Your First Year in Teaching as told by Peep Show (Or how you’ve basically become Mark and Jez without realising it…)

Almost two years ago I wrote a blog post at the end of my Teacher Training, summing up the whole year in song titles (CLICK IT – YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO!). I’ve been meaning to follow that up since I passed my NQT year last year and never got around to it, until today! I know that a lot of people outside of the UK might not resonate with me using Peep Show images but do you know what? I don’t care. I like Peep Show and I think it shares a lot of similar themes with your NQT year as a teacher.

 

This post is going to differ slightly to the last one by looking at only a few key moments throughout the year, but I swear that it hits all the key points! It also doesn’t only apply to my own experiences of completing my hellishly nightmarish NQT year (of which I have been less than kind on this blog already..) and instead will focus on a mildly more generic year… Although not too much as where’s the fun in me not complaining?

Guess we’d better get started!

The First Day

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Oh those first day nerves might well get the better of you and you end up standing awkwardly in the staff room during briefing as you haven’t figured out where to sit yet (trust me, it’s an important decision) but overall you’re happily optimistic. This year can’t be any harder than Teacher Training right? You know what you’re doing… You’ve got this… Right?

When you realize your tutor group don’t *quite* understand the “I’m here to help spiel…

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You’ve got your own tutor group! What a great chance to bond with the students and nurture and encourage a small group of pupils! You try to be as positive as possible with them, you let them know the rules and that they can come to you if they have any problems. Now, when you said that you were expecting it to be things like timetable crashes, lost kit or even some GCSE option decisions. What you didn’t expect was the endless tirade of tales they tell about each other. You can only hear so many renditions of “So and So took my pencil in maths” before your eyes start to glaze over and you hear yourself utter the phrase “I’ll have a word with them tomorrow”.

Still, as often as they can be irritating, your tutor group can also be amazing. Nothing beats the satisfaction of seeing a formerly naughty and underachieving student improving based on your mentoring. (Personally I love being a Form Tutor – it’s one of my favourite parts of the job!)

About 3 weeks into the second half term…

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Oh this one’s an easy one. You’ve made it past half term, you’ve had a week off and you miss the easy days of university (personally I had 8 hours a week in those golden days – now I can EASILY do 8 hour days and then some). You start to get a bit disenfranchised and pine for the 9-5 that your uni friends have going on. Oh what a world it would be where you didn’t work in the evening and at weekends…

Your first Christmas build up

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Here’s a warning for those people like me who absolutely LOVE Christmas. Not everyone does. Most schools don’t really do a large amount for Christmas, and of course since you’re a grown up, you have to be sensible and keep churning out the usual lessons for your students, no matter how much you might want to watch Elf for all 6 periods of your day! Being responsible sucks sometimes.

The Marking. The Horror.

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This one is very much self explanatory. IT’s a repetitive task but you’ve gotta do it. Keep on going!

When the dark days take their toll on your eating habits…

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It’s after the Christmas break, you’ve already abandoned your new years resolutions and you’ve caught yourself buying endless amounts of Uncle Ben’s Rice Time pots instead of making your own meals from scratch. It’s been three weeks since you even contemplated eating a fresh piece of fruit. It’s a sad reality of teaching that if you don’t work hard to keep yourself healthy and eating right it can slip easily and once it does its a downhill slide to rock bottom. You realize there’s only so many Rustlers Microwave Burgers you can eat before you start to feel repulsed by yourself… You resolve to make some changes that probably won’t ever happen but it’s comforting to lie to yourself…

6 Little Letters – OFSTED

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It’s probably your first time facing the onslaught that is Ofsted. Everyone goes into panic stations and the school stays open later so you can get your lessons plans sorted. You spend longer planning a single lesson than you ever have and make sure you’ve got all the buzzwords in there! Just don’t let that panic show on the day! Remember Han Solo “Don’t get cocky Kid”.

When it all gets a bit overwhelming and yet you still lie to everyone that you’re fine.

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Hopefully this won’t be you, but it certainly was me and my friend Rachael. We lied to ourselves, to each other and to our mentors. We were fine and didn’t need any help. Honestly. I’m fine. I’ve always had bags under my eyes. No, seriously. I am getting enough sleep. I’m fine. I promise…

When you finally admit there might have been a problem…

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At least you’ve finally admitted it! You can get this sorted now you’re being honest. It’s a big change to overhaul everything and get back on track but you can do this! You’ve been through worse. You survived the placement school. You’ve got this far dammit! You can do this. Although there’s still that niggling feeling that it’s all going to go horribly wrong. Better push that aside for now…

When your friends ask you how your life is going

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Its been so long since you’ve been on a date that you start to worry they might have changed all the rules and you’ll never adapt. Before you came out tonight it took you a good 20 minutes to find a shirt that WASN’T a work shirt. You’ve not had to look presentable for the outside world in a good few months. These normal people just love to rub their free time in your face. Still, it’s nice to know that despite your massive workaholic tendencies you still have a group of friends ready to stick by you, even though they dont’t quite get why being in the pub until closing on a  Tuesday is a bad idea…

When you just start to sink into the routine

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Oh all those worries and insecurities have become routine by now. There’s no need to worry about them because you’ve got so good at multitasking you can eat your breakfast, reply to emails and brush your hair all at the same time. You’re like a highly skilled octopus which can live on land. You take whatever comes your way in your stride. It’s all just another day at the office for you.

When you *FINALLY* embrace your inner wierdo

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It’s about time you stopped worrying what everyone else thought. Let your Freak Flag fly as they say! You’ll notice your teaching gets better and your students respect you a bit more when you put a bit more personality into your lessons and stop being so rigidly by the book. Good on you!

The final push of NQT year

A little bit of you has died inside. You’re very much a different person. This year has changed you. You’ve been to hell and back and dammit all if you didn’t survive. You feel more confident. You finally know what you’re doing. You can go into the summer holidays happy that come September you won’t have the same freak out you did this year. It was tough, but it was worth it! No more evidence folders! That’s got to be worth the hassle alone…

 

Well there you have it! Some key NQT moments summed up with Peep Show Quotes.

Obviously I must point out that a few of these moments, whilst startling similar to real life events that many newly qualified teachers go through, have in fact been slightly exaggerated for comedic purposes. It’s a great job, Teaching. I don’t think I’d trade it in for the world, despite the ups and downs!

Maybe there’s a part 3 coming soon. Maybe not. I think I need to spend a bit more time experiencing it before I try to make light of it all!

Until next time teachers!

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Did Game of Thrones Stop Doing That?

“That’s what I do. I drink and I know things” – Tyrion Lannister

A year ago I posted my latest entry in the “Stop Doing That” series where I rant and nitpick about various things in society, the only difference with this post was that I did it purely about the HBO programme Game of Thrones. Well a year has passed and it’s time to see how well Game of Thrones has done at listening to my complaints, because obviously the people in charge read this thing, right? Let’s go STOP by STOP…

THIS BLOG POST MAY INCLUDE SPOILERS FOR THE BOOKS AND TV SHOWS and also a bit of bad language but honestly, if you’ve read or watched the series you’ll be completely desensitized to it and if you haven’t then this probably isn’t the best place to start or you clicked on this by mistake…

STOP: Giving Sansa Stark so much screentime

Okay, they didn’t do this. HOWEVER, they have made a massive adjustment to her story line to stop her being the boring, one dimensional cardboard cutout of a character and she’s actually doing things (I mean seriously check out next weeks teaser). Having her reunite with Jon Snow was an excellent move and a bold change from the books in bringing Brienne into her story line, but I think it will pay off. I no longer want to fast forward through her parts of the show. Good work.

STOP: Rushing through important plotlines but stalling the boring ones

The Dornish plot was awful. It didn’t get better. Tyrion and Jorah have been rushed and I don’t think we’ve had a satisfactory episode for either of them so far (I live in hope, though I think Jorah is off on his spirit quest to find the greyscale cure for the rest of the season). Thankfully, Petyr Baelish has been reduced to a minor role this season – good. I was growing tired of his creepy little beard.

Also, we are set for a return to some of the skipped plot lines such as the siege of Riverrun. I’m very happy about this as it means more Blackfish and rights this next problem…

STOP: Making Jaime Lannister an afterthought

Jaime has been in the recent episodes of season 6 but it hasn’t exactly been his best season. Thankfully, all that looks set to change when he gets to Riverrun next week and go toe to toe with the Blackfish!

STOP: Letting characters disappear vaguely for large spells of time

Osha came back. Then died. Yara came back and is set to inherit some of Victarions book plot. I’m alright with this, especially since they’ve reunited her and Theon. Varys is even back, though in a slightly less than jazzy plot line, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I’m still holding out hope for Gendry though…

STOP: Forgetting about the direwolves

I take it back, just stop killing them. Please.

STOP: Cramming House words into it the episodes for the sake of it

Yep, this has been done and the show is better for it!

STOP: Toning down the swearing

Slightly, maybe. I don’t really know but if The Hound comes back, so will his foul mouth (hopefully).

 

So there we go, all in all not a bad improvement. I once said that Season 5 is the series you could skip in a Netflix marathon and with the exception of a few episodes I stand by that belief This season? Much better. Well done Game of Thrones. Well done.

The Odd Couples – Bromance in TV

Of the many portmanteau words that have sprung up in our vocabularies over the past few years there is one that I have seen reflected in popular media more than others. I speak of course about “bromance”.

Bromance, as described by UrbanDictionary.com is “A non-sexual relationship between two men that are unusually close.” Put simply, bromance is the level that comes above best friends for two guys. These guys are often so close that they can and usually are jokingly referred to as a couple, even though the relationship is completely non-romantic.

The popularity of bromances, and the dynamics created as a result of them, have become a staple of popular culture, so much so that there can usually be an example of a bromance visible in most TV’s or Movies nowadays. In honour of the sacred bond of the Bromance, because most guys have had one at least once, I’m going to share with you some of my favourite TV Bromances, starting with a few “honourable mentions” before getting into my choice of the Top 5!

Honourable Mentions:

Brian and Stewie – Family Guy
Nick and Schmidt – New Girl
Ryan and Esposito – Castle

5. Brett and Jemaine – Flight of the Conchords

Starting off as flatmates, these two then formed a comedy band and have become a bit of a smash hit with radio shows and a television series centered around them. Best of friends, they even sing a song about being friends!

Bromance in action: Singing this song!

4. Bert and Ernie – Sesame Street

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Probably one of the earliest bromances many of us would have encountered, Bert and Ernie are flatmates that are also the best of friends. Whilst many people have voiced the opinion that these two are a couple, I don’t buy it. It’s a clear bromance.

Bromance in action: “Would you like me…”

3. Troy and Abed – Community

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Troy and Abed are the best of best friends. They do everything together. They like to play make believe, build pillow forts, have wacky adventures and they even host a morning show together! I’ll admit that the top 3 is the hardest to separate, but Troy and Abed made it to number 3 because they’ve got their own secret handshake, like all bromances should!

Bromance in Action: Any of this video, but specifically this “Star Wars” rip off…

2. Joey and Chandler – FRIENDS

They had to be in here somewhere didn’t they! FRIENDS is undoubtedly one of the biggest (and best, in my opinion) sitcoms that there is out there and most of the laughs come from the amazing chemistry between these two best buds! They lived together, they fell out, they bought a chick and a duck, they even have matching “Best Bud” bracelets! How more bromantic can you get?

Bromance in action: This farewell to living together

1. Turk and J.D. – Scrubs

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Chocolate Bear and Vanilla Bear. Is there any competition to their bromance? I don’t think that there is, if I’m honest. These two are inseperable, and their touchy-feely bromance relationship together has been the core of the sitcom right from the start, despite being the butt of many jokes. It’s often joked that these two love each other more than their respective girlfriends/wives, and rightly so. They’ve been through it all! college, med school, first jobs, they’ve always been together. The finale is particularly sad for this reason…

Bromance in action: Could it be anything other than this?

Oh, and as a bonus, The actors are best friends in real life! Here’s the birthday present Zach bought Donald:

Plus, they recorded a Christmas song together: Baby, it’s cold outside

There we go! A brief exploration into TV bromances! If you have any other bromances that you think deserve some love then post a comment and let me know!

Next time, we’ll investigate the best bromances in cinema, rather than TV shows!

Man Of Steel – Review

NOTE: I will attempt to keep this as spoiler free as possible! No major plot points are given away during this review. If you have watched the trailers, you should be fine to continue!

The newest attempt at creating a decent Superman film is out and yesterday I went to see it. So how does “Man Of Steel” stack up? Is it a super attempt at re-establishing Superman’s place amongst the recent titans of superhero films such as Iron Man and the Dark Knight trilogy, or is it simply the kryptonite to cinema goers everywhere that will leave you squirming in your seats, powerless to do anything to stop the terrible, terrible pain that it’s putting you through?

Jumping right in, we start the film following Superman’s father Jor-El during the dying days of Krypton. Russell Crowe is absolutely brilliant as Jor-El, settling right into the role. This, combined with the casting of Henry Cavill as Kal-El/Superman shows that the producers clearly know how to cast a movie. Following the destruction of Krypton, we see Clark Kent working various jobs in various places, saving those in need and then moving on to maintain his anonymity. This section is peppered with flashbacks to Clark’s childhood and we get to see him coping with his powers. Diane Lane and Kevin Costner as the Kents are yet another inspired piece of casting, with Costner being the exact image of Jonathon Kent that you expect someone with as strong an ethical compass as Superman to be raised by.

Clark discovering his past, meeting Lois Lane and being tracked down her keeps the movie ticking along comfortably, with some fantastic scenes between Amy Adams and Henry Cavill setting up a spark of romance that could easily be furthered in any future sequels. I particularly enjoyed the brief moments of humour in the scenes with Superman learning how to fly and then being interrogated by the FBI. This film isn’t the comedic take to superhero action that one might expect from an Iron Man film though, the humour is sparse, focusing on a more solemn story of Superman’s origins.

Man of Steel also serves as a slight Matrix reunion for fanboys such as myself with both Laurence Fishburne, playing Daily Planet editor Perry White, and Harry Lennix, as General Swanwick, being part of the supporting cast. Sadly, these two characters never meet and we never have a discussion about the fate of Zion Metropolis or the powers of The One Superman. Shame.

All in all, I thought the film was amazing. Lovely visual effects, great casting, a story that really draws you in and villains that actually feel just a touch villainous. It really was a brilliant film.

Until the last 40 minutes.

When General Zod comes to Earth all of the previous scenes in the movie are wiped completely from the viewer’s minds as we embark of 40 minutes of destruction, culminating in a final confrontation between Zod and Supes. This 40 minutes is LOUD. I know cinemas are usually above the average volume you might normally watch a movie at, but this was taken to another level. Buildings falling down, cars exploding, missiles being fired, the whole of Metropolis is pretty much at threat of becoming a pile of ash, with a large amount of it ending up so. They try to hide the fact that whilst you might see a lot of people escaping the buildings and cars, most of them wouldn’t have made it out and that leads to thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people that you just know are dead when that flaming train is launched through the side of a building.

All in all, whilst the relentless final third of the film does detract somewhat from the overall effect, this was in no way a bad film. It just could have been better. The aspect of morality and choice that Superman has makes him a much more relatable and much more human character than he has often been portrayed as and whilst many people may not like that, I think it adds a touch more depth to the series and (hopefully) paves the way for the DC shared universe of films, just like the Marvel counterpart.

If you like superhero movies you’ll love this. If you can forgive the ending for being a bit action heavy then you’ll surely agree that it’s a great film that just could have done with a little more forethought towards the pacing.

OVERALL VERDICT: 8/10

Good, solid film let down slightly by the rather action heavy final third. Hopefully any sequels will only improve upon this. Definitely worth a watch.

 

Who am I?

No, I’ve not suddenly become a little forgetful and troubled by my existence in the face of impending doom like Theoden, king of Rohan.
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Nor am I starting my slow descent into becoming Johnny, the tackling Alzheimer’s patient (Extra points available for telling me that reference in the comments).
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Instead, I thought we would get to know each other a little, with these very simple questions. Should be a bit of fun though, right?

1. What is your name (can be first name or one you go by)?
Rob
2. How old are you?
20
3. What is your username and why did you choose it? (WordPress, twitter, etc)
ThatRobHall, because I’m THAT Rob Hall
4. What’s your job?
I’m a student, so I’m avoiding the world of work for the time being
5. What are your dreams/plans for the future?
Two very different things, my plans are to finish Uni, get a job, enjoy my life.
6. What is your favourite music genre?
PopPunk
7. Who is your favourite band or artist?
Bowling For Soup
8. Do you have a boyfriend or girlfriend?
No
9. Who is your celebrity crush if you have one?
Emma Watson
10. What is your favourite food?
lasagne
11. What is your favourite drink?
Tea
12. What kind of operating system do you use (Windows XP, Windows 7, MAC OS, Ubuntu etc)?
Windows 7
13. What are your favourite websites?
Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, 9gag, YouTube
14. What is your favourite book?
The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, hands down.
15. What is your current obsession?
Castle.
16. What is something that others do that can annoy you?
That’s a large pool, why not check these out instead….
17. What do you like the most about your best friend?
He’s as utterly ridiculous as I am
18. Are you into girls or guys or both?
Girls
19. What was or is your favourite subject at school?
Geography, predictably.
20. How do you usually dress when chilling out or out with friends?
Jeans, t shirt/shirt
21. What do you normally wear during the day whether that is at work or at home?
See above
22. What do you wear in bed?
I’m a big fan of t shirt and comfy pyjama bottoms, rather than the Guy Standard of boxer shorts
23. Do you love or hate your computer?
Both.
24. What is your favourite colour?
Purple
25. What’s your favourite film?
Serenity
26. Do you prefer a bath or a shower?
Bath
27. What bad habits do you have?
Too many to name, chiefly: swearing
28. Favourite gaming console?
Wii, go ahead and laugh gaming purists
29. What did you last LOL at?
A joke on sickipedia
30. Do you have any addictions?
KitKat Chunkies
31. Where is the best place you have been?
Rome (you can check out my trip here: part1 part 2 part 3
32. Where would you like to visit if you had all the money in the world?
Wherever takes my fancy really!
33. Do you have a favourite quote?
“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to. ” – Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit
34. What makes you angry the most about the world today?
Laziness and apathy combined
35. What is your favourite TV series?
Castle
37. Do you like follow for follow?
No, I’ll follow you if I like what you do and find you interesting and I hope that’s why people follow me too!
38. Do you drink?
Occasionally, I am a student after all!
39. Favourite hobby?
Tae Kwon-Do
40. If you had to choose between the internet and music which would you choose?
I can get music on the Internet, so Internet!
41. Do you ever want to get married?
Someday
42. Where do you see yourself in 1 year?
Hopefully, looking forward to the Easter holidays
43. Favourite fictional character?
Gandalf
44. What animal species are your favorites?
Dogs
45. What kind of instant message platform do you use? (Msn, Skype, IM)
Skype and FacebookChat
46. What was your childhood dream?
To be a train driver
47. Have you got any specific talents? (Singing, drawing..)
Rapier wit and of course, modesty 😉
48. Describe how you relax
Either in the gym or running or watching TV and reading a book
49. Do you have kind of body art? (Piercings, tattoos, etc.)
No
50. Do you know any other languages than English?
I know parts of French, German, Italian and Korean but not enough to speak confidently in any.

Fill it out for yourself and leave it in the comments!

Roaming Rome Day 1 – Hotel Hassle and Landmark Locating

Currently, I am sat on a plane, flying back from Rome. I have just spent a fantastic five days in Italy’s capital city and I thought that I would write up my trip in my own little travel diary. Don’t worry though, these wont be the only posts that I put up, I’ll milk this for all it’s worth space them out over a couple of weeks, with some of the other ideas that I’ve had. For once I seem to have a fair bit to blog about!

So a while back my sister asked me if I would like to go on a five day, four night trip to Rome as she had found an amazing deal online and it was, in all honestly, pretty damn cheap for what it was. I agreed and soon enough the day rolled around and we were waking up at the ungodly hour of 3am to make it to Heathrow for our flight. After breezing through check in and enjoying a travellers breakfast at Heathrow Costa we were on the plane and off to Italy.

Arriving at Fiumicino Airport we quickly realised that it may have been a good idea to learn at least some Italian, as we struggled our way through buying a ticket for the direct train from the airport into the central station in Rome, though we managed in the end (albeit after sitting and watching a few groups of people first) before we knew it we were disembarking at Termini, smack bang in the centre of the city. After finding a kiosk with an assistant that spoke English we had bought our weeks metro and tram travel card and descended into the murky underworld of the Roman Metro. Actually, that’s being unfair; the Metro in Rome is exactly like the London Underground – except it’s clean (I know, novel right!). Disembarking further north at Ottaviano we managed to find a bus that would take us up to our hotel, passing ‘Stadio Olimpico’ on the way.

After managing to walk right past our hotel the first time we tried we spotted it and finally pushed open the main doors and walk through into the hotel lobby only to be greeted by what can only be described as DIY SOS: Hardcore Edition an ongoing refurbishment. After chatting to the receptionist we were told that our booking had been moved to another hotel in the chain, despite us previously being told twice that we were indeed staying at Hotel Number 1. We asked the receptionist for directions and instead of being helpful, she merely suggested we go and find a taxi outside. Needless to say, she has earned herself a place in that oh so special of hells, reserved for murderers, paedophiles and those that don’t clear their own tables at Fast Food Restaurants. I hope she enjoys it down there where Mick Hucknall and The Cheeky Girls are on repeat 24/7 and the only shows on TV are The Only Way Is Essex and Toddlers and Tiaras. Good grief, that’s a fearsome place.

Cue montage of worried wandering around Rome until we finally chanced upon a kind pair of security guards at a massive electronics and hardware store who very kindly ordered us a taxi, because apparently you have to be some kind of wizard to find a cab in Rome. Anyway, much later we ended up at our NEW Hotel, hot, grumpy and footsore but finally able to relax. At least we had somewhere to sleep for the night AND we were MUCH closer to the centre of town, only a ten minute wander from Piazza del Popolo.

After a very hectic and stressful morning we decided to grab a map and head out into the city to explore and try to find a few of the famous landmarks we had heard about. Hopping off the metro at Barberini, we decided to go and find the Trevi Fountain and although we set off in the fit direction we somehow managed to end up walking straight past it until we found ourselves at The Spanish Steps instead. Instantly I was overwhelmed at how busy it was, a Saturday afternoon of sightseeing in Rome may not have been the most ideal of plans in hindsight.

Busy times at the Spanish Steps

Busy times at the Spanish Steps

Climbing the steps we decided to saunter back and find the Trevi Fountain and after a brief pause on the Steps to take some pictures of the crowded, bustling shopping streets we were accosted by what seemed to be the entirety of Rome’s gypsy community, all trying to push a rose into our hands to then charge you money for. Quite honestly I have never seen such ruthless harassment on the street before and it was quite an experience with more than a few of them having to be told to back off numerous times before they finally got the message.

Trevi Fountain

Trevi Fountain

Eventually we made it to the Trevi Fountain and it was absolutely beautiful. I think it will go down on record as my favourite fountain, the sculptures adorning it were carved so masterfully, it really was as good as everyone had told me, and of course we both threw the customary coin backwards over our shoulder into the water to ensure that we would one day return to Rome. It was in front of this fountain that we tried our first true Italian delicacy, Gelato. All I can say is it was FANTASTICO!

The Italians really know how to do food!

The Italians really know how to do food!

"Angels and Demons" fans will recognise this landmark...

“Angels and Demons” fans will recognise this landmark…

After the Trevi Fountain we visited many other Roman landmarks including Trajans Column, the temple of Hadrian, Piazza Navone which hosts the absolutely fantastic Fountain of the Four Rivers sculpted by Bernini which, if you are a Dan Brown fan you will remember being on the Path of Illumination (No, I didn’t really get the Da Vinci Code either, but boy does Brown write one hell of a book! Plus, Angels and Demons was much easier to understand!). We also managed to make out first visit to the Pantheon, though we were unable to go inside as it was being used for a holy mass, it is after all a fully functioning church.

After a busy and tiring day we wanted nothing more than to eat some gorgeously fattening food and head back to the hotel so we ducked into the McDonalds (I know, it seems like a crime going to Italy and then going to a McDonalds but bear with me on this one) which just so happened to be the oldest and fanciest in Italy, boasting a separate McCafe and having some Italian options on the menu, such as a focaccia bread based burger.

After a busy night we managed to find our way back to the hotel where we proceeded to collapse into bed and by half 9 we were both asleep, absolutely shattered after our first day in Rome, but eager for our next busy day in the Capital…

Kitchen Hell: Utensils

I love spending time in the kitchen (you would never have guessed what with all the recipes I post on here…). Cooking relaxes me, it makes me happy and chills me out when I’ve had a hard day. I like to challenge myself in the kitchen too, giving myself recipes that I never thought I would be able to make and then taking a stab at it anyway. Nine times out of ten, after much air scorching profanity hard work and perseverance, the results are exactly what I wanted and I leave the kitchen feeling fulfilled, both in my cooking ability and in my belly.

So you would think that if I’m one of these people that cooks to relax, surely I love everything to do with cooking. Well, no. The kitchen can turn very quickly from my little oasis of serenity into a coliseum of abject hatred pitting hungry, angry lions against a toddler armed only with a butter knife stressful arena of irritation and annoyance. Unfortunately it only takes one thing to do this: Utensils.

I’m not going to lambast all kitchen utensils – most are generally quite useful. No, instead I’m going to list what I think are the MOST annoying, vexing, irritating, downright frustrating and pointless utensils ever created and exactly why they need to be sent to:

kitchen hell

Sieves
Does any other utensil take quite so long to wash as a sieve? Trying to get it clean is like trying to make a donkey do a Charleston. It won’t work but even if it did no one would ever believe you anyway. Other than this issue, I’ve got nothing against sieves, but my hatred for washing them up is enough by far to force them into Hell with no remorse. Goodbye you messy devils.

Tea Strainers
See ‘Sieves’. Enough said.

Graters
I have lost count of the amount of times I’ll be absent mindedly grating something and then BAM I manage to grate my fingers into the same pile as the rest of my food. You might say that this could be solved by me paying more attention when I grate, but I have managed to do it even when fully concentrating, on that last bit of cheese/carrot/etc that tricks you into thinking it’s large enough to grate. I don’t know if you’ve ever done it yourselves but its akin to someone rubbing you down with sandpaper after a relaxing full body massage.

Whisks
I hate whisks purely because I can’t find one in the size I want that isn’t silicone. It’s been two years and it’s still driving me nuts.

Paring Knives
Living as I do on a student budget, it is impossible to afford a top of the line knife block with a paring knife that is halfway decent. Unfortunately my paring knife is too short to be of any use, I mean it slices perfectly fine and doesn’t need sharpening but it’s just too small to be used on most of the veg I buy. It’s a shame really but I don’t really need a “button mushroom knife”…

Now in the immortal words of Gandalf the White: “Send these foul beasts into the ABYSS!”

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It was too much for Gandalf to bear when he was asked to clean ALL the sieves in Minas Tirith

 

Are there any useless utensils that you think I’ve missed? Do any more deserve to go into KITCHEN HELL? Do you think any of mine should come out of the abyss? Leave a comment and let me know!