#blogtober17 : Day 22 : Villains and superheroes



Welcome back to #blogtober17 and day 22, villains and superheroes.  Whilst Little Man is educating me on superheroes, it’s not my strength and so this is a challenge to write. I’ve taken a slightly political theme today with my choices and as I’m generally a positive person the focus will be more on the superheroes than villains.

So firstly my villains. The world is in a pretty sorry state at present, it seems so divisive, angry and confrontational .  My first villain is Nigel Farage and UKIP, my skin crawls at the thought of him and his politics.  My second rather predictably is Donald Trump, much as I love Twitter a president should not be governing through the medium.  Both men seem to divide rather than unite, try to make issues black or white with no room for a compromise and both seem to have made the world a darker, nastier place.

On a much brighter note, there are so many superheroes among us, all our staff in the NHS, our emergency services, teachers, careers, social workers, volunteers and charity workers, scientists, innovators, public servants and I know there are so many more I’ve missed.  We should always remember that no matter how dark the world is, there are always many to stand up and be the light.




#blogtober17 : Day 20 : Teenagers

I am the parent of a tween and she is currently practicing hard for becoming a teenager.  This has led to lots of conversations recently about attitude, I’ve been trying to explain the difference between true emotions and acting out, how to be assertive but polite, strong and calm.  I know some fear the teenage years but I’m looking forward to them, I’ve always worked with teenagers and I think they’re great! Yes, I know they’ll be tears, arguments and utter frustration but that’s family life!


As part of today’s blog I thought I would write some advice to my children about their teenage years,.

1. Be true to yourself, don’t follow others if you don’t want to do what they are doing.  That sick feeling in your tummy or nagging worry in your head needs to be listened to.

2. This is the time of your life to experiment.  Wear the latest fashions, colour and style your hair as you want (in school holidays), go crazy with make up, it’s part of finding your style, your tribe. Enjoy it!

3. Look after your body. Nourish it with good foods, don’t starve it or abuse it.  You’re going to need your body for a long time and it needs to be strong and healthy.

4. Look after your emotional health too, talk to friends, family, teachers, helplines, don’t be afraid to ask for help, people are always here to support you. You are not alone.

5. Use social media wisely.  We know you’re going to be curious about your birth family but the rules for finding them are there for your safety.  Also be careful what you share on social media, your digital life will stay with you forever and cannot be erased, just ask yourself would I be happy if mum saw this?

6. Live life out of the screen! Be social in real life with real people not via an app.  Not everything in life needs to be photographed, filtered and shared.

7. Be passionate.   You will start to find new interests and discover your values in your teenage years, don’t let others dampen your enthusiasm.  These may be the ideas which shape your life.

8. Work hard at school but have a balanced life. Academic success is not what makes you, its relationships, hobbies, your community. Study but then have time for other activities too.

9. No means no, don’t let others persuade you to do things you don’t want to and respect the right to say no.

10. Embrace life, make the most of opportunities and live life fully.  Live fully and joyfully.


#blogtober17 : Day 19 : Secrets


I can keep a secret and because of this I have had many secrets and confidences shared with me, some are exciting and happy news, some worrying, others challenge my values, some are trivial, others life changing but for all, I do respect the secret, even if I’m bursting to share!  If I’m quiet on a night out with friends it’s probably beacause I know something I’m not supposed to and have to think before speaking (always tricky!)

Personally, I try not to have secrets, although I have one which I will share later.  We are very open with the children about their adoption, we’ve never kept it a secret and will answer any questions honestly but age appropriately.

However I do have one secret from my friends and family and it is my online identity.  Mr S knows I write online and that I use Twitter, he knows it’s my little project and makes me happy.  If he asked for the address or twitter handle I would share it as there is nothing written here that I wouldn’t want him to see, I just prefer it to be private. I feel I can write more openly without those closest to me reading my posts and tweets, I’m a very private person and feel more comfortable writing this way.  So that’s my little secret, I’m looking forward to the #blogtober17 posts for today as I’m intrigued  by the little secrets we keep.


#blogtober17 : Day 18 : Relaxation

To relax : make or become less tense or anxious; rest from work or engage in a recreational activity ( Oxford English Dictionary) 

I have tried lots of relaxing activities, pilates, yoga, mindfulness colouring, meditation etc.. and I am truly rubbish at them, I fidget, let my mind wander, fall asleep, feel uncomfortable and awkward etc..  I have come to the conclusion that I am unable to relax by doing nothing.  

My prescription for relaxation is to get lost in an activity, something that is creative and fun, this could be a run, a sewing project, writing, music etc.. It needs to be something that takes my full attention and interest and leaves me no opportunity to think of other things.  Relaxation can also be as simple as a bath with bubbles, burning some aromatherapy oils or a good book.  



#blogtober17 : Day 17 : Quotes


#blogtober17, day 17 is themed on quotes today and I like to collect inspiring quotes, on cards, posters and signs to keep on display or share with friends and family. Some of my favourites are saved on my Pinterest board here


I find some of the most inspiring quotes are from children’s books and this is a lovely poster from quotery.com


I also have a quote as my screen saver on my work laptop to remind me of why I do my job, it sums up my professional motivation and helps me focus when I’m drowning in admin.  th



#blogtober17 : Day 16 : Phobias

A little bit of research for this post, these terms are all used for a fear of rats and mice.


It’s a simple and quick post today for #Blogtober17 on phobias. I’m pretty brave on most things, spiders, creepy crawlies, heights, small places I’m able to deal with them all. However I do have one phobia, I am scared sh**less of rats and mice. To be honest I’m not that keen on guinea pigs and hamsters either but rats and mice completely freak me out. In a very psycho analysis way I think this all stems back to me and my friend sneaking a look at an 18 horror film when we were 11 and the rats eating the characters, so yes its totally self-inflicted but we were curious! I’ve seen the occasional rat and just go cold, sick and have to run away. Of all the phobias I could have, I think I got away quite lightly and will just continue to live with my fear, however there will never be any rodent pets in the Sparkles home.



#blogtober17 : Day 15 : Old Photos

I’ve always loved old photos and have always been the one in the family to collect our old family pictures. When I was younger I enjoyed researching my family history and liked to put faces to the names. I’ve tried to write names and approx years on my photos to help future generations. I’m also quite creative so for big birthday celebrations will put a few old photos together to make decorations.

These old photos are of my grandparents, on the left are my Nan and Grandad from London and on the right my Grandma and Gramps from Scotland. I love how these images show them in a life I didn’t know as young and carefree adults and then with young families. My Grandma is in the dark suit with a friend in Glasgow and they look so happy enjoying their day out, my Gran and Ina were friends until they both died in their 80s, that’s friendship goals! I’ve not been able to find out much about my Gramps in the war when he was in the Air Force, rumour is that he was based near to where we live now which would be lovely if true. He looks so handsome in this photo. My Nanny and Granddad also look so stylish in their 1920s clothes ( photo circa late 20s) I’ve always been so impressed by their courage and spirit living in London during the Blitz. These photos are very special to me, wonderful insights into history and my family.

#Blogtober17 : Day 14 : Novels

Day 14 of #Blogtober17 and the word is novel. I love to read everything and always have at least one book on the go, quite often its one fiction, a non-fiction book and a work related book too. Reading is a wonderful escape, inspiration and comfort to me and my idea of a perfect afternoon would be spent snuggled under a duvet with a book and a cup of tea or lounging on a sunbed with a book and cocktail. I’m neither solely a book girl nor Kindle aficionado, I read both. The Kindle is convenient and brilliant on the go and I’m the sort of person who will read anywhere given a few spare minutes. However nothing can beat the thrill of a new book, the smell, feel and anticipation. As I’m always sharing books with neighbours, friends and my mum and searching for new recommendations, I thought that in this post, I would share some of my recent favourite books and those on my wish list.


My recommendations

Elinor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

This is such a brilliant read, you will be rooting for the heroine, Elinor. It’s the story of the ripple effect of one simple act of kindness. The language is beautiful and some sentences are so stunningly written they stay with you.

A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman

Ove is presented as a miserable, old man but as you read the story you learn how he became the man he is and then the effect of his death on those around him. It is a slow burner, but it draws you in and is superb. It’s also a real tear jerker.

Big, Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

I discovered Liane Moriarty after reading about the adaptation of this book into a tv series and I wanted to read it before watching it. The series got lots of critical acclaim but the book is even better with so much more detail and story development. I have read more of her books since this title and all are excellent.

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig

This is a mix of autobiography, advice on mental health and motivation to be grateful for life. It’s only a little book, easy to read and then to dip in and out as needed but delivers a very powerful message.

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls edited by Elena Favilli

This is one of the best books, Little Miss and I have read together. It’s a simple premise, one page each devoted to 100 woman from all other the world, history and fields who have done something amazing. It is quite simply, awe-inspiring.

My Wish List

These are from book reviews and recommendations and are waiting to be read…

Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka

A Death in the Family by Karl Knausgaard

Ctrl Al Delete How I grew up Online by Emma Gannon

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante

The Danish Way of Parenting by Jessica Joelle Alexander

Do you have any recommendations for good books or any book themed Twitter or Instagram accounts to follow?



#Blogtober17 : Day 13 : Movies

This picture is from the website cinematreasures.org.  It is dated July 10th 1992, exactly the period when I worked at this cinema and yes I remember the films, The player was a very clever  film, the Lawnmower man creepy and Sleepwalkers all about vampires.


Its #Blogtober17 day 13 and the prompt is movies.   Despite Sky cinema, Netflix etc.. I think the best way to watch a film is at a cinema, the big screen, sound and atmosphere cannot be beaten. When I was a student, I used to be an usherette at our local Odeon cinema and it was one of the best jobs I ever had. I worked in the early 90s at the cinema, so I’m pretty good on films from this era in pub quizzes! Everything about working at a cinema was great, the films, staff and fantastic perks for after work, free taxi home, free entry into night clubs, we often had a good night out after work! I loved my colleagues, the young ones for some cracking nights out but also I really appreciated chatting to the old projectionists and usherettes, some of whom had worked at the cinema for 40 years, I learnt so much about film and the industry from them. My favourite film ever is Cinema Paradiso and I was lent it by these staff, the projectionist in the film is so like the three projectionists who I used to work with and who were all so wise and lovely. With my interest in cinema I often got to help do extra little jobs and one perk was watching the press previews of films, the best preview was The Commitments, a film I still love. It was great working when a big new film came out, the screen would be buzzing and the audience reaction great, two of the best films for reactions were Silence of the Lambs and Terminator 2, you would always get a cheer when Arnie said ‘I’ll be back.’ One Easter the Jungle Book was on re-release and one showing proved to be one of the most fun screenings ever, the audience all sang along to the songs and all cheered at the end. You don’t get that from watching a film at home.


I still love going to see the cinema, not the big multiplexes but those in town centres run by the Odeon (loyalty to a fantastic employer) or small independents. I still get the same buzz from seeing a big film and a trip to the cinema is always a big treat.

#Blogtober17 : Day 12 : Love

OMG what can I possibly write about love, its everything in our lives, it keeps us secure, safe and strong and provides us with care, comfort and kindness. Mr S and I aren’t soppy but we try to show love in our own little ways and I hope we do the same for our children too. We always tell each other we love each other, every text message has a kiss, I love you is the last thing I say every evening to my family and we have a little catch phrase, I love you, love you more, love you most ..

In planning this post, I thought about my favourite love songs, films and books for inspiration. After reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Professor Snape became my all time romantic hero. For romantic films, Love Actually does it for me every time. I love my music and there are so many powerful love songs, however The Beatles Something gives me the tingles as it’s such a beautiful song.

However, love isn’t a song, book or film it’s a feeling, a comfort and something we can all show in little ways every day.  My favourite definition comes from the Bible and Corinthians, yes its read at every church wedding but the words are powerful and offer strong advice.


Image from wwww.favim.com