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.

Morph, a Ferris wheel and new perfume #littleloves

So it’s been my favourite week of the year, it’s carnival week and with my birthday and wedding anniversary falling this week too, it’s a happy time for our family. Mr S has been working away for a few days so the children and I amused ourselves with a little road trip to Weston Super Mare, Bristol and Cardiff. I lived in Cardiff in my early twenties and love the city so it was lovely to go back and spend a day there with the children, it’s such a vibrant place. We enjoyed time at the Dino baby exhibition and then at Cardiff Bay where I got to ride on a Ferris wheel which made me so happy!




I received this book as a birthday gift and finished it in a few days, it is so good and a book which you reflect on days after finishing it. It’s the story of a young woman who makes a kind gesture and the effect in has on her life. It’s sad and uplifting and it makes you want to hug the heroine and wish her well, definitely one of the best reads of the year.


It’s carnival week with lots of highlights. On Saturday night, we watched the impressive fireworks on the beach and then on Sunday cheered on the floats in the parade. I love this weekend when town is full of colour, noise and families.


When we were in Bristol we visited the Morph exhibition fundraising for the Bristol Children’s Hospital. It was excellent and a really interactive exhibition, we made a Morph from plasticine and a little animation film. I used to love Take Hart and Morph when I was little so it was fun to make my own little Morph.


As a birthday treat my mum took me to the Jo Malone counter to choose a new perfume. What a choice and so difficult to choose my scent. In the end it was between French Lime and the Lime, basil and mandarin scents, I chose the latter and have loved wearing it this week, it’s a lovely, light summery smell.

During carnival there is lots of live music and the sound reflects around the bay, in the evenings and I can hear it late at night in bed, a sound of summer nights. I’ve also heard lots of rain, it’s still raining in week 2 of the holidays, boo.

Mr S is working away again next week but I’m planning on spending the week based at home to prepare for our holiday the week after. We must be due some hot, sunny weather now and it would be great to have a few beach trips and lazy afternoons in the park. Fingers crossed 🤞🏼

Thank you to Morgana for creating and hosting #littleloves, I hope you’re enjoying your break

 

Longleat, Library Challenge and an 80s soundtrack #littleloves

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And so we made it, its the first week of the summer holidays and we’ve spent the week playing on the beach and splashing in the sea and we’ve been dodging the showers and have already hit the wet weather list of things to do, crafting anyone?  The week started with a weekend away at one of our favourite places, Longleat and then we spent our first week of the holidays pottering around at home with trips to the park, cinema and swimming.

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We signed up for the library reading challenge this week, its become one of our little holiday traditions and is a welcome activity in the summer. I love the idea and have challenged myself to do it too, sadly I won’t get the stickers though.

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To start the holidays with a little treat we went to Longleat for the weekend with two days in the safari park.  We love Longleat and there really is so much to see and do.  I am just amazed by the animals and each time we get to see so many special things.  This time, I think the lions were my highlight, it was feeding time so they were very animated and we spent a long time just watching and marvelling at their majesty and magnificence. On Sunday morning, we were on the first boat so the sea lions were keen to see us and be fed and we went really close to the gorillas and hippos so the staff could check on them too.  It was fantastic to be so close and observe the animals.

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I got so excited on the last day of term making my last packed lunch but since then I’ve been busy making the same just under a different guise of ‘picnic’ We took a lovely picnic full of treats to Longleat for the Saturday lunch, its a bit more than a packed lunch, nice picnic tableware, fancier food – dips, berries, pastries and savouries, I even bring napkins!  A picnic is also an essential part of our holiday days out, I was back in the kitchen on Monday too preparing another picnic for the park.  I feel I’ll be making as many picnics as I do packed lunches through the holidays.

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This is my outfit of summer 2017, my Boden sundress, New Look cardigan and favourite flip flop necklace. I wore it to Longleat and although it was hidden by my mac for parts of the day,  at the first hint of sunshine the coat was disposed of to show off my favourite dress!

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So with wet weather forecast our first day of holidays started with a trip to the cinema to see Despicable Me 3.  The film series makes me smile if not laugh out loud but I was really taken by the soundtrack and the dance offs in this film, lots of 80s classics, Michael Jackson, Madonna, Aha etc.. Needless to say I insisted on an 80s playlist on our journey home.

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So that’s week 1 over with, I really hope that this is not going to be a repeat of the summer of 2015 which is etched onto my memory as the really, really wet summer holiday.  There are only so many original wet weather activities I can create.  Fingers crossed for sunnier times next week.

Due to some technical difficulties I’m a little late with this post so I may not be able to link up with the marvellous Morgana and her lovely contributors, but here’s the link

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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.