The advantages of shopping around –reduced price TEFL course.

Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL)

Teach English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) (Photo credit: SEE TEFL Teacher Training)

 

Like many other students faced with a long summer and little job prospects I wanted to use the time wisely in some beneficial way. I decided after finishing my last assignment for the year that I would like to undertake a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) course in my spare time. This would not only keep me occupied and look good on my CV but would also provide the potential for me to work abroad after completion of my degree.

Unfortunately most of the courses I looked into were over £200 which is a lot of money when you have nothing coming in. I was chatting about this problem with a fellow classmate and she suggested checking Groupon (a coupon sharing website). She had got her own course on the recommendation of a friend from the sight at only £50 for 160 hours. This inspired me to have a look for myself. Although £50 was still a lot of money it was significantly cheaper than any of the other courses I had looked into.

On the other hand this led me to wonder why this particular course was so cheap. If I bought it through the TEFL-LINK website it would cost me £560 for the same course I could buy via Groupon for just £50. I looked at the terms and conditions and found that the only thing not included in the course was the cost of postage for the certificate which would be an extra £5.

I decided the best thing to do was look for reviews of the course and the tefllink website. When these came back positive I decided to go for the much reduced course.

This made me realise that there was probably lots of potential savings on the web for things I had never even considered checking. This strengthened my resolve to check in future and try my very best not to pay more than necessary. I bookmarked groupon and moneysupermaket an am going to test them out next time I need to purchase something online.

http://www.moneysupermarket.com

My friend sent me the link for the course which is https://www.groupon.co.uk/deals/special/tefl-express/22121740

And tefllink can be found at http://www.teflink.com/

I hope this helps and you save money in future too. If you know of any other great ways of saving money please do share.

Best wishes

Rachael

Kombucha continued

English: Mature Kombucha

English: Mature Kombucha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

Hey again,

Last post I outlined the basics of Kombucha.  This time I am going to investigate  how to flavour the finished product.

 

 

Here is a video outlining the basics of how to start your own culture:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z58FzJdliRE&feature=share&list=PLWzMfwDxBs_m9uVcO74d6KeRm8-eN6sGz

Once you have made your own Kombucha and got the hang of making plain batches you might want to have a go at flavouring.

Flavouring is done after the first fermentation. Once you have a batch of plain Kombucha you are happy with you can decant some of it into a separate Glass container (don’t forget to set aside some of your kombucha mix to start your next plain batch)  and then begin to experiment by adding the flavours of your choice. Bear in mind that Kombucha is a living substance so do not use chemicals to flavour it. Instead why not try adding fruit or fruit juice.

Once you have added the ingredients you are using to flavour the Kombucha then you have to re-cover it (still allowing it to breath) and leave it to re-ferment in a warmish (room temperature) place out of direct sunlight. After 5 to 14 days it will be ready to drink depending on your personal taste. Don’t forget to leave a comment on your own mixtures as it is always nice to find new flavours.

There is a fantastic video available on how to flavour Kombucha available here:

Homemade gift kombucha starter

This is my first full day back in sunny Yorkshire since Easter.  I spent the day unproductively enjoying the sunshine that has been reluctant in its appearance. This post is dedicated to my sister whose birthday is next week. She has just moved flat and I wanted to get her something nice but personal. For this reason I decided to make a gift this year rather than buying one. She is very supportive and often offers me both ideas and encouragement for my blog. After careful consideration I decided to gift her with a kombucha starter kit.

I researched what kombucha is in an earlier post along with instructions for starting your own.

http://wp.me/p3vj8Z-8Y

Kombucha

Kombucha (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is what I learnt about basic Kombucha care:

Kombucha type of drink made using a micro-culture which is sometimes refered to as a mushroom or scoby. The mushroom is used to fement a mixture of black tea and sugar in order to produce a cold tea that can (depending on care) taste like anything between vinegar and champagne (although its usual taste is similar to cider).

You have to keep your kombucha mix in a glass jar out of direct sunlight. The lid should be removed in order to let air in but covered (I find kitchen roll and a rubber band work well) in order to stop dust and flies.

The scoby should not be allowed to come into contact with metal as this will kill it.

There are two ways to make kombucha either a batch at a time or in a running (continuous batch). For the batch at a time method you transfer some of the last batch of ready kombucha and the scoby to a clean glass jar and then add the cooled black tea and sugar mix. For the continuous batch every time you take out some of the liquid from the kombucha mix you replace it with more cooled black tea and sugar mix. For the second method it has been suggested that you add slightly more sugar than in the initial batch as the pre-existing mix as well as the new tea feeds off the sugar.

Plain kombucha takes 10 to 14 days from adding the sugar black tea mix before it is ready to drink.

The ready kombucha can be flavoured by decanting into another glass jar, without the scoby and the kombucha needed to start the next batch (or continue brewing), adding your flavouring of choice and leaving it a few days to take on the flavour.

I hope this explains the basics for those of you who are interested. I hope to do a post in the future about the different recipes which include kombucha.

Best wishes

Rachael

The World’s Top 10 Most Ridiculously Adorable Baby Elephants

Elephants

Quick Stepp

My buddy over at http://theverybesttop10.com/  has a blog dedicated to “The World’s Top 10 of Anything and Everything”.  I recently asked him if he’d ever considered doing a baby elephant list.  You see, I’m obsessed with elephants and I’m absolutely batty about baby elephants.  I mean all baby animals are adorable, but elephants are a special brand of cute.  One day I’ll get to meet one of these little guys in person, but for now I’ll settle for the honor of doing a guest blog for Russel and his awesome followers!

Let me first express how very difficult it was to narrow this list down to 10.  All baby elephants are delightfully cute, but in my opinion, as an expert on the subject, these are the best of the best.  Get ready for cuteness overload people!

10- Look at his little elephant face!  His little feet perched on this log…

View original post 292 more words

Bean and Barley Goulash

This a fantastic frugal recipe not just for vegetarians

CookaholicKate

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Superhealthy, meatfree and frugal this concoction of pulses and grains is filling and tasty.

I always use dried pulses but understand that many people find them a pain with overnight soaking and preboiling to remove toxins which is an essential step to remove toxins. I simply buy a different bag of beans most weeks and batch cook the entire lot in one go then divide it into portions and freeze, a bag of mixed is useful too. You could simply buy tins of ready to use beans and I have seen some rather nice vacuum packs of Tuscany mix which would work perfectly for this dish. Pulses are a great source of protein and can be used regularly in place of meat which will reduce your food bill no end as well as reduce your fat intake. Pulses were used a great deal in wartime cooking when meat was rationed and remains…

View original post 272 more words

Felting a bag.

This week i went to a free felting workshop. all the materials were provided and it has given me a few ideas for what to do with my own wool.

Here is an explanation of what i did in pictures

 

Base layer of bubble wrap in tray

Base layer of bubble wrap in tray

Template for felting in tray

Template for felting in tray

Template for felting

Template for felting

A selection of wool

A selection of wool

A selection of wool

A selection of wool

My selection of wool

My selection of wool

The first layer would form the outside of the bag

The first layer would form the outside of the bag

I had to keep the wool wispy and make sure there were no gaps

I had to keep the wool wispy and make sure there were no gaps

Then I put a layer of lace over the wool to hold it in place.

Then I put a layer of lace over the wool to hold it in place.

I used a watering can to sprinkle water onto the wool.

I used a watering can to sprinkle water onto the wool.

Then presses it down to ensure it was wet.

Then presses it down to ensure it was wet.

Next i rubbed soap into the wool.

Next i rubbed soap into the wool.

After this I massaged the wool to felt all the strands together

After this I massaged the wool to felt all the strands together

I removed the lace curtain to prevent it felting to the wool. Then relayered it and continued massaging.

I removed the lace curtain to prevent it felting to the wool. Then relayered it and continued massaging.

I Flipped my felt using a spare sheet of bubble wrap.

I Flipped my felt using a spare sheet of bubble wrap.

I folded the corners neatly over the template.

I folded the corners neatly over the template.

Massaged them together.

Massaged them together.

then layered more wool over the template. This would also be an outside layer.

then layered more wool over the template. This would also be an outside layer.

I repeated the same process as before. covering the wool with a sheet of lace.

I repeated the same process as before. covering the wool with a sheet of lace.

sprinkling with water.

sprinkling with water.

massaging the soap and water into the wool.

massaging the soap and water into the wool.

Flipping the felt and turning the edges in again.

Flipping the felt and turning the edges in again.

layering more wool. this will form the inside of the bag. massaging it. then repeating the process on the final side.

layering more wool. this will form the inside of the bag. massaging it. then repeating the process on the final side.

cutting along the top edge and removing the bubble wrap template from the bag.

cutting along the top edge and removing the bubble wrap template from the bag.

messaging the felt bag then turning it the right way out and continuing to massage it with one hand inside and one out.

messaging the felt bag then turning it the right way out and continuing to massage it with one hand inside and one out.

squeeze out excess water to shrink the felt.

squeeze out excess water to shrink the felt.

when a suitable size leave to dry naturally.

when a suitable size leave to dry naturally.Fe

Making felt from scratch aka what to do with raw unprocessed wool

I went for my walk this week to visit my friend with my emergency rice-pudding cake. On the way my other friend and I decided to collect the wool which we kept discovering caught on thistles and hedges. This was a successful venture and we collected far more raw wool than we initially expected.

I decided that this was my opportunity to card and comb my own wool, dye it and then make my own felt from scratch.

Feeling ambitious I did some research and decided on the steps I was going to take.

1)      I knew I needed to clean the wool first.  This would involve washing and removing any stray pieces of straw or thistle that had got into the wool. I got advice from this website on the best way to wash wool before combing.

http://www.newenglandsimpleliving.com/processingwoolfibersbyhand.htm

2)      Combing I needed to comb or card the wool after washing in order to prepare it for felting.

The steps of cleaning the wool:  I placed the wool in my clean crafting bucket along with warm (not boiling) water.  I had also dissolved the remainder of a bar of gentle strawberry soap in the water before adding the wool.   Then I left this overnight to soak.

I changed the water that was filthy 3 times before splitting the wool into four smaller batches. These batches were soaked again until the water was clear.

Once the water was clear excess water was gently squeezed from the wool. The wool was then laid -out on a towel to dry.

After the wool had partially dried I began to tease it (pull it apart) to prevent unwanted felting.

Bag of raw wool

Bag of raw wool

Raw wool in bucket before adding water

Raw wool in bucket before adding water

wool in bucket first soak

wool in bucket first soak

The last batch to soak

The last batch to soak

a batch of clean wool in tea towel

a batch of clean wool in tea towel

Clean wet wool in tea towel ready to squeeze some of the water out

Clean wet wool in tea towel ready to squeeze some of the water out

some of the clean wool drying on a towel

some of the clean wool drying on a towel

Damp wool teased out left to dry on towel

Damp wool teased out left to dry on towel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other useful sites

http://knitsnthings.wordpress.com/2009/05/11/combing-wool/

http://sweetleafnotes.blogspot.co.uk/2009/01/washing-wool-fresh-off-sheep.html

http://www.ranching-with-sheep.com/wool-processing.html

http://members.peak.org/~spark/PDF_files/Preparing%20Wool%20for%20Spinning%20or%20Felting.pdf

Emergency flour free dessert – Rissoto cake

English: a fruit salad Deutsch: ein Obstsalat

English: a fruit salad Deutsch: ein Obstsalat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I was invited to have dinner by a friend from my chapel who lives a few villages over. Me and another friend had agreed to walk down and visit before the end of the academic year. I volunteered to bring the dessert if she brought the wine. Being me I didn’t want to bring a shop bought cake so decided to make my own. However my attempt at making a pineapple sponge ended very badly. Although I followed the recipe, I forgot baking powder gets stronger with age and added an extra pinch, the cake tasted very bitter.

At this point I had finished the last of my flour but still needed to make something for the promised dessert as I would be walking across the next day.

I Googled flour free desserts and found this recipe at :

http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/2762/italian-rice-cake-with-red-fruit.aspx

It was a recipe for cake made from risotto rice, milk and lemon peel. It came with the suggestion to serve it with a red fruit salad. I didn’t dust the top with icing sugar as suggested but the cake was well received.

Ingredients

Serves : 8 

  • 600 ml (1 pint) semi-skimmed milk
  • a strip of lemon zest
  • 150 g (5½ oz) risotto rice
  • 100 g (3½ oz) pine nuts
  • 100 g (3½ oz) blanched almonds
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 85 g (3 oz) caster sugar
  • grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • sifted icing sugar to decorate
  • Red fruit salad
  • 300 g (10½ oz) strawberries     I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.
  • 125 g (4½ oz) raspberries
  • 200 g (7 oz) cherries, stoned

Directions

Prep:1hr15min  ›  Cook:40min  ›  Ready in:1hr55min

  1. Heat the milk with the strip of lemon zest in a heavy-based saucepan until boiling. Stir in the rice, then turn down the heat so the milk barely simmers. Cook uncovered, stirring frequently, for about 40 minutes or until the rice is very soft and the mixture is thick and creamy.
  2. Spoon the rice mixture into a large bowl and leave to cool. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF, gas mark 4). Grease a 21 cm (8 1/2 in) springform cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.
  3. Spread the pine nuts and almonds in separate baking tins and toast in the oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Roughly chop the almonds.
  4. Remove the strip of lemon zest from the rice. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Beat in the caster sugar, grated lemon zest and rum, then add the nuts.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold them into the rice mixture using a large metal spoon. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for about 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool in the tin, then wrap (still in the tin) and chill overnight. (It can be kept in the fridge for 48 hours, if necessary.)
  7. To make the red fruit salad, purée 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of the strawberries in a food processor or blender. or by pushing them through a sieve. Halve the remaining strawberries and stir into the purée together with the raspberries and cherries. Spoon into a serving bowl.
  8. Unmould the cake onto a serving plate and peel off the lining paper. Dust the cake with icing sugar, and serve with the fruit salad.

Another idea

To make a chocolate rice cake, cook the rice with the strip of lemon zest as in the main recipe, then remove from the heat and discard the lemon zest. While the rice mixture is still hot, stir in 55 g (2 oz) grated good dark chocolate (with at least 70% cocoa solids) until melted, then leave to cool. Instead of the grated lemon zest, add 2 tbsp cold strong espresso coffee with the rum.

Plus points

Pine nuts have been eaten for hundreds of years – husks have been found in the rubbish tips from Roman camps in Britain. Pine nuts contain useful amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium and vitamin E. * Cherries are rich in potassium, and provide useful amounts of vitamin C.

Total Time

1¼ hours, plus chilling overnight

Some other flour free dessert recipes

http://nymag.com/restaurants/recipes/inseason/45991/ – recipe for flourless chocolate walnut cookies

http://www.chefeddy.com/2010/08/flour-free-chocolate-cake/  – recipe for flour free chocolate layer cake

The world is what you make of it so let’s make it the best. =D

Kindness

Kindness (Photo credit: -RejiK)

The kindness of friends and their friends.

I was helping a friend to pack this week. It feels like I’ve been doing this a lot lately. Everyone is finishing their degrees and packing up ready to re-join the real world.

Anyway, one of the things I have found is that as I help people pack they often want to throw out things that are perfectly usable. I hate waste and so offered to run a few trips to the charity shop for anything still usable. Some of these things for example a pair of well-loved trainers were beyond even the charity shop but I offered to give them a home as I love to make do and mend where possible.

To that end this week I have acquired: a new feather duvet with cover and two pillows for the guest bedroom, This will be seriously appreciated when the weather gets cooler as there is no heating in the spare room; Two pairs of loved trainers which although well-worn and battered will be usable with a bit of basic DIY; Some unloved posters which I will pass on to new student in September to help them feel more at home; An unopened bag of tropical granola and three bags of stuff for charity.

I would help my friends regardless but I love the fact that we help each other and keep things out of landfill that little bit longer. Through avoiding the need to buy new things and making other peoples day by working out who would benefit best from items that would otherwise be binned we share the kindness that is often reserved only for close family. For this reason my friends are family and almost strangers are our friends. We keep an eye on those who we see but do not know and try our best to support one another in our community. Even if it is only little things such as saying hi and offering a cup of tea we try to watch out for each other and share some kindness in this world.

The world is what you make of it so let’s make it the best. =D

Best wishes

Rachael