. I feel as if I've finally woken up from a zombie like state, and everything is new and shiny again. Perhaps it's the Spring? Things don't seem as grey, and it feels good.

I think a few things have contributed to this...

Firstly, I got a new job! Which is so, so exciting. I applied for a handful of jobs during March; this one in particular was part-time, it was the day of the deadline, but it seemed like a great place to work and so I went for it anyway. I was surprised when I was offered an interview, and even more surprised when they actually offered me a full-time, higher level role!

I was over the moon. It's really a lovely feeling when people trust in you and your abilities. That hasn't happened to me for a while; PGCE applications got me down, so the fact I was offered that role over both sets of candidates really lifted my spirits and allowed me to believe in myself again. I start after the Easter holidays and I will be supporting two children in a great little Primary school (it even has a farm - I think it was meant to be). I can't wait to get started. 

Secondly, after staring at my blog and accidentally messing up the code, and subsequently, the whole layout - I decided to invest in a new set-up. Something that flowed a little nicer, something that reflected me and what this space is about. 

I'd heard a lot about Pipdig through other bloggers, and after a little browse, I took the plunge and I'm super happy with the outcome. It was easy to install and adjust myself. I love the little 'pin' feature and the post slider up at the top! I think having spent money on the template has given me a further kick to get back into the swing of things, too.  So I'm looking forward to posting again - I can't exactly say I'm brimming with ideas, but this is a start, and I'm happy with that. 

And finally, I deleted all my blog drafts, all my 'things I should've posted' and started a fresh. The fear of failure is real (but that's something for another day), and I didn't need, or want, reminders of what could've been if I'd been consistent. So, there was no time like the present to strip it all back and 'spring clean' my online life. 

It has given me a nice blank canvas to start again, and I'm looking forward to what this will become. 

How have you been?
What do you think to the new look?


Thursday, 29 January 2015

Found On Film : Kodak Gold 200

There's something very special about shooting with a film camera.

In a world of instant everything it's lovely to slow down every once in a while; concentrate on what you're doing and go through the process patiently. I think that's what I love most; the care & attention needed to use film.
I've had my Canon AE-1 Program for four years now and I never get bored of finishing a roll, unwinding it and sending it off to be printed. It's exciting - are they going to come out well? In focus? Blank? Who knows! But that's all part of the fun (to me, anyway. do I just need to get out more?)

So a few weeks back, we headed to Bowness-on-Windermere and I decided to put some Kodak Gold 200 in my camera and just snap away (secretly hoping, of course, that they came out well as it's such a pretty place). Luckily, they did! They're nothing particularly fancy, but I'm happy with the results; the colours are so rich and unlike anything I'd get with a digital, without editing. 

Anyway. It was a really great day, it was cloudy at first but soon the sun came out (which helped with 200 ISO aspect, I would've preferred 400 ISO but you gotta work with what you've got!) We had a big pub lunch, followed by an off road hike, that led us to some beautiful scenes, and some sheep! Then we finished it all off with a hot chocolate... It was the perfect Sunday.

I hope you like the pictures! 

Have you ever used film? 
What's your favourite?


Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Dear, January

Woah, is this my first post of 2015?
*blows away the cobwebs* 

This month has been... unusual. It has been emotional, difficult in parts, a time for new beginnings. It has been tiring, exciting, and uninspiring - all at once, but yet, still quite good as a whole... I guess that is life, right?

I have applied for a new job, which is quite big, for me. I tried hard at my PGCE interviews at the beginning of the month, but still got nowhere, and thinking about it, that's why I haven't been feeling particularly creative - those knock-backs are hard, y'know? And putting myself up for them, year after year, is taking its toll. 

So I'm taking a new direction, with a clearer mind and a lot less pressure on myself.  I'm gaining some of my confidence back, looking after myself better and still optimistic that this year will be much better than the last. There's always a silver-lining, no matter how deep the water. 

And this little break has done me good. I'm back and ready to put my all into my blog again. I have missed it! And you, I have missed communicating and expressing myself - even if no-one reads this - it's refreshing. So, hello! How are you? It's nice to have you back. I promise more exciting things are to come...

Dear, January... 

Thank you for being testing and showing me that I am made of strong things, that I can make positive changes and stand on my own two feet. Thank you for giving me my inspiration back and for making me feel excited about the direction of my future for the first time in many months. Thank you for allowing me to grow as a person. You have been a learning curve.

How has your month been?

© Tiny Paint Pot. All rights reserved.
Blogger Templates by pipdig