Girl time!

I've not blogged much this week, mainly because I've been quite busy (and as I was away the weeks before, I hadn't scheduled many posts either!). Last Sunday was a baby shower for my lovely friend Cheryl (the first shower I've *ever* been to - they aren't that big over here). Then my beautiful friend Amber came over from Sweden to see me (Peachy-girl, it was awesome to catch up. We are oh-so-excited to come see you next year if you are not on field season!). And then I headed back into school to start prepping for the new school year (as ever, I am super excited to dive back in. And as ever you are all welcome to mock me when I post oooh, about halfway through next month about how shattered I am!).

The theme for the shower was 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'. So cute! Here the caterpillar is attacking my delicious cupcake :-)

Said cupcake, made by my hugely talented friend Hannah. I ate SO much sugar at the shower (I think that's a rule, right?).

The gorgeous mummy-to-be!

Mmmmm, savoury foods. Loved this stand!

More gifts for the lovely little one. I cannot wait till we discover what 'flavour' the baby will be...I'm itching to buy cute boy or girl things! I bought a book and toys for this shower.

The beautiful Eileen, tucking into her patriotic cupcake!

Two pretties having a giggle!

I loved this - as well as lots of games, we also filled in little forms for the baby and the parents to read. Such a beautiful idea! This is my work in progress. Chez's sister Sarah arranged the shower and it was absolutely amazing.

Thank you so much for including me, ladies, and all the very best for the arrival of the wee one!

Check out my beautiful shower gift! Sarah made this - isn't she talented! I must start pestering her to put some more things up on her webpage - her stuff would make an ideal gift!

On Sunday evening, this beautiful girl arrived to see me!

Love you, Amber!

We chatted and visited and walked and shopped and watched a tonne of chickflicks and bad TV. I love how we just jump straight back in where we left off, whether we've been apart two years or two hours!
We also went to Westminster Abbey. Which cost £15 pounds??? I was scandalised. And you couldn't take pictures. So I just snapped a photo of the exorbitant price instead...

On Tuesday Amber flew home...

...and now we are firmly into the 'tidying and organising' phase of back to school. This was my classroom at its worst point...I will get there but I always like to get everything sorted and cleaned well ahead of classes! I'll be working through next week, then it's meeting days, and then? The boys are back!

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School supplies

Oh, how I love stationery!

One of the bonuses of my job is the sheer amount of stationery you need to have.

Pens for marking....

Folders for filing....

Stickers to reward good work.

I'm more or less set, having ordered most of my stationery for class at the end of last term, but I know I will still pick up a few things over the next couple of weeks! As much as I try to resist I just can't ignore a good "back to school" display. The clothes and shoes I get because they are necessary (got to look at least slightly put together for the start of term), but the buying of stationery is a true pleasure. While we were up north I bought some bits and bobs for my home office (or the 'Claire lair', to use it's official name) - planning and paperwork are much more fun with sparkly pencils, multi-coloured gels pens and heart shaped post-its!

I'll no doubt be back soon to post all about the treasures I've do you feel about stationery? Any tips?

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I've been enjoying the last bit of 'proper' holiday time. July was the moving in bonanza, and these last two weeks are always busy with prep for the new school year (display, and filing, and planning, oh my!), so this central two weeks is all about being pretty lazy! I've also done a tonne of tidying and organising and getting ready, but at a much slower pace. And often wearing pyjamas....

I've been reading a lot too. I'm so glad to be back to reading - I'd had a reader's block for about six months, so it's great to be back to feeling like a bookworm! I enjoyed Twilight:Eclipse far more than I was expecting to (so much better than the first two!), was educated by Nothing to Envy (fantastic, startling book) and am now looking forward to selecting a new read from the pile!

I've been making spreadsheets like it's going out of fashion. Birthdays, blog posts, Christmas name it, I've spreadsheeted it! Does this mean I'm secretly yearning to get back to my spreadsheets at school?

I've taken a little break from the gym - so looking forward to going back! I've missed working out, I've missed the time to think, and I've missed being able to sneak the occasional snack because I'm burning lots of calories!

I've been cooking, I've been cleaning, I've been dreaming.

How about you?

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Superman! Or should that be Supergirl?

On Friday I was lucky enough to take part in breaking a world record. Yes, friends, I am now a (joint) world record holder. But what for, I hear you ask....pole vaulting? Extreme ironing? Cheese consumption?


On Friday I dressed up like Superman along with 180+ others, and we broke the record for the most people in one place dressed as Superman. My beautiful friend Kaz is part of a company that is fundraising for 'Help For Heroes', a charity which supports troops and their families, and they hit upon the record attempt as a way to gain support and raise funds (after the WR, we all headed out across London for two to three hours with buckets and collection tins to collect money for the charity - the City was crawling with superheroes!). It was a great day, for a great cause!

Quick plug: the aforementioned lovely Kaz is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the charity in December. If you'd like to donate, please click here (and many many MANY thank yous if you choose to do so!). So proud of this girl!


Oh so many Supermen! To break the record we all had to stand still in the same place for ten minutes whilst people snapped pictures, counted us over and over, and generally checked us out. Some of the teeny Superbabies found this challenging!

Anna's friend Simon, my oh-so-pretty and talented friend Anna, and me (with crazy hair, thanks to the humidity!)

Kaz, Simon, and Anna


Thank you so much for inviting me, Kaz - such a great day!

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Pictures from our whirlwind tour (3)

Round three :-)

This adorable bundle of fluff and purrs is our family cat, Sam. He's such a treasure, and is whiling his way through his old age now. He's sixteen and a half now!

Meeting the newcomers (and having a cuddle at the same time - even better!)

Mum's beautiful yellow roses. She and I share the same favourite flower!

On her birthday, Sian, Peter, Matthew and I headed out to Loch Ness with mum for a boat cruise and lots of tea and cake. Above is Urquhart Castle.

This is the weather we experienced for most of the boat trip, haha!

L-R: Matthew, Fingal, Derek, me, my insane hair in the Scottish weather.
Peter and Mum relaxing. And getting ready to 'Sian face'.

Sian and I, doing our best 'Sian face'. 'Sian face' was the injoke of the visit - Sian has a very expressive face, and loves to make us giggle. One time she managed to do so so comprehensively that we spent the whole of the next two days doing our best approximations of the 'Sian face'. Brilliant.

Yes, my siblings are as silly as I am.

Why do you ask?

The boys at Loch Ness.



As well as monopoly, we played lots of Rummikub.

Fingal loves it!

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Pictures from our whirlwind tour (2)

And there's more...

Peter and friends in front of the Cairngorms.

Matthew admiring the view. It is *beautiful* (a bit like him :-)).

Sian about to take my picture!

Some more of that view. Just stunning. At the Highland Wildlife park you climb this teeny little hill and then you are afforded this gorgeous sight! It rained for most of our visit north, but we had beautiful sunshine for four whole hours on this day!

That'll be the rain heading in, then!

Fingal attempts to break into the Irn Bru - Scotland's other national drink!

Peter - looking cool, bro!

This picture is for Jenna (who is currently sweltering in Texas, poor lovely!). Check out that very Scotland in August temperature, missy!

The 'kids', all safe in the back of the car!

We also caught up with lots of friends in Forres - pub quiz with Ross, Ewen, Sean and co; lunch with Erin and her brood and Sam and Paul (the handsome couple above); and a first meeting with my friend Maria's little girl Sophia. Just great fun!

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Pictures from our whirlwind tour (1)

So we are back in London after a week and a half of travels, and I actually remembered to take some pictures. I hope you are all proud. Being me, however, I am now so up to my shoulders in house sorting and back-to-school (yay, back to school! Planning and stationery! Boo, back to school, less time to read and nap!), that getting them all in order didn't really happen. I hope this gives a flavour of our visiting - the pictures are all mine or snaffled from my beautiful baby sister Sian, who is turning into quite the photographer! Sian, I hope you put some of your bee bonanza pics up - stunning stuff!

Out of the photos, most are from Forres and Scotland. By the time we got to Cramlington it was time to read and nap and relax....and we had a lovely day by the seaside (and some very naughty fish and chips too), but I forgot to take pics. Oh well, here's a glimpse of our visit...

You may recall Fingal (Finger-Badger) from our previous travels to Dublin and Nottingham. This time we brought him a buddy in the form of Derek (Duck). You know you're a little odd when you choose which handbag to take on holiday with the thought 'which one will fit a badger and a duck in....?'

The boys, all tucked up in our hotel before the early flight.

Fingal and Derek on the road to Forres - EXCITED!

Once we'd got to my parents and said our helloes, I had to go upstairs and attack this - my pile of Christmas and birthday gifts! As Matthew and I couldn't make it up for Christmas due to the epic snows, all my gifts were awaiting me in August. As I'm now closer to thirty than twenty-nine it was a welcome present explosion. Actually, presents are always good, right?

My beautiful sister, Sian. I hadn't seen her for a year, which is officially far too long! Luckily we synchronised on this visit - it was great to hear all her news and hang out. Her fiancé couldn't make it up, which was a shame, but we're hoping to arrange a visit in the spring.

My lovely brother Peter was home too (he's on vacation from uni). It was so good to joke with him (we have the same dry, slightly sharp sense of humour!). I love his 'world's greatest Dad' mug - the story behind it? He broke his mug and needed a replacement. As he was mid assignment, he asked his flatmate to pick up a cheap one. The options at the store were apparently this or 'I love you'! Hence the 'world's greatest dad'!

The boys make friends. I love the mug they are sat around - on it is a very silly picture of Naomi (a.k.a. Mlle Wilson) and Jane (a.k.a. Jeeeeeaaaan!) at a ball during our Masters/PGCE year. Good times.

Better view.

Me petting the 'polar bears' at the Highland Wildlife Park. The real one was much farther away!

My siblings and I enjoy a good board game (we grew up in the country, baby). This was our second game of Monopoly of the visit (I may have become a little addicted...).

More silly soon, in between unpacking, laundering, and silliness...

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