Little Sparkles of August

I love August, after months of military organisation with school and extra curricular events, August is the month to  relax, chill and just live in the moment.  After an indifferent start to summer, we have had great weather for the school holidays and we’re all looking sun kissed and healthy after a month outside.



Games are not a normal category in my little sparkles but it’s August and we’ve played lots! There’s imaginary games at the park and on the beach, garden games such as cricket, tennis and football and card games on holiday.  UNO is always a family favourite but thanks to a birthday present we have a new game, Monopoly Quick Deal, which we played every night on our family holiday.  Its a simple, quick and fun game and its a nice feeling to finish your day in the caravan with all the family around the table playing and laughing together.



After a very quiet year of reading, this month I managed to read 7 books!  I love the holidays for the time it gives me to relax and read.  With the age the children are now, they are able to play on their own and with friends at the park and beach giving me valuable time to read, my Kindle is always in my bag.  However I also read some real books this month, one from the library and I bought three with a book voucher I got for my birthday.  My favourites were The Trials and Triumphs of Grace Atherton and How to be Famous.  Grace was about the value of friendships and looking and caring for yourself  with the beauty of Paris and music being themes woven through the story.  How to be Famous for me was full of nostalgia and memories of the the 90s, with a strong plot that stopped the rose tinting of the era.  My children have done the Reading Challenge this summer and with my reading I reached the target too, unfortunately as an adult I didn’t get all the space stickers!

A wedding


This month I went to the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to.  Words simply can’t describe the elegance and detail of the wedding.  As you entered the castle the smell and beauty of the flower displays simply took your breath away, whilst the live music was superb and had us all dancing.   There was the most amazing firework display to end the evening and  we were given embroidered blankets and pashminas to ward off the chill.  The bride was so beautiful and elegant and having known her for many years I’m so happy that she has her happy ever after with such a lovely man.

Our Family Holiday

This month we were in Tenby for our summer holiday and I really fell in love with this lovely little seaside town.  There were beautiful sandy beaches and the town was full of quirky, independent shops.  We stayed in an amazing caravan where the master bedroom had a dressing room and en suite!  It was a great family holiday where we simply had the chance to be together, play and relax away from all the stresses of daily life.

A summer fayre


We always go to the local village’s summer fayre on Bank Holiday Monday.  It’s such a lovely, traditional British event with the flower tent, dog agility, town band etc.. and for me seems to signal the end of summer.  It’s a very popular event and a great opportunity to see friends and acquaintances.  It was ridiculously hot this year but great fun, one day I’ll enter something

Water Fun

In such a lovely month we’ve all spent a lot of time in the water, the sea at home and in Tenby and pools, inside and outside. As well as swimming we’ve tried lots of different activities, kayaking, water walkers, aqua jets, inflatables, water slides and pedalos.  We are so lucky to live at the seaside and embrace every opportunity to be on the beach.

And finally

So August is now at an end and September sees the start of a new school year and all that it brings.  It’s been a summer full of happy memories bathed in warm sunshine for which I am truly grateful.


Being 11 …

Little Miss has begun to become a little anxious this week about starting secondary school on Wednesday so I arranged for her friends to come round this afternoon and just to chill together.

It was such an interesting afternoon to observe, the girls loved playing hide and seek at home and ran to the swings when we arrived at the playground yet they also enjoyed practising make up and preparing dances to chart hits, a funny juxtaposition of childhood and adolescence. They’re also at the funny age of what they can do independently, they’ll all be walking to school but I didn’t feel comfortable with them going into town on their own, so I walked 10 paces behind and sat on a bench outside the playground to allow them the look of freedom!

There were silly chats (Gatcha world and Anime) and really sensible conversations. I was pleasantly surprised how empathetic they were to each other and over tea they all had a great conversation on how they were feeling about secondary school and amongst themselves they decided to meet up on Wednesday morning to walk to school together.

I felt I achieved what I wanted to today, a chance for Little Miss to be with her friends and share their worries whilst being able to support each other. No matter what advice I may give it seems to be better received coming from a friend! However, there was also lots of time to play, laugh and dance and enjoy the treats the other mums had sent too. I know secondary school is all about making new friends but I hope these girls are always there for each other, it may not be as best friends I understand that friendships change but simply to show the care and kindness they all shared today.

Sometimes you just can’t do it all …

I wish I had a before and after photo for this post. Yes this is the smug domestic goddess picture, sending my son to cub camp with a homemade cake, still warm in the wrapping. However there is more to this story. His last camp was in June and again we were asked for cakes, in bold print homemade cakes! I was on my knees in June there was so much going on and to try and bake a cake was just one to do, too many. So rather than rush down to the supermarket and disguise shop bought as my own, I put in a Mr Kipling cake in its original box and stuck a label on it hoping they enjoyed it and leaving a humorous note about it not being homemade, I can’t remember the words now but it raised a few smiles and laughs on the cake table. There are times when you just can’t do it all and I didn’t fake it I just let it be, life is too short to strive for perfection.

A bank holiday weekend

During the holidays, there are always special moments, holidays, days out etc.. but sometimes it’s the simple pleasures which enrich life. It’s been the late August bank holiday and we’ve been based at home this weekend. It’s been a hot, hot, sunny weekend so there is no better place to be than the seaside. Rather than write down a diary of our the weekend, I’ll just summarise our fun, a trip to the playground with friends, two trips to the beach, pedalos in the sea (I got a bit queasy!) drawing on the garden path with chalks (strangely addictive) a traditional summer fayre in a local village preceded by a picnic lunch and attending the most beautiful wedding reception at a local castle. It was such a feel good weekend, quality time with family and friends, so many wow moments (especially at the wedding) and a weekend where your face aches from smiling. These are the days you bottle up for the darker or quieter days. Life is a balance, there are happy times and sad, busy and quiet, a happy life is about appreciating the moment.

More parkrun Tourism ..

Two consecutive Saturdays and two new parkruns! After last week’s stopover in Bristol we are currently holidaying in Tenby and in true parkrun custom I searched out my nearest run. The nearest was 10 miles away in Colby, a National Trust property.

This was a bit scary as it meant a drive on unfamiliar roads in the big family car in which I prefer to be a passenger, driving’s not really my thing. However I was more determined to do the run than not and headed off early and had researched my route well. Little Miss joined me too although navigation is not quite in her skill set yet!

We arrived early and parked easily. The run is set in a woodland garden and is truly beautiful and calming. I was really pleased that I got to visit such a beautiful place on holiday and I managed it as a free park run, win win! After the buzz of the traffic at Pomphrey Hill last week which is by a busy A road and motorway this was delightfully peaceful. The run was busy today but it’s peak holiday season and there were lots of visitors doubling the usual number of runners. The briefing was short and as it’s a 3 lapper I would have liked some advice on positioning for overtaking and lapping. I stuck to the etiquette I know, go far right for running, left for overtaking, but it seemed a bit confused in places, I know I’m a plodder but I would never want my running to affect those faster.

The course is described as undulating which is a fair description, there’s not horrendous hills but some definite uphill parts of the route as well as the downhills which were a little slippy today given yesterday’s awful rain. There’s a couple of bridges to pass and lots to see horticulturally and a few manmade structures which looked interesting. Given you do the trail three times I found different things on each lap and really liked the course.

It felt like there was a great core team at Colby and all were very friendly and helpful. I do love an accent and the Welsh lilt is rather gorgeous to be cheered on in! A highlight was the speed in which we got the results,the email came through before we got back home, the quickest results service I’ve experienced by over an hour! Colby also felt remarkable for the number of children participating, perhaps because it had a strong field of holiday makers today this felt a very family run. I would strongly recommend Colby as a parkrun we had a near perfect running conditions today and got to enjoy the beauty of a wonderful NT location. Although I think we saw the best of it on a bright summer’s day, I’m sure it’s a bit harsher in the winter. Best still within an hour of finishing we were in the outdoor pool at our campsite ready to play and relax!

parkrun 🏃‍♀️ Tourism

With the combination of Mr S working some Saturdays and Little Man’s swimming lessons when I have a Saturday free I’m keen to run. This weekend we’re in Bristol visiting family en route to our holiday in Tenby. After a quick internet search I discovered the nearest parkrun was only 10 minutes walk from my Father in Law’s house where we were staying, so perfect for a visit. The conditions were poor we dodged most showers but it was windy and a bit chilly ( though I was still in short sleeves)

Pomphrey Hill parkrun is a 3 lap course with the infamous Pomphrey Hill, a short sharp hill near the end of the lap. Apart from the hill it’s a pretty flat course with down hill to negate the climb. Little Miss joined me for the run but was struggling with the conditions and feeling tired, we walked at times but after 2 laps she decided to retire. I left her with money for a drink and a promise not to move from the pavilion. I ran the last lap pretty fast and think if I had run it alone I would have been close to a PB. When I finished I went to find Little Miss but couldn’t see her. I walked along looking out and then to my surprise I saw her in a group of runners finishing. She had had a sip of her drink and then realised that she could and wanted to finish the parkrun and headed off on lap 3, my little star. I was so proud of her but most importantly she was so pleased of herself and felt so strong and ‘resilient’ (her word which I think comes from the positive mindset work they’ve done at school)

I enjoyed the atmosphere of this parkrun the volunteers really were lovely and so encouraging, especially the lady on top of Pomphrey Hill. I think it was probably quieter today being holiday season and some pretty awful weather but it had a nice community feel. It was great to have a parkrun so close to us and definitely one to return to if we’re at Grandad’s on a Saturday morning.

Simple Pleasures

I love this print which I received on a birthday card last week. Sophie Harding is a local artist whose textile work is often exhibited in our local art gallery, alongside works by her sister, Sasha. Both women are so creative and talented and their work exudes happiness. Many of their pieces are simple tributes to seaside life.

They both have websites which showcase their fantastic work and which I like to browse for inspiration and pleasure. It’s such a simple and easy pick me up, looking and appreciating lovely pieces of art.

Little Sparkles – July 2019


July is always a busy month due to many family celebrations (there’s always cake in our house this month) and is my favourite month of the year, its my birthday, we break up for the summer holidays and in our town its carnival.  However even by our standards its been an epic month, the diary has been crammed with special events and I have had so much fun.  So below is a brief summary of our sparkles for the month ….



We knew this was going to be an emotional month and it had its highs and lows as Little Miss finished primary school.  The few days after the transition visit to secondary were difficult  but despite our worries she was amazing in the last few days at school and enjoyed her leaving party and final assembly.   Little Man’s class assembly and the Leavers assembly were brilliant, positive and joyful and I was so proud of them both.  The school events this month were endless, apprentice fair, parents evening, summer fair, class assembly, leavers party etc..  Its nice to be on holiday now.


us  judy blume

Its been such a busy month that I struggled to read just one book, Us by David Nicholls.  I really enjoyed Starter for Ten and One Day by the same author but this book just didn’t rock my boat in the same way.  Its about a middle aged couple contemplating their future together on a grand tour of Europe, it was fine but I think we all know that’s not a great one word review of a book.

However I did read a book aloud with Little Miss which bizarrely I missed at her age,  Are you there, God?  Its me, Margaret.  Its unusual because I loved Judy Blume growing up and she taught me and my friends so much ( Forever, the ultimate teen girl guide to sex) Every evening Little Miss and I read together and I felt this was the perfect book this month, moving to a new school, trying to work out who you are, realising everyone else is not the confident people they appear, the danger of gossip etc.. I loved it as did Little Miss.


No time for the cinema this month but I have enjoyed lots of live music and without a doubt the highlight was Jess Glynne, a girls’ birthday treat.  I loved Jess Glynne’s attitude, honesty and wit and she was a brilliant performer singing all her hits.  On the same evening we also saw the Human League and Electric Dreams was the highlight of their set.


I’ve been so lucky this month to be able to watch my children have so much fun, there were school parties and the legendary beach party with the cubs and we did our annual trip to Paultons Park, which is my favourite theme park and family day out.  Whilst I enjoy watching the children on the scary rides which make me a bit sick, I join in lots too, and the water rides are my favourites.  It was such a lovely, hot, sunny day when we went and the managers  kept the park open later for everyone to enjoy even more rides.

Its also been carnival this month so we’ve seen the grand parade which was really good, the theme of musicals inspired some great floats and we’ve been to the carnival field to see an eclectic mix of acts, the singing grannies amused me more than I expected. We’ve also watched fireworks and acrobatic plane displays from our garden.  Summer at the seaside is just awesome.


I’ve made a few cakes this month!  I’ve also made meals using home grown vegetables, carrots, cabbage, spinach, runner beans and salads, rocket, lettuce and cucumbers (our tomatoes are still ripening) as well as doing done a few swapsies with our neighbours. I love eating food grown in our own garden, it seems tastier and more satisfying.  I’m very grateful to Mr S for his gardening, the garden is where he relaxes and enjoys pottering around.


I’ve tried to make a few flower displays this month. One of my #19for 2019 was themed around flower arranging so I borrowed a book and have been experimenting.  I love my house being filled with fresh flowers and over this year I’ve been buying a few new varieties.


In this crazy month one of my favourite evenings was at a pub with friends on a random Tuesday night.  It had been one of those very hot and sunny days when you just want to enjoy the coolness of the evening and we sat outside by the quay with a few drinks and a gourmet burger and chips.  The evening had such a lovely atmosphere, people on the river bank dangling legs in the water, a procession of kayaks and small boats sailing past, one of those nights out that you’re in great company and everything seems pretty perfect in life!


And now onto August, where hopefully everything will be quieter and more relaxed.  We’re already into the swing of relaxed morning routines and little adventures.  We’re off on our family holiday in August.  I like the holidays to simply pause, reflect and think and to return refreshed and ready for the new year ahead, its a teacher thing, my new year is always September 1st and not January!