Little Sparkles – July 2019

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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 ….

 ENDINGS

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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.

READ

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.

WATCHED
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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.

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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.

MADE

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.

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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.

FRIENDS

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!

LOOKING FORWARD

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!

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Summer Sparkles

So the weather is pants and the summer holiday plans aren’t quite what we had hoped for, but there are still (damp) sparkles everywhere.  This is one of my favourite weeks of the year and despite the weather its a week when I really have felt thankful for the little joys in my life. They are all about experiences and being with people (except my stationery purchase but hey it was stationery. ) Gail Honeyman’s book had me thinking and reflecting on relationships and kindness and the book was a timely reminder that it is the simple little things in life which really matter.

This week ……

1. Its been my birthday.

2. Its been my wedding anniversary! (there is a connection, with Mr S being given an ultimatum to marry me by my 30th birthday as he needed that little nudge)

3. I watched fireworks on Saturday night

4. I did two early runs in the glorious morning sunshine at the weekend, it rained heavily later so I was chuffed with my early alarm calls.

5. I met with family friends for a coffee on Sunday morning and got to talk weddings and all things sparkly and have a sneak preview of the dress.

6. It was carnival and the weather stayed dry.  After the parade, the children met up with lots of friends in the showground and the adults got to chat in relative peace!

7. The children and I went to my parents for a few days whilst Mr S was working away.  We all got very spoilt.

8. I went to the Morph exhibition in the Mall at Bristol.  It was nostalgic fun and I got to make a Morph and play with all the interactive exhibits triggering warm, fuzzy memories of childhood.

9. Along with my dad, I took the children on their first visit to Cardiff, one of my favourite cities.  It was sunny (the only dry day this week) and I got to ride the big Ferris wheel, which made me ridiculously happy.

10. I bought new stationery.  As a teacher new school year = new school stationery.

11. I was given a fabulous new book for my birthday and I’ve already finished it.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a brilliant book and one of my best reads this year.

These are just a reminder that even when the rain pours down during your summer holiday there are still times to be enjoyed and memories to be made.

 

 

Little Sparkles

Today I feel so relaxed and relieved after a hectic week at work.  Anyone who works in education will know that teacher recruitment is a strange business, only really understood by those in the sector and this week we’ve been very busy recruiting, that’s been had an ad published in TES, shortlisting and interviews in ONE week.  The adrenaline has been flowing and I’m grateful we only have such a deadline annually.  Fortunately we have very good staff retention so we don’t have this madness every year, I may need a few years to recover! However the good news is that I have a fortnight’s holiday now and am looking forward to a week of pottering around at home and then a family holiday to Butlins.

Sparkle 1 : Country walks, castle and picnic.

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Sunday was sunny and bright so we had a day out in a local village famous for its castle.  We parked at a lovely picnic spot on the outskirts and walked into the village through the woods and fields, it really was picture perfect.  We went into the castle and there was a Viking village set up in the  grounds so the children got to learn how to be a warrior, try on costumes, mill flour, etc.. After a return walk to the picnic area we enjoyed our lunch al fresco and played a few ball games in the fields, a lazy and relaxed Sunday.

Sparkle 2 : Premiership Stadium Tour

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I was inspired by a school trip to a Premiership football stadium tour for my Light box quote this week, this phrase ‘Together, anything is possible’  is displayed throughout the ground.  I have done stadium tours before Anfield, MCG in Melbourne etc.., but this was fascinating as it was a school trip and the stadium is not normally open to the public to visit, we got to see so many little details.  The over riding theme was the positive nature of the ground so many positive phrases displayed in the team areas, evidence of a real team ethic and strong leadership, lessons for us all.  However my big revelation was the state of the away team’s changing rooms, the club have made them basic, very basic and it was hard to imagine the star players of Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd having to use such simple facilities.  They were so basic, our school changing facilities are majestic in comparison!

Sparkle 3 : Forget Me Nots

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There is a local community project to raise funds for a local dementia charity by making and selling these forget me not crochet brooches.  Whilst I cannot crochet (yet, its on my wish list) I can sew so I have sewn the brooch pins on 43 of the little flowers.  I enjoyed the sewing, it was a labour of love in memory of my lovely Grandma who suffered from dementia in her later life.

Sparkle 4 : TMS

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The international cricket season has begun and so I have been tuned into TMS which is one of my favourite listens on radio.  Whilst I was not able to listen to it live, I downloaded the TMS tribute to one of their co commentators the Bajan, Tony Crozier, it was incredibly moving and highlighted the professionalism and joie de vivre of a very talented man.  Looking at the picture above, its sad that many of these famous voices are no longer alive, but I am thankful to have enjoyed their work and still love the broadcasts by their successors.

Sparkle 5 : Wedding Bells

This weekend one of my colleagues is getting married and we’ve all enjoyed talking with her about her plans and preparation.  In one conversation she said she would love to see what our colleagues had looked like on their wedding days, so with the help of these colleagues who brought in wedding photos I created a little movie of our wedding photos, quotes on love and marriage with a soundtrack of Stevie  Wonder’s For Once In My Life to show at this week’s teacher meeting.  It was lovely to watch what we all looked like on our wedding days, a lot younger, hair colours were different and you could guess the era by the style of dress but there was a lot of love and happiness in those photos. It was a great little project to brighten a busy week at school.

And finally

I’m a list person so next week I’m looking forward to writing and ticking off my list, I have some events to plan, holiday clothes to buy and maybe a few new blog posts to write.

Little Sparkles

This week has a domestic feel after a disastrous weekend where all I touched seemed to break, this has led to some new purchases and a possible new bathroom project.

Sparkle 1 : New Toys!

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Whilst it was an unfortunate coincidence that our  domestic appliances broke at the weekend, all except one which is under guarantee were old and realistically were going to need to be replaced fairly soon.  I did try to fix the vacuum over several days but had to admit defeat.  The positive is that we now have new appliances and as is so true with technologies the improvement in performance is remarkable.

Sparkle 2 : Desert Island Discs

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I do enjoy Desert Island Discs but this was a fantastic episode this week with Tom Hanks, he spoke so eloquently of his childhood and expressed clearly the difference between loneliness and solitude. Kirsty Young is such a skilled interviewer and this was a very special episode.

Sparkle 3 : A brownie guard of honour

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Little Miss and her Brownie pack were so excited to be the guard of honour for their Brown Owl’s wedding this week.  It was lovely and Brown Owl looked delighted with the gesture.  She was a stunning bride, with a real 50s vibe to her outfit, so stylish and beautiful.

Sparkle 4 : A little bit of Miss Swift

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I had no weekly theme for this week’s Lightbox so went to Miss Swift for inspiration. Shake it Off is such a kick ass song and just the best for dancing around the kitchen.  It’s also great advice!

Little Sparkles

Whilst this was the bank holiday weekend it was the final push of Mr S big work project, so he left for work at around 5am on Sunday for 4 days and by one of the strange quirks of my job I had to work on Monday too.  Fortunately, my parents came down to help with the children and spoilt them and me too.

Sparkle 1 : Star Wars Day

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As Little Man is such a big Star Wars fan I couldn’t resist this quote in my Light box with a few characters surrounding it.  I like making us smile!

Sparkle 2 : Beach weather!

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At last we got some summer weather, so it was straight to the beach to enjoy the sun.  We are on the beach all the time but in winter its for walks, this week was the first week we could sit and play on the beach in shorts and t-shirts wearing flip flops and sunglasses.  That’s nearly a month later than last year.  On Thursday morning, I got a take away coffee and sat on the beach wall with the warm sun on my face, it was blissful.  This end of the beach by the shops is quite stony with seaweed at present but today, Saturday we sat on the beach further down which is so soft and golden.  As you can see we have our beach kit well planned and I was very comfy in my chair with my new magazine.

Sparkle 3 : New Egg Cups!

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I saw these egg cups in a shop window and loved them.  I didn’t go to buy them straightaway but having thought about them I returned to the shop to make the purchase.  They are an Orla Kiely design and are gorgeous. I do believe in the William Morris quote about only owning things which are beautiful or useful in your home and I think these are both.  At my sister in law’s house, she had some fantastic vintage egg cups which Mr S remembered from his childhood, I would love to have these cups in the family for such a time.  The quote is from Marie Konde, I heard a few interviews with her earlier on this year and have just started reading her Spark Joy book.

And finally

So Mr S has now finished his contract and is now my house husband for a few months, it’ll be nice to have him back home.  We may pretend he’s a bit grumpy but we love him loads and miss him a lot when he is away.

 

Little Sparkles

So another Little Sparkles with nothing else written in between, that’s just how life is moving at present.  However its been a week of simple pleasures as illustrated below by my highlights and a moment of remembrance.

Sparkle 1 : Fresh flowers

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I was lucky enough to receive two bunches of flowers this week.  The first was a little posy of flowers which little Man picked on his way home from school, a mix of wild and garden flowers.  He was very proud of his flowers and presented them to me with a lovely big kiss and a I love you Mummy, I just melted.

The second was a kind thank you gift from a colleague who was taken very poorly at work and I waited with her until the ambulance crew arrived.  Whilst she is much better now, she detioriated quickly during the wait and I did find myself mentally rehearsing CPR.  I was so relieved to see the ambulance arrive and have so much respect and gratitude for all our medical professionals.

Sparkle 2 : My Saturday morning run

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7am on a weekend morning is my time, my hour to go for a run.  It is at this time of year when it is a perfect time to be out, the sun is bright, the trails quiet and spring is blossoming all around you.  Saturday morning was just fantastic this week, a warm, bright sun, little sailing boats bobbing along in the sea and brilliant running conditions.

Sparkle 3 : The Cricket Club

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Cricket training has now moved outdoors and the cricket club is a perfect place to be on a Saturday morning, whilst the youth teams train, there is breakfast for the adults and the wonderful opportunity to sit in the sun, talk and relax.  Having done my run and then on to the cricket it was a pretty perfect morning.

 

Sparkle 4 : My Light box

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The lines this week were for Mr S.  To the children it was simply a quote but it had a far more poignant meaning for Mr S.  This week the Hillsborough families finally got the unlawful killing verdict in the new inquests and much of the evidence of the time has been discredited as lies, incompetence and cover ups. . I cannot fully express my utter respect and admiration for these families who have worked tirelessly for 27 years to get this result.  For Mr S, Hillsborough is not simply a national tragedy, he was there with three friends, courtesy of tickets from his best mate’s cousin who played for Liverpool at the time.  We have been together nearly 20 years now and only once has he ever spoken about what he witnessed on that day, what he told me was indescribable horror and has haunted me ever since, I cannot imagine the effect it has had on him.  Mr S took some time out on his own on Wednesday evening, after all the news reports, he needed time alone to reflect and grieve.    This quote was my little sign to him to let him know that I know this was a tough week for him and we’re all here together for each other.

 

 

Little Sparkles

A short and sweet little sparkles as we are away this weekend and I’m writing this early.  It’s been a very quiet week, back to school and no clubs until next week.  There’s a definite theme to this week’s entry, sunshine!

Sparkle 1 : Playing in the garden

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There was a recent article in the news that prisoners spend more time outside than children, a result of parental fear, the influence of tv and computer games etc..  Fortunately our children enjoy being outside regardless of the weather and this week they’ve spent us much time as they possibly can in the garden playing.  Yesterday, they squeezed every minute from getting home from school to bath time in the garden, it was another al fresco tea. I cleaned out the old sand and water play stand at the weekend and it’s now being used as Zombling land, the latest craze in mini toys.  There was also lots of bug hotels being built yesterday as well as playing on the swings and making dens.  Such childhood innocence needs to be encouraged.

Sparkle 2 : Mexican Night

There was a youth social event at the cricket club on Saturday night. As its Little Man’s first season, it was a little nerve wracking going to the first social but as it always is in a small town it was surprising how many people we already knew and we relaxed.  The meal was delicious, the best veggie chilli I’ve eaten in ages and a bargain price for drinks and a meal for the four of us.

Sparkle 3 : Summer dresses

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Photo by Moodles.

This week the weather has been so good that Little Miss has been wearing her Summer gingham dresses to school.  I love these school dresses, the simplicity of the style and design unchanged for generations.  I much preferred wearing the dresses to the heavy, grey uniform of Winter when I was at school.  Little Miss is the same and has been happy twirling in her new dresses.

And finally

I have my MRI scan tomorrow and then all the investigations into my falls will be over, I’m hopeful the falls were simply a symptom of my migraines.  Then it will be time for a weekend away in Devon with my in laws.  Fingers crossed this gorgeous weather continues.