The Simple Life, a new accessory and making plans #littleloves

So after the back to school last week, this week has been about getting back into the swing of things and new plans.  The return to clubs bought letters home about dance exams, a production, trips out and suddenly my year which I thought was all neatly planned looks a whole lot busier.  Thankfully with Mr S no longer working away, it will be easier to co-ordinate.  Its also been a week of coughs and cold, Little Man got it the worse, as he normally does because of his eczema and asthma and was off school for a couple of days, the rest of us are all sniffing and cosying up under extra blankets.

img_5375imageI am really serious about living a greener, simpler life this year so have read this short Penguin special by the Australian author, Rhonda Hetzel.  Its a book which asks you to focus clearly on what your values and goal are and offers solid advice.  I like that she doesn’t demand a total green dedication but allows you to work out what fits into your lifestyle, the author herself argues her life needs to include her car and computer, it makes it all a little more achieveable.

img_5379This week, I’ve not watched much television, preferring to read or plan and write in my notebooks.  On Thursday evening, I did accompany a school trip from the school where I work to our local theatre to see the pantomime, Robinson Crusoe.  Our students loved it and participated well.  Whilst the story was an interesting interpretation and some jokes very local,  it was a fun night out for all.

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Last weekend, I did some research into my #18for 2018 and started to make plans.  Many of my activities are summer based so there’s not much I can do at present.  However I did make a booking to see Wicked in October so that’s one nearly ticked off.  I am very excited and may have already been thinking of an outfit to wear, I’ve always fancied a  green velvet skirt.

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Last weekend, I listened to Charlie Brooker’s Desert Island Discs, in which as well as playing some rather surreal music choices, he spoke about lying in bed listening to music wearing a headband.  I always listen to the radio in bed and often end up twisted and half strangling myself with my headphones. His comment inspired me to do an Amazon search and I purchased this, Bluetooth (so no wires) head band, you can wear it a variety of ways, over the eyes, as a hair band etc.. but it is fabulous and very comfortable for listening to music.  I also use the timer function on my phone so it doesn’t play all night.

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After booking the tickets to Wicked, I’ve been listening to the soundtrack and having some musical inspired playlists for my walks and runs.  (At this time of year when its so dark and our pavements are in such disrepair, I run in daylight and walk in the dark as I’ve never properly recovered my confidence from a fall when running in the dark) The music has only added to my excitement for our theatre trip.

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This is a post inspired by Morgan’s excellent linkie, however I’m not linking it up formally as I’m not able to read and comment on the other posts as I would love to.  My blog always has and always will be a hobby.  Recently especially on Twitter, I’ve been reading a lot what bloggers should and shouldn’t do, like a post if its an ad, comment, retweet and the expectations all seem a bit scary and overwhelming for a hobby.  I will continue to read my favourite blogs of which there are many and comment when I can and write my own little thoughts.  Good luck to all the bloggers who are trying to grow their blogs and develop a career in blogging, you go ladies, we need your voices and there are some amazing writers and blogs out there.  Good luck x

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#ecosparkles : Week 2

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Whilst I wrote earlier this week of my attempt at a green shopping trip, I have had some little green successes this week.

  1.  No disposable cups! Not only did I take a cup on my shopping trip, I also took it on my weekly lunch treat. Once a week, my colleague and I head to the gorgeous little café in town for a takeaway homemade soup and bread.  Today we both took our reusable mugs and the owner was more than happy to fill them up with the tastiest lentil, coconut and sweet potato soup!
  2. Decluttering. Yep its that time of the year when I am working my way, room by room through the house to tidy and sort each area. I did the children’s bedrooms this week and sent some clothes, clean and in good condition to the charity shop.  There were some stained and damaged clothes and rather than throw these away I cut the t shirts up to make some rag cloths.  The jeans which were worn through at the knees have become a pair of denim shorts to wear whilst mucking around in the garden.  As well as the clothes, I sent some games and books to the charity shop and recycled paper. There was very little thrown away, apart from used pens for which I need some ideas.
  3. No plastic bags.  Whilst I haven’t bought a plastic bag Mr S insisted on buying one despite my alternative offers when he bought some trousers in Next.  I was really annoyed with him, it felt like he was ruining my little project, something he is a bit bemused about at present.  I just hope that my positive action will rub off on him soon.

    I have a few little ideas for next week’s ecosparkles I’m going to see exactly what I can recycle at my local tip and see if I can reduce our landfill.

Trying to be green

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My resolution this year is to try and be more environmentally friendly and I have created a little hashtag #ecosparkles2018 to illustrate my efforts over the year. I want to see how easy it is to be more ecologically aware by adopting very simple habits, for example I’m hoping not to buy any plastic bags this year or use any disposable cups.  Today was my first big test with a trip to big town.  I was prepared, I had several bags for my shopping, a reusable coffee cup and I even cheekily took some spare coat hangers I had from my decluttering yesterday to see if I could recycle them in a shop.  There were some successes today, I used all the bags and didn’t need any additional and the Sainsbury’s cashier happily agreed to recycle my hangers.

However there were some little things I hadn’t prepared for, the trip took longer than anticipated and Little Miss and I needed a quick bite to eat.  The green and more comfortable option would have been to pop into a café but I was on a tight timescale so we ended up with a takeaway, my daughter’s lunch was served simply in a paper bag, a pretty good packaging option and I had a takeaway salad in a plastic box with a plastic fork, not great eco packaging.  However to try and make the best of the situation,  I took our used packaging to the recycling area of a supermarket as there were no recycling bins in the shopping precinct.  Unfortunately the area was only for recycling clothes, paper, books and silver foil.  I couldn’t take the used tub home as it had dressing in it which might spill onto my other shopping, so despite my best intentions and search for a green option I ended up throwing it away and feeling guilty.  That was frustrating as I had looked hard for a recycling option and it wasn’t there.  This was in a busy town centre and I would have expected some recycling bins around the shops, takeaways etc.. to help people make little green gestures.

My other observation from today was around cruelty free make up.  I went to Superdrug today which has a good reputation for cruelty free products.  I found some of the brands I was looking for and bought a new foundation and mascara which I needed.  What surprised me was the air miles involved in these products as some were made in China.  To me this also raises the ethical argument of China being the country which is insisting on testing on animals, producing cruelty free make up which I presume cannot be sold in the state.  It just doesn’t sit right with me on a number of levels so as well as cruelty free, I’m now looking for make up not made in China and with as few air miles as possible.

Today’s trip has shown the need to be prepared, that you can ask shops to help you be more eco friendly, eg the recycled coat hangers but that there is much more to be done by councils to encourage recycling in busy town centres.

Cheer up Love, 18 for 2018 and the Skyline Gang #littleloves

As I sit here to plan this #littleloves post, I’m thinking back on my week and it seems such a long time so much more than 7 days. Last Friday we were enjoying our Butlins break, then we were back at home for New Year and now I’ve already done 3 days back at work!

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Since being back at work, I’ve settled each evening with Susan Calman’s Cheer Up Love. It’s an autobiography with a strong narrative on depression. I’m enjoying it, in parts it reminds me of Matt Haig’s Reasons to be Alive but there is more on Susan’s life too and stories we can all relate to.

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Our children love Butlins, especially the Skyline Gang and Rainbow the dog. This week I’ve watched lots of shows at Butlins not simply watching what’s on the stage but my children’s reactions too. Its lovely to see how happy and involved they are, Butlins will always be our happy place.

img_5378This week I’ve seen lot of references to Gretchen Rubin’s 18 in 2018 and I’ve made my list here https://seasidesparkles.net/2017/12/30/a-new-little-project-18for2018/ I’m excited by this little project and am looking forward to my new adventures.

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Despite this being mid-winter I seem to have been outside a lot this week, my Fitbit steps show this too. Its been a week of woolly hats and scarves and wearing my new bag from White Stuff. I love the bright colour which brings a pop of colour to my dark clothes.

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img_5380After reading about Gretchen Rubin, I found her Happier podcasts online and have been listening to them non stop since. It’s a great podcast and one I would readily recommend.

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January is a fresh start and I like focusing on our home this month. The decorations are down and I am looking for new ways to make the house sparkle. It’s my day off today and unusually I’m looking forward to sorting out the children’s bedrooms and just making the house tidy and organised.

Happy new year to Morgana and all the #littleloves posse.

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#ecosparkles2018 : Week 1

 

 

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Whilst my focus in #ecosparkles2018 is to try to do more little things to help our environment, I hope that I have always tried to be considerate of our planet.  I recycle as much as I can, rubbish, clothes and household goods and try to think of the environment in my actions. However there is always more that we can do, so this project is of new, little extra things that I’m doing this year to improve our environment.

  1. Whilst I normally recycle our Christmas cards, this week I responded to a Twitter request to send the picture half of the card to a women’s prison so they can do Christmas crafts next year.  The cards will be used for a new purpose and the discarded part has been recycled.  image
  2. I ordered eco cleaning materials to replace the usual products.  I will develop my collection as the remaining products are used up.image
  3. At work, I have avoided using the disposable plastic cups at the side of our water cooler and brought a glass to the machine each time.  Sometimes it has meant a walk back to my office to collect a glass but I reckon I have saved 2 or 3 plastic cups every work day so far.cup

 

A new little project #18for2018 inspired by Gretchen Rubin

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I’m not one for making new year’s resolutions but with social media awash with resolutions and bucket lists I thought this year I would think of 18 things I would really like to do in 2018, I’ve seen it mentioned in a few posts, @glasgowmummy is a great example so thanks to the creative genius, Gretchen Rubin behind the idea. Some will take an hour to do, others months, some are for fun, some serious, some I’ll do alone, some with others.  Here’s my list and I hope to provide updates randomly throughout the year of my progress.

  1. Learn to kayak. We live at the sea and I’m always envious of those kayaking in the bay, now Little Man has been a few times its time for me to learn how to do it so I can go out with him on the water too.
  2. Bake a soufflé. I’ve never made one and fancy a cookery challenge.
  3. Read some amazing books. I’m not looking to read a set number, but just books which are brilliant and allow me to lose myself in the story.
  4. Train well and run a half marathon. I’m planning an October half marathon so I can train seriously in the Spring and summer.  I’ve done half marathons before but its 5 years since my last and I want to do one in my 40s.
  5. Wear a pair of pretty heeled  shoes.  Depending on the season and activity, I will be wearing one of these, Converse pumps in a variety of colours, boots, flip flops or running shoes.  Stepping out of my comfort zone here!
  6. Have a cruelty free make up bag.  Since learning the devastating news that my favourite brands are no longer cruelty free because as they now test on animals to allow their products to be sold in China, my make up will become cruelty free this year. 
  7. Plan a trip to London for the children. They’ve seen so many images of London that its now time to take them and show them the sights.  We’ll do the tube, red buses, see Big Ben etc..
  8. Go the theatre.  I miss seeing the big shows and musicals so this year I will go and see a show and be wowed by live theatre again.
  9. Meet up with old friends. There’s a group of old work colleagues whom I haven’t seen for years and in every Christmas card we vow to meet up, so I’m finally going to organise it and do it.
  10. Play rounders or another summer sportRounders, tennis I love them but never play, that will change in 2018.
  11. Look after my feet.  I walk a lot and am always on my feet but never treat them as I should, this year its foot massages, peppermint cream and filing away the hard skin (TMI!)
  12. Go to a roller disco. This is so random, but I really fancy going to a roller disco so on to the list it goes!
  13. Invest in a warm, winter coat.
  14. Make something simple on my sewing machine. I use my machine but want to do something on it that I’ve never tried before, a skirt?
  15. Be more creative with the photos on my blog.  Its difficult when you write anonymously there’s no people to brighten up my blog, so I’ll try some more interesting still life shots.
  16. Swing on the high ropes.  Again this is something the children want to do and secretly me too.
  17. Do one scary but exhilarating thing.  I have no idea what yet…
  18. Have a holiday inspired nail art manicure.  I look at Pinterest and see so many nice holiday nails.  Before our holidays this year I’m going to have something a little bit different done!

Wish me luck on something that I hope will inspire me, invigorate me, develop new skills and will help bring the sparkles to 2018.

The #littleloves of 2017

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I only have one #littlelove this week and that is for our nhs. If you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that our Christmas was a little different to what we had expected as my Father in law who was staying with us for Christmas was taken very poorly on Christmas Eve. Christmas really took a different perspective this year and I’ll remember that it was the kindness and dedication of people which made this Christmas special.  We are very thankful that my Father in Law is now recovering and feeling much better.

As a consequence of the above I thought I would put together a simple best of #littleloves for 2017. Some categories are easy to choose others i.e. makes show me that perhaps I need to be more focused on my creativity next year. So time for a fanfare as I reveal my favourites…

I like to read  and I’ve managed to read some great books this year. However there’s one book which I can’t stop recommending. It was a birthday present from a friend with impeccable taste. The book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. The storyline revolves around a simple, reluctant act of kindness and the effect it has on Elinor’s life, it is so life affirming and has all the feels. Please if you haven’t read it do, you won’t regret reading a single word as it is so beautifully written.

My film of 2017 was the last I saw at the cinema this year, Paddington 2. It is delightful, funny and magical. I love the way it embraces the importance of community and how to treat each other kindly. Breathe was an inspiring film too. On tv I have loved my old favourites, Strictly Come Dancing, Call the Midwife and Cold Feet.

My favourite outfit was this blue Boden sunglasses print dress with my flip flop necklace. I loved it because it was simple, comfortable and the print very much me, I’m always in sunglasses in the summer!

Looking back on my makes, there was more of a choice than I realised, an Anglo Saxon model house and costume ( yep school projects ) birthday cakes, meals etc.. However my make is simple because of its spontaneity. On July 4th we made a last minute decision to have an American themed barbecue and I tried making S’mores for the first time. They were amazing but it was the memories of me and the children sitting around the barbie cooking them on a warm evening with some music playing in the background that stays with me, sometimes life is simply about being in the moment.

This year I discovered Spotify and it took my music choices in many wonderful directions. For me the album of the year was Ed Sheehan’s Divide and the song to sum up the year Ariana Grande’s One More Time. Little Miss has always loved this song and following the Manchester terror attack the song gained even more significance. I have so much respect for Ariana and her attitude and actions after the attack, she’s a strong role model to my daughter.

So that was 2017 and I’m now looking forward to 2018. There’s no big events planned for 2018, no big birthdays or anniversaries, simply a year to create our own sparkles.

Thank you to all Morgana’s #littleloves brigade whom have given me so much inspiration in the past year. Happy new year to you all x