The Beast of the East part 2

So today we have surprisingly woken up to more snow. The children have now seen more snow in this month than in all their years preceding. Today the atmosphere is different, there’s excitement, there is no horrible, dangerous thick black ice. We have the opportunity to go out and play in the snow. No worries about work or fulfilling diary dates, it’s Sunday and it’s a fun day.


#18for2018 : Have a cruelty free make up bag


At the end of last year, I was really disappointed to learn that many of the make up brands which I loved were selling their products in China.  This meant that whilst the British versions were cruelty free, the companies were testing on animals to follow Chinese regulations and I no longer felt comfortable using their products.

This year I have spent time researching cruelty free make up brands so that I can have a make up bag which contains products I am comfortable wearing.  I prefer a subtle make up look, so I like muted colours and just a little gloss or colour.  I had hoped to go to a large department store and have a look at some of the premium ranges such as Charlotte Tilbury, Kat Von D and Bare Minerals whose products I have been lusting after online, but its been a busy few months so I’ve only been able to shop in smaller, local shops.  My big rediscovery was the Body Shop, now they are no longer owned by L’Oréal and have gone back to their original values it was quite exciting to explore the shop and I did buy a number of products here  (sadly dewberry shower gel, my teenage favourite has been discontinued)  I’m impressed by the quality of the Body Shop foundation and the eye shadow palette of natural shades suits me beautifully.   Another range I found locally was the US brand Pacifica, the lip tint in Guava Berry is perfect for work.

I am not one of those women who has a brimming make up bag, I buy a few quality products and use them to create a natural and simple look.  I am relieved that my make up bag is now cruelty free again and another #18for 2018 is ticked off.  It has been one of the 18 that may seem a little frivolous but was done for the right reasons and has made me happy.

Numbers 2 & 6 are fully completed, others are works in progress …



A girlie weekend


This weekend, Little Miss and I had our first ever girlie weekend as our boys went to visit Grandad. Following his illness at Christmas and the realisation that Grandad is more frail than before, we have talked lots and tried to make our visits a little easier and relaxing for him.  We’ve decided that Mr S will either take just take one child to visit or we will all go up and stay in a hotel.  This weekend the boys went up and Little Miss and I had a special time together at home.

Recently I’ve felt that our time together is changing, we are talking about more grown up things, music, fashion etc..  This weekend was full of  sparkles, a little shopping trip, watching and singing musicals, reading together, a pampering spa, dinner in a lovely Thai restaurant, grown up activities which just felt right.  This is becoming such a lovely age, even if Little Miss is always after my phone to pretend its hers, mobiles and ear piercing are becoming big topics for discussion (our agreement is a mobile when she goes to secondary school and she’s allowed her ears to be pierced this summer)

After Little Miss’ ballet class on Saturday, we drove over to our county town to enjoy a browse around the shops before finally going to see The Greatest Showman.  Its been on our must see list for months and we were so pleased to finally see it, we’ve been playing the soundtrack for weeks.  The atmosphere at the cinema was brilliant, it was sold out and there were a lot of mums and daughters of all ages enjoying an early mothers day treat.  After the film, we chose a Thai restaurant for tea. It is a pleasure to dine out with Little Miss, she loves her food and is so adventurous and interested in food.  We found a gorgeous Thai restaurant and Little Miss was a hit with the staff, they were delighted by her interest in the food and willingness to try new dishes.  The food was so good and she was a very amusing dinner date.

On Sunday, I not only got a lie in as our early riser Little Man was away but also a cup of tea in bed for Mothers day, the perfect way to wake up.  We had a beautifully lazy morning, a relaxing bubble bath, taking time to style hair and experiment with different looks and simply pampering ourselves.  We then took a walk down town for some fresh air and came back and took the time to cook lunch together.  In the afternoon, I was so pleased to show Little Miss Grease for the first time, she had seen the local secondary school’s performance during the week so it felt the right time to introduce her to one of my favourite films, needless to say I sang (cue eye rolling!) and we both danced along to the songs and laughed a lot.  I had also treated us to the new Rebel Girls book as we had loved the original, so in front of the fire, cosy under a blanket we read together.  It really was as perfect as it sounds and it was one of those moments when I couldn’t believe how lucky and privileged  I am to be mum to my gorgeous girl.

Whilst we both missed our boys, it was a treat to have some lovely time together and do all those special little mum daughter things together.  I am so proud of my daughter and I loved our exclusive time together.

Snow Days

Over the past few days in the media, there have been some stunning photos taken in our county of the quintessential English snowy dream, picturesque villages and moody sea shots.  However, these images don’t convey the reality of living in this idyll in really poor weather.  Here is my guide of life in a rural setting in poor weather.

  1.  The first day of snow is magical.  It is so unexpected as little snow falls at the coast.  It is amazing to watch the flakes fall, the hills and fields surrounding the town become dusted white and the joy and excitement of the children captivates and delights all.  The children run home from school to make snowmen, throw snowballs in a blizzard of snow and simply squeal and dance in delight.  The photos taken from this afternoon will give you the feels for years to come, that look in the childrens’ faces of pure happiness is perfection. We love the snow.
  2. Later in the evening, the reality of the poor weather becomes clear.  We are so rural in a very large county that our roads, many minor or country roads have not been treated in advance.  Colleagues have had accidents on the way home from work in blizzard conditions.  Some have been sat in cars on country roads for 4 hours, others are in rescue centres, others have abandoned their cars and walked, whilst others have been able to turn around and return to work.  Suddenly snow is not quite so magical.
  3. The poor road conditions mean that our town is now completely cut off, the emergency services have closed the routes to  town due to serious accidents and incidents.  There is no chance of gritters tonight, they are focusing on the dual carriage ways which themselves are blocked with accidents, the county is in gridlock.  And then along with the snow, the freezing rain starts to fall making difficult conditions, lethal.  You are thankful to be safe and warm at home.
  4. A new snow day and whilst the scene looks beautiful and picture perfect the conditions are the worst you have ever seen.  The freezing rain and temperatures mean that every surface is now under at least two inches of thick, black ice. There are no vehicles on the roads and the very few people you see trying to gingerly walk along the road all fall.  We live on a steep hill and are now house bound, no fun walks for snow ball fights and sledging, we are stuck in our house.   Snow is beginning to lose its charm.
  5. Time for some community action, messages on social media ensure that the doctor has a volunteer driver in a 4×4 for urgent home visits, neighbours check on each other, those with the appropriate skills and equipment try to help others.  This is the feel good moment, when you are proud of living in a community.
  6. Its time for planning now and careful rationing of food.  You start to make calculations of how much milk and bread you can have per day and how to best use the food you have in the house.  We have been here before, 7 years ago, so we do have a carton of UHT milk in the cupboard and there is enough food in the fridge and cupboards to feed us comfortably for the days to follow.  There’s no panic buying here, simply because nobody can get to the supermarket and we’ll all survive!  In our house, we use the time to enjoy preparing warm, filling meals, a parsnip and apple soup, casserole with homemade dumplings.  At least the snow days have given us the time to employ a little hygge.
  7. At last, we have some gritters on our road, it is now Friday afternoon and the snow started on Tuesday.  Today’s heroes wear high viz vests.
  8. Cabin fever is apparent, Mr S catchphrase ‘Close the door, keep the heat in’ is said on repeat and we have exhausted our family favourite activities, craft, cooking, screen time, movie, table football etc.. The children desperately want to play outside as it looks so gorgeous yet we can’t even go down the steps outside the house because of the ice.  We reluctantly conclude that a snow day is only fun if you get to be in the snow. Our entertainment now is carefully watching the temperature slowly rise in percentage points on our thermometer.
  9. As we go to bed we open the back door and start to hear the crackling of the ice, the dripping of water, what a relief.  It looks like the forecast is correct and we may get grey, mild and wet weather tomorrow and we’ve never been happier for such a dismal forecast.



A life in the day, snow and an arctic expedition … #littleloves

This time last week, I was planning a rather uneventful week, looking forward to World Book day and just the normal rhythm of life.  That seems so long ago now, the week proved to be very memorable as we had snow and we never get snow in our little seaside town.  Not only did we have blizzards, thick lying snow, we also get the most vicious freezing rain which meant our whole town became an ice rink leaving many of us house bound and then it was high tides too and a temporary flood barrier had to be installed to protect the town, so quite an eventful week thanks to the Beast from the East and Storm Emma!  As well as all the drama from the weather, I got sick and had to take time off work, again this never happens, a couple of days in bed did the trick and I’m feeling much better now with just an annoying cough.  Despite all the drama of this week I finish this week feeling really positive, sometimes difficult weeks bring out the best in people.

img_5375I managed to read a book this week, illness and the weather were conducive to this success.  It was a fantastic read, the autobiography of the journalist and writer Hunter Davies.  It appeared on my Kindle deal of the day with some rave reviews so I popped it in the basket and what a choice.  Davies’ career started in the 60s and continues today so there is a great mix of social history, culture and ‘celebrity’ in the book. Its so easy and entertaining to read, you just want to keep going on to the next chapter.  His love for his family and devotion to his wife, the novelist Margaret Forster shine through.  It was great to read something different and a non fiction title for a change, variety is the spice of life!

hunterimg_5379Well this week it was simply about watching the weather, the snow, the skies, the sea all were mesmerising.  Until I lived at the seaside I never realised the subtle daily changes in the sea and how it is never the same shade twice.  The surf has been incredible on the sea this week and it has been quite hypnotic looking out to the waves.  My office looks out onto the sea and there are times I just got lost in the view.


img_5378So the year when I finally aced it for World Book day, we had a snow day at the children’s school!  Fortunately all the WBD events are being rearranged so the children will be able to parade in their costumes.  I have a bit of bug bear about WBD fancy dress, I like to go old school and do the lets raid the fancy dress box, old clothes and mum’s accessories to create a look.  I read an excellent comment that the costume shouldn’t cost more than a book and I’m pleased that we were able to do this, my only expense was £3 for the sequin fabric cut off which I have plans to reuse after WBD.

Little Miss is going as the White witch from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.  It took a lot to persuade her to wear a dress, this really is not her look at present! For the costume, we made a wardrobe out from an old shoe box, when you open it up the back is a sparkly blue paper and decorated with Welcome to Narnia.  Little Miss also decided to make some pompom snow balls from some old wool for her snow, if only we had known we would have had the real thing!


The lion, witch and wardrobe, my 80s Madonna gloves and pompom snowballs.


Little Man was quite reluctant to embrace some of my ideas, he would have been so cute as Paddington, but liked the idea of the Wimpy Kid, so we made a mask for him.

img_0991img_5384I  can honestly say that I have never worn as many clothes as I did on my walk to and from work on Thursday which was the worst day for us.  It was so cold, it was only my eyes visible hidden under hats, scarves, layers upon layers.  I mistakenly took my glove off to answer my phone and seriously thought i was going to get frost bite, it was so cold.  On the way home, I walked through crazy snow conditions, snow, wild winds etc.. it was scary and took 40 minutes rather than the normal 15.  As I wrote in my last blog post snow days aren’t an option at our school so we all try really hard to get in.  I felt like a proper explorer, ruck sack with supplies, lots of clothes etc..

img_5380When I was poorly in bed I listened to a radio 4 play, An Instinct for Kindness, a true story of a woman’s journey to Dignitas.  It was superb, sad, thought provoking and very dignified.  Its well worth a listen.


Well after this week its hard to predict what next week will bring… Hopefully the ice will thaw, we’ll get out of the house and all routines will be back in place.  I am so over the snow, I like routine, order and predictability!

Thanks to Morgana for hosting #littleloves and i hope all the contributors have had safe, snow weeks.

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Snow Day 2018

img_1005 So this should have been a little post tonight about World Book day and the fun we had dressing up in our costumes.  However, the children never got the opportunity to dress up today as we had a snow day!  Snow is really rare where we live and the last significant snow was in our first few months as a family in 2010, so a snow day for the children is a rare treat.

Although for my children a snow day is a treat, for me as a teacher in a special needs school its different.  Whilst our day students were not at school today, we are also a residential school so a snow day is not an option for us, we need to open and staff our school.  Our students aren’t just students they are our young people, we care for them, we want them to feel safe and secure and when things are different, we need to be there for them.  Our staff team have been terrific today and we’re prepared for tomorrow.  Things will be a little different as only those staff local will be able to come in, our rural town is currently cut off by road closures.  However we have enough staff by people volunteering to do longer hours, coming in on their days off or staying with friends locally to allow them to be on shift as needed. The conditions are so bad here today that every member of staff will need to walk to school tomorrow, but we will and we know there’ll be a hot drink waiting for us when we arrive.  It’ll be a fun day, these are the days when everyone pulls together and are the ones we always remember.  And, yes we’ll be making snowmen and snow angels and having snowball fights, every child should have the opportunity to experience a snow day at home or at school.


Books, books, books, the Winter Olympics and Pete Tong #littleloves


Its been a while since I participated in Little Loves.  I think I paused as it became the only blog post I was writing and I wanted to try and develop the content of my other posts.  However I’ve missed writing it so even if it’s not weekly I’m back on the linkie with a little cultural record of my likes.  As it’s been a while I’m going to attempt a bit of a round up of the past few weeks.



Well, I’m really pleased with how much I’ve read recently.  I’m not following many series on tv and am using that hour or so when I sit down at 9pm to read.  I’ve been reading roughly a book a week and have been rating and reviewing  them on my Good Reads account.  My favourite has been John Green’s young adult novel Turtles All the Way Down.  It’s such a carefully written book about mental health with no neat happy end and a hint of some of the challenges the main character will go on to  experience in adulthood. I’ve also read Adele Parks The Stranger in my House, it was a disappointing read only saved (just) by a twist at the end.  I thought the characters were a little cliched and some of the storylines weren’t developed well. I’ve become a big fan of read Liane Moriarty book and have enjoyed Three Wishes.  She is one of my favourite go to authors at present and whilst her  books are common in themes and style, she writes so well and it’s easy to get lost in her books and relish every word.  I’m now reading Oprah’s What I Know for Sure , it’s a book of what I imagine were essays in her magazines, they’re easy to read, full of wise advice and are pure Oprah.  In addition to my personal reading, Little Miss and I are loving Little Women.  It’s dated and a little evangelical in a few parts but oh gosh it still has the effect on me and the female characters are brilliant with some of the scenarios so relatable in today’s society.



After such a full reading section, it’s unsurprising that I haven’t watched much.  I’m loving the new series of Call the Midwife, brilliant characters and superb story lines, perfect Sunday evening television.  I’m enjoying watching snippets of the Winter Olympics, especially the snow boarding and skiing, the speed and skill are incredible.  Unusually I haven’t been to the cinema recently, I really want to see the Greatest Showman but with sport clubs and show rehearsals at the weekend it’s difficult to find the time.  Whilst I haven’t visited the cinema, Mr S did take the children to see Early Man on an Inset day which was enjoyed by all.


Its still warming, comfort food this month, homemade casseroles, shepherd pies, savoury tarts.  However we have celebrated Shrove Tuesday and we love our little pancake day traditions, making the mix, trying to toss a pancake and choosing our fillings.   Each year on Shrove Tuesday we agree we should make pancakes more often and then it’s another year before they’re on the menu again!


This month we’ve made changes to our bedroom as we redecorated it and have finally made it into a little haven for us both to relax and sleep.  I love the new colour scheme, blush pink, teal and grey, it all works beautifully together.



An uninspiring category as it’s been so cold, that it’s been layers and layers of winter clothes with no new recent buys.  I’m desperate to unpack some of my spring clothes to add that splash of colour and hint of warmer days ahead.  As we decorated our room, I did take the opportunity to do a huge purge of my clothes and recycled lots of clothes that have been hidden away in drawers for years.  It has felt very therapeutic and now I have a little extra space for some new purchases too! I have organised my clothes as recommended by Marie Kondo in colours, it does make choosing outfits easier and has shown just how many black tops I have, note to self let’s try to buy a different colour!


I’ve been listening to Pete Tong and the Heritage Orchestra’s Ibiza classics nice and loud.  This album needs    volume to appreciate it and it’s been a great running playlist this month.


Well thats this month of February caught up, I’m so looking forward to spring I want to feel the sun on my face and to lose a few of the layers of clothes.  March looks fairly quiet at present, a ballet exam, a couple of school trips and World Book day seem to be the only notable calendar entries.  However I am sure that will change as the month progresses.

Thanks to Morgan’s for hosting #littleloves

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