In honour of Hipster Kitty

In honour of Hipster Kitty and the many wonderful hipsters of NW, Eileen and I are going to be hipsters for Halloween. Ironically, of course! Should be fun, and I'm looking forward to a costume party where I can wear jeans and Converse!

What's you Halloween costume this year, lovelies?

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As much as I enjoy the city, as much as I even love it in a way, there are times when I yearn for escape.

To trade the hustle and bustle and noise and grime for something else.

Roads that lead to far off places, the smell of petrol, the hum of tyres on tarmac.

I need to plan a roadtrip.


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A lovely long weekend and a happy half-term

Oh my.

I feel human again!

The first half-term of the year is great fun and full of adventures, but always feels like a bit of a slog too! Long hours, new pupils, new schedules & responsibilities, nights drawing in...and it's seven weeks long. There was definitely at least one point last week where both my students and I had clearly had enough and I couldn't have told you who was going to be first to wobble.

Hurrah for half-term.

The weekend started well with a few beers with colleagues in our local. One thing I really love about our school is the social aspect - everyone is busy and has a life outside of school, but we also hang out a lot together. We had some pints, and then I headed home to watch lots of Big Love and eat fish and chips. Yes.

Saturday was a day of chilling, reading, and generally being a lazy bum. There may have been napping involved. I then headed across NW to a dinner party at my friend Emer's. Gorgeous food, lashings of wine, fun people. It was great to catch up in a lowkey way.

Sunday dawned sunny and fresh, so I went for a little bimble around our corner of NW before grabbing a latte. I *love* Sundays when there's no work on the Monday immediately afterwards! I then went to meet Rory and Eileen at Escapade to finalise our Halloween costumes. Eileen and I have decided to go as hipsters, which may be why I'm typing this wearing the hipster glasses that just arrived in the mail. We grabbed a Belgo and then I headed home to watch Downton Abbey and await the return of Matthew!

Yesterday was another gorgeous day so Matthew and I headed out. Originally we were going to visit the zoo, but after taking in the hour long queue full of children, we opted for a different plan. Matthew is infinitely patient (see the wearing of hipster glasses around the house for evidence), but crowds are not his favourite. Especially crowds of kids! So instead we went for a lovely walk across Primrose Hill and Regents' Park, popped into John Lewis to play with the iMacs (drrrooooooollll!) and look at the Christmas store, then had a few beers/coffees together. It's so nice to have time to hang out. After that I waved him off and headed down to Guiseppe's, near London Bridge to have a girly dinner with the divine Miss Ems. Italian food, soooo much great chat, and an Elvis impersonator added up to a delicious evening!

And now it's Tuesday as the week passes by apace. Today holds a hair appointment, a catch up with the lovely Vic, Christmas shopping and a JLL meeting. Tomorrow is work and gym, then a sleepover with Hannah. Thursday is more work (it comes to us all!) and cocktails with Bejay. Friday is a little more work, then the JLL Halloween party with Eileen and lots of the lovely Junior League ladies. Saturday is recovering from said party then lunch with Vixie and Kaz, then a very chilled evening, before a Sunday of work and prep and dinner with Rory, Matthew and Eileen to wrap up a wonderful break.

Love it.

I hope your weeks are proving just as fun, my lovelies!

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Pictures that make me smile...17

Over two years ago (and almost two stone lighter, heh! Need to get back there soonest).

I'd just moved down to London, just moved in with Matthew and the boys.

Such an exciting time!

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Pinterest: Badgers

Because badgers are brilliant.

All badgers pinned from the wonder that is etsy.

I *so* need a badger onesie...

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Things I Like Thursday

1. That half-term break is one sleep away. :)

2. Teaching long multiplication. Tricky, but fun!

3. A treasure trove of gifts and cards, just waiting to be sent!

4. Buying cheap, cheesey, cheerful DVDs on amazon. I love curling up with a movie in the autumn - such a treat!

5. These amazing 'life planners'. As soon as the 2012 one comes out I am so snapping one up! Or I might just dive straight in.

6. Frost on the ground.

7. Matthew will be home soon. This makes me very happy.

8. Lip-synching to 80s pop on the walk into school...and not even caring when a parent clocks me doing so!

9. Chicken stir fry with a tonne of sweet chili sauce.

10. Christmas planning.

I hope your Thursday is full of your favourite things!

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100 things meme

Swiped from wigsf. Thanks!

It's been an age since I've done a meme, and this close to half-term break seems the perfect time!

1. How old will you be in five years? 35. Quite amusingly, I got confused the other week and was *convinced* I was 35, and didn't really mind. So that's good to know!

2. Who did you spend at least two hours with today? Well, it's early, but on any weekday the answer has to be "the lovely boys of 4T"!

3. How tall are you? 65 inches.

4. What do you look forward to most in the next six weeks? Half term break, a visit from Matthew's parents and a visit to my parents. :)

5. What’s the last movie you saw? Ooooh, good question. Probably 'One Day'.

6. Who was the last person you called? Matthew.

7. Who was the last person to call you? Matthew.

8. What was the last text message you received? Something droll and silly.

9. Who was the last person to leave you a voicemail? My hairdresser.

10. Do you prefer to call or text? Text.

11. What were you doing at 12am last night? Sleeping. Man, I love sleeping.

12. Are your parents married/divorced? Married.

13. When did you last see your mom? In August.

14. What color are your eyes? Blue-grey.

15. What time did you wake up today? 6:10am.

16. What are you wearing right now? Black trousers, blue/green/grey shell, black cardigan, blue heels.

17. What is your favourite Christmas song? It's a tie (right now) between O Holy Night, Christmas Wrapping, and Stille Nacht.

18. Where is your favourite place to be? In bed.

19. Where is your least favorite place to be? A hot tube train next to someone who doesn't shower.

20. Where would you go if you could go anywhere? Hawaii

21. Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years? I have no clue. But I hope I have fun getting there.

22. Do you tan or burn? A little of both and plenty of neither.

23. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child? The dark.

24. What was the last thing that really made you laugh? A very silly part of an episode of Modern Family.

25. How many TVs do you have in your house? Just the one.

26. How big is your bed? Decent.

27. Do you have a laptop or desktop computer? Laptop at home, desktop at school.

28. Do you sleep with or without clothes on? Pyjamas FTW.

29. What color are your sheets? White and blue.

30. How many pillows do you sleep with? Two.

31. What is your favorite season? Right now, autumn. In a month or so it'll be winter.

32. What do you like about fall? Cooler weather, comfort food.

33. What do you like about winter? CHRISTMAS.

34. What do you like about the summer? Almost two months of holiday!

35. What do you like about spring? The feeling of the world slowly waking up after a long nap!

36. How many states/provinces/counties have you lived in? Lots.

37. What cities/towns have you lived in? Lots.

38. Do you prefer shoes, socks, or bare feet? Socks or comfy shoes, please. Feet worry me a little.

39. Are you a social person? I can be.

40. What was the last thing you ate? Cheese and bread.

41. What is your favorite restaurant? Prezzo, or the Northern Fisheries.

42. What is your favorite ice cream? Phish Food.

43. What is your favorite dessert? Creme brulee or apple and blackberry crumble.

44. What is your favorite kind of soup? Heinz Tomato.

45. What kind of jelly do you like on your PB & J sandwich? Strawberry.

46. Do you like Chinese food? I like to make Chinese food at home, but I'm not the biggest fan of takeout Chinese.

47. Do you like coffee? Yep.

48. How many glasses of water, a day, do you drink on average? Glasses, not sure, tend to drink between two and four litres.

49. What do you drink in the morning? Coffee.

51. Do you sleep on a certain side of the bed? Yes, left hand side.

52. Do you know how to play poker? Not really.

53. Do you like to cuddle? Heck yes.

54. Have you ever been to Canada? Yes.

55. Do you have an addictive personality? Yes.

56. Do you eat out or at home more often? Home.

58. Do you know anyone with the same birthday as you? Yes, several people.

59. Do you want kids? I think so. Maybe.

60. Do you speak any other languages? Not with any particular skill!

61. Have you ever gotten stitches? Yep.

62. Have you ever ridden in an ambulance? Yup.

63. Do you prefer an ocean or a pool? To swim in, a pool. To look at/chill besides, an ocean.

64. Do you prefer a window seat or an aisle seats? Anywhere but the middle!

65. Do you know how to drive stick? Yes.

66. What is your favorite thing to spend money on? Presents, travel and socialising.

67. Do you wear any jewelry 24/7? Nope.

68. What is your favorite TV show? Depends on the day!

69. Can you roll your tongue? Yep.

70. Who is the funniest person you know? Christy can make me laugh and laugh, and Eileen has some awesome stories, plus Jenna and Naomi regularly crack me up!

71. Do you sleep with stuffed animals? They have their own little space at the foot of the bed!

72. What is the main ring tone on your phone? My phone is almost always on silent. It may be a duck quacking.

73. Do you still have clothes from when you were little? Nope.

74. What red object is closest to you right now? Credit box.

75. Do you turn off the water while you brush your teeth? Yes. I thank/blame Barney.

76. Do you sleep with your closet doors open or closed? Closed, otherwise the monsters might get you.

77. Would you rather be attacked by a big bear or a swarm of bees? A bear. Bears can’t fly. (direct copy!)

78. Do you flirt a lot? Yep.

79. What do you dip a chicken nugget in? I don't like chicken nuggets.

80. What is your favorite food? Roast dinner, or soup with crusty bread.

81. Can you change the oil on a car? Yes.

82. Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket? Yes. 80 something on a motorway.

83. Have you ever run out of gas? Nope.

84. What is your usual bedtime? 11:20 pm.

85. What was the last book you read? Mockingjay.

86. Do you read the newspaper? Rarely.

87. Do you have any magazine subscriptions? I get Self, because it has good recipes and tips.

89. Do you watch soap operas? Nope. Unless you count Downton Abbey.

90. Do you dance in the car? All the time.

91. What radio station did you last listen to? Radio 2.

92. Who is in the picture frame closest to you? no frames nearby. Closest picture is of a friend's new baby girl.

93. What was the last note you scribbled on a piece of paper? A list.

94. What is your favorite candle scent? Vanilla. I like the smell after matches even more!

95. What is your favorite board game? Mono-abble.

96. Have you ever screamed at someone (not words – just a scream) in a public place, just for the sake of it? No.

97. When was the last time you attended church? Last month - wedding and start of year services.

98. Who was your favorite teacher in high school? Mr Macfarquhar.

99. What is the longest you have ever camped out in a tent? Just shy of five days.

100. Who was the last person to do something extra special for you? Matthew.

Meme on, y'all!

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Is definitely how I'd sum up the weekend.

A Gilmore Girls marathon, lots of healthy snacks (and not so healthy pizza!), walks around the city, coffee with friends and epic sleeps.

Just what I needed.

And now half-term break is just around the corner and the diary is filling up nicely with drinks, lunches, sleepovers. I'm not going anywhere as I'm trying to save, and we have visits to Scotland and Newcastle on the horizon, as well as (potential!) visits to see friends.

So I'm keeping it cosy.

And I love it.

Autumn is all about the cosy really - hot drinks, big jumpers, ready books in a thin autumn sunbeam.


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I hope you can hear the whisper today and always, friends.

Have a great day!

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Show Us Your Life....Show Us Your Country

Once again I'm linking up with the beautiful Kelly. This week she is having us link up about our countries - she has readers from all over the world, so I am looking forward to reading some exotic posts!

I live in the green and pleasant land that is England, in the bustling metropolis that is London. It's a world of red buses, tea, rain, Oxford Street Christmas lights, Stephen Fry, history everywhere you turn (just last night I ate dinner sat at a table reputedly built from wood salvaged from the Spanish Armada!), culture, and a hundred other things.

I like England (and Scotland, of course, where my family hail from). Sure, we Brits can be a little reserved at times (well, at least until we have a G&T!), but there's a lot to be said for manners, standards, and a dry sense of humour.

My word, that made me sound like a septuagenarian!

Not there's anything wrong with septuagenarians.

Rather that I have at least 5 years until I *am* one.


So, that was the tell, now for the show. Here are some pictures from England and Scotland, the nations I call home (to follow - my email bounced them, haha!).

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Things I Like Thursday

1. Lazy autumn evenings (which are all too rare!) - good wholesome food, a bottle of wine, time to chat.

2. Showing my class 'Schoolhouse Rock' and 'Pinky and the Brain' videos. Old school fun.

3. Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake shower gel. Mmmmmmmmmm!

4. Packages containing Christmas goodies for loved ones starting to drop in at school. Woo!

5. Demonstrating the power of language by delivering the intro to my Year 5 lesson in what I can only qualifying as 'rapper-speak'. Fo' shizzle!

6. Playing on pinterest and day dreaming.

7. Plans to head home in November and January AND plans to see the Newcastle lovelies in December. Brilliant!

8. Phone calls with Christy. Creasing up. Bucket. *hee*

9. Mince pies and port. Autumnal/winter snack of champions!

10. Half-term break now being a hop, skip, and jump away (well, seven days!).

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On work

Such an inspiring man, and a truly sad loss.

I love this quote from Steve Jobs. It may well be my favourite. It ties in quite neatly with all that I believe in, work-wise. I very much believe that work is one part of your life, rather than your whole life, but like Jobs I firmly believe that you should choose something that inspires and moves you.

Here's my little work mantra:

Choose well.

Choose wisely.

Be open.

Give it all you have.

Don't be afraid of the hard work, the extra mile, the never-thought-of-before idea.




Be tenacious.


Be willing to change.

Be generous.

Put yourself out there. Be brave.

Try something new.

Trust yourself.

Learn from others.


Be responsible.



Fear not the 7 a.m. start or the ten-thirty finish.


Make mistakes.

Find solutions, not problems.

Stand up for yourself.




How about you?

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Pictures that make me smile...16

The very start of my love of being a bridesmaid....

I loved that dress!

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Does this feeling ever truly go away?

Have an awesome week, lovely folk!

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Claire Gets Crafty: Jars

Old coffee jars, candy, stamps and papers, some ribbons...

Added up to make a wee treat for some colleagues :-).

Surrounded as I am by so many talented folk...

...I sometimes forget how much I like to create.

Even if my own creations are lumpy and bumpy and silly sometimes!

What have you made lately?

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I *love* blogging

From:, via: pinterest

It's such a little piece of my life, and such a big part too.

I love the solitariness of it, keys clicking away in a darkened room, ideas worked out, sentences played out. The scribbled story on a napkin, the words that jump out at you, that moment where you think, "I'm blogging this."

I love the community of it. The followers, the friends. The posts that make you laugh, or cry, or want to change. The posts that make you feel part of a whole. That moment where you 'click' with someone and you realise that something beautiful has grown out of the words and phrases and sentences and shared songs....a friendship.

I love the immediacy of it, the therapy, the place to talk and listen.

I love the longevity of it, the keeping of memories and remembrances. I have posts I click back to to remind myself of happy times...I have posts which remind me that the road has not always been smooth, but it has always been worth it.

I can barely remember why I started blogging.

But I'm so glad I do.

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PS You guys rock :-)

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Things I Like Thursday

1. Skyping with far off friends and relations. Whether it's chatting with Sian and Chris while their dogs dive into shot or sharing the chalice of merlot across the Atlantic with Jenna and Chris, it's lovely to stay in touch!

2. Boden's autumn range. Must...not...spend...entire paypacket.

3. Proper autumn starting to come in....there's a definite chill in the air.

4. Feist's new album, Metals. Immense.

5. Kicking through piles of leaves.

6. Autumn produce. I'm going nutso for apples, corn and squash.

7. Creme brulee machiatto from Starbucks. Oh yum yum yum!

8. Starry skies.

9. Early nights, tucked up cosy, scrubbed and tubbed. Delish.

10. The satisfaction of a room well-dusted, a pile of books marked, or a letter sent.

What's making your spirits lift today? I'd love to hear in the comments!

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Recent Reads

After a bit of a lull, I have finally got back into reading regularly. As with most things, it's about making time - reading a quick five minutes in the staff room with my coffee, taking my Kindle on the tube, switching the computer off, reading instead of watching some pap on TV (you know, the stuff you barely take in, it's just there?). I don't always get it right, but I'm definitely reading more :-). My recent reads include:

A Game of Thrones

This book is magnificent. The kind of engrossing read that takes you somewhere else entirely. It is absolutely ridden with violence and the like, but in this other world of fantasy and intrigue it all seems far too plausible. I'm so glad this is just part one of a heptalogy!

A Clash of Kings

After devouring book one in the series, I leapt straight into book two. More of the same, in the most wonderful and complimentary way possible. I am forcing myself to pause before book three because I feel I need to be reading a decent range, as tempting as it is to get lost in the world Martin has created.

Winter Is Coming.

It's Your Time You're Wasting

Frank Chalk writes about being a supply teacher at some really tough schools. I count my blessings.

The Slap

I'm glad I read this book, as lots of people were talking about it, but I wouldn't say I enjoyed it. Enjoyed is the wrong word. It was certainly interesting and undeniably well written, but the whole endeavour left me a little cold. Misanthropic and dour, but definitely an important book.

At Home

I *heart* Bill Bryson. Every time I read one of his books I learn so much, and yet his books are a leasure to read - accessible and charming. He is an author to prize and to treasure, and I really can't recommend this book highly enough!

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Such an interesting book! I came away with a new take on several of my own ideas about education, learning, dedication and child-rearing. Eloquent and sharp.

50 Facts That Should Change The World


The Hunger Games

This book is amazing. From the first chapter you are swept into the world of Panem, and the Games themselves are terrifying, but with a sinister frisson of analogy when you examine our society's love of broadcasting as much as they can....

Catching Fire

....just as good as the first book, had me attempting to read whilst eating dinner / brushing teeth etc. Am now onto 'Mockingjay', the third in the trilogy. I'm going to be so sad when it's over!

So my reading addiction is back with a passion! And yet I am always on the hunt for tips...what are you reading, lovelies?

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