Friday, November 30, 2012


Cheesefest ahoy!  Call me sad, but I love this song in all its silly, frothy wonder. 

I read somewhere that you know you're an adult when your guilty pleasures are no longer guilty, just pleasures. In which case, I'm definitely a grown up!

End of a very busy week here, ready to head to Rory and Eileen's for a late Thanksgiving. Bring on the turkey, the pie, and the sweet-potatoes-covered-in-marshmallows!

Thursday, November 29, 2012


After one of the busiest fortnights in ages, this evening I have an evening free.

No marking.

No socialising.

No meetings.

No duty.

No work.

No volunteering.

No blogging.

I'm going to leave at 4, doublecheck the arrangements for our trip tomorrow by hopping off at London Bridge, and be home by six.  For an evening of relaxing, tidying, decorating Dave the tree, snuggling with kittens, spending some time with my favourite boy and writing Christmas cards while I listen to this.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do They Know It's Christmas Time?

My four weeks of Christmas music carries on apace.  And today, it's Band Aid...

True fact: I once taught a very sweet little girl who had the best misheard lyric for this song.  One day she came in from the playground saying "Miss T, Miss T, can we listen to beaver world?"  After much discussion it transpired that to her, "Feed The World" = "Beaver World".  I can't un-hear it now!

How are all your Christmas preparations going?  I am typing this before heading out of the door to do the last of my Holiday Hampers volunteering (brrrrrrr, chilly warehouse ahoy!) - so lucky to be a (very small) part of something so cool!

Christmas Books for Little People in school we are getting very excited for Christmas and the lead up to the holiday season.  There are some really great books to share during this season, so I put together this short video, in case you're seeking inspiration!

All of the books are available at bookstores around town, and on Amazon, too! I've linked below, should you wish to research further:

Grumpy Badger's Christmas
How the Grinch Stole Christmas!: Yellow Back Book (Dr Seuss - Yellow Back Book)
On This Special Night
One Winter's Night
The Puffin Book of Christmas Stories
Letters from Father Christmas
The Best Christmas Present in the World

Miss T

Note: Associate links used.

More Joy

Lovely Laura showed me this video the other night while we were having dinner with her and James.

Love it.

Very sweet, funny, and makes me a little teary too!

Have a lovely Wednesday, all! 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

28 days to go....

....and on each and every one of them I'm going to be sharing some of my favourite Christmas songs, movie clips, poems, and pretties.

Because, as Bublé points out so adeptly in the clip above - it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Project Life Tuesday: Third Week in November

The Mom Creative
How on earth are we here already?  It feels like last week I was driving friends loopy with my Christmas countdowns (100 days!  99 days!) and now here we are, late November, dark evenings, and the very best time of year just around the corner....

I have *not* been the best photographer this past week, but it's been a busy and exciting time.  Large on the horizon was definitely Holiday Hampers, but I also found time for friends and fun too.  And snuggles with kittens and my favourite boy also.  I'm a lucky, lucky girl!

 Got to go and see my very clever boy pick up his CFA.  It's a long process of exams and admin - he was just starting Level 1 when we very first met.  So proud of my boy!

 Now that's a lot of tea!

 The boys at school donated so many gifts to Holiday Hampers.  Such kind and generous wee folk!

 Blue skies over the Thames.

Davina Tree!  The decorations have started appearing...

Monday, November 26, 2012


Joy comes in many forms.

One of which must be three cats, with a paper bag.

Happy Monday, all.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Thank You

Five Minute Friday

It's one of my favourite times of the week.

Time to link up with Lisa-Jo for Five Minute Friday.

And in this week, what better theme than 'thank you'?


Thank you, thank you, thank you, for this wonderful, busy, silly, lovely, stressful, rewarding, challenging and fulfilling life. 

Thank you even for the things I'm not always eager to praise, for I know in the frustrations there are blessings to be counted also.

Thank you for early morning alarms, because even though I struggle to get up at 5.45am, I know I'm lucky enough to have a job to get to, in an economy where not everyone is able to work.  I also know that getting up is a trial because my bed is warm and comfy, so thank you for my cosy, safe bed.

Thank you for my mortgage.  It's big, it's a little scary, and it sometimes prevents the buying of shoes/cocktails/plane tickets, but I'm so grateful to have a home, a space, a place to call our own.

Thank you for the litter tray.  I know as I clean it I can grimace a little, but it's there because I'm lucky enough to have not one, not two, but three adorable cats.  Thank you for Poppet and Leela and Fry.

Thank you for marking, for the piles of scripts and books.  All the paper cuts and late nights and missed fun times are worth it, for I have students who work well and make progress, and I'm so thankful for that.

Thank you for the quarter-to-midnight emails.  While replying to them bleary-eyed can seem a strain, I know I'm blessed to teach children whose parents are so engaged with what we do in school.

Thank you for the crush of the tube, elbows in my shoulder, face smushed to the window.  I'm so lucky to have a safe and convenient way to get to and from work.

Thank you also for all the more obvious blessings - my love, my health, my family, my friends.  A million little kindnesses, adding up to a life that should always be one of thankfulness.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Project Life Tuesday: Second Week in November

The Mom Creative

Another lovely, busy week!  Linking up as ever to share my Project Life pictures.

The temperatures are really dropping and the nights are drawing in.  Christmas is well and truly on it's way, and any spare moments I have are filled with planning Christmas fun...  Spare moments being a fairly rare thing at this point in the term!

On Wednesday it was Boutique de Noel, the big annual Christmas fair/fundraiser the Junior League holds.  It was *brilliant* - the ladies truly outdid themselves.  I bought so many gifts and thoroughly enjoyed the auction and visiting with so many lovely folk!  Above is the gorgeous Amberly, who pledged in the same class as me, and my colleague Jo, who came along too.  Such a fun evening!

Eileen came along to BdN too, but this snap is from Tuesday, when I popped in to see her for a quick cuppa.  Always love a girldate with Eileen!

We shopped hard at BdN!

Over the weekend Matthew and I travelled north for a whistle-stop visit to see his family. This was my train picnic for the journey home :)

Goofiest smile ever?  I was very pleased to have found festive friends!

On Saturday, Elly (Matthew's sister in law) and I spent the day together.  We went to the beach (always a treat!) and caught up over drinks and food.  She is such a wonderful girl - I am so glad that my relationship with Matthew and her marriage to Nick brought the two of us together!

Beautiful Elly (you made the blog, honey! ;)).  Can't wait to meet our niece when she arrives next year - I 
am stockpiling goodies...

How I spend any evening I manage to have free - blogging/reading in my Christmas PJs!

On Thursday the Year 4 parents took Margot, Richard and I out for wine and food.  It's always lovely to catch up away from school and I really enjoyed some lively conversation!

How was your week, lovely folk?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hampers Update 2

It's hard to believe that the time has come for all the hard work for Holiday Hampers to come together.  The thousands of emails, the plans, the lists, the fundraising, the toy drives, the supernatural patience of our Committee Chairs (hurrah for Liz and Natalie!) all now should come together, in three very busy weeks, to provide over 1000 hampers to families in need here in London this year.

If you'd like to learn more, or to contribute, please click here.

Bring on those delightful red boxes!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Stay

Five Minute Friday 

The time is here.  Time for Five Minute Friday.  Five minutes of just writing, sharing, getting the words out.  Love this link up - thank you as ever for co-ordinating, Lisa-Jo!

This week's word?  Is stay.


The whirl of the world calls me outward, but oh, how I want to stay.

To curl up on the comfy navy sofa, the one that's starting to do that wonderful thing where it molds to you, where the sags and crevices fit your frame and it feels like a whole body hug.  The lovely sofa we chose together, which Matthew built, swearing mildly, drinking many cups of tea.

To perch on one of the dining chairs and read a book, gently harassed by cats popping up onto the table for a fuss, a stroke, a cuddle, a head doosh.  Poppet giving me a miaow, Leela deciding she's far more interesting than the book and plonking herself atop the pages, purring mischievously.  Fry bringing his favourite string up, all big eyes as he demands a play in his shy, sweet way.

To sit in my cheery study and potter along.  Writing blog posts, writing letters, planning meals and gifts and finances.  Reading books and researching projects, skyping and texting with friends. Popping downstairs to make a cuppa, taking one to Matthew too.

To sprawl on the giant comfy bed, all cushions and blankets and stretch.  Reading page after page, the sky turning from sky blue to grey-grey to darkest navy, lamp switching on as the natural light dims.  Cosy, safe and warm.

To cosy up in the laundry room on the top floor.  Sitting on the airbed watching thirty rock, playing with the cats and some string, folding and ironing as the piles shrink placidly.

I love our house, in all its quirky, half-done glory.  I'm always loathe to leave.

The whirl of the world calls me outward, but oh, how I want to stay.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

The November Whirl

Is it just me, or is everyone whizzing around at a rate of knots just now?

It always feels incongruous, this start of winter season, as people get busier and busier while our circadian rhythms cry out for us to be lazier and lazier!

Here in London, all is well.  We are zipping around as ever, working hard and playing hard, and Matthew is coping manfully with my ever increasing fever about Christmas (40 days, yo!).  It's lovely to be busy and to see so many lovely folk, but I'm also getting to the point where I write naps in the diary (next one is tomorrow evening!).

It was lovely to have mum and dad to visit this past weekend and to show them the house and the cats.  I genuinely thought my father might try to steal Fry - they are definitely buds for life now!  This weekend we get to catch up with Matthew's family, which I'm mega excited about.  I'm looking forward to catching up with them all, particularly Elly, who's glowing as she continues to grow our beautiful niece!  Beyond excited for February.

Holiday Hampers continues apace - the next two weeks are the real crunch time for it all!

So all is busy, but all is well.

How are you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Project Life Tuesday: first week of November

The Mom Creative
Linking up with Jessica for Project Life Tuesday.

The first week in November is always a little chilled, a little restful.  I have a cold and was off school for a couple of days....I spent a lot of time with the parents came for a visit.....and hibernation felt like a bit of a theme :)

Here are a few pictures for Project Life from the week!

 Homemade butternut squash soup with sharp cheddar...

 ...and red velvet cake!

 Designing new plates for Christmas - silly, eh?

 A picture of the Houses of Parliament from the DUCKbus - such fun!

 Fairy lights on Leyton High Road :)

 A new, cat based display at school.

 Henry came over for dinner with Matthew, my parents and I.

 Poppet's new best friend....

 Early morning skies.


 Leela is my spirit animal....

 ...and just like me she's getting excited for Christmas! Hurrah for boxes!

Friday, November 09, 2012

Five Minute Friday: Quiet

Five Minute Friday

It's Friday!  Time to link up with Lisa-Jo for five minutes of writing, words on the page, time to think, to share, to put some words out there :).  This week's theme?  Is quiet.


I love this point in the day.  It's just past six in the morning, and the house is still.  Peeking out of my study window, the picture frame windows of our neighbours are all dark as Leyton slumbers on.  The world is at rest, at peace, quiet.  The birds in the little tree are asleep, the cats are yet to stir, and the traffic outside seems far away and sporadic, the occasional car difficult to pick out through double glazing and the spaces between.  The world seems to be gently stretching and easing itself towards wakefulness.

And in this lovely restive place, I sit to write and think.  A simple break from the busy whirl of London, a pause before the frenetic rush of getting to school, crushed and pushed and mushed on the tube, zooming and hurtling, glancing at watches, drinking coffee from my purple sparkly mug.  I love this part of the day, these parts of the day when quiet reigns and the noise and hubbub of the city disappears, if only for five minutes.

By nature I'm a chatterbox, but I gain such strength from the quiet times.  I often embrace background noise - music, TV, voices in the coffee shop - but sometimes I just love to hit mute on life and enjoy the silence.

Walks on the Heath, no ipod or companion, just path and trees and fields.  Those Saturdays when Matthew's away at the football and I just curl up on the couch to read or write, under a blanket, relaxed and peaceful. The ten or fifteen minute silent work sessions in class, where we all just focus for a moment, and instead of striving to be heard we take the time to listen.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

And the winner is.....


The more observant of you will have noted that I launched a giveaway about a month ago....and utterly forgot to post the winner!  Many thanks to all of you who entered, and big loves to Ms RK, who had the winning entry.  The cats and I will be making your package soon :)

Something new

I'm trying something new this month.

Something a little bit different.

You see, lately, something's been creeping in, oozing in, permeating like you wouldn't believe.

And I don't like it.

I am by nature an optimist, and I like to see the best in people. In Matthew, in my family, in my friends, in my pupils, in my League sisters, in other bloggers, in the people I meet and encounter each day.

But in the last few weeks I've found it a little bit harder, and while I haven't been downright mean or down on people, I haven't been particularly "up" on people either.

Which is a shame.

Because the people around me are awesome.

So I'm on a gossip diet.  A detrimental detox. I'm a nastiness no go area :).

Don't get me wrong.

I wasn't sat in a corner trolling and snitting and catting away.

I just felt like I wasn't in a headspace that felt very "me".  I could feel the negativity oozing towards me and around me.  Boo.

And now I am feeling a lot more like me again.

Feels good.


Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Hampers Update!

I can hardly believe how quickly November is whipping past!  It seems like yesterday I was sat at the start of October thinking, "Wow, it's so long until the holidays start up," and now we're well and truly on the slope.

One of my key focuses this month is the Junior League of London's Holiday Hampers appeal.  We are doing a toy drive in school which is going well so far - we're about a third of the way there timewise and have already collected over 100 toys, books and other items.

Our donations page is going well too.  If you'd like to know more about the programme, or to donate towards the project, please click here.  

Have a great Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Election Day!

Source: via Claire on Pinterest

Wishing all my US friends the very best as they choose their next president. Hope you enjoy rocking the vote!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Mini katzen

While I was looking through my camera the other week, I found a few pics of our little furballs from the first week we had them.  They are getting pretty big now (picture post soon), but in the meantime, I thought you might like a squee.  Enjoy!

(excuse the fuzziness - I was new to my camera at this point!_

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Christmas Claire

Christmas Claire

About Me

I believe in 80s pop, 90s teen movies, and proper thank you notes. I just like smiling...smiling's my favourite.

I write here about London, food, the home & travel, and a lotmore besides. Let's dish!

Upcoming Travels

  • November 2015 - Gran Canaria
  • December 2015 - Moray
  • April 2016 - Luxembourg
  • September 2016 - New York
  • September 2016 - Boston
  • September 2016 - Toronto
  • September 2016 - Las Vegas

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