The Overthinker


Ever since I can remember, I've overthought things.

In every situation, I'd be glancing around, trying to make sure I get things right, worrying about what could go wrong, what I haven't done, who I might have forgotten.

It's a little exhausting.

And it's also something I appear to be growing out of.

I never really tried to change, but the little girl who lay awake at night stressing, the teen who often missed events because she worried too much about not being wanted there, the young adult who self-criticised herself into a corner, seems to be fading into the box of memories of former selves.

And I'm glad.

I feel more confident, and much more in control.

I think what I've finally be able to do is what I try to encourage my students to do.

Divide stress and worry up into the constructive and destructive. Embrace the former, ignore (as best you can!) the latter.

The former is good. We all need that surge of adrenalin when we step on stage, take the test, make the presentation, prepare for the first date. A life devoid of stress would be milquetoast in the extreme and offer little in the way of challenge or thrill.

The latter is the kind of worry that keeps you awake at night in a very different way. Constructive stress keeps you awake thinking "Did I email my friend back/finish that story right/iron my black dress?". If push comes to shove you get out of bed, check, fix if appropriate, and get on with things. Destructive stress has you tossing and turning, lost in a spiral of what-ifs and maybes.

Not fond.

I seem to be letting go of the latter type. I still try to be considerate and thoughtful, but without tying myself up in knots. Some people won't like you. Sometimes you'll fail. But, to quote Baz Luhrmann, "the journey is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself." So you may as well be good company.

So here's to a little less overthinking, and a little more sleep.

Or of course, I could just be overthinking things ;)

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Cosy Sunday

Lovely day yesterday, watching two dear friends get hitched (congratulations, Kate and Jason!) and partying with dozens of friends.

Today, home, tidying and researching and writing and planning and marking as spaghetti sauce simmers in the crockpot and Downton Abbey with a glass of vino beckons at the end of the day.

Call me a simple creature if you wish, but that's good living where I come from.

Hope you've all had a super weekend too - here's to the week to come!

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Show Us Your Life: Shopping

Today at Kelly's Korner, we're talking shopping...

I came very late to the shopping party.

As a teen I was a bit of a bum. I really didn't like the way I looked (looking back now I long for size 14 curves!) and hid away in baggy sweaters and the like. I was also on a total budget, and wore some pretty whacked out stuff. What can I say, it was the 90s!

Now I'm a little better, if only because I have to wear fairly cute stuff for work.

I like pencil skirts, cute patterns, cardigans, dresses, leopard print accessories, hand bags, scarves, and statement heels (chunky, not stiletto. My inner clumsy girl still lives!).

I cannot pull off shirts (gaps ahoy!), hats (make me look addled), full length leggings (HORROR!) or anything double-breasted or too dainty. Le sigh.

Some of my favourite brands are...


Quite pricey, but they have awesome sales. I am lusting after these shoes, this dress, and this coat. Roll on the sales!

Marks and Spencer

Trusted and true. I think most of my outfit right now is from there! Current desires include this dress (perfect for Christmas events!), this cardigan (perfect for hitting the shops and going for coffee) and these boots (I love a flash of pattern in an outfit!).

Next and Wallis are great sometimes too (I especially like Next shoes and Wallis cardigans). I love Anthropologie's whole boho-chic thing, but I'm a little too large and it's a little too expensive to embrace fully! Get lots of inspiration from there though. For teeshirts, it's Threadless all the way!

Looking forward to reading up on some shopping tips!

Happy Friday!

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Happy Anniversary!

Darling Matthew, happy anniversary!

(everyone else, soppy alert!)

I can't believe it's been three years already...sometimes it seems like just yesterday we were starting out, at others I struggle to recall what life was like before you.

Thank you for your love and support and kindness, and for always inspiring me to do more and be better.

I am so proud to have such a wonderful, talented, clever and handsome man to call my own.

You are my best friend and I can't wait to see what adventures are next around the bend for us.

See you later for dinner and cocktails - love you oodles!

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PS Smiley smiley!
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All the leaves are brown....

....well, almost.

London certainly feels autumnal today, or maybe that's because I am sat here looking out over the darkening sky, trusty cup of tea and balsam tissues to hand as I fight the first cold of the year, haha!

It is chillier today than it's been for weeks, a fresh northern breeze whispering through the trees, hinting at the cold to come. I love it - this season has long been a favourite, and whilst this term can be a slog it is always one I enjoy - the drop from summer to autumn; back to school; the changing of the leaves; then Hallowe'en, Bonfire Night, Thanksgiving; and then December and the joy of Christmas.


It's been a fun, if lowkey (for the most part), weekend here. Friday I'd been a little feverish and full of cold, so I forwent the Friday night drinks and instead toddled home for coffee and bad TV. Yesterday was my first full day event with the Junior League. Everyone is *so* nice, and so motivated. I am excited for the whole new members programme. We did some meetings, signed up for a few things, and did some volunteering (painting and work with kids), then went to the pub. After that it was back to the homestead, where Lou, Matthew and I drank tea, ate fish and chips, and watched old school episodes of 'Quantum Leap'. Just what the doctor ordered.

Today dawned sunny and bright (this has since passed!). After Lou headed home we just settled in for a chilled, pootly afternoon - tea, reading, chores and suchlike. The cold's almost gone (yay!), and I am looking forward to Downton Abbey later. Ultimate guilty pleasure telly.

Good weekend.

How was yours?

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Things I Like Thursday....

1. Swimming. Lap after lap, cool and calm, feeling the stretch after a long day. Makes my hair go insane, however!

2. Week 2 of the new term, actually feeling like I'm getting a handle on my boys, my timetable, and how the rhythm of the week plays out.

3. Making peace with the fact that some friendships evolve and change. I count myself very lucky to have some great friends who I love and are my greatest inspirations and fiercest cheerleaders. But there are a couple of people who have been making me feel a little let down / left behind, and it's felt good this past couple of weeks to just let go and realise that this is part of the journey. No bad blood, just different lives.

4. The word 'no'. I'm learning how to use it.

5. The Hunger Games. It is *brilliant*! I can't wait to go to the library later and read a little more of it. Thoroughly gripped.

6. Breaking out the crockpot :-). I made 'Mexican Salsa Chicken' at the weekend and it freezes beautifully (if anything, it tastes even better reheated!). Low fat, high nom.

7. Autumn weather...winds and showers and beautiful leaves. I so need to go for a walk on the Heath this Sunday.

8. Junior League - I'm especially excited to go volunteer on Saturday!

9. Visits - Shona was down last weekend, next weekend is Lou, and then the lovely Riot Kitty is in town! I also get to visit with Hannah and Naomi soon - fabulous!

10. Looking at houses. One day...

If you'd like to share a positive Thursday post, please feel free to join the linky below...

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Pictures that make me smile....15

Because Vixie always makes me smile.

Even if we've just got caught in the rain and we're buying stir fry veggies.

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The comfy, the cosy, the hellaciously busy....


Apologies for the random gap -the start of the school year hit me with as much ferocity as ever, and I found much of my time last week spent shepherding eight-year-old boys hither and thither, which we all know is somewhat akin to shepherding cats!

It's good to be back to school, but the ocean of paperwork feels daunting, and I will be very pleased when we reach October and I feel more in my stride. It's so energetic, this teaching of little folk, and I find that early nights and quiet reading are often calling my name.

The new gang of badgers are nice, so far, but there are definite corners to sand down and manners to check (very fond of talking over others / not listening to instructions. But they are very good at please and thank yous...swings and roundabouts, no ;)).

Start of term means the start of other things too...choirs are beginning, I'm a prospective new member at the Junior League, and I am adamant about getting to the gym or the pool several times a week (need to get healthy, yo).

It's exhausting.

The weekend was divine though...drinks with colleagues Friday, lunch with Shona and mooching around Camden on Saturday, then a quiet day at home with Matthew (with lots of planning!) on Sunday. I love comfy cosy weekends!

So hi, and hello there. How are you guys?

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Things I Like Thursday

Another Thursday, some more loveliness....

1. The pre-schoolers out for their walk I bumped into yesterday - a dozen of them, holding hands, waddling along in their hi-vis jackets. Precious!

2. Edamame beans, lightly salted or with chili sauce. Nom nom nom.

3. Dresses. I love dresses - they are so comfy to wear, but look smart too! They are definitely my go-to for work :-) Worth doing battle with tights!

4. Cocktails and catch ups. After the busy-ness of summer, it's so nice to be catching up with everyone and hearing all their news. Catching up over a delicious cocktail is even better...

5. Anthropologie...I make no apologie (heh!), I love this store. I went in last week and bought a tonne of gifts for Christmas and autumn/winter birthdays. So chic and quirky!

6. Sparkpeople. After messing up majorly, I am back on board, eating sensibly and working out too. I hope I see some results before too long!

7. Budgets! I am trying my best to save at the moment, so keeping in budget is becoming my new obsession. It's good for me, I think.

8. Baked potatoes. One of the yummiest autumn/winter foods, filling and delicious. I foresee a lot of these for lunch when I have a workout scheduled for after school! Healthy carbs FTW.

9. Knitting. I love knitting, and have taken to doing a little during storytime with my class (we're listening to an audiobook). Relaxing and creative - the perfect blend!

10. The Glee Project. I've got to the end now, but I really enjoyed this show! Just silly enough to be compulsive viewing. I was just so impressed by the talent of the competitors, and am now very excited for Glee season 3!

I'd love to read about what's making you happy too....please do link up below if you'd like to, let's spread the positivity!

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Back to school

As this publishes, I'll be sat in assembly with my new form.

We will all be nervous....



The start of the new school year is always a big step up. I think when I first started out I thought it's one of those things which would get easier. Because some things in teaching do - you learn where the resources for that one lesson are kept, you get better at putting up and taking down displays, marking becomes a smoother experience...but the start of a new school year is always nervewracking.

Wish us luck, send us vibes,keep us in your prayers, or just send a friendly thought our way today, please (I know we all have our different ways of doing things :-)). I really hope we can make a strong start to the year and that all my classes have a very happy first day at school!

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Quote(s) of the day

It's back to school season! Here are some of my favourite quotes on the subject...

"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."

~Sydney J. Harris

"The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book."

~Author Unknown

"Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one."

~Malcolm S. Forbes

"Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire."

~William Butler Yeats

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This week...

It's the first week of term! A brand new academic year.

Two days of meetings (sigh. I am not so good at meetings).

Then on Wednesday the boys arrive. I am looking forward to meeting my new classes!

Feeling: very busy, but also excited. I love September and the back to school feeling, the crisper turn to the breeze, the freshly sharpened pencils...

Thinking: about school, about friends, about upcoming excitements.

Making: displays and welcome packs, it feels like! Oh, and cupcakes for the start of year for my colleagues.

Doing: lots of work, plenty of homemaking, and a healthy whack of working out / socialising / collapsing on the couch.

Reading: I've almost finished 'A Clash of Kings'. Am loving the whole series, but will probably switch to a couple of lighter reads before going back onto the third in the saga (I like to read a good range!).

Writing: medium term plans and letters and to do lists.

Watching: Sky Atlantic are showing the third season of Big Love, and it's becoming quite the weekly treat.

Eating: sensibly. With occasional cupcakes.

Drinking: lots of water.

Listening: to old mix CDs, and cheesey tunes on Heart as I cook and clean in the evenings.

Working: pretty darn hard!

Wishing: for a good start to the term.

Looking forward to: Catch ups with Shona, Siobhán, Lou and Ems later in the month; to hearing all about Eileen's holiday; to meeting my new students; to a lazy weekend after the madness of start of term; to a cup of tea and a cuddle this evening.

Have a great week, all! :)
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Mix of the Month


Over the summer I've done lots of reminiscing, lots of thinking, and LOTS of listening to music. And listening to all those old mix CDs filled me with nostalgia, for that moment when a mix would arrive from a friend, full of new tunes, old favourites, and always always always at least one tune you were bound to hate.

So, each month of this academic year I am going to make a mix (on a theme)....and if you would like a copy, please just leave me a comment or drop me an email. Let's get the music flowing.

This month's theme is 'Back To School' and it's a double CD. I'm not going to spoiler here and write out the whole list of tracks, but it contains some gems like the songs below. Let me know if you'd like a mix in the mail!

Girls And Boys - Blur

Behave - Charlotte Hatherley

1234 - Feist

Beat Control - Tilly and the Wall

Make Your Own Kind of Music - The Mamas and the Papas

1919 - 383s

Ooooh, no video, mysterious...

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Show Us Your Life: Favourite Blogs

This week the lovely Kelly is having us link up about our favourite blogs! As well as writing my own blog, I love to read other peoples blogs - I find so much inspiration from reading the blogs of others, and am lucky enough to have made some great friends whilst doing so.

In order to keep this list under some semblance of control, I have only included blogs that a) I've been reading for over two years; and b) are still going strong. Enjoy!

(PS These are in no particular order, bar #1....I wrote them on slips of paper and drew them out of a hat (well, a mug) to mix it up!)

Kelly herself has to be number one on this list! She is such a sweet, intelligent woman and I love the whole tone of her blog - the humour, the honesty, the fun, the keeping-it-real. She is a treasure, and I love reading about what she, Scott, Harper and Hollis are up to!

Jaime is a hugely talented photographer and writer whose blog is full of the beauty of nature. Whenever I read one of her posts my soul soars - she sees the world as a place of wonder and communicates this beautifully on the page. She's also a total sweetie!

Kelle's blog is a thing of beauty! She finds the beauty and wonder in everything and lives her whole life gorgeously. She's funny, witty, and has a heart the size of Wales...I love to read her updates!

Lori is a blogger who astounds me. I started reading her blog a couple of years back when it was a lovely day-to-day record of her life with her hubby and kids. Now, it's something quite different. Very sadly, Lori lost her husband, and now she writes about her life in 'The After'. You never know what a post might bring - beauty, sadness, anger, humour, but her writing is always challenging and full of heart.

Erik is a funny, funny guy, and the token boy on this list! He writes candidly about his life, music, politics, current events and his adventures in Texas, and he always makes me smile and/or think. I'm so looking forward to reading his posts when his little one arrives!

Angie is a blogging megastar. I've been reading her blog for years and her writing and her heart truly inpsire me. The way that she and her husband dealt with the loss of their beautiful Audrey is a story of love, glory and a faith that fills me with awe. Her blog is sweet, smart, and oftentimes funny, as are her brilliant books!

Lisa-Jo writes hard. She tells it like it is and shares so much of herself on her blog, and we are all the richer for it. She also curates (if that's the right word?) the 'Five Minute Fridays' blog hop, and I love writing to her themes when my schedule allows.

Ashley is simply beautiful, inside and out, and writes a gorgeous blog about her family, her faith, and the adoption journey she is on. She's also a Christmas nut, just like me, so I love to read those posts too!

Sara always makes me smile. She is such a talented and gracious woman, and her blog just stands out for me - it's full of faith and love and hope. I feel priveleged to read her.

Megan is another inspirational woman. She and her husband, Brent, lost their beautiful boy Cohen, and again, showed such grace and courage throughout. Now they are celebrating the arrival of their gorgeous twins, Sloane and Knox! I am so very happy for them and love reading about their little family.

Michelle is a blogger who can make me laugh and laugh. Her posts are full of humour and wit, and she's never afraid to be real. She's also a great friend and I love her funny emails! I adore the LOLcats she includes with every post!

Relyn is a fellow teacher, with a blog full of poetry and inspiration. I love how big she lives her life and all the beauty she sees in the everyday.

Christy is not just a great blogger, she's also a dear friend. I love reading her blog, she's so passionate about music and travel and teaching and Toronto (where she is lucky enough to live!).

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Things I Like Thursday

Oh yeah, the list continues!

But in a slightly different way...instead of continuing with the numbers (I kept losing count), instead, each Thursday I'll be listing the things I like every Thursday. I'm jotting them down on post-its throughout the week and then writing them all down once a week. Love it.

I think it's great fun to count blessings and remember all the lovely things we enjoy from time to time - and on my bluer days I know clicking on the TIL label can often remind me of the many many things in my life which make me smile.

So, without further ado, here are this week's 'Things I Like'...

1. Gilmore Girls. This is my ironing day treat. Every time I get out the giant ironing table ready to do some more work, I watch an episode or two. I love the witty repartee and the characters, and think I'll probably finish out the series by the end of the year! The only thing I don't like is that it makes me really, really hungry - those girls are always snacking!

2. Salads. This summer I've been experimenting with making lots of different salads, and I love the crunchiness of all those fresh veggies. Yesterday I made one of my favourites - lettuce, apple, and the teeniest bit of roquefort. Superbly yummy!

3. Cups of tea with Eileen. I love how we can switch from the most vapid topic ever to something really deep between sips. I'm really lucky to have a friend like her living so close (and I hope she's having a great time in Sicily!).

4. Dolly Parton. I swear, she's like my life idol.

5. Sticking with the country theme, the Taylor Swift song Back To December is totally my jam at the moment! It's so poignant and wallow-y, it makes me want to wear a chunky knot sweater and stare at things pensively while walking around the Heath. Oh yeah.

6. Cute shoes! Usually I have a pretty rough time finding cute shoes for school, but this term I have three new pairs which all make me smile (and some of them even have heels, shock horror!).

7. Haircuts. Don't you just love what a new haircut can do? Particularly if you have thick, crazy hair like mine, with a tendency to go rogue...

8. The sound of the horses from the royal parks trotting up the hill, past my study window. Such an un-London thing to hear, and one I only hear during break. One day I will succeed in taking a video of the spectacle...

9. Planning. Timetables, budgets, schedules....delicious. The reason why I own an 'I Love Spreadsheets' mug, certainly!

10. Instagram - I love being able to take quirky photos while I'm out and about! Do you use Instagram?

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Now, an experiment....if you would like to share the things you like, or something that makes you smile, or some other little happy, I thought I'd add a linky to this post. It may work out, or you may all think 'girl, you crazy!', but I wanted to try it (and will have the linky up one each of the next few Thursdays). Just wanted to share a little happiness! I hope you'll join me.

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