Thursday, January 17, 2019

Oaty Banana Bread buns

I have baked the Oaty Banana Bread buns from this years Operation transformation plan. They are absolutely gorgeous......unfortunately!!!  This means I am having a very difficult time not sitting down with a mug of steaming tea and scoffing the plate of them in one go. I think that would be defeating the purpose.

A few people have asked me for the recipe, so I am posting it here.

The Ingredients
110g butter (at room temperature)
80g golden caster sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (2.5g)
240g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder (10g)
4 ripe bananas (over-ripe is also fine to use)
90g porridge oats
The Method
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / gas mark 4. Line bun tins with 16 paper cases.

Put the butter and sugar in a bowl and beat well. The easiest way to do this is with a hand-held electric beater but a wooden spoon and some elbow grease also works. The mixture should become a little lighter in colour.

Add two of the eggs along with the vanilla extract and half of the flour and beat well to combine. Add the remaining egg and the rest of the flour with the baking powder. Mix until everything is just combined – overbeating will make the buns less light, so easy does it.

Peel the bananas and mash the flesh in a bowl, then carefully fold into the bun mixture with the oats. Using two large spoons, divide among the paper cases. Place in the oven and bake for 22-25 minutes until cooked through. To test, insert a skewer or toothpick into the centre of a bun and it should come out clean. The buns will also smell cooked and be springy to the touch.

Remove the buns from the oven and after 5 minutes transfer them to a wire or grill rack and leave to cool completely before serving.

Prepare Ahead

These buns will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days or can be frozen in freezer bags for up to 1 month and defrosted as needed.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Leaders Summit

It's that time of the year again, Operation transformation. I can't believe that's its been three years since I was a leader. I lost 1st 2 lbs while on the show and went on to lose a further 9 lbs in the following months to finally reach a healthy BMI. More importantly, I managed to keep it off for two and a half years by keeping up my healthy eating and exercise.
 However (there's always an "however"), in the past six months the pounds have begun to slowly creep back up.Why now? Very simple answer. I've slackened off on my exercising and while I continued to prepare the OT meals (there the only ones I can cook!), it was what I was stuffing into my mouth in between meals that was doing the harm. As a result I've put back on just under a stone.
I have a family wedding coming up in March. Before this, I would have resigned myself to the fact that the weight had come back and sure that was to be expected. But not now. I know the Operation Transformation Plan works. So I was so looking forward to the new series starting this week.

Saturday was the day of the Nationwide walks. As I have done for the past two years I went to Moores Movers walk in Roscommon, which is organised by my friend Laura Higgins-Tully. I was delighted to meet up with one of last year's leaders, David Cryan, who lost an incredible 3 1/2 stone during the show and has kept it all off.

 I came back home re-energised and ready to give it my all.
Roll on that March wedding!!!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Dancing on thin ice

"Would you like to come ice-skating?"
Some day this habit of mine of agreeing to random suggestions is going to get me into serious trouble!
And so it was that myself and Jeanette found ourselves at the pop up ice-rink in Mullingar.
The first thing I noticed was that we were the only adults who were without children.
And no, we weren't being childish, we were being child-like, there is a big difference.

The first problem I encountered was putting on my skates. One of the crew had to go on bended knee to do them up!
Are they my feet? They look tiny!

I have done ice skating (badly) a couple of times in Abu Dhabi, but I wasn't prepared for how slippy it was! The minute I put my feet on the ice, my legs began to go all over the place like a drunk newborn giraffe! I grabbed the rail and held on for dear life. I kinda got the hang of it after a few minutes and started to do circles of the rink....without ever letting go of the railing!

That would have been me if I'd let go!

But I'm still very proud of myself. The one thing that struck me as I was going around in circles was the number of mothers , who were WAY younger than me, who just stood at the edge of the rink watching their children while they skated. That can't have been much fun.
Why didn't they join them? You can't live your life through your children, but you can live it with them.
Rant over!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Out with the Old, in with the New!

I think this photo sums up the state of affairs in our nation on January 1st.

On the left is the evidence of my last meal of 2018 - vodka, wine and the remnants of a Chinese take away. On the right is my first breakfast of 2019 - organic porridge oats, honey and fruit.
Ah yes, you've got to love the enthusiasm and blind hopes of the New Year !
To really get in the spirit of things we went for a gentle (!) 2 and a half hour hike up Maulin Moutain.

While my head thanked me for it, my thighs certainly didn't!
Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018


I have been teaching for many years and in that length of time there has only ever been one of my pupils that had a birthday on the same day as mine. So it was quite a shock to discover that in my current class there are not one, not two but three of my students that share my special day of birth. We're practically quadruplets!
 In honour of the day our class Elf on the Shelf, Elfie surprised us with a party! As there are 33 students in my class he was clever enough to bring two cakes.

He placed two 9 candles on one cake for two of the kids and a 9 and a 0 on the other cake.
He obviously couldn't find a candle for my age!

The kids were really dumbfounded when they walked into the classroom this morning. They stared at the cakes and one little girl asked in a hushed voice.
"Miss, which one in your cake, the 90 or the 99?"
Well that certainly backfired on me!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Street Angel, House Devil

I went to the local Christmas Fair today. There was a very festive atmosphere, carols being sung and so many Christmas logs I fear even more for the rainforests!
I fell in love with an angel reading a book, made from the folded pages of a book. Ingenious.

When I got it home I got a chance to read the page that made up one of the wings. I got a shock at the x-rated content. I can see the ironic side of it, but I'd hate to think if a child had gotten it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Teenage Dreams

It's been a difficult week in Religion class. Seeing as it's November we are thinking about people close to us that have died, not an easy topic to talk about to nine year olds. I had brought in my Dad's memorial card and was telling them all about him. I explained that I still miss him and think about him even though he died eleven years ago.
There was a stunned silence for a moment.
Then one of the girls asked me
"So Miss, were you a teenager when he died?

Ah bless.No homework for her for a week.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Day 5: Today's life lesson

First day back at school since my 30 day challenge started. I have to admit that the fact that I had my month's wardrobe all hanging on one rail saved me at least 10 minutes procrastination this morning.
Always a bonus on a dark and dismal November morning.

During History, we were discussing Oisín in the Land of Youth. When we came to the part where Oisín fell in love with Niamh and married her, there were groans of disgust from my 9 year old boys.
"That's gross."
"How could anyone be so stupid?"

I tried to set  them straight on the whole falling in love situation.
"Now lads. Take it from me, in a couple of years you'll change your tune."
This was greeted by silence, until one of my "more mature" 9 year old girls commented
"Yes Miss, you're right. Those boys don't realise that if that didn't happen to their mums and dads, then they wouldn't be here today!"

I couldn't have put it better myself. And what's more I can tick off my Relationships & Sexuality objective from this week's scheme!

Friday, November 2, 2018

Day 2 wrapped up

This morning I had to get up at stupid o'clock as my poor car was going in for her health check. The first thing that struck me was the Baltic cold. So today was all about preventing frostbite from setting in. Luckily I had included my puffy jacket in my 30 items.

As I had to go in so early
9 0'clock is verrrrry early for midterm
I hadn't had time to have breakfast. So I headed into Belly on Mount Street where I had the best breakfast EVER!

It consisted of poached egg, mushrooms, flat mushroom, salsa, oven roasted tomato, wilted spinach, fruit and a slice of home made brown bread. It was called Flat Belly ( I think the L is silent!)

I then had a few hours to kill. I felt at a loss because there was no point going into clothes shops as I wouldn't be able to wear it if I bought anything. I actually found myself thinking
Oh maybe I could go for a different colour theme next month and I could wear that!
Then I coped on.
For God's sake, it's only the 2nd of November. you can't start planning next month yet.

I eventually got my car back and arrived home to find this package awaiting me on my windowsill. 

It was a dress that I had ordered last week! Now before you cry out that I'm cheating, I have included it in my 30. So I'm still on track!

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Day 1: 30 Day Challenge

Morning One of my 30 Day challenge, that is, I can only choose from 30 items of clothing for the next 30 days. Already it feels quite liberating to have a limited choice and I know that whatever I choose to wear is clean and ironed, well at least for today!.

First up was lunch with the Mullingar women in Con's. I knew there was a full length mirror in the Ladies so I headed there with my phone to take a photo. I was pushing open the door when I could hear the women call me to stop. You know that heart stopping moment when you suspect that there is something majorly wrong with an item of your clothing after you have walked through a crowded restaurant. I couldn't see anything wrong with my attire and then I realised that I was about to go into the Gents.
Luckily I made it into the correct toilets and happily there are no urinals in the background!

Outfit of the Day:

  • Pink jumper
  • Navy wrap skirt
  • Navy boots.

When I came out I was greeted with the comments of true friends.
"Ah we shouldn't have stopped you. It would have been hilarious if you'd gone in the other one"

Thanks Girls!

Later that night I was meeting my friend Genevieve in Moate to see the play "The Field".
You can now appreciate the importance of punctuation.
There is a BIG difference between
a) going to the play "The Field".
b) going to "Play the field".

I think the latter would have involved a change of wardrobe!

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

30 day challenge

In my new found bid to declutter and minimalise my life I have set myself a challenge for November.
I have limited myself to 30 pieces of clothing that I can wear in the next 30 days. This covers work wear and going-out outfits, including coats and shoes.
It doesn't include sports wear or underwear.
So after much rearranging and swapping in and out, I have come up with my capsule wardrobe.

It consists of

  • 5 pairs of trousers
  • 6 jumpers
  • 5 tops
  • 2 skirts
  • 2 dressers
  • 4 coats/ jackets
  • 6 pairs of shoes/boots
As you can see there's lots of navy, red, white, red and a bit of mustard thrown in for a change.
I was hoping that I could cut down on the amount of footwear I needed but I discovered that if I left a pair out then there were outfits that I couldn't wear as I'd have nothing suitable to go on my feet!

Already I feel lighter as I have my wardrobe sorted for the long as I'm not invited to a last minute wedding or Ball. If I am I'll have to go in my tracksuit!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

#1 Signs that I'm officially old.

There are many little warning signs in our lives that we are no longer in the first (or even second) flush of youth. Things like, teaching the kids of kids that you once taught, realising that you once fancied Niall Horan's father, and discovering that you don't just get grey hairs on your head!

Well I had a major wake up call this morning when I get deliriously excited over..........
my new iron! 
Words my younger self would never have uttered.

It all started innocently enough yesterday morning when my old iron gave up the ghost and refused to heat up.
I can empathise!
I wasn't too fazed by this turn of events. In fact I was a little bit relieved as I now had a legitimate reason for ignoring the ever increasing pile of laundry in my kitchen.

Later that evening I found myself near Mullingar cinema and decided to go to see Bohemian Rhapsody. I had 15 minutes to spare so what should I do? I espied D.I.D Electric shop close by and so decided to rush in and pick up an iron.
See the level of effort I was putting in to choosing this piece of equipment.

I found the appropriate aisle and was astonished by the vast array that lay before me. Which one? There was only one that was not a display model, but was actually in a box on the shelf. I didn't have time to wait for a sales person to approach me, go into the stock room and search for another one. Hey, I had a film to get to see,
So I grabbed it and promptly paid for it.
That was the full amount of importance I attached to it. Little did I realise the immense amount of pleasure it was going to bring into my life.

This morning I begrudgingly decided that I had to tackle the everest of ironing that lay before me. I filled up the iron with water, waited for the light to go out and set about my household task.
WELL! As if by magic my hands glided over blouses, trousers and dresses.
The new  stainless steel Soleplate technology combined with Constant Steam Boost "relaxed fibres for easy crease removal".  The mountain of clothing rapidly decreased in front of my eyes. Never before has a hated task required so little effort.

It was only when I found myself about to go looking for other items of clothing to iron, that the realisation hit me.
This was the most excited I've gotten about anything in a while.
Oh Lord, take me now! It's all downhill from here.

Monday, October 29, 2018

The bane of teachers' lives..look at the correct use of the apostrophe!

One of my all time hatreds is the misuse of the apostrophe. It's either
a) in the wrong place e.g. used in plurals rather than to show ownership
b) absent when it is needed.
I know, I know , I have little to be worrying about.

The kids in school did an art competition for the local GAA club, which was trying to promote smoke-free sidelines at matches. The winners received trophies and had their winning entries printed on a poster for display in the school.
Therein lies the problem.

When it arrived it proudly read
St. Patricks School.....WITH NO FRIGGIN' APOSTROPHE!!!
It was nevertheless displayed on the corridor.

Last week I was on yard duty but as it was raining the kids were inside and I was patrolling the corridors. Every time I passed the offending poster I could feel a frisson of tension run through my body. Eventually I could take no more.
As I was passing the office I stuck my head in the door and asked the secretary, who was busy at her desk
"Hey Carol, would you have the loan of a marker please? I want to put in an apostrophe."
She looked up from her keyboard, her eyes opening wide in disbelief.
"You want a what???" she managed to stammer out.
A little taken aback, I re-uttered my request.
"Could I have a marker please? I want to put in an apostrophe?"
Her faced crumbled and she let out a howl of laughter.
"Oh God, Noeleen", She eventually explained. "I thought you said

Can I have the loan of a marker please? I want to put in a SUPPOSITORY!"

When I managed to pick myself off the floor I got my marker and  put in my apostrophe.

See> Perfect!

Funnily enough, when I went to give Carol back her marker, she just looked at it suspiciously and said
"Nah. You can keep it!"