#ecosparkles2018 : Weeks 4 and 5

image_53930009774866Its been a busy few weeks and I haven’t been able to develop this little project as I would have hoped to.  I’m hoping to do some research on topics relevant to my lifestyle to see how I can make life more eco friendly. Despite the busyness, I have been continuing with the project and here are some of the things I’ve done.

  1. I’ve been to collect my new food caddies.  Our old ones were damaged and unable to be used, so I ordered new ones online and am now saving my food waste again.  I also got a battery recycling bag and lots of leaflets and advice on how to recycle more.
  2. Mr S has been making some new raised beds for growing vegetables and I have helped prepare them.  He has done most of the work, but I did help line them and move them into position in the garden.  We also borrowed a wheel barrow from a neighbour to move the soil rather than go and buy a new one for this job.  Sharing is caring!
  3. Disposable cups used : 0    The most difficult aspect of this is not take away drinks but the water fountain at work with its plastic cups.
  4. Plastic bags purchased : 0   I am being really good at remembering to always have bags in my bag and being prepared for my trip.

I think my focus for the next few weeks is looking at the seasonal foods for February and using less food packaging.  Happy eco living.

 

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#Ecosparkles2018 : Week 3

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Its been a quiet, simple week here and I’ve not done anything big for this project.  As promised last week, I went onto the council website to discover all the materials I could recycle.  I was also able to order a replacement food bin as ours is damaged and a bag for recycling batteries. Other green activities last week include

  1. Driving fewer miles.  I’ve calculated that I drove less than 10 miles in the whole of last week after making a conscious effort to walk more.  Living and working in the same small town means that shops, school, work, beach etc.. are all in a mile radius of home, so walking becomes a realistic option.  My main need for the car is mornings when I take the children to school and need to be at work very quickly.  Very few of my car journeys are alone, I either have the children with me or share the ‘commute’ with a colleague.
  2. Recycling foil.  I didn’t know that I could recycle my kitchen foil so that is now being done.  I’ve asked the children to bring the foil home from their packed lunches so we can recycle or reuse but its been met with mixed results this week.
  3. No plastic bags purchased nor disposable cups used.  This is a target I’m trying to maintain for the year, so far so good.

The #littleloves of 2017

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I only have one #littlelove this week and that is for our nhs. If you’ve read my previous post you’ll know that our Christmas was a little different to what we had expected as my Father in law who was staying with us for Christmas was taken very poorly on Christmas Eve. Christmas really took a different perspective this year and I’ll remember that it was the kindness and dedication of people which made this Christmas special.  We are very thankful that my Father in Law is now recovering and feeling much better.

As a consequence of the above I thought I would put together a simple best of #littleloves for 2017. Some categories are easy to choose others i.e. makes show me that perhaps I need to be more focused on my creativity next year. So time for a fanfare as I reveal my favourites…

I like to read  and I’ve managed to read some great books this year. However there’s one book which I can’t stop recommending. It was a birthday present from a friend with impeccable taste. The book is Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. The storyline revolves around a simple, reluctant act of kindness and the effect it has on Elinor’s life, it is so life affirming and has all the feels. Please if you haven’t read it do, you won’t regret reading a single word as it is so beautifully written.

My film of 2017 was the last I saw at the cinema this year, Paddington 2. It is delightful, funny and magical. I love the way it embraces the importance of community and how to treat each other kindly. Breathe was an inspiring film too. On tv I have loved my old favourites, Strictly Come Dancing, Call the Midwife and Cold Feet.

My favourite outfit was this blue Boden sunglasses print dress with my flip flop necklace. I loved it because it was simple, comfortable and the print very much me, I’m always in sunglasses in the summer!

Looking back on my makes, there was more of a choice than I realised, an Anglo Saxon model house and costume ( yep school projects ) birthday cakes, meals etc.. However my make is simple because of its spontaneity. On July 4th we made a last minute decision to have an American themed barbecue and I tried making S’mores for the first time. They were amazing but it was the memories of me and the children sitting around the barbie cooking them on a warm evening with some music playing in the background that stays with me, sometimes life is simply about being in the moment.

This year I discovered Spotify and it took my music choices in many wonderful directions. For me the album of the year was Ed Sheehan’s Divide and the song to sum up the year Ariana Grande’s One More Time. Little Miss has always loved this song and following the Manchester terror attack the song gained even more significance. I have so much respect for Ariana and her attitude and actions after the attack, she’s a strong role model to my daughter.

So that was 2017 and I’m now looking forward to 2018. There’s no big events planned for 2018, no big birthdays or anniversaries, simply a year to create our own sparkles.

Thank you to all Morgana’s #littleloves brigade whom have given me so much inspiration in the past year. Happy new year to you all x

Carols by Candlelight and Christmas memories #littleloves

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This week was as crazy and festive as I had predicted.  It’s taken me until now, Sunday evening to be able to have the energy to write up my post and it’s a little shorter than normal. There’s been a lot of lovely festive moments this week and here are my seasonal #littleloves

I’ve really enjoyed reading the family updates my friends have been writing in their Christmas cards. I have friends who I don’t see as much as I would like as we’re all dotted over the country but these little catch ups in Christmas cards are great.

I’ve also been reading aloud The Christmasaurus to the children and am taking great delight in the voices, especially the singing elves. I love reading stories aloud, I do it at work and home and my ultimate dream would be to read a CBBC bedtime tale.

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This week I have watched three Christmas concerts and have loved every one for different reasons. The Beavers was original and fun, the school concert heart warming and uplifting with a beautiful choice of music and my SEN school’s concert inspiring. There is nothing quite like children singing carols to make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Christmas jumpers, Santa hats and tinsel. I also wore more make up to try to disguise how tired I looked, too many late nights and early starts this week.

I’ve not made much this week, as for the first time in years I worked full time at work, it was definitely a one week Christmas special only. I did make some short videos for our Christmas concert, they were tearjerkers. Thanks to Wiki How I was able to learn a few new tricks on editing and how to do a few fancy tricks too.

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As I was getting ready to go away to my parents this weekend I was thinking about my own happy childhood Christmases and remembered the music we always played. It was mainly from Jim Reeves’ Christmas album before my brother and I got some say in the music choices. I had a little browse on Spotify and the Jim Reeves album is on it. I’ve saved it for Sunday as we’ll be having a special Christmas meal and I look forward to seeing my Dad’s reaction to the Christmas Polka and Silver Bells. I felt quite emotional listening to the tunes, such strong happy feelings of childhood.

We are on school holidays now and looking forward to a few Christmas treats with my parents with whom we’ll be staying with for a few days before heading home for the final preparations, Christmas food shopping, going through the Radio Times with a highlighter, making gingerbread decorations to name just a few of the things we’ll be doing.  All of course to be accompanied by a festive soundtrack.

I’m linking up with Morgana at #littleloves

Our Altered Life, a sparkly ring and cricket #littleloves

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Last week I wrote my post up to Saturday evening, so this is a shorter #littleloves of 5 days. It’s been a lovely, quiet and relaxed week, it started with a christening on Sunday, movie night at home last night with our first Christmas film and the hairdressers today, she is also my neighbour so we talk about a lot! Here’s what I’ve been loving this week….

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I discovered Charlie Beswick @ouralteredlife on Twitter when she was protesting about Instagram removing a picture of her son who has a facial disfigurement, I liked what I read on her blog and also downloaded her book onto my Kindle.  It’s a great read, a refreshing honest account of being a special needs mum, the guilt, grief, joy and perspective she shares makes for an ‘unputdownable’ read.

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I’m a huge Strictly fan and the Blackpool show is one of my favourites, I love the big routine in the show and the extra sparkle of this week.  I was sad to see Johnnie leave, he’s been a big hit in the Sparkles household but I thought his leaving speech was so dignified and lovely, its just made us love him that little bit more. I am Strictly obsessed and Mr S is bemused how I am able to watch a little bit of Strictly everyday whether it be the programme or It Takes Two with Zoe, I even have it series linked so I don’t miss an episode.

img_5378Nothing of any real note in my makes this week, the weekends tend to be my creative time in the kitchen and I hope to be trying a new recipe from Nigel Slater this weekend.

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It was really nice on Sunday afternoon to get dressed up for a christening.  I wore a favourite embroidered skirt above with a simple blouse and silk cardigan.  I also wore the amethyst ring, which was given to me by my mum.  I love jewellery which has a special meaning and this ring was a 21st present to my mum from all her siblings.  When I wear it, it just seems to connect me to my mum and my aunts and uncles.

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I am a big cricket fan and for those unfamiliar with the sport, the biggest Test match series is Australia / England (the Ashes) which began last night.  I’ve been lucky enough to have gone on two Ashes holidays with Mr S, who is the biggest fan and has willingly taught me all I know.  I was really excited by the start of the Ashes, so when I awoke during the night  I tuned in to Test Match Special to listen to the match, the atmosphere crackles through the airwaves and its such an entertaining programme, not simply about cricket but life.

img_5386I am so pleased that for the first time since it came out we have a free weekend day and can go and see Paddington 2.  We’ve booked our tickets, so we’re off to enjoy my favourite bear’s adventures and then to potter around the county town and look at all things Christmassy.

Thanks to Morgana for hosting the link and all the other #LittleLoves contributors.

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Are you a hero in our village? 


http://www.carrieanddavidgrant.co.uk/blog.aspx?id=2635

Last night I read this post by Carrie Grant and I cried a few tears. I’m sad to say that I can relate to this post, the fear and ignorance shown by some parents towards adopted children is simply heartbreaking. I cannot explain how awful it is to watch a child desperately want to be invited to tea or to a birthday party and to be ignored each time. Every year my children have a birthday party and invite friends, one of my children is always invited to parties and play dates, the other none and it hurts.  On Halloween many of the class tricked and treated together, it was a big deal and the talk of class. It was sad for my child not to be invited but even worse was that they came around to our house. I can’t believe parents would be so hurtful to a young child, however I’ve come to realise that they are sob focused on their own child not mine. I also to have remind myself it’s not just me there’s lots of internal rifts too! 

My children go to the same school, one class of parents are warm, friendly and so encouraging to all children, I couldn’t ask for my child to be in a kinder or more supportive class.  The other class of parents is very different. My child is bright and talented ( this is not a boastful claim ) and I’m beginning to think that in a class where competitive parenting rules this simply doesn’t fit into the poor adopted child stereotype they would feel comfortable with. There are some parents who appear to expect the worse in adopted children.  A few weeks ago my child was accused of stealing by a supply teacher (a parent of another child in the same class) Whilst nothing had been reported as being stolen, the teacher suggested that my child had acted suspiciously by another’s desk and had their bag searched. I raised this with the Head but the damage has been done, other parents watched in the playground as my child had to open their bag and prove they hadn’t any stolen items in it. My pertinent question to the Head was would the teacher have done that to any other child in the class? 

I was quite emotional today after Carrie’s post and the comments posted back and spoke about it to a good and wise friend. She reassured me and I’m hoping that secondary school will allow my child to find their ‘tribe’ and experience true friendships not based on parental vetting. 

I agree with Carrie that it does take a village to raise a child and though there are a small minority of parents who are ignorant and unkind, we do have the support of many wonderful people, friends, neighbours and fellow parents to help support our children. I am proud to have these people in our lives and know that our children’s lives will be enriched by their kindness. 

#blogtober17 


I’ve now completed #blogtober17. I’m so chuffed I managed to publish a post a day in October on themes given to us by Mandi @hexmum 

http://www.hexmumblog.com/2017/09/blogtober-is-back/

I’ve  never written so regularly on my blog and I even wrote a few posts in advance and scheduled them so I wouldn’t miss a day.  I know real bloggers do this but it was new to me! I really enjoyed the challenge, the creativity it inspired and being taken out of my comfort zone by the topics, some posts I really enjoyed writing whilst others were tougher. The prompts on social media also made me realise that I need to do a bit of homework on the etiquette and tools of these mediums.  The challenge also introduced me to some new bloggers and this was a real highlight of the project.  

I am now looking for a new blog challenge, I’m pondering a 12 days of Christmas theme, the A – Z of my life etc… @bucketsoftea has written a great post on ideas too https://bucketsoftea.co.uk/blogging/25-blog-post-ideas-for-lifestyle-bloggers/

I would like to thank Mandi for a great project and all her hard work in creating and driving #blogtober17. Same time, same place next year?