Saturday, March 31, 2012

Earworm!



Stuck. In. My. Head.

Happy weekend, all!

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Mere hours away....

....from Easter break.

Time with my lovely boy. :)

Packing up the flat.

Reading in bed.

Lie-ins.

Time with friends.

Volunteering.

A week in Puerto de Mogan, one of my favourite places.

Writing.

A wedding in Pontefract.

Planning.

Easter trip to Newcastle.

A lot of pinterest and shopping and choosing as we prepare to feather our nest.

Sending letters and cards.

Seeing the beautiful Jenga & her bump & Chris, in Edinburgh!

Sunshine.

Loveliness.

Three weeks of loveliness.

Just....about....to start.....

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Claire Gets Cooking: Hawaiian Chicken

Here in the badger sett, we love a good, tasty, quick tea/dinner/supper. As we both work full time, it can be only too tempting to grab takeout (that explains the hips :(), but we're generally pretty good at eating healthier, homemade meals. This is my recipe for 'Hawaiian Chicken', a meal I invented when we had excess pineapple in the cupboard. Enjoy!



Ingredients:


Chicken, pineapple, chillies, bell peppers, sweetcorn and rice. Oh, and oil for stir frying (I use extra virgin olive oil, but I sure other oils would be just as nice!). Quantities can be varied, rice can be swapped for veg or sweet potatoes.....this is proper home cookin', feel free to improv! On this occasion I made a double portion - enough for Matthew and I to have for dinner once, then again as leftovers. I'm all about timesaving during the week!


Heat about half a tablespoon of oil in a wok or a deep frying pan.


Obligatory silly shot!


Chop the chicken into small pieces and put into the pan. A fairly high heat is best for sealing in flavour, I think, but you may disagree...


Take your bell peppers.


Confession: I love peppers and will eat scads of them given the slightest provocation!


Slice into pieces (roughly 1 or 2 cm).


Add to pan, turn heat down to medium, stir through.



Take your sweetcorn (I use frozen because I'm economical like that ;)). I also run it under the hot tap to defrost it a little before adding to the mix - creates a little less of a steam explosion!


Add to pan, stir through.


Take the ever trusty chilli of joy. Add, stir. There is a lot of adding and stirring in this process!


Drain yourself some tinned pineapple. Add to the mixture, and if you like, a little of the juice from the can (this moistens the whole thing beautifully).



As it's a double-double helping, this is the point where I take half out to chill and then refrigerate. Yum, yum, tea for later in the week.


If you're using traditional rice, it's best to put the rice on at the same point you start the whole chicken/peppers/etc. process. Here in the badger house we are converts to the wonder that is microwaveable rice! Despite my love of good, whole, real foods, rice that takes two minutes and is perfect and fluffy? Gimme gimme gimme! Plus, it only has three ingredients, all of which I can pronounce (rice, rice bran oil, salt). Love it.


Add rice to pan, and (can you guess?) stir through.


Oh helloes.


Enjoy!



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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

House dreams

This time in a month we'll be moving into our very own house.

A house where we get to pick the colour of the walls, the furniture we have, the set up of things, the appliances. It's 90% super-duper-exciting, 10% terrifying! After the months of paper work and mortgage discussions and planning and waiting and the years of saving and scanning and weighing up pros and cons, part of me is amazed to find the time is nearly here.

It feels very grown up.

That said, it's also deliciously fun - choosing what sofa we want....what colour door is most 'us'. Looking at sample after sample after sample of blue paint, trying to find just the one we want to wake up to each morning.

I have myriad boards on Pinterest and post-its and notes all over our study. I'm a glue stick away from doing some mood boards! And of course, some cat shelter websites are now frequent visits, as excited as we are to have pets (in addition to our already awesome goldfish).

Daydreams are seizing me on the tube, walking along, in quiet moments at work - thinking ahead to barbeques and parties, dinners and brunches, cooking casseroles and baking cakes in our little kitchen, having friends to stay, curling up on a comfy couch to watch 'Mad Men', crafting and blogging in the sunny study I have planned.

Such an exciting, fun, lovely season. There's going to be a lot of hard work too, but for now I just wanted to pause and be grateful for the blessing of this time.

Have a great day, all!

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Project Life Tuesday: March 19th - 25th

The Mom Creative

It's that time again!

Monday 19th: A looooong day at school planning, marking and organising. Nothing major to take a picture of, so I snapped this to record badger corner and my cute new spring dress from Boden in all their finery!

Tuesday 20th: Review week is always tricky, and combined with reports, drama productions, and the start of end of term madness, it was quite the heady mix. Ryan Gosling reminding me it was all going to be okay helped.

Wednesday 21st: Just like the board says - or rather to paraphrase it and change the tense - epic day was epic. The boys were SO good though, they really rose to the challenge of an exceptionally busy day. Oh, and we did have a cute baby come in for show and tell too, so that was very good for the soul also!

Thursday 22nd: Two very cool things happened - we got our house (on paper - contracts exchanged), and Eileen and I went to see The Hunger Games. Neither of these were highly conducive to photos, so instead I photographed my doodlings from our two-hours-plus staff meeting. Nice mix, eh?

Friday 23rd: Another gorgeous schoolday in the sun. And then it was time to throw everything in a bag to head up to Scotland for the day! I went first class, which was a real treat, and it was delicious to jump on at Kings Cross in the muggy London air and jump out a few hours later in the cool crispness of Lothian, Scotland.

Saturday 24th: I was up in Scotland to visit with Laura, one of my dearest friends. We go way back - we used to sing together as students and I was her maid of honour a couple of years ago. Such a lovely girl. We drank red wine, shopped, had a lot of tea, and walked over hills and vales. A splendid Friday and Saturday visit. Then back on the train to home.

Sunday 25th: And Sunday 25th held treats of its own, with afternoon tea at the Grosvenor House Hotel with a bunch of the Junior League ladies. Dresses and scones and tea and planning and chat. A delicious way to spend a Sunday!

How was your week?

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Monday, March 26, 2012

That guy


From: tumblr.com

I saw this on pinterest the other day and it totally made me giggle. You see, my class are currently a little obsessed with the idea of 'that guy' and the compulsion not to be him. Heh. Holistic whole-child education for the win!

Have a great Monday, all!

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

Time for tea!

Life has been crazy busy recently.

But not so busy that I can't fit in a cuppa!

Today I went to the Grosvenor House Hotel for afternoon tea with some of the Junior League ladies, and it was *such* fun. Chatting and eating and laughing, it was just the tonic!

I love afternoon tea!


Amberly, Tracy and Bejay - these ladies make me giggle. They are such sweet girls!



Yep, I rocked the fascinator!


Mmmmm, champagne. Stay classy!


Bejay and Christa (and our lovely waitress) get ready to live it up.


Tracy and Amberly, my partner in fascinator wearing!


I love this shot! It was actually taken before the shot above and is Tracy giving Amberly tips on 'smizing' (TM Tyra).


Christa and I cheesing it for the camera, Tracy checking her photos on her phone, and Amberly realising she's in shot!

A fun, relaxed and chilled afternoon, before heading home to a feast of marking and planning. And now, we start the downwards slope to Easter break!

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Underneath The Stars

It's been a busy week, and as I type it's late Saturday evening, and I've spent 12 of the last 30 hours on a train, a tube, or in a car. Exhausting, but worth it. Due to this, a wordy post is out, so instead I'll leave you with one of my favourite songs. More soon, but for now, sweet dreams.



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Friday, March 23, 2012

From farewell, fb to hello there, fb!

Last year for Lent, I gave up facebook.

I enjoyed being off fb so much that I made the decision to delete my profile entirely.

I stayed off for two months, and while I didn't miss most of it, I found it a bit tricky not to have. I missed seeing pictures of friend's kids (I have a far flung bunch of buddies), a few good memes, and the ease of arranging things. So I rejoined.

And I'm glad I did. The really positive things about off and then on again are many - I have a nice clean timeline, only months old and edited with the new privacy limits in mind. My friends list is much neater - full of cool people rather than a list of people I like mixed in with people I once sat next to in biology. I spend much less time on there - typically a five minute check in every evening or so, with the occasional cute baby photo binge. It's so useful for co-ordinating certain things and for catching JLL things I might otherwise miss!

Now I even have a page for this blog!

What do you think of facebook?

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Thing I Like, Thursday 22nd March

As ever, there are so many things I could be grateful for today.

It's a beautiful sunny day. Yesterday I celebrated three-and-a-half years of loveliness with my favourite person in the world. I get to see the Hunger Games movie tonight, which I'm super excited about. And tomorrow I get to zip up to Scotland to spend a day with the delicious Laura.

All those things are awesome, and they are definitely blessings I am counting, but there's one big huge EPIC thing which I like today.

You see, a couple of hours ago, Matthew and I became the proud owners of our very first home!

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!

Contracts are exchanged, and we complete and move next month.

We are homeowners.

Eeeeeeee!

So that my friends, above all the other wonderful, beautiful and special things about this week, is what I really, really like.

So happy!

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PS Yep, expect eleventy million house based posts to come!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Claire Gets Cooking: Mexican Chicken

The other day over brunch I was saying to friends how much I like cooking, and a friend suggested I write a few blog posts on cooking, baking and other housey things. I spend quite a bit of time in the kitchen, so I thought I'd give it a whirl!

* A quick disclaimer....I am in no way, shape or form, a chef. I like good, wholesome, tasty food that's relatively simple to prepare and cook, so you can spend the rest of your time reading/hanging out/feeding the ducks/ whatevs!*

The first recipe I'm going to post is 'Mexican Chicken', a crockpot recipe I make often for Matthew and I. A quick google reveals that the interwebs has many, many similar recipes, but this is how we do it in the badger household.

Ingredients:
  • Chicken (frozen)
  • Kidney beans
  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Sweetcorn (frozen)
  • Salsa
  • Tomato puree
  • Chillies
  • Sugar

A lovely slow cooker (a.k.a. a crockpot). As ours lives in a wee cubby, I have to lift it out when filling, hence why it's balanced on our cooker!


Frozen chicken in first.


Then we add the sweetcorn.


Chop up a bunch of onions. The lovely thing about this recipe is that you can pretty much throw anything you have to hand in - extra vegetables, extra meat, different pulses - and that quantities are super flexible. I love laidback cooking!


Add the chopped onions and a jar of salsa to the pot.


Add as much chilli as you desire (or indeed, none at all!). Matthew loves spicy food, so two heaped spoonfuls it is!


Here I should mention that I am a huge fan of jarred chillies. No burn, no fuss, just good ole' heat!

Add your tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. If you're as silly as me, try to write something with the puree (in this case 'hello').


Add a teaspoonful of sugar. It really brings the sauce together.


Wooden spoon time!


Mix all your ingredients together.


Put the crockpot onto low, and leave strictly alone for around 5 hours. Read, chill, workout, study...whatever floats your boat!


At this point, you will have a bubbly, yummy smelling sauce. I should probably warn you that your whole flat/house will smell delicious.


Pull out the chicken, ready to shred. You can do this in the pot but I always make the most incredible mess when I try to do so!


Obligatory silly shot, courtesy of Matthew.


Pulled chicken. Add to the pot and stir in.


Oooooh, yum. Put back out low to heat up nicely.


This dish can be nice with so many things - rice, potatoes, tortillas, pasta. Matthew had his with rice, and I had mine with a few leftover chips and a sprinkling of cheese.


Bon appetit!

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