#19for2019, no. 10 Wear my Watermelon 🍉 skirt.

Wear my watermelon skirt sounds like a very easy task, but it required hard work! This skirt has been sitting in my wardrobe since I bought it about 5 years ago (and still remains one of my best bargains, ever) I loved it and promised myself I would be slim enough to wear it next summer, fast forward 5 years and I finally got to twirl around in this gorgeous skirt this summer.

Late in 2018 I realised I had to take control of my weight as it had slowly increased and with a size 16 becoming too tight I couldn’t go to an 18. I was also feeling uncomfortable, frumpy and big. I’ve worked hard this year, joining ww and taking up running again and now my size 12 skirt fits but most importantly I feel more myself and living the life I want to. This skirt is a symbol of the happy and healthy me.

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My Week of Little Sparkles ✨

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After the novelty of the first days of secondary school and a new job in the Sparkles household, this week was all about our routine as clubs retsarted and we began our new ‘normal.’  It means an earlier start for me at 6am, but with a staggered set off and return from school, it does seem more relaxed at certain times of the day.  Here are some of the things which have made our week sparkle.

1.Harvest

Last Sunday Mr S picked some of the last fruits and vegetables from our garden for this season, runner beans and the tomatoes which have finally ripened.  Mr S and Little Miss as our resident gardeners have had a successful garden allotment this year and have tried a few new crops too.  There is nothing as tasty as homegrown veggies.

Whilst Mr S tidied the garden, I took the children to pick some blackberries in the fields near our home.   It was a hot and sunny afternoon in the meadows and there is something just very wholesome and healthy about being in fields with bundles of hay, picking berries.  The children insisted that I took a photo of the butterfly which was fluttering around the bushes.  We collected lots of berries and at home, made an autumn fruits crumble adding appples from our neighbour’s garden, before freezing the rest. There was such a beautiful aroma in our kitchen when I was preparing the crumble, the warmth of the spices and caramelised fruit, complemented by my orange and chilli pepper candle.

2. Cubs

Little Man adores cubs and is a very commited member of the pack. He finds school lessons tough but is able to do everything at cubs as its so outdoorsy and practical, I think he feels an equal at cubs, rather than school where he has a 1:1 TA and has to go intervention groups.  This week he was made seconder of his six and was beaming with pride and happiness.  I was lucky enough to be in the hall when this was announced and it was one fof those magic moments to treasure to see his reaction.  Now, I just have to sew it on and all the new badges he received last week.

3. Student

At the grand age of 46, I’m off to university again as a mature student .  Its a part time professional course which work are financing, and is fortunately based at the local agricultural college and not the Univeristy of Exeter which is nearly 100 miles away. Its a course I’ve wanted to do over the past few years and I am so excited to be finally enrolled.  And of course, a student needs lots of new stationery eh!

4. A day off

Officially I don’t work Thursdays but life is very busy at work and recently I’ve done a lot of overtime.  This week I didn’t and had such a lovely day, doing a 4 mile run after the school run, catching up with emails and household tasks and then meeting my fantatsic friend for a lunch to celebrate her 40th.  It reminded me I should try and make that time for myself.

5. An autumn beach day!

At this time of year a little challenge emerges, how long can I keep wearing my shorts and flip flops.  Today, Saturday was stunning weather, we had perfect running conditions for parkrun (and another PB for Little Miss) and then we spent the afternoon on the beach, the children in the sea with their boards and me reading on the beach.  Somemtimes life is pretty perfect.

#19for2019 : No. 9, Have a Makeover.

Whilst I haven’t written many updates I’m happily working on my #19for2019 and have many in progress tasks. However during the summer holidays I was able to tick off number 9, have a makeover.

I chose this task as over the past few years I have become more and more aware of ethical and environmental effects of my make up. Last year one of my successes of my #18for2018 was to have a cruelty free make up bag and this included boycotting those companies who promoted cruelty free but then sold in China where all products are tested on animals in compulsory state tests. I have found some great brands but I did miss the high quality make up and glitz of the glam make up counters and wanted an opportunity to refresh my look.

After research I discovered that the ethics of Charlotte Tilbury matched mine and they were on my list to try. Unfortunately CT make up is only stocked in their own shops in London or at John Lewis and being an expensive buy I really wanted to see and test it rather than buying online. Fortunately my parents live near a John Lewis and after some careful planning on a recent visit my parents took the children to the trampoline park after we had done the dreaded school shoe shop (and it was grim!) and I had the opportunity to book in for a makeover at Charlotte Tilbury in John Lewis. It was a wonderful hour, the make up artist (and she was so good, sales assistant wouldn’t describe her skill and knowledge) listened to what look I wanted, a very natural, relaxed look with my eyes being my favourite feature. She gave fantastic advice on application, handy little hints and most importantly gave me the confidence to replicate the simple look at home. I learnt lots about the products and have a list of special little treats which I hope to add to my Christmas list. The makeover was perfect, minimal with fantastic eyes. The makeover is £35 but this is refunded against any purchase so it was a ‘free’ experience. I did buy a few items and love using them daily, they create a look I adore.

My week of little sparkles ✨

It’s back to weekly posts for this theme as I find if I do it monthly I forget some of the more simple joys which bring the sparkles to our daily life.

1. Back to school and a new job.

Despite the huge changes in our household this week, we’ve all ended it tired but happy and looking forward to our new adventures.

2. A new swirly skirt

I love a swirly skirt and found this black and white dot pleated skirt in New Look. It’s perfect for work teamed up with a white top and red converse pumps and I may have done a few twirls when wearing it this week.

3. New stationery

I’m a teacher and love the new stationery at the start of the school year. New pens, diaries etc.. Stationery shopping is one of my guilty pleasures.

4. A Happy sweatshirt and shorts

I’m still (just) in shorts and flip flops this weekend and this sweatshirt has been taking the chill out of autumn. Looking at the forecast this may be my last shorts weekend of the year. (Please may I be wrong and we have an Indian summer)

5. Park Run

Parkrun was a happy one today. Little Miss got a PB and the briefing was full of happy news. There was a bride marrying later today who as well as a customised running wedding dress got to wear the 50 cape too. And another 50 cape runner was not only celebrating his 60th but the year anniversary of a heart attack. There was such a lovely buzz today which set me up nicely for the weekend.

6. The Folk Festival

The folk festival is our sign that the summer season has ended. It’s the last big event of the summer and town is full of music, dance and the twinkling of the bells that the dancers and musicians wear. There’s a field full of performances, craft stalls and delicacies and we’ve been there this afternoon. I’ve met up with a few friends and simply enjoyed the relaxed afternoon vibe.

That was the week that was ….

I always knew this was going to be a tough week but my goodness what a week! This Friday evening, I am cuddled up on the sofa, shattered but relieved that all has gone so much better than expected.

It was a big week in the Sparkles household as Little Miss started secondary school, Little Man year 5 and Mr S begun a new job too, so lots of new routines. There were also two Inset days so my parents kindly came to stay and look after the children. Add to this my job which is manically busy at the start of the new academic year, a day’s overtime, a lost wallet (as soon as all the cards were cancelled it was found) and a broken dishwasher 😱 it’s been quite a week. It’s been one of those weeks where you simply focus on the moment.

With all the new routines in our life I’ve kept this month quiet on purpose. I think we’ll need the weekends to rest and relax. This weekend, It’s the final music festival of the season so we’ll go down to the field to listen to some music and visit the legendary craft tent. I’ve also promised some blackberry picking and cake baking with our harvest. There may be a park run tomorrow too, but that’s more for my mental health than fitness.

Next week it’s a full week of new routines and I hope we’ll settle more into our new schedules and my time will be back on the agenda. Sometimes you just need to focus on the here and now and I’ve done that this week with extra emotional support for all my little family.

I can’t resist a lunch box note.

Little Sparkles of August

I love August, after months of military organisation with school and extra curricular events, August is the month to  relax, chill and just live in the moment.  After an indifferent start to summer, we have had great weather for the school holidays and we’re all looking sun kissed and healthy after a month outside.

Played

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Games are not a normal category in my little sparkles but it’s August and we’ve played lots! There’s imaginary games at the park and on the beach, garden games such as cricket, tennis and football and card games on holiday.  UNO is always a family favourite but thanks to a birthday present we have a new game, Monopoly Quick Deal, which we played every night on our family holiday.  Its a simple, quick and fun game and its a nice feeling to finish your day in the caravan with all the family around the table playing and laughing together.

Read

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After a very quiet year of reading, this month I managed to read 7 books!  I love the holidays for the time it gives me to relax and read.  With the age the children are now, they are able to play on their own and with friends at the park and beach giving me valuable time to read, my Kindle is always in my bag.  However I also read some real books this month, one from the library and I bought three with a book voucher I got for my birthday.  My favourites were The Trials and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and How to be Famous.  Grace was about the value of friendships and looking and caring for yourself  with the beauty of Paris and music being themes woven through the story.  How to be Famous for me was full of nostalgia and memories of the the 90s, with a strong plot that stopped the rose tinting of the era.  My children have done the Reading Challenge this summer and with my reading I reached the target too, unfortunately as an adult I didn’t get all the space stickers!

A wedding

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This month I went to the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to.  Words simply can’t describe the elegance and detail of the wedding.  As you entered the castle the smell and beauty of the flower displays simply took your breath away, whilst the live music was superb and had us all dancing.   There was the most amazing firework display to end the evening and  we were given embroidered blankets and pashminas to ward off the chill.  The bride was so beautiful and elegant and having known her for many years I’m so happy that she has her happy ever after with such a lovely man.

Our Family Holiday

This month we were in Tenby for our summer holiday and I really fell in love with this lovely little seaside town.  There were beautiful sandy beaches and the town was full of quirky, independent shops.  We stayed in an amazing caravan where the master bedroom had a dressing room and en suite!  It was a great family holiday where we simply had the chance to be together, play and relax away from all the stresses of daily life.

A summer fayre

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We always go to the local village’s summer fayre on Bank Holiday Monday.  It’s such a lovely, traditional British event with the flower tent, dog agility, town band etc.. and for me seems to signal the end of summer.  It’s a very popular event and a great opportunity to see friends and acquaintances.  It was ridiculously hot this year but great fun, one day I’ll enter something

Water Fun

In such a lovely month we’ve all spent a lot of time in the water, the sea at home and in Tenby and pools, inside and outside. As well as swimming we’ve tried lots of different activities, kayaking, water walkers, aqua jets, inflatables, water slides and pedalos.  We are so lucky to live at the seaside and embrace every opportunity to be on the beach.

And finally

So August is now at an end and September sees the start of a new school year and all that it brings.  It’s been a summer full of happy memories bathed in warm sunshine for which I am truly grateful.

Being 11 …

Little Miss has begun to become a little anxious this week about starting secondary school on Wednesday so I arranged for her friends to come round this afternoon and just to chill together.

It was such an interesting afternoon to observe, the girls loved playing hide and seek at home and ran to the swings when we arrived at the playground yet they also enjoyed practising make up and preparing dances to chart hits, a funny juxtaposition of childhood and adolescence. They’re also at the funny age of what they can do independently, they’ll all be walking to school but I didn’t feel comfortable with them going into town on their own, so I walked 10 paces behind and sat on a bench outside the playground to allow them the look of freedom!

There were silly chats (Gatcha world and Anime) and really sensible conversations. I was pleasantly surprised how empathetic they were to each other and over tea they all had a great conversation on how they were feeling about secondary school and amongst themselves they decided to meet up on Wednesday morning to walk to school together.

I felt I achieved what I wanted to today, a chance for Little Miss to be with her friends and share their worries whilst being able to support each other. No matter what advice I may give it seems to be better received coming from a friend! However, there was also lots of time to play, laugh and dance and enjoy the treats the other mums had sent too. I know secondary school is all about making new friends but I hope these girls are always there for each other, it may not be as best friends I understand that friendships change but simply to show the care and kindness they all shared today.