First of all, I am choosing films I have watched in pleasure. As a cinema usherette there are some films I watched so many times I could understudy any of the actors, Silence of the Lambs, Terminator 2, Mermaids, etc.. basically anything released between 1991 – 93 I’m pretty familiar with and good for in pub quizzes. However my personal list is slightly different.
I think the list of movies I’ve watched lots has definitely changed since I became a parent, children films feature heavily in my list now but I love them. Children’s films are spoilt on children, they are so clever with brilliant stories and lots of magic. Is there a better way to spend a wet afternoon than watching a favourite film with your children cuddled up next to you? In compiling my list I also realise that a couple are Christmas traditions, Love Actually and Miracle on 34th Street, films can be about a feeling, a belonging.
I can’t decide on my most watched film, it is only between two, Grease and Dirty Dancing, like wise I can’t decide which of the two is my favourite. Music plays a big part in my favourite films, you can’t beat a great soundtrack.
So in no particular order, my most watched films are
Miracle on 34th Street (1994)
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Toy Story series
It’ll be interesting to see how the list develops over the years, I think Paddington 2 and The Greatest Showman may feature strongly soon.
I’m playing catch up on #Blogtober18, I’m just a couple of days behind so for speed its a list for this post and it may become a bit random. These are a few of the things I’m loving right now ….
Strictly Come Dancing. This is my favourite television programme, I love the dancing, music, costumes, make up, the sparkles and all the feels it gives me. Mr S isn’t a fan so I follow the commentary on Twitter and it just adds a little extra to the show.
My new candle. I picked it up at a local craft show and the sweet orange and chilli pepper aroma is so warming on cooler autumn evenings.
Lauren Laverne of Desert Island Discs. Kirsty is the Queen of Desert Island Discs, but her ‘cover’ in Lauren Laverne is superb and making this series an excellent listen.
Wicked. I saw the musical on Saturday and can’t stop thinking about it. The story was so unexpected and my interpretation of the characters changes the more I think about it. The songs, costumes were all stunning and this musical will stay with me for a long time.
Converse Pumps. I am awaiting surgery on my foot and despite my best efforts to find a shoe to fit, converse pumps are the only ones I am able to wear. I have an old navy pair but have embraced colour with a lilac pair and bright red for fun.
The walk home from school. I always love the walk home with the children, but with the unseasonably mild afternoons and the sensory fun of crunching through the fallen leaves the autumn walk home is one of life’s simple pleasures. I’m also embracing the final year of my two walking home together, this time next year Little Miss will be at secondary and I’ll be missing this time to walk and talk together.
Today’s title seems to be my mantra at present, as my daughter tries to understand and embrace who she is. She is trying to develop her personality, her style and her character, my challenge is to guide her and ensure that she is true to herself and not simply following a trend. Sometimes I feel that I don’t know how to do this, I let her experiment with her clothes and hairstyles within reason and school rules, I admire stylish women praising their individual looks, highlighting their personal touches and emphasise that people are not judged on looks but personality, character and actions. We read books with strong female characters, play songs by amazing female artists and share inspiring stories. But she has a fear, a fear of not fitting in. I was in assembly last week and most of the girls in her class had the same identical side pony tail, its only a tiny thing but she hasn’t yet got the confidence to be different, to be confident in herself, be proud of who she is. I won’t stop trying and hope that one day my daughter will be proud and happy in her own skin.
Today’s theme is for #worldpostday and I’m someone who loves to send cards and letters to friends and loved ones. As you can see from the photo above, my bureau contains a letter rack of cards and postcards just ready to pop into the post for someone who might need a little smile. I like the personal touch of a card or letter, I enjoy handwriting with a pretty pen, a personal message, maybe even a doodle. If I send a card the recipient knows that I’ve taken time to make them feel special.
I’ve always written letters, as a child it was thank you letters and then when I went to Uni I kept in contact with friends by mail, unbelievably we didn’t have mobiles or emails in the mid 90s! I also used to write a weekly letter to my parents when I was in France studying and would receive one back. On a recent visit to my parents I found some of the old letters, I appeared to write to my Dad about politics, world events etc.. and my mum about things I had done and family news. I also used to write to my nan and grandma regularly as an adult. When my Gran died it was a great comfort to know that I had written to her just a few days before and she had known all my news, that I was thinking of her and sending her my love.
Now the big letter I write every year is called ‘Letterbox’ contact. It is a letter I write to the children’s birth parents to tell them of the children’s lives over the past year. I write it with such care, trying to get the tone right, sharing stories and celebrations but also trying to respect on how difficult it must be for them to read the letter. I photocopy the letter for my children so that when they are adults they can read my annual letters. The letter is sent via social services as we have no direct contact.
I enjoy the surprise of sending a letter just for fun, I love browsing independent card shops or the postcards in Paperchase. Sending a little sparkle in the post is one of those little things I do and will continue to do so. A letter in the post is one of life’s little pleasures.
I love to sit down and read with my children, it is one of my favourite parts of the day. It is a time to sit, relax and invariably cuddle up together and share books. I am passionate about children’s literature and love sharing favourite books and discovering new stories. Shortly after getting home from school, we will sit and read for homework and then at bedtime, Mr S will read to Little Man, whilst Little Miss and I usually share reading a book. Little Man has 1:1 literacy help at school and with a recent diagnosis of dyslexia, reading aloud does not give him the joy it gives Little Miss and myself. However a recent study showed that reading a book aloud to a child is just as valuable to developing their literacy skills and Little Man loves story time with Daddy, they’ve read the Famous Five, Secret Seven, Flat Stanley and Roald Dahl stories. Little Miss is at a lovely age where we are discovering Harry Potter. My parents have been purchasing the illustrated collection for us and we are reading and cherishing every page with the beautiful illustrations and wonderful words. We have also read both volumes of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, the stories and our discussions have been thoughtful and inspiring. I would like our children to remember a childhood full of stories and cuddles at bedtime and a time when their parents whisked them off to magical worlds, introduced new friends and encouraged their creativity through the very powerful medium of books.
I work in special needs education and sensory diets are a vital part of our work. Our OT assesses every student and then in class, we complete a sensory programme to help our students self regulate and be ready to learn. Some diets are done once a day, some have elements we do throughout the day and then there are those students who have sensory integration as a part of every activity. Gross motor skills are a significant ingredient of our diets, we encourage walking, running, swings are great for self regulation as are climbing, jumping and balance. We have lots of trampolines and swings situated around our site and an indoor therapy suite with a variety of swings, squeeze machines, gym balls etc.. In addition, we do morning wake and shake sessions and our students have a gym to develop gross motor skills in a more adult environment, a skill we hope they will transfer to their adult life.
Over the years I have seen the benefit of these diets and believe in the importance of them in helping our students to learn. I would like to see such sensory work replicated in mainstream schools. Last year, Little Miss was desperate to have my Fitbit at school and to see how many steps she did on an average day. The results were surprising, so much of her school day was sat down at a desk, with peaks for the walk to and from school and running around at break and lunch, I’m sure even a five minute sensory spot would help pupils prepare for the next session. I know during the holidays and weekends we always have a daily gross motor skills activity, scooters, swimming, play park, walks etc.. to help the children’s regulation, mood and energy. Gross motor skills are an essential part of our development and should be encouraged practised daily by us all.
There is an irony about today being #nationalbadgerday. The photo above shows the damage to the grass in front of our house this morning. Although we live at the seaside, we also live in a rural area with a large country park, minutes from our home. We often have visitors, mainly foxes and badgers and they are little mischiefs. They will try to knock bins over to scavenge for the food, we put bricks on top to stop this and they also dig the lawns for food. I have never seen the badgers but have seen the footage from our neighbours who have shown us fascinating night shots of them exploring gardens. The foxes are far more confident, they start exploring at dusk and we have a little family who regularly wander the streets. Its not only foxes and badgers who meander to the residential areas, I have seen deer on the streets on early morning runs and there was an infamous occasion when a family of deer joined Little Miss’ class on the field for a PE lesson. With our location, these animals are going to be our neighbours and we just have to learn to live together.