Life Lately ..

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I am a summer girl and so find winter the most difficult of the seasons, early winter brings the excitement and sparkle of Christmas but January and February can be cold, dark, long months.  The quietness of the season means our little town feels like a ghost town, many independent shops shut up for a couple of months and road closures mean that we have been even more isolated than normal this year.  I never quite feel myself in these months and this has been noticeable in the sunny, warmer days we’ve had this week which have made me feel so more alive, purposeful and productive.  This is not to say that I’ve spent the last few months in a dark place, just a different place! We have been lucky this year, no Beast of the East (however I’m mindful that the bad snow last year was in March) and we have had some bright, crisp days.  We have managed some lovely days out at the weekends, cycling in the forest, visiting a local animal sanctuary and long walks.  I’ve had fun in the kitchen cooking some lovely family meals and perfecting the art of meringues often with a little helper or two.  There’s also been time for life admin and to make a start on some projects.  Yes we’ve been pottering on but the zest and energy of the spring months have been missing.

This week has been half term and a bright and warm week.  Last weekend we spent a long weekend with my parents in Somerset, the highlight was the Splash World at a local holiday centre,  with disco and rainbow slides (I loved them), water play area and pool.  My children love the water and happily played whilst my parents watched.  We’ve also had a session at our local sports centre called Inflatable fun, which was the Sports hall filled with a variety of inflatables, a simple but really fun idea.  Wednesday was our only day together, just the 4 of us, so we went to the local forestry commission and hired bikes for a 2 hour ride in the forest, there is something so grounding and calming about being in nature.  Today has seen us split up, Mr S and Little Man have gone to Grandad’s whilst Little Miss and I are at home.  As I write this, I’m hosting 3 of her friends for a sleepover, they’ve ‘hung out’ at the park, we’ve made pizzas from scratch and created some lovely ice cream sundaes, there are now makeovers happening upstairs and then it will be film time with The Greatest Showman Singalong.  I’m hoping for some sleep tonight as once our visitors leave in the morning, Little Miss and I have a little road trip to see my aunt and an old school friend before a very lazy Sunday.  The PE kits, ironing and homework have all be done and we’re ready for the return to school on Monday, so there really is no reason not to simply rest and relax on Sunday.

As the lighter days develop and the warmth radiates us all, I’m looking forward to the coming months, we’ve been making plans during the winter and its nearly time for action!

 

 

 

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#nourish

So 5 little morsels of nourishment from my week …

1. A day out at the animal sanctuary. A day full of winter sunshine and lots of small and farm animals. My personal favourite, definitely the goats.

2. Valentine’s Day Treat. To try and quell the slight hysteria from Year 6, I suggested to Little Miss rather than choose one person to send a Valentine why not her whole class and to focus on everyone’s qualities. I bought mini packets of Love Hearts 💕 and I typed a label as she chose a special quality for each person. The comments weren’t romantic just nice, you make me smile, I like your style, you’re a great gymnast etc..

3. A new hair colour. To hide the grey I regularly have my hair dyed and a new colour makes me feel happier and more youthful. It’s also a great opportunity to catch up on all the news with my hairdresser.

4. Friday 2.30pm. The start of half term and the anticipation of a more relaxed week for me.

5. Macarons. We’re at my mum and dads this weekend with lots of treats. For tea on Saturday we had these delicate macarons. One day I’ll pop into Ladurée in Paris for the real delicacy but for the time being they were a lovely alternative.

#Nourish

In choosing my theme for the year, nourish, I wanted something which would embrace mind, body and spirit.  Each week will have different elements, this week there is a social theme, which has nourished my spirit and heart.

  1.  Cocktails and a cosy pub ….

This week, I’ve enjoyed two nights out (and one on a school night too!). On Saturday I was at a cocktail party, I don’t drink but was so impressed by the mocktails put on for us, not only delicious but beautifully presented.  It was a lovely party, a great disco soundtrack, fantastic company and a wonderful excuse to dress up and sparkle.  Tuesday night was more intimate with just three of us out, but we got to sit in front of the fire in the pub on big leather sofas and catch up.  I really enjoy the company of these two women and feel inspired and relaxed with them.

2.  The little things ..

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On Friday we had Storm Eric and it really was wild.  By the school run time, the rain was of biblical proportions and even though it’s the one night of the week when Little Miss walks home alone, I couldn’t let her do that so drove to school to pick her up. I remember the feeling when I was little and would look out of the classroom window and see my mum’s or my friend’s dad’s car and the relief and excitement of getting home quickly.  Sometimes nourishing someone is about making people realise that they are the centre of our lives and we will show our love in whatever way we can.

3.  The calm after the storm

Apart from storm Eric it’s been a pretty yucky week weather wise.  However on Thursday (my day off) and today we’ve had some gorgeous blue sky winter days.  We had a family day out on the bikes today and the crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops were all in bloom. They’ve shown the glimmer of the spring to come and have raised spirits with the anticipation of the new season.

4.  A space (room) of one’s own

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My bureau is my place in the house, it contains my  diary, writing books, lots of stationery and everything that I might need.  I added a couple of cacti this week for decoration. and replaced my used winter candle with a new spring aroma,  lime, basil and mandarin.  It’s these little things that nourish my soul.

 

 

#19for2019, 2 down, 17 to go …

It’s always nice to be able to tick off items on a list (or is that just me?) My #19for2019 includes some activities which I’ll work on over the year but others which I can quickly tick off. So far in the first six weeks of the year I’ve managed to tick off 1 and 3, bake a meringue and prepare a cub blanket for my son.

I used this meringue recipe from BBC Good Food which is my go to foodie website and it worked perfectly.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2445/ultimate-meringue

I chose a meringue as I wanted to try a new technical challenge. The meringues were that beautiful mix of crispy and chewy. I’m always keen to develop a theme so whilst this recipe ticked off make a meringue I also want to try a Baked Alaska and Lemon Meringue pie this year to perfect my technique.

My second item to be ticked off was the cub blanket. I needed to take the badges off my son’s old Beaver jumper and start his cub blanket ready for camp later this year. It was a comforting activity, sitting with it in my lap as I did the job and knowing its something he will snuggle under too. I suppose it’s part 1 as when he moves to Scouts I’ll need to do the same with his cub badges. He loves scouting and it is such a positive experience for him.

So that’s 2 of my 19 ticked off, I wonder what will be next …

#nourish

For my theme of nourish, I decided that once a month I would have a ‘nourish’ day, set in my diary for my self care. Inspired by the book, Self Care Project by Jayne Hardy I realised that this didn’t need to be a day of massages and pampering but simple things to please me. I have some great ideas for the ‘nourish’ days in warmer weather but given the very hectic month, poor weather and the feeling of being overwhelmed, I designed a day I needed. I met a friend for coffee (and her gorgeous baby, what’s more nourishing than the wonder of a new life). I watched a film that’s been on my to watch list from the comfort of my cosy bed and completed the cub blanket I’ve been doing for my son, a little creativity in my day. It was just what I needed in January.

Other nourishing activities this week have been playing Lego with my son; our trip to a local attraction inspired some great builds. I also helped at cubs this week, I think volunteering is at the heart of a strong community.

We’ve also had a number of appointments this week. Whilst they’ll remain private, I felt comforted by attending them and addressing our worries.

Last night I read my new magazine and loved the quote below from the Simple Life magazine.

January 2019 #littleloves

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And finally it’s time to breathe, what a month January turned out to be.  I had it planned as a month to prepare for the year in front and to also start some new projects but of course life took over from my neatly arranged plans.  It was overwhelming at times but I have at least finished the month feeling a little more in control.

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I think the best indicator of my life is my reading record.  Last year I read nearly a book a week, this month I struggled to finish one.  Reading is my me time, I don’t watch a huge amount of tv but do like to settle down with a book in the evenings.  If I’m not reading then something in my life isn’t quite in balance ( I blame Ofsted this month)

The book I did finish was Jayne Hardy’s The Self Care Project, the irony of the content isn’t lost on me in this busy month.  It was a really good read full of great advice, I appreciated that she doesn’t see self care as having a massage but for example doing life admin to help you feel in control etc..  It’s well worth a read.

This year I haven’t set myself a Good Reads challenge for a specific number of books but one in which I would like to read or reread a classic every month.  Whilst I didn’t finish my classic this month, I did start it and am really enjoying I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.

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At the beginning of the month in the school holidays, the children and I went to the cinema to see Mary Poppins Returns.  It was such a magical film and I loved every dance, song and sparkle, a new family classic.

I also finally watched Ladybird, a film which had much critical acclaim last year.  I really liked the film, a bit Indy in style but thoughtful and from memory pretty realistic about the angst of teen life.

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It was all about the jumpers this month, layers and layers.  I love this star jumper from Next last autumn, it’s been perfect with jeans and has been keeping me warm.

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Photo from the Next website, definitely not me!

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For me cold Saturday afternoons are all about being in the kitchen and cooking.  I like a bit of a theme and as South America is one of the school topics, we made a Mexican feast.  Everything was made from scratch, salsa, guacamole, refried beans etc.. with Little Miss as my sous chef. Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos, as it was a really impressive table.  Cooking is one of my favourite ways to spend time together, the kitchen is the heart of our home.

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I love a good podcast and I’ve had a few car journeys this month to enjoy the new podcast Sentimental Garbage, a ‘cast looking at brilliant chick lit books, including Bridget Jones Diary, Watermelon etc..  It’s fabulous, witty and just makes you want to read more, a great new find.

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Despite being a crazy month, there were some real highlights in January, seeing the new Mary Poppins film, a family mountain bike ride in the forest, a trip to a local animal sanctuary etc..  I’m hoping for a quieter February and a relaxing half term.

#littleloves

Im hoping to link up with @mummyheartsyou the new host of Little Loves and be inspired by all the contributors to the linky.

 

A digital reboot

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Last week, I read an excellent article from the Financial Times by Tim Harford  entitled My Digital Reboot.  It was one of those articles which really resonated with me and had me examining my online behaviour.  We live in a digital world and it’s an integral part of my professional and personal life, I am not going to stop using it.  However I have noticed how my phone is always near and I spend too long scrolling through Twitter and Instagram.  I get great inspiration from these sites but it’s too easy to start looking at something that leads to something else and suddenly the evening has disappeared.  I am not going to delete my accounts, I enjoy the social network sites but I am going to remove them from my phone to stop the ease at which I browse.  At the start of this year, I organised my week as part of a self care project (yes I’m a sucker for all the latest trends) for example, Sunday is house admin, Saturday blog writing so I’m planning to add a social network evening too.

This week I’ve minimised the use of my phone and enjoyed more creative projects and felt so much more refreshed and focused for it. There are apps which I will keep on my phone, my Spotify account as I love my music and podcasts, some photography apps, email, Parentmail, the school app and of course Scrabble which has always been one of my favourite way to spend a free 10 minutes.  As well as spring cleaning my phone, I’m also going to keep it away from me, to keep it in my handbag or on my bureau at home and just use it when I purposefully want to rather than as a distraction.  I realise I’m now the role model for my children, I want them to have a mobile as a phone and not to be an essential part of their being.