9 Little Things … in Little Man’s bedroom

Little Man has the smallest bedroom in the house and the most toys too, so to solve this conundrum many of his toys especially his Lego City and Star Wars models are in the playroom.  Above is a flavour of what can be found in his bedroom, Little Man is happiest playing with his toys and I’ve never known a child so creative in playing, he finds a joy in every single toy he has.  It is never a problem deciding what gift to buy for him, he will love everything and just in case you’re stuck he always has a long list of things he would like, he studies the window in our local toy shop intently.

  1. Little Man has always loved our emergency services and has a wide variety of vehicles in his collection.  However the fire service has always been a favourite and he has always had many fire engines in his toy collection, he has grown out of Fireman Sam but still loves this engine, kindly donated by a neighbour.
  2. This is a picture of Little Man’s Zombling collection, he will collect anything, his current collections include Sainsburys’ Lego cards, Match Attax cards and Spy cards. He loves his collections and will behave so well on shopping trips to get a reward.
  3. These are Little Man’s favourite soft toys, Rainbow from the Skyline gang at Butlins and Colin the (Spanish ) Minion.  Both were bought with holiday pocket money and guard a sleeping Little Man in his bed.
  4. Little Man loves listening to his radio, he falls asleep listening to it and he switches it on as soon as he wakes up.  Interestingly his radio station of choice is Gold with all the music from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s.  He loves a little groove too.
  5. This is only a small selection of Little Man’s Star Wars toys, he reads his books avidly and studies all the vehicles and characters.  He has lots of Lego Star Wars models in the playroom but the instruction books are in his bedroom for him to look through at bedtime.
  6. Little Man has an impressive talent and interest in jigsaws, he has an eye for shapes and how they fit together and will happily do one with daddy ( jigsaws are one activity I delegate!)
  7. This is one of Little Man’s book boxes.  He and daddy are working their way through this Roald Dahl book set.  Little Man’s night routine of shower, teeth, pyjamas and reading is boy time with daddy and a special time for them both.
  8. Little Man only has this Lego box in his bedroom and figurines from Lego mini collections, however it is enough to create models and stories for the figurines. The other Lego is in the playroom where he and his sister have created an amazing Lego City, taking inspiration from the Lego shop’s stunning displays.
  9. The final picture is Little Man’s wooden castle and soldiers, another example of his wide and varied interests. We live near a castle which we often visit and where he has taken part in children’s activities, dressing up, learning moves with a sword and shield plenty to feed his imaginative play.

I love Little Man’s bedroom and how it reflects his interests and passions.  Its a small room with a cabin bed but the space underneath gives him a space which often becomes a den, he loves to play and have little adventures.

 

9 Little Things … in Little Miss’s Bedroom


Little Miss will be turning nine this year and she is caught in that tricky period between childhood and teenager. This is through her desire for independence yet her need for us to be close by, trying to be assertive but needing boundaries, experimenting with her look and her exasperation at our rules regarding crops tops and earrings, loving the company of  her older cousins and family friends but being brilliant with little friends too.  This week I did a bit of a spring clean in her room and noticed the different things she has in her room, I look at these and wonder if there are little clues to the young adult she will become, her hobbies, interests and possible career.

  1.  This delightful tin contains Little Miss’ craft projects. She prefers to personalise and interpret the projects herself rather than read and follow instructions!  Most are jewellery making tasks or simple sewing and she likes to make items for Doggy and baby Annabel.
  2. Here are Baby Annabel and Doggy, Little Miss’ favourite toys, wrapped up in the cot and bedding which Grandma and Granfer made for them.  Baby Annabel has been with Little Miss since her first Christmas, whilst Doggy is actually a pencil case I bought for her during introductions to hold her crayons.  He’s never been used for his original purpose but Little Miss loves to hide special things in him.  These are the two toys who always come with us on holiday and nights away and are inseparable from each other and Little Miss.
  3. The dolls house has been customised by Little Miss with fabric scraps used as curtains and carpets, she has dolls in the house but has also used small toy animals, so its full of kittens and puppies.  She still loves to act out little plays in the house.
  4. Music is big for Little Miss, her radio is tuned to Heart for the pop songs and she is always singing and dancing.  Her ipod is used for long journeys and I’ve made the playlists to avoid anything overtly sexy or adult themed.  Little Miss also plays guitar and music is very important to her, it helps her to relax and self regulate.
  5. Little Miss has the most beautiful natural rhythm and dance thanks to her ballet lessons, she loves to try all types of dance.  Her gymnastics also helps here.  She has her ballet medals and gymnastic awards proudly displayed in her room too.
  6. I’m not sure how we discovered this but Little Miss adores the Beano, we’re always in charity shops and second hand book stores looking for old annuals.  Each night we read a book together and then she settles with a Beano.  Little Miss is a very good reader but at home will never read at any other time of the day except bed time.
  7. Nail art console. Little Miss loves this nail art set and is always creating new nails and developing ideas, she is only allowed painted nails at weekends and holidays, never at school.  She is so alert and will always look at the style of older friends and pop / film / tv stars for inspiration.
  8. Make Up bag.  This bag is full of lip glosses, pale eye shadows etc..  I dislike children’s make up in its garish colours and artificial ingredients so we compromise by buying Little Miss quality products to be used sparingly.  She’s definitely become more skilled in her make up and does look sparkly with a little gloss and glitter.
  9. Little Miss has a strong interest in nature, we walk locally every week and she is always interested in the environment.  One of her favourite books is an encyclopaedia of animals and she is always telling us interesting facts.  Grandad is a keen bird watcher so she likes this poster to find out which birds are visiting the garden and then to tell him.

So these nine items from her bedroom are some which reflect Little Miss’ character and interests at present, she is a young girl who is creative, musical and curious. It’ll be interesting to see what items best reflect her lifestyle as she progresses to adolescence and adulthood.

 

Sunshine, friends and sundresses #littleloves

 

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After Monday’s events, this was our light box message in the kitchen.

 

This week has been dominated by the unspeakable horror of the Manchester terror attack and the sadness it has left. This is the first news event my children have had an understanding of and has led to some honest but difficult conversations. My message has been that sometimes bad, bad things happen but this is really rare and lets not look for the horrible things but all the amazing things humans do for each other.  We’ve also talked of showing everyone kindness, love and respect so they feel they belong and are a part of our community, at school, in our neighbourhood, at clubs etc..

I’ve joined in with #littleloves this week to show that even in the darkest of times there is always something to brighten a dark day.

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Its been very difficult to read much this week as much of my online reading has been around the terror attack.  Among all the reading was a piece by Alexis Petridis about the rites of passage of a teenage pop concert, in light of the attack it is a heart breaking but a beautiful read.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-heartbreak-never-grasped-what-big-pop-gigs-for-daughters-eyes

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I have watched my children intently this week, just taken by their innocence and how they find joy in simple things, playing with a friend, an ice cream after school, reading a book, planting a sunflower seed.  I’m sure we’ve all been giving our children more cuddles and kisses this week, thankful for all we have.

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With this week’s mini heatwave, I have made a variety of salads for tea.  Greek salad is my favourite salad but I experimented with lots other ingredients too, thanks to a visit to the local market for inspiration from the different stalls.

I also made lots of plans to meet with friends this week.  I work in a SEN school for children with complex needs and as a way of supporting families our holidays are slightly different during the year to make the long summer holiday a little shorter.  Thus I’m on a two week half term.  Lots of my friends work at the school too so we have met up this week and enjoyed such nice times together in the sunshine.

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Whilst this was a café terrace, there were pub gardens too this week!

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I have worn my sundresses this week and love my Boden sunglass print dress, it is so comfortable and has pockets too.  I wear sunglasses a lot to prevent migraines and have so many pairs that this print just seemed really me.

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I have also worn my new running leggings this week from Decathlon and I think they are the best I have ever had.  I normally wear Nike black capris, but spotted these new ones when shopping in Decathlon.  The colour and fit are brilliant but my favourite feature are the pockets.  There is a key pocket at the back but there are two good sized zip pockets on the legs, one perfect for an iPhone and the other for gels (if you’re a proper runner) or jelly babies (if you’re like me on long runs!) I cannot recommend them enough!

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Scary selfie –  leggings are never flattering but I will never photo shop me.

 

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I listened to the Manchester vigil on the radio as I tidied up after dinner on Tuesday and was so moved by the poem ‘ This is the place ..’ Sometimes poetry reaches parts other prose cannot.

I have also heard stories of such courage and commitment about our emergency services this week and wanted to share a story which happened in our little town.  On Wednesday morning around 2am, I was woken up by the sound of a helicopter.  I could hear that it was very close, low and hovering and it stayed in position for a considerable period of time.  The helicopter had located a missing woman in the sea and was providing a light and guide for the emergency services and RNLI who were all responding.  The woman was successfully rescued alive with some injuries but again it highlights the amazing work and bravery of our emergency services, in a difficult week its always worth remembering Rogers’ quote of always looking for the helpers.

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Its now half term for all of us, we normally go away this week but this year  we’ll be based at home with a few trips planned.  It is one of the busiest weekends of the year in town so we will stay very local to not get caught in bank holiday traffic jams.  As locals, we know the quieter beaches to enjoy and hope to spend some sunny days simply playing on the beach.

Have a happy week #littlelovers x

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A lunch date, sobs in the cinema and cricketing debuts #littleloves

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Welcome to another week of #littleloves, there is a real mummy and son theme to this week’s post as we enjoyed a weekend together whilst Mr S and Little Miss went to Bristol.  The split was the only way we could fit in all the weekend’s plans and whilst we all enjoyed our weekends it did seem strange to be apart. I felt much happier and mpre comfortable when we were all back together on Sunday afternoon. We are a little team of four!

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This week, I finished Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forget,  an excellent read.  I’m really enjoying discovering Moriarty’s work and have no doubt another of her titles will be on my Kindle soon.

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I always like to have a book on the go, so I started Britt Marie was here by Fredrik Backman.  A Man Called Ove is one of my favourite reads of the last few years and this book has the similar gentle but engaging pace.

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On Saturday Little Man and I took the train,  which is a real treat for him and went to our county town for lunch and the cinema.  Little Man was keen to see A Dog’s Purpose.  I didn’t realise that this story is an American children’s classic book but what a tear jerker.  The story is going to sound a bit odd as a dog is reincarnated through the story and has different lives with different owners as a different breed.  Despite this premise its actually very good and strong on issues such as caring for others, loneliness etc…  However with the dog being reincarnated I, foolishly hadn’t made the connection that the dog needed to die for this to happen and these were the tear jerker moments.  There was lots of crying in our screening, Little Man was sad but didn’t cry yet I had a few tears roll down my cheek throughout the film.  Predictably Little Man is now even more desperate for a dog after watching the film.

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Well after the miserable weather during the week, I’ve been making lots of winter comfort meals for tea, casserole and dumplings, a roast chicken.  I am done with these meals, I want my salads, its May!

A bit of a tenuous link but I also made my first ever cricket score sheet at Little Man’s cricket match. Our team needed a scorer and with everyone else volunteering for other roles, I was given a crash course in scoring and did the role.  Fortunately the scorer from the other team was lovely and helpful and our scores matched!

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Little Man and I had a lovely lunch out on Saturday.  His sister is a chatterbox and it is hard for any of us to get a word in sometimes so the opportunity for the two of us to talk was lovely.  We talked about cricket, football cards, favourite players, team etc.. and all the latest Lego minifigures.  He was a pleasure to take out for lunch and I loved listening to his talk.

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For cricket on Sunday, I wore my daughter’s cricket hoodie.  I’m not that small its just there was a mistake when the girls’ orders went in and they were made up in ladies sizes not girls.  As they were all personalised and the supplier acknowledged their error we got to keep them free of charge and replacements made in the correct sizes. It is the comfiest hoody I have but does confuse people as I’m not who it says on the hoody!

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Whilst we are all at home this weekend our diary is still busy, we have more cricket matches (if the rain stops) and Little Miss has a concert rehearsal for a production in an arts festival in a few week’s time.

Thank you to Morgana for hosting the inspiring linky #littleloves, hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

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The School Run

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The school run is one of my precious times.  I’m not going to romanticise the school run as I have just returned from a damp school run where both children fell off their scooters despite my words of caution and I was chief bag carrier, but it is a special time with the children, 10 minutes of walk and talk twice a day.  Sometimes we walk with friends, sometimes its just the three of us. sometimes its just 2 school bags, other days we are balanced with guitars, lunch boxes, PE kits and any ‘art’ work returning home.  Over the past 5 years, I’ve learnt that umbrellas are useless, best to stick to hoods, likewise I never take a handbag, pockets are good for keys and a phone so I can hold something else, whether it be a hand or junk model.  Its also the school run law that the day when you are 30 seconds late that it will be the first day in months when the children come out of school on time.

I think one of the reasons that the school run is so important to me is that I never had a parent doing a school run with my when I was a child.  We were bussed to our primary school and we walked ourselves to and from the stop.  I was always slightly envious of those friends who met their mums in the school playground.  I have been incredibly fortunate that I have been able to negotiate my work hours around the children’s school day, so I do the school run everyday. As one of my children has a 1:1 TA I need to do the run to be able to liaise with the school daily.  The mornings I work are pressured and I have to take the car on these mornings so I can get to work asap, I can be dropping the children at school at 8.50am and be presenting assembly at 9am! The afternoons are my favourites, I always walk and sometimes we just let the mood take us.  Last week we ended up with an impromptu play in a friend’s garden, we might have a walk along the beach or on sunnier days we might go for an ice cream.  I think the walk gives everyone the time just to de-stress from the day and reconnect.

I know when I’m an old woman it will be those simple moments I look back on, the journey mapped out by the red post box and yellow grit box, the corner where we look for friends, the old man at his window who waves to us, the lollipop lady, the goodbye and greeting hug in the playground, this is what makes the school run special and one of my favourite parts of the day.

 

Badminton Horse Trials, new nail varnish and Britpop #littleloves

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Welcome to another week of #littleloves.  We had such a lovely weekend in Bristol that it has been one of those weeks in which the buzz of the weekend has filled your week. Its been a good week, quietly getting along with the daily routines and enjoying simple pleasures.

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I finished the Cows by Dawn O’Porter this week, its a really good read and raises some very pertinent questions about social media and the online world.  The characters find support and kindness online but it also shows how the net can close in on you and skew your view of things to the point where one character uses it to troll and abuse others.  A tale of our times, with some very funny scenes and a twist I didn’t see happening (chapter 14, I really wasn’t ready for that!)

I’ve now started another Liane Morairty novel ( Big, Little Lies) What Alice Forgot and it was hard to pull myself away from the story to write this post.  It is a corker of a book, the main character Alice bumps her head in a gym class and cannot remember the last 10 years of her life or understand how the important relationships in her life have changed.  It employs similar devices to Big, Little Lies (check me out A level English Lit student speak) flashback, conversations with a therapist and is equally enthralling, I think it’ll be a late night to finish tonight.  Just a word of caution, if anyone has suffered miscarriage or infertility,  this is a significant theme in the book and whilst it is dealt with brilliantly, it may be upsetting.

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On Saturday I watched the cross country competition at Badminton and even as a non horsie person I was totally captivated by the event. The skill of the riders and the strength and power of the horses is top quality and it is sheer sporting brilliance to ride the course well.  The best thing about the cross country is how close you are to the action, front row at each jump as people tend to walk the course and you feel such a part of it, you hear the hooves, the breathing, see the concentration on the faces as they approach the fences, the horses muscles clenching etc..  It really is a spectacle not be missed.   I wrote more about our Badminton experience here https://seasidesparkles.net/2017/05/06/badminton-horse-trials/  , it is a great day out and well worth a visit.

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I am one of those people who buys little presents for Christmas throughout the year and this week I made a start on my present buying for Christmas 2017.  There were some stunning craft and artisan stall holders at Badminton and I saw the perfect gift for a friend, I’m really pleased with it and that I’ve been able to tick off a present from my list.

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I spoilt myself with a new Essie nail varnish this week using my Boots Advantage points, I never use rewards in any store for ordinary purchases only for treats. The colour is Excuse Me, Sur and its a lovely shade. a light coral perfect for summer.

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On Sunday Radio 4 had some particularly good programmes, Ed Sheeran’s Desert Isalnd Discs was really good and then later I caught a Listening Project special on adoption which had some delightful interviews, the segment with the little boy talking about his adopted baby brother was beautiful.  I’ve also discovered a new Spotify playlist Britpop etc.. which has taken me back to my late teens and early twenties and been the soundtrack to my runs this week.

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Its another weekend with lots of plans and unusually we’re splitting up as a family to fulfil all the obligations.  Little Man and I will be based at home so he can play his first league cricket match, whilst Little Miss is off to Bristol again with Mr S who is off out with his old friends on Saturday night to remember a friend whose anniversary falls this weekend.  Grandad is babysitting and Little Miss is taking lots of games and Beanos to keep him entertained.  I’m looking forward to the mummy and son date I have organised, its quite rare to have a day just the two of us and I intend to make it a special day.

Many thanks to Morgana for hosting and to all the lovely contributors who make this such an interesting linkie.

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I got that feeling …

I love this line from Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t stop the feeling’

 

Its Sunday night and I want to write about that feeling …. Its not a feeling of worry or anxiety about the coming week but of a weekend so well spent that I have that buzz, that happiness which will help the week flow.  I’ve been really lucky to have had that feeling after a number of weekends recently and it got me thinking about what makes that feeling.  The three weekends which have had me feeling so positive have all been different, a weekend at home  hosting family to celebrate a special birthday, a day out at the seaside and a party and a weekend away.  No weekend has been quiet and relaxing yet I’ve felt more energetic and alive after each one.  I don’t have an answer to what creates that buzz, family is a feature in all weekends, as are friends, good weather certainly helps but does not make a weekend, the activities can be grand, a weekend at Badminton or simple, a train ride, a walk, a cup of tea overlooking a bay.  I wonder if its appreciating others, this could be Grandad’s 85 years, a rider’s sporting prowess, being inspired by artists and crafts people or seeing and enjoying the world through a child’s eyes.   I don’t have the answer but I know that a busy, inspiring weekend with family and friends can give you the freshness and sparkle to start the week.