Saturday, July 31, 2010

Welcome to the Badger Sett (Part 2 - sitting room and bathroom)

Part 2 (of three) we shall be taking in the sitting room and our tiny cosy bathroom.

Sitting Room

As well as being where we watch TV, read and hang out with friends, the sitting room is also home to our two goldfish, Elizabeth Bennett and Mr Darcy. Living in a flat we were kind of limited in what pets we could have... I love this little sign which a former pupil made for me!

Our fish in their pimped out tank.

At this point they were going slightly crackers - they are such good value! Whenever someone comes up to the tank they try to "talk" to them and swish about like crazy things.

(A badger in every room....) This is Bobbity. When we'd been together for about half a year, I headed up to see the folks for a week. As you'd expect, I wanted to get Matthew a gift. I found Bobbity in a local garden centre and figured he was perfect! He now lives in the living room and surveys all around him (and is part of many an in-joke between Matthew and I).

This is Jockey Bear. He's going to be thirty this year! He loves to chill out on the sofa, on one of the beds, or on Matthew's nightstand. He's a cool bear.

I saw these white letters and really liked them, and then I found the ampersand at the V&A. When I have a free day I'm going to do something crafty with these, but for now they just make me smile!

You may recognise these from the table setting photos! Matthew doesn't like cut flowers, so I try to find other pieces to dot around the flat. The pebbles here are all taken from beaches close to my hometown in Scotland.

We love penguins too!

I posted this plant (a gift from Siobhán and her Matthew) because I'm so pleased it's still alive...I have a pretty poor record with plants, as much as I like them!

Another pretty - the first time I put pot pourri anywhere in the last house the boys were utterly confused by it.... I love blues and browns together, so there's a lot of that throughout our home.

My sewing box and my reading books. Matthew's computer lives in the sitting room, so often he will play on there and I will read or sew. It's really nice to relax together.

When we moved in we had no idea what to do with this TV cabinet....our flatscreen is too wide for it. So.....

...we turned it into a drinks cabinet! It's growing slowly but steadily and is always fun when we have guests!


(A badger in every room) One of my pupils made this, and now the badger lives happily in our bathroom.

There are also many ducks in our bathroom. Glow in the dark ducks.

Little wooden handmade ducks.

Ducks which you only see reflected in the mirror (the shelf is too high to see straight on!).

And ducks and creatures all through our cabinet. I like our bathroom, it makes me smile! At the old place we had a giant, badly designed bathroom, prone to mould and with a scary creaky floor - our new little one filled with ducks is so much better!

Bedrooms soon - hope you're enjoying the tour!

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Welcome to the Badger Sett (Part 1 - the kitchen/dining room)

So, at long last I have actually unpacked, tidied up, and have some pictures to show you all of our lovely little place! We are oh-so-happy with it (a few minor niggles aside - for example the internet keeps on dipping out, so apologies if this doesn't get published on time!) and have already had a fair few visitors, with more on the way (Yay!). I've just gone round and taken some pictures of my favourite parts of each room - I hope you enjoy the tour!

Room 1: The kitchen / dining room

These two rooms are seperated by a big open hatchway, which is great. It means when I'm cooking or fixing drinks I can still chat to Matthew, or guests.

This is the view into the kitchen. It's the perfect sized kitchen for me - enough space for chopping / baking / sorting, and loads of storage space. It's also quite Hobbity, with all the shelves and cupboards at a suitable level for a Claire. This is amazing, mainly as at the last place everything was built for a tall person! There's only so many times a girl can say, "Matthew, could you get the pasta / cereal / baking tray down for me, please?" without feeling like a royal pain!
In MTV 'Cribs' fashion, I had to do a refrigerator shot! Pretty standard, if a little busy because we are picnicking tomorrow!

My beautiful dining table, with our new crockery, cutlery and napkins. I've been daydreaming about a proper dinner service and saving up for it for ages - it's a delight to be able to entertain properly. We *love* having a table to sit down at - even if it's just soup and bread, we're usually here (albeit without the napkins and all the silverware!).
The view from our kitchen window. Washing the dishes is way more fun when you have lovely green trees to look at (a glass of wine often helps, too!).

The left hand side of the kitchen is lots of little shelves and drawers and cupboards. having everything out makes it quite cheerful and homey!
We have at least one badger in every room (as well as various ducks and penguins). It may be quirky, but it always makes me smile.

A full view of our dining table. Makes me feel strangely grown up. And also want to cook up a storm!

Which is why it's lucky I have these books to get started on!
I love this surface protector - makes morning toast even more enjoyable!

So that's the kitchen/dining room. Sitting room, bathroom, master bedroom and Claire lair to follow....

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Sunday, July 25, 2010

Singalong Sunday, 25th July

Ah, Sundays. Ah, singalong Sundays. It's been too long...

For those of you who've not read / heard one before, it's pretty much just a normal post, but I let you know what I'm listening to....

1. There is a Light - Great Lake Swimmers

Oh my, I love this song. Just so beautiful and pretty. I'd never heard of GLS before I became friends with the awesomeness that is Christy, but now I just adore them. Really pretty, well-written songs.

So I am typing here in a flat which is almost there (for real this time!), just a few runs to the recycling bin, a package or two to arrive, and a quick switcheroo of some things (now we've been here for a fortnight, we know what we want where and what doesn't work as well!) and then we're done - I'll start posting pics soon. I really like our little flat - it's great being in the thick of things but also having a little space which is just for us. We've had a few guests already and I can't wait to welcome more people over the coming months.

2. Urgency - Tilly and the Wall (Youtube didn't have a link to the song 'Urgency', so instead I'm linking to their appearance on Sesame Street!)

As we settle, we're sorting - we threw out a lot of stuff during the move and in the months leading up to it, but there's always more, right? One thing I am going through is the boxes and boxes (and boxes!) of letters and cards which I have, stretching back over several years. I've decided to go through and actually save the precious stuff - not just every single card! As much as I'd love to keep them all, there is not enough space. Potentially in the world. So instead I am sifting through and saving letters from my gaggle of correspondents and cards with really sweet persoanl things in...not just "everything".

I'm getting there with the decluttering, but I'm still a bit of a pack rat at times!

3. Serve the servants - Nirvana (warning - loud link!)

Going through everything is quite lovely though, and the contents of the boxes are making me a little misty eyed at times. Letters from Jane and Naomi and Shona and Laura and Christy and Hannah and Amber and Siobhán and both the Emily-lovelies and several others, cards from students with adorable poems and messages in, the little notes from Matthew from now and then, thank you notes which touch the heart and little letters reminding me of things I'd long forgotten. I like to be reminded just how blessed I am from time to time.

4. Addicted - Kelly Clarkson

If you asked Matthew what my current addiction was at the moment, he's probably give two answers. John Lewis (always!) and the gym. I am really getting into working out and am trying some new classes in amongst it. It's keeping me busy (and slightly exhausted - I've all but collapsed on the sofa at the end of the day a few times this week. It's a good kind of tired though - I fell out of the loop on the exercise front, so it feels good to be back in a groove.

Not sure my triceps would concur with the whole 'feeling good' thing, however!

5. White Horse - Taylor Swift

Swifty! Oh man, I love Taylor Swift (perhaps a little too much for a woman who's about to turn 30, but hey, it's allowed). I really wish she'd been around when I was a teen - her brand of poppy country would have been *perfect* for my many episodes of teenage angst! I also love that whenever she pops up on my player I'm reminded of Shona - and also reminds me that I need to write to her, soon.

I love writing letters, and am finally starting to hit a decent level on that too....but of course now I have a backlog to contest with. Ay me....

6. Cast No Shadow - Oasis

7. Still - Macy Gray

8. Win Your Love For Me - Sam Cooke

9. We're From Barcelona - I'm From Barcelona

Oh, this song makes me happy. And kind of makes me want a tambourine also...

Apologies for the quick break there - Matthew just called to let me know he was heading home so I wanted to go sort a few things for our supper, so those songs were playing while I stirred and set and sorted. And slipped over once while dancing.

So we're now well into my summer break, and oddly I've barely been into school. I usually go in a lot during the first two weeks, but because of the move that hasn't happened. So I will be in four days next week and four days to week after that to sort and make sure everything is looking dandy.

10. Chains - Tina Arena

Power ballad ahoy! I'd completely forgotten this song...I may have to do it when next I kareoke. Delightfully over the top!

So that's the shape of things here - busy but relaxed, lots of hanging out with friends mixed with a little housewife-esque behaviour (I really love having time to be a homemaker! :-)). Lots of reading, and a few more books on their way from Amazon as we speak....

Good times!

How are you all doing, my lovelies?

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


I've had more time to myself. Teaching is the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde profession - during termtime I often have to fight to find time to sleep or catch up with friends, but during the holidays I have acres of time to see people, catch up with hobbies, and just be, really. It's also a time when I can read the books and magazines I've been meaning to, watch the TV shows everyone has been mentioning, and indulge in some guilty pleasures. So, when I'm not busy homemaking and cleaning or doing things for work, here's what I've been enjoying, lately....

(note: there's quite a lot I'm dabbling in, and this is in no particular order!)

I've finally managed to make it to a 'water workout' class and I remembered that I loved it! I think it's because I love any kind of dance or aerobics, but can sometimes get a sore back due to all that bouncing! Add in the water and some extra support and I'm away!

I have been drinking gallons of peppermint tea and green tea. In this warm weather (and stuck as I am indoors awaiting deliveries and tradesmen) tea with milk seems a little too heavy. But these thinner teas are delish!
I am back using elements of the 'FlyLady' programme. It may be a little twee for some, but it really works for me - I feel it helps me get a handle on how to keep our home nice and clean and ready for visitors with a quick wipe here and a scoop there!
This was one of the books I asked for at Christmas...and now I finally have time to plough through it. I'm quite au fait with Debrett's (although I'll be reviewing that also!), so I thought it would be fun to read up on American etiquette too!
I love teaching maths (I know, I know, it's an affliction), but after years of not studying it, I find it comes less naturally than English and the humanities. So I always do a little work over the holidays!
Oh my goodness! Have you seen this show? I stumbled across an episode and just found it compelling. It's the usual reality format - they find three girls and follow them in the lead up to a big pageant and them show them competing. The families are so diverse - some I just find a little off (there was one episode where it was clear the little girl really, really didn't want to dress up and compete and she was made to do so anyway. It really made me feel sad!), but some are really lovely and are just encouraging their daughters in something they enjoy. Generally I find the 'full glitz' (7-year-olds shaving and tanning, anyone?) a little hard to take (although the judges on the pageants seem to *love* it), and like the more 'natural' girls (although even they have nails and makeup). It's a cool show - we really don't have pageants over here, so it's fun to see that whole world.
I am also cooking up a storm - I am in love with my new slow cooker (a.k.a. crock pot) and am inventing all sorts of concoctions for it. Yesterday it was beef and veggies in red wine and it was oh-so-nom! I'm also enjoying having time to cook nice meals - I've got a few pages in the Pioneer Woman's cookbook marked ready to make! Her recipes are just amazing (but also calorie minefields...but hey, that's why I have a gym membership, right? ;))
I am finally going to get into 'Mad Men'. I've been told such good things about it, but missed it in the schedules. I've ordered the box sets on my lovefilm queue and am looking forward to seeing it!
I am working away on my cross-stitch (I am so out of practice! It takes me hours to achieve anything tangible!). I chose a Christmas pattern, because by Christmas I may actually have something to show for all my work!
I am reading the new edition of 'Captivating' for my review series. A series I've lapsed in majorly over the past few months....moving will do that, right?
I am finally catching up on all my letter writing! Dear Lord, but I love to write letters. I also love that we now have a nice big table at which I can write. Cup of tea / glass of wine, and the writing is on!
I am going to the gym a fair bit (or rather, I was until this week, when the delivery mania began). It's now a mere 15 minutes away, which makes it far easier to get to! This is a good thing - I lost a stone last summer which I then put back on with interest, so it's about time I got my buns in gear!
On the same theme, I am back on I love this site. Means I can track my food, my exercise, and my progress, is *full* of tips and ideas and tools's free! Genius, I tells ya.
Summer means lots of time for guilty pleasures, and 'Tatler' is certainly one of those. One of the new delights is that living in London I often find places I know feature prominently. Good times!
On a more edifying note, I am also reading up on British history - I'm leading a new class next term on an area of history I haven't studied for a while. It's doing the grey matter good trying to get all the kings and queens and battles and intruigues back in order in my brain!
I am loving the library, even it I do keep getting late fees! We have a new system where there's no marker for when the book is due back....this doesn't help someone who can be as scatterbrained as I!
I am tearing through as much 'How I Met Your Mother' as I can find! I really love this show :-) Can't believe I joined the party 5 seasons late!
Another magazine I enjoy is 'Vanity Fair'. I tend to love most of the articles, which is more than I can say for a lot of the magazines aiming for my demographic. I'd much rather read about politics or Hollywood than about '101 ways to incorporate the lingerie look into your workwear!!!11!!'. I work in a school. That just won't fly!
I am enjoying getting my housewife on. I find my enthusiasm wanes after a couple of hours of chores though, so need to pick up the pace a little. Or, you know, just deal with it.

My lovely friend Kaz gave me a Wii, and soon I will have a Wii Fit to go with it. I am excited - my parents have one up in Scotland and I love it - just a good way to get a quick workout in when the gym's not an option or it's too rainy for a walk (hello, British winter!).
I'm reading up on boys - teaching at an all boys school has really been fascinating this year, and I want to sharpen up my game still further next academic year!
I *love* the walks that are close to our new place! Primrose Hill and Regents' Park are both lovely, as ever, but my new fave must be Hampstead Heath. There are parts of it where you forget you're in the park and you're actually out in the country. Bliss for a country mouse like me!
I have a tonne of Bible to catch up on. I am up to May in my chronological Bible for the year, but that's still woefully behind. A few days concentrating on it should catch me up though - I am determined to read it all this year!

So, that's what I'm getting into lately. How about you?

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