New Years Ambitions

I don't really believe in conventional new years resolutions really. So often they are about the negative, the unattainable, the restrictive (I WILL NOT eat chocolate....I will halve in size...I will never ever gossip). So I prefer to use the season of Hogmanay as a time for reflection and celebration, and a time to focus on what I would like to achieve in 2009. I always think of a wee bundle of things also, because if you achieve six out of ten, at the end of the year you think "Woo! Go me!", whereas one thing out of one not being attained can really sting.

So here are my New Years Ambitions for the year 2009:

1. I would like to learn if the phrase "New Years Ambitions" needs an apostrophe or not! Actually, I'd like to learn more about grammar, full stop (so to speak!). I've got some books on this I intend to read. English specialist that I allegedly am and lover of words, my grammar is all intuition, no theory. I'd like to remedy this.

2. I would like to sleep more. I get this awful guilt if I sleep too much, and often stay up late as a result. But the fact of the matter is, I function better on 6-8 hours a night. Yay for an ambition that should be fun to fulfill...

3. I want to write more and sing more and take more photos. I intend to keep my blog going, and I have a beautiful new notebook from Jamanda that I intend to fill with poems (it has been too long). I want to keep singing -it really it my joy. And I'm loving taking snaps, amateur that I am. I really want to make sure that I keep my creative stuff going - I also want to get back into collaging and start scrapbooking. And I want to write many, many letters.

4. I want to carry on getting healthier. 5 a day, exercise 3 times a week, cut the booze down, continue to avoid those foods that give me sore tummy, a little less caffiene. Nothing crazy, just the things I know help me to be my best. 2008 saw some big improvements...bring on 2009!

5. I am going to get organised. I have too much stuff, and I need to let go of a lot of it. Also, if some changes I hoping for take place, it would be a heck of a lot easier to do if I spend the winter and spring getting organised. I'll never be super organised...but I'd like to be more organised!

6. I want to continue the trend that wound straight through 2008 - spending lots of time with awesome people, doing lots of catching up in person, on the phone, by letter, by email, by text, via blogs, facebook, whatever.... I am lucky enough to be blessed by the brilliant people I have around me, and I intend to spend as much time with them as I can.

7. I want to learn more - to question more - to think more. What's Obama's stance on Israel? How do you do long division? What is a sub-prime mortgage? Where's Angola? What do the different churches think about homosexuality? I'm aware that sometimes life whips by...I'd like to learn more this year.

8. I am going to the dentist.

9. I want to read some of the books I've been recommended. I would like to finish watching my seven season West Wing DVD boxset. I want to watch more movies... I love to watch films, but I don't watch anything like as many as I used to.

10. I would like to continue to learn / to make up more recipes. Nom nom nom.

11. I want to keep doing my RAoKs, and helping people, and making people smile, and being as good a Joinee as I can be.

12. I want to continue being positive and happy as much as possible. I am truly grateful for my ability to count my blessings - I have a life full of fun and smiles and cuddles, a life full of adventures and potential and chances, and I'm just trying to enjoy it all. I hope that when challenges arise, as they will, I can continue to stay true to myself and my beliefs and my sunniness. As I said to friends yesterday - faith, or indeed optimism or happiness, is nothing if it cannot stand being tested. I've lived that this year, and I hope I can again next year, to the best of my ability :-).

So there we go. Some I'll achieve....some I might not. But aiming high is never a bad thing, right?

So friends - what are your New Years Ambitions?


PS In case I don't post again this year - HAPPY NEW YEAR!! I truly hope 2009 is a year full of love, laughter, wonder & joy for you all!
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Photos from a jolly December....

Because a picture can tell a thousand words...

A selection of pictures from a silly, funfilled, and packed December.

Goldy and I at K6, getting ready to bid up a storm on the auction.

Gossip Boy and I hit the Singstar at my fake birthday party.

Steeeeeve, Spanner and I walk about London RAoKing at K6.

Kate Boo and I at K6 - what are we plotting?

The GPB at the start of the RAoK march.

Christmas Day sunshine.

Minimus at Christmas dinner.

Midimus as we took her dog for a Christmas Day stroll.

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2008 – the review...

Apologies for another break in blogging – after the end of term, I then did a 990 mile 5 day roadtrip home, which was amazing but also offline. And then it was Christmas mania. How was your Christmas? Hope it was great fun! Mine involved lots of fun with friends, family, etc., so no chance to write. I will blog more about my visiting frenzy soon, but today the post is my look back review – my 2007 review can be found somewhere if you fancy a look back. But now, to the matter in hand. What a year it has been – here are the vital summarising...

1. What did you do in 2008 that you'd never done before?
Oh, difficult call. On the whole I’d say I’ve just been braver and more positive and willing to take risks – whether it’s chatting to a stranger or trying a new food or having a mini-adventure, I’ve just been a lot less afraid and a lot more upbeat this year. This is a good thing.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions and will you make more for next year?
I kind of had ongoing ones from the list of doom....and I kind of fulfilled them, too.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Morag and Scott welcomed the gorgeous Alexis, and Fiona and Seb welcomed to beautiful Bryony Boo. My babytacular life continues apace!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank heavens.

5. What countries did you visit?
England, Scotland, Wales (I have done a lot of whizzing about the British Isles in my wee car!), and Spain.

6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
I’ve been so very blessed this year. I would hope to keep on this trajectory, in all its messy, fulfilling, silly, awesome wonder, if at all possible. Oh, and a *little* more time for naps is never a bad thing...

7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I honestly can’t think of one. It’s more like an album of photographs in my mind – every time I flip through I stop at another snapshot that reminds me of a lovely time.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Spending lots of time with the people I care about, and getting straight in my head what matters to me.

9. What was your biggest failure?
On occasion, getting too stressed about work.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major, no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I’d say any gift or card that made someone smile. Oh, and my cute wee laptop!

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My wonderful friends. Again.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
No-one, really. Sure, people can vex from time to time, but no-one’s ever been even close to appalling or depressing me!

14. Where did most of your money go?
After rent and bills, most of my money has gone on travelling round to see friends and loved ones and attend Join Meets. It’s been tight at times, but money very well spent. Oh, and I buy more stamps than can ever be healthy!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Being a Joinee. Silliness. Friends. A lovely boy. Driving. And circus boys.

16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
It’s been more of an albums year – Elbow, MGMT, Vampire Weekend, Frank Turner...

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: Happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier, a little thinner, and a little richer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I’ve done lots of fun stuff...but there’s always room for more. Oh, and I’d love to get back into blogging regularly.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Having tummyaches!

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I arrived home today, for five days of family, friends, food, fun...and napping.

21. Did you meet/date anyone special in 2008?
Yes. Yes I did.

23. How many one-night stands?
Not a one.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
QI and / or Never Mind The Buzzcocks.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
I don’t believe in hate.

26. What was the best book you read?
I honestly can’t recall. How scary is that?

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

28. What did you want and get?
More kisses.

29. What did you want and not get?
A job in a city. Life conspired a little on this.

30. What was your favourite film of this year?
Probably WallE.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
28. Worked 8 am – 10 pm.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Free cheese for all.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Whatever catches my eye. Oh, and comfortable!

34. What kept you sane?
My gorgeous friends! (no change!)

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
George Clooney, David Tennant, and Dave Grohl.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obama, baby.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I’ve met too many to even start – it has been a year of making new friends and cementing older friendships. Brilliant!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
Be kind and make people smile, the rest will be OK.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I don’t think I have a song that could do it justice. It’s been a mental, magical, magnificent year. Here’s to 2009!

To come soon - a blog about Christmas, some photos, and the 2008 awards. Oh, and the visiting update. I really DO need to get back into blogging!

Love, as always,
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Christmas meme

It’s about that time...let’s break out the Christmas meme!

1.What do you really want for Christmas but you know nobody will get it for you?

Last year I put “an iPod”. I have one of those now :). This year I’d really like a cosy dressing gown (perfect for cold winter evenings and mornings) and cuddles (I should get them, they’ll just be a bitty delayed) and time with the people I care about (WIN! I have loads of that coming up in the next few weeks!)

2.What do you not want for Christmas but you know that somebody will get it for you?

Unless any of my friends decide to get me marmite or a Paris Hilton biography, we’re fine. I’m pretty easy to buy for I think – I like shiny stuff, fun stuff, food stuff, wine, books, movies....

3.When do you open your gifts (Christmas Eve or Christmas morning)?

Christmas morning, around 9ish. I may have bucks fizz again, because that was genius last year!

4.Do you prefer gifts wrapped or in gift bags?

Wrapped, pleased. I LOVE unwrapping presents!

5.Did you regift anything this year?

I don’t tend to, but many of the chocs and the wine I’ve been gifted will be shared with friends and family!

6.What’s your favourite Christmas movie?

Where to start? 'It's A Wonderful Life', ‘Love, Actually’, ‘Die Hard’, ‘Elf’ and 'The Muppet Christmas Carol' all do it for me.

7.What’s your favourite Christmas TV special?

Father Ted & Doctor Who! And on DVD I love the West Wing Christmas eps!

8.Do you like egg nog?

I have never tried it! Is that wrong?

9.Real tree or fake tree, which do you prefer?

As it’s just me and I travel a lot over the holiday, fake. I LOVE real trees though.

10.Would you actually use one of those fireplace DVDs if you don’t have a fireplace?

Hahaha, no. On my tiny 14 inch TV it would look uber-tragic!

11.Are you sick of Christmas music yet?

No, I love the stuff. I have hours and hours of it on my computer!

12.Are you getting up early to wait in line to do some Boxing Day shopping?

Not this year I think – I have plans for a long lie, a long walk, and then ,hopefully, a long evening in the pub with friends :).

13.When was the last time you sat on Santa’s lap?

I actually can’t recall!

Christmas is well and truly on its way :)!


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It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Well here we are folks, on the very brink of the season of peace and goodwill. I am super excited (as is my wont) and enjoying my favourite month thoroughly!

The last week of term flew by, a blur of giggles and stresses and carols and my birthday and crackers and gifts. The children had a grand old time and I was very proud of them all. But some what relieved to actually wave them out the door last Friday, I must confess. I love them to pieces and we've had a cracking term, but it was definitely time to relax and catch some zzzzzzzzzzzzs.

The weekend was lovely. The boy came up on Friday and we had a lovely cosy meal in the local, and a Saturday of basically mooching around being lazy before getting the train back to London. Then we went to my gorgeous friend Emily's for festive drinks and food (venison *and* red cabbage? Nom nom nom!), which was very grown up and fabulous, all at the same time. Sunday was a fry up and chat with Siobhan, Hebba and Dan, and wandering around the city in a quest for coffee. And on Sunday night, the lovely Katie Boo and Jase threw me a FakeBirthday get-together - just five of us chilling, drinking champagne, eating nibbles and playing singstar. Aceness embodied!

The rest of the week so far has been full of goodness - buying gifts, writing cards, drinking tea, carol singing around the village, wrapping gifts, queueing in the post office and planning the roadtrip home (I leave here Dec 19th. I get to my parents on Dec 24th!).

How has your December been so far?

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Fitter. Happier. More productive.

Life continues to be busy, I must say. It's a blur at the moment, but I'm happier than I've been in a good long while. And I was pretty darn happy to begin with...

I'm working hard and playing harder. I'm getting to spend time with people I care about, and am being utterly spoiled in the sheer volume of smiles, giggled, chats, hugs, kisses and high fives I'm getting.

Again, I count my blessings.

Take the last few days, for example. I finished work at seven on Friday, then whizzed down to London. An evening of tea and chat with the lovely Siobhan, and then we were joined by the GPB and HRHKOTG, and Steve and Anna and Craig. We just sat around eating toast and drinking squash and chatting. Blissful. Then Siobhan and I lay in bed just chatting and talking before falling alseep listening to a mix CD. It was like being a teenager again!

Saturday was Anna's 21st, so after early rising and showers we had champagne for breakfast before heading off to Karmageddon - the biggest Join Meet of the year*. Hugging and giving out sweeties and helping people and dancing and smiling and spending time with awesome folk. Then to the pub to raise money and drink wine and meet new people and catch up with other people and surprise people and laugh and chat and hug and congratulate each other on smug club membership and pose for photos and just have a top, top evening.

Sunday morning was all about cuddles and tea. I love cuddles and tea. Then tea and gingerbread men in Covent Garden with Mlle Wilson and Alex. And then the boy and I just had the nicest time, going for Chinese, walking round the city, and generally having a lovely time. Then today was crazy with work. But isn't work that much easier to handle with the Christmas break firmly on the horizon?

Brilliant. I'm off to write a few more Christmas cards.


*pics to follow once I've checked I can nick them!
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Making time...

It has been a crazy few weeks, and time has just been so very, very squished. Add a general run-downess and a tummy bug to the mix, and you have a Claire who was in bed for much of the weekend! Feeling better now, but also mighty grateful the end of term and a good old break is on the horizon.

I'm also now fighting to make time for the things that get sidelined when I'm too busy...time to read stories and catch up on the news and listen to the radio and watch documentaries and TV shows that inspire (these are few and far between, I grant you, but they do exist - I'm talking 'The West Wing' and 'QI' more than 'American Idol' or 'I'm a Celebrity...'!). Time to actually talk to people, time to listen to people - whether it's in person, or online or on the phone. Time to look after myself - I haven't been to the doctors in over a year (am fixing that later this month), a dentist for almost five (am fixing this next month), an opticians for even longer (ditto)... Time to sleep and rest (I am fighting this one straight away - I am back to 7 or 8 hours sleep a night. It's a wise economy on my part, I must say. If I'm well rested, I'm far more able to deal with life in general). Time to work out and stretch and dance. Time to sing and move and laugh and write. And blog!

Here's to making time. I'm off to watch another ep of The West Wing before bed!

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