The 500 Club

As I published my last post this image popped up in my notifications. I genuinely don’t track any statistics, this blog is my little hobby and for me. I don’t want any pressure on follows, feeling the need to post regularly etc.. but this figure made me proud. I started Seaside Sparkles as a way of recording our family life and 5 years and 500 posts that’s what I’m still doing. It’s random, still anonymous but a genuine account of our little family.

My week of Little Sparkles ✨

As I sit here on a very wet Saturday afternoon, it’s easy to forget the little autumn sunshine we’ve had between all the rain. It’s been another week of school, work, clubs, there is a comfort in the ordinary.

Here are my sparkles of the week.

1. Assignment 1 done ✅

I have finished my first uni assignment and submitted it two days early! This never happened when I was an undergraduate when I would pull an all nighter to get the work in on time. This time I recognised that I needed a plan to ensure that i could do my course properly without it impacting on our family life and so far it seems to be working. I’m being creative with my study, I used the 2 hour wait at the doctors to review my work and have my set texts with me to read whenever I can, so today that was at the indoor skate park. Fingers crossed for the feedback.

2. Sunny Sunday

It was so bright and sunny on Sunday morning that we quickly got onto the beach in a nearby village. It’s a wild beach with beautiful white sand but further back you can walk through heathers. We walked for a couple of hours, enjoyed a drink in the cafe and played outdoor table tennis. These are the autumn days I love the bright sunshine and some beautiful colours in nature.

3. Mum points

Little Miss has a new drinks bottle since I managed to warp her last plastic bottle! She leaves early to walk to school and as this week it’s been chilly we had an idea to use her new hot for a hot drink at break time. She loved it and I earn a few bonus points for the inspiration!

4. Muddles

Muddles was a mixed up phrase which has become our new little shout at parkrun, a muddle is a muddy puddle of which there were plenty of on today’s run. Now muddles are a little metaphor for life you can either tiptoe around or run through and as you can see from my running tights we ran through them squealing and laughing.

5. Skate Park Life!

Well with some careful planning, the boys who had been to swimming lessons and the girls who had been running managed to meet at the indoor skate park together for a couple of hours of scootering followed by lunch out. A simple but nice way to spend a wet morning.

6. Technology

I was a little bold this week and phoned my mobile phone company to negotiate a new deal as there were a couple of offers I could have taken using my student discount with rival companies. As a consequence I have a free iPhone 11 and a cheaper contract, result. The device is great, the quality of photos is stunning and I’m amazed by the face recognition. I also have finally got Chrome on my work’s laptop, and it’s made things so much easier. I love how technology is facilitating life, although I’m conscious that it’s here to help not enslave us and I recognise that it’s important to put our devices down sometimes.

My week of little sparkles ✨

It’s back to weekly posts for this theme as I find if I do it monthly I forget some of the more simple joys which bring the sparkles to our daily life.

1. Back to school and a new job.

Despite the huge changes in our household this week, we’ve all ended it tired but happy and looking forward to our new adventures.

2. A new swirly skirt

I love a swirly skirt and found this black and white dot pleated skirt in New Look. It’s perfect for work teamed up with a white top and red converse pumps and I may have done a few twirls when wearing it this week.

3. New stationery

I’m a teacher and love the new stationery at the start of the school year. New pens, diaries etc.. Stationery shopping is one of my guilty pleasures.

4. A Happy sweatshirt and shorts

I’m still (just) in shorts and flip flops this weekend and this sweatshirt has been taking the chill out of autumn. Looking at the forecast this may be my last shorts weekend of the year. (Please may I be wrong and we have an Indian summer)

5. Park Run

Parkrun was a happy one today. Little Miss got a PB and the briefing was full of happy news. There was a bride marrying later today who as well as a customised running wedding dress got to wear the 50 cape too. And another 50 cape runner was not only celebrating his 60th but the year anniversary of a heart attack. There was such a lovely buzz today which set me up nicely for the weekend.

6. The Folk Festival

The folk festival is our sign that the summer season has ended. It’s the last big event of the summer and town is full of music, dance and the twinkling of the bells that the dancers and musicians wear. There’s a field full of performances, craft stalls and delicacies and we’ve been there this afternoon. I’ve met up with a few friends and simply enjoyed the relaxed afternoon vibe.

Sometimes you just can’t do it all …

I wish I had a before and after photo for this post. Yes this is the smug domestic goddess picture, sending my son to cub camp with a homemade cake, still warm in the wrapping. However there is more to this story. His last camp was in June and again we were asked for cakes, in bold print homemade cakes! I was on my knees in June there was so much going on and to try and bake a cake was just one to do, too many. So rather than rush down to the supermarket and disguise shop bought as my own, I put in a Mr Kipling cake in its original box and stuck a label on it hoping they enjoyed it and leaving a humorous note about it not being homemade, I can’t remember the words now but it raised a few smiles and laughs on the cake table. There are times when you just can’t do it all and I didn’t fake it I just let it be, life is too short to strive for perfection.

Life lately …

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I feel that life recently has been quite focused on Little Miss, its her final year of primary school and there’s been SATS,a residential trip, secondary school transition visits and lots of other school events leading up to the leavers party and final assembly next week.  It is overwhelming and she’s pretty tired and definitely needing the summer holidays.

However Little Man has also been busy in the background too and has done lots of things which I’m really proud of.  This morning was his class assembly and it really was one of the best I’ve seen.  The class put such a show on, an assembly themed on Invaders and Settlers complete with time travelling machine, stunning props made in class, a funny script and some brilliant songs.  ‘Viking Rock, take me to Valhalla’ may be my favourite assembly song ever! By a strange quirk of the birth rate in our town, Little Man is in a very small class of 15, so unlike other class assemblies where everyone struggles to get a role, these children have to take on several roles each and Little Man was a Roman and Viking (clever on stage costume changes)   The change in Little Man’s demeanour on stage has been amazing, in Reception he struggled to even be on stage and looked scared, today he said lines out loud, acted brilliantly (he likes a mock fight scene) and sang his little heart out.  The teacher really had put so much into the assembly and she produced a stunning performance from them all.

His assembly came after a brilliant session at cubs the night before.  My children have grown up at the seaside and know nothing else, the beach is their playground.  Last night’s cubs was down at the sailing club where they were taught the basics of sailing and went out in the bay.  This wasn’t a special session, they have been outside every session this term and it was included in our subs.  The parents were asked to stay and help to push the boats out and bring them in again, so it was a nice session for us too as we chatted and watched in the evening sunshine.  I watched Little Man listening to the instructor and to be honest I wasn’t sure how much he was taking in, however he’s very much a doer than a listener when it comes to learning and this again showed last night.  I was impressed how well his little boat did and his enthusiasm for the activity.  I cannot put into words, how much cubs has helped Little Man’s confidence and skills. He finds school difficult because of such an academic focus, yet at cubs he can do, explore, make, participate etc.. and feels an equal. He’s already been on two camps this year and is already looking forward to camp 3 at the end of the summer holidays.

Little Man is very much looking forward to the summer holidays now, it’s days on the beach, visiting favourite places and playing with friends, no academic pressure just fun. The new school year will bring new pressures but for now summer is here.

#nourish and the summer solstice.

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I am a big fan of Gretchen Rubin and her podcast Happier and often have a go at some of her ideas as they are simple and practical strategies to facilitate life.  At the start of this year I chose my #19for2019, a list which is progressing nicely and chose a one word theme for my year, nourish.  In this week’s podcast, Gretchen suggested we revisited our one word theme of the year on the summer solstice.  Before listening to the podcast I had made plans for the solstice as I wanted to celebrate the longest day of the year and my plans fitted with my theme to nourish, a long run at dawn to appreciate the early start to the day and an evening on the beach to enjoy as much of the light as I could. It was a day to nourish body, mind and spirit.

As dawn was due just before 5, I knew I couldn’t get up at 4.30am, work and then still be on sparkling form for the evening so I got up just after dawn at 5.15 for my run.  Living in a seaside town the solstice is usually marked by dawn runs, walks or swims so it was a surprisingly social run with lots of friendly greetings.  I was inspired at a local beauty spot where people were enjoying an impressive picnic breakfast watching the sun come up over the bay, another activity to add to my bucket list!

I have always wanted to hire one of the new beach huts in town as they look so beautiful and are in an ideal spot on a pedestrianised walkway in front of the beach.  The huts are difficult to hire as they are normally hired by the week and are popular.  However with a little careful research and planning, I managed to book one for just the one day, the summer solstice.  I was so excited by my hut, I decorated it on the outside with bunting and had fairy lights inside! There was a family celebration this week so we used it as an ideal opportunity for both children to invite friends to join them for beach fun and food.  I kept everything simple, so I could enjoy the evening too.  We started with mocktails in a fancy jug and glasses with a few nibbles.  For food, I had a little barbecue for sausages, and we bought a big bag of chips to share as our main and then used the barbie to make S’Mores for pudding, simple and tasty beach food.  I had popped to the market earlier in the day and the bags of summer fruits went down so well with the children.  The weather was perfect, warm sunshine and the children played on the beach, swam in the sea and danced on the sand with a boom box playing from a playlist designed by my daughter.  I looked out to the children playing and felt so warm and happy, its these little moments which make you go all warm and fuzzy.  I also fell in love with the beach hut ….

I really enjoyed celebrating the solstice this summer and I have been inspired with a few ideas for the winter solstice too. The solstice is an ideal opportunity to embrace the changing seasons and the beauty of our natural world.