A girlie weekend


This weekend, Little Miss and I had our first ever girlie weekend as our boys went to visit Grandad. Following his illness at Christmas and the realisation that Grandad is more frail than before, we have talked lots and tried to make our visits a little easier and relaxing for him.  We’ve decided that Mr S will either take just take one child to visit or we will all go up and stay in a hotel.  This weekend the boys went up and Little Miss and I had a special time together at home.

Recently I’ve felt that our time together is changing, we are talking about more grown up things, music, fashion etc..  This weekend was full of  sparkles, a little shopping trip, watching and singing musicals, reading together, a pampering spa, dinner in a lovely Thai restaurant, grown up activities which just felt right.  This is becoming such a lovely age, even if Little Miss is always after my phone to pretend its hers, mobiles and ear piercing are becoming big topics for discussion (our agreement is a mobile when she goes to secondary school and she’s allowed her ears to be pierced this summer)

After Little Miss’ ballet class on Saturday, we drove over to our county town to enjoy a browse around the shops before finally going to see The Greatest Showman.  Its been on our must see list for months and we were so pleased to finally see it, we’ve been playing the soundtrack for weeks.  The atmosphere at the cinema was brilliant, it was sold out and there were a lot of mums and daughters of all ages enjoying an early mothers day treat.  After the film, we chose a Thai restaurant for tea. It is a pleasure to dine out with Little Miss, she loves her food and is so adventurous and interested in food.  We found a gorgeous Thai restaurant and Little Miss was a hit with the staff, they were delighted by her interest in the food and willingness to try new dishes.  The food was so good and she was a very amusing dinner date.

On Sunday, I not only got a lie in as our early riser Little Man was away but also a cup of tea in bed for Mothers day, the perfect way to wake up.  We had a beautifully lazy morning, a relaxing bubble bath, taking time to style hair and experiment with different looks and simply pampering ourselves.  We then took a walk down town for some fresh air and came back and took the time to cook lunch together.  In the afternoon, I was so pleased to show Little Miss Grease for the first time, she had seen the local secondary school’s performance during the week so it felt the right time to introduce her to one of my favourite films, needless to say I sang (cue eye rolling!) and we both danced along to the songs and laughed a lot.  I had also treated us to the new Rebel Girls book as we had loved the original, so in front of the fire, cosy under a blanket we read together.  It really was as perfect as it sounds and it was one of those moments when I couldn’t believe how lucky and privileged  I am to be mum to my gorgeous girl.

Whilst we both missed our boys, it was a treat to have some lovely time together and do all those special little mum daughter things together.  I am so proud of my daughter and I loved our exclusive time together.


Snow Day 2018

img_1005 So this should have been a little post tonight about World Book day and the fun we had dressing up in our costumes.  However, the children never got the opportunity to dress up today as we had a snow day!  Snow is really rare where we live and the last significant snow was in our first few months as a family in 2010, so a snow day for the children is a rare treat.

Although for my children a snow day is a treat, for me as a teacher in a special needs school its different.  Whilst our day students were not at school today, we are also a residential school so a snow day is not an option for us, we need to open and staff our school.  Our students aren’t just students they are our young people, we care for them, we want them to feel safe and secure and when things are different, we need to be there for them.  Our staff team have been terrific today and we’re prepared for tomorrow.  Things will be a little different as only those staff local will be able to come in, our rural town is currently cut off by road closures.  However we have enough staff by people volunteering to do longer hours, coming in on their days off or staying with friends locally to allow them to be on shift as needed. The conditions are so bad here today that every member of staff will need to walk to school tomorrow, but we will and we know there’ll be a hot drink waiting for us when we arrive.  It’ll be a fun day, these are the days when everyone pulls together and are the ones we always remember.  And, yes we’ll be making snowmen and snow angels and having snowball fights, every child should have the opportunity to experience a snow day at home or at school.


February half term


Of all the school holidays in the year, I find the February half term an odd one, it’s not a holiday when a lot happens and pre children it was simply spent pottering and relaxing whilst Mr S worked.  Our half term this year was one full of simple pleasures, there was no big day out or special event just local activities.  The weather was pretty awful, so cold and wet and this affected our plans too.

As Mr S wanted to decorate our bedroom, I took the children away to my parents for a couple of days at the beginning of the week to give him some time to do the job without distractions.  I had great plans and was very excited to have been able to organise for my parents to take the children out so I could visit the big shopping mall with a long list of shopping.  Unfortunately I had a horrendous migraine for the days we were at my parents and spent the two days in a darkened room alternating between being sick and sleeping, so not quite my anticipated visit but a lot cheaper!  The children loved the day out I had planned for them in Bristol as they got to visit the local Air Hop and try out all the trampolines and rides.

We were back at home for a pancake tea and it was nice to have Shrove Tuesday fall in the holidays as it was more relaxed and fun.  I did take the traditional toss a pancake photos, I have one every year of the children and they’ve become one of those measures of the children growing up.

Ash Wednesday was also Valentine’s Day this year.  For personal reasons I find it a tough day so whilst Mr S and I do exchange cards and a little gift, we don’t really do anything lovey dovey on this day.  The weather was so awful we spent the morning watching the children skoot around in an indoor skate park and then drove out to a pub for a lazy lunch en famille.

Thankfully Thursday was a gorgeous day, the best of the week with bright blue skies and warm sunshine.  We ended up on the beach and met lots of friends who had the same idea too.  The trip to the beach was one of the highlights of this holiday, watching the children skimming stones with their friends, running up and down the beach and laughing.  I have a lovely photo of a whole gang of children balanced on the groyne, the bright colours of their wellies beautifully contrasting the blue skies.  Simple pleasures can be the the best.

On Friday we had a few jobs to do over in big town and whilst they were not the most fun for the children we stopped off at the country park on the way home to run off some energy and explore the woods and fields.  I do find my children need a good walk or exercise every day to keep them more relaxed and calm.

Whilst most of our week was spent together, I did take both children alone on a mummy date each to a local cafe.  Both really appreciated this time together and I learnt a lot of how they’re feeling about things.  It’s surprising how chatty the children can be with cake and a hot chocolate!

Although half term was quiet and full of little trips, it was relaxing in it’s own way.  Sometimes you just need to stop and enjoy the little things, a trip to the beach, a walk in the park or a homemade cake in a cafe.



@SusanCalman – My Strictly Winner

I am a huge Strictly Come Dancing fan, its what autumn evenings were made for.  It gives autumn evenings a little sparkle with the dances, costumes, make up and hair, music, staging etc.. It is a show which genuinely makes me happy and relaxed, whether it be the big shows at the weekend or Zoe during the week, my family know to let me have a little time to watch Strictly.

I genuinely like all the contestants, there’s no one I’m ‘agin.’ (see @mariankeyes, SCD super fan) However this year there has been one contestant who has shone out and for whom I may have developed a bit of a girl crush, the magical Susan Calman.  Her joy and enthusiasm for Strictly was unrivalled and here was a contestant I could relate to, similar age, non dancer, not very girlie but whom adored Strictly and wanted to learn to dance.  Her choreography and music choices were brilliant, Kevin Clifton is so talented because he understands who is partner is and how to portray that in the dance.   Susan’s costumes and make up embraced all the glitz of Strictly and she looked stunning.  I liked how natural it felt to see Susan’s wife in the audience and how supportive she was, alongside Susan’s gang of friends the ‘Geek squad.’ Here were professors, lawyers, writers cheering on their friend in matching t-shirts at Blackpool and loving every minute, its the sort of thing I could see me and my friends doing.   Susan brought so much to Strictly and this evening, I thought the episode lacked a little something and I’ve come to  realise that it was missing the infectious joy and passion of Susan and Kevin.

On Monday  I led an assembly at the special needs school where I work on our theme of the week, learning something new.  I started with Susan’s pinned tweet when she was announced as a contestant to some of her quotes and interviews as she progressed and finished with her dance to Morecambe and Wise.  During the dance, my students started standing up and came to the front to dance, it was a totally spontaneous moment and it was a moment of pure joy and delight, Susan’s enthusiasm and love for dancing has made life a little more sparkling and joyful for so many.  Thank you Susan and please keep dancing.



Summer Sparkles

So the weather is pants and the summer holiday plans aren’t quite what we had hoped for, but there are still (damp) sparkles everywhere.  This is one of my favourite weeks of the year and despite the weather its a week when I really have felt thankful for the little joys in my life. They are all about experiences and being with people (except my stationery purchase but hey it was stationery. ) Gail Honeyman’s book had me thinking and reflecting on relationships and kindness and the book was a timely reminder that it is the simple little things in life which really matter.

This week ……

1. Its been my birthday.

2. Its been my wedding anniversary! (there is a connection, with Mr S being given an ultimatum to marry me by my 30th birthday as he needed that little nudge)

3. I watched fireworks on Saturday night

4. I did two early runs in the glorious morning sunshine at the weekend, it rained heavily later so I was chuffed with my early alarm calls.

5. I met with family friends for a coffee on Sunday morning and got to talk weddings and all things sparkly and have a sneak preview of the dress.

6. It was carnival and the weather stayed dry.  After the parade, the children met up with lots of friends in the showground and the adults got to chat in relative peace!

7. The children and I went to my parents for a few days whilst Mr S was working away.  We all got very spoilt.

8. I went to the Morph exhibition in the Mall at Bristol.  It was nostalgic fun and I got to make a Morph and play with all the interactive exhibits triggering warm, fuzzy memories of childhood.

9. Along with my dad, I took the children on their first visit to Cardiff, one of my favourite cities.  It was sunny (the only dry day this week) and I got to ride the big Ferris wheel, which made me ridiculously happy.

10. I bought new stationery.  As a teacher new school year = new school stationery.

11. I was given a fabulous new book for my birthday and I’ve already finished it.  Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman is a brilliant book and one of my best reads this year.

These are just a reminder that even when the rain pours down during your summer holiday there are still times to be enjoyed and memories to be made.




The School Run

The school run is one of my precious times.  I’m not going to romanticise the school run as I have just returned from a damp school run where both children fell off their scooters despite my words of caution and I was chief bag carrier, but it is a special time with the children, 10 minutes of walk and talk twice a day.  Sometimes we walk with friends, sometimes its just the three of us. sometimes its just 2 school bags, other days we are balanced with guitars, lunch boxes, PE kits and any ‘art’ work returning home.  Over the past 5 years, I’ve learnt that umbrellas are useless, best to stick to hoods, likewise I never take a handbag, pockets are good for keys and a phone so I can hold something else, whether it be a hand or junk model.  Its also the school run law that the day when you are 30 seconds late that it will be the first day in months when the children come out of school on time.

I think one of the reasons that the school run is so important to me is that I never had a parent doing a school run with my when I was a child.  We were bussed to our primary school and we walked ourselves to and from the stop.  I was always slightly envious of those friends who met their mums in the school playground.  I have been incredibly fortunate that I have been able to negotiate my work hours around the children’s school day, so I do the school run everyday. As one of my children has a 1:1 TA I need to do the run to be able to liaise with the school daily.  The mornings I work are pressured and I have to take the car on these mornings so I can get to work asap, I can be dropping the children at school at 8.50am and be presenting assembly at 9am! The afternoons are my favourites, I always walk and sometimes we just let the mood take us.  Last week we ended up with an impromptu play in a friend’s garden, we might have a walk along the beach or on sunnier days we might go for an ice cream.  I think the walk gives everyone the time just to de-stress from the day and reconnect.

I know when I’m an old woman it will be those simple moments I look back on, the journey mapped out by the red post box and yellow grit box, the corner where we look for friends, the old man at his window who waves to us, the lollipop lady, the goodbye and greeting hug in the playground, this is what makes the school run special and one of my favourite parts of the day.



I got that feeling …

I love this line from Justin Timberlake’s ‘Can’t stop the feeling’


Its Sunday night and I want to write about that feeling …. Its not a feeling of worry or anxiety about the coming week but of a weekend so well spent that I have that buzz, that happiness which will help the week flow.  I’ve been really lucky to have had that feeling after a number of weekends recently and it got me thinking about what makes that feeling.  The three weekends which have had me feeling so positive have all been different, a weekend at home  hosting family to celebrate a special birthday, a day out at the seaside and a party and a weekend away.  No weekend has been quiet and relaxing yet I’ve felt more energetic and alive after each one.  I don’t have an answer to what creates that buzz, family is a feature in all weekends, as are friends, good weather certainly helps but does not make a weekend, the activities can be grand, a weekend at Badminton or simple, a train ride, a walk, a cup of tea overlooking a bay.  I wonder if its appreciating others, this could be Grandad’s 85 years, a rider’s sporting prowess, being inspired by artists and crafts people or seeing and enjoying the world through a child’s eyes.   I don’t have the answer but I know that a busy, inspiring weekend with family and friends can give you the freshness and sparkle to start the week.