Easter 2019

I’ve written in previous years, more detailed posts about Easter, our traditions, memories and it’s importance to me for spiritual and religious reasons.  This year, it seems Easter was a long time coming … It’s the last weekend of our two week holiday, so we did lots of Easter activities at school in the last week of term and then had a long wait for the festival.

In the last week of term we made Easter bonnets for the school parade.  This is a big local tradition going back more than a century and as it was Little Miss’ last parade we wanted to do something special.  Little Miss has always wanted chocolate to feature on her bonnet and upto this year I’ve always refused, however with the promise that she would share the chocolates with her friends, I allowed her some eggs,  We came up with a nest on a fascinator, with the nest full of small chocolate eggs.  It worked well.  Little Man went for a farmer theme, we used his straw hat from last year and glued on fake grass and carrots.

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Around our home I have used many of my favourite decorations, the fireplace and side window of the lounge are decorated, whilst I also have a feature window in the kitchen with my beautiful Easter wreath.  I did treat myself to a few new pieces which were presented on a table in the lounge.  I love my new table cloth, it’s hand embroidered and I picked it up in a vintage shop at a very reasonable price.  I’ve been looking for something similar for years so am delighted with my find.  The other new decorations are from a local store in town, it seems that there’s a rabbit theme to my designs this year.  The rabbits with the creme eggs are labelled with the children’s names and from a little shop on Etsy. I thought this was a more lasting gift than a bigger egg and it’s safe to say they’ve both had lots of chocolate today.

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As it’s been a late Easter, we have also celebrated my Father in Law’s 87th birthday this weekend.  We met up with him and other family members on Saturday, enjoying a meal in a country pub and then having a little potter around Lyme Regis, in the most gorgeous sunshine. We all wore our new Easter outfits yesterday, I love the look Little Miss was wearing an embroidered blue skirt and simple white daisy top with some fabulous rainbow pumps.  Little Man was really pleased with his sequin skull tshirt, though I’m not sure if it was quite in keeping with the joyful celebrations.

After such a long day for Easter Saturday, we did a lot of travelling, we were all a little tired and we kept things simple at home today.  The children enjoyed the sunshine playing in the garden and paddling pool, our neighbours popped over and we had our traditional Easter egg hunt.  For the first time we had to be careful with the hiding of the chocolate as it was so hot and shady spots were needed.  I created my hand drawn instructions again this year. I’m not an artist but it’s just something I’ve been doing every year and it wouldn’t be Easter without my sheet. I also created a playlist of suitable songs for the hunt and dinner, I love having the music to complement the celebration. Our day finished with an Easter dinner, a red onion and goats cheese filo tart accompanied by seasonal Spring vegetables, I enjoy planning  a special menu for special days. For me Easter is about celebrating with good company, delicious food and treats and this year it has been a lovely weekend of family and simple pleasures.

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My Saturday Read

Every Saturday, normally just after lunch I sit down and read Caitlin Moran’s column in the Times magazine. I love her writing and each week, her piece is refreshing, honest and often, amusing. I’ve kept many columns for Little Miss to read in the years to come, to encourage, inspire and comfort.

This week’s column made me smile and remember the music, films and books which shaped me in my teens. I’ve made a little collage of some of my likes, I’m not embarrassed these are the songs, books and films which made me me!

Date day

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Whilst we like to do lots as a family, Mr S and I do ‘dates’ with each of our children to give them special time with us individually.  Today was one such day and it was my turn to take Little Miss out whilst Mr S and Little Man went to their favourite museum, with lots of interactive exhibits.  The children get to choose where they would like to go and Little Miss knew exactly where she wanted to go, the cat cafe.

Last year we came upon the cat cafe by accident when we were in a neighbouring town, the only problem was that it was closed.  However I did a bit of research and found the cafe online.  It’s a really interesting project, a cat rescue centre for 12 cats with a cafe within run by volunteers, many with learning difficulties.  You pay an entry fee of £5 per person for the care of the cats and then order from the menu.  I’m not a cat person but Little Miss was in her element, she was so happy stroking and playing with the cats, chatting away to the volunteers learning the cats’ names and characteristics and just loving it.  The cafe was busy with customers all keen to do similar. The building has been beautifully prepared for the cats, lots of  beds, toys, stunning playgrounds, everything has been done to make the cats very well cared for.  Little Miss’ reaction to our trip was simply ‘amazing’ and she hasn’t stopped talking about the cafe.  Her reaction shows why we do these dates, to let them choose something to share with us and have a little treat.

Mother’s Day 2019

I think I’ve written before that Mother’s Day is a strange day of mixed emotions in our house. Mr S’ mum died when he was young so its a day he hasn’t celebrated for many, many years. For me it’s one of those days when I think of our little boy who died in my pregnancy and I also pause to think of the children’s birth mother. However it’s also a day which I wish to enjoy surrounded by my little family.

Today was a busy day, Mr S was working until 2pm and I had promised the children a trip to Laserquest. Normally, Lazerquest is really busy on the Sunday’s children club but the combination of the clocks springing forward and Mother’s Day meant there were only 6 children there instead of the usual 30, so the children had a brilliant time and got more games than normal. We had a picnic in the town gardens and then it was time to come home and do the Sunday jobs. There will always be Sunday ironing to be done and dinner and packed lunches to be made, even on Mother’s Day.

As we had an early start, I didn’t get my cards or presents until we got home. It took a fair while for the children to remember it was Mother’s Day this morning, the lost hour was definitely affecting us all. I’m afraid I have to specify if there’s anything I would really like, as present buying is not one of Mr S’ strengths. I had hoped to get Michelle Obama’s autobiography for Christmas so I decided to make it an explicit wish this Mother’s Day writing a note for Little Miss to help Mr S. I was delighted to receive it and can’t wait to read it, she’s a mum I can aspire to. I also got a beautiful flower arrangement. Yesterday afternoon Little Miss went to our neighbour who had bought all the flowers and materials and taught my daughter how to make it for me, such a wonderful and kind gesture. I loved my handmade weaved card from Little Man and the verse inside Little Miss’ made me laugh!

I know how difficult today can be for many and I thought I would just end with this beautiful quote on social media today.

Little Loves ~ March 2019

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On paper, March should be quiet, we have no family birthdays or special events it’s an ordinary month.  However, this month seems to have been full of little activities that made for a busy time, many school based, Science week, World Book day, Red Nose Day all requiring a little something to be done.

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After a quiet start to the year, I’m in the groove with my reading again, having read four books this month. My favourites were This Will Only Hurt a Little by Busy Phillips and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.  Busy’s book is such a strong read, it’s so much more than a Hollywood memoir, it’s about teenage life, trying to get a job and being a mum and wife.  It’s not glossy and gossipy but honest, real and at times quite horrifying  but a fantastic read.  I’ve also started to read some YA novels as Little Miss begins to read them.  I thought Eleanor and Park was a really suitable read, great characters and a solid ending.  It’s wrong to label it a teen romance, it covers domestic abuse, racism and self worth but in an age appropriate way.

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Its been a quiet month for television, I love Derry Girls and have also started to watch Gilmore Girls after reading so many fabulous reviews, obviously I am many years behind on this series!  I went to the cinema to see The Lego Movie 2 with Little Man, I quite liked it and did prefer it to the original.  A big treat of Red Nose Day was the 25 year reunion of the film, Four weddings and a funeral.  I loved this film when it came out and think I ended up seeing it 3 times at the cinema with different people.  The mini movie was great and brought it all up to date.

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It’s not quite been Spring yet and we’ve been caught in that funny inbetween time where layers  are key.  I bought this new tunic from White Stuff this month which fits the bill perfectly.  I like a strong print and its been easy to wear.

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This year for World Book day, the children did not dress up as their favourite characters but were asked to make a favourite book character from a potato!  This was actually quite a fun, creative activity and I was pleased with our results, Where’s Wally and The Boy in the Dress.  There was a display at the primary school of all the potatoes and there were some very impressive models.

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I’ve  also made an Eco-brick this month by filling a bottle with single use plastic that can’t be recycled.  It’s a great project that we’re developing at school which I’ve brought home too.  The density of plastic is high, it’s 220g for a 500ml bottle but it’s great way to be more eco friendly.  We’re planning on building some players with our finished bricks.

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One of my #19for2019 was to create themed playlists for special occasions.  This month was St Patrick’s day so with some Celtic heritage I made a playlist of some of my favourite Irish musicians.  It surprised me how much of my music taste from the 90s was Celtic inspired, in addition to the Irish songs, I loved Scottish bands such as Deacon Blue and Hue and Cry.  I’ve enjoyed making and listening to this list.

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Whilst busy there were some real highlights in March, a lunch out with my parents, Mother’s Day and some nice, simple family times, including a bit of a train spotting of the Flying Scotsman and a fun workshop at our local library.

I’m now looking forward to April, an 18 day school holiday, Easter, a family get together for my Father in Law’s birthday and much more.

#nourish

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This is my monthly post on the little ways I have nourished my mind, body and soul over the past month.  My nourish day was a day of simple pleasures this month, just a hairdressers appointment and a visit to a new café with a friend, activities which made me content and relaxed.  This month Spring has been blossoming and many of my nourish moments embrace the new season.

  1.  Light mornings for early morning running. My running in the winter is limited and fairly relaxed but now with the lighter mornings, I’m back to three mornings a week and a training plan.
  2.  Lighter afternoons.  Tonight the children played in the garden until 6.30pm, I love a lazy after school spent in the garden and it keeps my house tidier too 🙂
  3. Lunch out with my parents.  My parents came down to visit on a school day, so I got to have lunch with them, its rare for only the three of us to go out together.  It was a delicious meal and lovely to have the opportunity to just spend time with my parents.
  4. Spring vegetables.  I like to eat seasonally and after the casseroles and soups of winter its been a time to start to enjoy lighter meals and salads, full of bright colours.
  5. Smoothies.  We have a new health café in town and I’m currently working my way through their smoothie menu, all freshly made to order and delicious.
  6. Health Niggles.  I finally went to the doctor about a little health niggle which was becoming more worrying.  I had a thorough check up and have some medication to help with a plan of action for the future too. I feel much more reassured.
  7. Books.  Until this month, my reading this year had been unusually slow and I hadn’t really found a great book.  However this month, the titles I’ve read have been brilliant and I’ve often been cuddled up with a book in the evenings.

Itchy feet …

It’s funny how sometimes you have different conversations with friends and family which take you back to a certain time of your life.  Last week, my friend and I were talking about our travels in our 20s, the freedom and adventures we had.  I then got my travel diary and photos out from my year in France to see what I could remember and recommend to my parents whom are currently in Bordeaux.

This photo epitomises my life at 20, I was working and living in France as part of my degree and spent every weekend travelling, it really was a year of care free fun.   I worked as an assistant and had a free apartment on the school site so my wage allowed me the freedom to travel.  My other friends from uni were also in France so I visited them in places such as Strasbourg, Tours and Bordeaux during school breaks and then on weekends the foreign language assistants in our small town would travel together.  The three of us would share a cheap hotel room, buying food from a supermarket and the obligatory bottle of Malibu for a pre night out aperitif.  Although we were on a student budget, I’m  mighty impressed when I look back in my book, we were away nearly every weekend, there’s pictures of us sipping champagne in Epernay, sitting in the parks of Dijon or just relaxing in a bar, but the best memories are of Paris.  We went there often, staying in a cheap hotel, 10f each sharing a triple room and exploring the city by day and night.  We did all the tourist spots and more off beat attractions, like the Père Lachaise cemetery to see the graves of the famous dead, Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Edith Piaf among others.  We embraced the culture, getting the cheap seats for high brow theatre (one friend was studying French lit) and visiting many art galleries.  It was a very special time and I think we recognised and embraced that it was our time to enjoy our age and freedoms before we started careers and an adult life.  I am so pleased that we did what we did, the memories have lasted a lifetime and that year helped give me the confidence and focus to be who I wanted to be.

I have travelled lots all over the world since my year in France but never lived abroad again.  However, as I start to plan for the future I think there’s more travelling in me still to be done, I would love to do a teacher exchange when my children are grown up, I reckon I could just squeeze it in before I retire.  Travel does broaden the mind and offer new opportunities and whilst I don’t need to relive the days of my youth, I’m keen to have the buzz of travelling and living abroad again.