Post 20: Resolutions Review February! 102 to go!

Kat doodles about life and reviews month of February as part of 3 Days challenge:

Design career–  Right, I will be very honest, there was not much art or design going on this month. I have been so busy earning money in other ways, I only managed to do a sketch of Fyodor Dostoyevsky on the train. I also had to move the furniture in my room once again, which means I have not finished Darwin on my wall yet and there were things everywhere for quite some time. However I did buy subscription to a new interior design magazine as I got discount since being subscribed to another one already and I have managed figure out some plan of how to be more organized when it comes to following all my resolutions. Alright, swiftly moving on.

Blog every three days– I am on top of my list with all the posts I should have written, so that is all good. If you search through February posts with numbers 12-19, one of them is dedicated to posts and links worth to be to be mentioned and one of them is about books. There are few other interesting ones which include mentioning spelling book for children from Carol Voorderman and great recipes to try.

Translating blog into Czech– The young man, who expressed the interest of translating my blog after he did it for the first time, never got back in touch after receiving my reply with comments on his translation. Looks like he is no longer interested then. I had a chat with a friend and he said he is more than happy to help me with the correction, when he is off work, so I just need to get myself into translating all my posts.

Social networking– Running between jobs and barely being at home, there is not much update on social networking either. I have not really had a chance to look that that traffic via Facebook adverts yet, and I just about managed to keep up reading my favourite posts. Most of them on my phone in bed just before bed time. Hopefully with my new schedule I can soon catch up and do little more.

Teaching and interpreting– Lots going on in this section! Obviously you may know I got offered a job interpreting for another company and I have done quite a few assignments with them this month. Definitely interesting new experience worth to have.

Next wonderful news is I managed to get another student, so that will also keep me busy working from now on. He is little more advanced than the other one. I spend few days preparing lesson plans and managed to get some books to use during the lessons. Getting my student-chef speaking more, I slotted in one very practical session and it was so much fun. You can read about our ‘best ever spaghetti bolognese’ and blueberry & banana pancakes in one of the posts.

Learning how to drive– That is a bit of disappointment as I have not done any driving or any theory learning this month at all. I know, shame on me. Do not worry, I am aware of that, every time I pass a car with L sign. But I did a bit of thinking and I decided to leave the lessons until I have lot more spare cash to go and pay for frequent slots and have them something like once a week. Until now I was practicing every two to three weeks and it is not quite working out with the money flow for other things and the work timetable. I need to learn often enough, so it becomes a second nature.

New people, new opportunities– I met up with few friends over the last month catching up with what is going on in town, getting carried away having a bit way too much fun as usual. If you are reading  my blog regularly, you must have noticed also my post about my upcoming birthday and having a bit of that question time of what I am I doing with my life, so hopefully things are going to turn around soon for the better. And I need to learn how to be less scattered and let things roll more.

Learning Autocad, Sketchup, creating a website, saving money– I have turned into my mother and finally wrote down all the receipts from the last few months. I ‘spoiled’ myself and got new cycling shorts (and they are ever so comfortable, better be for that price), few books, got the magazine subscription and paid few bills and sent some money to save. Regarding the AutoCad, I was in touch with someone, who is offering private lessons, but I have not really discovered it any further.

Overall February was not perhaps as productive as it could have been, but I have done lot of teaching, interpreting and running between my other two jobs, so hopefully that will give me better start in March when it comes to other things. Last two weeks have been definitely more pleasant to cycle around and you can smell the spring in the air. Mind you there are still those horrible unexpected showers and you never know about possible March frost appearing. But March has always been my month, so I am hoping things are going to get going and I will put that timetable to a good use. Back soon Kat xx

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Post 14: The Best Spaghetti Bolognese I Ever Had! REALLY! 108 to go!

Kat doodles about life and cooks:

As you may remember I have mentioned that one of the next lessons with my student-chef will be practical and we will be cooking the recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese according to the recipe he was solving as a quiz.  So on Thursday I made to it to his house and we got started. Apparently he was looking forward to it. For anyone, who is up for trying this recipe, I have taken the original from BBC Good Food website. I won’t bore you with the details, but I will tell you what we have changed or added. As soon as we started cooking and I was making him to tell me the right orders in English, he soon took the “make it up as you go along” approach. He does this for living, so he knows what he is doing, I thought.

Instead of 500g of minced beef we went for 700g and with the streaky bacon, not sure where he got it, but it looked beautiful like from the real butcher and not from the supermarket. It was just well thick and long. And definitely plenty. As he is still not very familiar with some of the items or supermarket aisles since he has been here only few months, he was trying to convince me that the local shop does not stock tins of plums tomatoes, so he replaced it with two good quality jars of pasta sauce with basil. We used about half of the punnet of cherry tomatoes to give it that little extra taste. When it comes to all the other ingredients we used extra celery sticks to make up the amount to feed everyone for dinner time, instead of one, we used two glasses of wine (and the rest for us) and instead of beef stock cube, real made chicken stock was used. I think probably around 1.5 litres. We managed to grate in the whole triangle of parmesan cheese and we skipped using the bay leaves. Everything was left to simmer and we got on with the rest of the lesson.

By the end I was proper hungry and when he served the sauce with freshly made pasta, I can tell you I was in food heaven. It was really nice to share the result of mutual effort. In the past I was lucky that my two previous boyfriends shared my passion for cooking, so we would either share the time cooking together or I would get surprised by them having cooked some lovely meals for me. ‘Love goes through the stomache’ as we say in Czech, it is certainly true in my case. So if you are man trying to seduce me, here is it the way. I am not a big fan of Spaghetti Bolognese as I was not really lucky to have them in places where a lot of herbs and spices are allowed, so usually it would taste really bland and mine are full of extra different things. However after having one bowl cooked according to this recipe, I am sure I could fit another one in without a doubt. After this amazing feast, I fancied more, so I thought, why don’t we extend the lesson and make a dessert.

I had a selection of Valentine’s recipes ready for him just in case he would need to prepare something for work, but they all needed good few hours of work, so I suddenly thought of a recent recipe LearnerMother posted and it was Banana and Blueberry pancakes. She shared it originally from the blog A Girl Called Jack and it is so simple anyone can do it in literally no time. So we popped in again to the shop (I showed him where the tins of plum tomatoes are) and got more ingredients like blueberries and bananas. Not sure how much is in the recipe for the blueberries, but we used the whole punnet again, and the same approach of ‘making it as you go’ when getting the right mixture, so probably more than the recipe is stating. Finally making about 10 mini pancakes. All finished with maple syrup and icing sugar on top. As soon as other members of his family arrived all the food was literally flying off the plate. We all then had a wonderful evening full of fun chatting about life, so I cannot wait to have another lesson like this.

I am sorry there are no pictures, we ate it too quickly before I realized I should have taken a photo.

Back soon Kat xx

Post 11: Resolutions Review! 111 to go!

Kat doodles about life and reviews her first month of 3 Days challenge:

Design career– Well I have been trying to get into new projects and more painting. In one of my previous posts you can read about my sources of inspiration, so I did few sketches of bearded men after doing the very important research and I ended up with a face of Charles Darwin on my wall. I reckon one more session and then he has to go. It has been freaky at the beginning, but now it feels he is part of the room. I do not want him to become too comfortable. I thought I will start on a new project by now, but my work schedule has changed, plus other activities and being ill at the beginning of the month made it harder. There have been few offers since then for small commissions, but they have not been fully requested, so I guess, see what happens.

The January project has not worked out, but I guess I know the reasons now, so see if I can make it work from April time. As they say ‘Learn from making mistakes’. Lastly I just would like to say I am so proud of myself for doing the tax return in December as I for the first time did not have to suffer with the stress of deadlines and it felt pretty good. A lesson learnt?!

Blog every three days– Although I am writing this post two days later, I think I have done pretty well, posting as I should be. My arty buddy Tim  is helping in keeping me aware of it every three days. It has been great having a bit of that time to breathe and actually focus on my writing making the post little more interesting and useful to others. I guess although predominantly I write for myself, I need the audience to keep me going.

Translating blog into Czech– Well this has been an issue for me. Around the Christmas time I have put out there into online world a request for a translator to translate my posts or correct them into Czech. But I soon realized that translating is almost as writing. There is a style and compare to interpreting, where you can clarify who says what and how they mean it, with translating unless you know the author very well,  it can become very difficult. I am still working on the draft of my first post as I want to make sure it will be perfect and it will set a certain style for the rest of them.

Social networking– I have run out of my £25 free voucher for Facebook advertising, but I have not had a chance to review the numbers yet, so I guess that will be topic for another post. I had some technical issues with my e-mail, so catching up with everything became lot more difficult. As it suddenly appeared few weeks ago, over the weekend it also suddenly disappeared, so hopefully I can get on with everything as usual.

Regarding my Czech blog I decided to start new Facebook Group for Czech and Slovakian bloggers including anyone , who is interested in languages, travels, culture etc. First I left it open, but it soon became apparent it needs a bit of admin work to keep the posts relevant. The group now has around 30 members, so if you know anyone, who likes to blog and is interested in Eastern European countries, send them to here.

Teaching and interpreting– There has been a great improvement! I had quite a few sessions with my young chef. During the last one we had during his afternoon break, I spoke to his boss, and he was really pleased with his improvement, so that made us obviously both very happy. He is clearly making a mark in the kitchen and it is not going unnoticed. I had another two people possibly interested in lessons, so again see what happens.

Last session we were learning about different meat cuts, last night I was going through list of all kinds of lettuce and selection of mushrooms. Although being here for many years since teaching privately it has also challenged me personally as I actually need to learn the exact translation or simply new words. Sometimes it proves difficult as I cannot find the right Czech word or nearest equivalent.

Another great news is I have been approached by a new language agency to do more interpreting work. So far the working relationship has been great, so hopefully there will be some ongoing work.

Learning how to drive– With my driving there has been some kind of  improvement. I feel like a bit frustrated as it is not as big one as I would like to, but at least there is something happening. So far I had five sessions and although it does not feel as stressful being in the car anymore and I even drove up to 40 mph, I am having a trouble with ‘up and down hill start and stop’, so that is, when my panic appears once again. Regarding the theory test I properly gone through the first chapter, which does not sound like a lot, but at least I have picked up the book. I need to do more progress on this in February, me thinks.

New people, new opportunities– Being more open to saying ‘yes’ and catching up with friends have been quite succesful I believe. I have made the effort of meeting up with few of my friends, attended nice little engagement evening catch up  and met up with few new people I have been introduced to over the recent months. One of my personal resolutions of being more patient is definitely working and although having little wobble at the end of the month, I have been impressed with myself.  One of those nice “yes” moments was when I agreed to go and see the new film Wolf of the Wall Street, however choose carefully who you go to see it with. It is certainly one of those ‘age 18 and over’ films.

Learning Autocad, Sketchup, creating a website, saving money– Nothing really new there, as it is not on my priority list right now, but I will see if I can do any research on possible future steps.

Overall not bad I think! It could be better, but with the cold and slow start to the year including trying to figure out how to get all my resolutions going at the same time and having to work, it has not been bad at all. I am hoping for spring soon, because I do not enjoy cycling in the rain and I have been comfort eating more often than I like to. See what February brings. Love Kat xx

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Day 78: So I have got a student…! 14 days to go!

Kat doodles about life:

Few days ago I have been sitting in a cafe for more than two hours translating a form for a couple. In that time I have earned more than doing the usual shift running around the kitchen. It got me thinking I should really spend more time soon giving this type of job little bit more and let the years of experience work for me without doing the extra sweating. In the afternoon I was browsing Facebook having a little a break and in one of the groups for “our people” stumbled over a post, where this guy was looking for an English teacher. So I messaged him and we arranged to meet up on Friday afternoon, where I have shown my cards and said: “This is who I am, take it or leave it!”. After a chat, he promised he will get in touch and he did! We had our first lesson today and it was very exciting! He is very ambitious young chef with already enough impressive cv for Czech standards. I am sure he will go far, just need to work on his English now. I left my Italian cookbook there, so he better be flicking through before his bedtime as we speak. I mean even when I got there, he was making a base for Czech dumplings… so he must be keen. I wait for visits at home and grandma to make them. I spent pretty much 90% of the time speaking in English (otherwise he would have said I need lessons in Czech, the first time I met him was bad enough), so I can imagine his head must be like a balloon (Lead Balloon). After I left few minutes later I met his brother in a supermarket whilst on a hunt for my dinner (see that lovely image below) and he was rather excited about getting his little brother finally speaking English. For sure, there is no running away from me, when it comes to talking. Well, if not scared too much and that call for second lesson comes in… Back tomorrow. Kat xx

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And speaking of of certain balloons…