Ghost Stories!

Teaching has had a two-fold positive effect on my financial situation (they pay me money and don’t give me any spare time to spend it) so Jodie and I have found ourselves able to take advantage of lots of good travel and entertainment deals this summer and so I’ve decided to use this blog to do some mini-reviews of our adventures.  I’m aware my commentaries on random shows and places are probably of limited interest, but I like the sound of my own voice, so am running with it anyway.  If you are interested in my summer adventures, or happen to want to hear about theatre, theme parks, other attractions and a random resort in Tunisia, then that would be a happy coincidence indeed.

So first up was Ghost Stories last night, and awkwardly I have not much to say, as I don’t want to ruin it and it is best enjoyed when you have no idea what to expect!  Honestly, you’d probably have just as much fun at a lower cost buying a DVD of a horror film and watching it at home, but if you want to try something different then go see Ghost Stories because live spooky things are very different to any other kind of spooky things!.  It’s quite slow to get going, but has a great plot and several ‘scream out loud’ moments.  A worthwhile evening out, with excellent acting  and a creepy auditorium to set the mood.  I am not a huge fan of stage stuff that isn’t a musical and am easily bored, but sat out the 80 minutes (with no interval) without complaint, and towards the end it becomes more engaging and you simultaneously want it to end (because it’s scaring the bejesus out of you at this point) and not wanting it to end (because it’s finally gotten rather exciting!).

Random unattractive but related jpg:

Ghost Stories


Next up will be Afternoon Tea at the Mayfair!

Soppiness alert!

If you are reading this, I’m sure it has not escaped your attention that a few weeks ago my wonderful girlfriend agreed to marry me!

In case anyone is wondering, I got down on one knee after showing her this video whilst we were on holiday in Venice:

After an initial “what?  really?  are you sure you want to marry?” (“I made an mpg and took you to Venice, of course I’m sure!) she cried and said yes.

I’m already annoyed by the e acute situation (my laptop does not support the keyboard shortcut, so I have to copy paste every time I want to write ‘fiancée’), but will have to get used to it, as we don’t plan to get married for a few years!

I’ve known for a long time that Jodie is the person I want to marry, and I’m super excited to be engaged, and really really grateful for all the ‘likes’ on facebook and kind messages; it makes me happy that people are happy for us, so thank you to everyone who has congratulated us :)

Pursuit of Happiness

After a day of intense woe (highlights include paying for the privilege of having the dental hygienist assault my gums with a spiky stick!) it is of course time to whip out the happy blog and provide a little update on my latest adventures!

As part of the Teach First programme one has to spend a week in a ‘contrasting’ school, so last week I had the privilege of observing and teaching at the secondary school I attended.  And it was frankly marvellous.  It sometimes feel like I have changed so much in the last five years that I barely recognise myself but suddenly I was back home at my old school and the staff were so lovely and made me feel so welcome and not like a stranger at all.  I don’t even know if that sentence made sense at all, but I’m a mathematician not a writer, so life being short we’ll leave it at that.  I taught some A level maths and Further Maths and loved it.  There’s nothing quite as thrilling as inverting a 3 x 3 matrix, don’t you find?  :P

As well as having a lovely week at home with my parents, I’ve also come away with lots of ideas for my own practice and also a clearer idea of what I want to aim for career-wise.  And then I got to spend Saturday in Carlisle surprising the lovely Marie for her birthday, so it’s been a cracking week!

And today I leave you with some quotes from my positive quotes calendar (which has of late fallen by the wayside, a phrase which here means “has just been found under a large pile of mess on my desk”).

“Even if happiness forgets you a little bit, never completely forget about it” – Jacques Prévert

“The Constitution only guarantees the American people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.” – Benjamin Franklin

“The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.” – Erasmus


Thank You for the Music

I have seen a LOT of West End musicals, and Mamma Mia is right up there in my absolute favourites.  And it’s definitely the most feel-good one I’ve ever seen.  Today I had the thrill of seeing it again (I should mention here the excellent company I had on this adventure before Emma throws a tantrum :P) and had an excellent time.  I was struck this evening by how amazing ABBA really were.  So many things have changed since the seventies and many things have gone out of fashion, but the music of ABBA has most certainly not.  They last performed together 8 years before I was born, yet I’d hazard a guess that most people of my generation know at least a verse and the chorus of Waterloo!

And I love how happy a few songs and a boogie can make people- after the bows, the audience were on their feet for a rendition of three ABBA songs and I took a moment to look around and saw everyone around me smiling and dancing as if they hadn’t a care in the world.  And that’s the power of music- I’m sure there were many weary, stressed and sad people in the audience but the right music lets you escape from the world for a little bit and just have a cracking time.

It’s been a tricky week but had an absolutely lovely evening catching up with a friend and doing some high-quality dancing along to such a cheer-inducing show :)


And I promise you you’ll see the sun again

The first time this year that I left school and it was still light I thought there must have been some sort of mistake and that I’d left too early, but of course summer is coming around and we’re seeing lots of sun again, so it seemed a fitting time to think about some summery things I’m looking forward to.

– summer holidays; no youths for six weeks!

– Thorpe Park for Jodie’s birthday (facebook invites on the way folks!)

– Tunisia!  Will be lovely to bring a stack of books and just read and relax for a whole week.

– picnics!

– perhaps making use of the merlin passes and going to Alton Towers =D

– hopefully seeing lots of my beautiful friends.  Ilana and Lana, I demand that you make your way across your respective oceans to visit at some point this summer!

Hoping you’re all enjoying the slightly warmer weather :)

“And you probably don’t want to hear tomorrow’s another day 
Well I promise you you’ll see the sun again 

But you gotta keep your head up

Just some happy things:

1) Saw Miranda Hart at the O2 this week, something we booked tickets for almost a year ago!   SUCH FUN.  Was lovely to get out and do something a bit exciting, as well as seeing Lucy, who came with us.  Part of her show was centred around a buffet, which of course made me giggle (who died?!).

2) We recently had Flat Gabe to stay (if you are unfamiliar with the concept, google ‘Flat Stanley’) and went on many adventures, including riding the London Eye for the first time (after five years living in London!) and helping build the lego cathedral at Durham Cathedral.  Gabe also managed to sneak into a picture in my school’s parent bulletin, a feat of trolling I am particularly proud of.  Gabe has now arrived in Southampton and is having many adventures there with the lovely Sarah :)

3) Today is pi day!  (If you write the date in an American fashion you get 3.14, which is of course the start of pi).  Happy memories of eating pie at pi o’clock with my Jen-twin.

4) People are awesome.  (Have genuinely had to rethink my “I don’t like people” stance).

5) I rediscovered a song I love, that I’d somehow forgotten about.

6) My mother is coming to visit tomorrow.

6) And now I’ve just found a tasty snack that I forgot to eat this morning, so all is well with the world.

Wishing you all a happy weekend!  (Kidding myself that anyone actually reads the nonsense I post)

2013 in jpgs!

As with 2012, thought I’d share the highlights of 2013 in the form of a series of jpgs!

The Most Exciting Event of the Year
No single photo could sum up The Most Exciting Event of the Year- we met Ilana for the first time ever and had countless adventures all over London with so many friends :)



Awesome day out at Twickenham watching Ulster vs Saracens in the Heineken Cup quarter finals with the family, even if we did get trounced :'(



Awesome day at Thorpe Park with lots of lovely people on Jodie’s birthday weekend. We have Merlin passes this year, so many many rollercoaster-based fun times ahead in 2014!



Trying to remember all the shows I saw in 2013- Les Miserables, Viva Not So Forever (several times =D), Wicked, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time and Frankenstein.  All with excellent company of course!



As one form of meet ceased to occur under most unsavoury circumstances, in came a new type- tumblr meets!  This jpg is from the first 2013 meet- picnic in Hyde Park on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year.  Lovely weather, lovely company :)



In July I graduated from Queen Mary with a first class degree in Mathematics and Statistics.  *NPDs*



Jodie and I celebrated our one year anniversary with a lovely weekend in Paris, visiting the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, the Champs Elysees and the Sacre Coeur.



Teach First
As my journey as a student ended, I had a baptism of fire into the world of work as I began a new chapter as teacher in inner-city London.  Distressingly my eyes are closed in this jpg, but I only have myself to blame for the fact that this is the only picture in existence of me at Summer Institute…



Ilana returned to England, and fun times were had with many people (including singing Christmas carols on a night bus at 2am as we made our way to the 24 hour starbucks) before we jetted off to Germany to stay with Lana and Conor.



I had the pleasure of attending three weddings this year- including playing piano at Romany and Ben’s wedding, and reforming the Cave Family Singers (like the Von Trapps, but less cute) for my Uncle Denver’s wedding, where we managed to get the only picture in existence of all 10 McLean grandchildren together.


2013 was a year of many happy times with family, ending as always in a fantastic family Christmas.


And throughout the year we kept a box full of memories of all the happy things that occurred:

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