Summer holidays are over and it’s back to school we go…


Tom in his new school uniformRight, enough procrastination it’s time for ACTION. It's jolly well September already and it’s been noted by you lovelies, by Mr Slater who is our super dooper manager (note flattery!!),  by my gorgeous Amanda and yes, by me too that the blog action is certainly not worthy of a Gold, a Silver nor even a Bronze Medal. In fact quite simply, I haven't even qualified.

So, HELLO in big loud capitals! Right, let's see, where are we all up to?

Right now I'm sitting watching the utterly phenomenal Paralympics as I wait for my car to be serviced, the incredible results Team GB are experiencing are testament to the unbelievable determination, strength and athletic prowess our athletes have shown.

As a mother of a child who doesn't conform to our social expectation, or as some might say requirements, I have watched with immense pride, admiration and wonderment, indeed questioning if Tom could possibly have any skills, currently laying dormant which could indeed see him achieve such brilliance…I think not!

Though the dexterity to push his pre-knotted school tie up into position and declare it "perfect" even though it was inside his shirt was worthy of a Gold medal to me – we will work on the tying of it later.

Heroes of the Paralympics

Watching Jonnie Peacock, David Weir and Sarah Storey, well actually, every single one of our Paralympians has made me wonder what is different in their make up and their minds that has seen them push themselves to such levels and achieve so magnificently where many of us would not even attempt to try.

Others struggle to cope with the disabilities that they were born with or have had thrust upon them. What is that difference in our genes that impacts so massively? And why are some people uncomfortably viewing yet others bathing in the brilliance of the performances they are watching?

Journalist Simon Barnes wrote in the Times "we checked-in pity at the door when we started watching these games. With the glorious performance of Sarah Storey we can replace it with envy"  It’s certainly an emotive and inspiring time for us all isn’t it?

Tom has started a new chapter

Tom and GusTalking of emotive and inspiring times, yes, Tom has started secondary school and seeing his confidence and excitement has paved the way for me quashing my anxious thoughts  and worries and simply enjoy this moment fully with him.

All of us who set the alarm that first day to ensure we were calm, sorted and organised (ha ha!) AND had sufficient time for the photograph of our sons and daughters looking oh so grown up and smart in their new uniform, we can now breathe as the first week is under their belts, they've survived are still smiling and it's the weekend! WELL DONE TO ALL!

Our summer sped by, did yours?

We didn’t do much or go on many exciting trips really, we figured settling Gus our puppy into our life was top priority, so I was actually very grateful to read in a newspaper article that children appreciate down time and just chilling out at home – that assuaged my guilt for a millisecond! 

So, Gus’s needs came first – we had a week in Somerset at a stunning cottage with a pool with friends and lots of friends came to us. It's amazing how many visitors come to see a new puppy, it's like having a new baby! For one small moment in time I thought this is SO like having a baby in the house, maybe I COULD have another… that moment was short lived I assure you!

Update on Gus

Maddie and GusGus is soooooo delicious, we are all in love and are amazed at his temperament, it really seems he was made for us.

The enforced time at home whilst we waited for all the injections I found a little hard. What with an 11, nearly 10 and an 8 year old all vying for mine and Gus's attention and all attempting to assert their independence  at the same time was wearing and I did crave escape sometimes – does that make me wicked?!

A visit to Tescos, ALONE was oh sooooo enticing !!!

That said, on reflection, the school holidays were lovely. I had time with the children and Gus which was so good and whilst landscapers barely rest over summer, Dan managed to manoeuvre work a little to be with us all too.

I decided that to be here for Joe and Maddie as they return to school and to settle Tom into routine at his new secondary school was vitally important, so I chose to take some (more!) time to do just that. I will be right back on air with you all at 10pm on Monday 17th and the midnight launch too, yippee! Though the logistics of transporting Tom to and from school will continue and will require military precision and we haven't even discussed HOMEWORK!
Joe and Gus Gus on day one

So, sunshine and September!

A true time of new beginnings really and so much more appropriate than the 1st of January isn't it?
I visited my Chinese 5 Elements Accupuncturist this week , she truly is phenomenal . She explained that this season is late summer, a time of replenishment and interestingly I had figured out I needed a little replenishing so to speak!

It’s funny but I have become so much more aware of myself, my thoughts and feelings since I first saw her when it all got just that bit too much, if you remember? I realise just how vital it is for us all really to retain our balance within all this business of life. I marvel at the immediacy of results and differences I feel after her treatments… she’s relit my fire! No, honestly!

So I hope that as we move through this very busy month I shall hold onto the ‘joy’ and , well a sparkly bit of ‘fire’! Watch out I say…

I shall save my fancy dress party pics of me as Katy Perry for my next blog, I wouldn't want to shock you all, well, not too much anyway!

Do let me know how you all are too and as it’s nearly school pick up time, I shall say farewell, for now.

Lots of my love to each of you,
Claire, now at home and in the garden with Gus!! Xxx


  1. SHEILA BLACK September 12, 2012 at 5:20 pm -  Reply

    Lovely pictures of the kids with Gus, love the one with Tom. He is so handsome with his new uniform on and his tie is fine!!!

  2. Angela Dulley September 12, 2012 at 11:55 pm -  Reply

    What a handsome boy Tom is – I hope his settling in period goes well

  3. Tony September 13, 2012 at 11:35 am -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    Don’t worry, you make up for your lack of blog action by the quality of your posts. Gold medal for the length, the “upbeatness” (if that is even a word) and the quality of the language.
    All flattery aside, disabled people or ones with special needs do tend to have gifts or qualities or develop skills that the rest of the population doesn’t. Blind people generally develop better hearing that the average person because the part of the brain we devote to the vision, they devote to other functions. And of course, some autistic people possess very particular gifts. So maybe Tom will have his own skills… or maybe it will be extraordinary human qualities… or maybe none of that!
    I am intrigued, though, by this acupuncture thing. I didn’t even know acupuncture could be used for non-therapeutic purposes. How does it work exactly? Doesn’t it hurt or is it without needles, similar to shiatsu? You picked my curiosity here.
    Gus is so cute even though that’s to be expected. And that Katy Perry dress has me fainting in anticipation (can we hope for a “wardrobe malfunction” like the real Katy Perry?). I can’t wait!!!!

  4. Hilary September 13, 2012 at 12:17 pm -  Reply

    Dear Claire
    What a lovely blog, well worth the wait 🙂 . I’m so glad that Tom has settled into his new school as I know you were worried. He looks like a lovely boy. I’ve been in hospital for a week so I don’t know what has happened in the Archers – there was a story line about a Downs Syndrome baby – I shall have to find out.
    Gus looks delightful, I’m sure he’s already a crucial part of your family group.
    I also wanted to say how much I enjoyed the fashion show on 22 August and I loved that coral colour on you. It was a bit tiring as pre the op to repair my pelvis, but well worth the effort of a trip to London and great fun to chat to Tania, Goody and Sharon afterwards.
    Take care Claire, and remember to keep that balance in your life :-).
    Best wishes, Hilary x

  5. D Morris September 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire,
    We always wait with baited breath for your blogs as they keep us informed of all that happens in your life that makes you the special person that both your family at home & the QVC family (that includes us viewers) love. I’m glad Tom is getting on fine at his new school. My great nephew has started at his college as he got the grades in his GCSE’s he was hoping for.
    I was intrigued that your still having acupuncture but am pleased it is still helping you with lifes little issues. Sadly, and i don’t wish to be troublesome, it is a little too late for me as i suffered a breakdown at the end of November last year over life issues and fear of being rejected for being born in the wrong body. My family have been great over it and my doctor has been very helpful & sympathetic. I’m now waiting for referral to the gender clinic in London. Yes, i do have lots of stuff from QVC.
    Sadly during this troubled time my Mother was also very poorly having been diagnosed with Parkinsons which has been a very difficult time for us all. Tragically she lost her battle in July and we are still picking up the pieces as you can imagine. I am trying to remain positive and look to the future as well as supporting my Dad who is totally devastated. We will feel better over time and also knowing that she is in a better place.
    i do so look forward to seeing you as you always bring a happiness & enthusiasm which is infectious and can’t wait to see the Katy Perry outfit (sex on legs!!) or is that the real Katy Perry??? Still being cheeky eh!! Puppies are so cute aren’t they although they do grow up. Hope i can one day meet you & Catherine again for a little chinwag over coffee & cake.
    Davina (was cheeky David)

  6. Sylvia September 13, 2012 at 9:52 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    I can’t believe that’s Tom away to secondary school already! What a handsome chap he is. I love the picture of Tom and Gus, looks like they are having such fun! I love to read your blogs as always so keep them coming Claire. Love Sylvia x

  7. Joanna Downey September 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire, As others have written the pauses between blogs only makes them more welcome. I’m delighted to hear that Tom has started school and that the vibes are positive ones. Gus is lush and the settling-in period over the holidays was obviously just what you all needed to do. I had a wonderful six weeks away from school and ticked everything off my “to do” list. I feel so priviledged getting these amazing holidays and have to fill them with tasks and projects. We also fell in love with Sicily, it was our first holiday there even though we’ve been to Italy many times. She is gorgeous; wonderful food and drink, people and weather. I never thought that anywhere would rival Sorrento but Taormina is right up there! I’ve found your comments about the Paralympics really interesting, I think so many people still find disabilities, in whatever form, hard to deal with. There are so many reasons why and of course the term is such an umbrella one covering so many different challenges. I admire anyone who works hard at something, especially on dark, cold mornings when the last thing you want to do is dive into a pool or run around a track. That motivation could be seen in all who competed in both Games, however, I’m amazed that very few of our students felt inspired to take up a new activity preferring to remain at their computers or games consoles. How’s Gypsy? We’d all love to see photos. Lovely to hear from you again. Love from Jo X

  8. Susan September 14, 2012 at 6:04 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    That’s a really lovely blog! I always think you have a wonderful way with words!! You have such a lovely balance of humour, sense, realism, honesty…etc etc I could go on! I adore Gus. How cute is he. Lovely to take the time – as you say it is so important for them to also feel safe in your home. I am happy to say we had a nice summer though like you didn’t do much. I don’t think we should feel guilty personally. Finances are not easy – especially with so many redundancies – currently going on in our lives too. And children (and adults!) like proper home time. Glad that Tom had a good first week. Hoped and thought he would!
    Look forward to seeing you again on air.
    Susan x

  9. Alison September 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire, What a lucky little pup Gus is to have a safe and loving home with 3 wonderful human brothers and sister to grow up with! Love the photo of Tom- he looks so grown up. Love Alison.

  10. Louise September 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    Goodness, I cannot get over how much like you Thomas is. I bet you are so proud of him starting secondary school. I can understand how you will have been feeling quite anxious, wondering if and how he will cope with all of the pressures and conformities one’s last school demands. My mum was the same; I have been epileptic since birth and it is only natural for the parents to worry as you so obviously know. Now in my forties, I feel quite guilty about what my mum had to sacrifice and still does, as I have lived with her since my fiance and my 13 year engagement ended. Everything she does, she considers me, even though I tell her to put herself and her needs first. But I suppose that is what a mother is. I was in hospital twice last year, so mum decided she wasn’t going on holiday. I’ve managed to persuade her she can’t put her life on hold, so she’s going to Scotland tomorrow. She needs to spend time with her friends, and treating herself. I’ll be at work, and spending all my spare time with my babies! (I used to breed boxers – I have the dad and son, Oscar and Caspar). I feel so honoured to have them love me. Like you, Claire, I’m exceptionally close to my mum; she is, and always has been, my best friend. Isn’t a girl’s most reliable confidante her mother?
    Well, all the very best to your other kids for their school year, and to you all as a family. Take care and, as always, look forward to seeing you on air.

  11. Cheryl Williams September 16, 2012 at 9:46 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire
    What a wonderful blog!!
    It doesn’t seem 5 minutes since Tom was born and here he is a handsome young man on the beginning of a new chapter in his life and the start of high school. Im sure with his enthusiasm and determination and the love of his family he will flourish at school. Hope they’ve all settled back into school well
    The photos of all your precious children are lovely and Gus looks so adorable.
    Take care
    Love Cheryl

  12. Suzie barrick September 17, 2012 at 7:53 pm -  Reply

    Hi claire
    It is lovely to hear Tom has settled in to his new school so well and he looks gorgeous in his uniform. My Ben started year 3 this time although he should be year 4 he is running a year behind but doing well. The summer was hard his routine changed and it just upsets him so much he asked for school every day bless him but he is happy again now he is back. Look forward to seeing you back on qvc.
    Suzie x

  13. Sandra September 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm -  Reply

    HI Claire,
    You really do deserve the Gold medal, your blogs are fantastic, you have a lovely family. Tom is gorgeous he will find his way in life when he is ready. One day he will decide that he has found his way. Hopefully will surprise you.
    A new puppy is a handful but hopefully you are all enjoying the fun. Chewed shoes and socks and all. I have had puppies through the years and often lost something only to be found in the garden. Sometimes buried as well.
    I watched you last night on the POTD. You really are an inspiration. I was looking at your gorgeous hair. Does it take much looking after. I am at the age at the moment where I am loosing mine through stress looks like in another few months I will of lost it altogether the rate it is coming out now.
    Keep smiling Claire

  14. Susan September 19, 2012 at 6:27 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire and Davina,
    I just had to write again and say I agree with everything Davina said! You are a special lady Claire. And so are you Davina. I’m so sorry to hear of your problems and heartache but you sound strong and I know you will get there. We have to don’t we! What’s the alternative? Not good and we don’t want that!
    Take care both and enjoy your next cuppa!
    Susan x

  15. Kathleen September 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    What a lovely blog, Thank you for giving everyone an insight into your daily life. You are such a natural.. and it brings back memories of when my 4 children were little and the juggling we had to do.. we had unexpected twins when I was 38.. and they are still living at home,26 yrs later! two elder children making their own way.. ( thank goodness ).. love them all..
    I worked with adults with special needs until I retired this year and loved it.. and I know how special Downs people are, it changed my life and the way I though about – well everything.. I’m sure Tom will do fine, he is a handsome boy and there will be skills he has that will blossom and make you proud.
    Love your Puppy, we have rescued a retired Greyhound – she has a calm peaceful personality.. she is special.
    Love reading your updates.. Take Care Claire…. Hugs..

  16. paula joy williams September 22, 2012 at 12:07 am -  Reply

    hi Claire
    lovely piccies glad you are all well. We are just staying local. All my kiddies are having a great time in there new schools. We’re looking forward to thriller night n pinkober

  17. D Morris September 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm -  Reply

    Hello Claire & Susan,
    Claire just to add to positive things with Tom and starting his new school, thought i would let you know what was on breakfast tv this morning. Was watching BBC Breakfast this Monday morning 24th September before seeing you Zumba away on the morning show. (what a mover!!!) They had a mother & her 4 y.o son on as he is being used in the new Marks & Spencer campaign this A/W. I think thats really great and following the paralympics should help continue the view that people with disablities can achieve all sorts of wonderful things. Here is a link to the clip of the interview. (hope it works)
    Susan, thank you for your kind words they are very welcome. I am getting a lot of support from my doctor which is great and i’m losing weight & getting fitter so i can fit into the nice frocks better!! Staying positive is a must as very worried how my Dad is coping but it will take him a long while i know. Claire has a picture of how my nails look, but i’m still trying to get a decent recent pic of the new me.
    take care both of you.
    love Davina (formerly David)

  18. Kay Salisbury September 25, 2012 at 8:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi lovely Claire-what a handsome family-esp your gorgeous young man, Tom. You should all be so proud of each other, and rightly so. That pup is growing so fast-hows is the gyspy caravan? Saw Haralds last show today-why?????? Such a shame-you both worked so well together.Seems strange to stop after 4 and a half years-weird time to stop?????? Never mind.Well, happy year ahead and have a pat on the back for all you do—from me.
    Love from Kay. XXX
    P.s. gold medal pending.

  19. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm -  Reply

    I’ll begin at the end and work backwards!!!
    I’m sitting in the car park waiting for a certain young man experiencing his year 7 disco!! 7 to 9pm, there’s really no point going home as its 20 miles round trip…plus he’s pretty likely to fall asleep mid Justin Bieber track! The next stage is getting Tom onto the school bus to our area as I’ve just found out that’s a possibility. It’s costing a fortune as I have someone take and fetch him when I’m at work…so here I am with time to reply to all your super replies which I have LOVED reading as always – I consider myself totally privileged to be in a position where I can chat and you reply.
    So, hello. Kay, I agree Mr GUS is growing, all leggy and skinny currently, we’ve upped his food as Maddie’s godfather came last night and spent the entire evening worrying about seeing Gus’ s ribs, and although his chocolate lab is huge and on a perpetual diet we did agree he needed a boost!
    Gypsy is due to feature in my next blog. It’s fantastically lovely having ‘her’ , I’ll try really soon to do it I promise!
    Harald, I know and such a busy show, he has soooo much he’s doing, you never know he may return, in the meantime we should ‘Harald’ Charlie up….now that WOULD be hysterical!!!
    Lovely hearing from you, xxxxx Claire

  20. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 7:53 pm -  Reply

    I immediately replied to you… but personally, it however just refuses to go from my outbox no matter how many times I tried. So, I will reply again to you here.
    Firstly I have to say how I applaud you and how incredibly brave you are, with all you have obviously struggled with and indeed the amazing courage you have and are displaying in taking these next steps. I can only attempt to understand how immense this is for you and how there is still so much ahead in this your brave journey.
    At such a time of sadness for you and your Dad, I hope you will find some inner strength to know that you ARE going to feel good, happy and dare I say it be glam and proud!
    Thank you for letting me into your struggle and I await the fab figure in the nice frocks pic!!
    With special thoughts and love,
    Claire x

  21. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm -  Reply

    Kathleen, what a lovely reply , thank you so much! Gosh twins at 38, mind you Maddie was one of two to begin with in the very early weeks and I too was 38!!! So had that little one carried on as Maddie did then we would’ve been “snap” …oh my goodness me. My god daughter has an incredible character and has been working with adults with Downs Syndrome in the summer, I couldn’t be more grateful and happy that there are lovely people like you and her in this world.
    We’re loving our little Gus, he has a delightful nature too.
    Take Care, with my love xxxx Claire

  22. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:06 pm -  Reply

    Sandra, hello! Lovely to hear from you, though I am worried for you now and wondering if there’s any magic potion I know of to help you with your hair…..or indeed your stress. Is it alopecia? Have you seen anyone about it, please let me know Sandra.
    Gus is …ssssssh don’t say it loudly, not toooooooo bad on the chewing of objects front….yet!!! Though ESCAPING, now that’s another story! I’ll fill you in when I blog next…
    much love Claire x

  23. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:14 pm -  Reply

    Gosh your mum sounds just brilliant, but as you say, that’s what mums do. I so hope she enjoyed her trip to Scotland and that you did great too with your “boys”, lovely names!
    Do you manage to control your epilepsy fairly well? I have a special little chap who I know who wears a patch
    at night time, I guess like everything each person has their own version to cope with.
    I hope that there will be health and maybe even love in the air for you again Louise,
    With my love Claire x

  24. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:20 pm -  Reply

    Sylvia, Alison and Paula I’m so pleased you liked my piccies, it always brings things to life doesn’t it? Though Dan and I were looking back through some old pics with Maddie and Joe utterly shocked and indeed mournful that our chubby-cheeked daughter and cheeky teeny Joe were now soooo grown up looking. Mind you 5 years from now and we’ll think how young they looked at this age.
    Have a super weekend, I’ll see you on QVC!
    Claire x

  25. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:27 pm -  Reply

    Helloooooo, I was pleased and felt less mean after I read your response! Summer at home it was, mind you , I’ve spent so much time researching Lapland these past few weeks. Gosh it’s a bomb, do we, should we, can we……we’ll see! And then you look on these forum things and get frightened to commit, even IF I could decide whether to!!!!!!!!! ,
    How wonderful that you wrote to Davina through me …so to speak. Thank you.
    Right, I must stop hurriedly, no battery left, so long as my car still has battery as I’ve been sitting in it freezing and now have numb toes and nose… is that an omen for NOT doing Lapland??!! Ha ha ,
    lots of love Claire x

  26. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm -  Reply

    So hope the pelvis op was a success? It was super to meet you and I loved the show – Goodey, Tania, Sharon, well all our beautiful girls looked sensational. I must admit to coveting a number of the fashion pieces in the show….especially the creamy camel shawl coat!
    I didn’t hear of the Archers story line, though I loved seeing the scrumptious boy who will be modelling in the Marks and Spencer campaign, how perfect that is.
    You take care of yourself and I send my love to you,
    Claire xxx

  27. Claire Sutton September 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm -  Reply

    Suzie, Hi and to Ben too!
    I so get the asking for school bit! And that must’ve been hard as you say with Ben feeling out of routine. Tom’s was “whats today Moma?” which actually meant what are we doing today as the answer was invariably not a lot Tom, a home day. I would let him in on the plans ahead but then have to deal with his delight and then disappointment when he realised that Friday was NOT in fact today!!!!! Actually I dispaired of Tom EVER getting the concept of today, tommorow etc…but it’s there, that makes life easier I assure you.
    Hope term has started well for him, it’s a long one though isn’t it?
    Sending my love…did you ever think of getting Ben in on a m and s campaign?? How fab that we shall see the gorgy blonde boy featuring….fantastic huh?
    Much love Claire x

  28. Susan October 2, 2012 at 6:07 pm -  Reply

    Hi Claire,
    I was more than happy to be able to write to Davina so thank you. I also am glad you didn’t feel so guilty about the summer at home! Heck so many of us have to do it now!! We’re struggling ourselves too. I also wanted to say Claire that I was so sad to hear that your little Maddie was a twin. I never knew that. You have perhaps mentioned it before but I have not heard. My sympathies. Same happened to a friend of the family. I know how much you adore your family though and you are a wonderful Mum. That much is clear.
    Take care

  29. annie caine October 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm -  Reply

    OMG Clair cannot believe just how Thomas has grown,he looks so much like you,he looks lovely in his school uniform,i have never left you a message before but thomas looks so grown up.x

Leave a reply

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


Cast your vote!

Never miss a post!

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