My Sunday Photo #17

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Strawberries and bubbles!  Our new picnic set got another outing today as we went to Paultons Park (aka Peppa Pig World although there is so much more here).  We love Paultons Park, it is set in beautiful grounds and is such a family friendly theme park with so much to do.  Its been a day of thrills and splashes for us all.  Our favourite area is the Lost Kingdom with Velociraptor and Flight of the Pterosaur as our top picks although I can never resist the log flume.  Its been a stunning day and we’re home tired but very happy.

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The summer football came home

 

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I love a World cup summer and I will watch every game I can.  I’ve always been a big football fan and until our move to the seaside I was a season ticket holder at Bristol City.  I’m not a huge premier league fan, that’s a whole different game, I’ve always followed lower league teams as the football community here feels a bit different and real.

My expectations for Russia 2018 were pretty low, I thought that given the reputation of some Russian ultra fans and recent problems that hooliganism would be rife.  There has been no hint of such violence and I’ve also enjoyed exploring Russia through the different venues, the hard, grey cities I imagined have been replaced by venues such as Samara which looked a lovely seaside city.

This has been the first World cup in which Little Man has been really interested in, he has collected his Panini cards, adorned his bedroom wall with posters, worn his England top and been able to talk about the teams and games with confidence.  His enthusiasm has been infectious, from day 1 he believed in the England team.  He had none of the cynicism and weariness of the adults and it was refreshing to see the game I love through such innocent eyes.  Little Man taught me about the players as he knew all the facts like names, clubs, age etc.  These players are his new heroes.  It was also the first World cup when Little Man got to go to a bar to see the game on a big screen and the fun of all the oohs, argghs and cheers, he loved it.  I also liked that we were at Grandad’s for the Panama game and all the goals and my parents watched the semi final with us too, football is about community and sharing the experience.  Whilst my daughter has watched the football too,  she has definitely preferred the social aspect of meeting up with friends.  She doesn’t dislike football, she simply prefers to play.

Sad as I am to admit it, I knew very little about the England team before they left, a team of young, internationally inexperienced players. I was hoping they would  progress through the group stages, gain some experience in a big tournament and be ready to really compete at Euro 2020.  Generally I think lots held similar thoughts, for once the media hadn’t hyped up the team and I think that’s why what happened seems rather magical, the England team just quietly and diligently worked hard on playing football.  As the results came in, the feeling of excitement blossomed, here was something new, a team of youth, with grace, talent and skill unburdened by expectations.  We also grew to love the quiet humility, determination and hard work of our manager, Gareth Southgate, an unexpected appointment which now seems genius.  It was a lovely feeling to experience and I’m so pleased that Little Man got to experience such a positive World cup by England as his first real tournament.

The World cup comes to a close this weekend and its been brilliant, new teams have emerged, the old footballing contenders were knocked out early, VAR has caused some controversy in the early games and the country has united behind our team again.  Its been a memorable tournament and I’m so proud that although we may not have brought the World cup home (but came so close) the England team have brought football home in reigniting our love for the beautiful game.

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My Sunday Photo #16

Little Man has loved the World Cup this summer, he has the posters of the England team on his wall, he’s diligently filled in his wall chart with Daddy, has a few footballer figures and has not only collected but studied hard the cards in this Panini collection pictured above. Little Man now recognises so many international footballers and can tell you lots about them all, especially England. In the run up and now throughout the World cup, Little Man has always had the upmost belief and confidence in England, they are his heroes and he loves watching them play. I really hope England give him the fairy tale ending to the World Cup he has always believed in. Whatever the result this England team will always be very special to him and to us all.

My Sunday Photo #15

A little bit of a cheat today as it’s a photo of a gorgeous postcard from Paperchase that we have displayed in our kitchen. We are in the midst of a heatwave and one of the best summers I can remember. Everyday could be a beach day if it wasn’t for pesky work and school commitments! We look out to the bay from our house and on ordinary days I walk along the prom most days whilst on errands, it’s the centre of our town and simply part of our geography.

In this perfect weather the most repeated phrase at the breakfast table is can we go to the beach today? We went after school on Wednesday as it’s our only club free night and we have been down this weekend. Little Miss also went with the Brownies as lots of the children’s clubs base themselves on the beach in the summer and the children have been known to have lessons on the beach too. They will never realise how lucky they are to have the beach as their playground.

The beach is one of our family’s happy places, our beach has soft, white sand and the sea is clear and at present unseasonably warm, I’ve definitely been sea swimming more this year and that’s in a swimsuit not a wetsuit! Thanks to this fantastic weather, we all have a healthy glow, extra freckles and sea salty skin from a summer spent on the beach. Beach please? Yes please x

Something is bothering me ..

Yesterday I saw a Twitter feed about the lack of diversity in ITV’s Love Island🌴. I’ve never seen the programme although I’ve seen the ads with the identikit 20 somethings. Whilst I can’t comment about the specifics it really got me thinking about diversity in our society. I grew up in a multi cultural part of Bristol and my school represented its community, reflecting on it now it was an inclusive and integrated school long before such things became political. However that multi cultural community in which I grew up seems less visible today. Last weekend we went to a party in a very ‘nice’ golf club on the outskirts of Bristol, same city, different area 30 years later and there was not one person of colour at the club, everyone was white. There are no COC at my children’s school although there are in the clubs they attend which cover a wider geographic area. I started to think about ITV and some of their programmes and struggled to think of a mainstream presenter of colour, yes there’s Alison Hammond from This Morning who I think is great but she’s cast as the big, bubbly black woman, another stereotype fulfilled and her career developed after Big Brother (probably the most inclusive reality show) rather than a more formal career path. Too many of our presenters are successful because of family ties, a certain look and networks, which is true of politicians, leading companies etc.. It’s all pretty depressing. Yesterday the BBC also announced that it had settled an equal pay case with one of its senior reporters and she donated the back pay to a women’s charity to help others achieve such equality. FFS this is 2018 and we still don’t have what me and my friends were demanding and protesting for 30 years ago, why as a society does it feel that we are promoting an image that seems less equal and inclusive? Great developments have taken place particularly with LGBT rights but prejudice still exists and there is still so much to do. It’s up to us to shout, to act, simple acts have an effect. My twitter feed is full of #loveisland comments, perhaps if everyone switched off then ITV would take action, it will give its audience what they want, we just need them to know that it’s a show which reflects our multi cultural society.

#Littleloves – June 2018

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June 2018 has been a very special month, the sun has shined daily, there have been lots of celebrations and special events and even our national cricket and football teams have been winning with record scores.  June is definitely our family’s busiest month of the year and whilst its been packed, this has been a fantastic month in which we seem to have fitted so much in.  There’s no way I’ll be able to fit it in all into this post but this month we’ve enjoyed playing in lots of cricket matches, a visit to a water park, a roller disco, a residential trip for each child, school day trips, a weekend away in Bristol which included open air swimming, pedalos and a friend’s party, school sports day, a primary schools concert, learning to kayak and of course visits to the beach.  June you really rocked!

READ 

brillAs I started this post, I didn’t think that I would have much to write in this section, however when I looked at my Good Reads record, I’ve finished four books this month.  I was on holiday for a few days at the start of the month so I think I must have done most of my reading then. I have read The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin, perfect escapism, Its not what you think by Chris Evans, an autobiography which had me reminiscing about the 90s, Dear Mrs Bird, a period drama and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.  My Brilliant Friend has been on my to read list for ages and it really didn’t disappoint.  It wasn’t what I was expecting but is the story of two friends as they grow up in their small Italian quarter and their neighbours. The story is so engaging and beautifully written, a 5 star read, full of complex characters and relationships.  My Brilliant Friend is the first of a quartet and I’m hoping to download number 2 for my summer holiday.  With this heat, the sun and the chirping birds I’ve been waking up early around 5ish and have taken to reading in bed, its a little luxury which is really rather nice!

WATCHED

So for the first time in a few years, I got to watch Sports day on the planned day, last year it took 3 attempts due to poor weather.  I do love Sports day, its so simple and fun.  My favourite race is the whole school relay when the four school houses compete against each other, its a feat of incredible logistics to get everyone in the correct position from Reception to Year 6 but the cooperation and comradery of the race gets me every year!

I also watched another school event where all the local primaries work together to put on a concert. Little Miss was in the choir, her school sang Can’t Stop the Feeling and then they joined in with the big choir for a few songs too.  To my surprise, as she hadn’t mentioned it, Little Miss also played the calypso drums in a song which just sounded and felt like summer.  It was a lovely little evening.

I do love my football and have been following the World Cup. Little Man is really into the World cup with all his stickers, wearing his England top with pride.  He was beside himself watching England win 6-1, children just don’t know the despair we’ve felt over the years, he is so confident that England will win the world cup and I really hope he’s right.

MADE

img_2357We have enjoyed lots of days out this month and I have made a lot of picnics.   For Christmas we were gifted this picnic rucksack and it has been one of the best presents ever, our picnics have gone from sandwiches to cheese and biscuits, salads, fruits, quiches etc..

WORE

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It was shorts as much as possible this month, I can’t wear them for work where its been simple sundresses and summer skirts but shorts, a top and flip flops has been my go to outfit this month.  I did go to a lovely party, so wore a simple cream crochet dress and jewellery for the special occasion.  I also wore some different items, roller skates for the roller disco (scary!) and a life jacket for my kayak lesson (fab)

HEARD

I am enjoying listening to Gary Davies’ Sounds of the 80s on Radio 2.  I often listen to it on my Sunday morning run and love his knowledge and choices of songs.  We used to listen to Gary Davies at our 6th form and even went to a Radio 1 road show to see him so its nice to hear him back on the radio, ooh Gary Davies.

I am also hearing a lot of Little Man singing 3 Lions which is so cute, I think its the best football song ever and brings back very happy memories of Euro 96 and a brilliant summer.

AND FINALLY

Fortunately, July is looking a lot more relaxed apart from the big school and ballet productions.  Little Miss has been working on the ballet show since Christmas and its on for 5 nights some of which I am matroning. I am looking forward to seeing it, the glimpses I’ve seen at rehearsal pick ups have been amazing.  Her and Little Man are both in the school play at the local theatre too, its a fun story and they’ve both been singing the songs at home to practice.  Next month also sees the final Beavers and Brownies for my two as they move to the next sections. both have given the children brilliant opportunities and it will be sad to say thank you and good bye.

I am going to link up with Morgana this month as I hope I will have the time to read and comment on the other writers’ posts this week. I only try to link up when I can do this although I do write a post monthly.  Thanks to Morgana for an inspiring and interesting linky.

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A perfect weekend

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We have had one of those weekends when you feel you have actually been away on a holiday as you can’t quite work out how you managed to fit so much into a few days .It was one of those weekends where everything magically aligned and the weather was stunning, a weekend full of awesome moments and happy times.

We spent this weekend in the Bristol area, Mr S and I lived here until our move to our seaside town in 2004, so it was a weekend to see family and old friends.  We drove up after school on Friday afternoon and arrived in time for a quick change and a walk to a local, family run Italian restaurant, which had been a favourite when we lived nearby, for a celebration dinner.  There was lots to celebrate birthdays, fathers day and just being together and we had such a relaxed and delicious family meal with Granddad.  The restaurant has a very clever design so our table in the ‘conservatory’ made us feel that we were eating outside on the hot evening with a gentle breeze.  We walked through the park on the way home and as it was so light and warm we let the children play whilst we simply watched and talked, does anything beat a warm summer night?

On Saturday we planned to do lots with the children to tire them as Granddad was babysitting and we wanted to make sure the children were asleep before Mr S and I left for our night out.  We drove over to Portishead to their open air pool for some swimming.  The lido is gorgeous and retro with a real 50s vibe, it is painted bright orange and yellow and with the blue pool and blue skies it looked amazing.  Its such a hidden gem and we had such  a great morning here with swimming, games, sunbathing on the tiered steps and of course eating our picnic, which seems to become more elaborate each time.  After the lido we walked along the promenade to the park and boating lake where we hired a pink flamingo pedalo.  This was so much fun too, perhaps more for me as I was in the back so got to sit and relax whilst Mr S and the children pedalled around the lake.  It was late afternoon by the time we got home and we succeeded in getting two tired children in bed and asleep by 8pm.  The main focus of our visit to Bristol was for a friend’s 50th birthday party.  Mr S has had the same group of friends since school so it was a lovely to meet up with them all at the party.  Mr S remarked he had been at the host’s 21st, 30th, 40th and 50th parties and I find it incredible that such a large group of friends from school are still so close after all these years.  I’ve known the group for the past 20 years and still feel a newbie! The party was at a stunning and impressive venue and we spent a lot of time outside as it was just so beautiful with gorgeous gardens.  It was one of those parties when it was over so quickly as we were all having such a good evening.

Today we played in the park and met up with friends which meant for Little Miss the absolute thrill of meeting up with teenagers to discuss make up, clothes and piercings.  We then got to watch the England match, for Little Man this is the first World cup he is really interested in and he knows so much, he watches the game with his World cup cards and looks up the players etc… He loved the England match and watching all the goals go in, he has that innocent belief in England, not the cynicism of us oldies.  As we drove home we listened to Three lions which he is now singing along to and then switched to the cricket commentary where England in a thrilling match beat Australia to win the ODI series 5 – 0.

It really felt like a perfect weekend and one that will be remembered fondly for many years to come.  I’m just hoping the adrenaline and memories will now see me through the week, as I am a bit tired!