The Claire/Alex problem. Are you in the middle name users club too?

Join the middle name users club

It’s always been something I’ve had to explain to everyone I’ve ever met.

My name is Claire Alexandra Donaghy. Before I was married I was Claire Alexandra Scott.

Everyone who knows me in Lancashire calls me Alex, everyone who knows me in Leicestershire is confused and I don’t blame them. It is confusing!

And the story goes:

My mum knew a lady in Scan (a supermarket in the olden days) called Alex. I’m pretty sure she was the first lady Alex she came across and she just loved the name (she probably thought she was super cool and it goes with the name, obviously she was right! ;))

I needed to have a middle name (because my mum and dad didn’t get one and they were cool at the time of my birth) and she really struggled to find a middle name to go with Alexandra that she liked.

My mum swapped Alexandra to be the middle name and Claire was to be my first name. I was NEVER going to be called Claire by my immediate family.

I’ve had a number of aliases in the past (by close family and children I’ve cared for) :





But I’ve always been Alex.

I’m happy to be called either Claire or Alex because formally I am Claire, so please do choose one. I really don’t mind which.

Ironically my hubby also has always used his middle name (one of them)… But that’s not my story to tell.

And here we are. I’ll end my post with this(because this is a formal platform and it feels right):

Thank you so much for reading my post. If you liked it please give it a ⭐ and comment ‘I read your post’ and I’ll personally get back to each of you!Sharing is caring so please do!


Homeschooling Olivia… Deschool

Just going through the process

It’s been a few weeks now since we decided homeschooling was something we were all happy with.

I’d done a lot of research back in 2012 about homeschooling, deschooling, unschooling, online schooling… The list went on and on and it seemed there were a different curriculum for each child out there, and a few left over for good measure. It was quite overwhelming but I have always been keen to try new things!

Back in ’12 I decided it would be a good idea to put a plan in place to see if my girls and I could homeschool. So we gave it a try in the summer holidays and I was (as I usually am) full of optimism. We bought conquer maths and we set off using my minimal knowledge of the whole idea, but Olivia was keen to have a go. And we failed. I think we were set for a fail because:

1-I thought it would be OK to school my children in their school summer holiday… A time they had anticipated for weeks before it came… They were excited to do all the things they couldn’t usually do because they were in school. Sitting down and formally learning was not their idea of fu

2-We didn’t take time out to deschool. We rushed straight in. Deschooling is usually 1 month for every year the child has been in school. It’s almost like they need to be weaned off school and the institutional rhythm. It takes time to get that out of the system. Olivia is now 14 and she has been in school up until last October… We have a long deschool ahead of us.

3-I didn’t find a support network in my area. No one I knew homeschooled their children and the only group I found met so infrequently I found it hard to even get to meet them. And I’m a people person. I needed them.

4-It was just a ‘trial’. I never intended for it to last, and because of that, it didn’t. Not only that I struggled with nagging the children to tidy their room… Getting them to do any sort of formal learning was pushing me over the edge.

Looking back and thinking about what went wrong has enabled us to get things right this time.

Olivia has been deschooling and we have sat down and wrote plans, tried to carry them out, not followed them and assessed why the plans didn’t work. We are currently happy to just find a rhythm that works for us, we are still looking and still trying new methods. Each day we are learning about ourselves and making relationships with others we come across along the way.

I’ve panicked a few times, wondering if Olivia needs to be formally learning sooner, but we are both happy to go with the flow, and embracing the spontaneous learning we come across in every day life and having fun!

Thank you for reading my post. If you liked it give a ⭐ and please share, it helps me out 🙂 I look forward to writing more posts about our homeschooling journey.


My favourite books (Paper and Audio) to learn about France and French

Books that helped me Pamela Druckermans’ French Children Don’t Throw Food is one of my favourite reads. I read it while my hubby drove from the North West to Holland, for our family holiday in 2013. I was unable to put it down…

This book helps you to understand parenting, education, and tradition in France, which in my opinion is a great place to start when it comes to learning French, especially if you have children.

At the time I was a childminder and working alone can leave you and your practice stale at times. I was definitely feeling like I needed to get my ‘thing’ back. This book definitely did it for me. I was excited to implement lots from this book into my practice, including learning French.

In 2015 when I had my youngest daughter I reread the book to refresh my memory. I use it on a daily basis to help me with parenting even today.

When my daughter was around 10 weeks old I was thinking about her ‘doing her nights’ as mentioned in the book. I read of ways to implement the structure of the ‘doing her nights’ into my then nightly routine. I was armed with a plan and was ready to use it once my Ellie was 12 weeks old.

At 11 weeks +2 days Ellie slept through the night and continued to do so every night. My plan was not needed but I’m so glad I had the plan there and ready to be used.

Now that we homeschool and Ellie is with me full time (she’s almost 3), whenever we go to the park, I sit at the side watching her play and interact with her peers, creating relationships with new friends. She is so lovely to watch. If she falls she picks herself up and if she needs me I am there. But I don’t come running and I don’t play with her. This is her place not mine. I’ll happily chat with other parents at the edge of the park and have my own fun time getting to know new people.

If you are pushed for time to read this fantastic book… Try Pamela’s parenting tips book: French Parents Don’t Give In this is a great book for quick reference. Parenting is the hardest job! Make it easier for you 🙂

Now we are learning French as a family and hope to spend more time in France in the future.

Paul Noble’s French Course is a fab way to learn to speak French. It’s available on audible which is a great platform to learn a new language. It’s repetitive and easy to follow. We are currently using this and find it such a refreshing way to learn a language.

If you have any questions about any of the books mentioned above or about Audible, please do ask.

Thanks for your time… Keep positive!