Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Social: Childhood

PS Details of my latest giveaway (for a parcel of fun!), can be found here.  Do feel free to join in - I love a good giveaway! 
Linking up once again with Neely for Sunday Social!  This week the focus is our childhoods.

1. What do you miss most about being a kid?

I miss the silliness, the energy, the possibilities. I was a total tomboy who loved to swim and run and cycle and climb trees.  I had a wild imagination and loved to write stories and poems and read books.  I still love to do all of those things, but life definitely gets in the way...

2. Did you have a nickname growing up? What was it?

Not really.  Claire-bear cropped up from time to time when I was very small, but never really stuck.  When I went to boarding school, age 11, we had a terrifying but very good music teacher called, well, let's just call her Miss C. She had a tradition of giving you a nickname in her very first lesson, a nickname which would be yours until you left the school.  I was a little afraid - what would mine possibly be?  She looked me up and down, looked at my name on the register and then said "Thornley....well, your nickname will have to be Prickles."  The hedgehog became one of my favourite animal shortly after, and the nickname stuck throughout my five years at that school.  I got off lightly compared to some of the other nicknames given!

3. What was your favorite thing to do at recess?

Play games with my friends, run, or read.

4. What did you want to be when you grew up?

A teacher, a writer, a singer, a newcaster, or a mummy.

5. What was your favorite toy?

I loved Lego (my parents still have tonnes of our old Lego at home!), was devoted to my teddy, Jockey Bear, was a very good adoptive mama to my Cabbage Patch Kid, Janet, and was never happier than when reading a book.

6. What is the funniest thing you did as a kid that your parents still remind you about?

Probably the cauliflower story.  When I was wee, my mummy took me shopping up the street.  While she was chatting in the greengrocers, I evidently decided that I was hungry, and started to reach out of my pushchair for a snack.  Did I snaffle an apple?  Some cherries?  No.

I picked up a cauliflower and merrily started munching away (I've always loved veggies!).  My mum glanced down to see her dainty wee dot of a toddler chowing down on a big, raw cauliflower.  When I grew up I had my first proper job in that same greengrocers - auld wifies would come in the shop who remembered my antics!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Thank you

For everything you lovely people bring into my life, thank you.  Thank you for reading, commenting, believing, inspiring and sharing.  I really do feel so blessed to be able to write and share my little life here, and to be able to do this wonderful life alongside you all.  Your kindnesses and understanding mean more to me than I think I'll ever be able to communicate.  So thank you.

I Love Your Blog: Permanent Title Currently Under Construction

The fourth installment of my 'I Love Your Blog' series turns to the blog of my dear friend, Christy, Permanent Title Currently Under Construction.  She and I started blogging about the same time and I've been an avid reader of her blog ever since.  Even better, I now get to count her as a very dear friend.  She's an utter gem, and it was great to get her input on this!  Thanks, honey. Here are my questions and her answers:

How long have you been blogging? 
I've been blogging since March 2005.  So about 7.5 years.  WOW!

What do you blog about? Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, using it as a ministry, promoting a business), or is it more a record of your life?
 My blog is a record of my life.  It's mostly about my travels, my experiences in Toronto, the books I read, and it's a lot about music.  If you need to find new music, read my blog, because I'm pretty sure that every second post contains an album recommendation.

What is your favourite thing about blogging? 
 My favourite thing about blogging is definitely the friendships that I've made through it.  I had no idea that would happen when I started.  I've met a lot of people IRL from blogging, and some of them have been great friends of mine for upwards of five years.  Most of them live far away, but through Skype/Facebook/MSN etc. we've been able to develop friendships over the miles.

Of course, I feel that blogging has made me a more comfortable with writing.  After about a year of blogging, I was amazed at how much easier it was for me to write anything.  My thoughts flow through my fingers so easily.  I'd love to carry this over into creative writing, but can never find the time.

The other thing I like about blogging is that I have this awesome archive of my life.  If I'm feeling down about myself, I scan my archives and find myself thinking "hey! I'm cheering for this girl!'  It's become a nice little boost.

What is your least favourite thing about blogging? 
 My least favourite thing about blogging is when long-time bloggers stop blogging.  I always understand their reasons for stopping, but I miss them nonetheless.

Do you have any favourite posts on your blog – pieces you’re really proud of, which document something special, or which seemed to strike a chord with your readers? 
 I think my fave post was a very personal post that I wrote about my mom's struggle with MS.  I don't talk about it much and I was glad that I opened up about it.

Whose blogs do you love?
 Blogs that I love include yours, of course, Miss Ash's (, SCVD's (, and any of the ones on my blog-roll that are infrequently updated or defunct.  I also get a kick out of WIGSF (, because he'll either quote something obscure from the Simpsons, tell a hilarious story about his dad, or write something that offends me, so I'll leave a rant about my love for the CBC, the environment, new music, etc.

As for a recommendation for you, you need to start reading Cafe Jabbacino (  I met her twice IRL this year (once in Toronto, once in Victoria) and she's awesome!  She's a big reader, crafter, cat-lover, and a great cartoonist.  Go read it now!  You and Jabba should become blog buddies too!

Do you have a topic or a theme you especially like writing on? 
I love writing about music and books. A lot.

You're a teacher - do any of your students/colleagues know you blog or do you prefer to be incognito? 
 None of my students know about my blog.  For the longest time, I wouldn't mention that I blog to any of my colleagues, even those with whom I was developing close friendships because I didn't want to mix work and blogging.  Eventually I started to open up a little bit about it to my very close friends from work because our friendships were surpassing being colleagues.  Because I've met so many friends from my blog, it became difficult not to talk about it with people who were close friends.  However, none of them have ever asked to read it, and never have to my knowledge.

Do you like meeting and connecting with your fellow bloggers? 
I LOVE IT.  This summer was the summer of the blog, and I visited/traveled with five other bloggers!

What tips do you have for bloggers growing and nurturing their blogs?
My biggest tip would be not to worry about having your blog fit into a specific template, and not to worry about attracting an audience.  Just write about what you want to write about and all of the great benefits of blogging will come from you being yourself.  :)

Thank you so much for taking part, Christy!

PS Details of my latest giveaway (for a parcel of fun!), can be found here.  Do feel free to join in - I love a good giveaway! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Back on track

September's an odd month, health wise.

I'm so busy I vary wildly from eating far too much (the return of school lunches, birthday doughnuts and late night snacks grabbed after marking) to not eating enough (waking up faint and with excruciating leg cramp one morning this week as I'd eaten and drunk far too little the day before -oops!). 

Exercise has gone the way expected, dropping to a measly hour a week of walking, and in October I'm looking forward to prioritising this aspect.  I can hear the home gym calling me....I just need to respond!

One element of health I've done far better with is getting enough rest.  It might sound simple, but this time last year I was on a downwards spiral and headed for migraines and misery.  This year I average 7 hours a night, with a big top up sleep each Friday.  I feel awesome for it.

So, the first month of trying to be healthy has been a mixed bag, but I am learning routines and habits that I hope will gain traction moving forward.  Here's hoping!

On being simple.

Before now, I've been described as simple, and not in a pleasant way. In a 'less than' way.

Like that's a bad thing.

Like loving rainbows and kittens and walks in the rain is bad.  Like a life of good books and dear friends and happiness and Christmas countdowns is a bad.  Like days spent happy, fulfilled and content are not as aspirational as striving, pushing and having one's elbows out at all times.

Now don't get me wrong, I have my own hopes and dreams.  But the whole rat race, the coming out on top, the driving ambition....I don't really understand it.

Maybe I am simple.  Maybe I'm not smart enough to be that way.

But I'm definitely happy.

I just like to smiling.  Smiling's my favourite.*

And keeping things simple, focusing in on what fulfils and energises me, helps me to smile. In fact, it's something I'm aiming for more and more as I get older.  The joy and comfort of simplicity makes me a better, happier person.  So simple I shall be.

* of course, I get mad and sad like everybody else (especially when I'm hungry and tired!).  And of course there are bad moments and horrible things that happen, and I, like everyone else, try my best to muddle through like everyone, but for the most part?  I'm a pretty happy girl.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Fun Giveaway!

As I mentioned in yesterday's, I'm doing a fall blog swap with a lovely blogger called Katie from California.  I hope her package is there or nearly there by now and that she loves her gifties.  While I was putting together her package (which I loved doing - making up 'Claire packages' is one of my main thrills in life!), I thought it would be nice to do another giveaway!

Earlier this year I selected a bunch of my favourite things, and had people enter a giveaway to have the items mailed to them in a package filled with joy!  The lovely Samantha won that giveaway, and I adored shopping for treats and little happies and books and things to share with her.  So I'm going to do the same now, but make it a bunch of my favourite 'autumn' things - the season of cold nights, Hallowe'en, bonfire night, back to school and the start of the holiday season.  I can't wait to put together a package for the winner!

To secure an entry in this giveaway you can:

1. Leave a comment on this post (please and thank you!)
2. Become a follower of this blog (or let me know in the comments if you already are!)
3. Blog about this giveaway, or link to this giveaway in a post on something else (let me know in the comments if you do so).
4. Tweet about this giveaway (let me know in the comments if you do so).
5. Become a fan of 'Country Mouse Claire' on facebook (button is on top left of the blog, let me know in the comments if you do so).
6. Sign up  to follow me on instagram, twitter, and/or pinterest (buttons above too, please let me know in the comments if you do so).

(One entry per item, maximum of eight entries per person)

I am so excited to hit John Lewis, Paperchase, Lakeland and Amazon to create a custom-made parcel for one of my lovely readers!  I won't make it until we have the winner, as I love to add a personal touch!

Good luck!

 Some of Sam's winnings - sweets and DVDs and books and stationery and yarn, oh mys!

This giveaway will run until 11 pm GMT on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Project Life Tuesday: September 16th-22nd

The Mom Creative
Linking up with Jessica as ever for Project Life Tuesday!  So glad I've been able to keep this going so long!   Last week was a busy one, full of friends and food and fun....and tonnes of work, too!  Here are the pics from the week that was.

Pretty Eileen at our games night on Saturday.
Matthew chose to be the 'Flying Ratmen' in Small World.  It was pretty clever!
I sent a package off to Cali for my fall blog swap partner, Katie.  I'm looking forward to seeing if she likes it!  It also inspired me to do another package based giveaway soon - I love making 'Claire packages!'.
The Tower on Friday night.  I love how many cool sights there are here in town!
Matthew and I went to Bodean's for our anniversary dinner (because we're classy like that ;)).  Absolutely delicious - their pulled pork sandwich is divine!
What's a celebration without a cake?
Thursday I met Matthew and his colleagues for drinks an a tonne of amazing Chinese food (Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch is brilliant - try the set menu!  Ooooh, and the English garden cocktail too!).
I made a cat out of a CAT script.  My class were suitably amused, and now he is our class messenger.
Cocktails and yumminess with Miss Laura last Sunday.  I really am so blessed to have such awesome friends.
We we we so excited.
My classroom in 'tidy' shocker.
Another fun, busy week - looking forward to seeing everyone else's posts!

When I Grow Up, I Want To Be Matilda...

Yesterday I watched a great webcast on Roald Dahl with my class (teacher friends, I'll link to it when the video becomes available).  I'm a huge fan of his work, having grown up reading his books avidly.  I've grown out of a few of them now, but some are still well worth a read.  None more than Matilda.  Is there a book better suited to a bookworm?

I don't think so.

I think I still want to be Matilda when I grow up!

Who is your favouriteDahl character?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Worth remembering

How lucky I am. And grateful as ever to count the blessings. Have a great week, all!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Things I Like

Working hard.

The sweet and silly nature of eight year olds.

The mellow chill of autumn breezes.

Reading a book that makes you laugh and cry on the tube. Thanks, Caitlin Moran.

Saturday morning downtime.

Reading poetry to my class.

 Dreaming big.

Crunchy leaves.

Getting a seat on the tube.

 Vanilla lattes on a cold Wednesday afternoon.

 Breaking out the slow cooker.

The tang of autumn mornings.

Glancing at the 'Christmas' folder on my computer and thinking 'not yet'. But soon.

 Jacket potatoes with butter.

 A chorus of miaows and purrs when I arrive home from school.

 Curling up on the sofa and doing not much of anything.


A post from Poppet

Oh helloes!

I fort that as both Leela and Fry ad written two you all, I wood do a little pooter hijacking of my own!  My name is Poppet (or Pops, or Popsicle, or Honey, or Mamma-cat) and I am the biggest (and strongest, cleverest and most bootiful, if you ask me) of Maffoo and Clurs three katzen.  The wee wuns are only four months old but I am nearly TWO!

That makes me very growed up and importunt, don't yew think?

Anyhoo, I fort I would type a quick note to let you all no a little bit about me.  When I am not writin, I enjoys napping, fightin the itten katzen, and miaowing at Maffoo and Clur.  I have quite the range of miaows, from friendly greeting to heartfelt yowl of I-know-I-as-dinner-but-I-rilly-like-complaining.  I loves the weekends cos I gets lots of fusses, visiters come to pay omage, and I get to go OUTSIDE!

Witch is where I am off now.  Later, oomans!

Poppet 'I don't need a middle name' R.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy Badgerversary!

Image source

Happy anniversary, Matthew!  I can hardly believe it's been four years now that we've been partners in crime.  I love our silly, shiny, fun life together, and I'm so lucky to bimble through it all with a man as kind and funny and clever as you.  Thank you for believing in me always and for making me chuckle on a daily basis!  Love you oodles!
Image source

Five Minute Friday: Wide

Linking up with Lisa-Jo for five minutes of words and thinking amongst the hustle and bustle of this thing we call life.....

This week's prompt word is wide.


Sometimes the width gets to me.

The sheer scale of human-ness, of this life that we share, seems too big, too wide.

Mighty mountains, deep oceans, constant connectivity.  Money markets and twenty-four hour newcasts and political pointscoring.  Penguins marching across Antarctica, civil war in Syria, the iPhone 5.   

Sorrow deep enough to make your soul curl up into a ball - loves lost, hearts broken, paths forever changed.  A dark shadow on an X-ray, a moment gone awry.  Joy high and blessed and heavenly enough to make you wish for a pause button, to freeze forever that moment of joy - a newborn's cry, a first 'I love you', a soaring moment high above the workaday motions of cooking, cleaning, working.

There's so much to take in, so much to address.

But somewhere within this vastness, this width, this breadth, there are the simple things that join us all, whether we are in London, Fayetteville, Aruba or Beruit.  The joy of home, of belonging, of having somewhere to call your own.  The universality that children bring out in us all - to protect, to shield.  The bond of families - whether biological or created or a hotchpotch of friends who walk this journey with us.  The compulsion to believe - in God, in science, in music, in something.

And this narrow band, this commonality, makes the whole wide span of humanity all the more beautiful to observe....and a lot easier to understand.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Happy Anniversary, Mum and Dad!

Congratulations on another fabulous year, and thank you for all you do for us!

I hope you have a great time celebrating!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Country Mouse In The City: Helping Holiday Hampers, and enjoying John Lewis

Image source

One of my main thrills in life is John Lewis.

The very pinnacle of British shopping, an afternoon spent there often includes wonderful purchases, a calm, steadying pace in a crazy world, and delicious tea and scones.  Whenever I'm meeting friends in town or at Stratford, JL is often high on the list of destinations!

So imagine my joy when I learned that my love of John Lewis and my love of helping others were about to crash together in the loveliest of ways...

For the next few months, the Junior League's wonderful Holiday Hampers project, which I help a little with, is to be one of the spotlit charities at John Lewis Oxford Street and Peter Jones Sloane Square. What this means is when you receive one of those little green discs with your receipt and head up to the restaurant for a refreshing cup of tea/ bowl of soup / glass of champagne (dahling), you can choose to bestow your green disc to one of three charities.  At the end of a given period the discs are counted up and the three charities split £3,000!  This would be such a monetary boost at this point in the year, when our project is really busy!

Which leads me neatly to talk about Holiday Hampers.  Hampers is a Junior League project which gives donations of food, gifts, books and toiletries to people in need at the holidays.  We support a wide range of partner agencies - from old folk living along, to women and children in refuges, to families coping with abject poverty in a country where being poor is becoming ever more treacherous.  In each hamper there is good, nutritious food, toiletries (and nice ones - a treat!), and a gift and a book for each member of the family.   What a blessing to be able to give in the season of giving.  Seeing the looks of joy on the faces of the people we help, their happiness at being remembered, treasured,'s one of my personal favourite things about the Christmas season!

Over the next few weeks, I'll be appealing for help in ways various - with donations, registries, and just plain old good vibes.  In the meanwhile, if you are in John Lewis or Peter Jones, please do think of us when you're donating that little green disc!

Have a great day!

If you're a London blogger/social media type and you'd like to share this/blog about this, please do be my guest!

Guest post over on Under A Glass Sky!

I've written a guest post today for my fab friend Emily's blog, Under A Glass Sky.  Click on through for my 'Wednesday Wants' - a.k.a. a loving drool over an awful lot of beautiful stationery! 

Have a super Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Project Life Tuesday: September 9th-15th

The Mom Creative
Another busy week, and another chance to link up with Jessica for Project Life Tuesday!  September's always such a busy month round here, it's nice to snap a few of the moments.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone else has been up to as well :).

Our cats are getting a lot more into the swing of things, and are grasping that their humans need to go to work.  That said they are always delighted to see us return!  Fry is well and truly becoming a cat, rather than a kitten - and he's learned a new party trick, as he can now jump up on the kitchen countertops.  Break out the disinfectant!
Leela loves to hang out with me whilst I work.  The fact that my laptop keeps her toasty is a fabulous fringe benefit, I'm sure!
Poppet doing yoga, in the sun.
Leela contemplates her next move!
On Saturday, Laura and I went to see the hilarious Austentatious, who I'd so enjoyed at Edinburgh.  Once again they were incredibly funny and clever!
Matthew and I popped to the pop up pub in our town hall last Sunday for a pint of ale.  As we're CAMRA supporters, it seemed the thing to do!
Yes, we've started the countdown!
Love this shot of Miss Leela.  Matthew had just finished his burger, and Leela jumped up and perused the plate, as if to say, "Where's mine?"

Sweet boy.
Leela on her tummy warmer.
Laura and I at Giraffe for lunch.
Adam and Ems were at Spitalfields for the market, so we popped over to say hi.  Adam is here doing some classic catalogue modelling posing.
The trademark 'pointing at something in the distance'.
Adam and Ems at her beautiful stall.
Pretty Laura.
Managed to grab a glass of wine with my lovely friend Emer after Open House - was lovely to catch up!  She's such an ace teacher.
Kwak and frites on Saturday - a treat!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blue skies & the crunch of leaves


I have a major case of the September tireds.  But I am fighting them with naps, coffees, and occasional early nights (in bed at nine on Friday - so rock and roll!).

In these first few weeks of term, the pace is frenetic, and I haven't yet got the rhythm of my days - the morning I can afford an extra ten minutes in bed.  The lunchtime where lingering for a chat is an option (as much as you can when the break for lunch is only 35 minutes, or if you're on duty, 12!).  The free period that's ripe for marking, when a comfy corner close to the coffee machine is open.  This time in a fortnight I'll have it down, but now is a different case :).  It's good though, this starting over, this getting used to.  It's worth it.

My new form are lovely, but as is the wont of young boys, require lots and lots of bounce and energy.  I'm enjoying getting to know their little ways and quirks, learning how to make them giggle, where to pitch the work.  My Year 5 English students and Year 6 Historians are fab too - it's always so lovely to see some familiar faces returning!

Life continues apace also - time with friends and excitements and letters to write and fun to plan.  Blog posts to schedule.  Meals to make.  And long lazy evenings, all too rare, tucked up with the kitties.  Life is good, but life is busy!  I am determined *not* to hibernate and hide, but instead to enjoy my friends and my love and my home and my hobbies and my city as well as work.  After all, all work and no play...

Junior League has me busy too.  I'll be blogging soon about our great Holiday Hampers project, which brings festive joy to over a thousand families in the capital.  I'm one tiny cog in a very very big machine, but I love being part of something so cool. And Christmassy.

Can you believe it's 99 days till Christmas?  I promised this year I wouldn't plan properly until September 25th.....but now the season for planning and dreaming and wishing is nearly here.  There's always time for Christmas fun!

The cats are getting sweeter and sweeter by the week.  They are so well settled now, and such good fun to be around.  I am loving to get to know their little natures.  Poppet the boss, our talkative girl, Matthew's biggest fan.  Fry our sweet boy, who loves to give kisses and have tummy rubs.  Leela, who's such a quirky little thing, but who loves nothing better than a good old purr and a snuggle with me.  Oh, and cheese.

How's your September going?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Social: Loves & Ambitions

Sunday Social

 Linking up once again for Sunday Social - love these fun posts and 'meeting' so many fun bloggers through it.  Thanks for curating, Ashley and Neely!

1. 5 items you can't live without on a daily basis(water, food, shelter, and clothes don't count)
Well,  I'm quite good at going without some of these things for a day or so....but they really do make life so much nicer when they're there!
  • Books, and time to read
  • Cuddles (with people, with kittehs, with babies....a hug's a hug!)
  •  A decent cup of tea
  • The internet, sad as that may be (it's just so darn useful!)
  • Music
2. All time favorite book? Why?

 The reigning top three are Gone With The Wind, Little Women and Pride and Prejudice, and there's no way I can narrow them down further.  GWTW is an epic tome, and every time I read it I feel a little braver and ballsier and kinder....the combo of Scarlett and Melly is a great influence on me!  Little Women I must have read 25 times or more....that book is part of who I am.  And P&P is just amazing - there are few crises in my life that reading about Mr Darcy can't solve!

3. Something you'd like to accomplish before the end of 2012

My 'read 52 books' challenge.  I'm on course but can't afford to slack off now!

4. If you could go back and relive any year of your life which year would it be?

I think I'd want to be seventeen again - busy and learning and happy and having a whale of a time.  That said, 31's pretty awesome too :).

5. What do you wish people knew about you without you having to tell them?

I really don't know!  Maybe that I have some of the maddest hair in the world, so they wouldn't get terrified in humid weather?

Crafty pay-it-forward, via Matin Lapin (and Small Good Things)

The lovely Vixie and I have been friends for several years, and we have several things in common - a mutual love of kittens, RAoKing, tea, crafts and blogs being just a few of them.  Last week she posted about a crafty pay if forward she'd found on a blog called Small Good Things, and I decided to sign up too!  Do please play along if like me sometimes the siren call of the glitter and glue calls to you.....
The details:

I will send a surprise gift to the first three commenters on this post. The gift will be a handmade surprise by me and I will send it to you sometime in the next 365 days. All you need to do is the following:

Leave me a comment – I will get in touch with you about your mailing address and some other information about yourself.

To complete signing up, you must play along too by blogging a similar post and pledging to make a surprise for the first 3 people who comment on it. 

Huzzah for crafting!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Focus

Five Minute Friday
It's five minute Friday time, and once again I'm linking up with the lovely Lisa-Jo.  Love this series!  This week's prompt is: Focus.


As a teacher I talk a lot about focus.

"Our focus for the term is...."

"My focus boys are...."

"He is trying but needs more focus."

"Our lesson focus is...."

This word is precious to the educator.

So much so that there's a good natured ongoing debate on whether the past tense is spelled 'focused' or 'focussed'.

This week, however, I get the uneasy feeling that Lisa-Jo has once again read my mind, because I've been trying to zoom in on a focus for my own life.  September is such a crushingly busy month - the start of term, the return to a busy, filled social calendar (after the lazy lunches and laissez faire summer approach), the start of the Junior League year.

Life is packed.

And in this whirl of busy-ness, it;s so easy to lose sight of what's important.

To lose focus.

My focus is on what I can do for people - it has to be, and it should.  I want to be a kind and understanding teacher.  A loving and supportive sister, colleague, girlfriend, daughter and friend.  A person whose energy lifts others up.

I'm glad to remember that this morning.


Have a great Friday, all!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

So. Excited.

If being hugely excited for the return of Downton is wrong.....

....I don't want to be right.

Yay, the Crawleys are back!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Missive 1 from LNR

Exhibit A
I've been here for almost two months.  Almost two months.  And finally, I think my mission has become clear.

I, Leela Nymeria, am clearly here to show the two-legs how things should be done.  They really do have all kinds of newfangled ideas about the order of things!

Doors are not for keeping draughts out.  No no no - they are merely objects to hide behind, and this space is the wone from which you launch yourself, paws akimbo!  Post its are not for notes - they are clearly kitteh snacks!  Freshly laundered towels are perfect for a paw massage (see exhibit A)!Laptops are warm for one reason, and that is to warm my belly (see exhibit B).  They are also rather useful when it comes to writing missives to my fanbase, I must say!

I really do have my work cut out.  I shall get back to it anon.

Yours ever,
Leela Nymeria R.

 Exhibit B.

I Love Your Blog: Under A Glass Sky

Huzzah! It's time for another edition of 'I Love Your Blog' - the posts where I get to share all about a blog that I love to read with you lovely folk! This time, the blog in question is Under A Glass Sky, the blog of my very dear friend Emily. What she doesn't know about cooking, parties, events, style, London or gin....isn't worth knowing ;).

How long have you been blogging? 
I started my blog as Pretty Pretentious just over a year ago, but I didn't change it to Under a Glass Sky until earlier this year, when I started posting regularly in February. I first started blogging last summer for Mask Event Design and Production, when I was asked to write about seasonal event didn't take long for me to get hooked and that's when I started my own blog!
What do you blog about?  Do you have a specific goal with your blog (i.e. reviewing products, using it as a ministry, promoting a business), or is it more a record of your life? 

My blog really just started as a diary.... I would write about the big things I'd been up to each month, as I seemed to be doing so many more exciting things since moving to central London. After a while though I found it was much easier to write smaller posts, but more regularly, and that's when the basis for my blog as it is was formed. I still write about all the things I get up to, be it shopping, a theatre visit, or eating out, but I also now throw in a few recipes, 'how to's', and shop reviews. I think it's pretty much a true representation of my personality....featuring all the random things I love!
What is your favourite thing about blogging? 
Researching! That may sound very commendable but for me 'research' is eating, shopping, going out and generally having fun! I love my Wednesday Wants column because I get an excuse to shop online for things that I wouldn't usually be able to's the ultimate in window shopping!

What is your least favourite thing about blogging? 

The technomaligicalness. I'm a fairly intelligent and capable person on the whole, but some things I've tried to do with my blog are just beyond me! Ideally I'd love to have sufficient funds to get someone to build my blog for me, exactly how I'd like, based on my hand drawn diagrams and ramblings!  
Do you have any favourite posts on your blog – pieces you’re really proud of, which document something special, or which seemed to strike a chord with your readers? 

Often the posts I'm most proud of are the least popular, and vice versa, but I think that can be quite common! I wrote a piece about Tosca at the ENO a while ago, and thought it was one of the best things I'd written....but it's one of the least visited posts on my blog! I was rather proud of my piece about the Grayson Perry exhibition at the British Museum though, and that is one of the most visited, so I guess my readers and I have at least something in common!

Whose blogs do you love?  

I love my dear friend Vixie's blog Matin Lapin....she finds some enchanting things on Etsy to share, and it very much reflects her personality. I read a lot of home and lifetstyle blogs, and especially love Domestic Sluttery, House of Earnest and Here Comes the Sun....they are all giving me lots of ideas for when I move into my new house and have space to do some lovely things with it!
Do you like meeting bloggers in real life and nurturing connections? 
I recently went along to a bloggers event organised by Lomography.... it was a great chance to meet lots of other bloggers, and hear talks from some really well established bloggers too. I'm still in touch with lots of the people I met there and now I've done it once I know I'll take any chance to meet up with fellow bloggers. I also went along to a cocktail reception with the Domestic Sluttery ladies, and really enjoyed just chatting away the evening with like-minded doesn't have to be all blog-focussed, and I guess that's how so many people find new friends via their blogs.
Do you use other websites or social media in conjunction with your blog? 

I have a Facebook page for my blog, as well as a G+ page (although I'm not using that very much at all!). I have Pinterest, Instagram, Flickr, Lomohome and Twitter accounts under the same banner, and I use Bloglovin and Hello Cotton too. I also have shops within the same brand on Etsy and Folksy. I find using everything for my site works really well, as it's quite a personal blog, and I get most of my page views via them.

What are your ambitions for Under A Glass Sky, moving forward? 
There are a few technical things I'd like to do in order to make navigating my blog easier, and I'd really like to get it hosted so that I can start getting a little sponsorship for it too. I've been amazed with how fast my monthly views have gone up in the last few months, so I'd be delighted if it continues to grow at such a rate.
What tips do you have for bloggers growing and nurturing their blogs? 

Write about what you love! At the end of the day, unless you're writing professionally, your blog is your place to do whatever you like. I find as long as I'm writing about things I want to, that I always want to write....if I try to shoe horn in something I'm not so into, then I find writing a chore and that's exactly what it shouldn't be! It's also good to know when you need a break....if you're feeling uninspired or just don't fancy blogging, then step away for a while! There's no point slogging at it only to start to resent it and there's no harm in taking a little'll come back refreshed and writing wonderfully!

Thank you so much for your wonderful answers, Ems!

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