Life Sparkles

Welcome December

A most magical month full of happiness, joy, friendship and what can I say about the amount of sparkle that will be around – I’m in heaven.

Winter is here, Christmas is almost upon us as is the New Year. 2022 seems to me to have gone by in a flash. I think that’s what happens as you get old, the years speed up so fast it’s untrue.

Wishing you a truly magical, heart warming, love filled month.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Monday, here we go…

And it’s Monday again, how fast do the weeks roll by? I cannot believe we are saying hello to December later this week and it seems unbelievable that Christmas songs are on the radio and the Christmas films are on TV already. Time goes by so fast. When we are younger it seems to take an age to grow up, to be an adult, to do things we see our elders doing. Yet when we get to adulthood we start to understand that as nice as it is to do what we want to, being an adult isn’t that easy and along with the happy times we also encounter some very hard and sad times.

It’s a wake up call when someone we love passes away and it brings home to us our own precious life and how fragile it actually it. It really is a case of being grateful for each day we are given, living life to the best of our ability, being positive, sharing our sparkle with others and absolutely loving Monday.

Good Intentions.

Monday’s are like mini New Year’s, it’s a fresh start to the week, it’s best foot forward time to work on our dreams, hopes, goals and passions. Monday truly sparkles, without having Monday we can’t work our way around to that feel good Friday. Have the most amazing day and a wonderful week.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

It’s Monday!!

Oh how I love Monday’s. I’m such a nerd but you know what, I really do love Monday. It’s like a mini new year in a way. When we want to start a new plan, have a new idea, start a fitness journey or a health goal we often say ‘I’ll start on Monday’.

I’m just getting over a particularly nasty virus which laid me low for two weeks. Over the last few days I can feel my energy returning, my mojo getting back into place and my passion for my music, my song writing and my inspirational vibe getting back into sync so here I am, it’s Monday and I’m wishing you the most wonderful and positive Monday. Here’s to a truly amazing week.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

November, the quiet magic.

I’ve always loved November. There’s something about that watery sunshine mid afternoon before it becomes dark. Setting behind tree branches which are now almost bare, the grey misty sky and the smell of the cold air. It’s a peaceful kind of month. We haven’t quite said goodbye to Autumn and we know that Winter is just a breath away. The nights draw in ever earlier, the evening chill arrives much quicker and that morning frost beckons us to drag out the hat, gloves and scarves before we open that front door and step out into the world.

November is also the calmness before the hustle, bustle and magic of December arrives in all it’s sparkling glory. November is the month to reflect upon the year that has passed. We also remember and pray for those who have gone before us, we remember and pay tribute to our service men and veterans who fought for our freedom. November is such a beautiful, quiet and reflective month, we take it at a slower pace as we prepare for the month ahead.

Enjoy this beautiful Red and golden Brown month, the wonderful silence, the patter of the rain and the rush of the wind, the pre Winter sunshine and the early morning frost. It’s such a gorgeous time of year.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Monday – I love you.

Yes, I love Monday’s. It hasn’t always been the case of course. I have worked in some jobs where I hated Monday and having to go into work. That Sunday night feeling of dread every week rolled round as regular as clockwork. We get onto the treadmill of work, jobs, offices, the commute which is wonderful if you enjoy your job and just awful if you hate your job.

I also had jobs where I loved going into work and Monday wasn’t an issue at all. Poor old Monday gets a raw deal. We hear all the time ‘oh no, it’s Monday again’, ‘Monday and I have to go to work’ ‘Monday is the pits’. We should turn these things around to ‘Yes, it’s Monday’, ‘Monday and I get to go to work’ ‘ Monday is a fabulous start to a new working week’. Turning them around makes such a difference to how we perceive Monday.

When I was studying for my BSc Hons in Health and Social care with the Open University https://www.open.ac.uk/ I completed a certificate in mental health studies as part of the overall degree. For a number of years I was the administrator of a Facebook page ‘Footsteps to Mental Health’. The page was very much centred on the benefits of walking, nature and getting outdoors, on our mental health. On Monday’s I posted a positive Monday quote and this was always the most popular post of the week. It gave people a lift, they felt energised, they looked forward to the day and the week ahead. Sometimes it inspired them to make positive changes in their lives. Small steps towards the life they really wanted. Making the changes, grabbing the opportunities, doing one small thing to enhance their day. I love inspirational quotes. Some inspire me, some get me thinking and some actually get me up and moving to do things towards the life that I want. If you can make today better, you can make tomorrow better and so it continues. Small things can make a huge difference. Get out for a walk, don’t scroll for hours on social media when you first get up, don’t sit down in one place all day. You are responsible for you. If you want to make a change to your life, it starts with you.

Every week I post a positive quote on Monday, about Monday, for Monday on Instagram and I tell everyone that I love Monday. This has totally changed my approach to the start of the week. I’m excited for Monday, I’m inspired to start the new week and I love to see and respond to the comments I receive about Monday. Monday is a fabulous day.

So perhaps positive Monday may just become a thing on my blog too.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

The Makeover.

As you may be aware, I’m not a great woman for wearing make up. Never without my lippy but I rarely bother with anything else, I’ve always kind of gone for the more natural look. With the vitiligo increasing on my face and the video/photo shoot coming up I decided to try out some looks.

A long time friend of mine had trained as a make up artist and I love to follow her posts on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/mann_jag/ Jag predominately does the make up for Asian wedding parties and she is a super hair stylist also. The universe working it’s magic, the day before I contact her to ask about a make up trial, Jag messages me about meeting up for a coffee and a chat. So we combined both. Jag was also eager to try out some western make up looks so that she can branch out into that market. We had a fabulous few hours together, we talked and talked, we tried out looks and she made my hair and face look amazing.

As you can see, Jag did a spectacular job. The make up wasn’t heavy, it felt light to wear and wow, look at how she brought out the blue in my eyes!! Jag was a fabulous teacher too. She explained to me how to put on various make up’s, the tips of the right products, where you don’t need to spend lots of money on applicators and how to get the right angles for photographs. It was such a lovely morning together and all day when I passed a mirror, I didn’t recognise myself.

I also bought some new make-up from Sculpted by Amiee https://sculptedbyaimee.co.uk/ and I’m now a firm lover of her products. Jag was impressed too. I bought the all in one beauty base moisturiser and primer with built in SPF and it’s just amazing. So light when applied and I wear it alone or with a touch of blusher. The blusher I purchased is the Peach Blush Pop from the Cream Luxe collection. Again, easy to apply, gives a pop of gentle colour and a little goes a long way. For the lips I bought the HydraLip in Peach and it’s a beautiful, soft balm which moisturises the lips. Once again I have followed the Sculpted by Aimee account on Instagram for a long time and I really wanted to try her mascara so I added my name to the waiting list. I wasn’t disappointed when I received one. Amazing product. Again, very light, gives the lashes the look of being full and strong, no clumps in sight.

Love Hearts too…

With the vitiligo increasing especially on my face, I have extremely white skin, as in snow white where the melanin has disappeared and then a tanned area where I have been in the sun. The make up I have chosen doesn’t totally cover up the vitiligo and that’s my choice. I wanted a light, subtle make up to give me a little additional confidence because sometimes people do take a second glance when they see the extreme white patches on my face. That’s fine. It is what it is. I enjoy wearing this make up, it’s light, easy to apply and remove and it gives me the look I wanted.

For information on Vitiligo visit the NHS website https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitiligo/

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Morning Posts.

If you follow me on Instagram (and if you aren’t, why aren’t you?) you will know that most mornings I post a good morning story just to say hello to the day and to anyone who sees the story. I think it’s just lovely to say good morning to people and smile and most of the time it cheers the other person up, gives them a lift and for all we know, we might be the only person that has spoken to them that day. Now of course unless I do a video or post a photo of me smiling, you can’t see the smile but I hope that my morning snapshot of the view outside my door gives someone a different viewpoint or that the music I choose with the post gives them happy vibes.

Just recently we have had the most beautiful, hot and I mean hot, weather in the UK and my good morning photo’s have looked much better than the usual grey, possibly raining, or just very cold snaps I usually get to take. I have loved them so much I decided to share them on my blog for all to see.

I’m not a careful photographer, I point the phone and click and the two with the early morning sunshine I absolutely love. Those were taken at himself’s place when I’ve been over helping him care for his Mom. You can see from two of the photo’s that the grass has just become dry dust with the lack of rain. These true blue skies remind me of holidays either at home as a child with my cousins where we would lie on the ground, gazing up at the sky waiting for a cloud to pass or holidays abroad where the blue skies appear to be just endless.

Working in the sunshine.

I feel like I’m just chatting on now for no apparent reason, I’m just feeling so happy and at peace with life at the moment and it’s been a long time coming. The Summer sunshine, the music on the radio, the sound of the aircraft in the sky and sitting outside in my garden typing is just making me so happy.

There’s a country song which contains the lyrics ‘I’m a little drunk on you and high on summertime’. I think that today I’m a little drunk on life and high on summertime.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

How does your garden grow?

With our wonderful British weather, the weeds have enjoyed many growth spurts. It sometimes seems that as you pull one up another appears in it’s place. I do find pulling weeds immensely satisfying and adds to the healing therapy I have discovered in gardening. Your mind wanders free and yet is still on the task in hand. You can see the fruits of your labour, in some cases, almost immediately which is very satisfying. I find that when I have cut the lawn and done the edging or weeded an area visible from the window, I keep looking out at my handiwork, priding myself on a job well done. I sometimes need a soak in the bath to ease the tired out muscles but so worth it.

Some of my parents plants have come into their own again this year. I’ve been looking after these plants for the past two years and some plants I put in myself have blossomed this year which made me so happy. Half the time I wonder if I have planted something upside down so for it to actually grow through the soil and then bloom is quite the achievement for me.

As you can see I even managed a small potato harvest. I have planted some more for the September harvest and I’m planning to sow some spinach and maybe try some beetroot. My Uncle has given me two varieties of green bean plants which are coming along nicely so fingers crossed. Himself prepared the potatoes following a Canarian Potato recipe as we had the various Canarian sauces from a previous trip to Lanzarote. Although I say it myself, those potatoes tasted fabulous.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Everything Changed

This made so much sense to me.

I seen this quote recently and it spoke volumes to me. Everything in my life changed, absolutely everything and yet here I am feeling more me than I ever did before. How does that even make any kind of sense? Yet it makes perfect sense. I’m still the woman I was before and yet I have emerged into a new me. I’m still emerging into a new me. I know we change as we grow, as we experience life, as life happens to us. Perhaps our values and our truth do not change, the core that is us as a person, that may bend and shape as we live through experiences and learn life lessons. But there is something about this emergence which has a feeling of this is the me I was always meant to be. That in turn makes me wonder if this new me was always hidden within, never daring to come out and in latter years when I was in my caring role, there was no time or space to come out.

Photo by Victor Freitas on Pexels.com

I have a sense of freedom, a real sense of freedom that I’ve not experienced before. Sometimes this sense of freedom is scary; that protective wall of having someone to ask about decisions you are making, someone to check that you are not totally off the wall in your thinking or in what you are about to do. My parents were fabulous soundboards. Even if I still went off and did what I was going to do, it was very useful to bounce my ideas off them first and I would take their responses on board before I made the final decision. When I was making my decision about giving up work to care for them, I had a meeting with their Doctor and told him what I was thinking of doing and why. I’ll always remember him saying that he could see both Mom and Dad within me. Dad in weighing things up, deliberating and making decisions and Mom as this amazing, wild, spirited woman. I think that is the most wonderful thing anyone has ever said to me and I love that I have their traits. Without me knowing or realising, they instilled strength and independence into me and that undoubtedly has helped me through the past couple of years.

I do of course have himself to bounce my ideas off and he is very like Dad in his thinking. He is a very logical and analytical thinker where as I go with the inner voice and ‘it just is’ so as you can imagine we have some amusing conversations when I’m discussing plans with him. However, he will point things out to me that I may not have thought of and he would never try to prevent me carrying out what I want to do, he just wants to be sure I have thought it through. He can see the pre-carer me coming through and also this new free spirited, I want to try loads of things me that is emerging.

Stay Wild Moonchild.

From school days there were always people saying I shouldn’t be singing and dancing around the place, I was too bubbly, I was wild, I wasn’t ladylike and I suppose the more you hear this the more you believe it. The negative words which affected my confidence for most of my life. Until you realise the issue isn’t with you, it’s with them. There’s a huge sense of freedom in this realisation and I have seen many a quote state that someone’s opinion of you has nothing to do with you but all to do with them. Sometimes I regret not having this new found confidence years ago but then again, perhaps now is my time to shine. Stay wild moonchild.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Still Running…

Truth.

Well, five weeks in and I’m still motivated and in the mindset to get fitter, eat healthier and tone up. I’m impressed with myself, I wasn’t sure when I started this journey that I wouldn’t have slipped up by now. But I’m still going strong. That Summer trip to Ibiza is still the carrot dangling in front of me and wanting to fit back into my Summer clothes, back into my jeans and also get some confidence back to push myself out of the comfort zone I have settled back into and get myself out there singing. 2022 is the year of making it happen, that’s what I said at the start of the year and I’m still aiming to do this.

My energy has increased so much already it’s untrue. I alternate my workouts from a walk around the block, Couch 25K (C25K) and if the weather is really bad outside, I do a home workout with Lucy Wyndham Read https://www.youtube.com/user/LWRFitnessChannel/featured Sometimes it is a real chore to push myself outside, especially in this very cold wintery weather but I always feel so much better once I return home. I have also kept to my dry February, no Prosecco and strangely I haven’t missed my Friday night tipple at all.

Wednesday afternoon has become batch cooking afternoon whilst I listen to podcasts. It has taken some weeks but I have really got into this routine of cooking from scratch using fresh vegetables, herbs and spices. I don’t really make a plan of what I’m going to cook, I just go with whatever I have in and as I love pasta, I usually make some kind of pasta bake. A recipe I found on Instagram and has become a weekly staple for me is for banana, oat and peanut butter bakes. I find with these that I can have one with a cuppa mid afternoon and I’m not looking for snacks and treats to fill me up.

Banana, Oats and Peanut Butter Bakes.

Very easy to make; 3 bananas mashed up, add 40g of peanut butter and mix well, then add 100g of porridge oats and again mix well. Place in a baking tin and bake for 30 minutes on Gas mark 4, Electric 180 c. I find cutting into squares when just out of the oven is easiest. Leave to cool and then place in an airtight container. They stay fresh for about four days. I have adapted the recipe a little over the weeks, I have added cinnamon and also some chocolate sprinkles to the top. Himself doesn’t like them as they aren’t sweet enough but for a semi healthy bite they serve their purpose.

Post Run Selfie

As I write this post, I’m midway through week four of C25K and at times puffing my way around. When there is a lot of traffic or people around I just remind myself of the quote about lapping everyone on the couch or I visualise myself running on the promenade by the ocean in the warm sunshine. That gives me a real boost to keep going. I have my daily cappuccino and have managed to stay away from chocolate, cakes and biscuits. The season of Lent starts this week on March 2nd and I would have given those particular items up anyway so I’ll just continue without them for now. It would be totally unrealistic for me to say that I will never eat cake or chocolate again, of course I will, I love chocolate. And as for never drinking Prosecco again? Never going to happen! For now my focus is on getting fitter and healthier, powering my body to do what I want to do.

Good Health Mantra

I feel this health and fitness boost is another part of me emerging from loss, emerging into the new me and embracing that I need to have a certain level of fitness to carry out and enjoy the career in music that I have chosen to follow. I’m also mindful that I am getting older and that we don’t know how long we have here on earth. I want to do what I can to keep myself healthy, fit and able to live life to the fullest for as long as I can. Starting new careers, new fitness regimes and discovering who you are isn’t just for younger people, it’s for all people and it’s never too late to start. If I can do it then so can you. I truly believe if you really want to do something, you’ll do it. Just start, baby steps if you want to, that first step is sometimes the hardest but so worth it. Don’t give up.

With love and sparkles xxx