Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The end of an era, and teacher gifts

The dust is settling here as we wind down from the manic weeks that built up to the end of the school term. Both my girls have finished their time at their schools, I can hardly believe it. Little Flower will be donning a school uniform for the first time this autumn when she starts Reception; Bunny is stepping up to the more serious uniforms worn at secondary school. But for now, they are enjoying their summer dresses and playing all day in the sunshine!

But each of them had special gifts for their teachers before they left. Ages ago I found a lovely quote on Pinterest that I knew would be ideal for the 10 teachers at Little Flower’s pre-school. I used the quote for a card matched with a pretty vintage flower print, then printed 10 copies on printable card stock.

Inside each, my four-year-old wrote her name, drew a picture, and taped a packet of seeds, so the teachers will have pretty flowers in their gardens as a reminder of how greatly they are appreciated.

And of course we brought them a cake! But I forgot to take a photo. I was too busy baking cookies for Bunny’s teachers...

Chocolate cooling on the macaroons
The staff room got coconut macaroons drizzled with dark chocolate. These are exceptionally moreish, so much so that the first batch I made didn’t make it to the chocolate drizzle stage.

I stored them in this tin, with the gentle statement that these were for the primary school staff, so please don’t eat all of them. This sentence was obviously open to wide interpretation.

So when I made the second batch (and believe me, the recipe makes loads, I can't quite believe how many were snaffled away), I resorted to a stern warning and a formal label on the tin:

It is this batch that made it to the final, chocolatey-striped image above. (Though the Head Chef had to test one..or two...for quality.)

A few months ago Bunny asked if she could make gifts for her two classroom teachers this year. I was happy to oblige, especially when she said she wanted to sew tote bags for them! She found out their favourite colours, then chose fabric...

...ironed them neatly...arranged them into pleasing patchworks...started sewing...and ta-dah!

How proud am I? All I helped with were the handles, because the seam allowances are so narrow. She did the rest! Even lined them, clever gal:

Those of you who’ve been visiting her a while may remember when she made the nine-patch cushion last year. I think this gave her the confidence to make these pretty gifts.

And because we simply can’t let an occasion go by without giving cookies, we made melting moments for each teacher, filled with lemony buttercream:

These are delicate biscuits made with icing sugar and a mix of cornflour and plain flour, which all give the cookie a tender, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is rather special.

The lemon buttercream filling is perfect for the hot summer weather, fresh and zingy, but believe me, I envisage some of these little babies in a nice coat of Nutella...a friend suggested jam and clotted cream, reminiscent of scones...I’ll take more ideas!

Thus we’ve ended the school year and a school era. At Bunny’s Leavers Assembly, the teacher handed out packets of Kleenex as we parents all filed into the school. The boys performed a play, the girls did a dance, then individual pupils shared their talents with everything from an electric guitar to a drum solo! Bunny played the piano accompaniment for a friend who sings; they finished the piece by breaking into a harmonious duet of ‘Let It Go’, which Bunny had learned the chords for all on her own! (And I thought she was just playing around on the piano when she was practicing, she kept it all a big secret, you see!) Then she played the harp, which had everyone in the hall, including all the young schoolchildren, silent as she played. I was soooo proud I could have burst! (Yes, I teared up. Of course I did!)

Golly, I’ve rambled on today, thank you for reading! Oh, I will just share with you a photo of the end of that day, a little reward a few mums signed up for a while back, knowing we’d need a fun evening after a very emotional day:

We went to a Champagne & Cheese Tasting, as you do!

Chrissie x


  1. Nothing wrong with a ramble every now and then! The bags that Bunny made are brilliant!!! I am sure that her teachers will love them. All of the other gifts are so lovely too, especially the seeds in the cards. That is such a great and simple idea that is very effective and thoughtful too. I hope that your girls have a great summer before they move on to the next stages of their schooling lives. xx

  2. I love a good ramble myself now and again, but your ramble was particularly poignant, many memories in the making and stored. The seed cards were a delight and all those tempting cookies made my mouth water. Your daughter is a very talented crafter those bags were delightful. Have a wonderful summer making lots of lovely memories.

  3. Congratulations to Bunny - not only for school, but also for making those cute tote bags (my gosh do I feel ashamed right now, I wouldn't succeed in making them...) !
    And thanks for all those photos of all those yummy looking cookies (do you notice the grim tone in this sentence ?) . I'm trying to cut down on sugar !!! And you post photos of home made macaroons ! That it soooo sadistic ! ;-)

  4. I always found with my children that the end of the school year always made you realise how much they were growing up even more so than their birthdays!
    Lots of lovely gifts too....lucky teachers. :)
    V x

  5. I wouldn't mind being a teacher of one of your kids - with all these lovely treats coming my way!!!! Wow, those melting moments and macaroons look incredible! My mouth is watering..!
    And wow, Bunny is a talented girl - must take after her mum!
    Maria x

  6. Aw, what a nice post. You're a very caring mother, Chrissie. I'm sure your girls will always remember the time you took to do nice things for them, their friends and their teachers.

  7. What beautiful gifts to use and treasure! Bunny did so well-they learn so, so much from Mum and she sounds so talented- no wonder you are proud! xx

  8. A lovely post. It's years since I had to do end of year presents for my children's teachers. I love the idea of the card with seeds and the cookies. It just goes to show that you do not have to spend a fortune for a shop bought gift. Great ideas. I would love to be on the receiving end!

  9. So as one chapter of each of your girls lives will close yet more exciting ones are about to open. It's a very emotional time isn't it with all these changes. I think us mum's suffer more than the children do. My son moves school this year and I know his dad and I are far more anxious than he is.

    Your baking as always looks yummy but the biggest praise has to go to Bunny for those fantastic bags I couldn't make something like that now in my 50's never mind at 11 who knows the skills that are going to continue to develop but obviously she takes after her very talented mum...


  10. Ah these changing times have our emotions running on high alert Chrissie - you must be so proud of your girls, and rightly so. Lovely thoughtful gifts for the teachers, and isn't Bunny a clever girl with the pretty patchwork bags - taking after her talented Mum of course. Delicious looking cookies too and I bet they were very much appreciated - even before they left the house!!! I think the champagne and cheese tasting later on was a very good idea and I reckon you Mum's deserved it :) Enjoy the holidays lovely, sending love, Joy xo

  11. Wishing your girls the very best in their new and exciting chapters of their lives. Lovely yummy makes and bakes. Enjoy the holidays!
    Amanda x

  12. What a beautiful card !!! We don't have those traditions here...
    The bags are lovely and the cookies seems delicious....
    Have a great day !

  13. Such lovely cards and gifts for the teachers. I am sure they were appreciated so much.
    Hugs to you,

  14. Anonymous3:00 pm BST

    I'm sure all the staff at your daughters' pre-school and school were delighted with such lovely gifts. The years really do fly when our children are at school. My youngest has just left year 13 and I simply can't believe it!


  15. What an emotional school year end!! Bet you needed that glass of wine by the end. You should be proud of your girls, especially your eldest and her sewing skills! She has made an excellent job, and how lovely for her teachers to receive hand-made gifts. I would love to hear her harp playing - you know how I love that music! Let the holidays begin! love Sam xxx

  16. The seed card is such a good idea and I wouldn't be able to resist all those biscuits either. Bunny clearly inherited your crafting skills as those bags are beautiful. I'd have done more than tear up - I'd have been crying buckets! x

  17. What a fab idea sending seeds as a teachers gift, such a beautiful card too. You're daughter is going to take after her mom and be very talented seamstress, those bags are fabulous and I'm drooling over all those bakes!!!!

  18. Such a lovely post Chrissie - and such thought went in to your lovely gifts. Not surprised you needed that little boost at the end of the day !
    Have a lovely weekend,
    Kate x

  19. And I didn't get or do anything. Feel like a failure now! x

  20. Your teacher gifts were gorgeous especially the card and bags. Those macaroons look amazing too! I'm sure you're glad to kick back and enjoy summer now! Bee xx

  21. You must be so proud of your girls making such thoughtful beautiful gifts. I love the seeds what a great idea.I love all your baking it has made me rush to my baking pantry and I've just whipped up a batch of lemon curd and jam tarts simply because they remind me of my childrens one time favourite after school treat.I always enjoyed the summer holidays with the girls and miss it so much I hope you have lots of fun together.

  22. Aw so lovely what great gifts. The seeds are a really fab idea. I am having seeds as wedding favours. Wishing you a lovely weekend x

  23. Argh I was so bad this year and didn't get round to teacher presents, I've promised (to myself really) to make something for them for the start of the new term instead!
    It all looks amazing Chrissie, you are a MACHINE!

  24. What a lovely post.
    Your daughter is obviously following in your creative footsteps. The teacher gifts are really lovely.
    No wonder the contents of the biscuit tin keep disappearing. They look delicious :)

  25. Aww what a lovely post Chrissie :-) The girls will do fabulous in their new schools. Your baking has made me seriously hungry, Bunny did an excellent job on her tote bags, hope her teachers get loads of use out of them :-) x