April 2018 : Shine, Peter Rabbit and meringues #littleloves

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Its surprising to remember that the month began with Easter on April 1st. It seems a long time ago!

So April continued to be a grey, cold, dismal month apart from 4 blissful days when we fast forwarded a season and enjoyed hot, sunny days.  It was a little break in which we all slipped into shorts and t-shirts and spent as much time as possible with the warm sun on our faces, at the beach, in the garden or riding through the forest.

April saw our two week Easter holiday and as well as the Easter traditions, we climbed walls (literally not figuratively!) met Dippy the dinosaur, hit a few tennis balls, relaxed in jacuzzis and steam rooms, laughed at Peter Rabbit, revisited the old ships at Portsmouth Historic dockyard, spent time with grandparents and played with friends.  The weather was dreary but we made the holidays sparkle! 

img_5375I have read an eclectic mix of books this month, one thriller, Before we Met about a husband’s mysterious past, one book, My Name is Leon in which main character is in foster care, another on a transgender child This Is How It Always Is and a non fiction title Shine.  All were good books and the two about the children were heart breaking and thought provoking.  The characters stay with you and as a consequence of the books, you hope for a little more kindness, acceptance and understanding in our world.

Shine by Andy Cope asks very pertinent questions about modern life and why are we all so busy?  I found myself agreeing with so much and resolving to make little changes, as Cope describes it ‘ Shining.  That’s having focus, clarity, imagination, creativity, energy and resilience’ 

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Surprisingly as it was a holiday month, we only went to the cinema once and that was to see Peter Rabbit. It was a modern interpretation featuring the Beatrix Potter characters, but it did amuse me and the children and the images of the Lake District were stunning.  Television wise I’ve not watched a great deal, but as a family we’ve all been enjoying Revolution on Sky, a competition among skaters, BMXers and skateboarders with courses, tricks and races.  Needless to say as a consequence, Little Man has become even more adventurous at the skate park! 

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Little Miss and my kitchen adventures continued this month, she’s such a talented sous chef. Our April challenge was to make a special dessert for Easter Sunday lunch and we chose meringues.  The BBC Good Food recipe was perfect and we all enjoyed making and eating our berry meringues.

img_5384After such a cold winter, it was wonderful to pop on my favourite red shorts, flip flops and sunglasses for our mini heatwave.  I think when you live at the seaside you dress more casually and apart from work, I’m in my shorts as much as possible in the summer months. I’ve had my red pair for years and there is just something so comfortable and relaxing about pulling them on and heading outside.  I love the hoodie and shorts look for the cooler evenings too. 

 

 

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These are similar to my much loved and worn red shorts, whilst my favourite flip flops are slowing falling apart, I need them!

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img_5380I’ve noticed with all the driving in the car this month that my children are changing my radio stations to something a little more hip or playing a Spotify playlist.  I’m enjoying a lot of their music but without a doubt my favourite song this month has been Paloma Faith’s Make your Own Kind of Music, this is such a fabulous, feel good song to be played loud and proud. 

April was a family focused and busy month despite the weather ( have I mentioned that?!)  May appears to be shaping up as a month of working towards summer events, Little Miss is busy with rehearsals for two summer shows and Little Man is training for the cricket season.  I’m happy for it to be a quieter month before my diary explodes in June, July and August.  Summer at the seaside is always busy and fun.  

Thank you to Morgana for the inspiration for #littleloves 

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My Sunday Photo #6

I love the vivid, dramatic colours in this photo, the menacing grey sky, a bright green hill and little white house. This was the scene from a family meet up to celebrate Mr S’ dad 86th birthday. After a lovely family lunch with Grandad and my in-laws we all explored the beach and harbour and thankfully the grey skies did not turn to rain.

The first day of summer …

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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.

A World War 2 Photo Album

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Gramps, Autumn 1939

 

During the Easter holidays, I spent some time at my parents’ house sorting through old photographs.  I love seeing old photographs of friends and family and wanted to find a few favourites of my parents and grandparents to make copies for my collection.

In the big box of delights was a battered old album from World War 2, it begins with this joyous photo of my grandfather, Gramps and then contains fewer photos of him and more of daily life in the RAF.  I was intrigued by this album as so little is known about his military service, I know Gramps was ground crew in the RAF, working as an electrician, his life long career and that he was based for a time in the south of England but that was all the information.  I was always puzzled how a Scotsman could end up in a base in the south but thanks to his meticulous notes on the back of photos and the Internet I have been able to piece the early part of his military service.

Gramps began his military service in Drem in Scotland, close to where he lived.  The photos all show 609 Squadron and following research I understand that this squadron spent time in Drem, Scotland, the north of England, before moving to RAF Northold for Dunkirk and then Dorset and Hampshire for the Battle of Britain.

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Gramps’ military bases

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609 Squadron was a Bomber and Fighter squadron and I have been brought to tears learning about the squadron, the heroic actions of the pilots and the high number of fatalities.  Gramps wrote details on every photo and I have been able to research some of the individuals featured in the photos.  Its been heart-breaking research and it makes me think that the reason that Gramps never spoke of the war was the sadness at so many colleagues killed in action.  Gramps was so kind, loving and caring, a devoted family man and loyal to all his friends. He was quiet and dignified and I think his silence was his respect to his colleagues.

These photos show F.O. Ian Bedford Nesbitt Russell in Scotland a few weeks before he was tragically killed supporting the allies at Dunkirk. For me it is the difference in the pictures, a relaxed young man in Scotland on the airfield and then the pilot leaving on his final flight.  In doing the research I learnt that Russell was a young Australian from Melbourne.  I am sure that Gramps would be very proud to know that his eldest grand daughter now works as a paediatrician in the same city.

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Another photo shows Sgt Alan Feary whom was killed in October 1941, his grave is not too far from our home and I would like to visit it and pay my respects to one of my Gramps’ colleagues  I have seen a number of the photos including this one from the album on the Internet so I am presuming that they were distributed to many of the staff of 609 Squadron.

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Whilst the photos have really brought the history of the second world war to me and I have enjoyed researching 609 squadron, I still know little about Gramps’ war service.  My parents are visiting family in Scotland soon and I am hoping that they will be able to find either his service number or NI number so we can request his service record.  This really is a fascinating photo album and illustrates the sacrifices made by Gramps’ generation for us all, they will never be forgotten.

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Image from ww2today.com

Sources

 

http://www.historyofwar.org/air/units/RAF/609_wwII.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._609_Squadron_RAF

http://ww2talk.com/index.php?threads/flying-officer-ian-bedford-nesbitt-russell-dfc-raf.19891/

http://www.aircrewremembered.com/feary-alan-norman.html

What’s in my bag …

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Photo from mehappyme.com via Pinterest

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..

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My bag is my mobile office and I try to have all I need in it.  Today my bag contains

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  1. A zip Filofax for keeping myself organised and plans. It also doubles as a card holder for loyalty cards, stamps, membership cards etc..
  2. A small cosmetic bag full of essentials – NYR
  3. A spare shopping bag – Eden Project print
  4. My iPhone
  5. A purse containing cash and my bank card- Cath Kidston
  6. A pencil case containing stationery essentials – Emma Bridgewater
  7. Water bottle, sometimes I swap this for an insulated cup if I’m likely to want a hot takeaway drink.
  8. Sunglasses for driving or if I feel a migraine coming on.
  9. 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!

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  1. Hair brush.
  2. Bach Rescue Remedy, because some days just become a rescue remedy kind of day.
  3. Hair bands, I have short hair but my daughter always needs one.
  4. Painkillers.
  5. Wet wipes.
  6. Inhaler for my son.
  7. NYR travel rollerstick, I get bad travel sickness and roll this on pulse points for journeys.
  8. Liz Earle face spritz to refresh my skin and a little pick me up.
  9. Pacifica lipstick.
  10. NYR defence hand spray (this is amazing, it lasts for ages and feels and smells so much nicer than the antibacterial gels)
  11. Tampax.

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!