Dancing, 80s music and red noses #littleloves

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A little cheat this week as by writing my post on Saturday I get to add Red Nose day news which this week has been building up to.   Its been a busy week, ballet viewing, parents evening, a new car, RND (another dress up day at school 🙂 ) and the normal comings and goings of a family week.  It was also a week when terrorism struck London again and the sadness and frustration which accompanies such an attack reminds you of the important things in life.

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I finished Bee Wilson’s This is Not a Diet Book.  I have it on Kindle and imagine its quite a short paperback, but so worth the read about our attitudes to food, children’s diets etc.. All excellent counsel on a very important subject presented in a common sense approach.

IMG_5379 On  Monday, I got to see Little Miss dance at her ballet viewing class.  It was lovely to watch and a relaxing hour of dance.  She has now been dancing for 5 years and her grace and poise is beautiful. I never got to have any dance lessons when I was a child and by encouraging her to ballet I hoped that she would not be as clumsy or awkward as I am. She’s not and has discovered a passion and delight in dance which is a pleasure to watch.

On Friday I watched #rednosedayactually. Love Actually is one of my favourite films, so the catch up on the characters was just perfect and the storylines seemed to match their original characters, I like happy endings.  It was definitely the highlight of Red Nose Day and the speech Hugh Grant gave as PM about the good in people was incredibly moving in the light of the terrorist attack this week . I may have whooped at the cards, engagement and children and shed a little tear for the speech and absent friends…

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Mmm I’m really stuck on this category, the most creative activity at work was when I made some red nose animations to introduce a competition we held for RND.  My current work is very office based and formal and I rarely work directly with the children so it was fun to design the competition and then introduce the task to them with my work.  My favourite little animation was Disco Dom, he was such a dude to design.

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I wore a red nose on Friday but not the foam nose which I had bought as this was taken by Little Man who wanted an extra one to complete the class’ collection of the 10 red noses.  I had a pin badge and considering I am often plugged into headphones on my runs, it seemed quite apt.

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With an 80s 24 hour dance a thon on Radio 2 on Monday, I heard a lot of 80s tunes and loved being taken back in time to my childhood.  Whilst loving the music, I was unimpressed with some of the DJs knowledge of the 80s, Jeremy Vine took some convincing that Gorbachev wasn’t the USSR president in 1984.

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Whilst its Mothers’ day tomorrow I don’t think we’ll be able to do our original plan of going out for a family day.  Little Man suffers with chest infections and has been coughing badly today so I think a day resting and being warm indoors is in order.  For years I’ve been trying to visit the ornamental gardens in a neighbouring town and been thwarted each time.  However, I am looking forward to opening the envelopes which came home from school on Friday, nothing beats a homemade card and sharing cuddles with my two little ones.

I am linking up with Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com for Little Loves

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Painting, village walks and new pumps #littleloves

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Its been a nice little week, to quote the wonderful Call the Midwife on Sunday, a week when its been easy to ‘find joy in the simple things’  The week started with a quiet weekend at home, Saturday was spent doing cricket practice followed by a trip to the Lego shop to spend the carefully saved pocket money.  On Sunday we did a walk in a nearby picture perfect village (although no photos as its v easy to identify)  and relaxed with a coffee and a lemon cake in a lovely little tea shop.  Such a weekend definitely helps to smoothe in the coming week.  IMG_5375I like a nice mix of fiction and non fiction and this week I’ve been dipping into some of the non fiction titles on my Kindle.  I enjoy the food writing of Bee Wilson so have been reading some of her book ‘This is not a diet book’  It is simple, good advice, focusing an good quality fresh food and it has inspired me to choose some new recipes, really focusing on flavours.

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It was the concluding episodes of two favourite series this week, Call the Midwife and The Replacement.  It was a lovely ending to Call the Midwife, perfect Sunday evening television.  I really enjoyed the Replacement until the last 10 minutes or so, when what had been a great psychological thriller turned into some sort of action movie, a bit out of place with the rest of the programme.  However there was some great acting by the lead actors and it was a drama that did have you engrossed.

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On Sunday afternoon, Little Miss and I decided to do something creative.  I joined Jennie Maizel’s Sketchbook club a few years ago and loved how simple she made her projects so I signed up to Sketchbook 2 and started with the owls project.  Little Miss really concentrated on our project,  carefully watching the video and then following the instructions.  It was a really calming and mindful session.

As you can spot I’ve also made a few headers for this post!

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I have worn my new Converse pumps this week in a metallic rose gold colour.  I make no apologies they are mum uniform but I love them, they go with so many of my clothes and lifestyle and made me happy, I may have had a little skip as I walked along in my new pumps.

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I’ve listened properly to Ed Sheeran’s Divide album (do we still call it that when its a download?)  I like to listen to a new album a few times to get the feel and I’m really impressed.  I think my favourite track is Perfect.

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The weekend is here and I think its time for a little girlie shopping trip tomorrow for a few spring clothes ahead of our Easter holiday,  3 weeks and counting!

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Thank you to Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com for hosting this linkie and all her lovely contributors.

Big Little Lies, Girl Power for IWD and a dress code.

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I had something a little different this week to my normal Mum duties, a mystery invitation from work.   The event turned out to be a thank you and celebration at our local Hotel du Vin, it included afternoon tea (disappointing cakes but fabulous scones!) served with some bubbles, a work presentation and then a cocktail master class and wine tasting.  The cocktails were a lot of fun whilst the wine tasting was more sophisticated and earnest; all were done in a stunning venue and  a lovely gesture to recognise the work we are doing. Apart from this surprise it was a another happy week in the Sparkles household, life is ticking along nicely and I believe there’s a lot to be thankful for in these ordinary weeks.

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I read one of the best books I’ve read in ages this week, Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty, it even made soft play nearly bearable.  The tv adaption is currently being advertised for Sky Atlantic and the casting looks perfect.  It is a brilliant story centred around the mums of a kindergarten class, you can identify the tribes but its got some very strong story lines too.  Its definitely one of those books you are either reading, working out when you can fit in your next chapter or thinking about the characters and trying to predict the end.
Little Miss and I have finally finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone too this week. We have read aloud every single word between us at bedtimes. Little Miss is mesmerised by the story and its been a delight and privilege to read it with her.  It was so special to rediscover JK’s magic and I feel that I learnt even more of the story rereading it.  there are parts which were so different for me now I am a Mum, the Mirror of Erised was heartbreaking.
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Its been a busy week so apart from the Replacement I’ve little tv to report on.  However this week I was preparing an assembly on International Womens’ Day and found a number of inspiring video clips.  The favourite was the reworking of the Spice Girls Wannabe video from 2016, its brilliant and a great way of highlighting girls rights around the world.
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No exceptional makes this week from me, on the cookery front it was a week of our family favourites in the kitchen with no new recipes and we didn’t really do anything crafty at the weekend.
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At last I finally have something to report for the wear section!  The mystery invitation to our work’s do gave no details of the venue or event, simply a time to be in Reception for transport and a dress code of semi-formal.  Needless to say this led to lots and lots of discussion on what we were all going to wear, suggestions, trying on different outfits, frantic texting it was just like back being back on the going out days of my twenties!  In the end I wore an embroidered satin skirt, a chiffon black blouse and sheer cardigan with some pretty black pumps.  I did feel confident in what I was wearing and enjoyed the evening.
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I’ve enjoyed the Classic Acoustic Playlist on Spotify, its something a little different and nice and chilled to relax to.
AND FINALLY
Whilst my diary is getting quite busy from April, this weekend is relatively quiet.  I think it could be a garage clearing weekend and perhaps a little trip to the garden centre to think about our spring plants.  Needless to say the garden centre has an amazing coffee shop, hence my enthusiasm to visit!
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I hope everyone in the #littleloves gang has a fantastic week and thank you to Morgana for hosting the linkie at http://coffeeworksleeprepeat.com/

 

Pancakes, Faith and Exercise #littleloves

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My Favourite Trail run from Thursday

Life is pretty good at the moment.  Its a period of simple pleasures and relaxed times.  Some weeks it seems that my diary is bursting and my days are measured to the minute. However the demands on me are much more achievable at present and I don’t feel that every second of my time is taken. This has meant that over the last few weeks I have had more time to myself and have used it to look after me, with running, swimming and good nutrition all of which are making me feel pretty sparkly.  We’ve also had more time as a family, we discovered Lazerquest on Sunday which the children loved and then were able to have a lovely lunch in a stunning Italian café and patisserie.  The good times are rolling…

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Upon recommendation I started reading ‘The Life Changing Magic Art of Not Giving a F*** ‘  Unfortunately, I just didn’t like it, I persevered with it for about a third of the book but it wasn’t inspiring or interesting me, so I removed it from my Kindle.  Its very unlike me not to finish a book but I have lots of other titles waiting to be read and want to enjoy my reading, I suppose I learnt that I already know how not to give a f***!

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Mr S and I always try and sit down together at 9pm to relax, whether it be me reading whilst he watches sport or watching a programme together.  We both enjoyed the new drama, The Replacement on BBC 1 on Tuesday evening about a maternity cover post with the replacement taking over a little too much of her cover’s life.  We don’t often agree about our choices but we’re both looking forward to the next two episodes.

I also watched Diana : Designing a Princess, a programme to accompany the fashion exhibition of her dresses at Kensington Palace.  It was really interesting to see how her clothes reflected the periods of her life.  It’s well worth a look on BBC iPlayer. 

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I think this week its just the one important make, pancakes.  I love the tradition and fun of pancake night and its one of those photos we have from every year with the children in the early days eating pancakes in their high chairs and now having a go at flipping them.  For me its always lemon and sugar as my topping.

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I’ve had a really good week exercising, 3 outdoor runs and 2 swims so my wear this week must be my exercise clothes, a practical Speedo costume for swimming and capris, running top and sweatshirt for the runs.

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The new Stevie Wonder song Faith is my favourite dancing around the kitchen tune of the moment.  Its also on the Sing soundtrack so is a firm family favourite, we play the Sing and Trolls soundtracks a lot in my car.

AND FINALLY

Its a busy Saturday this weekend, sports practices and parties but we’re looking forward to a family day on Sunday.  We’ve discovered the indoor skate park and Lazerquest in recent weeks which have wowed the children so I quite like the challenge of finding another new activity.  Hope you all have a lovely weekend and enjoy new adventures.

I’m linking up with Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com for this week’s Little Loves.

Cake books, work-style and deers #littleloves

Yay its Friday and its been a quiet and happy week at the Sparkles house.  I like weeks like these simply pottering around and going about our daily routines contentedly.  In between Storm Doris there have been some lovely sunny days and the promise of spring, this has inspired me to do more exercise, I’ve enjoyed the first trial runs of the year and swimming in our local pool where the sun streams through the glass roof and windows and coupled with the sea views makes you believe you could be somewhere more exotic.

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As well as continuing to enjoy Helen Pearson’s The Life Project,  as detailed in last week’s #littleloves, I have also been reading some cookbooks for a new baking project.  I have been looking for inspiration in the M&S cake catalogue and this bargain book on children’s cakes which I found in WHSmith reduced to £3, its fantastic.

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We finally watched Moorside this week.  Sheridan Smith is a wonderful actor and I was blown away again by her performance.  Its a harrowing story but I didn’t hate the mother as I thought I would, I saw a very vulnerable woman with a complex history probably including learning difficulties.  I hope that her daughter and other children are safe and secure in loving homes now with all the support they need for happy adult lives.

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I am on a bit of a healthy regime this week so have made lots of delicious salads, wholesome soups and nourishing mains.

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I was inspired by a lovely article by Not A Frumpy Mum on her working wardrobe http://notafrumpymum.com/fashion/back-to-work-style-a-teachers-capsule-wardrobe/

This week I have made an effort to be more stylish at work and been a little more creative with my choices.  I’ve tried to avoid my normal staples and have experimented with different combinations, digging out some items I don’t normally wear and matching them up with recent purchases.   Its surprising how a slight change of look can make you feel more sparkly.

HEARD

On the way home from school tonight, Little Miss told me an amusing but slightly unbelievable story about a family of deer who ran onto the school field whilst they were having their PE lesson. We laughed at the story and tried to fit in all the deer jokes and word play we could, making for a funny walk home. When I got home, I received a phone call from the teacher to reassure parents about what had taken place and his account did roughly match Little Miss’ tale.  I think its one of those stories which may go down in folklore, the day the deer joined in PE.

AND FINALLY

We have a quiet weekend planned.  I’ve done lots of jobs this week so I don’t have a long to do list, just time to potter and hopefully be outside as much as possible.

I’m linking up with Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com and her delightful #littleloves contributors who provide so much inspiration and ideas in their posts.

Family news, memories and Batman #littleloves

Oops a little late with this week’s Little Loves as we tried to eek every last second out of half term.  We had a really nice week, I like how this half term is a more laid back holiday with none of the big celebrations of other holidays.  As Mr S was working away for the first part of the week we went to stay with my parents and then did some family things with Mr S in the second part of the week.  Mr S was really quite poorly so our planned trip to Portsmouth was postponed and replaced with local trips, a visit to the new indoor skate park which the children loved and a train journey, which is treat in itself, to another town to wander around and catch the new Lego Batman film.

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I have been reading The Life Project by Helen Pearson, its a non fiction book about cohort studies of children born in a certain week and the impact the results of the simple questionnaires have consequently had on health and education in the UK.   This may sound a bit dry but its an interesting and fascinating read about what factors determine success in life.  Some of it is sadly depressing, the vicious cycle of poverty but it also highlights the positives of good parenting, good education and good health services. A thoughtful and powerful read.

WATCHED

Call the Midwife was a heart breaking watch for me this week, as someone who has lost a baby in pregnancy and adopted, the two themes of the episode I was in bits by the end and sobbing my heart out.  As is always done in the programme the issues were handled sensitively.

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We went to see the new Lego film Batman this week.  I know the reviews are good but I did find it a bit dull, there were some witty parts but its an action film, albeit in animation and its not my favourite genre.  However, Mr S and Little Man loved the film.

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I know its bit of a cliché but this week was about making memories especially with my family.  With my parents, we had walks along the beach, trips to the café, swimming and a fantastic morning in Bristol at the Clifton Observatory.  Despite growing up in Bristol we had never visited it before.  It is a tower to climb to use the camera obscura, you twist the handle and a reflection of the outside is projected onto a screen inside, it doesn’t look real simply a picture until you look closely and see the cars driving across the suspension bridge. In the same building you descend over 130 steps and end up in a cave in the Avon gorge, there are two different explanations for it.  It is a Roman chapel or the home of two Bristolian giants.  The tower is a great visit and after we walked along the Suspension bridge to go to the new visitor centre, it was a great venue for the children where they got to learn all about bridges and to build them too!

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The milder weather meant it was skinny jeans with fewer layers, a nice feeling that Spring may be on its way!

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My parents also bought me these slippers from their recent trip to Marrakesh, the children find them hilarious, Mummy’s pink elf shoes!  They are remarkably comfortable though.

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Staying with mum and dad I got all the news on family and old friends.  Its funny how life turns out, real life is so much better than any soap opera!

AND FINALLY

Half term is over now and its back to work this week.  I’ve enjoyed the break and its a nice time of year to be looking forward to, Springtime is coming.

Many thanks to Morgana for creating this linkie

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My Valentine Sadness

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When I was younger, Valentine’s Day filled me with dread.  I was a very shy, angst ridden teenager and the only card I ever got was from my Dad. As I got older and found myself in a relationship it was a day to celebrate but generally I felt a bit awkward  about the whole cheesiness of the day.  Mr S and I do occasionally get romantic and celebrate our special anniversaries but not so much Valentine’s Day until 2009, when the significance of the day changed.  Valentines is no longer a romantic festival for us but a day to cherish our family.

Valentine’s Day 2009 was supposed to be the best day of my life.  After years of fertility treatments I was pregnant and the due date was February 14th, as we shared our news, we were all so excited by the date, a Valentines baby, I had it all planned the little heart coming home outfit, announcement cards adorned with hearts.  At last Valentine’s Day was going to be one of my favourite days of the year.  And then tragedy struck during the pregnancy and our darling baby boy died in the womb, it was discovered that he had a condition ‘incompatible with life’  For me now, Valentine’s Day is a very sad reminder of the hope and excitement we once held for the date.

The first Valentine’s Day was horrendous coming so soon after our tragic loss.  I walked up to the beautiful place where we had scattered our baby’s ashes and it did give me some peace.  Mr S had decided that distraction was the best idea and he had booked a Valentine’s dinner in one of the most exclusive restaurants in our county, it should have been amazing but of course we were both grieving too much to appreciate the fine food and stunning venue.  I remember sitting at my dressing table and putting on my make up, it simply felt like a mask and no make up could disguise my sadness.  We both agreeed after that first Valentine’s Day that a quiet Valentine’s Day was the way forward.

Over the years, I am more at peace with Valentine’s Day, I still get a sick feeling in my stomach when I see my first Valentine’s card of the year and it is always a time of the year when I think more of our son.  However Mr S has started a new family tradition since adopting our children.  We now mark Valentine’s day as a family and often go out for lunch to a nice restaurant, it is no longer a day simply to mourn, but to celebrate the family we have because of the loss of a very special little boy.