Thursday, April 30, 2009


I've been trying to eat right and sleep right and exercise right. I've been putting as much effort in as possible at work, helping each kid in whatever way they might need (be it reading, rounders coaching, a listening ear, or advice to yank their socks up). I've been counting down the days till I'm curled up and cosy with my boy.

I've been emailing and writing notes, trying to catch the phone when it rings (and failing far too often) and read up my favourite blogs (and succeeding most of the time). I've been thinking good thoughts and praying for all sorts of people and marvelling at the wonder and beauty strewn across my life and the lives of those around me. I've been spending more time outdoors.

I've been planning my move to London, the primary stuff (the wheres, the hows, the whens...) and the secondaries (when do I sell my car? What choir should I join?). I've been watching TV again, and finding a soft spot for teen dramas ('Gossip Girl' and '90210'), comedy-news ('Newswipe' and 'The Daily Show') and a good old fashioned cardie-drama ('All The Small Things'). I've been keeping up with my chores. I've been planning visits. I've been reading and researching more.

No wonder I'm a little sleepy....

What I really need is a long weekend.

Which is, as luck would have it, exactly what kicks off tomorrow!

Three and a half days off, filled with friends and cuddles and fun (and sunshine, hopefully, if the British weather co-operates!). Loads and loads and loads of time with Matthew (:D); Friday lunch with some colleagues, always a nice way to kick off; dinner with Cheryl and Ben; brunch with Kathryn, Isaac, Xander and Tom; a picnic in the park; lunch with Emily and Katie and Siobhán; and time for napping and relaxing and reading too....bring it on.

I hope you all have equally awesome weekends on the horizon!


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


That wonderful feeling when you wake up *before* the alarm.

The ache you get in your ribs after running.

The warm fuzzies when you do something well - whether it's teaching a calculation, solving a problem, or just listening.

The smileyness you get inside at the thought of catching up with people, having lunches and coffees and dinners, going to picnics and parties. Thinking of all the great things that are happening for the people you love.

The clean feeling you get after eating lots of fruit and veg, and drinking loads of water.

The happiness you feel when you come home and there's fun mail waiting for you.

That sleepy tired out feeling you get after another busy, fun, blessed day.

That wonderful feeling you get when you realise the gap is almost done, and you have a long weekend ahead with the boy. And the fact that soon those gaps will be few and far between.

These are the feelings that are rocking my tiny planet at the mo. How about you?


Sunday, April 26, 2009


Yeah, so I'm back onto a healthkick, and this time, it's permanent. On my life list I've said I wanted to drop two dress sizes (taking me down from an 18/20 to a 14/16). I'm currently around a 16/18 (why is it no two stores seem to have the same sizing rationale?), and am really focusing on getting and keeping healthy...(with treats as well, of course - this is the path I want to stay on for good. And you *know* I'm not giving up wine, cheese and chocolate forever!).

The plan is simple - I already eat tonnes of fruit and veggies and drink loads of water, so that's no problem. My main three areas to target are:

* Portion sizes - what can I say? I grew up in a house where my mum served giant portions! I'm retraining my body and mind on this one.

* Sleep! Yep, I need to sleep more. Oh, such a trial....

* Exercise. I do like working out, but having grown up in a family where it wasn't ever a huge part of the lifestyle, it's a learning curve. I'm enjoying it, though, and for the past few weeks have managed 3-6 workouts a week (of between 20 minutes and an hour each), even on the schedule of crazy.

So there you have it. I was pleased to drop the stone and a half last year (of which only 7 pounds returned over the winter hibernation!), and am keen to get even healthier. I've decided to be ambitious too, and aim for a 'healthy' BMI. Because of bone density, I have an abnormal BMI (for my size it should be about two points lower, according to my doc, but apparently I'm fat *and* big-boned!), so by aiming for 24.1, my realtime BMI should be around the middle of the 'healthy' band.

Here goes nothing...


Thursday, April 23, 2009

The things I could or should be doing...

Getting that hairy spider out of the bath.
Writing letters.
Doing my nails.
Researching removal firms.
Filing the little pile of bank statements that need tucking away.
Working out (again! I'm going through a gym bunny phase).
Cleaning out the car.
Any of another 47 necessary but uninspiring things....


I'm giving myself the night off. I'm all cosied up in a comfy chair, reading blogs, drinking tea, and just having a little "me" time doing very little at all. Which feels utterly decadent - life's a little busy at the moment, so it feels good to just stop and not be dashing about for a few hours. Brilliant. How are you all?


Monday, April 20, 2009

Balance beam

Ah, the many balls we all juggle. The myriad hats we have to don. As ever, in my natural state of optimism and sunniness, I am so aware how blessed I am to have my life and the many gorgeous people in it, but this evening finds me very, very tired (but I am determined to blog before bed. Darn stubborn streak!).

I think this blahness is a simple sum of various factors....a loooong day at work, a lovely realxed weekend with the boy (and then a journey home to my empty wee flat :(), working out more, and just plain Mondayness. Plus, I'm kind of tired of this living arrangement, this feeling like I lurch from weekend to weekend at times... Weekends are full of people and the chance to socialise, and during the week that's just not really on my remit. The days of a Tuesday drink with Sally (now in Vietnam) or dinner with the girls (most married, some with kids now - I'm one of the youngest at my school) are past, and do you know what, I miss that. I must arrange a movie with Rachel and coffee at least with the girls soon. You know, in that ample free time I don't really have at the moment....


I'm such a doofus.


This weekend was lovely though. Normal Saturday classes, but really constructive and useful - I was hungry to get stuff done, and so were the kids. Brill. Then a few bits of admin, a quick late lunch, a train to London. Then I walked through London for a couple of miles, from Marylebone to Holborn. It's starting to feel more and more real now that I'm going to be living there in a matter of months. I'm enjoying encountering the city as a native-to-be, rather than a visitor.

Then the tube from Holborn to Matthew's for just a lovely evening - spaghetti bolognese and snuggling on the sofa, and chatting, and red wine, and TV. Just what I needed! Then a lazy Sunday of TV and online flathunting and chatter and silliness. Bliss.

And then Monday, and work, and sunshine. And next weekend should be win too - I'm off to Essex to see the lovely Hannah! Hey, if you have to lurch from weekend to weekend....lurch with a little finesse, right!

Hope everyone's Mondays have been good to them.


PS And, to end on a smile, today I learned that no-one's ever so grown up that they don't fall foul of the basic rules of dressing from time to time. It took me till lunchtime today to realise I had my underwear on back to front! FAIL. Yeah, that's how busy it is round here at the mo!

Friday, April 17, 2009


Wilf, Laurie (a.k.a. Kendra), Hebba and Amanda (a.k.a. Holly) looking gorge as ever!

As promised, some photographic loveliness from GGF/BBS weekend. All my photos I snaffled from my gorgeous friends Amanda, Jamie, Jason, and Steeeeeeve. Because I was properly inept! Hope you like!

The victorious Team North, after their 10-9 victory. And people say there aren't enough goals in football anymore...

Saturday night curry fun, improvising with a napkin, being silly as ever!

I have no idea what this photo is about. But I think he looks handsome (as always...:-)), and I chortled at the randomness factor!

Our reffing team, the awesome Mum White and the lovely K.

Team Curry! I love the woman in the foreground, who's all "Who ARE these people?"

Laurie (Kendra), Jamie (Hugh) and Amanda (Holly). I have so much love for these people, and the rest of the Loverpool collective. Bring on May!

Cheerleading. Oh yeah.

Steeeeeeeeeve and lovely Anna. :-)

Bwahahahahaha! What is going on here?

Jason decides to show the cheerleaders how it's done!

Me, newbie Dan, and Wilf. Happiest people ever? We're close, surely? So much pub based hilarity. And yes, I am sporting benny ears in many of these pics....I am the Bridget to Amanda's Holly and Laurie's Kendra. Hee.

Yay, Sheli! This girly is going to be an *amazing* teacher. She's so kind and funny and clever. And she rocks a look hard!

Anna and Team North Bear...he stars in my current fb profile pic too. Popular boy!

So there you go, a few images from a random weekend. This weekend will be far more chilled, but still fun. Bolognese, wine, cuddles, lots of sleep, and chilling. What's not to love?

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Stellan, part 2

Another Stellan name, taken at Whitley Bay, Easter Monday.

To learn more about the awesome Stellan, please click here.

Have a wonderful day, everyone!


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A wonderful weekend

So, it's back to school hour! A day (no, make that two!) of meetings and planning and trying to get my brain back into the school mindset before the children descend on Thursday and we get to doing the summer term.

The 6.30 alarm was a shock to the system!

My long weekend was lovely, and I will post more soon about friends and fun and football and silliness and sand and sweetness and beauty and boys and baskets and cuddles and clarity and cloudless skies and roadtrips and relaxing and really enjoying every minute.

Good heavens, I'm blessed.


Friday, April 10, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter, everyone! Wherever you are, whatever you're up to, I hope you have a happy, safe, blessed and funfilled time. For Joinees, Easter means the double whammy of GGF and BBS (Good Good Friday / Bad Bad Saturday - I can't believe it's about a year since I went to the last one!), so tomorrow morning I am picking up Matthew, zooming round to Anna Spanner's, then getting us all to Nottingham for fun, friends, and football. Oh, and making money for charity too.

Then the boy and I are off north to see his family on Easter Day (I am excited and *nervous*!), and take in a football match on Easter Monday. All good fun.

And then, my friends? The summer term kicks off!

Have a wonderful long weekend!


PS Pic is my Easter basket for a raffle. Aren't you impressed I didn't eat *any* chocolate whilst making it? ;) :-)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Brother, can you spare a dime? (a.k.a. a time to give...)

Or 5 dollars?

Or ten pounds?

Or a few minutes of your precious time?

The internet, in its great and mysterious wonder, allows us to read about things we might never have known about. It makes the world a smaller place. For me, it opens up places and experiences and friendships I would not have experienced had I just stayed in my little insular box, without venturing out into the blogosphere and beyond.

One of my passions is giving....time, money, prayers, whatever. I've mentioned recently that I'm praying for Stellan, and in fact he's just one of a passel of people I pray for and think of (Bentley, Makenna, Owen, Angie, to name but a few), many of whom I first found on links through the wonderful Kelly's blog (she's such a star, such a loving heart!). It's a privelege to be able to support these families in this way, through tough times, through smiles and worries and tears and things I know I'd crumble in the face of. Their blogs frequently reduce me to tears, raise great big toothy grins, or simply make me think and ponder the wonder that is life. It's a major blessing, and to pray for them and think of them is a power and a joy.

But sometimes, I like to do more.

I'm a fan of charity. I like to give. I think we can all give a little and make a lot of difference (which is lucky, given these tricky financial times). So, if you'll bear with me, here are three charity pleas I've found recently where your donation, however small, could make a big difference.

TO SWEETEN THE DEAL... Not that you need it, but I believe generosity should be rewarded! I can't give much, but anyone who gives money to any of these three things and lets me know via comment or email, I promise to mail them a thank you card, or a nice candy bar, or a cute hairclip, or *something* (I really do love to give :-)). It would be something bigger, but I know how generous you guys can be! :-)

So, the three things I would love you to donate to, if your circumstances permit, are....

1. My friends Kieran, Richard, and Dan are doing the 'Scumball Rally' (driving an old banger *somewhere* in Europe!) later this month, to raise money for CHASE Children's Hospices. Having worked with terminally ill children and their families before, I am all too aware of the beautiful, inspiring work that hospices do. I would love to see them reach their target.

To read more and/or to donate to their cause, please click here.

2. My friend Jane brought this next one to my attention. Casa Lar is a home for disabled boys in a favella on the outskirts of Rio, Brazil. Staff and volunteers look after these precious boys, and the global recession is really hitting them hard. They desperately need money to keep afloat, for the basic necessities of food, nappies, clean water...

To read more and/or to donate to this cause, please click here.

3. Et finallement....beautiful baby Bentley is one of the wee ones I pray for and think of often. Her mommy, Crystal, is selling wristbands to raise funds, and I think it's a marvellous idea! I'm ordering a few 'I Heart Bentley' wristbands - I think they are hyper cute for spring/summer and beyond! Please do go over to Crystal's blog to read more about Bentley's condition, her wonderful family, and how you might be able to help.

I know many of you might not be able to help...I understand some of you won't want to help...but these are just three things that I wanted to mention, in case you felt like giving today. Please don't feel any pressure, I just think sometimes it's being asked which enables us to give. That's what I hope this may do. As I said, if you do, comment and/or email me up, and I'll be sure to send you something to say thank you...together, we could make a real difference.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

(Sort of) Wordless Wednesday, April 8th

As super excited as I am to be moving to the city, there are things I'll miss. Starry night skies. Birdsong waking me in the morning. Peace. Good local veg. And this - the view from my kitchen window. There are certainly worse things to look at as you do the dishes...


A few Forres photos

So, we didn't take many pictures, but here are a few from our trip! Above is my lovely friend Erin, with her two youngest, cuddly Zack and tiny wee Mia. Mia is only three weeks old and is just precious. Zack had just woken up from a nap, hence the slightly disgruntled face :-).

Least flattering picture ever? Hee. This is me and Zack after he'd woken up a little and decided that yes, he would like some cuddles. He's such a wee poppet! I love Erin's brood, they are great fun.

Matthew (apologies if you don't like the picture, baby, but Owen's "smile" is golden!) and Owen, Erin's eldest. Owen is such a riot! He's three and just so full of chatter and giggles and silliness (and a bit of a cake obsession!). Owen was thrilled to realise that Matthew had little to no interest in babies (he's a little scared of them ;)), so kept him very busy playing games and being silly! I think Matt's gained a bit of a fan!
This is my sister, Sian (a.k.a. Midimus), and her fiancé Chris, when we went out for dinner en famille. I love these crazy kids! And their crazy doggies too - I can't believe I didn't get a pic of Suthers and Daniels! We all went out for a really nice meal and it was super to catch up with my siblings. Living 350 / 500 miles from them is tough sometimes!

Matthew's fave picture from the visit - our hire car Kyle/Karl the car. It was absolutely huge! We'd ordered a small, compact wee thing, and ended up with this big old thing. I kept on saying we needed some godchildren to chuck in the back to make our money's worth! I think Matt enjoyed driving though - I think he'd like a car of his own again now.

So there you go, a few silly pics from our flying visit!


Monday, April 06, 2009

Fizzy, whizzy, busy....

First and foremost, apologies for the lack of pictures from this trip. A combination of a crazy schedule (we packed a *lot* into two days!), a family who hate having their pictures taken, and just plain forgetfulness, I rarely took my camera out. I did get some pictures of my friend and her precious wee family though, which I will post before too long....

So, Scotland. 4 am Friday the alarm went off. Isn't 4 am just one of the most depressing times? It's dark, but early....stay up till 2 am and all is well with the world. Get up at 6 am and the birds are singing and you are stealing a march on the day. But 4 am is a different kettle of fish! Anyways, we got dressed in a flash, and bundled into ghetto car for the trip to Luton. Wheeeee, whizzing down the M1 in the fog! Got there, whizzed through security, did the pre-requisite amount of standing about waiting, and by 7 am we were in the air. Slightly horrid moment where our landing at Aberdeen almost got diverted to Edinburgh or Glasgow due to adverse weather, but eventually we managed to land safe and sound. Yay! Then, off to pick up our (giant!) hire car - Matthew hadn't driven for a while so grappling with a giant family sized car was quite a job! He did brilliantly (quelle surprise. The boy really is quite aggravatingly clever at times!).

Up the A96 we drove, and as we headed west the clouds lifted to show beautiful blue skies and plenty of spring sunshine. Loooovely. And by lunchtime we'd arrived at our hotel, which was just beautiful and the perfect base for all our Moray based adventures. And what did we do first? Had a nap, haha - that 4 am start was catching up with us. Then round to my parents house, where Mum, Dad, Midimus, Minimus and FBIL (future brother-in-law, my sister's fiancé) awaited us. Nice big family meal, and then Matthew, Minimus and I headed off for a few drinks in town with my lovely friend Simon and his girlfriend Nicole, who came through from Inverness. They are one of the nicest couples you'll ever meet, it was great to see them. After they headed back we returned to the hotel for a nightcap before falling proper asleep - all that fresh air had done us in!

Saturday dawned grey and rainy, and we had a busy day ahead. Poor Matthew - I dragged him round to meet all sorts of folk, but he was across the board lovely (yep, he's a keeper). We went to the local hippy commune (no, really...) to buy gifts for a friend, went out to the beach to take a look at the beautiful Moray Firth, then went up to meet my good friend Erin and her three beautiful children. Her youngest, Mia, is only three weeks old, and is absolutely precious. Zack, who I last saw as a baby, is now a proper wee man, and Owen made fast friends with Matthew (Matthew's a little scared of babies, so chose, rather sensibly, to play ball games with the three-year-old instead!). Then through for a coffee with my lovely friend Sam (I only get north three times a year, so wanted to make the most of my time!), before heading back to Findhorn for fish and chips by the sea. Then back to the parentals house for chat, playing with my sister's dogs, and playing Rummikub. Safe to say, my family liked Matthew! And then, at long last, sleeptime - on Saturday I fell asleep literally as my head hit my pillows!

Sunday was sunny again - yay!- so we had a very pleasant drive down to Aberdeen. I was excited to show Matthew where I had gone to uni, and just sad we had only a tiny window of time. We met my lovely friend Shona, one of my partners in crime from my university days, and caught up over chips and cola. And then we whizzed back to the airport, flew down south, had a nightmare getting the car out of parking (*shaky fist*), grabbed some Nando's (mmmmmmm, Nando's) and then came home.

What a weekend! How was yours?


Friday, April 03, 2009

Up, up, and away

After a busy old week, and a lovely evening of burgers, pints and lovely's off to bed.

Because at 4 am (eek!) tomorrow, the boy and I are off to Forres for the weekend.

Tales upon my return, no doubt. And Scarlet, never fear, I've packed my camera!

Have a great weekend, all!


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, April 1st


PS Don't worry, I haven't gone Britney...the ponytail will be mailed to a charity which makes wigs for poorly children tomorrow.

PPS Mad love to my wonderful hairdressers (Cutting Edge, Brackley), who, when they found out what the cut was for, did it for nada! I'll be able to send some money too, aces!

PPPS Girly time....does it look OK? I feel a bit like Jo in Little Women!

PPPPS Like it would ever truly be a wordless Wednesday from me....


Stellan is the youngest son of MckMama, a wonderful blogger. I've been reading her blog for a few months and have fallen in love with her beautiful family, her sparkling wit, and the general loveliness she purveys.

Stellan's a wee miracle really, and had all sorts of heart troubles pre-birth and just after, but emerged a healthy and beautiful baby (the boy is really lucky I've decided I don't want babies till my thirties is all I can say, because Stellan's such a poppet he'd make *any* woman broody!). Last week (Monday), however, Stellan was taken into hospital due to SVT (in layman/Claire terms, a very very very fast heartbeat). He's still there. Poor little guy.

So many people are praying for this little guy and his family. Please feel free to join.

Oh, and MckMama has the most beautiful name gallery too, where people from all over the world have taken pictures of Stellan's name in all the place we hope he'll grow up to see. This gallery was started back when Stellan was way back "in mummy's tummy"(as my class would have it), but now it serves a further purpose. Again, please feel free to join. Above is my very amateur contribution.... those of you who have known me a while will appreciate that the visual arts are not my forte.

Have a lovely day, all.


Flowers In The Window

Because this song has been in my head all day.

And it's a lovely song.

And spring is in the air.

And life is a marvellous, fragile and wondrous thing.

And love is a gentle, tremulous, awesome thing.

And hot cross buns are delicious, naughty, wonderful things.

Here are the lyrics to 'Flowers in The Window'.

When I first held you I was cold
A melting snowman I was told
But there was no-one there to hold before
I swore that I would be alone for ever more
Wow look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Let's watch the flowers grow

There is no reason to feel bad
But there are many seasons to feel glad, sad, mad
It's just a bunch of feelings that we have to hold
But I am here to help you with the load

Wow look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Let's watch the flowers grow

So now we're here and now is fine
So far away from there and there is time, time, time
To plant new seeds and watch them grow
So there'll be flowers in the window when we go

Wow look at us now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million,
And I love you so
Lets watch the flowers grow
Wow look at you now
Flowers in the window
It's such a lovely day
And I'm glad you feel the same
Cause to stand up, out in the crowd
You are one in a million
And I love you so
Let's watch the flowers grow
Let's watch the flowers grow


Thank me for the earworm later.


PS And now I really voudrais some you reckon Travis have a deal going with florists?

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm Claire...

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is:

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.


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