One of my favourite things to do in anticipation of birthdays and special events is to plan the cake. I love baking, the flavour and filling are just as important as the decoration and I am always looking on Pinterest for inspiration and tips. Baking in the kitchen listening to my music is one of my happy times and my cakes are baked with lots of love. Mr S thinks it would be easier and cheaper to buy a shop bought version but that’s just not me, baking a cake for my family brings me real joy and satisfaction.
It’s been birthday season in the Sparkles household so here are our birthday cakes for this year. Little Miss had a glitter ball cake. It was an orange and almond sponge with a white chocolate and orange filling, covered in a turquoise icing decorated with purple and silver stars. A simple but very effective design and delicious flavour.
For Little Man, I made a football cake with a football figure, no 9 Harry Kane who was his world cup hero. His cake was a lemon and lime marble sponge topped with a green icing and white icing for football pitch markings. He loved it although I would have preferred something less plain as to me it did look like it was missing a little something.
Whilst birthday season is now over, I’m already planning a Halloween cake with a spicy orange flavour and then a special design for Christmas. I think this has to be the year when I finally make a Christmas cake!
Sometimes there are times when life seems tough for those around you and I often send a little card to let that person know that I’m thinking of them. However today I had one of the most joyous card shopping trips I’ve had in ages for a family wedding, a healthy baby boy and an clear from cancer card. The last card was just brilliant to be able to buy as its for a much loved and respected colleague from all of us at work. The atmosphere when we heard the good news yesterday made us all feel so tingly and happy. It just reminded me that we should all take time to celebrate every piece of good news and simply cherish every day.
So it looks like we’ve skipped a whole season and summer has started today. It’s been the hottest April day since 1949 and it’s been blissful. Its strange to think a month ago we were snowed in!
The sun can change everything so here’s a list of things I’ve done today on our first hot and sunny day of the year…
I’ve dressed the children in their summer uniform, I love the cuteness of summer uniforms, a gingham dress for Little Miss and grey shorts for Little Man. We didn’t need coats today either.
At work, I changed my lesson plan and took my class outdoors to do their lesson. It was spontaneous and fun and turned out to be a really good lesson, sometimes you just have to go with the idea and embrace where it takes you.
Instead of heading home, I took Little Man for an ice cream and a walk whilst we waited for Little Miss to finish her music club after school. We admired the blossoms and looked for other signs of spring, Little Man played in the little brook and I may have dipped a toe into the water.
As soon as we got home the children changed into shorts and t-shirts after school. Is there a simpler outfit and I love all it symbolises, sunny days and outdoor playtime.
During the afternoon, Mr S had set up Swingball in the garden after it had been stored away for winter and we all played it in the garden before tea.
After tea, Little Miss and I went for a walk on the beach, the outdoor café was busy with people enjoying a drink in the warm weather and the beach was filled with people enjoying a bonus play. The atmosphere was so relaxing and happy.
When we got home, I sat in the garden and read. My summer soundtrack were the birds chirping and the hum of people happy pottering around in their gardens and outside.
There is no doubt that I am a summer person and a day like today just fills me with happiness and sparkles. Here’s hoping for a wonderful summer in 2018.
Being quite small and having quite wide feet, clothes and shoe shopping can be frustrating and disappointing. However, I love a bag and am always on the search for the holy grail of handbags. Buying a new handbag makes me happy and is my guilty pleasure, ‘guilty’ as I don’t always reveal the true price! My best handbags are an everyday green leather tote from Boden, I no longer use it daily as the leather is worn and battered after years and years of use but the colour, size and style were perfect and a beautiful vintage silver bag I found in a charity shop which I use for special occasions.
My current favourite is a large, navy bag from Clarks, I would prefer a better material but the size, colour and style suit me well. I also keep a small, bright bag in it which is perfect for keys, a purse and my mobile for the school run etc..
My bag is my mobile office and I try to have all I need in it. Today my bag contains
A zip Filofax for keeping myself organised and plans. It also doubles as a card holder for loyalty cards, stamps, membership cards etc..
A small cosmetic bag full of essentials – NYR
A spare shopping bag – Eden Project print
A purse containing cash and my bank card- Cath Kidston
A pencil case containing stationery essentials – Emma Bridgewater
Water bottle, sometimes I swap this for an insulated cup if I’m likely to want a hot takeaway drink.
Sunglasses for driving or if I feel a migraine coming on.
My Kindle, I am often waiting for a child to finish a club and have learnt to fit in 5 minutes reading wherever I can.
I also have a pack of tissues in the bag which is missing from the photo.
My cosmetic bag is key and gets transferred to my gym bag, rucksack for days out etc.. It is my mum kit!
Bach Rescue Remedy, because some days just become a rescue remedy kind of day.
Hair bands, I have short hair but my daughter always needs one.
Inhaler for my son.
NYR travel rollerstick, I get bad travel sickness and roll this on pulse points for journeys.
Liz Earle face spritz to refresh my skin and a little pick me up.
NYR defence hand spray (this is amazing, it lasts for ages and feels and smells so much nicer than the antibacterial gels)
In the summer this bag will also contain a mini bottle of sun tan lotion.
I like feeling organised and in control with a well packed bag, I can deal with problems as they arise and use any unexpected free time well. I suppose my bag is my super hero’s cape, wearing it I can do anything!
As the children become older, I find my role in the holidays changing. From doing and being with them all the time they are now trying new experiences independently. This holidays they’ve been climbing and on a tennis camp on their own. Well nearly on their own as on both occasions I’ve been on site as it’s been too far to simply drop them and go back home, it’s a 20+ mile round trip to our nearest sports centre, that’s rural life! I like that the children are trying new skills and doing things they enjoy but I’m also trying to keep a balance too so there are family trips which we all participate in and then relaxed times at home for Lego building, DVDs, play dates and baking. As Mr S has been home I’ve also had a date with each of my children, we’ve been to my gym where we’ve swam and enjoyed a jacuzzi and sauna.
This holiday has given me some unexpected time for myself, the sports centre has a nice café and with my Kindle and note book for plans I’ve been able to relax and think whilst the children have been busy. As the children get older, holidays are becoming more relaxing and restful and we’re all feeling the benefits.
As another day’s plans for the holidays are changed due to the wet, grey weather I simply have one plea this morning, come on Spring do your thing. Lets see some blossom, feel the warmth of the sun on our faces, play on the grass, wear sunglasses and a flirty skirt, hear the birds, enjoy lighter days and simply have a skip in our step. Spring its time to shine…..
For Little Miss one of the delights of school holidays is painted nails. In the days before she breaks up Little Miss will be deciding on the shade and counting down the minutes until she can have her manicure and varnish.
Earlier this month I did a Body Shop order and needing to spend £1 to get free delivery I searched for a product at this price and discovered a nail art pen in the sale for this exact sum. OMG we are loving this tool and it’s becoming one of the best pounds I’ve ever spent!
After our first few experiments with dots and stripes, we progressed to a simple flower this holiday. We have our own nail art inspiration board on Pinterest and have big ideas for the coming holidays, special effects including marbling (bubble wrap, genius idea) a fruity theme for the summer, Halloween art for October etc..
I suppose nail art and make up are becoming the new crafting for tweens, with the skills being transferable experimenting with colour, textures etc.. I am embracing nail art because it gives me much cherished time with my daughter, music in the background, the gentle touch of a hand massage, manicure etc .. and the time to sit still and talk. I’m sure in the coming years it’ll be a routine done with friends over teenage gossip so I’ll enjoy every little manicure until then and yes I’m proud to wear my daughter’s designs on my nails.