A bank holiday weekend

During the holidays, there are always special moments, holidays, days out etc.. but sometimes it’s the simple pleasures which enrich life. It’s been the late August bank holiday and we’ve been based at home this weekend. It’s been a hot, hot, sunny weekend so there is no better place to be than the seaside. Rather than write down a diary of our the weekend, I’ll just summarise our fun, a trip to the playground with friends, two trips to the beach, pedalos in the sea (I got a bit queasy!) drawing on the garden path with chalks (strangely addictive) a traditional summer fayre in a local village preceded by a picnic lunch and attending the most beautiful wedding reception at a local castle. It was such a feel good weekend, quality time with family and friends, so many wow moments (especially at the wedding) and a weekend where your face aches from smiling. These are the days you bottle up for the darker or quieter days. Life is a balance, there are happy times and sad, busy and quiet, a happy life is about appreciating the moment.

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Simple Pleasures

I love this print which I received on a birthday card last week. Sophie Harding is a local artist whose textile work is often exhibited in our local art gallery, alongside works by her sister, Sasha. Both women are so creative and talented and their work exudes happiness. Many of their pieces are simple tributes to seaside life.

They both have websites which showcase their fantastic work and which I like to browse for inspiration and pleasure. It’s such a simple and easy pick me up, looking and appreciating lovely pieces of art.

https://www.sophie-harding.co.uk/

https://www.sashaharding.co.uk/

The hottest day of the year…

So despite living at the seaside, we decided today we needed to try and go somewhere a little cooler. It’s been a hot, hot week and we’ve enjoyed the beach and the sea but chose to do something different today.

I have an annual membership to a local nature attraction, it’s mainly forest with a spectacular lake so we headed off here to explore and play and of course enjoy a picnic lunch. Although they both argued they were too old, my children humoured me in looking for the fairy doors on the trail. Their preferred activities were making dens and skimming stones. This kept them busy and I was able to sit under a tree and read my book, such a luxury and joy. We were lucky in that trees did provide us with shade and it was slightly cooler.

After our visit we went to a nearby town and certainly felt the difference in temperature. We stopped for an ice cream and may have sat with our feet in the river to cool off. There was a lovely atmosphere at the quay as everyone sat and relaxed in the sunshine. It felt that everyone was simply enjoying the moment, the best thing to do on a bright, sunny day.

Getting things done …

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Towards the end of my route, I ran down to this view, the colours of the sea and sky were a dusky grey and pink and it was beautiful


Today was one of those unremarkable days, a day to do chores and get organised on a pretty yucky day, weather wise.  We were all at home today, Mr S had lots of house admin and financial tasks to do (I leave this part of our life to him, he’s great at finding deals, managing finances etc.. although please be assured I’m just as savvy and know all that is going on)  I had housework to do and planning and packing for our break away later this week and two residential trips for the children in the next few weeks, June is going to be a very busy month.  

I started the day with a long (dry) run, it was good, one of those runs where your legs move smoothly and swiftly, you have a great playlist and the view to sea is mesmerising.  After breakfast, we started our jobs and much to their surprise and joy allowed the children to chill with the Wii U so we could get things done.  It was a wet and miserable morning by now, so everyone was keen to be inside.  I had such a useful morning deep cleaning and now I’m ridiculously satisfied with my clean and sparkling cutlery drawers, immaculate surfaces, tidy rooms, empty laundry basket etc.. enabling me to feel so much happier in my environment.  My recent extended work hours mean that the house has been neglected a little and it was great to get on top of it today.  I need a clean and tidy house to feel relaxed and comfortable in my surroundings, its just the person I am.

This afternoon, Little Man and I went over to ‘big town’ for some shopping.  I needed to go to Decathlon for my annual summer shop, UV rash vests, running gear and a sleeping mat for camp. I love the excitement of a Decathlon shop,  on school trips to France as a teacher, we always managed to find one for a quick stop! My son is not the most enthusiastic of shoppers but I felt that we hadn’t had much 1:1 time recently and I needed some time with him.  I let him choose the music and he was happy to chat along in the car, its nearly an hour’s journey so there was lots of time to talk about the important things in his life, Minecraft, cricket, army and as we passed the car garages why I need to get a cool car.  ( Honestly isn’t a C1 cool?) Although he was initially unimpressed by my shopping proposal, when we got to Decathlon he was in element trying so many sports on display, dressing up as a boxer, trying the SUP, it was such a funny trip and an unusual but great mummy / son time.  We popped into Home Bargains for some cheap toiletries as it was too wet and windy to walk the extra hundred metres to Boots and as luck would have it, I found the perfect accessories for Little Miss’ party later this summer.  I’m a bit early, but from experience, I’ve learnt that it is best to pick up something so perfect when you see it.  We are having a watermelon themed party and I’m excited by my new props.

Today was one of those days where everyone seemed to be down about the wet day and being pretty miserable.  My day was so simple but satisfying, life’s not about the big life events but those little things which make you smile.  I smiled today because of a great run, having a clean house, ticking lots off my to dos list and being able to laugh out loud with my son.

Simple Pleasures

It’s a beautiful sunny morning. So far I’ve run 5k, taken the children to swimming lessons in the neighbouring town, picked up a few bits and pieces in the shops and now I’m here in our little secret courtyard with a new book and a cup of tea. This is my happy time, the excitement and anticipation of a new story to discover, characters to root for and an ending to bring the story together. Of course it’s just a quick pause, it’ll soon be time for lunch and then off to town for the pirate festival but do now I’ll enjoy every minute of my reading break.

Happy Sparkles

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My little attempt at a yellow/ orange themed collage.

I love that there are pops of colour everywhere as Spring starts to shine through the final days of winter.  I enjoy the promise of this season and feel a bit like Dorothy as she leaves Kansas and arrives in the Land of Oz, life goes from black and white to technicolour. The longer days are arriving and for me this is the return of my early morning runs, this is my time and whilst I struggle to get out of bed the satisfaction and mindset motivate me to throw off the covers.  There’s a lot more colour at home too, my new orange teapot is the one of the best presents I’ve received, the style and colour are perfect and just seeing it makes me smile.  I’ve also treated myself to a new Filofax, the colour and design were irresistible and in my defence, I use it all the time, my life is in my Filofax, if it’s not written in it, then it’s not happening! Spring is my favourite season for cut flowers whether it’s a simple bunch of daffodils or my favourite floral treat, a bunch of tulips and there is always a fresh bunch in the kitchen (the tulips in the picture are on day 6 so a little past their prime but still giving me pleasure). I’m also enjoying reading different types of magazines, I’ve gone from the glossies to more thoughtful, creative publications.  I fell in love with the front cover of the Oh Comely magazine, oranges and yellows are my couleurs de jour.  There’s lots to embrace in the Spring and there is a little skip in my step with the longer, milder days and the blossoming of a new season.

Happy times in my kitchen …

 

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Despite the quality of the photo, the icing was duck blue and the stars silver and purple.

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.

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Whoops I forgot to get a good picture of the cake and most have my Little Man in blowing out his candles.  This is part of the cake, imagine a football pitch with cut out icing letters spelling out his name and age. 

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!