Things I like (parts 71-75) by Claire

71. The song 'Expectations' by Belle and Sebastian.

72. Healing bruises.

73. Fresh, crunchy, juicy apples.

74. Weekends away.

75. Cups of redbush tea in a room full of iron-steam.

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Things I like (parts 66-70) by Claire

66. 4 day weekends after 3 day workweeks.

67. Impromptu after work drinks.

68. The Royal Wedding T-Mobile advert.

69. Cheap, cheerful, cute clothes!
70. Back to school - I'm feeling enthused.

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(Sort-of) Singalong Saturday, April 23rd

And today we're listening to another of my workout mixes. Feel the burn, right?

1) Survivor - Destiny's Child

So help me, but a bit of righteous girl anger always gets me in the zone!

2) Firework - Katy Perry

Now I'm not the biggest KP fan, but this tune is hugely motivational (particularly when you're fourteen miles into a training walk, your thighs are twinging, your feet feel twice as big as they usually do, and some random guy has just given you evils (thanks, random in Wandsworth!)). Good beat too.

3) So What - Pink

I bet Pink has amazing workouts. I love how she just channels all her anger into music and lyrics and performing and something I'm learning to do more and more myself as I grow up - find outlets for all the stuff inside me that are positive, rather than acting out (which I was never too bad for doing...) or internalising it all (....which I do far, far too much!). As always, shoutout to Miss Jenna for getting me into Pink!

4) Keep the Car Running - Arcade Fire

And oh, how often I wish I had a car on some of these training walks!

5) A Life Less Ordinary - Ash

As extra incentive this song always reminds me of the accompanying video, starring, as well as the lovely Ash boys (and the divine Miss CH), the wonderful Ewan Macgregor (yummy incentive) and the perpetually gorgeous Cameron Diaz (body of awesome incentive - I know I'll never get that slim but she's such a helathy looking chick).
6) Mountains - Biffy Clyro

Good bass. Nice bit of driving forward in the riffs too.

7) Womanizer - Britney Spears

And now, back to the gorgonzola....

8) Boom! Shake The Room! - DJ Jazzy Jeff and the French Prince

More song titles need punctuation marks, for sure. This always makes me want to do the chorus arms. You remember the chorus arms, right?

9) Monkey Wrench - Foo Fighters.

Great for intervals. Add some air guitar to mix it up!

10) DARE - Gorillaz

Another great solid beat - a little too slow for running or aerobics or spinning, but great for walking or weights.

11) Numb/Encore - Jay-Z and Linkin Park

Just about angry enough to keep my focused. I did warn you that many of my workout choices are very very very different to my usual acoustic-y, angsty girl rock, boys with guitars, piano heavy ballads, and Canadian indie fare. I *heart* Joel Plaskett (thanks for the intro, Christy!), but he's not ideal for working out. He's more hanging with friends / sipping wine / grading papers / riding the subway stuff. For reals. Some bands I love (Foos, Muse, The Postal Service etc) are great to listen to and workout to, but a lot of workout stuff I only use when attempting to find my buns under all the rest of me!

12) She Don't Have to Know - John Legend

A little soulful pallette cleanser after all the man angst.

13) Pumpkin Soup - Kate Nash

Silly, frothy, fun.

14) Bad Romance - Lady Gaga.

Ceaselessly amusing. Particularly if you actually have this going through your head at the time...

15) Time to Pretend - MGMT

A very bleak lyric to a very bouncy pop beat. Oh well, "Let's make some music, make some money, find some models for wives..."

16) Starlight - Muse

Epic rock with an epic beat. *This* is great for running (or rather, my approximation of running!).

17) Such Great Heights - The Postal Service.

One of my favourite songs ever.

It even sounds good slowed down and covered (a let less workout ready though!).

18) Better Than Revenge - Taylor Swift

TAYLOR! (Yeah, I'm a bit of a 'Swiftie') Most of her stuff is very sweet and lovely and perfect for listening to while gazing out of a rainy window, dreaming of days to come (not that, you know, I ever do that...), but a couple of tracks are workout-tacular. And hey, "no amount of vintage dresses give you dignity", baby.

19) Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne

Don't judge me. ;)

So that's workout mix number 2 - hope it entertained you!

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Show Us Your Life: How Do You Stay Organised

It's Show Us Your Life time again, and as ever I am linking up with Kelly over at Kelly's Korner.

And this week we are looking at how you keep your life organised. And believe me, I need all the help I can get. I find that I swing from being hyper-organised to being pretty disorganised, but my many adventures in this arena have helped me to pick up a few tricks and tips en route....

1. My first tip would be....don't try to be *too* (fixed now!) organised. As a teacher I can revel in timetables, schedules and to-do lists a little too much, and all too often I get so caught up in the preparation and planning of things that midway through the actual tasks I am exhausted and run out of steam. That being said, there are a few tools I use which I find really helpful.

2. Centralise your calendar / diary. At one point last term I had up to five calendars on the go (home paper diary, school planner, Outlook at school, Outlook at home, iPhone calendar). Utter disaster. Now I have google calendar set up, because then I can access this from anywhere with a few clicks and instantly say yes or no to that meeting, lunch or party.

3. Take an afternoon or evening and add all of your important birthdays and anniversaries onto an online reminders service. I use, which is free and useful. I get reminders two weeks and one week before important events and this helps me to be better prepared for birthdays and special days (most of the time!).

4. Throw things away. I almost put that in all caps. The more I live in this flat, the more I realise I have way too much stuff. So far this year I have donated / recycled / tossed out several bin liners full of stuff and the flat looks tidier, things are easier to find, and I feel all kinds of virtuous too!

5. Learn to say 'no' (politely). Growing up I was the crown princess of taking far too much on, with the net result that I was often exhausted and frequently botched things / rushed things / wore myself down / let other parts of my life suffer in an effort to be as perfect as possible. Now when I am asked to do something I feel able to say 'no' (albeit with a few pangs of guilt!) when it will be an overstretch, or at the very least can ask for a moment to check whether I can actually do the additional task well.

6. Keep a stash of pretty cards, cards for special occasions, little hostess gifts, stamps and ingredients for a cake in supply around the house. They will prove to be lifesavers!

I'm really looking forward to reading around this blog tour - tips are always good!

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More books!

Last week I wrote a post all about which books I was hoping to read over the Easter break.

Well, dear reader, I have devoured all five. I am in such a reading place right now - I feel the hunger for words, for knowledge and the desire to curl up and read on consuming me. This is a good thing.

One Thousand Gifts was a really beautiful read, full of poignancy and depth. It really made me think deeply, and that's always high praise as far as I'm concerned. A Homemade Life was wonderful, packed with recipes which instantly made me want to go to the kitchen and get mixing, as well as gorgeous, well-told stories which made me sigh and laugh and brought tears to my eyes. Room was supremely well crafted and interesting, and while it wasn't for me a five-star book, it was a very good and thought-provoking read. The central character is a delight. The Wonderful Weekend Book was sweet and fun and packed with ideas. It also hardened my resolve to spend more time relaxing and having fun and less time working and cleaning at the weekend! And The Book Thief was stupendously good. I devoured it in a day and was utterly moved.

Next on the list are:

Christy was reading this book when she came to stay with us last month - looks like some good, solid chicklit!

I love a good bit of non-fiction. I saw this reviewed on a late night show and thought it was worth a whirl. What did we do before google?

Heh. In all seriousness, I would love to at least become a little less procrastinaty....hopefully this will help!

What are you reading, lovelies?

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Things I like (parts 61-65) by Claire

61. Emails from friends greeting me when I log on. Bizarrely, since giving up facebook for Lent, I find I now know more about my good friends lives, because it's making me send an email or write a letter or send a text or pick up a phone to chat with them. Facebook is great and all, but having been off it for Lent (and having not logged on at all in the past month, not even Sundays) I think for me, rationing my time on there is a big positive to carry on beyond Lent.

62. Bacon sandwiches - preferably on delicious bread with butter *and* ketchup. Perfect before an epic walk.

63. Walking so hard you're covered in mud and sweat at the end of it (gross, yet satisfying!).

64. The long refreshing shower you have after the walk mentioned in point 63! :D

65. Waking to sunshine coming through the curtains or peeking through the blind.

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Ask Me Anything answers....1

Thank you to all of you who posted questions. Here are a few answers for today!

From Miss Christy...

1) What shoes are you wearing for the Moonwalk?

I am wearing some New Balance running trainers. They are the third pair I've tried out so far - the other two are find for spinning or the gym but just too small for an eight to ten hour (hopefully) walk!

2) What are your favourite corny pop songs for the purpose of exercise?

Oh, there are so many....hence the 'singalong' series I'm doing. I love cheesey workout music!

3) Okay... front seat or back seat, which one should you take?

Front seat. No, back. Middle?

Rebecca *so* has a point.

Oh, here's another: Did this video make you laugh?

Yes! I like some of their stuff. Funny or die, that is.

And from Riot Kitty:

Badgers. How did that come about?

Hee. A question I get asked a lot! I've always loved woodland creatures (squirrels, hedgehogs, badgers etc.) - in fact, hedgehogs were 'my' animal all through school (with a surname like Thornley and a nickname like Prickles, it was kind of inevitable!). A couple of years back I got a little interested in badgers particularly and it just kind of grew from both Matthew and I are a little obsessed with them - we have at least one badger in every room of our flat (but that's a whole other post!). It has spread to school too - my class are routinely referred to as 'the 4T badgers' and I have a 'badger corner' around my desk.

It keeps me busy. ;)

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Project Life Tuesday: April 11th - April 17th

Once again, it's time for Project Life Tuesday!

Monday, April 11th: Such a fun evening! Jamie Lynn and I have been online friends for years, and have swapped many a mix CD over the Atlantic, but this was the first time I ever got to meet her face to face! Matthew and I went for dinner and drinks with Jamie and her husband Scott - great chat, good food and plenty of laughter. Genius.

Tuesday, April 12th: I had to go for another 6 mile walk....and Matthew came with me! This was an especial treat as he had been due to go north on Tuesday morning, but elected to have another day at home before heading off. We went for a yomp around Hampstead Heath - this was the view from Parliament Hill.

Wednesday, April 13th: Hannah is one of my dearest friends from Aberdeen (the others beings Shona and Amber - I am so blessed to have picked up a duo or trio or so of good friends from each era of my life :) and whenever we get together the chat is top class. We had a lunch that started at one and finished at....past eight. It involved lunch, coffee, wine, snacks, and more coffee and by the end we had thoroughly caught up, told tales, shared secrets, laughed far too much, and booked flights to Amsterdam for a visit over the summer (ah, iPhones). A good day!

Thursday, April 14th: Thursday was a day of walking and working. This pic is of the beautiful quilt that Hannah made for me as a birthday gift, which she had just finished and given to me. Isn't it lovely? She's so talented!

Friday, April 15th: I went for lunch with my beautiful friend Emma, but we were far too busy chatting and talking weddings (hers!) to remember to take a snap! As for the rest of the day, this pic kind of sums it up. Book, bed, snack, tea, sunshine streaming through the window. Lovely!

LinkSaturday, April 16th: The Moonwalk training kicked up another notch. I caught the train down to Teddington and walked 17 miles back towards town - passing through Kingston, Richmond, Kew and beyond. The people of Kew are really friendly - on that section of the river loads of people said hello and greeted me as I passed. Reminded me of home.

Sunday, April 17th: Mainly involved me collapsed in a heap recovering from the 17 mile walk! So no photo.

Once again I've linked up with Jessica's 'Project Life Tuesdays'.

Have a great day!

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Things I Like (parts 56-60) by Claire

56. Daffodils blooming on the bank.

57. Trips away with my lovely Matthew.

58. Clear nights with shining moon.

59. Pukka three mint tea - crisp and refreshing.

60. The smell of the grass and soil after it has rained.

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Sunday Self Portrait, Sunday 18th April

Tired, crazy hair, but wicked proud after a BIG training walk (also with vaguely crazy eyes due to the whole trying-to-angle-so-pedometer-could-be-read-and-I-could-be-seen-and-using-iphone-in-mirror factor).

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(Sort-of) Singalong Saturday, April 16th

I haven't done a singalong post in soooo long, so it felt like it was high time to get back into it! As the theme recently is definitely one of getting healthier, I thought I'd kick it off by going through my current workout faves in these posts. I'll no dpubt get more in-depth and old school as we go, but for now it's a start. :-)

WARNING: These songs will err on the side of very very cheesey. To go for the burn, I listen to a lot of artists I otherwise don't really listen to (hello, Ke-dollar sign-ha (Glee shoutout!), Rihanna and Glee. I need a good beat to even think of breaking a sweat it seems.

Here are some of the tracks which are currently helping me cross-train / speed walk / spin....

1) Who's That Chick? - David Guetta and Rihanna

I did warn you!

2) Tik Tok - Glee cast

Not only does this song have a wicked baseline, it also cracks me up rLinkecalling this episode of Glee. I *heart* Brittany!

3) U + Ur Hand - Pink

A bit of attitude goes a long way, right? I blame Jenna for my current Pink addiction!

4) Voulez Vous - ABBA

I always have time for Swedish pop.

5) Girl From Mars - Ash

As well as having a great riff for running or intervals, this song has the added benefit of reminding me of lots of teenage late nights, daydreaming about that dreamy violinist from orchestra you had a crush on and working out how much you had to make in tips tomorrow to make it out to the club.

If we can ever describe the awesome that was (is?) the Mosset Tavern as a club....

6) Crazy In Love - Beyoncé

Booty shaking music = good for slow weight reps. Who knew?

7) Livin on a Prayer - Bon Jovi

Another good beat, but I have to be very careful not to air punch on the key change ("You live for the fight when that's all that you've got" *punch*) if I'm walking through the park listening to this. Doing so will get you some strange looks.

Not that I'd know, of course....

8) Mr Vain - Culture Beat

90s. German. Pop. Aw yeah.

9) Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) - Florence and the Machine

This is another one which is great for strength work as well as walking / cycling, fact fans.

10) Push It - Garbage

More 90s, this time with a rockier edge.

11) The Dynamo of Volition - Jason Mraz

Good beat again - I'm a sucker for a beat I can work with! Does this song remind anyone else of Jamiroquai?

12) Used To Love You - John Legend

I *heart* this song. Which is great till you realise you're lip-syncing along to the track whilst treadmilling, with plenty of Ricki Lake style head bops.

Stay classy, San Diego.

13) Foundations - Kate Nash

It may not be cool, but it makes me move it.

14) Bulletproof - La Roux

Always gets my toes tapping....

15) U Can't Touch This - MC Hammer

I have discovered that Hammer, as well as busting a funky lyric and breaking out the Hammer pants ad infinitum, also has a cracking tune for walking here. Hammer dancing optional.

16) Hysteria - Muse

Back to more serious stuff. With a killer guitar lick thrown in. Yes.

17) Misery Business - Paramore.

I adore the lyrics to this ("She's got a body like an hourglass/ It's ticking like a clock") - snarky, sassy, and over a great beat.

18) You Belong With Me - Taylor Swift

In many ways, a companion piece to the Paramore tune. This piece of frothy loveliness helps me through level ten on a rainy Wednesday evening more than I think I can explain...

19) When I Grow Up - The Pussycat Dolls

Any song that has a lyric where you can mishear 'groupies' as 'boobies' is good for a a giggle, if nothing else. And giggling is good for you. And all of PCD had good abs. So there may be something there....

What do you listen to when working out, lovelies?

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Five Minute Friday: On Distance

Yep, it's that time again. Time to take 5 minutes and write on whatever prompt the beautiful Lisa-Jo has given us. And this week, the prompt is 'On Distance'.

Let's go!

The dunes and the firth at Findhorn.

I write this sat at the dining room table of our flat in London, tea next to me with its wisp of steam curling around like a dancer pirouetting, Radio 2 burbling over the constant hum-hum-fizz of the traffic on the hill outside.

I am so far away from my friends and family.

Matthew is a thousand miles away, in Prague with the boys. 650 miles away my parents will be working hard and looking forward to the weekend. 500 miles away Sian is probably taking the dogs for a walk, the wind from the Atlantic whipping her hair as she enjoys the coastline. 600 miles away Peter is probably fast asleep, slumbering the sleep of the student.

Over a thousand miles away, probably much more, my friends in the States are asleep - Jenna getting ready for a new day, Christy preparing for Friday (Friday, gotta get done on Friday), Amber resting up and getting stronger. My friends in the UK - Shona, Hannah, Laura, Naomi, Jane, Henry, the many others I am blessed to love, will all be going about their days, so far from here, so far from me.

Even here in London there's an element of distance, and it's a strange one. Everywhere in London from here is less than an hour. But still, lunches fall through, months stretch on, and before you know it the boundary has shifted.

Such is life, yes?

But the most beautiful thing is, I think, the fact that this distance really isn't distance at all. Not anymore. Sure, sometimes I grieve for the fact that I can't live like the cast of Friends, with all my favourite people just around the corner, to live like the uni days when Jane and Naomi were in the rooms next door or Hannah was just up the street, but I also thank God that technology has found a way to make the distance easier to navigate.

I may not be able to give Jenna a hug or make Amber pasta as often as I like, but I love that I am connected to my friends in oh so many ways. Each email from Elly, full of wedding news; each phone call from Mum, with plans for the garden and excitement for summer visits; each text from Sam, often a risque joke; each comment from Michelle, sharing our lives through our blogs; each card from Emily, handmade and as gorgeous as she is....these things flow to me and remind me that for love and friendship, distance is but a tiny obstacle.


Have a great Friday, all!

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Show Us Your Life: Book List

Yay! It's time for another 'Show Us Your Life'. Once more I am linking up with sweet Kelly for this blog carnival. This week Kelly would like to know what books are on our book list just now.

When I tidied up my shelves the other day I realised I had 64 books I needed to read just in the house. Then there are the three others I just picked up. And the half-dozen on my Kindle! This is one of the perils of being a teacher and one who teaches a lot of English - I am forever picking up books, being bought books (no complaints!), being loaned books (again, no complaints!), so I tend to pile up books like a squirrel hoards nuts! I am aiming to read for at least half an hour a day, to hopefully clear some of this wonderful backlog. I have also decided to pick my top four or five from the list to target first, rather than taking you through the seventy or so....

I've just finished One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, and I'll be reviewing it here soon. This is a fascinating book where Ann delves deep into the roots of faith and the necessity of thanksgiving in our walk. I found it interesting and challenging, with plenty to ponder.

Next up, I am currently reading A Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenberg of the blog Orangette. I'd never read her (awesome) blog before, instead picking this book up on a whim, but I am really enjoying it. Very much like other cookbooks such as Sophie Dahl's latest, Molly weaves stories and recipes together in an entertaining and enlivening manner. And the food sounds delish - Matthew and I will have to do a *lot* of walking this summer if we're going to eat like this!

Next up will be Room, by Emma Donoghue. When a book is as critically adored as this one has been, I find it comes with a lot of baggage, but I'm looking forward to diving in, reading it through, and making my own mind up...

Then something lighter (like a meringue after steak and potatoes) - The Wonderful Weekend Book. I observed last term that I spent far too many of my weekends doing work (and not just a few hours. I'm talking days.). Next term I'm hoping to work smarter and enjoy my weekends a little more...this book should hopefully provide some inspiration!

Lastly, The Book Thief. This has been recommended to me by several excellent reader friends of mine. I look forward to digging in!

I'm looking forward to reading other peoples' book lists...although I think my amazon wish list will be groaning with future reads once I have done so! No new books here until the backlog has at least shrunk, but inspiration is always a good thing!

Happy reading!

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Things I Like (parts 51-55) by Claire

51. Hugs from friends.

52. Walking out in the sunshine and fresh air.

53. Fast, clean trains.

54. Pear and stilton salad.

55. Sleeping in!

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The worries

Ever since I was little, I guess I've always been a worrier.

I worry about how I look, about what I do, about what I say (and don't say), even down to what I think.

I worry that I'm a bad friend, that I let people down. I worry about the day-to-day things I fail to do. I worry about money. I worry about my health. I worry about Matthew, about not being a great girlfriend. I worry about the past. I worry that I work too hard. I worry about the future. I worry about my weight. I worry about my friends. I worry about the present. I worry that I worry too much.

Does everyone do this?

I think so.

I've also noticed that I've gotten older, the worry has changed, and in a good way.

Just like with stress, I think worry can be constructive or destructive.

Eleven-year-old me was very good at the destructive kind of stress.

I lived for nine and a half months of the year in a dorm with seven other girls. Living like that is a little bit like animals living in a pack - you are always up in each others business and privacy is a thing rarer than gold. For a worry-wart like me, the intensity of being constantly surrounded and unable to step away was, at times, suffocating.

So I used to worry at night.

I would wait until all my dormmates were asleep, and then I would find a quiet spot (favourites included the top of the stairs, a windowsill along the corridor, a bathtub and the airing cupboard) and think and worry and mull over all the things going on in my little pre-teen mind. For hours and hours I would sit there, staring out into the inky blue-blackness of the Surrey skies, or muffled in the warm grey. And I would mentally beat myself up. For not being pretty enough, clever enough, kind enough, popular enough, lovable enough. The next day I'd sit in class with dark rings underneath my eyes, but no-one ever noticed my nocturnal disappearances to think and worry. Eleven to twelve year old girls sleep deeply, and I was never missed by the other girls in the dorm.

Now, when a worry attack hits, I think I'm better at dealing with it (most of the time).

Some worries I can't do anything with - prices will rise, disasters will happen, people will leave, and sometimes, bad stuff happens. Such is the frailty of this world. These things are part of life, and there's nothing I can do to control them. I can react to them, but my worrying and worrying won't prevent them.

The others I can be constructive with - worries about my health make me more likely to go to the gym. I worry I swear too I'm cutting down. Instead of worrying about being a bad friend / girlfriend / teacher / sister / daughter / person I try to be a better friend / girlfriend / teacher / sister / daughter /person.

And sometimes, it even works.

Just thinking out loud, blog friends.

Wishing you a worry-free week and beyond.

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Project Life Tuesday: April 4th - April 10th

Monday, April 4th: The first day of Easter break proper. Where I spent a good deal of time trying to fix my iPhone after a total software meltdown....what a way to start the holiday! Nevermind, at least I had these beautiful flowers to cheer me up - a gift from one of my students.

Tuesday, April 5th: Girldate with Eileen - dinner and a movie. The cinema close to us brings wine and cupcakes to your seat. Your seat which is a laz-ee-boy style chair. The Odeon just can't compare anymore, ha!

Wednesday, April 6th: I decided as I was on break I should actually, y'know, do some tidying around the house! I was proud to final get our bookshelves under control, but kind of terrified when I realised I now have 64 books to read...and that's just in the house!

Thursday, April 7th: I went for a big 12-mile walk around London. Green Park looked beautiful in the sunshine, but alas, I had walking to do!

Friday, April 8th: I journeyed out of town to visit lovely Cheryl and beautiful Evey! Such a fun day of ice lollies, sunshine and catching up!

Saturday, April 9th: I had such a fun day! Matthew and I went to Kate and Jason's for a BBQ (above is Kate with her special cheese and wiiiine), then I headed off solo to go to Kaz's birthday party. She choose a children's party theme, which was ace and brilliantly hosted by sweet Vixie. I won the musical statues!

Sunday, April 10th: Was all about Roller Derby! Kate, Jason, Rory, Eileen, Matthew and I all headed down to the ExCel to a big skate event called 'Anarchy In The UK'. Really fun, and it was awesome to see my friend Jamie skate too (she was over for the festivities from Pittsburgh). Good day!

As ever, I'm linking up with Jessica's 'Project Life Tuesdays'.

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(Belated) Sunday Self-Potrait

Fresh from the shower, ready for a sunny Sunday, grinning like a loon as ever.

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Five Minute Friday: If You Met Me...

Once again I'm linking up with the Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday. I love these prompts, thank you Lisa-Jo.

"Got five minutes? Let’s write. Let’s write in shades of real and true and unscripted. Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not."

This weeks prompt is If You Met Me...


If you met me, I think you'd notice that how I am here on this blog is pretty accurate. Just like my writing I'm often filled with joy and excitement and joie de vivre ninety to ninety five percent of the time, but five to ten per cent of the time I'm busy beating my self up (not clever enough, not pretty enough, too impulsive, too silly, blah blah self-esteem-cakes, sorry). I also apologise a lot.

The descriptor 'big' with come into play as well, I'm sure - big laugh, big hips, big eyes, big words, big feet, big hair, big goofy grin. You'd probably notice that I talk with my hands an awful lot, have an unusual accent which slips and slides and has vocabulary from all over, and love to quote from movies and TV a lot. Oh, and the word 'awesome' would crop up often, too!

I hope you'd like me. I hope that even if you thought I was too loud or too quiet (both things I've been told before) you'd still want to chat with me, and maybe go grab a coffee.

If I was having a louder day I hope you'd take the time to chat and to realise I'm not obnoxious. A boy at sixth form, two days after I joined a brand new school where nine-tenths of the class had been together since the start of primary school, described me as "loud and obnoxious". How that hurt. I remember crying myself to sleep for weeks. I don't think I've ever been obnoxious...if anything I think I worry too much about the thoughts and feelings of others sometimes. Mine is the loud born of always being the new kid at primary school (six schools in six years), of feeling like you don't fit in your own family (blessedly a feeling that passed as I romped through my teens into my twenties), of five years of boarding school and wanting to be heard at all in a dorm of eight or ten. That boy and I later became a sort of friends, but I could never quite forgive him for that flippant comment, words thrown out without care.

If I was quiet and withdrawn, I hope you'd give me a chance. The things that make me loud also make me quiet - so does an awful feeling of constantly letting people down, of not being good enough, of not being someone worth talking to. I hope you'd see past this, and maybe tell me to woman up and get over it!

Because then we could chat and enjoy each others company, I'm sure. We could talk about hopes and fears and cakes and George Clooney and movies and songs and blogging. I'd love to ask you all about yourself. And we would talk a lot. I'm kind of chatty ;).

And who knows, over wine or coffee or milkshakes, we might even become friends. :-)


Woah. That got deep there. Love these posts - always surprising what bubbles to the surface!

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Spamtacular alert: Kathy Lagoli


Many thanks for the two spurious and spamalicious emails you have sent me in the last 24 hours. Alas, there are several epic fails you have committed in the course of your correspondence, so I'm afraid I will not enter into a discussion with you. However, as I'm a teacher, please allow me to point out where you have gone wrong. Email writing and 'netiquette' are two of the areas I often focus on in my classes on net usage. You're welcome.

Email 1:


Would you be available to discuss this on the phone ?


1) Your greeting is very informal for a first email, don't you think? No name, no title.

2) Next you should introduce yourself, perhaps say where you have found my email address (for example, or

3) What would you like to discuss on the phone? The national debt? The fact that wedges are so back for spring? The latest story arc of Triumpo del Amor?

4) You leave no phone number. And you don't think I'm really going to give my number to a complete stranger, do you?

5) Your sign off is all wrong, too. Agreed, it's difficult to match 'hello', but surely a 'best wishes', 'kind regards' or 'yours spammily' could have worked.

6) In English, we capitalise proper nouns. That means your name... Kathy.

7) My last comment on this email piece is one I often share with my older writers (they are nine or ten). If it takes me more writing to correct your work than it did for you to write the original piece, a re-write may be in order....

So, I didn't respond, and deleted your email. When what should greet me this morning?


Hey didn't hear back from you, are you still in business ?


1) Please see point #1 above.

2) Hey? Ohnoyoudidn't....who says 'hey' in a purportedly professional setting (unless you're Mercedes from Glee, in which case, diva-on, my friend)?

3) Business?

4) That proper noun problem again. Sigh. My six-year-olds often had that problem.

Once again I refused to reply to something so badly put together, and deleted your email. But then I felt bad...what if you were waiting for my reply? So I decided to write this blog post for you to find, the better to hone your writing skills.

Again, you're welcome.

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PS In all seriousness, this Kathy Lagoli seems to be spamming an awful lot of bloggers at the moment. Be safe, friends.

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