Reports, Anglo Saxon costumes and Playlists #litttleloves

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Okay it’s official this week, I am done with this school year, concerts, assemblies, reports, fairs have all featured in the diary this week and we’re all tired.  We need the summer holidays to be able to relax, potter around and play with no clock watching, it’s 5 more school days now and we are counting each one down.

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It’s my regret that the thing to be sacrificed in these busy days is reading, I have lots of recommendations to catch up with. Apart from reading my magazine lazing around on the beach on Sunday morning, the only thing I’ve read this week are school reports; I’ve proof read and commented on reports at work and read the children’s reports which came home yesterday. I was really proud of the children’s reports, I’m not motivated by the finer points of their curriculum knowledge I want to read about my child’s attitude to learning and the characteristics they show in school. The reports  highlighted the children’s curiosity, kindness and friendliness and this made me very happy.

On Monday I had the luxury of an hour to sit and watch Little Miss’ ballet class, it was a beautiful session, lovely music, graceful dancing and so much love for dance from the pupils and teachers.

I also watched Little Man and his class perform an assembly about castles. It was fascinating and so well rehearsed and presented. His class have had the best teacher this year whom they all adore so it was a nice way to finish off their year together.  He had been up since 5.45am as his teacher had told them all to be in bright and early for their assembly!

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I forgot to add my Anglo Saxon costume to last week’s #littleloves. Little Miss needed the costume for a history day at school. After a bit of research on the internet I popped into a charity shop for an old tshirt to adapt but found a lovely and stylish dark grey tunic and then matched it with a braided cord for a costume. I couldn’t believe how lucky I was with my find, a costume for £3 I was delighted and relieved!


I have a new Essie nail varnish, a metallic lilac colour, s’il vous play. It’s got a real summery feel and looks great with my flip flops.

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I collected my new car on Saturday and because I can now play music through my phone in the car. My personal dj, Little Miss has been creating a playlist for us on Spotify. I think the days of my music choices on the car radio are limited.


This weekend we have Little Man’s birthday celebrations. It’s not actually his birthday but it’s difficult to organise something in the holidays when his birthday falls as friends are often away. We’re taking two cars full of boys to Laserquest and for lunch, wish me luck.

Thank you Morgana for hosting #littleloves, sorry it’s a bit school and club themed this week it’s all that we’re doing at the moment. The weeks to come should be more interesting and varied.

Rebel Girls, Mummy wins and Audrey.

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Its been a while since I have written a #littleloves post.  I have a crazy six weeks in June and July when we have lots of birthdays, sports days, school trips, end of year treats in clubs, its a period micro-managed to ensure we’re all where we should be.  To add to this melee this year, I have had a very difficult time at work which I am unable to discuss.  All I can say is that it was the most difficult thing I’ve had to do in a 22 year teaching career but I knew I was taking the correct action.  Sometimes the most difficult things are actually the simplest decisions, there is no alternative.  It was a very stressful and worrying time and then totally unrelated Ofsted arrived too ( well overdue )  The whole period is a blur now and after being so preoccupied with work for a few weeks I have really tried hard to be Mummy this week.  This attitude has led to some really lovely moments in the sunshine.

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Now we have finished Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at bedtime, Little Miss and I are reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.  This is so good and just the sort of book I want my daughter to read and be inspired by.

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So on the third attempt I watched Sports Day this week, it was postponed on the first two occasions due to poor weather.  Unfortunately Daddy and grandparents who were coming on the original dates were unable to make the new date so I was alone.  This made for a very active Sports day as the children are in different Key Stages and had events in different areas of the field. I think I did more running than they did as I tried to ensure that I was at each event they were participating in.  Luckily next year they’re back in the same Key Stage and it will be more relaxing for me.

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On Wednesday afternoon, after school we headed to the beach and I loved watching my two play in the sea, exploring, diving and splashing around.  A trip to the beach is such a simple pleasure and a delight.  For the children it is so normal and routine to go to the beach, its just their playground, less than 500 metres from home, they will never know how lucky they are to live in such a stunning location.

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The Beavers were on the beach this week and learnt how to make fires.  Little Man loved this and was of course very keen to show me his fire making skills on Tuesday afternoon.  I decided to use this positively and have an Independence Day barbie so he could help me make the barbecue and was allowed to light it under my very strict supervision, this seemed to satisfy his fire making desire.  I have never made s’mores so as a nice American theme we made them for our barbecue. They were delicious and a real treat. To finish the marshmallows we toasted them on the embers of the barbecue, listening to a Spotify US playlist and chatting, it was a lovely moment on a warm evening.

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I follow SketchInc on Instagram and have loved this metal pin badge for a while.  As a reward for Ofsted and to cheer me up after a few tough weeks I bought it for my vintage denim jacket, although I wore it on a black chiffon top this week. I admire Audrey Hepburn on so many different levels, her humanitarian and charity work, films and style and hope this pin will inspire all who see it to be a bit more like Audrey.

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On our Independence day barbie I played a Spotify list, there were some cracking tunes on it and found myself explaining American Pie to Little Miss.  I know there are several explanations but I go with it as a song to mourn Buddy Holly, the big Bopper and Ritchie Valens.

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We have one final busy week of this term as it’s the last week of clubs and it features special events including class assemblies and summer fairs. This weekend I will collect my new car ready for summer road trips and days out. The summer holidays are in touching distance now. 

Thank you to Morgan’s for hosting this linkie and happy weekend to all. 

Concorde, beach days and election hustings #littleloves

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I love half term and this has been a great week, brimming with sunshine, family and days out.  There’s been, by coincidence rather than deliberate, a military theme to our days out, we visited the Fleet Air Museum in Yeovil where the highlight was an original Concorde which you could go in and imagine yourself as a jet setter of the 70s and 80s and today we’ve been at the Historic Dock Yard in Portsmouth visiting the Mary Rose, HMS Victory, a submarine and so much more.  I hope to write up a post but both are really worth a trip.  In between our days out we also managed a couple of visits to the beach and my first sea swim of the year

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I have read a number of Andy Cope books for professional reasons (he writes a series on how to be A Brilliant Teacher/NQT/Middle Leader)  He is an amusing and engaging writer so I was keen to read his latest book on emotional intelligence written with Amy Bradley.  Its a very easy, witty and thoughtful read.  Andy is a brilliant follow on Twitter @beingbrilliant giving a little positivity with a touch of realism.

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On Wednesday evening I did not watch the political leaders debate on television but our constituency hustings in a local church hall.   I studied politics at university and still am a bit of a political geek.  Whilst I am disillusioned by our political system at present and the effect of the media in trying to caricature our politicians and polarise opinion, our local election hustings is the highlight of the campaign.  It is always so well attended by a true cross section of our town and allows a respectful, informed discussion of the important issues locally and nationally.  This year we have the conservative, labour, liberal democrats and green parties contesting the seat and all candidates attended the meeting.  For me the candidate who stood out the most was the green party candidate, he was superb, passionate about the NHS, education, housing all such key issues.  The candidates all agreed that there were certain issues that should not be partisan but need a collaborative approach if only that attitude could be repeated at Westminster.

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With trips out I’ve been making lots of picnics this week, rolls, salads, dips etc.. I’ve also been making fruity puddings, lots of soft fruits are in season ( and on offer) and our first home grown strawberries are ready.  Our family favourite is Eton Mess and I’ve made it this week with two willing helpers.

Whilst its not my make, we’ve stayed at my mum’s this week and she has made Little Miss a beautiful skirt and me and Little Miss matching shorts!  She’s taking dress making classes and we are reaping the rewards.

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Shorts and t-shirts – yeah!

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With visits to two military museums, I’ve been hearing and learning a lot about military history this week.  I think the submarine presentation was the most memorable with some really interesting facts and some quite gross toilet stories.  To access the submarine museum you have to make a short boat trip,where the skipper and his mate were so funny with their observations of Portsmouth.

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So now we are approaching the maddest half term of them all, school trips, club trips, sports day, special events and family celebrations, organisation is key but this is always my favourite time of the year and I’m looking forward to the madness.

Thank you to Morgana and all her contributors for their #littleloves

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Sunshine, friends and sundresses #littleloves

 

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After Monday’s events, this was our light box message in the kitchen.

 

This week has been dominated by the unspeakable horror of the Manchester terror attack and the sadness it has left. This is the first news event my children have had an understanding of and has led to some honest but difficult conversations. My message has been that sometimes bad, bad things happen but this is really rare and lets not look for the horrible things but all the amazing things humans do for each other.  We’ve also talked of showing everyone kindness, love and respect so they feel they belong and are a part of our community, at school, in our neighbourhood, at clubs etc..

I’ve joined in with #littleloves this week to show that even in the darkest of times there is always something to brighten a dark day.

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Its been very difficult to read much this week as much of my online reading has been around the terror attack.  Among all the reading was a piece by Alexis Petridis about the rites of passage of a teenage pop concert, in light of the attack it is a heart breaking but a beautiful read.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/may/23/manchester-heartbreak-never-grasped-what-big-pop-gigs-for-daughters-eyes

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I have watched my children intently this week, just taken by their innocence and how they find joy in simple things, playing with a friend, an ice cream after school, reading a book, planting a sunflower seed.  I’m sure we’ve all been giving our children more cuddles and kisses this week, thankful for all we have.

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With this week’s mini heatwave, I have made a variety of salads for tea.  Greek salad is my favourite salad but I experimented with lots other ingredients too, thanks to a visit to the local market for inspiration from the different stalls.

I also made lots of plans to meet with friends this week.  I work in a SEN school for children with complex needs and as a way of supporting families our holidays are slightly different during the year to make the long summer holiday a little shorter.  Thus I’m on a two week half term.  Lots of my friends work at the school too so we have met up this week and enjoyed such nice times together in the sunshine.

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Whilst this was a café terrace, there were pub gardens too this week!

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I have worn my sundresses this week and love my Boden sunglass print dress, it is so comfortable and has pockets too.  I wear sunglasses a lot to prevent migraines and have so many pairs that this print just seemed really me.

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I have also worn my new running leggings this week from Decathlon and I think they are the best I have ever had.  I normally wear Nike black capris, but spotted these new ones when shopping in Decathlon.  The colour and fit are brilliant but my favourite feature are the pockets.  There is a key pocket at the back but there are two good sized zip pockets on the legs, one perfect for an iPhone and the other for gels (if you’re a proper runner) or jelly babies (if you’re like me on long runs!) I cannot recommend them enough!

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Scary selfie –  leggings are never flattering but I will never photo shop me.

 

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I listened to the Manchester vigil on the radio as I tidied up after dinner on Tuesday and was so moved by the poem ‘ This is the place ..’ Sometimes poetry reaches parts other prose cannot.

I have also heard stories of such courage and commitment about our emergency services this week and wanted to share a story which happened in our little town.  On Wednesday morning around 2am, I was woken up by the sound of a helicopter.  I could hear that it was very close, low and hovering and it stayed in position for a considerable period of time.  The helicopter had located a missing woman in the sea and was providing a light and guide for the emergency services and RNLI who were all responding.  The woman was successfully rescued alive with some injuries but again it highlights the amazing work and bravery of our emergency services, in a difficult week its always worth remembering Rogers’ quote of always looking for the helpers.

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Its now half term for all of us, we normally go away this week but this year  we’ll be based at home with a few trips planned.  It is one of the busiest weekends of the year in town so we will stay very local to not get caught in bank holiday traffic jams.  As locals, we know the quieter beaches to enjoy and hope to spend some sunny days simply playing on the beach.

Have a happy week #littlelovers x

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A lunch date, sobs in the cinema and cricketing debuts #littleloves

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Welcome to another week of #littleloves, there is a real mummy and son theme to this week’s post as we enjoyed a weekend together whilst Mr S and Little Miss went to Bristol.  The split was the only way we could fit in all the weekend’s plans and whilst we all enjoyed our weekends it did seem strange to be apart. I felt much happier and mpre comfortable when we were all back together on Sunday afternoon. We are a little team of four!

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This week, I finished Liane Moriarty’s What Alice Forget,  an excellent read.  I’m really enjoying discovering Moriarty’s work and have no doubt another of her titles will be on my Kindle soon.

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I always like to have a book on the go, so I started Britt Marie was here by Fredrik Backman.  A Man Called Ove is one of my favourite reads of the last few years and this book has the similar gentle but engaging pace.

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On Saturday Little Man and I took the train,  which is a real treat for him and went to our county town for lunch and the cinema.  Little Man was keen to see A Dog’s Purpose.  I didn’t realise that this story is an American children’s classic book but what a tear jerker.  The story is going to sound a bit odd as a dog is reincarnated through the story and has different lives with different owners as a different breed.  Despite this premise its actually very good and strong on issues such as caring for others, loneliness etc…  However with the dog being reincarnated I, foolishly hadn’t made the connection that the dog needed to die for this to happen and these were the tear jerker moments.  There was lots of crying in our screening, Little Man was sad but didn’t cry yet I had a few tears roll down my cheek throughout the film.  Predictably Little Man is now even more desperate for a dog after watching the film.

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Well after the miserable weather during the week, I’ve been making lots of winter comfort meals for tea, casserole and dumplings, a roast chicken.  I am done with these meals, I want my salads, its May!

A bit of a tenuous link but I also made my first ever cricket score sheet at Little Man’s cricket match. Our team needed a scorer and with everyone else volunteering for other roles, I was given a crash course in scoring and did the role.  Fortunately the scorer from the other team was lovely and helpful and our scores matched!

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Little Man and I had a lovely lunch out on Saturday.  His sister is a chatterbox and it is hard for any of us to get a word in sometimes so the opportunity for the two of us to talk was lovely.  We talked about cricket, football cards, favourite players, team etc.. and all the latest Lego minifigures.  He was a pleasure to take out for lunch and I loved listening to his talk.

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For cricket on Sunday, I wore my daughter’s cricket hoodie.  I’m not that small its just there was a mistake when the girls’ orders went in and they were made up in ladies sizes not girls.  As they were all personalised and the supplier acknowledged their error we got to keep them free of charge and replacements made in the correct sizes. It is the comfiest hoody I have but does confuse people as I’m not who it says on the hoody!

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Whilst we are all at home this weekend our diary is still busy, we have more cricket matches (if the rain stops) and Little Miss has a concert rehearsal for a production in an arts festival in a few week’s time.

Thank you to Morgana for hosting the inspiring linky #littleloves, hope everyone has a lovely weekend.

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Badminton Horse Trials, new nail varnish and Britpop #littleloves

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Welcome to another week of #littleloves.  We had such a lovely weekend in Bristol that it has been one of those weeks in which the buzz of the weekend has filled your week. Its been a good week, quietly getting along with the daily routines and enjoying simple pleasures.

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I finished the Cows by Dawn O’Porter this week, its a really good read and raises some very pertinent questions about social media and the online world.  The characters find support and kindness online but it also shows how the net can close in on you and skew your view of things to the point where one character uses it to troll and abuse others.  A tale of our times, with some very funny scenes and a twist I didn’t see happening (chapter 14, I really wasn’t ready for that!)

I’ve now started another Liane Morairty novel ( Big, Little Lies) What Alice Forgot and it was hard to pull myself away from the story to write this post.  It is a corker of a book, the main character Alice bumps her head in a gym class and cannot remember the last 10 years of her life or understand how the important relationships in her life have changed.  It employs similar devices to Big, Little Lies (check me out A level English Lit student speak) flashback, conversations with a therapist and is equally enthralling, I think it’ll be a late night to finish tonight.  Just a word of caution, if anyone has suffered miscarriage or infertility,  this is a significant theme in the book and whilst it is dealt with brilliantly, it may be upsetting.

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On Saturday I watched the cross country competition at Badminton and even as a non horsie person I was totally captivated by the event. The skill of the riders and the strength and power of the horses is top quality and it is sheer sporting brilliance to ride the course well.  The best thing about the cross country is how close you are to the action, front row at each jump as people tend to walk the course and you feel such a part of it, you hear the hooves, the breathing, see the concentration on the faces as they approach the fences, the horses muscles clenching etc..  It really is a spectacle not be missed.   I wrote more about our Badminton experience here https://seasidesparkles.net/2017/05/06/badminton-horse-trials/  , it is a great day out and well worth a visit.

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I am one of those people who buys little presents for Christmas throughout the year and this week I made a start on my present buying for Christmas 2017.  There were some stunning craft and artisan stall holders at Badminton and I saw the perfect gift for a friend, I’m really pleased with it and that I’ve been able to tick off a present from my list.

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I spoilt myself with a new Essie nail varnish this week using my Boots Advantage points, I never use rewards in any store for ordinary purchases only for treats. The colour is Excuse Me, Sur and its a lovely shade. a light coral perfect for summer.

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On Sunday Radio 4 had some particularly good programmes, Ed Sheeran’s Desert Isalnd Discs was really good and then later I caught a Listening Project special on adoption which had some delightful interviews, the segment with the little boy talking about his adopted baby brother was beautiful.  I’ve also discovered a new Spotify playlist Britpop etc.. which has taken me back to my late teens and early twenties and been the soundtrack to my runs this week.

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Its another weekend with lots of plans and unusually we’re splitting up as a family to fulfil all the obligations.  Little Man and I will be based at home so he can play his first league cricket match, whilst Little Miss is off to Bristol again with Mr S who is off out with his old friends on Saturday night to remember a friend whose anniversary falls this weekend.  Grandad is babysitting and Little Miss is taking lots of games and Beanos to keep him entertained.  I’m looking forward to the mummy and son date I have organised, its quite rare to have a day just the two of us and I intend to make it a special day.

Many thanks to Morgana for hosting and to all the lovely contributors who make this such an interesting linkie.

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Lip gloss, live music and a moment in time #littleloves

Welcome to another week of #littleloves and what a lovely week its been.  Last weekend was one of those really special ones. We had lots of fun on a family day out on the train to a larger seaside resort for funfairs and boats.  Whilst my friend’s 40th birthday party was such a brilliant night out with superb live music, great guests, lots of dancing and sparkles all in the most beautiful castle setting. I really felt blessed last weekend and appreciated spending such special times with my family and friends.  I did realise though that I can’t do the late nights I used to, children just won’t do lie ins for you.

The children’s highlight of our day out …
My highlight of our day out ..

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Whilst I haven’t finished it yet I am reading Dawn O’Porter’s The Cows ( my Kindle ran out of power last night, yep you don’t get that with a book!)   Its so difficult to describe in a few sentences and I’ve not finished it yet but its a story of three women with one strong theme being social media, one is an author of a famous blog, the other is filmed and ends up becoming an internet sensation for the wrong reasons and the other is drawn to Facebook as  means of keeping alive memories of a loved one.  There are some strong moral and feminist arguments in the book but these are presented intelligently and smartly.  I am enjoying and will report back next week with the finished review.

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I’ve watched a brilliant short video made by the children’s school, A Moment in Time.  Its a mannequin style entry of a moment in time at the primary school and shows every single staff member and pupil.  It is a magical video and thoroughly deserves a prize in the local arts competition it has been created for. The school have been brilliant at thoroughly disguising my children.  Sadly, they are not normally allowed in anything published on the internet for security reasons,  however through some careful and clever filming, Little Man and his friends are dressed up in a drama session, whilst Little Miss’ PE moves and strategically placed equipment make her unrecognisable.    The video was just one of the highlights in the school’s annual arts exhibition, the standard and quality of artwork is just incredible and a credit to all.

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Mrs Brown’s eggs

 

 

 

I used these eggs to make a simple omelette. The deep rich brown shells were gorgeous but the yellow of the omelette made it such a sunshine meal.  The eggs were freshly lain courtesy of Mrs Brown, a local chicken and totally free range!

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I was able to dress up on Saturday night to the 40th party and loved it.  I wore a fitted but flared crepe black tunic dress embellished with a few sparkles on the cuffs and neckline.  Its a dress I haven’t worn for ages and normally pair with leggings as its quite short but I felt confident on Saturday and wore it with some tights. I also had been able to pop in and buy a new lip gloss on Saturday afternoon, its one of  the Clarins lip oils and is a multi sensory treat, the smell, the colour, the feel all perfect.  It was the gift I got for the birthday girl too, I knew she’d appreciate it.

One for me, one for you x

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There is nothing quite like live music and the band on Saturday night were superb, it was one of those parties where people are up from the first song to the very last dancing.  The playlist was full of happy, uplifting tunes and it made for such a lovely atmosphere.

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I know last week I wrote how much I was looking forward to the weekend but I have that same feeling again today.  Tomorrow, Friday,  Mr S is off to Bristol to watch England play a ODI cricket match and then after school  the children and I will drive to Bristol (3 hours on Fri eve mmm) and join him so we can travel to Badminton for the horse trials on Saturday,  its cross country day.  Although I’m not a horsie person I’ve always wanted to go and now we have Little Miss who is horse mad it seemed a perfect family trip.

Thanks to Morgana at http://www.coffeeworksleeprepeat.com for hosting  #littleloves.

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