Birthdays galore


Tom waiting for his birthday pizzaFirstly I missed sharing Tom's 12th birthday with you back in May. It was with anticipation that I invited a bunch of Tom's new class mates to have pizza at Pizza Express with us. My biggest fear was that no one would come, (except Cameron who is as Tom says "my best friend". I knew he was a definite!) So the "what ifs" were very much my thoughts and the security of Tom's primary school friends is of course gone.

I needn't have worried, the parents of the kids Tom chose were fab, even asking for help in a gift idea for him. So come the day as Tom sat waiting (photo) I was confident that all would be well, and it was! A lovely time was had by all.

I sat with some of the girls and tried to chat, without sounding like a weird and ancient woman. I did make them scared though when I said they had to put all their phones in the centre and the first one to pick up…paid the bill! It was a joke, but oh their faces!

Dan's birthday morningAfter Tom's birthday was the much anticipated 40th for my gorgeous husband Dan, who was a mere 22 year old when I spotted him across the Indoor Arena in Birmingham whilst filming Gladiators. I was a member of the infamous GForce, so ensnared him with a pom pom wiggle or two!!!!

The much awaited mid-life crisis has shown itself, but in a very good way actually, with a desire to be fitter, though I feel Lycra T-shirts and padded shorts are breeding in the depths of my washing basket! In fact any time he pops out to get something he returns with…more sports kit.

I guess for such a young man, owning his business and working so hard in such a physical way not least of all the tax vat estimates etc that accompany your own business is tough, so escapism is the key.

Dan kayakingHe's trimmed down, healthier food whilst out in the day and hours of muddy fun-filled cycling and football are being enjoyed. So the announcement of kayaking down the river in France came as no surprise.

Off he went for a trip with the boys, which worryingly seemed to consist of liquid breakfasts and I don't think it improved from there! He had fabulous fun though and whilst he told Tom on the phone that he negotiated rapids like the Olympians did, he told me it was easy and like a stream – which was true? I shall never fully know!

So, this month has revolved around my gorg husband

Pizza oven at River CottageHaving wracked my brains for a suitable and spectacular present idea, I came across, with help from my sis-in-law a course set at River Cottage, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's headquarters where the TV series is filmed. Dan could spend the day learning and building his own pizza/bread oven.

As he wants one in the garden I thought that's perfect and having researched the costs of buying one for him and indeed being confronted by a lot of noughts I thought ah ha a course where he can learn to build one himself MUST be less expensive!!! I figured at least if he wants to he can and if not…I'd better keep saving!!!!

Well, he had a fabulous time. The setting is, to use Joe's terminology, awesome and the view across the Dorset and Devon countryside was spectacular as we dropped him to take his tractor ride down the hill. Dan made bread, made friends and yes could now make a pizza oven!

Maddie at the beachA huge coincidence for us was that as Tom waved Daddy off, and as we know Tom has Downs Syndrome, we met Simon aged 50 and he too has Downs Syndrome and looked the part in his chefs whites on the day. A chap on the course had a 3 year old daughter with Downs Syndrome! And one other course member's son… yes had Downs Syndrome. Spectacularly mind blowing in a collection of about 15 people, who would have believed it!

So whilst Daddy played, the children and I did too at a sweet beach away from the hustle of Lyme Regis called Seatown. Not to be confused with Seaton which yes, I drove to. In fact at this stage a small rant at the sat navs as I had Dan's telling me to head one way and mine the other! I suspect mine was still catching up from the previously requested journey!

The time flew by as we just sat whiling away our day – just "being" which was super. The boys loved burying their sister. And the excitement of searching for fossils was shared by all, though Joe definitely found the best one. We just missed Gus, as we saw lots of dogs that day and believe me Tom knew every single one's names! We had decided with all our manoeuvrings it would be kinder if he stayed with my brother and sister-in-law and their black labs.

Maddie and Tom Maddie, Tom and Joe






I had booked us in at a wonderful and welcoming, not to mention accommodating hotel. It was quite remarkable to have friendly, attentive staff that got the balance perfectly right looking after our needs and leaving us in peace too. I can highly recommend our family room which was more like a suite and felt like a little bit of luxury.

All in all a wonderful weekend away of family time, we all need that pause together to balance up the busy-ness of life don't we?

Maddie's 9th birthday is next

A recording studio with 10 would-be pop stars is her party. It's a traditional studio and a friend recommended it so there's huge excitement along with much posing in front of the mirror going on!
Dance exams, drama performances and Tom's PGL trip are looming let alone "The party."
In my wisdom and to try and get Dan into a celebratory mood about the 40th, we decided that yes a party would be great. And so the list begins…

  • 140 acceptances
  • A derelict barn
  • A head full of decorative ideas
  • An awful lot of Thai green curry to cook and work out how to heat and serve 
  • Music madly being downloaded 
  • And as ever a minimal amount of time to do it!!! I'm now questioning our sanity!

Still my 40th, an age ago, was not dissimilar though with less people. We did up our local village hall and had a fabulous time. Legs dressed in my dance shoes, fishnets etc, a leopard cake and loads of trees and fairy lights made it magical. I know we can do it for Dan's, if we have any energy left to enjoy it will be another thing. I'll let you know how we go and if there's any suitable pics to share. 

On a completely different note Joe (10) has started sex education lessons at school and threw this one at me… "If a different sperm made it to your egg instead of mine, would I be different, would I be me?" Well Google is my new best friend!

It made me remember all the amazing things they have all said and I felt sad that the special calendars that I documented everything onto were lost in a cupboard that flooded.

Last night's Joe comment was, "Is this a training world and the next one the real one?" Wow, how would you have answered? I tell you they keep me on my toes.

I look forward to your replies to me oh and I would love your top three party tunes ideas in your responses just to ensure the party rocks!!!!

Lots of love Party Organiser,

Claire xxx


  1. Gwen Tugwell June 27, 2013 at 11:27 am -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    Yet another lovely blog, thank you so much for sharing your latest escapades and of course your wonderful family with us.
    So glad that Tom’s Birthday celebrations went of so happily,
    as I am sure Dan special celebrations will, what a busy girl you are.
    See you soon on QVC, lots of love and take care.

  2. June 27, 2013 at 6:11 pm -  Reply

    Gwen, you’re a star for replying to me. Thank you! It’s all go go go with preparations !! I’ll share on next blog. Lots of love to you xx

  3. Mrs V June 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Love your blogs and love your news. Delighted that Tom had a good birthday. I think he’s adorable. Much love to you and all the family.

  4. mary June 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm -  Reply

    Claire, the sight of your handsome husband virtually naked has made my day..more photos please! Our local further education college runs a cafe which is staffed by students with learning difficulties and Downs Syndrome.. it is amazing. A good party needs buckets of punch and could be themed..famous people who were about 40 Years ago woukd be good. We glad a fab fancy dress Halloween party a few years ago fans was blown away by how much effort people had made..didn’t recognise a few guests. I was Mortitia from the Adams family. We put our punch in a huge plastic black caldron and caught my sister tipping the contents down her throat while we went into the garden and watched fireworks. She felt very poorly the next day. Lovely photos Claire. Happy party planning.Mary.

  5. Michelle Rollingson June 28, 2013 at 10:09 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire, your references to music made me remember something surreal that happened last weekend. I was fortunate to attend a wedding in New York. The bride, groom, and I all met on a flight from JFK to Chicago 4 years ago – no-one knew each other, but they liked my voice! Anyway, back to the wedding, the bride and groom are in their mid to late 30s, and for some reason I thought the musical tastes wouldn’t be too far apart. How wrong was I! It started to go down hill when the DJ played ABBA and Mamma Mia was shrieked out at me! I couldn’t even tell you the genre of the music being played afterwards! At one point, people left the dance floor ’cause the tracks were so old – at which point the bride’s mother and I looked at each other and just couldn’t stop laughing. It was all new to us! A very happy occasion, but when I’m fortunate enough to find my soul mate, ABBA is definitely being played at my wedding.
    I do enjoy some Jamiroquai, The Calling, The Killers when I’m on the treadmill.
    I’m not sure any of that will help with your top three party tunes, but thank you for reading my story.

  6. Joanna Downey June 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm -  Reply

    Good grief girl I’m exhausted – what a busy time you’ve all had! I’m delighted that Tom’s birthday was fab and it sounds as though the other two parties will be too. I know what you mean about men buying sports gear, there are enough trainers, SORRY, running shoes here to stock a shop. I’ve been informed that all are different and therefore even the most disgusting pair still serve a purpose, the conversation normally ends with the rhetorical question; “You wouldn’t want me to be a couch potato would you Darling?” Fantastic questions from Joe who has obviously got a wonderful imagination and enquiring mind and he’s only 10..! I also kept a notebook of the things our girlies said, from the sweet to the downright profound so I can imagine your sadness about losing your record. I’m doing an Afternoon Tea party tomorrow but it’s only for six and won’t take too much planning, the reason is that Bex and Ant are up for the day – after nearly two years of marriage they have something to tell Ellie, we know but have kept quiet as asked… My three “get on the dance floor song” recommendations are Dancing Queen, Lambada and Let’s twist again, Col’s just read this and adds Star by Erasure for those who remember the 80s. Love from Jo x

  7. Steven June 28, 2013 at 8:03 pm -  Reply

    Glad tom had a good Birthday Claire. Sounds like you have been a very busy lady. I’m sure the party will rock with a young at heart lady like yourself picking the tunes. I’m pretty sure you wouldnt have been seen as the weird and anceint Mother thats for sure. Hot and sexy might be nearer the truth! Hope the party goes well
    Take care

  8. dorothy collins June 29, 2013 at 7:47 pm -  Reply

    goody two shoes, adam ant
    blurred 1
    summer lovin……grease
    have a great time

  9. Sue Williams June 30, 2013 at 6:53 pm -  Reply

    Omg Claire is that your husband now wonder you have 3 beautiful children mine you he’s very lucky to have you I think your the bast presenter on qvc.bye for now lov sue

  10. July 1, 2013 at 9:51 pm -  Reply

    V, Thank you! Lovely to hear that! Everywhere we go everyone is stunned by how much he’s grown at the moment!!! Hope you’re enjoying our blast of summer!!
    Love Claire x

  11. Tracy heighway July 4, 2013 at 8:56 am -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    What a great blog…you really do have a lovely family…not sure wether your Dan has had his party? But got me thinking on the music, how about some tracks from 1973????
    Just some examples although I could list stacks…
    Bad bad leroy brown (jim Croce)
    Crocodile rock (Elgin John)
    Superstion (Steve wonder)
    Papa was a rolling stone (the temptations)
    Claire (Gilbert o’sullivan) lol not really a party track but couldn’t resist putting this one down
    At least if no one likes the tracks you can blame it on the best sellers of 1973 :-)
    Hope you have a fab time and best wishes to you and yours from me and mine…
    Tracy xxx

  12. martin forbes July 30, 2013 at 6:19 pm -  Reply

    hi claire hope you and family are well iam good

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Recent poll

Never miss a post!

Sign up to our QGossip feed to get the latest posts in your mailbox.