Christmas Chronicles, Children In Need and Ice Skating #littleloves

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I’m a little late in writing this week’s #littleloves as all our lovely plans got scuppered through illness last weekend and I’ve been doing some very serious ‘adulting’ at work.  It can be quite scary when you’re involved in a very serious matter and think sh**, I’ve 20+ years experience, relevant training and I really am that grown up person needed in this situation. The combination of both;  sickness and work demands made the first part of the week not quite the background for #littlelove entries.  However, I am now over the sickness bug and I managed to make the most of my day off on Friday so I feel that I have a little more to write on now.

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img_0239I really enjoy Nigel Slater’s books, I have The Kitchen Diaries 3 and like not only his recipes but the prose which accompanies the recipes, observations on nature, seasonality, ingredients etc..  I managed to get his new book ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ in Sainsbury’s for half price and have been busy reading it since.  It is superb, again similar reflections as above but with added customs and Christmas thoughts.  A perfect read at this time of year and I have many recipes already marked to try.  I think this could be become our family’s Christmas cookbook and am planning in on pencilling a few thoughts as we try the recipes.

img_5379I’ve watched far more television that I normally do this week, I think that I was so exhausted from the sickness bug and the intensity of work that TV was an ideal distraction.  I enjoyed The Boy With the Top Knot on BBC2 on Monday, a powerful drama about family secrets, mental health and cultural differences.  I also enjoyed the A word, although I was a bit eagle eyed about the special needs school in it this week, I can’t escape work!  We watched the Apprentice but its not a series I’m enjoying as much as previous ones, there’s too much arguing, bitching and rubbish ideas, I’ve not yet found someone who wows me.  Following my listen below, I watched Kay Mellor’s new drama about registrars which was just right for a Thursday evening. I do like the lead, Ashley Jensen and think this series could develop nicely each week.  Finally I watched some of Children In Need on Friday and found it very emotional and humbling.  I sobbed my way up to bed last night!

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I made my daughter very happy this week by helping her get ready for the Children In Need disco at her school.  She and her friends were all very excited as it was an evening disco, well a 6.15 pm start and I allowed her to colour her hair with coloured hair spray and to have painted nails (my brand new Essie varnish) She had a brilliant time and was so happy it was just gorgeous to see.  We were so busy doing the hair, it had to be perfect that I didn’t have time to take a photo as I had to dash out and pick up Little Man from another party, it was one of those nights in our house! The pink and blue looked beautiful in her blonde hair.

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Today I have worn ice skates, as Little Man and I went ice skating as part of our mummy and son day out.  His sister is out on a Brownie day and Mr S had a few appointments so the two of us went through to big town for some time together.  I am so wobbly on the ice but was very proud I didn’t fall over today.  Its somewhat ironic that I used to work at an ice rink (my part time student jobs were all great) yet I never learnt to skate.  Little Man had a great time, he started holding onto the polar bear but managed a few circuits on his own too.

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As I was getting recovering from my bug, I caught up on some Desert Island podcasts.  Kay Mellor’s session is a brilliant listen, an amazing story of how she went from 16, married and pregnant to the writer she is today, inspirational.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09bxmyb

I also listened to Prof Phil Scraton who was heavily involved in the Hillsborough campaign and its a superb episode too.  I do love DID for sharing some stories which we might not have heard before with added music too.

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Even with parties, discos, Brownie days out and ice skating this weekend isn’t done yet as we have a christening to look forward to tomorrow.  I am having a slight panic over what to wear for a Sunday afternoon service, smart but warm and how to keep my son amused in the church.  However there’s a party after so there may be room for a little negotiation  bribery.

Thanks to Morgana and all the #littleloves crew

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Fireworks, playlists and our marvellous NHS #littleloves

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So my big #littIelove of this week has been fireworks! I do like the tradition of Bonfire Night although after watching a bit of Gunpowder, it’s a lot more gruesome than I realised. We had a lovely night out for fireworks, but as our town does fireworks during the summer we had to travel a little further for the display on Saturday night. Fireworks were definitely the highlight of the week, which has seen a quiet return to work and minor surgery. However there are always sparkles in our week for #littleloves

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I have loved my book this week, it’s made me laugh and cry and try to remember how we got through a similar journey too. The book is Emma Sutton’s ‘And then there were four’ and is about her and her husband’s adoption journey. Her glossary and description of terms is just brilliant and if you ever want to know what happens in adoption then this is a superb and honest book. Fortunately it’s funny too!

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On Saturday we got to watch fireworks at the rugby club in our county town. It was a great display and the evening was lovely, big crowds, lots of tasty treats to eat and drink, sparkler area and stalls and rides to enjoy. The weather was remarkably mild, although that could have been my layers of clothes! The whole evening was wonderful and it made me smile for the whole Britishness of it, everyone wrapped up in scarves and hats, wearing wellies in a muddy field, oohing and aahhing at the colours in the sky.

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A little bit of a tenuous link for makes, but I made a trip to hospital this week for minor surgery. Fortunately I got an appointment in our town’s hospital which is a hop, skip and jump from home and the service was unbelievable. I arrived early, was seen immediately and had the loveliest 3 ladies looking after me. I’ve had a little discomfort this week and am awaiting some results but I really was super impressed by our NHS and our amazing cottage hospital. I did return to work the next day but made sure it was a quiet week both at home and work.

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My winter clothes are creeping in to my wardrobe now, woolly jumpers and polo necks. I think I may need to inject a little more colour in my jumpers, they all seem to be black or navy, practical but a splash of colour just adds a little bit of zest to an outfit.

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I do like to make a mix tape and now I have Spotify it is so much easier to create something for every occasion. Whilst everyone was busy on Saturday afternoon, I had a little play to create a playlist for our car journey to the fireworks. It had the obvious Firework by Katy Perry but the theme just lent itself to some fun choices, My Guy, November rain, She Bangs, True Colours etc.. I started the playlist with Bjork’s Its oh so quiet which is a little favourite of mine. I really enjoyed making the list and then playing it in the car for us all to enjoy.

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We’ll be welcoming my parents this weekend for a visit, I have a few possible trips out pencilled in but we’ll wait to see how the weather is before we finalise the plans. On Sunday, we’ll walk down to the Remembrance parade in town and pay our respects. The diary looks quite quiet next week so I may do a little Christmas planning in the evenings. I hope everyone has a week full of sparkles and #littleloves.

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I’m joining in with Morgana for #littleloves

Halloween, The Invisible Child and Breathe #littleloves

Well hello #Littleloves lovelies, sorry it’s been a long time but I’ve been busy with #Blogtober17 for the past month. I have been reading all your posts on my feed and many have given me inspiration and ideas.

This week is busy in our little family, with my Mum’s birthday, Halloween and Mr S birthday all falling within a few days. Fortunately, I have a two week half term so it’s not been as crazy as it could have been with work too. My extra week holiday has also given me the time to focus on Christmas and I have done a little shopping and lots of lists.

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#Blogtober17 led to some serious discipline with writing every evening, so my reading reduced. I have really enjoyed The Break by one of my favourite authors, Marian Keyes. The break in the title refers to a 6 month period in which the main character’s husband wants to go travelling and have an open relationship for the time. It’s a great read and Marian has created a stellar cast of characters in her book and a few questions for everyone’s relationship.

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I have also read the Invisible Child, a Moomin story republished by Oxfam to raise funds and awareness for women’s rights and empowerment in the world. It’s a very clever little story, which Little Miss understood but has so many levels it is a thoughtful read for adults too. The Little Girl in the story is invisible and it is only when she is shown love, kindness and learns to play that she starts to become visible to everyone. The book is available in Oxfam and is worth every penny for the story and project.

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I’ve been to the cinema twice this week, this never happens but I really wanted to see the film Breathe. I took a bit of self-care time and combined an early Christmas shopping trip with a trip to the cinema so I could see it, to me an afternoon on my own at the cinema is a real luxury. Breathe is a wonderful film, based on the true story of a young man, Robin Cavendish who contracts polio and is paralysed from the neck down and on a respirator for the rest of his life. It’s a film about hope, love and determination. I did have a little cry in the film, not for the sadness but the positive messages it shared. Breathe more than made up for our family trip to see Lego Ninjago, its unusual that I don’t like a children’s film but this one just didn’t rock my boat.

img_5378img_0064It’s been a busy week for makes all inspired by Halloween. On Monday, the children and I had a baking session using the pumpkin from our carvings on Saturday, we made pumpkin and orange muffins and pumpkin and cheese biscuits. As it was back to school on Halloween, I made special lunches for the children, their lunch boxes were decorated with Halloween stickers and contained sandwiches cut into scary shapes, skull shaped cheese biscuits, pumpkin cakes, a little satsuma with a pumpkin face drawn on and a sensory toy spider. It was all a surprise for the children and it’s these little things which I love to do.

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It’s that time of the year, when my hats and scarves come out, I love cosying up in my warm knits on the school run. There’s definelty a nip in the air now and the dark nights inspire a little hygge!img_5380I do love a bit of a theme so I made a Spotify Halloween playlist for our Halloween day on Monday, Ghostbusters, Thriller, the Monster Mash etc.. nothing beats a kitchen disco.

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Mr S is busy decorating our dining room this week, so the weekend may be spent making the finishing touches. I am back to work on Monday but do have an appointment for minor surgery in the afternoon, I have a really busy week so I am hoping there’s little recovery time needed.

Thank you to Morgana for being the host of #littleloves, hope everyone has a fabulous week.

 

 

Yes Please, Sully and a Bike Ride #littleloves

 

 

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This is a two week special, as last week I was busy with a little project. We’ve had some lovely bright autumnal days in the last fortnight so lots of opportunities to be out and about.

READ

I think it was on one a Little Loves post that I read a recommendation of Amy Poeller’s book Yes Please and downloaded into my Kindle. I really enjoyed the read, I admit that I was not particularly familiar with her work but this book is so much more about a career in comedy, its about following your passion and it offers wise advice for women at all stages of your life and other chapters on random subjects which are engaging, thoughtful and funny.

I am now enjoying Marian Keye’s The Break. I’ve been a huge fan since Watermelon and eagerly wait for her new novels, she never disappoints. After seeing a campaign to celebrate female authors with The Jane Austen £10 note, I used my first to buy this book, a great idea and another example of how fun Twittter is.

WATCHED

I am actually watching more television than normal at present, Strictly and Cold Feet are my absolute faves, but there are some good dramas on tv too. In this period I have watched Sully, starring Tom Hanks, whom I just love. Its a film about the pilot of the flight which landed successfully on the Hudson. I read the book Inside the Black Box, in which this episode was a case study so knew that Sully was quite severely questioned about his role. It is a great film and thoroughly recommended.

MADE

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I’ve been busy with my upcycling project and am very proud of my new bureau. It’s great to have a little project and enjoy doing it.

In a burst of domesticity I made biscuits for the children coming in after school, I then froze half the mixture for freshly baked cookies on another night too. I still can’t get over that I did this!

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WORE

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I wore a cycling helmet for the first time in more than decade! Mr S and I used to cycle quite regularly when we lived in Bristol, where lots of the old local train lines were converted to cycle paths. However where we live now is not very bike friendly, with lots of steep hills and the country lanes and roads can be dangerous. So instead of scaring ourselves on roads, we went to our local forestry commission country park and hired bikes so we could ride as a family. We take the children cycling often in the park however now they are confident riders we decided it was our turn too! It was a perfect morning, the weather was warm and bright and we had so much fun riding through the woods, it reminded us that it really is the simple things which give so much pleasure. I was incredibly relieved that I could still ride after all these years and I really loved every second of our ride.

I’ve been shopping in big town today, this is a rare occurrence for me. It was good to potter around, all my favourite shops are there and there are department stores too! I got clothes for myself and the children, I discovered Zara Girls and Little Miss is made up with her new sequin colour changing jumper from the shop. I bought myself a new blouse and cardi from Fat Face and wore it tonight to the secondary school open evening with my skinny jeans. I’m a bit in denial that I have to start thinking about this but at least we have another year to make a decision as Little Miss is still in Year 5.

Photos from Fat Face website, the print is gorgeous!

HEARD

After a dance on Strictly this week, I found myself listening again to Harry Connick Junior’s Album, A Recipe for Love. I had this album as a teenager and I still love the big band style and songs.

And finally

It’s a relaxed time at present, I’ve been able to catch up with friends and potter around. I fancy a little project so will be trying #blogtober from Sunday, to me it’s a scary challenge writing daily on a variety of topics but October is a quiet month with only 12 working days so its the time to step out of my comfort zone. With all the writing, I may need to take a pause from #littleloves but will still be reading the excellent posts.

Happy week everyone and thanks to Morgana for hosting #Littleloves

 

 

 

Lykke, Strictly and Muffins #littleloves

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I’m finishing this week feeling a little sad, it’s been a tough week for Little Man at school which I wrote about here https://seasidesparkles.net/2017/09/14/sometimes-your-heart-breaks-when-youre-a-mum/ However it has reminded me of the importance for looking for the joys and sparkles in every day, there always special things if you look.

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Last year I enjoyed the Little Book of Hygge so I have bought the follow up The Little Book of Lykke. Like Hygge I think that much of the content is perhaps things that we already know, do or aspire to do but it’s a nice read with inspiring case studies.

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I’ve been read some of the World’s Worst Children 2 this week, it’s not only me Little Miss reads to, her toys are all lined up in bed to listen attentively too.

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I also read a lovely email from a friend this week, we may not see each other as much as we would like to, but she’s an exceptionally generous and lovely friend. Excitingly this week, we’ve set a date for a weekend together and I’m already counting the days down!

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Whilst it was only the launch show, it was the return of Strictly Come Dancing. This is my absolute joy and I love everything about Strictly; the music, dance, make-up and hair, the sparkle and glamour. I am so excited for the new series and of course, the return of Zoe on It Takes Two. As well as Strictly, Cold Feet was back again, another old favourite. It seemed like a bit of a catch up episode but sowed the seeds for some good storylines through the series and as always it had a cracking soundtrack.

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As Sunday was such a wet and miserable afternoon, we chose an old Nigella recipe to inspire some baking with lemon and raspberry muffins. The Domestic Goddess continues to be one of my favourite cook books and the muffins were delicious and so quickly consumed I forgot to take a photo.img_5384

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It was the last craft fayre of the season this weekend and having missed the big county show this year I wanted to visit my favourite jewellery stall for a little treat. Each year I buy a little something from the same silver stall, my daisy, flip flop, heart pendants have all come from here. This year I chose a delicate flower and branch to go on my necklace. I’m really pleased with my choice as I love simple silver designs.

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Folk music! It was festival this weekend so there was lots of music and dancing all over the town. There was live outdoor music in the evenings too and on Friday and Saturday night I could hear the music from the bay as I lay in bed, it’s a nice way to end the day.

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It’s a party weekend and as it’s at a venue in a different town, I think Little Miss and I will be looking for a little café for lunch together whilst Little Man enjoys the party with his pals. Apart from the party it’s a quiet weekend which I think is needed after an emotional week, we need time to enjoy the little things together.

Thanks to Morgana for her inspirational linkie.

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Back to school, coconut bakes and new projects #littleloves

And so just like that, it’s back to school and the start of a new school year. With the turn in weather too, it feels that autumn has arrived. Whilst I love summer, its time to embrace the new season, so it’s been autumn inspired menus this week, cosy knits and tights.

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As we start a new school year, I love to read the children Dr Seuss’ The Places You Will Go. I only discovered Dr Seuss as a SEN teacher but his books are brilliant and well worth a read as an adult for their sage advice and humour. This book is inspiring and a smart message for the children going into their new classes to work hard, take opportunities and learn that whilst things get tricky with a good attitude and hard work you will succeed. I love this book so much that I’ll continue to read and quote it to the children until at least their college days!

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The autumn schedules have started and I’m so looking forward to my favourite series Cold Feet later tonight. Continuing on the education theme I’ve been watching Education Manchester on Channel 4. Whilst I have worked in a special needs school for the last 12 years, the first half of my career was in inner city comprehensive schools so I can relate a lot to the schools in the series and have nothing but admiration for the amazing professionals. This series is introducing some tough themes and the mental health aspect was key in this week’s programme. Sadly, mental health is a huge issue in special needs ed too and so much more needs to be done to support our young people.

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Last weekend the children went blackberry picking so we used the fruit in a blackberry crumble with a few extra ingredients. I used some coconut in the topping with a bit of orange zest, delicious. As I still had coconut left I added it to a bread and butter pudding too, again it gave a nice touch. I also made our first vegetable casserole and dumplings of the season, simple but one of my favourite meals and the perfect tea on a cold and wet evening.

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Rain macs and winter knits, please can we have an Indian summer.

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As I’ve written before Little Miss is always on my Spotify account and adding music. This week she is loving 1000 years by Christina Perri, it is a beautiful song and it does give me a warm, fuzzy feeling when I hear her singing and humming it around the house.

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It’s nice to get the first week of school done, the children have had a really good week back and my working week has been positive too. At home the decorating has been finished and I’m now planning the final touches, cushions and throws and planning a possible furniture project too. It’s a new season and new plans….

Thank you to Morgana for hosting #littleloves

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Stopping Time, children playing and a radio drama #littleloves

The summer holiday is plodding along, the weather is still rubbish but we’re trying to make it fun. Mum and Dad came down at the start of the week so we went through to the neighbouring town and walked along the river and quay for a rare warm and pleasant few hours! I also introduced mum to a lovely little artisan courtyard which she enjoyed browsing around as I do. There was nothing outstanding this week it was just finding joy in the ordinary, play dates, meet ups and that wonderful dry little walk along the beach after a wet day stuck in the house.


I’ve been reading Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time this week. With his books it’s not simply about the plot but the beauty and poignancy of his language. This book has been a great read and I’m looking forward to finishing it on holiday next week.


I’ve enjoyed watching the children play this week. We had a lovely fun day at the cricket club on Sunday where the children received their medals and certificates for the season and then enjoyed all the activities set up, especially the soft play gladiators. After seeing the weather forecast for Wednesday and another wet day indoors, I decided to host some play dates, Little Man had a friend in the morning, Little Miss in the afternoon and two of my friends came around in the evening. Mr S was away this week so we chatted around the kitchen table rather than the in a pub, I think I won then over with my nibbles! It made for a really nice day sometimes I think it’s easier with friends than just my two together who alternate between being best friends and irritating each other.

This week I’ve been playing on Movie Maker creating some short films in preparation for a work project. I rarely take video footage of us but may try to take a few clips on holiday and create a little film of memories. Given our family’s need for privacy the short films will never make it to You tube and I won’t be launching as a vlogger but it’s a nice little project to undertake.

When I was in John Lewis a few weeks ago I was given a sample of a new face mask by Clarins. I’m never going to make it as a beauty blogger but I loved the smell of the mango butter and my skin did feel lovely and soft after the mask. I received some Boots vouchers for my birthday and think I will treat myself to a little tube, isn’t the tube a lovely colour too!


I was in the car on Monday lunchtime and caught a radio drama by Michael Morpugho on child migration to Australia post WW 2. It was a really good drama and I’ve listened to all the episodes this week in bed. Whilst this was a drama, the policy was real and one that makes you think of the child migrants of today and the need to keep them safe.

It’s holidays for us next week as we swap one popular British seaside town where we live for another, St Ives in Cornwall. We have a list of things which we hope to do The Eden project and St Michael’s Mount top our list and then it’s time to relax on the beaches or at our caravan park. Fingers crossed for dry weather, a little sunshine would be perfect.

Morgana is still on her break but I can’t write without thanking her for her inspired linkie.