Hello Monday {link up}

Linking up with the lovely Lisa.

Hello ill, and chesty cough (I think I'm operating at about 65% capacity. Fail).

Hello classroom ready for a Christmas makeover.

Hello party season.

Hello Christmas movies.

Hello busy, busy, busy...

Hello packages from Boden, Amazon, Lakeland...

Hello new stuffed hedgehog toys (we just can't resist woodland creatures!).

Hello peeking at the credit card statement between your fingers (hurrah for the Christmas account!).

Hello Christmas card writing.

Hello cold weather and dark skies.

Hello, soup and hot chocolate.

Hello magnetised sofa (seriously, I am finding it impossible to resist).

Hello week.

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30 Days of thankfulness: Junior League

I am so glad to have found the Junior League, and am so excited to be involved with it. I love being part of a sisterhood of women and am loving the feeling of being able to help people right here in my city. I am excited for our new members' project and for committees to start in the new year!

To learn more about this cool group of lovelies, do please check out the JLL website. :-)

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Five Minute Friday (on a Sunday): Grateful

Linking up with the lovely Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday (albeit two days late ;)). This week's prompt? Grateful.
I'm a blessed girl.
I have so much to be grateful for.
So much more than I could convey in a mere five minutes (but I'm going to try!).
For me, I'd rather pour you a glass of wine, or talk your ear off, or show you my many little lists of little happies, blessings, and joys. Instead, I'll aim for five minutes...
I'm grateful for misty mornings, sweet coffee, silly texts.
Books that drag me in, and evenings spent curled up under a throw.
A job I love, and friends I adore.
Scottish mountains under a plane and safe landings on whistlestop trips.
Friendly cats and old friends.
The best badger in the world.
Challenges and unexpected letters.
Old trees and new books.
The smell of start of school, all sharpened pencils and freshly hoovered carpets.
The warm glow of a job well done.
Being able to help, to guide, to serve.
I'm grateful for prayer.
For Skype.
For Pride & Prejudice.
For MC Hammer.
For the future and the joy ahead and the past and the lessons it has taught me.
For the present, in all its glorious whirl.
For 'Strictly Come Dancing' and girldates.
For time to think and rest and connect.
And for a million other things, I am grateful.

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Take me home :)

This song is making me smile as I throw things together for a jaunt home to Forres. sure, we're flying easyjet rather than roaming country roads, but this song always reminds me of my mummy! Hurrah for visits.

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A suitably superb seasonal Saturday supper

I adore my monthly girldates with Miss Ems. Wine, Italian food, scandalous chat....it's always a highlight in the diary. We've been saying for ages that we should do a double date and have a supper with our other halves in attendance too. And this past weekend, we actually managed to do so! Emily and Adam made a delicious feast (I am looking forward to returning the favour, but totally in awe of their mad hosting skillz!). Here are some instagram pics I took of the occasion (both Emily and I are a leetle addicted to that app!).

Ems instagramming her pudding.

Best cottage pie EVER.

Sloe gin.



*happy sigh*

Trifle Wally Ladd - gorgeous!

Adam grinning at Em's instagramarama.

How cute is this placeholder?

Swizzle sticks for the coffee. Adorbs.

This super cute glassware has totally inspired me to hit the shops for wine glasses later. 'Tis the season!

Beautiful wine bottle.

Thank you for a wonderful evening, lovelies.

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30 Days of thankfulness: Things I like Thursday

1. The fact that I get to see 3/4s of my family on Saturday!*

2. Watching silly videos with my class during wet breaks.

3. Pan Am. It's like a frothy soapy younger cousin to Mad Men. Love it.

4. Planning holidays and breaks away.

5. The thought of Thanksgiving supper tomorrow (a day late due to scheduling). Bring on the marshmallow sweet potato!**

6. Being a bit of a Christmas Elf!

7. Breaking out the winter coat.

8. Peppermint (or Baileys) infused hot chocolate. Yum!

9. December being so close I can nearly touch it.

10. This mac and cheese recipe! I can cut it down and make just enough for a Claire!

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*we'll miss you, Sian-shine! Skype soon?

** Happy Thanksgiving to all you lovely US folks!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Books

Oh my, how I love to read.

A couple of hours, a comfy chair and a good book a very very happy Claire make. I'm so grateful to have a hobby that is so satisfying!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Job

I am so so blessed to have a job like mine. Yes, it can be frustrating, challenging, and very hard work, but in this day and age it's a privilege to have a job, and an absolute blessing to have a job you really love.

And love it I do.

The noise, the excitement, the incessant questions, the laughter, the in-jokes. The pre-Christmas burst, the silly songs we sing, shaking hands at the end of the day. The 'lightbulb' moments when children grasp something truly and properly, and you know they've cracked it. Sharing a story or a skill or a moment. Taking the time to listen. Modelling behaviour, giving praise. Going the extra mile.

I'm so glad I found my calling, and I hope that even when I've been doing this for a dozen years or more I'll still be enjoying it. As much as parts of it can drive me batty (the never ending marking - it's the Forth Rail Bridge of tasks, the early starts, the eternal having to request that boys slow down in the corridor / watch their presentation / don't talk with their mouth full / tuck their shirts in), that's less than 5% of the whole. And the whole is pretty awesome.

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PS If you'd like to check in on my badgers, our class blog is here.

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Life Is Wonderful

This song has been stuck in my head today.

And do you know what?

Life is wonderful.

Sure, there are petty frustrations, tiring days, late nights, early mornings, people who let you down, folk who don't like you.

But on d'autre part there's friendship and love and fun and butternut squash rissotto and cuddles and dreams and babies and hope and stars in a velvety minute sky and praline mochas.


Sweet dreams, you love folk.

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30 Days of thankfulness: Matthew's family

In this area of my life, I am doubly blessed.

Not only do I get a lovely boyfriend, I also get to spend time with his adorable family. Matthew's parents are great and I really look up to them. We always look forward to visiting them and spending time together and are getting better and better at putting these meetings into the diary!

Matthew's brother Nick is a sweetie too, and I adore his sister-in-law, the beautiful Elly. Their super fun wedding is definitely one of my highlights of 2011.

Add in the crazy cats Penn and Indy, and you have a truly wonderful bunch of folk. I'm so excited to go visit next month (and to give out lots of pressies!).

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30 Days of thankfulness: Blogging

I am so grateful to be able to blog here, and can hardly believe I've been doing so for almost 6 years! I also love blogging what my class is doing and sharing our experiences and learning. I've made some great friends through blogging, and it is also a great, free way of working things out (some might call it therapy!). I love my little corner of the blogosphere and the people I have met through it. Huzzah!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Sleep

Image via artflakes.

Please don't think I'm being facetious when I say I am truly, madly, utterly grateful for sleep.

Especially at this point in the year, where my entire body seems to want to give up, give in, and hibernate!

I know so many people who don't get enough sleep, due to insomnia, babies, work....I count myself very very blessed to be able to enjoy my 40 winks so much!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Matthew

I am so so lucky to have a boy who understands me, and who appreciates my 'uniqueness' (ha!). He always makes me smile and is responsible for so many wonderful moments in my little life. Thank you, honey!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Things I like Thursday

1. Frosty mornings where you can see your breath come out in clouds.

2. Christmas stamps!

3. The warm fuzzy feeling of helping people.

4. Curling up on the couch under a zebra print throw.

5. Catching up with good friends, in person or on Skype or by phone!

6. Planning treats for my lovely boy.

7. Closure.

8. Trying new recipes - last week, banana bread, this week, beef and ale stew!

9. The thought of a nice, chilled weekend!

10. Swimming laps, smooth and steady and calm. Aquabadger, sploosh!

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30 Days of thankfulness: Opportunities

Graduating in Aberdeen.

Watching the Foo Fighters at Wembley.

Getting soaked at Niagara Falls!
The joys of Edinburgh!
Beautiful Madrid.

I am so thankful for the chances I've been given.

I've met some fascinating people, been to some marvellous places, had some wonderful experiences...

...had you told that little girl in Forres all she'd get up to, I don't think she would have believed you!

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The November greys

Recently, I had a *major* attack of the November greys.

As in properly walking home from work with tears in the eyes.

They always hit around this time of year.

The hours at school are as punishing as ever, and general busyness often leaves me sad and tired and a little fed up.

Which I know is silly, and entirely ridiculous given how blessed I am, and please don't think I'm not grateful, but it happens.

Stir in feeling poorly and it's quite the toxic mix.

So frustrations seem harder to bear, a cutting remark from a friend stings a little more, I feel overstretched and unloved and I generally feel a bit horrid. All those years of being the new girl mean the brave face is polished and ready to go, but it still feels rough.

Luckily, I have some wonderful friends (Nai and Eileen especially, thanks for this weekend - your chats really helped to buoy me back up!) and a stellar boyfriend (ankoos badger :-)) and now, despite the sniffles and sleepiness, I'm hoping that the greys have passed, and now I can focus on the serious stuff.

Less than six weeks until Christmas!

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Friends (London)

I am so lucky to have a bevvy of wonderful friends here in London, and I am so thankful for all of them. We may not see enough of each other (*shakey fist at London*) but I'm so glad for the times and adventures we've shared.

Guiseppes with Ems, girldates with Eileen, meals with Payal, wine with Rich, brunch with Vixie and Kaz....these things keep me going and stop this country mouse from becoming far too lonely in the big old city.

I'm glad we make time for each other.
Love you guys.

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Siblings

I have two super cool siblings.

Funny, intelligent, inspiring, and deeply, deeply silly.

The three of us couldn't be more different....

...and yet we're very, very similar.

And now, with relationships, the Sian-Claire-Peter dynamic has become Claire-Sian-Peter-Chris-Matthew, and then there are brothers and sisters in law too....

...fun times.

But these two, who I remember 'teaching' when they could barely talk and I could barely spell.

Who know the ground I've walked.

They are so, so precious.

Love you Sian-shine. Love you Peter-pops.


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30 Days of thankfulness: Things I like Thursday

1. Discovering new skills. Turns out I'm not terrible at bartending!

2. Visits to/from family. Matthew's parents' were in town last weekend and we head up to see my folks before the month is through.

3. Planning new lessons and really feeling that my boys are enjoying them.

4. Having a Starbucks on my route to work.

5. Countdown to the Christmas tree - I can't wait to put Dave the tree back up!

6. Thanksgiving dinner approacheth too....bring on the sweet potato with marshmallows.

7. Lovely supportive friends who are always ready to back my latest madcap scheme!

8. Upcoming girldates!

9. A kind boyfriend who has pizza waiting for you after a long and tiring day!

10. Sleepy cuddles.

What do you like, lovelies?

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30 Days of Thankfulness: Join Me

I've been a joinee for almost five years. Five years of fun, laughter, good times, and hundreds of RAoKs (random acts of kindness).

I've met some wonderful people. Some inspiring people. Some people who have helped me to grow up....and others who make me sillier than I should be.

This group has brought me friends, inspiration, and even the man I love (Lou, a joinee, pictured above, first introduced Matthew and I. We first got together at my friend Siobhan's party. and first kissed in the flat of joinees Kate and Jason. See what I mean?).

I love these people. I'm so lucky to have found them!

(hee, wine!)

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