Things I like (parts 36-40) by Claire

36. Fresh sheets on the bed.

37. Projects!

38. Parcels, whether sending or receiving.

39. Cheerful, friendly gerbera daisies.

40. Morning coffee with hazelnut syrup.

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Old school meme

I saw this meme on another blog, and decided to do it (it's been years since I did a meme). Feel free to steal, or simply mock me for being so two thousand and late (Christy, are you impressed I got that phrase in a post?).

The ABCs of me
1. Age- 30

2. Bed size-some weird size which is bigger than a double…yet smaller than a king?

3. Chore you dislike the most-depends on the day. I tend to quite enjoy housework, except when it falls at the end of a twelve or fourteen hour work day!

4. Dog? Nope.

5. Essential start to your day- a really good stretch!

6. Favorite color- blue or purple tends to win out!

7. Gold or Silver- silver

8. Height- 5'5”

9. Instruments you have played-flute and recorder.

10. Job Life- teaching boys. It’s awesome.

11. Kids- not yet.

12.Live- London, baby!

13.Mom's name-Kate.

14. Nicknames-Thornley Badger!

15. Overnight hospital stays- tooth extractions.

16. Pet Peeves- people who spit in the street (unless they are in pain or running a marathon – the two times where it might be acceptable!) and people who are demeaning to children.

17. Quote from a movie- “A life lived in fear is a life half lived” (from Strictly Ballroom. Who took it from the TV series Monkey!).

18.Righty or Lefty or Politics- centre-lefty-righty.

19, Siblings-Two. Younger sister, younger brother.

20. Time you wake up on weekdays-between 6 and 6.30 am.

21. Underwear- yes.

22. vegetable you don't like- I tend to love veggies, but can leave peas.

23. What makes you late- far too much. I am working to improve this!

24. Xray you have had- Feet, wrists, teeth.

25. Yummy good food you make-you’d have to ask Matthew!

26. Zoo animal favorite- You can find badgers in a zoo, right?

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Things I like (parts 31-35) by Claire

31. Tuesday night girl dates - whether it's wine or ice cream or dinner or playing on the iPad or watching awful movies. Always a treat.

32. Houmous and pita. Matthew's away a lot over the next few weeks (:()...I see this becoming quite the fixture for Claire-dinners!

33. Spring sunshine. Blue skies and sunbeams. How delicious!

34. Upcoming holidays - I can taste Easter break, it's so close.

35. School in-jokes. My current fave is whenever I do something vaguely impressive, 4T will all chime in with "Miss young and yet so wise!" Does this 30 year old good to hear, let me tell you!

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PS No Project Life this week....all work and no play means I have the pictures, but the post eludes me!

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Epic cake!

Because sometimes, life calls for epic cake.

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For Ms Riot Kitty

The lovely Riot Kitty asked me what a 'poppet' is after a recent post.

According to Wikipedia (reliable sources FTW!): "The word poppet is an older spelling of puppet, from the Middle English popet, meaning a small child or doll. In British Dialect it continues to hold this meaning. Poppet is also a chiefly English term of endearment."

So a poppet, to me, is a sweetie, a darling, a lovely.

Rather like RK herself! :-)

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Project Life (plus) Tuesday: March 14th - March 20th

I'm still sticking with it - woo!

Once again I'm linking up with Jessica's Project Life Tuesdays - thanks as always, sweetie, for bringing us all together!

Monday March 14th

Also known as 14.3.11. Or 3.14, in the US fashion. Therefore....Pi day! Matthew and I enjoyed pie and veggies followed by pie and custard in honour of the occasion!

Tuesday March 15th

After the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan, my class and I did lots of research and discussion on the events of March 11th and beyond. A lot for little minds to take in. My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.

Wednesday March 16th

These flowers were in the entrance hall at school - I thought they were super pretty!

Thursday March 17th

Happy St Patrick's Day! I made Matthew a treat bundle of Guinness and chocolate raisins - happy boy!

Friday March 18th

Late on the seventeenth Miss Christy arrived from her adventures in Spain. It was *so* good to chat and catch up. She is such a cool girl and I loved having her visit me at school on Friday (and very winningly being 'interviewed' by 4T!), before Starbucks, pub, fish'n'chips and hat rage!

The aforementioned hat?

Saturday March 19th

Saturday was nice and chilled. Matthew, Christy and I headed out for brunch before she left us for fun in city. Then Rory, Eileen, Siobhán, Christy, Matthew and I all headed out for food. The food was okay, the company lovely.

How cute is this shot of Christy?

Sunday March 20th

On Sunday I planned a girls' afternoon, and I had the best time with the three girls who could make it. Eileen popped in, and beautiful Katie Boo and Miss Ems helped me polish off some bubbles, some crudités and some naughties! Katie Boo (above) is getting married in September, so the girls and I were *loving* hearing all her wedding chat!

Cute Emily goofing around!

Mmmmm, goodies. Labelled goodies.

I had to include this - this pile was Christy's cookie and confectionery stash to take back to Canada! Mostly gifts, but comedy gold nonetheless!

Another week done - can you believe April is nearly here? I can almost taste it!

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Really, properly, honestly relaxed.

By all rights, I shouldn't be.

Work is manic (so manic I forgot to go to lunch at all today. Really difficult in a school where there are buzzers and bells aplenty). Life is busy with visits and training and all. But I'm good. I'm working hard, yes, but I feel good. Serene, almost - were it possible for someone as hyper as me to be serene!

Maybe it's all the speeches I give 4T about embracing 'constructive' stress (pass that test! Make that deadline! Give it your best shot!) and channeling out 'destructive' stress (talk to someone! Hit a pillow! Go to the gym!) - they seem to be having an effect on me! In amongst the fizzy whizzy busy, I feel centred and capable and ready

I feel pretty darn blessed. Because I am.

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5 Minutes: On Waiting

I'm linking up again with Lisa-Jo's 5 Minute Fridays.

One topic, five minutes. Go!

On waiting...

Waiting. Being patient. Biding my time.

Growing up, none of these things could be considered my strong suit. I as always the girl who was looking forward to the next thing, the next holiday or visit or term or class or party, constantly in motion, always eager to be moving, progressing, doing something, feeling connected, embracing the new. A childhood on airbases various had left me with difficulty settling, finding it hard to commit, to stay, and to wait.

Nowadays I still see flashes of that girl (especially when I get caught in a queue!), but I'm so much better at waiting. I think because now I can see the value in it.

There is power in waiting. There is beauty in waiting. There is wisdom in waiting. In the world of seemingly instant gratification, there is a joy in waiting, in anticipating, in holding out.

I also think that waiting has another real benefit because it helps us to appreciate the status quo, the quiet loveliness of the here and now. I often hear from people (always acquaintances, never good friends...what is it about the 'casual' link that encourages this?) that I should be striving for something "more" - a more important job, a ring, some babies....but I have no desire to rush these things.

I love my little life as it is, and I am surrounded by such love and wonder. I have no desire to rush through this season of my life. This is the season of late night chats and in-jokes and weekends away and silly phone calls with friends and creating chaos in the classroom with my lovely, noisy, talented boys. Do I ever want to get married? Yes please. Do I want to have children? I think so. Do I want to be a headteacher? I'm not really sure, actually. But if and when those things do happen, I think they will be all the sweeter for the waiting I have done - and joyful, patient, funfilled waiting at that.

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Because sometimes, stats and maths are super cool...

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Project Life Tuesday (March 7th - March 13th)

Once again I am linking up with Jessica's Project Life Tuesdays - I love seeing what people have come up with! Here's my past week in pictures.

Monday March 7th

Another busy Monday at work. I am in the process of (slowly but surely!) overhauling my classroom, trying to make it a place we feel is a great environment, ripe for learning, exploration and play. To quote Charlotte Mason, "Education is an atmosphere." Here are some recent additions.
Tuesday March 8th

(a.k.a. Shrove Tuesday; a.k.a. Pancake Day; a.k.a. Mardi Gras)

Eileen came over and we marked the festival with pancakes and 'Muddy Waters' cocktails (bourbon, apricot brandy, lemonade, ginger & honey). Great fun before the rigours of Lent kicked in!

Wednesday March 9th

Time to make some Claire soup - in the pot are carrots, potatoes, squash and carrots with stock and herbs and spices. Boil it up, blend it down, and enjoy. I also baked some homemade bread to go with this....cue a very happy Matthew!

Thursday March 10th

I finally got round to having my hair cut! It is so much shorter at the back, but still frames my face. I really like it, and my hairstylist Aaron was a total poppet!

Friday March 11th

Yay! The beautiful Shona came down from Scotland to visit for a few days. On Friday we caught up over cheese and wine and went to see 'Legally Blonde' the musical....
Saturday March 12th

...and on Saturday we continued the fun by going to see 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' - a new and fabulous musical. Shona and I met through musical theatre, so we love to catch a show or two together! We then went to the Ritz for afternoon tea - absolutely divine (and a lovely present from Matthew). Such, such fun.

Sunday March 13th - no photo! Shona, Matthew and I went to Belgo and I got food poisoning (only mild, thank heavens) from the mussels. I did *not* feel good!

I'm loving getting back into Project Life - it will be nice to have a record of the year to look back on, I think.

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Happy Pi Day!

Mmmmm. Pi(e).

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Five minute Friday

Once again I am linking up with Lisa-Jo's '5 Minute Fridays' series.

This week the writing prompt is 'I feel the most loved when....'

Here goes!

First things first, I must say that I feel loved a huge amount of the time. I am so blessed to have a family and friends and pupils who I adore and who make me feel loved and wanted and supported. My life is filled with a lot of affection, a mountain of giggles, and affirmation by the bucketful.

But where do I feel the most loved?

That's simple.

I feel the most loved when I'm with Matthew.

Whether we're hanging out, chatting, watching TV, dreaming of the future, curled up cuddling, out to dinner, doing housework, away on holiday...I feel the most loved when I'm with him. I have no idea how I became so blessed as to be granted a man who understands me so well and who constantly makes me smile and feel appreciated and loved, but I intend to work hard so I may be worthy of him.

When I'm safe with him, living our quiet and quirky little life, I'm happy and I feel loved. And I know that the time I spend there replenishes and strengthens me for all the other challenges and joys and struggles and wonders I face every day. It gives me a sense of peace and rightness which permeates every other part of my life.

It always reminds me of a favourite quote. "To love and to be loved is to feel the sun from both sides."

Image from:

May you all know that kind of love, my friends. :-)

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Things I like (parts 26 - 30) by Claire

26. Charlotte Hatherley. Such an underrated singer and artist. She's barely on youtube, but there's linkiness here.

27. Finally booking a haircut! Tonight, baby.

28. A tidy (well, tidier!) classroom - am looking forward to really sorting this next month over break!

29. Spring weather and lighter mornings.

30. The fact that Shona is coming to play in a matter of hours. :)

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A request for help....

The first time I visited my grandparents in the States, they gave me this cool collectors map to fill with the State quarters. I was quite into this for a whil, but then left it at home when I went to grad school and kind of forgot about the collection. I'd love to complete it now though, so this is a plea for help...

Dear American readers, could you please help me find the following quarters? If you have one or some of them and would be willing to mail them to me I would be ever so grateful, and would of course mail back a postcard from beautiful London or some little British bits (we make excellent confectionery...) in return. If you could help, please let me know via the comments or send me an email to

So far I have 20, meaning there's thirty to go. The quarters I require are:

1. Kentucky
2. Mississippi
3. Illinois
4. Missouri
5. Arkansas
6. Texas
7. Iowa
8. Wisconsin
9. Michigan
10. West Virginia
11. Florida
12. Minnesota
13. Kansas
14. Oregon
15. California
16. Nevada
17. Colorado
18. Nebraska
19. North Dakota
20. South Dakota
21. Washington
22. Montana
23. Idaho
24. Wyoming
25. Utah
26. Arizona
27. Oklahoma
28. Alaska
29. Hawaii
30. Alabama

Please do let me know if you could help - I would *love* to complete this collection!

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Project Life Tuesday (February 28th - March 6th)

I'm linking up once more with Jessica's Project Life Tuesdays.

Monday 28th February

A very busy day at work, followed by my first experience of the uniqueness that is spinning! After that ironing, a heart patterned tumbler of wine and the finale of The Biggest Loser was about all I was good for!

Tuesday 1st March

Miss Eileen and I headed to Tapeo for lots of very garlicky tapas and very good chat. Our Tuesday night meetups are becoming something of a tradition, and NW London offers plenty of venues for fun!

Wednesday 2nd March

I was oh so frustrated with my classroom at this point! We had our variety show on Friday, so at this point the room was just festooned with bags of costumes and props and junk...

I'm actually looking forward to tidying this week!

Thursday 3rd March

Oh hello, trainers.

I now wear these bad boys more than anything else I own. With the Moonwalk in a couple of months, the training is really kicking in!

Friday 4th March

Fridge full of veggies and some leftover bulgur wheat. Splash of wine and a little chili, garlic and parmesan. Faux-sotto. Delish!

Saturday 5th March

A *big* workout today - 60 minutes of aerobics then 8 miles of walking. Then I treated myself to tea, toast, TV and twitter. Bliss!

Sunday 6th March

A day of planning and sorting. A post on this particular thing coming soon!

Looking forward to catching up with lots of other Project Life posts. :-)

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