Hot cross buns.

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Hot cross buns are my favourite Easter treat. For me nothing compares to a simple, freshly baked bun with soft, slightly spiced dough and plump fruits, fresh from the bakers on Good Friday.

I’m not tempted by the supermarkets with their fancy flavours, to me a hot cross bun is the delight of a simple recipe. From childhood to adulthood, I have always queued up on Good Friday morning at the local baker for fresh hot cross buns, packaged in a white paper bag. A hot cross bun is one of life’s simple pleasures.

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March #littleloves

So a new strategy with #littleloves as I love the concept but have struggled to find the time to write weekly, I’m now going to try and write it monthly so I still get to record what I’ve enjoyed most during the month.

March has been a funny old month, after a grey, cold and wet winter I had hoped that we would see the first signs of spring this month, but March turned out to be the most extreme month of the winter.  We had two big snowfalls in three weeks and arctic weather which left us all so cold and miserable.  I’ve lots of books on my post this month as it really was a month for keeping warm and cosy indoors.

Away from the weather which dominated many conversations, March was a busy month in our household, there was lots of dance this month as Little Miss had exam classes, a ballet exam, show rehearsals and normal classes, our boys had a weekend at Grandad’s and we had a surprise tea out with my parents who were on a day out nearby and made a detour to see us.  I also finally joined the gym after threatening to do it all winter, I’m loving it and am feeling so much better for it.

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As I mentioned earlier, its been a good month for reading, lots of cosy nights in to escape the arctic weather outside.  I’ve completed A Life in the Day by Hunter Davies, I feel Bad about my Neck by Nora Ephron, Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher, Happy by Fearne Cotton and Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift.  Hunter Davies’ autobiography was my favourite book of the month, but I also want to mention Giovanni Fletcher, it was the first book of hers that I’ve read and I really enjoyed it.  At bedtime, Little Miss and I are reading Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls 2, it is as brilliant as the first and so inspiring and powerful, such an original and simple idea. I have also been reading the daily essays in Simple Abundance, each day is a piece on how to live an authentic life. I read this book 20 years ago and it had a big impact on me then. However I then lent it to a friend and lost my original, so it’s been a delight to revisit it.

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I finally got to watch The Greatest Showman at the cinema this month, even though it came out in December.  The film didn’t disappoint, I love a film that is visually stunning and packed full of music and the Greatest Showman had it all.  I’ve been playing the soundtrack a lot and This is Me has become a bit of an anthem in our house.  I did a little research on Barnum after and he wasn’t quite as nice as the character in the film but the poetic licence made for a fantastic film.

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I made the children’s costumes for World Book day this month and then it got rearranged due to a couple of snow days (the children have had a few days off this month thanks to snow and broken boilers) When it finally took place, Little Miss was the White Witch from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Little Man The Wimpy Kid.  Little Miss loves to dress up and we spent lots of time, crimping her hair, spraying it blue and then adding glitter spray too, she also had lots of glitter and blue lipstick on her face to complete her look.  Little Man went for the simplest option as he doesn’t quite share his sister’s enthusiasm for dressing up.

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This month, I also got to make snowballs and a snowman on the second snow fall.  We were house bound on the first snow fall because of black ice, it wasn’t much fun and a bit disappointing however on the second occasion, we just had snow and spent a brilliant morning in the garden, happy days.

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This month, it was all about the layers and hats and scarves.  It was so cold.  Next winter, I am going to buy the warmest coat I can find with the biggest pockets and cosiest hood.

This was the month, when I finally replaced all my old make up and have been wearing cruelty free brands after discovering that many companies test on animals as consequence of selling their products in China.  I have replaced my favourite Estee Lauder foundation with the Body Shop version and it is really impressive.  I’ve bought a couple of lipsticks this month and just that little pop of colour has lifted my mood on some mornings.

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As I’m back in the gym I’ve been making some cheesy playlists on my Spotify account, its what helps to keep me happy as I exercise. I just hope that my headphones never fall out for everyone to hear my choices!  Wham have been a guilty pleasure this month.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06tk8hw

I also listened by accident to this drama on Madness’ Sugg’s life , I was looking for Women’s Hour on the radio 4 schedule and chanced upon this instead. It’s brilliant and has a strong message about family, as well as some atmospheric acoustic songs.

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So March is over and now its Easter and the holidays.  I have a few ideas for the holidays but until I have a few dates confirmed I can’t make definitive plans, not great for the planner and organiser in me but I’m trying hard to simply go with the flow…

#littleloves is the linkie created by Morgana at coffee work sleep repeat

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Walk and Talk

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It’s funny how traditions and special moments can evolve. What started as a reaction to a bad day at work has become a weekly tradition and a highlight of my working week, Tuesday lunchtimes are walk and talk.

Over a year ago, my colleague and I were both having a v bad day, it was overwhelming and on a whim we decided to walk to a favourite cafe and get a takeaway coffee. When we arrived the smell and look of the daily soup was too good so we swapped for this and since then every Tuesday lunchtime we go and collect homemade soup and bread from our little cafe. It is the best cafe I know, the food is amazing and it’s always full of locals so invariably we stop and chat to a neighbour or friend too. However we never stop for lunch it’s always takeaway as my colleague and I walk and talk. We have resolved so many of our department’s problems on these weekly walks, planned special events and thought of new ideas. Sometimes we’ve been joined by colleagues who are always welcome and they too walk and talk .

Tuesday’s walk and talk is an inspiring and calming hour in our week, it’s the only day I take a lunch break and definitely helps keep balance in my working week. It’s useful as we have never returned with something unresolved and always feel so much better for fresh air and a healthy hearty soup. Tuesday’s walk and talk is a simple pleasure in a busy working life.

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

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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.

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

 

 

A girlie weekend

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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.