Now we are two (a.k.a. 'Happy anniversary, badger!')

To my darling Matthew badger -

(everyone else, a warning. This may be a little soppy).

Happy anniversary, baby! I cannot believe that it has been two years since we first kissed. At times it feels like others I can barely remember what is was like before you came along and changed my little Claire-world. For the better. For the much, much better!

Thank you for loving me, and supporting me, and caring about me, and for thinking I'm cute even when I wake up with eyebags, Chechnyan hair, and a Rudolph nose due to a cold (pesky kids and their germs ;)). Thank you for all the cuddles, the cups of tea, the vibes, the funnies and the calming me down when I have a Claire-smash moment. You are just the best boy in the world, and I thank God for you each and every day.

You are the cleverest and most handsome badger I know, and I am so lucky to have you as my best friend! You make it easy, and I really am the luckiest girl to get to love you. Happy anniversary, win badger - I hope you enjoy the London Eye tonight!

Whatever the future holds, I will always love you bunches.

Claire Badger

PS *click, click click click, click*

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These are a few of my favourite things....

At a time of year when there is always the potential to get really stressed, it's always good to focus on the loveliness! So, here are a few of my favourite things:

Our 'new' flat. Now that term has started properly I am loving being able to walk in to school each morning. That little walk sets my whole day off beautifully! I am so grateful Matthew agreed to moving up here!

Cooking new foods - I've learnt how to make crumble (it was surprisingly easy! I'd just never tried), I'm making pork and apples tonight, and I spot some new cakes to try on the horizon...

Reading. I haven't had much time to do much as we set up term, but I have mad plans to curl up with a good book later...(I'm reading The Kite Runner just now).

My new autumn wardrobe - after summer term, where I had to wear whatever was coolest, it's lovely to be weaing cute outfits again!

Waking up early and seeing the sunrise. I don't often wake before the alarm, but when I do it's often a real treat.

Internet radio.

Gilmore Girls. I'm on Season 3, and it is the ultimate 'curl up in front of with a cup of tea and a cookie' TV show. It's also great to have on when you're doing the ironing!

My 'night-time tea' from Pukka. Beautiful, and the perfect drink to sip before you drift off.

Skype! :-)

Making time to see friends. I know I'm busy - and so is everyone else! - so these moments together are so precious.

The start of autumn. There's a definite crispness in the air and the leaves are starting to turn. September - December are my favourite months of the year, by far!

Great things happening for so many of my friends! My facebook news feed is full of new babies, engagements, pregnancies and upcoming weddings, along with a few landmark birthdays...I am so happy for all my friends! :D

Getting excited about Christmas (yes, already!). I have a system, which works for me, prolongs the awesome and means I don't get too stressed either. December is a big month in school too - if I did all my prep then I would be rushed and miserable. So gifts are already being found and ordered (yay for the Christmas savings account!), then next month I'll continue to buy gifts and also find my wrapping paper and cards. Then in November the card writing commences, and the wrapping - doing a dozen things a night is way more fun than spending a whole weekend doing so! Then in late November / early December I mail stuff and plan the entertaining and food side of things....and by Christmas proper I can just lap it all up! :-)

Getting to know my new students. They are a great bunch of little boys and I am sure they will both inspire and challenge me over the next ten months. I also have nice classes further up the school, so while school will still be hard work, it will also be entertaining and fun, I hope.

What are *your* favourite things, dearies?

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Crash! Bang! Wallop!

In the old school Batman, whenever there were fisticuffs, these big supertitles would appear, proclaming 'Bang!', 'Crash!, 'Kablooey!', often in a multicoloured, large font.

And I always think of those a lot at this time of year. Because the first few weeks of the year, I often feel like my work life needs a few of those (thankfully not due to fisticuffs!).

The first few weeks of a new school year are exhausting, and very very hard work. After the bliss of summer and its time to think, read, see people and sleep, getting back into the groove with brand new classes can feel like jumping into a plunge pool. In midwinter.

I'm getting there, though. All my prior planning and preparation (Snoop Dogg would be proud!) is paying off and meaning that my lessons are planned and resourced well (bar the, which is especially handy because of everything else I have to do at this point in the year. Settling eighteen boys and thirty odd parents (and a fair few nannies) into the routines of the school day and the curriculum is the bulk of my job at the moment, but now there are actual lessons peeking through....lovely.

Big parent-teacher start of year meeting tonight, and then I think we can all get right down to it....

How are you guys?

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(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Oh yeah.

It's back to school time.

I've printed my name badges - complete with the essential :) face! This serves two purposes - a. it's friendly; b. it means I can easily glance and recall which boys are mine out in the yard. I'll generally have all or most of their names by close of play tomorrow, but the first few hours are definitely "getting to know you" time!

Badger corner has begun...

I love this quote - inspires me to be holistic and make school a real experience for my gang!

Pencil pots are fully charged.
Books are labelled lovingly.
We're ready to go!

So excited to meet my new form (nervous as all get-out too!). More on this soon!

Hope your week is going well, lovelies!

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How many buttons?

(a.k.a. the monthly health kick post!)

You may recall this vase from my posts earlier this summer about our new pad. It lives on my desk and is a constant reminder of my quest to get healthier, tone up, and generally attempt to shrink myself a little.

Inside there are 80 little hearts (some btoons, some paper clips, some made of card). Each heart represents a pounds I would like to lose. This is a looooong journey (I've crash dieted before and had it all come back with interest! :(), but each month I'll be saying how many pounds I've managed to lose.

These monthly updates are to keep me accountable, and also to try and stay motivated. I'm am so tired of sitting in the 'obese' category. I don't mind if I'm never teeny tiny, I just really want to be healthier. One of the nicest things about this summer has been getting back into working out - I feel so much better for it! I hope I can keep it going once term kicks in!

During this journey, I'm going to aim for a loss of 4-6 pounds a month (although I already know this will be tricky come December!).

Ladies and gentlemen, the grand total for July and August is.....

12 Pounds GONE!

(I must say that July did most of the work. August contained far too much home cooking to be much use!)

Please wish me luck for September - the stress of back to school will make me want to snack, but I'm going to try my best to resist, or at least to snack on healthier things!

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Singalong Sunday, 5th September

Good morning, lovelies!

1. Show Me Heaven - Maria McKee

(ah, so we start with some vintage cheese.... Love this song - much more than the movie it comes from!)

So it's Sunday - the last day of my official summer holidays. Well, maybe that should be 'official' as I've been in for a week organising, planning, tidying, doing displays and at one point lovingly taking old labels off my desks with white spirit and a wallpaper scraper, but nonetheless, there are no more weekdays where I can choose when I wake up and what time to go in for a good long while.

2. Face (Her) - Newton Faulkner

(this is a quirky wee track, but I'm a sucker for a guitar!).

3. Time To Pretend - MGMT

(one of the tracks that reminds me so much of driving around the country in my wee Jessika-car (may she rest in peace). Awesome times.)

So yes, it's the end of summer. There's more of a bite to the air and I have that 'back to school' feeling in my veins. This morning I am up bright and early (for reals - as I type it is 6.55 a.m.) and enjoying NW London at its very quietest. Most of the time all you can hear is hustle and bustle, but at this time on a Sunday it's fairly still, the last of the sunrise filtering in through the windows of my 'Claire-lair', the occasional car passing. It's a rare moment of peace in a busy, busy place.

4. Chicken Pox - I'm From Barcelona

(I need to hear more of this band. The album I do have I love - good, quirky indie pop).

I'm excited about the new year, but apprehensive as all get out also. I am so looking forward to meeting my new form and my new classes, and to getting back into teaching lessons and having a ball with the gang. I'm nervous too though - the first half-term is so tough, with all the getting-to-know-you and boundary setting and fact finding, I know it will be a bit of a slog to October 22nd! But it's always worth it.

5. So Much More - Beth Orton

(it seems my media player has gathered it's early on a Sunday morning - it's all a bit chilled and indie now (after the MGMT and the power ballad!))

Tomorrow and Tuesday we have two days of meetings, which I always find tricky. I find it hard to concentrate for hours and hours on end, so two days full of meetings are a bit of a trial. They are useful, and it's good to have access to so much information right off the bat, but I do struggle with all the sitting and listening. I guess I'm just more of a doer - after an hour I've taken notes, am fired up, and want to go do something! Ah well, I always learn something and I do appreciate how necessary it is to meet and train as a school....I just know I will get such an attack of the wriggle-bottoms after hour 4 or 5 tomorrow! This makes me ever more grateful I chose going into teaching over going into law, though - those guys have meeting after meeting. I'd be a bit rubbish!

6. Le Voyage de Penelope - Air

(Moon Safari is just a stand out album. I did a meme on facebook the other day and it made my top 15 'stop in your tracks' albums. Just sublime.)

The two days of meetings has many advantages, and it does mean that by Wednesday I will be oh-so-eager to actually get into a classroom and actually teach! Which is lucky, because Wednesday will be a day and a half - boys to settle, parents to greet, old students to catch up with... It's always a fun day, but I'll be pretty much catatonic by the end of the day!

7. Things We Said Today - The Beatles

(enough said)

I'm looking forward to hitting lessons, though. I'm heading a little further up the school to teach some Year 6 history in addition to my Year 4 and 5 teaching, which will be challenging and fun, I'm sure. I've been mugging up on my Henrys!

8. Saturday Superhouse - Biffy Clyro

(and with this track, my player wakes up. Fear not, I am listening through headphones - I don't think my neighbours would appreciate pumping Biffy at 10 past 7 on a Sunday!)

I'm excited to try some new things in my teaching. I'm continuing my Year 4 scheme of silent reading - ten-fifteen minutes a day to actually read and enjoy it. Sometimes we do 'ERIC' (everyone reading in the classroom), where I will read at the same time as the boys - I think it's good for them to see an adult enjoying books, and has prompted some great discussion with the boys. I'm also bringing back storytime - again, just ten minutes a day. Yes, I'm going to go old school and actually read to my students - we're going to be enjoying 'Five Children and It' first!

9. God Only Knows - The Beach Boys


I'm excited to get to know my students, and to see if the lessons I've planned work well. I've planned almost all of my stuff - now I just need to get started on making / sourcing / re-finding resources. And actually teaching the lessons!

10. The Ice Storm, Big Gust, and You - Tilly and the Wall

(I really want to go see TATW again. I hope they do a UK tour again soon!)

So that's me. Up early, excited and nervous about the new term, and enjoying a moment of peace in this busy, busy city.

Have a great week, lovelies!

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September Rush

Just a quick post to assure you all that I have not fallen prey to any avalanches of boxes, books, or stationery, but rather am keeping busy as a very busy bee getting my classroom ready for classes to start next week! More chat to come at the weekend, but I just wanted to check in.

And now it's September - always a busy month for me, and one of my favourites to boot (shoot, this and the next three are four of my top 5!) - can you believe it?

I hope your months have all started well and look forward to catching up with you at the weekend.


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