Little Sparkles


So what started off as an ordinary week has turned into something rather special.  Isn’t it lovely when the extraordinary happens!


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Whilst I am still reading Caitlin Moran, this week has been exceptionally busy and full.  My main reading has definitely been my lists and diary and making sure I am where I need to be, with the Guide show at the weekend there have been lots of lifts to rehearsals, with more still to come.  Sometimes no matter how organised and efficient you are, there are weeks that you cannot control and its just a matter of getting on with the whole madness of it all, however I’m hoping for a quieter time next week.  I have also been busy at work and have done a lot of professional reading mainly around hearing impairments.  Fortunately its an interesting topic and I have enjoyed my research. It has made me realise how easy the Internet has made it to get such specialised information so easily.



A radio advert for a forthcoming interview with A-ha had me reminiscing this week as A-ha were my big teenage crush, posters of Morten, Mags and Pal adorned my bedroom and I have screamed, swooned and sung along with them three times in concert.  The reminiscing meant that at the gym this week I have listened to some of their back catalogue and remembering just how good some of their lesser known songs really are.  Crying In the Rain, Hunting High and Low, Stay on these Roads are beautiful songs and I’ve really enjoyed the warm, fuzzy memories.



My view on the way to work on Monday

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 The Pirate Ship and Pirates!

This is the most surprising category this week, I thought the best thing I would come up would be watching the London Marathon on tv, for me one of  the most inspiring, emotional and motivating events of the year, I can’t watch it without a few tears.  I did watch it and enjoyed every moment of it, the good bye to Paula Radcliffe, looking in the crowds for running friends and the fun of following them on the tracker.  However, my real delight this week has been watching a film being filmed in our little town.  The rumours started on Sunday when a pirate ship arrived at the pier, Hollywood names were rumoured to be in town and there was a real buzz.  On Monday, I saw the ship on my way to work and decided that it was an exciting opportunity to show my class a film set.  One of the advantages of teaching in special education is that classes are small with lots of staff so such an impromptu trip is quite easy to organise.  We walked down on Monday morning, such a beautiful day and headed towards the pier, as were most of the town!  We were allowed on the pier and when we got to the end we had a stunning view into the ship where we could see the cameramen, make up artists, runners and actors, it was fascinating!  I got talking to a props lady who was making kites and she was able to tell us that the filming is for a special on ITV at Christmas of the story of Peter Pan.  It was lovely to be able to take my pupils but I wanted Little Man to see a pirate ship too, so on Wednesday afternoon, I took him to see the ship whilst Little Miss was at ballet.  There was less to see as it was the final full day of filming, but we did see a rather magnificent Captain Hook and his crew and spied some cast climbing high to let the sails down.  Again there were lots of people on the pier, a real treat for all the local school children.  I love the random things which happen in our town which we all embrace!



Again another unexpected delight this week at work when I accompanied my class to a workshop given by a local artist to create a sculpture for an upcoming Arts week.  Our artist was a very talented sculptor who taught us how to create models from chicken wire and use items swept up from the sea.  Initially we did some fish which were simple but really stunning and then moved on to create the mermaid above.  The project was brilliant, we all worked together so well and there was so much creativity, co-operation and fun.  These are the moments I became a teacher for, working with children to create something, no pressure to record levels or assess but just to participate, enjoy and reflect.

My other make this week is for Little Miss’ class cake sale tomorrow.  They are raising funds for a fellow pupil’s brother who is very poorly and needs pioneering treatment.  Its a very sad situation and I am impressed how the school are supporting the family.  As its my day off today I’ve baked and decorated some white chocolate and lemon cupcakes with a daisy theme for the tops.




I did have a bit of a clothing crisis when I was trying to find something to wear to a party on Saturday night.  It was one of those evenings when I had minutes to get changed and pulled out most of my wardrobe, tried it all on, had a wobble and just went with a simple outfit.  I don’t often get dressed up to go out and it showed!   However when I arrived to pick up my friend she was having the same anxieties, it seems a long time ago since we used to sit in the café on a Saturday morning with our White Stuff and other favourite catalogues and plan our outfits.  Needless to say it was a time B.C. ( before children) The one certainty of my outfit was my sparkly shoes, they do add a little sparkle and glitter to any outfit.


Little Loves / Sparkles

I do enjoy reading blogs and one of my favourite links is the Little Loves hashtag.  As I’m trying to write more posts, I thought I would adapt this to my blog under the heading Little Sparkles, so I have the responsibility to do at least a weekly post.  The focus of the post is to celebrate the things you have enjoyed reading, hearing, watching, wearing and making over the week.



Unusually for me I bought a paperback last week, How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran and I am busy devouring it.  I made a good start in the doctor’s waiting room, I was that prepared for a long wait!  The book does make me rather nostalgic, having read Caitlin’s semi biographical book How to be a Woman, I discovered that we lived very close to each other when I was studying at Wolves Poly and her cultural and neighbourhood references are very real to me, I’m sure we must have passed on the streets, sat on the same bus, went to the same gigs!  Even in this book her character takes the 512 bus which was my route to town.  Caitlin Moran has always been a bit of a hero to me, a strong, opinionated and fearless woman and her newspaper columns are well worth a read on a Saturday morning.

The second book I have read is The Places You Will Go by Dr Seuss.  I’ve been looking for it for a while as its a great story for the children encouraging them to explore the world and not only did I find it in this week, it was in the sale for £1.  I never read Dr Seuss when I was a child, I think the bold colours and illustrations put me off but since becoming a special needs teacher, Dr Seuss has become a favourite to teach and read at story time.  Some of his quotes are such good mantras to live by, we all need a little Dr Seuss in our lives.



So as the General Election campaign progresses, I heard my Prospective Parliamentary Candidates answer questions at the local hustings, an excellent evening which I really enjoyed.  I’m also listening intently to Radio 4 for a more in depth political analysis of the General Election. For a political geek this is an exciting time and with two weeks remaining I’m immersed in all things political.


A tough category for me as I don’t watch a lot of tv, I prefer to potter around or read a book.  Whilst  Saturday night is normally film night we were away with relatives last weekend so we didn’t have our Saturday routine . However, I did enjoy watching Little Miss’ class assembly last Friday, lots of songs, acting and stories.  Little Miss is a very confident performer so it was lovely to see her enjoying participating in the show and saying her very well rehearsed lines clearly.  The class did so well and it was a lovely assembly to watch.



This week I have worn my Pandora charm bracelet with my new charm, a handbag.  It was a present from my parents and arrived in the post as a surprise.  My mum chose it as she felt it was just right for me given my love of bags.  She was also responsible for the kangaroo as my family call me Skippy.  I love my charms as each has a little story about me.



With the gorgeous weather and my healthy eating continuing, its been a week of salads.  So my make is for all the salads I have taken for my work lunches in my retro style lunch box above.  All have been tasty and just the colour of all the vegetables brings a daily dose of sunshine!

So that’s my sparkles for this week, I’m looking forward to a party on Saturday night and trying to spot running friends on the tv coverage of the London marathon on Sunday.



I have recently got a Fitbit charge and I love it!  It is very motivating and addictive and I am definitely looking for ways to add more steps into my routine.  As my recovery from my leg injury is slow and running is still unattainable its a good measure of fitness.  I have read that 10000 steps a day shows an active lifestyle and over 12500 a very active lifestyle so am aiming for 10000 as a minimum.  This week’s log shows a holiday week so I will be keen to see if I can maintain the steps: I am able to walk them easily but its the pressure of time during the school week which means I jump into the car.  My sister-in-law is my challenger, we were busy sharing our strategies at the weekend, although our husbands simply didn’t get the attraction of the device.  As well as the competition, I love the little badges, they appeal to the teacher in me!  The time, stunning weather led to a strong week, the challenge is to continue this performance!

The General Election Hustings


Hustings seems a quaint, old fashioned feature of elections in the past and until I moved to our town, I had never seem them advertised. Therefore, I was delighted in the last general election when I realised that the practice is alive and well and political debate is encouraged in our constituency.  I really enjoyed the hustings of 2010 so was keen to attend this campaign’s event which took place last night.

In the media there has been much comment about the levels of participation and interest in politics and a picture of apathy and disinterest has been presented.  However, last night’s event was hugely popular, played to a full house with an audience really representing our town’s population.  Sixty five questions had been submitted in advance and five themes were chosen, Wind Farms, not such an odd choice give there is a Wind farm proposed for our coastline, Poverty, Affordable Housing, Overseas Aid and Defence spending and the NHS.  Five political parties were represented, Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, UKIP and the Green party.  Two other candidates were given five minutes each to present their manifestos.  Our current MP is Conservative having taken the seat from Labour in the last election with a 9% swing.  This election is difficult to call, the Tory MP has a decent majority, however UKIP do appear to be popular in the area which may lower the Tory vote and allow the Labour candidate to do well.  The Labour candidate was the strongest performer at the Hustings, the Green Party representative was well informed and earnest but not really a realistic vote winner, the Liberal Democrat a loose cannon, again well informed and knowledgeable about party policy but when asked his own opinion did go a bit ‘off message’, he was quite funny to listen to when he really doesn’t have a hope of scoring well.  Our sitting MP did not perform well, the most often used word was ‘regrettably’  and he did suggest that a caravan was appropriate for affordable housing.  There was an amusing heckle when the lack of land for house building was mentioned with a member of the audience shouting out well you own it.  Our MP’s family does own an awful lot of land in this constituency, hence the proliferation of his posters in the fields.  The clever player last night was the UKIP candidate, I was expecting him to repeat the national themes of immigration, EU etc..  However, he played it locally and didn’t give the headlines expected, his arguments were clear, a bit dull but he played to his audience.  I am interested to see how this translates into votes.

It is now two weeks until Voting day and whilst my vote had never been in doubt, last night’s hustings reinforced my political beliefs.  The nicest thing about the hustings was the proof that people are passionate about politics and keen to engage in considered and respectful debate.

Family Times


Over the past year we have begun to get more confident and enthusiastic about weekends away.  When the children were younger, there was a certain level of anxiety about sleeping in a new bed and nights away from home were long and exhausting.  However things have improved and with planned sleeping arrangements we are able to enjoy our time away.  This weekend we went to my sister-in-law’s in Exeter.  Its quite an easy journey so after an early start we were there for mid Saturday morning.  It was not only us at the house as my Father-in-law was staying too, celebrating his birthday with all his family.  It was lovely to be able to give him such a special family day, birthdays are not about expensive presents but giving time and enjoying each others’ company.

As the fantastic weather has continued, we went to Exeter quay to take a boat down the river to a pub for lunch.  It was one of the most remarkable pubs I have visited, not easily accessible by car , so patrons tend to row, paddle or sail to it or use the adjacent cycle path.  It had the biggest pub garden I have ever seen, a field filled with outdoor activities, an adventure playground, volleyball court and table tennis perfect for its clientele.  Despite being busy, our lunch was served very quickly and the mezze platter was delicious.  After lunch we pottered along the tow path and returned home for a play in the garden, cake and a lazy night of relaxed chat.


Our Happy Lists


Among the blogs which I like to read there is a trend to share 50 things which make you happy.  There is a hashtag or linky to it but I prefer my blog to be private.   As well as my list I also asked the children about their happy things, we chose 5 and I love their choices.


50 Things which make me happy and sparkle (in no particular order)

1. Cuddles with my children.

2. Warm, fuzzy memories of special times with my husband.

3. Being with my family.

4. Radio 4 especially Women’s Hour, the Archers, Desert Island Discs and The Westminster Hour.

5. Afternoon tea ……. the ultimate being at the Ritz.

6. Lists

7. Lovely, new stationery.

8. Pottering around.

9. Strictly Come Dancing, the sequins, sparkle, music, costumes, make up no other programme comes close to making me this happy.

10. Music, I have a very eclectic taste!

11. Twitter, especially for all the amazing, kick ass women.

12.  Running

13. A ripe mango.

14. Chris Evans’ breakfast show, he would be the DJ to the soundtrack of my life.

15. A new Boden catalogue.

16. Baking and licking the bowl.

17. Holidays.

18. Photos, taking, organising and looking but definitely not posing for!

19. Bags, I love, love bags.  My lust for item.

20. Sewing.

21. Appreciating art.

19. Prints and patterns.

20. Sunshine.

21. Warm, Summer evenings.

22. The sun on my face and the sand between my toes.

23. A good film.

24. Scrabble.

25. Hats and scarves.

26. My Filofax.

27. A cup of tea.

28. Test Match Special, TMS.

29. Painted nails.

30. Sunglasses and flip flops.

31. A library.

32. Politics, local, national and international.

33. Poetry.

34. My town

35. A clean and tidy house.

36. An empty laundry basket.

37. Carnival week.

38. Tommy the Elf.

39. Recipe books.

40. My job as a special needs teacher.

41. My children’s giggles and laughter.

42. Children’s literature.

43.  Books, Kindle or the special feel and smell of a new paperback.

44. Hot Cross Buns.

45. Glossy magazines at the hairdressers, the only place I get to catch up.

46. Family heirlooms, my ring and bangle.

47. Freshly washed bed linen.

48. A warm bath filled with bubbles.

49. Essential oils and natural remedies.

50. Friends.

Little Miss’ 5 Happy things ..

1. Being calm.

2. Having friends.

3. Being kind to everyone.

4. Being with my family.

5. Playing

Little Man’s 5 Happy things..

1. Reading a book with Daddy.

2. Star Wars.

3. Playing with cars.

4. Playing on the beach.

5. Playing Wii U

A Wildlife Trust Day Out


At the end of the school term, a flyer came home advertising a local Wildlife Trust day, it looked interesting so was pinned to the noticeboard as a possibility for today.  With no plans other then to go out for a long walk we headed to the Wildlife day and what a day it turned out to be.  I was expecting a few planned walks but there was a wealth of activities available.  We walked first, participating in the family walk, although there were 6 and 13 mile options too.  Our guide was not simply a route but it detailed the animals, birds and plants we might see and provided an interesting commentary to the walk.  When we returned to the base there were lots of fantastic nature activities for the children to do, they made hedgehogs from sticks, berries and clay, a windmill from paper and watched a highly entertaining puppet show which really explored the art of story telling, I was rapt in the tale and the children sat enthralled and amazed, happily joining in with the story.  It was such a lovely experience and a perfect way to end the school holidays.


Old Friends


Today was one of those impromptu days which ends up just perfectly.  Last week, I was thinking of an old friend who recently lost her Dad after a long illness.  Sadly these days, we are no longer living around the corner from each other and it is now more than a 100 mile difference between our homes, yet I really wanted to see her and let her know I was thinking of her.   So, I typed out a quick email along the lines of I know its unlikely and really short notice but do you fancy meeting up during the holidays  and amazingly today we managed it.  It was wonderful to see her and her two boys, how did us teenage girls manage to mature into mothers?  In the nicest possible way, thirty years later we still seem to have the same friendship we shared as teenagers, no matter how much time has passed I feel relaxed and myself in her company.

We chose a venue half way for both of us, a fantastic motor museum and after the initial shyness and hesitation the children got on brilliantly and played happily whilst we were able to catch up.  The museum was one of the best I have visited with the children, there were lots of activities for them to try, brass rubbings of the cars, motor bikes and cars to sit in, spray painting a mini and an Easter bunny hunt which meant they had to really carefully look around the exhibits.  There was also a really impressive outdoor play area and with the perfect weather today was one of those really happy days.


The First Beach Trip of the Year

snadcasThe first sandcastle of 2015!

We regularly walk along the beach in all weathers throughout the year, so today wasn’t really our first trip to the beach this year. However it was the first bright, sunny and warm day of the year which meant we got to wear our swimming costumes under our shorts and t shirts and brought the beach toy bag out of hibernation and headed to the beach to play and paddle! The nice thing was that it was totally unexpected given we were wearing winter hats and coats for the Easter egg hunt on Sunday!   As is often the way in our small town, once on the beach we met up with other children and soon there was a little posse building sand castles and digging channels, holes and moats to trap the water.   The little ones love the beach and can quite happily play for hours, imagining and creating sand worlds.   For me the beach is a simple pleasure; feeling the sun on my face, walking barefoot on the sand and just looking out to sea. Until I lived at the seaside, I never appreciated the beauty of the sea and now looking out at it is the most relaxing thing I do.


Handwritten Notes

Easter list

Sadly I never have or will been an artist, one of my life’s regrets.  However, rather than just type an Easter Egg hunt list I do love  the personal touch that I have created above, my own pictures and handwriting.  Its not perfect but its me and doing it made me happy.  How rare is it for an adult to draw and write these days?  We encourage our children to write and draw and express themselves creatively, but do we afford ourselves the some freedom?