Thursday, November 28, 2013

Back in the swing....

After the tired and sore and sleepiness of much of this month, I am now well and truly back into the swing of things.  Once again the days are stuffed to the gunnels, and the rare opportunities for rest and relaxation shine out from the diary like beacons across a deep November sky.

Life is good and busy.  Work is hard, challenging, fun and ridiculous.  Home is full of purrs and tinsel (Dave the tree is back!), with stacks of gifts to wrap, cards to write, and joys to share.  December looms, filled with sweet reunions, fun plans, stacks of things to do,and yet more getting back into things (including blogging, ha!).  It's my favourite season, and I'm so grateful and lucky to be well for it.

Bring on the mince pies and mulled wine!

 
DAVE!

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Wedding Ideas: First Dance Songs (51-60)

*sings*

"Oh - we're over halfway there!  In the epic wedding song list of Claire!"

What can I say.  I love the Jovi.

More selections for your delectation!

51. Jason Mraz & Colbie Callait - Lucky


This song is so sweet, would be perfect for a chilled, slightly quirky couple.

52. Harry Connick Jr. - It Had To Be You


You can't go wrong with a When Harry Met Sally moment, right?  Friends had this as their first dance and it was super sweet.

53. Stevie Wonder - For Once In My Life


Just unabashed joy.

54. Mama Cass - Dream A Little Dream



My teenage self definitely would have had this on the shortlist!

55. Train - Marry Me



This song is so very sweet, and is a track I've listened to a lot while wedding planning.  The video is cute, too.

56. Rascal Flatts - Bless The Broken Road


Love a good country moment!

57. Marvin Gaye - Let's Get It On


For real, one of the smoothest vocals ever.  It would be a brave first dance choice, that's for sure!

58. Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran - Everything Has Changed


Sweet, light, hopeful - what a great way to start a marriage!

59. Starship - Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now

An eighties classic. From the movie Mannequin. Amazing.

60. Frank Sinatra - The Way You Look Tonight
Way to close us out, Frankie....

Friday, November 08, 2013

SUYL: Book Lists

This week for 'Show Us Your Life', Kelly is having us all share our current book lists.  This is one of my favourite link ups, as I am always on the lookout for a new book to read.  Last ear I challenged myself to read 52 books and did so with gusto....this year I aimed for 62 and will fall short by quite a margin!  A combination of ill health, the excitement of getting engaged earlier this year and the many distractions of modern life have conspired to have me reading less than I would have hoped.  No matter, I am still at one of my happiest points when you find me with a book in my hand!

Two books I am reading at the moment are MWF seeks BFF and The Shining Girls.  The former is frothy and sweet, and is the perfect chicklit to dive into after a busy day.  The Shining Girls was suggested to me by a friend who knew how I raved about Gone Girl last year, but so far it has failed to impress.  I have seventy pages left to go - I'm hoping for a big switch up to move this book from a decent read to a real showstopper.

Next on my list are Sharp Objects and We Are All Leaders - a thriller and a bit of non-fiction.  I like to be wide in the range of what I read (except when I get submerged in a series, naturally!).  Speaking of series, I'm hoping to reread Catching Fire before the movie comes out!

Once that's all read I'll be looking through my Kindle and my bookshelves to find the many, many books I have yet to read!  I am a fiend for buying books and then not reading them for too long.  That being said, I have my eye on a few new purchases - I'm intrigued by The Child Catchers by Kathryn Joyce; my inner history nerd wants to spend a dozen winter's evenings reading Thomas Becket: Warrior, Priest, Rebel, Victim by John Guy; Practice Perfect is just the kind of part-educational, part-pop-psychology book I enjoy reading on my commute; The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan looks like a good saga to dive into; and I'm super excited to read Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin - I very much enjoyed The Happiness Project so I have high hopes for the next book!

So that's what I'm reading, about to read, or am looking forward to reading.  How about you?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Looking forward

Here, life is slow and steady as I recover from surgery.  There's a lot of ibuprofen, a lot of tea, and lots of chickflicks.  Sky Anytime is my homeboy.  As someone who usually gallops around at a pretty hectic pace, it's a definite change, but I'm hoping this more sedate way of getting around will prove the ticket to getting me back to full health.  The swelling and pain seem to be improving day on day, so I hope that at my post-op check up I'll be pronounced fit enough to go to work.  At the moment stairs are still a bit of a struggle (no good for my classroom which is up a double flight), as is standing for more than a few minutes, but I am hopeful that in a few days I can start going for little walks and building up my stamina.  It's completely odd to be so frail, but it is teaching me patience in a whole new way!  It's also teaching me that naps are absolutely vital.  Ditto kitty cuddles.

My friends and family and Matthew and work have been so kind throughout - every day brings texts, emails, cards, visits and gifts.  I am truly a blessed and lucky girl and I so appreciate everyone taking time to reach out.  I'm not the best at asking for help, but my people get that and have been marvellous at just jumping in and doing things.  Thank you so much, lovely folk - whether it's a phone call, a note, a text or a visit I so appreciate you taking time out of your busy, busy lives to think of me.

Also keeping me going is looking forward to things - little things, big things, middle sized things.  I have so much to be grateful for, and so many things to be excited about.  Here are just a few!

1. I am excited for visits from friends over the next few days - Shona, Eileen, Kaz, Vixie, Jo, and hopefully others.  Now I'm able to sit up a little more and stay awake longer, it will be so great to hear about life outside the house!

2. I am excited to go to Glasgow in a couple of week's time for the second annual ball of our friend Ritchie's charity, Cahonas.  It's such a great cause and we are so proud of all his work.

3.  Speaking of charity, I am so excited for Holiday Hampers once again!  It's my third year working towards this and my second on the commitee - I just love the chance to give back and make the holidays a little brighter for people in need!  If you'd like to learn a little more about this endeavour or if you'd like to support it, please visit our giving site here.  I'm so proud to be a tiny cog in this huge endeavour!

4.  I am so excited for Christmas.  Those who know me well will know that I adore Christmas and usually start getting excited at about September 25th, but this season has been full of distractions so I'm just now starting to hit my stride (less than seven weeks to go!).  I have a lot of gifts put aside, I am looking forward to doing some sorting and planning once I'm feeling stronger.  I am so excited to visit with family and friends and toast my favourite time of year.

5. Last but by no means least, I am excited for our wedding.  For the longest time it felt like an age away, and now we're almost at the nine month mark (still a long time, for sure, but I'm aware that time will fly!).  I'm so excited for the chance to get married and celebrate with so many of our friends and loved ones, and we are having such fun planning (we are both born planners, so the realm of spreadsheets and timetables and lists is very much up our street!).  I am so excited to marry my favourite person on earth, and to be his wife.  Sappy, but true.

Well, now it's time for more meds and a cup of tea, and then a nap in front of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. I told you the pace was crazy!  To close, here are a few pics from my 'lately':

Getting ready to go into surgery.  I was so scared (wussy, but true).  I am so grateful to the medical team - thanks to them it all went smoothly and I feel so much better with the lump known as Geffen gone!

After surgery I was SO out of it.  Because I'd been ill for five out of the six days preceding the op, only really rallying in the 24 hours beforehand, I was already pretty beat down before the operation, so the surgery on top of that?  Left me pretty spaced out!  It took me a few days to start sleeping more normally, but now I'm sleeping like it's my job!
A biscuit 'first aid kit' from school.

Aren't they sweet?

My colleague Margot sent this beautiful bouquet - it's so pretty and green.

The world's biggest fruit basket - so much deliciousness.  My vitamin requirements are fulfilled!

This sweet boy cat is keeping a very close eye on me!

For a post junkie, my friends are keeping me well supplied.

More sweetness (thank you, Siobhán!).

Flower boxes are the biggest treat for kits!

My brain is still a little wobbly - so glossy magazines are ideal for my attention span!

I hope all is going well with you all!  Apologies if there are typos or glitches in this post - it's taken a wee bit of time, but it's nice to have spent a little time 'doing' something.  Getting better every day!

Monday, November 04, 2013

Monday Funday: November 4th

Tempted to get this for the katzen.  Would make them very excited, methinks!

I love NPH.  He just seems like a fabulous person, as well as a super actor / singer / Tony's host.  This quote is spot on.

Definitely.

This one pot pasta sounds delicious - I'm looking forward to trying it out.

How cute are these tins?  I think I may need to buy them (I have something of a storage tin obsession going on).

In a world where we are surrounded by 'busy' (I'm not convinced), distractions, noises and conformity, I love this list of ways to stay creative.

This dad is awesome.  And his son must be very well adjusted!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Still Sunday

So the op is done, and I'm typing here while sitting very still and making sure tea, cocodomal, and closing my eyes for five minutes here and there are all right at the top of my schedule.  I'm sore and tired and wiped out by a five day burst of illness, then an operation and general anaethesia (I'm even wobbly on spellings right now).  We got back from the hospital Friday evening, and have now settled into the quiet and slow pace of recovery.  Matthew is being a dear, but he's not well either (chest infection).  Ironic that I scheduled the previous post about a quiet life a few weeks back....that's exactly what we're embracing here right now.  More soon, I hope.  Tell me something funny or interesting to cheer me up?

Hi, I'm Claire...

Hi, I'm 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, books & travel, and a lot more besides. I'm never happier than when having adventures, cooking for friends, or lost in a good book.

If you'd like to work together, or if you'd just like to say hello, my email is: countrymouseclaire@gmail.com

Please note that on occasion affiliate links may be used in this blog. All items received for review or paid posts will always be disclosed.

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