Yesterday I saw a Twitter feed about the lack of diversity in ITV’s Love Island🌴. I’ve never seen the programme although I’ve seen the ads with the identikit 20 somethings. Whilst I can’t comment about the specifics it really got me thinking about diversity in our society. I grew up in a multi cultural part of Bristol and my school represented its community, reflecting on it now it was an inclusive and integrated school long before such things became political. However that multi cultural community in which I grew up seems less visible today. Last weekend we went to a party in a very ‘nice’ golf club on the outskirts of Bristol, same city, different area 30 years later and there was not one person of colour at the club, everyone was white. There are no COC at my children’s school although there are in the clubs they attend which cover a wider geographic area. I started to think about ITV and some of their programmes and struggled to think of a mainstream presenter of colour, yes there’s Alison Hammond from This Morning who I think is great but she’s cast as the big, bubbly black woman, another stereotype fulfilled and her career developed after Big Brother (probably the most inclusive reality show) rather than a more formal career path. Too many of our presenters are successful because of family ties, a certain look and networks, which is true of politicians, leading companies etc.. It’s all pretty depressing. Yesterday the BBC also announced that it had settled an equal pay case with one of its senior reporters and she donated the back pay to a women’s charity to help others achieve such equality. FFS this is 2018 and we still don’t have what me and my friends were demanding and protesting for 30 years ago, why as a society does it feel that we are promoting an image that seems less equal and inclusive? Great developments have taken place particularly with LGBT rights but prejudice still exists and there is still so much to do. It’s up to us to shout, to act, simple acts have an effect. My twitter feed is full of #loveisland comments, perhaps if everyone switched off then ITV would take action, it will give its audience what they want, we just need them to know that it’s a show which reflects our multi cultural society.
June 2018 has been a very special month, the sun has shined daily, there have been lots of celebrations and special events and even our national cricket and football teams have been winning with record scores. June is definitely our family’s busiest month of the year and whilst its been packed, this has been a fantastic month in which we seem to have fitted so much in. There’s no way I’ll be able to fit it in all into this post but this month we’ve enjoyed playing in lots of cricket matches, a visit to a water park, a roller disco, a residential trip for each child, school day trips, a weekend away in Bristol which included open air swimming, pedalos and a friend’s party, school sports day, a primary schools concert, learning to kayak and of course visits to the beach. June you really rocked!
As I started this post, I didn’t think that I would have much to write in this section, however when I looked at my Good Reads record, I’ve finished four books this month. I was on holiday for a few days at the start of the month so I think I must have done most of my reading then. I have read The Holiday Cottage by the Sea by Holly Martin, perfect escapism, Its not what you think by Chris Evans, an autobiography which had me reminiscing about the 90s, Dear Mrs Bird, a period drama and My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante. My Brilliant Friend has been on my to read list for ages and it really didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t what I was expecting but is the story of two friends as they grow up in their small Italian quarter and their neighbours. The story is so engaging and beautifully written, a 5 star read, full of complex characters and relationships. My Brilliant Friend is the first of a quartet and I’m hoping to download number 2 for my summer holiday. With this heat, the sun and the chirping birds I’ve been waking up early around 5ish and have taken to reading in bed, its a little luxury which is really rather nice!
So for the first time in a few years, I got to watch Sports day on the planned day, last year it took 3 attempts due to poor weather. I do love Sports day, its so simple and fun. My favourite race is the whole school relay when the four school houses compete against each other, its a feat of incredible logistics to get everyone in the correct position from Reception to Year 6 but the cooperation and comradery of the race gets me every year!
I also watched another school event where all the local primaries work together to put on a concert. Little Miss was in the choir, her school sang Can’t Stop the Feeling and then they joined in with the big choir for a few songs too. To my surprise, as she hadn’t mentioned it, Little Miss also played the calypso drums in a song which just sounded and felt like summer. It was a lovely little evening.
I do love my football and have been following the World Cup. Little Man is really into the World cup with all his stickers, wearing his England top with pride. He was beside himself watching England win 6-1, children just don’t know the despair we’ve felt over the years, he is so confident that England will win the world cup and I really hope he’s right.
We have enjoyed lots of days out this month and I have made a lot of picnics. For Christmas we were gifted this picnic rucksack and it has been one of the best presents ever, our picnics have gone from sandwiches to cheese and biscuits, salads, fruits, quiches etc..
It was shorts as much as possible this month, I can’t wear them for work where its been simple sundresses and summer skirts but shorts, a top and flip flops has been my go to outfit this month. I did go to a lovely party, so wore a simple cream crochet dress and jewellery for the special occasion. I also wore some different items, roller skates for the roller disco (scary!) and a life jacket for my kayak lesson (fab)
I am enjoying listening to Gary Davies’ Sounds of the 80s on Radio 2. I often listen to it on my Sunday morning run and love his knowledge and choices of songs. We used to listen to Gary Davies at our 6th form and even went to a Radio 1 road show to see him so its nice to hear him back on the radio, ooh Gary Davies.
I am also hearing a lot of Little Man singing 3 Lions which is so cute, I think its the best football song ever and brings back very happy memories of Euro 96 and a brilliant summer.
Fortunately, July is looking a lot more relaxed apart from the big school and ballet productions. Little Miss has been working on the ballet show since Christmas and its on for 5 nights some of which I am matroning. I am looking forward to seeing it, the glimpses I’ve seen at rehearsal pick ups have been amazing. Her and Little Man are both in the school play at the local theatre too, its a fun story and they’ve both been singing the songs at home to practice. Next month also sees the final Beavers and Brownies for my two as they move to the next sections. both have given the children brilliant opportunities and it will be sad to say thank you and good bye.
I am going to link up with Morgana this month as I hope I will have the time to read and comment on the other writers’ posts this week. I only try to link up when I can do this although I do write a post monthly. Thanks to Morgana for an inspiring and interesting linky.
We have had one of those weekends when you feel you have actually been away on a holiday as you can’t quite work out how you managed to fit so much into a few days .It was one of those weekends where everything magically aligned and the weather was stunning, a weekend full of awesome moments and happy times.
We spent this weekend in the Bristol area, Mr S and I lived here until our move to our seaside town in 2004, so it was a weekend to see family and old friends. We drove up after school on Friday afternoon and arrived in time for a quick change and a walk to a local, family run Italian restaurant, which had been a favourite when we lived nearby, for a celebration dinner. There was lots to celebrate birthdays, fathers day and just being together and we had such a relaxed and delicious family meal with Granddad. The restaurant has a very clever design so our table in the ‘conservatory’ made us feel that we were eating outside on the hot evening with a gentle breeze. We walked through the park on the way home and as it was so light and warm we let the children play whilst we simply watched and talked, does anything beat a warm summer night?
On Saturday we planned to do lots with the children to tire them as Granddad was babysitting and we wanted to make sure the children were asleep before Mr S and I left for our night out. We drove over to Portishead to their open air pool for some swimming. The lido is gorgeous and retro with a real 50s vibe, it is painted bright orange and yellow and with the blue pool and blue skies it looked amazing. Its such a hidden gem and we had such a great morning here with swimming, games, sunbathing on the tiered steps and of course eating our picnic, which seems to become more elaborate each time. After the lido we walked along the promenade to the park and boating lake where we hired a pink flamingo pedalo. This was so much fun too, perhaps more for me as I was in the back so got to sit and relax whilst Mr S and the children pedalled around the lake. It was late afternoon by the time we got home and we succeeded in getting two tired children in bed and asleep by 8pm. The main focus of our visit to Bristol was for a friend’s 50th birthday party. Mr S has had the same group of friends since school so it was a lovely to meet up with them all at the party. Mr S remarked he had been at the host’s 21st, 30th, 40th and 50th parties and I find it incredible that such a large group of friends from school are still so close after all these years. I’ve known the group for the past 20 years and still feel a newbie! The party was at a stunning and impressive venue and we spent a lot of time outside as it was just so beautiful with gorgeous gardens. It was one of those parties when it was over so quickly as we were all having such a good evening.
Today we played in the park and met up with friends which meant for Little Miss the absolute thrill of meeting up with teenagers to discuss make up, clothes and piercings. We then got to watch the England match, for Little Man this is the first World cup he is really interested in and he knows so much, he watches the game with his World cup cards and looks up the players etc… He loved the England match and watching all the goals go in, he has that innocent belief in England, not the cynicism of us oldies. As we drove home we listened to Three lions which he is now singing along to and then switched to the cricket commentary where England in a thrilling match beat Australia to win the ODI series 5 – 0.
It really felt like a perfect weekend and one that will be remembered fondly for many years to come. I’m just hoping the adrenaline and memories will now see me through the week, as I am a bit tired!
There is something special about a lido on a hot summer’s day. The kitsch decor, swimming in the open air, sunbathing on the steps and a picnic lunch, glorious fun.
This photo shows the app I’ve been avidly using this week, Google maps. My weekly driving miles are around 30, 20 of which are used on our weekly swimming lesson trip so it’s been a bit of a surprise to have driven over 300 miles this week! It was just one of those odd weeks when everything came together and was a mix of work and family miles. I have been all over our county and surrounding areas and Google maps has been amazing at route planning. I’ve enjoyed the driving, buzzing around with music blaring and the sun shining brightly. I live in a beautiful part of the country and the scenery has been stunning.
Last week, I found myself doing some quite different things; within 6 days I had been to a roller disco, done every slide at least once at a water park and had my first kayak lesson. Looking back on the week, I wondered if I was going through a mid life crisis trying to prove that I had the fitness, stamina and spirit to do these activities. Perhaps this is true, I was 37 when I finally became a mum after years of fertility treatment and the adoption process, much older than I had hoped. I always wanted to be one of those mums who did things with her children, who was present not simply physically but experiencing the moment too. I also feel that its up to me to be that sporty active parent as Mr S suffered significant injuries in an accident when he was younger so cannot do all I can.
The activities I did last week were all with or for the children, we went to the roller disco and water park together and I am taking kayak lessons so I can be confident to go out with them on the water. I want them to be active and adventurous and its up to me to be that example. This may sound all very noble, but the main reason I do these activities is for fun, to live in the moment and enjoy time with my children. We only have 18 summers with our children, I missed 2 for Little Miss and 1 for Little Man when they were in care so my 18 is reduced, we’re now half way through our childhood summers and there is still so much I want to share with my children. We have many more adventures to plan and experience and I intend to be the mum who says yes and goes for it, life is too short to live on the side lines.
Well on a week in which I did so much there is a real lack of photos to accompany the experiences. Understandably no cameras are allowed at the water park and I was too busy staying afloat and holding onto my paddle to take photos at my kayak lesson. It’s been a funny week, an Inset day for the children, 2 extra days of holiday for me and Little Miss on a residential but it’s back to our normal routine next week.
This week’s photo was taken in our garden where Little Miss and Mr S have been very carefully growing vegetables in our raised beds. Our pea pods started to appear this week and we’re all now looking forward to the harvest.
Dear Little Miss
This is now the longest time we’ve ever been apart since we became a family eight years ago. I’m missing you; your cuddles, kisses and companionship. The house seems so much quieter and emptier without you. Its not the first time you’ve been away from home, as you have done a Brownie sleepover but this school residential feels different. It is an adventure and you are trying new and exciting activities without me there to encourage and cheer you on. You are now old enough to be creating special memories with your friends as well as your family and I’m sure the PGL trip of Year 5 will become a much treasured trip for you all.
Thanks to digital technology, Daddy and I have been able to see you throughout the trip on the school feed, we’ve admired the photos of you abseiling, raft building, fencing, whizzing down the longest zip wire I’ve ever seen and just playing with your friends. It all looks so much fun and there you are smiling, confident and looking so grown up. I’ve heard it was you that started the singing on the coach and I’ve seen the video of the raft and you leaping into the water with so much zest and squealing in delight as you splash down. You were so excited about PGL and now you’re there you seem to be relishing every moment and I couldn’t be prouder. This is what life is about its trying new things and embracing every opportunity, please never lose your energy, enthusiasm and passion for life, it makes you the very special young lady you are.
I am so looking forward to seeing you tomorrow and although I’ve missed you, this trip has been amazing for you. I can’t wait to hear of all your adventures and to start planning new ones too.
Lots of love
In a half term week where we were out and about lots, this picture has just stood out of being one of my favourites. It was a quick snap as I liked the contrast of the blue sky and white Ferris wheel and the sun streaming onto the image just adds to the effect.
Its been a while since I posted a #18for2018 update however I haven’t forgotten about my project its just that many items are works in progress. For example, I’ve read 20 books this year of which 3 have been 5 star reads according to my Good Reads account where I have been writing a review for each book. I’ve been playing some summer sports; cricket and rounders have been ticked off but I want to include more. I’m running to a schedule and have a kayak lesson booked for next week, so am feeling confident to meet these although the distance may need to be changed. The ones on wearing a pretty pair of heeled shoes and to look after my feet are a little more difficult since my diagnosis of arthritis in my right foot but I’m looking to be creative here too, I have a new pair of sparkly flip flops, which along with pumps are the only shoes I can wear in comfort at present! I am still confident that I will complete my list this year.
However today I have one of my #18for 2018 to tick off and report on #12 Go to a roller disco. When I created my list for 2018, it was about doing something fun, something different or simply getting out of my comfort zone. I chose the roller disco because I’ve grown up watching the American movies where they go to such discos and they look fun. I often go to the Christmas ice rinks which pop up in December and can skate my way around the rink with a quiet confidence so I decided that I wanted to try a roller disco, different skates but a similar style I predicted. I was wrong! As soon I laced up my boots and stood up, I wobbled, you can walk fairly easily balanced on the blade of an ice skate, the four wheels of a skate don’t allow you to do this! It was at this point, I realised that it was probably 30 years since I had last worn roller skates. For the first few circuits Little Man and I clung to the side but we did grew more confident, daring and determined as we progressed, Little Miss was superb from her first steps! It was so good to see how Little Man started frustrated and angry and was dabbing and dancing by the end, one of my happiest memories of the trip will be to us dancing (upper body only as we were never perfected twists and turns on the skates) to Upton Funk, it was one of those in the moment occasions, a shared joy.