A busy Claire....

....is a happy Claire. Apparently.

So yes, life is whizzing by, a mess of stuff and things and people and fun and stresses and thoughts and moments. But it really is better to be busy than not busy. And half-term is in sight, and with it then chance, if not to drop everything, at least the chance to pull the car off the motorway and visit the service station for a comfort break!

I'm working hard and enjoying it. This is my fourth year teaching, but there's still plenty to learn, plenty to change, plenty to hone, plenty to mess up and go back to the drawing board on! One thing I do love though is how well I know the school and the people in it. I know the stories and the chat and I have my own little niche there. And I love the kids to pieces - I love sitting with them in tea and being silly....I love getting postcards for my class and getting them interested in geography....I love being asked if the Year 7 'cool boys' can interview me for the magazine (apparently they think I'll know some gossip?)... I love encouraging kids to stretch themselves....I love feeling like I'm helping, in whatever small way I can....I love getting love notes on my desk....I love high-fives and in-jokes and being part of a team. The late nights and being so exhausted I oversleep...less so!

My friends continue to be awesome, and I'm loving that every weekend is bringing new adventures - parties, conversations, walking around London in the sunshine, cuddles, party games, and sitting on the train, listening to my mp3 player. The same end to every trip. A cafe mocha with skim milk, chilled indie guitar music, and the inner city of London giving way to the suburbs, then the rolling rural hills of home.

So the weeks are worktastic, and the weekends are funtastic. Sprinkle on top working out, singing, phone calls, emails, band practice, reading, letters...and you have a busy Claire. You have a happy Claire. And you have a very tired Claire.

Time for bed here :-)

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Little smiles and giggles....

Again, this week, I've been reminded of how little things can make you smile or giggle, and just raise you mood. I love looking for these little moments (indeed, I probably post on this theme oooh, once a month or so?), they are like little gems stitched into the fabric of life. Life can oftentimes be busy, and hard work, and frantic...I find comfort in finding these little moments and relishing them.

This week these have included:

* Amazing myself by giving an informed opinion on football. Yes, you read that right, I gave an informed opinion on football.

* One of my ex-tutees coming up to see me yesterday with one of his gorgeous new black labrador puppies, just so I could have a snuggle with the little creature. Cute, cute, cute! And the puppy gave me a licky kiss on the nose!

* Someone's opinion on me being genuinely surprising, and a bit lovely.

* Watching the 'Sex and the City' movie last night, and enjoying it once more. And feeling blessed that I too have a great bunch of women to call on when I need them, and who call on me when they need me. I love my boys, but I also cherish the wonderful friendships I have with my girls.

* Realising the half-term break is in a month. Time to sleep, visit and write.

* The song 'Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!' by Abba. It is so very very cheesey, you can practically smell the Stilton. But oh my life, it is the BEST for dancing around your room to!

* Babysitting being fun as ever. Good chat, chocolate pancakes, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, and extra monies (woo! Time for some new Converse!).

* Singing, singing, singing. Although I'm pretty scared that I seem to be lining up 'Defying Gravity' (the main bit kicks in after a minute or so of dialogue) as a potential audition song. That song is *tough* (especially the last bit!)!

* The blogs of my friends. I love reading all about what people are up to. I never really expected my blogging experience to grow into what it has, but I love it. I've been lucky enough to meet five fellow bloggers, and I'm friends with others in real life, and I exchange notes and emails with others. I love how this amazing thing and these great writers touch my life.

* Being a squirrel in lunch, and a hedgehog in my English class. And continuing to smile like a dolphin.

* Hugs, kisses, and kindness.

* Loveliness happening to people I love - weddings approaching, love deepening, plans being made, choices being right, babies hopefully coming home (praying so hard for that one!).

* Cups of tea, snuggled in bed, reading a good book (this week I finished 'The New Europe' by Michael Palin, which was amazingly insightful; and I'm about fifty pages into 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter' which is hypnotic).

* Long hot baths and long hot showers. The latter of which I'm off to have - time to go have a fun Saturday! :-)

Have a lovely weekend!

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Oh man. I am running out of words to describe this phase I'm in. It's like a switch has been flipped somewhere, and I'm feeling stronger and happier and braver than I have in a long long time. It's like the things I've been wanting to move beyond and past and through are just crumbling into nothing. And I'm emerging, like a creature from a chrysalis.

There are still stresses and strains and worries. There are still regrets and misdeeds and nightmares...but my focus is not on them. I feel like I'm on the edge of something as yet intangible, a new and exciting phase. I feel like I'm up on a high board, about to dive in, and do you know what? I'm not scared. I'm excited.

(I've been off school with a cold and stomach bug these past two days, and even that hasn't dented this optimism and excitement. It has made me sleep an awful lot though!)

There are so many things I want to do. I want to sing, and learn more about singing. I want to write. I want to take photos. I want to spend time by the sea. I want to learn how to run (I bet you didn't see that one coming!). I want to travel. I want to visit new places. I want to smile and laugh and chat with my friends. I want to drink wine and eat fruit and bake cakes. I want people to think of me and smile. I want to stay up way too late and be silly. I want to be part of my friends' childrens' lives, a surrogate aunty to help and spoil them. I want to kiss boys, or even better, spend time with a boy I'd like to carry on kissing over and again. I want to watch films and read books. I want to learn more about politics and volunteer and give something back. I want to study - maybe photography, maybe cookery, maybe a whole different degree. I want to get rid of loads of my stuff - this nesting phase is drawing to a close. I want to fall in love and enjoy the fear and the mess and the wonder. I want to trust that I have the talent and skills and gusto to succeed. I want to take risks and heal and help and be unafraid. I want to build a home. I want to take chances and push myself.

Maybe I'll do some of these things. Maybe I'll do none of these things. Maybe I'll do all of these things. I don't know. But I'm loving how inspired I'm feeling right now.

See what headcolds do to my thinking?

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On being busy

I always say that I'm best off when I'm busy, and my life, this month I am really putting my money where my mouth is. I'm working hard, I'm playing hard, and despite being shattered (this should be a little better tomorrow, as I'm packing myself off to bed at 9 tonight!) I am loving it.

At school, I'm working harder than I have in a good couple of years, but I'm doing it in a really fun way. It's like I'm rediscovering why I love my job, why I chose to do it. I'm better prepped, further ahead on my marking, my classroom's looking better, my kids are happy, and I'm enjoying it. It's a great place to be, personally. Yes there are stresses and strains, but I'm feeling much more equipped to deal with them.

I'm making lots of time for friends too - by mail, by email, by text, on the phone, in person. I love the joy and fun and wonder my friends bring to my life, and I'm really enjoying my time with them all - whether it's a night on the Singstar or a wall post on facebook, a phone call or a letter.

I'm blogging regularly and enjoying it. I've taken up postcrossing, which is just genius. I've had a complete change of attitude on the topic of boys (see last week's posts). I'm reading more and stressing less. I'm eating well, I'm exercising when I can, I'm singing and dancing and making plans.

All in all, I'm feeling like I'm in a pretty good place. If I could just make space for some dance lessons, the chores I never seem to get on top of, and an extra hours sleep a day, life would move from "pretty good" to "pretty darn awesome". And it must be having an effect - as we left on Saturday my colleague just turned to me and said "What's changed?", to which I replied "Pardon?", and then she said "You just seem really happy, Claire. You're always happy and upbeat, of course, but lately, it's like there's something deeper there - you just seem really satisfied and happy."

I cannot say fairer than that. There will be grey clouds ahead (there always are!), but I have an umbrella. Life's a rollercoaster right now, but I'm kind of enjoying the ride! (ask me again when I get dumped with a huge extra project or somesuch...;))

Have a great week, all.

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A life of simple pleasures....a thought on boys...and some more shiny!

...I sometimes wish I was a more sophisticated, worldly type. I wish I coveted caviar and Chanel and nights at the Ritz. But for the most part I am a simple creature of simple pleasures, and as I whirl (can one whirl? I feel like I whirl!) through my life I'm grateful for all the little pleasures that remind me how lucky I am to be happy and healthy and alive. Like listening to a new song and just thinking "wow. That's ace!". Like looking at my diary and seeing between the deadlines and pressure and crazy work stuff a dleicate web of birthdays and parties and coffees and roadtrips. Cuddles with babies. Muller Little Stars yoghurt. Early nights. And plans to puddlejump soon. Postcards. Kindness.


This is a post of three parts. Part the second stems from the last couple of posts I've written about boys, and the fact that I'm now in a pretty darn great headspace about the whole thing (I think). I think in my head I'd made the whole situation a negative one, where I lost, when actually, the situation's lots different. It's less about me being worthless or a waste of space. Now it's more about the fact that I've yet to find a guy who can keep up with me, keep me interested, and treat me with the kindness and esteem I want. No, deserve. And until he gets here (I may have already met him, but I'm a little thick on these things...I wouldn't know! Unless he jumped up and down in front of me going "It's me! It's me!"), it's like I'm growing and changing and becoming the woman I want to be. So if and when I meet someone who deserves me, I'll be able to meet him as someone fun and full of love and kind, and also someone who likes herself and takes care of herself. I think I'm getting there.


Part the third: I got another award! Huge thanks and blessings to the lovely Spark, who passed on the bloggy love!

1.The winner puts logo on her/his blog.

2.Link the person you received your award from.

Click on Spark's name to visit her blog. She's on a real journey now and it's a true delight to read all about it.

3.Nominate 7 other blogs.
4.Put links of those blogs on yours.


1. Boy's Large Hearted Boy. The man is deep, caring and a feircely talented writer. I love to read his poetic thoughts and musings, and I also think he's a total poppet!
2. Bee's Recklessly Relentlessly Dreaming. Bee's such a star, and her honesty and bravery in her writing has inspired me no end. She is also a riot, and has conversation like you would not believe!
3. Nicole's Nicole and Her Pictures. I love that whenever I click on the link to Nicole's blog, I feel like I see a real slice of her life. She's such a sweetheart.
4. Simon's Lost Horizons. Simon's one of the cleverest and nicest men I know (and he knows some of the worst jokes ever!). His blog is like an extension of him....and it's pretty darn great.
5. Robin's Coke and Count Chocula. This girl cracks me up, and her writing is fresh, witty and fun. Plus, we're penpals now!
6. Cruisin-mom's Crusin-Mom. Cruisin-mom doesn't post as much as others, but I am always interested to read what she has to say. Ace lady.
7. Cheryl's Places Never Planned. Just a top read, and she's a lovely, lovely girl too!

5. Let the people know you've awarded them.

That's next on my list!

Have a lovely rest of your week, all!

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So I'll curate some situations, make my job a big vacation

Today was one of those days that reminded me why I teach, and what a vocation I do have for it. At this juncture, when I'm looking fairly seriously at taking a career break of sorts in the next couple of years, it was lovely to go into work on a Monday and be reminded of lots of the good things about my job. I work hard, and it's a demanding and pretty much all-consuming workday, but there's plenty of fun to find if you look for it....

The giggles kids get when they're learning, but their teacher's being a little silly and pretending not to know an answer. Finding a pocket of time to share a book with a kid. A child galloping into your classroom with a brightly decorated, manically cut and stuck piece of artwork that they are JUST SO EXCITED to share with you. Dancing like the mummy on the maths game.

When a child gets a new word, and they just can't resist using it as much as possible; or when they grasp a new concept ("Oh, so in BC we go back towards zero...."). Overhearing little snatches of conversational silliness ("Do you really think Miss T has a tail when she goes dragony?"). Creating a classroom that kids enjoy, bright and clean and relaxing. When pupils I don't teach anymore walk past and wave, or high five me in the yard, or pop in for a visit on their lunchbreak.

Watching a child do the right thing - letting someone else play their game, choosing to work hard, picking up that piece of litter. The sheer excitement of new things, new places, new people. The complete lack of temporal awareness. The smiles, the consideration, the giggles and silliness.

I really do love it sometimes, and after a fab weekend I was kind of dreading going in - I thought I'd get a true case of Monday-itis. Instead I was given a timely reminder of why I do this for a living.

I'm tired but I'm happy. Can't say fairer than that.

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Time to slay some dragons?

Time for a change?

"When faced with my demons
I clothe them and feed them
And I smile, yes I smile
As they're taking me over
And if I cannot sleep for the secrets I keep
It's the price I'm willing to meet
The end of the night never comes too quickly for me"

Strange Glue - Catatonia

The weekend has been a relaxing one, one with plenty of chat with trusted folk, and silly gossip sessions, and catching up with old friends. It's been a time for thinking and people watching and listening to my MP3 player on the train as the tower blocks and suburbs and rolling hills and lush fields whip by. And a lot of that time, I've been thinking about the last post I wrote about boys. And the fact that I have to change.

No, not change who I am. Rather, change how I deal with things in that arena. When it comes to boys I'm often so consumed with confusion and self-doubt and self-loathing that I am a car crash waiting to happen. I *have* to change how I do this. Otherwise I give way too much power to guys who don't deserve it, and push guys who I actually like and who (shock, horror!) might actually like me as far away as possible.

"Try to find a light on somewhere
I'm finding I'm falling in love with the dark over here
What do I know I don't care
Where I start
For my troubles are few
As I'm feeling my way through the dark
Through the dark"

Through The Dark - KT Tunstall

And I'm tired of this. I'm tired of being in knots. I'm tired of feeling like a loser. I'm tired of feeling like there's a whole world I don't get to see. I'm tired of being a good luck charm (seriously, I could market myself. If a boy goes on a date with me or kisses me or even likes me a little, within 3 months he'll find himself a girlfriend. Who won't be me....). I'm tired of just being eaten up with feelings of worthlessness and fear. So I'm going to change the way I do business. As it were.

I am sitting down, shutting up, and listening to my friends. Yes, they are biased, but so am I. The only difference is, they are biased in my favour...whereas I think I'm a bit crap, really. Most of the time, anyhow. So I'm going to listening to them, as much as possible (and I'm going to trust them not to purposely lead me astray in the name of banter...). As far as I'm concerned, it's worth a try!

"I'll force a laugh to break the silence
It's gonna get harder still
Before it gets easy
You can't keep safe what wants to break

I'm alone in this
I'm all as I've always been
Right behind what's happening
He's all lost in this
He's all like he'll always be
A little far for me to reach"

Always Be - Jimmy Eat World

The thing is, I know why this is hard, and that's why there are dragons. I've had to deal with so much BS and horror and mess and chaos from men before (some of which I aided and abbetted, and I'll hold my hands up to. Some of which hit me like a ten tonne truck, uninvited and undesired). I've got to get rid of them. Those demons I clothe and feed, I've got to let go of. Am I brave enough to do this?

For so long I've been used to feeling inadequate and less than and unworthy of love. It's going to take a lot of willpower to put that behind me. But I really, really want to.

"Well honestly, your honesty, it has emerged unscathed,
And I hope you're doing fine, because me, I'm doing fucking great.
And I wouldn't want to waste another second of your time
I know my place, I know your face,
So you hide yours and I'll keep to mine."

Worse Things Happen At Sea - Frank Turner

It's not all bad though, I'd opine. Without being too smug or self-satisfied, I do think there are things I have to offer a guy. Surely being kind and sort of funny and vaguely intelligent (trust me, it's very vague. When I was younger I was as smart as a whip....now alas I feel I've lost some of that!) must count for something?

I'm embracing an inner optimist that isn't there...I'm taking a risk....I'm ignoring the demons....because I have decided to trust my friends on this. It's either going to be comedic, tragic, or brilliant. I'll keep you posted!

"Someone tell me how I feel
It's silly wrong but vivid right
Oh, kiss me like the final meal
Yeah, kiss me like we die tonight

Cause holy cow, I love your eyes
And only now I see the light
Yeah, lying with me half-awake
Oh, anyway, it's looking like a beautiful day"

One Day Like This - Elbow

I hope you all have a fabulous week. And thanks for reading yet another thinky post - my brain's on overdrive at the moment, I think. I must find a funny cat video or something to post about next!



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