Beach days, school reading books and family visits #littleloves

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It’s been a wonderful final week of the holidays, the sun has (finally) shone brightly and our little seaside town has been packed with happy day trippers and holiday makers, especially on bank holiday weekend. Our town needs these busy weekends to thrive and survive so we’re grateful for sunny days! We have been on the beach most days this week, determined to eek out every bit of summer fun that we can. We’ve also had family down this week and having lunch al fresco in a delightful sea front cafe was just gorgeous. Somehow in between the beach visits, we’ve also managed to squeeze in school shoe shopping and school haircuts, so we’re ready to go back to school next week.

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I’m in the back to work groove this week and have been doing some professional reading. To counter this serious reading I’ve really appreciated ‘Spectacles’ by Sue Perkins, we’re a similar age so lots of the cultural references and experiences are similar to my own, whilst the family tales are ones we can all relate to. The memoir is written in an amusing style that keeps you reading and smiling.

I also read a lovely article about women in their 40s and 50s and how we’re now described as perennials. Once you’ve looked past the initial glossy photos of unbelievably glamorous, stylish and young looking women in their 40s it’s an excellent and inspiring read.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/life/women-40-50-new-ageless-generation/amp/

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I’ve watched our living room and hallways being transformed this week as we are having them redecorated. We had hoped to move but in a quiet housing market, we’ve decided to improve our house, not for a future sale but for us. Whilst we’re in the middle of the project, there’s no new pictures yet but I’m excited with the progress. The decorators are the neatest I’ve ever known, I’m sure my house is tidier than when they began!

I’ve made lots of sand castles this week and helped the children create their seaside cafe with sand food sculptures. It’s amazing how imaginative the children can be with their games on the beach.

Shorts, swimming costumes, sunglasses and sun tan lotion yippee! It’s going to be a shock returning to work clothes next week. However on my lightning trip to big town (the journey was longer than our shopping trip) I did pick up this new dress for work from Fat Face to be styled with leggings and pumps, it’ll make me feel confident on our first day back. It’s also one of those dresses which looks a lot better on than in the photo below and best of all it has pockets, essential for pens, keys etc.. and all the other accessories a teacher carries around.

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Town has been buzzing this week and there really has been that happy hum all around, the giggles on the beach, the sound of Punch and Judy, the call of the sea gulls, squeals as the first toes feel the water etc.. It’s such a lovely sound, happy people.

So that’s it now, the summer holidays are over. Whilst I like the fresh start and excitement of a new school year, I’ll miss the relaxed, family days we’ve shared this holiday. At this time of year, more than at any other, I feel the passing of time but try to see it positively and to look forward to new adventures.

Many thanks to Morgana for this lovely linkie and all those who write and inspire.

 

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Diana

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This is a postcard I bought many years ago in the National Portrait Gallery, having seen the original photograph by Snowdon on display. Along with the Mario Testino photos, its one of my favourite images of Diana.

This week sees the 20th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. It seems strange to write a post on the Royal family, I have respect for their role, but am not an ardent royalist, however Diana was different and was part of my growing up. It was the day after my 8th birthday when Diana married Prince Charles and I remember the excitement of the extra bank holiday, getting up early for the build up to the day, the anticipation of her dress, the ceremony, a tad boring for an 8 year old and then the street parties which followed in the afternoon. I was at the age of believing in a fairy tale princess and this continued when I got to see Diana at a polo match in Windsor Great park. As Girl Guides we were camping in the park and were allowed to attend the game. Charles was playing but memories of him are blurred, however I remember Diana so clearly, wearing a stunning black and white dress and smiling. She was all we had hoped for.

As the years progressed, the fairy tale princess became an anachronism, however Diana changed and away from the soap opera of her personal life exaggerated in tabloids, I respected the work she did with ‘unfashionable’ charities, landmines, AIDs, homeless charities. I also loved her style. When Diana died when I was 24, she was a woman whose values, grace and work I admired.

Diana’s death is the ‘where were you ..’ moment of my generation. I was in a large London hotel celebrating my cousin’s wedding. As we went to bed, following the reception, in the early hours of the morning we learnt that there had been a serious accident in Paris and when we awoke her death was confirmed. The morning at breakfast was one of the most surreal times, a huge, busy hotel stunned into silence, it felt like everyone was too shocked to talk. The radio was sombre with classical music playing, the tv was the news and reactions, it was the strangest and saddest day to be followed by a similar week. By chance, we were due to be away visiting family on the day of Diana’s funeral. My uncle had been in the army and Diana had been his regiment’s royal. We watched the funeral in their home with photos, signed notes and cards from Diana to my uncle on display, I remember everything about that period feeling so unreal. The funeral was highly emotional, her sons behind the coffin, Candle in the Wind being sung by Elton John and all the flowers being thrown at the car. Once it ended, like many in the country we all headed to the nearest pub for a much needed drink.

Following the funeral a friend asked me to visit London with her to see the flowers at the palaces and although I hadn’t really thought about doing it, it is something that I am so pleased I did. It was an amazing sight, the waves of flowers are unforgettable, beautiful in colour, smell and volume. We also signed the book of condolence and pottered along Kensington High Street for shopping and an Italian lunch, it was a memorable day.

As the anniversary of her death occurs, I still like Diana, yes she was flawed but she in her own way was a role model, she embraced her charity work and used her position to help others, she held strong family values and was determining what the life of a modern woman looked like. She took my generation from believing in fairy tale princesses to something a little more realistic.

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This is a photo I took on the day we visited Kensington Palace, it was an unforgettable and beautiful scene.

Postscript

Following the media coverage of the anniversary I’m a little perplexed that future generations will believe we were all emotional wrecks crying and mourning Diana’s death. It was a surreal time, questions were raised about the role of paparazzi and the need for privacy and respect and we all felt sad for her family. However we weren’t all crying but just trying to make sense of a terrible accident.

Cornwall 2017

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When we were planning our summer holiday for this year, we decided we wanted to explore our country . We have a beautiful country and need to celebrate and share our culture. (Reading back I should like to stress that I’m still mourning Brexit, you can love our country and the world around us!) We chose Cornwall quite simply because I wanted to go back to the Eden project. I loved it when we visited in 2005 and have wanted to return since, 12 years and two children later, I finally got my wish this summer and it didn’t disappoint. We picked the south of Cornwall as Mr S and I had a lovely holiday in St Ives in 2000 so were keen to be in this area for this holiday, with its beautiful beaches, little shops, art galleries and lovely little restaurants. Of course I was remembering a holiday pre children and I didn’t get much opportunity to mooch around the shops and art galleries this time.  However, I would like to plan a child free weekend to appreciate these things again.

We stayed at a Haven caravan park, Riviere Sands. Its location was ideal, right on the beach and we had a sea view from our caravan.  The beach was beautiful, miles and miles of soft sand.  I ran several mornings and it was wonderful to run on the wet sand for miles and appreciate the views of Caris Bay and St Ives.  The location of the caravan park means its a quiet beach as its quite difficult to get to apart from via the park.  The day we were on the beach at St Ives it was much busier.  The facilities at the caravan park were good, it had an indoor and outdoor pool and outdoor water slide, crazy golf, go karts and a variety of activities, water and land based organised in the leisure hub.  There was also evening entertainment, we tended to stay just for the children’s show and disco but one of the highlights of the holiday was winning music bingo on the first night.  We won so many prizes, a huge toy tiger who took up a seat in the car, hoodies, bubble machines, magic straws, bubble magic, light toys, the children were ecstatic and couldn’t believe their prizes.  I couldn’t believe we won, I don’t think I’ve ever won a game of bingo before! We did a number of activities on site, crazy golf was fun and despite Mr S’ disbelief and checking my adding up, I won.  The children both did some activities in the pool, aqua jets and gliders which they loved, they were £8 and £4 respectively but well worth the money.  The pool was really nice to swim in, heated to a comfortable temperature and well supervised, we swam everyday both inside and out.

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Our caravan was so kitsch, I loved it,  from the lollipop curtains, Twister lolly cushions it just screamed holidays.  Our rooms had bed linen with seaside scenes and all furnishings were colourful and bright.  It had a clean, good sized bathroom and the kitchen had everything we might need.  I really liked our little base, it felt like a holiday and also showed how little you need to have a good time.

Over the week, as expected for a British holiday, the weather was mixed, with some lovely weather and some cloudy, damp days.  The worst were the day we arrived and the day before we left, on the first day we just went swimming, did the food shopping and entertained ourselves inside the caravan  whilst on the Sunday, we went to a nearby town to watch a film and then did swimming in the afternoon by which time the rain had passed.  We wanted to make the most of our location on the beach so most days were spent on the beach and in the pool, we had two days out in St Ives and the Eden project.

We last went to the Eden project in April 2005 (the week Pope John Paul died, its surprising what you remember!) I loved it, not simply the content, but the philosophy and ethos behind the project, its one of the few millennium projects which has a lasting legacy.  I really wanted the children to experience it and understand the importance of sustainability, conservation and protecting our planet, pretty tough aims for an 8 and 9 year old.  However they loved it and learnt so much from it, I’ve been pleasantly surprised how they have discussed what they saw, especially in the ‘rain jungle’ dome.  There was also a space theme to the project this summer and there was a terrific trip around the solar system in the arena, you got to be on every planet and it was so well done.  There were lots of space activities all over the site which were enjoyed by us all.  I was amazed at how the site has developed over the years, I got the children to pose in the same spot where Mr S and I had photos taken on our original visit and where the bare land is now full of gardens and colour, without the domes the photos would have been incomparable. I cannot wait to return to Eden and as the tickets last a year I’m hoping we may be able to fit in a weekend away in the next 12 months to appreciate it again (and make more use of our £71 ticket!)

Whilst St Ives was as lovely as I remembered, it was busy, busy, busy on the day we went.  We split into girls and boys to do a little shopping trip but the crowds made this a little uncomfortable, you were queuing to get in and out of some shops.  However I did get to visit Poppy Treffy an online gift shop which I love and have bought a number of items from, it was so nice to be in the shop and see everything, I may have bought one or two Christmas presents here, its never too early to start.  We spent most of our time in St Ives on the beach, it was a lovely day and with a sea rescue display from the coastguards and RNLI there was plenty to see.  We also enjoyed some Cornish pasties for lunch, when in Cornwall..

Cornwall was a great holiday destination, the weather was as expected but I loved returning to Eden and enjoying the beautiful, golden beaches.  We made lots of happy, family memories. So that’s Cornwall ticked off our places to visit in Britain, where next?

 

Hoodies, the Eden project and Dirty Dancing – #littleloves the Cornish edit!

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I’m now at the stage of the summer holidays when I’m trying to work out what day of the week it is, Mr S is at home too so there’s no work days at present and each day simply merges into another. Living in a holiday resort its holidays all round, so no real definer of time here either. In the period since my last #litteloves post we’ve been on our summer holiday to Cornwall. Normally we go abroad but this year we wanted to show the children how beautiful our country is and share some of the special places. We had a caravan on the beach near St Ives and explored Cornwall, the Eden project was the highlight but we all enjoyed the beaches and surf.

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Normally I read lots on holiday, especially around the swimming pool but this year I found myself in the pool as it was a bit nippy to be sat around it or watching the children in the sea from the beach, thus reducing reading opportunities. Therefore I’ve only been reading magazines, guidebooks or puzzle books, all fun and light but I’m looking forward to starting a book tonight and working my way through my to read list.

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On holiday I watched the children carefully, the sea was more tidal than we’re used to and I always had them in my sight if Mr S or I weren’t in the sea with them. Our two are beach dudes and had their body boards in the sea and tried out aqua gliders and jets at the caravan park. On one afternoon, Lifeboat day in St Ives, we watched a mock rescue display by the lifeboat and coastguard in the sea, highly impressive and I have so much respect to those who volunteer to help others.

We had a wet and miserable morning on holiday and went to the cinema to see ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid – The Long Haul’ I really liked this film despite some poor reviews, it’s exactly what you expect a funny, family film with lots of slapstick. I did think the dynamics of the family were so well observed and I could identify so much with mum, her part was superb.

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Image BBC

 

In our little caravan, CBBC was a popular choice for viewing by the children. Little Miss and I were inspired by Tilly Ramsey’s cookery programme Matilda and the Ramsey bunch. This is a great programme, I loved it, Tilly is bright, funny and passionate about food and such a positive role model, whilst her family are just lovely. Since watching the programme, Little Miss has been helping me to make dinner each night, preparing vegetables, cooking some ingredients etc.. She’s not only been helping but learning too and has listened carefully to instructions and explanations. I let Little Miss make her first cake independently this week, simply being present in the kitchen ready to answer any questions and take the cake out of the oven. She made a lime and coconut loaf and it was amazing. I’m looking forward to tasting more of her cakes and bakes.

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The weather was mixed on holiday, some stunning days but some damp and cooler days too. My most worn outfit was my swimming costume, I was in the water everyday either in the pool or sea and then spent most of my time in shorts and a hoodie or t-shirt depending on the temperature. I love the hoodie and shorts combie, it’s cosy and warm with a hint of summer.

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I was surprised to hear that the film, Dirty Dancing was released 30 years ago this week, how can it be that old?  It was the coming of age film for me and my friends and is still one of my favourite films of all time. I downloaded the soundtrack onto Spotify this week and enjoyed listening to it on my runs. I also had a bit of a tidy up this week and found my original CD from 30 years ago, in the sleeve there are all the lyrics and I remember singing along as a teenager. I love the Dirty Dancing soundtrack and it still is as good as I remember.

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We have few plans for the bank holiday weekend, if its sunny it’ll be the beach or a walk or if its mixed we’ve a few house jobs on a list to be done.  Next week is school shoe shopping and the final bits of uniform, I’m already psyching myself up!  We will then finish the last holiday week with a visit from family, before its back to school.  The summer holiday seems to have gone so quickly and there are signs of autumn creeping through our days now.  I’m determined to enjoy these last days of summer.

Many thanks to Morgana and all her lovely contributors to #littleloves, I’ve missed the posts and inspirations.

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Stopping Time, children playing and a radio drama #littleloves

The summer holiday is plodding along, the weather is still rubbish but we’re trying to make it fun. Mum and Dad came down at the start of the week so we went through to the neighbouring town and walked along the river and quay for a rare warm and pleasant few hours! I also introduced mum to a lovely little artisan courtyard which she enjoyed browsing around as I do. There was nothing outstanding this week it was just finding joy in the ordinary, play dates, meet ups and that wonderful dry little walk along the beach after a wet day stuck in the house.


I’ve been reading Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time this week. With his books it’s not simply about the plot but the beauty and poignancy of his language. This book has been a great read and I’m looking forward to finishing it on holiday next week.


I’ve enjoyed watching the children play this week. We had a lovely fun day at the cricket club on Sunday where the children received their medals and certificates for the season and then enjoyed all the activities set up, especially the soft play gladiators. After seeing the weather forecast for Wednesday and another wet day indoors, I decided to host some play dates, Little Man had a friend in the morning, Little Miss in the afternoon and two of my friends came around in the evening. Mr S was away this week so we chatted around the kitchen table rather than the in a pub, I think I won then over with my nibbles! It made for a really nice day sometimes I think it’s easier with friends than just my two together who alternate between being best friends and irritating each other.

This week I’ve been playing on Movie Maker creating some short films in preparation for a work project. I rarely take video footage of us but may try to take a few clips on holiday and create a little film of memories. Given our family’s need for privacy the short films will never make it to You tube and I won’t be launching as a vlogger but it’s a nice little project to undertake.

When I was in John Lewis a few weeks ago I was given a sample of a new face mask by Clarins. I’m never going to make it as a beauty blogger but I loved the smell of the mango butter and my skin did feel lovely and soft after the mask. I received some Boots vouchers for my birthday and think I will treat myself to a little tube, isn’t the tube a lovely colour too!


I was in the car on Monday lunchtime and caught a radio drama by Michael Morpugho on child migration to Australia post WW 2. It was a really good drama and I’ve listened to all the episodes this week in bed. Whilst this was a drama, the policy was real and one that makes you think of the child migrants of today and the need to keep them safe.

It’s holidays for us next week as we swap one popular British seaside town where we live for another, St Ives in Cornwall. We have a list of things which we hope to do The Eden project and St Michael’s Mount top our list and then it’s time to relax on the beaches or at our caravan park. Fingers crossed for dry weather, a little sunshine would be perfect.

Morgana is still on her break but I can’t write without thanking her for her inspired linkie.

The football bet ⚽️

Whilst I rarely do the lottery or any gambling, every August I do a bet to predict the 4 winners of the English football leagues. It's something Mr S and I have done for years as a bit of fun and as we watch the results come through on Saturday afternoon it adds a little bit of interest as you look for the scores of 'our' teams. I've had success over the years, just one winner is only a few pounds but on my best year I predicted 3 of the 4 and my winnings paid for a long weekend at a spa. Most years I get a little return on my money.

I love my football, people are always surprised by my knowledge but I grew up surrounded by boys so it became a way of joining in. I've been attending matches since I was 7 and was a season ticket holder at Bristol City for years. The football I know is far removed from the Premier League, it's the lower divisions with the occasional trip to Wembley for play offs or the Johnsons Paint trophy final. It's where the footballers are part of the community or where a former student becomes a player of your local team. The special needs school where I teach works closely with our local league team, this is the good done by football clubs often eclipsed by money and scandal.

Despite my love of football I happily admit that I don't study form for my bets the choices are simple hunches and it gives me fun throughout the season .

Morph, a Ferris wheel and new perfume #littleloves

So it’s been my favourite week of the year, it’s carnival week and with my birthday and wedding anniversary falling this week too, it’s a happy time for our family. Mr S has been working away for a few days so the children and I amused ourselves with a little road trip to Weston Super Mare, Bristol and Cardiff. I lived in Cardiff in my early twenties and love the city so it was lovely to go back and spend a day there with the children, it’s such a vibrant place. We enjoyed time at the Dino baby exhibition and then at Cardiff Bay where I got to ride on a Ferris wheel which made me so happy!




I received this book as a birthday gift and finished it in a few days, it is so good and a book which you reflect on days after finishing it. It’s the story of a young woman who makes a kind gesture and the effect in has on her life. It’s sad and uplifting and it makes you want to hug the heroine and wish her well, definitely one of the best reads of the year.


It’s carnival week with lots of highlights. On Saturday night, we watched the impressive fireworks on the beach and then on Sunday cheered on the floats in the parade. I love this weekend when town is full of colour, noise and families.


When we were in Bristol we visited the Morph exhibition fundraising for the Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was excellent and a really interactive exhibition, we made a Morph from plasticine and a little animation film. I used to love Take Hart and Morph when I was little so it was fun to make my own little Morph.


As a birthday treat my mum took me to the Jo Malone counter to choose a new perfume. What a choice and so difficult to choose my scent. In the end it was between French Lime and the Lime, basil and mandarin scents, I chose the latter and have loved wearing it this week, it’s a lovely, light summery smell.

During carnival there is lots of live music and the sound reflects around the bay, in the evenings and I can hear it late at night in bed, a sound of summer nights. I’ve also heard lots of rain, it’s still raining in week 2 of the holidays, boo.

Mr S is working away again next week but I’m planning on spending the week based at home to prepare for our holiday the week after. We must be due some hot, sunny weather now and it would be great to have a few beach trips and lazy afternoons in the park. Fingers crossed 🤞🏼

Thank you to Morgana for creating and hosting #littleloves, I hope you’re enjoying your break