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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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Getting there

So the unpacking and sorting and settling continue....there's definitely a feeling of 'getting there' in the air. We've unpacked most of our stuff - now comes the period of buying new furniture / pans / coathangers, finding homes for everything, and generally making our home 'work'. I said to a friend on facebook earlier, I think we'll have it all sorted by the end of this month, so photos will be along then!

The weekend was lovely and filled with friends. On Friday Matthew and I went out for Canadian food and drinks with Richard and Jamie (sorry Christy, I didn't have poutine. I had that well known Canadian delicacy...Nachos!). We also had a quick drink with Matthew's colleague Jon and his wife Holly. I hadn't seen Holly since their wedding last August, so it was lovely to catch up on their news.

Saturday, we bade farewell to Jamie and the lovely Lou came to visit! Lou is always such fun to hang out with. She's also the reason that Matthew and I ever met - she knew both of us and introduced us to one another! We had a blast having her visit. Siobhán and Matthew came over for tea and cakes too - such great fun to hear all their news. And then on Sunday the lovely Kaz and Vixie came over for Sunday noms and chat. We were going to play board games, but I got woefully distracted by the Wii that Kaz was generous enough to give to us (thank you, generous girl! Can't wait to get my wii fit plus on!).

This week so far has been busy and whizzy and fun...need to close now to do yet more sorting. As I said...getting there!

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Friday, July 16, 2010

Welcome Home, and advice requests...

As I write, I am surrounded by boxes, piles of things, and lists of "to-dos". As we all know, the physical moving of stuff between houses is one thing - settling in to a new place is something else entirely! We are getting there, however - most of the rooms are fairly presentable, or can be made so within a half hour. At least, that's what I'm hoping - we are due to have quite a few visitors this weekend! I'm hoping that by this time next week I'll be feeling really happy with how everything looks and will do a blog post with photos so you can all see our cute wee flat.

In addition to being in our new place, I am also on summer break (Praise be!). I had every good intention of going into school a lot this week, but a break from my classroom and the endless reams of paperwork has been blissful. I'll be in some afternoons next week, probably, but for now it's nice to have been away for a little while!

Right, I shall close this brief missive with two requests for advice - one for the ladies, one for the cooks....

1. I'm thinking of trying a new skincare regime - what range do you ladies use?

2. I have treated myself to a crockpot / slow cooker (yay!). Do you guys have any good recipes for such things?

Right, time to go to the post office and the gym (ah, the gym. This is the point in the summer break where I can really feel that I haven't worked out enough - I'm fine *during* the workout, but the morning after is always a shocker!). More soon - have a lovely Friday!

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Sunday, July 04, 2010

End of Year Report

Apologies for a week of radio silence - after the break in I was a little rattled. Add to that a chaotic week of term and prepping for a housemove, and when I sat down to a computer all I wanted to do was chill out and watch comedy.....

...the move prep is going well though, and I cannot wait to be all moved to a friendlier, busier part of town (remind me of that when I'm up to my ears in unpacking, please!). I'm also so looking forward to having space to entertain and have people come visit (dining room, yay! Spare room, yay!). And Matthew and I are both looking forward to having our own space and our own place, at long last. Photos of the new place to follow before too long, no doubt.

Another reason blogging has been down the list of things to do is the fact that it's report writing season here. After churning out dozens upon dozens of reports, the last thing I felt like doing was sitting down to my computer and writing some more! It did get me thinking though - what would my end of year report look like?


End of Academic Year Report (2009 - 2010) for Claire Thornley (Year 1)


English continues to be one of Claire's passions and at points this year she has done well in this subject area. Her reading continues to be a strength and in the summer term particularly she has thrown herself into this area, finally locating and using the library. Claire must ensure she reads with discretion, however - reading 'Love In The Time of Cholera' is one thing...reading 'Tatler' another entirely! Claire continues to enjoy her writing, but application and dedication is required to push this enthusiasm on and create something more tangible.
Miss A.P.O. Strophe

Claire has worked well in this area over the course of the year. Number is a real strength and she has reaped the benefits of this skillset both inside and outside the classroom. Shape and space is still not up to par with number, but with Claire's issues of spatial awareness I feel this will always be her weaker suit.

Mr C.O. Sine

Claire has opted out of the applied sciences and is now pursuing the more basic level. In this area we tend to look at the sciences in 'real life' situations, rather than pursuing more lab based work. Claire's strongest of the three disciplines is biology, and her fieldwork in this area has been interesting. Claire's main project this semester was to see the effect that stress, lack of sleep and diet can have on a persons waistline, and the results have been quite startling. As Claire moves on I wish her the best of luck with her next project, 'Can I put down the snacks and make it to the gym?'.

Ms. B. O. Dymassindex

The Humanities: History, Geography, Religious Studies

Claire has thrown herself back into history this year after a few years away from the subject. As her study kicks up another notch next year I hope she will be able to maintain her pace and enthusiasm. Geography marries up well with Claire's love of travelling and visiting. I hope she can work on her map skills in order to improve her grades in this subject (and stop getting lost or distracted by shiny quite so frequently). In RS Claire has lots of enthusiasm, but also a lot to learn - remember to make time for prayer and reflection, Claire! She also needs to catch up on her Bible reading and her personal study if she wishes to begin next year on a good footing.
Mr C. Hronology, Mrs G. Lobe, The Rev. E.C. Cliastes

Modern Languages

Languages are something of a trial for Claire. I hope she enjoys her study of sign language over the coming months more than she has 'enjoyed' her French! Bonne chance, Claire.

Mlle. A. C. Cent-Grave
Physical Education

Claire's busy schedule and her acclimatising to life in London has prevented her getting as much out of her exercise as I would have hoped. I was impressed at her tenacity in attempting to learn how to run, and was very sorry she hurt herself in the attempt - I hope you will regroup and try again at a later date, Claire. I know Claire is excited for her move to NW London, and I hope her relocation (closer to the gym!) will be good for her skills in this area and for her health in general.

Mr. P. Ress-Up

As this was Claire's first year, she chose not to pursue any of the applied arts courses. Next year I know she is hoping to take courses in dance, work on her creative writing and look into joining a choir and/or a drama group, and I hope she enjoys these new pursuits next year.

Mrs. D. Ahling, Director of Arts


Claire has been a pleasure to teach, and has been especially good at helping other classmates to understand the workings of various programmes (Word, Excel, Outlook, etc.). Keep up the good work, Claire!

Mr. L. Eft-Click
Form Teachers Comments, Future Targets

I have enjoyed getting to know Claire in this, her first year at the school and first year in London. It has been a busy year for Claire, and for the most part I feel it has been a successful one. However, there are several areas where I feel improvements could be made, and I hope Claire will heed the advice given on this report and go on to have an even more successful second year.

1. To work hard to make sure she does enough reading and writing to fulfil her English requirement.
2. To continue to work on her work/life balance. I hope that her shortened commute will be of use in this area.
3. To work well towards the targets she has been set in science and PE, to improve her health and well-being.
4. To catch up on the work she has missed in RS.
5. To join in with more arts and sporting activities.

The very best of luck, Claire.

Dr. F.I.C. Tional


So yeah, that more or less sums it up. And those five targets are *so* my focus for the next six months of the year. Let's go!
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