Life Sparkles

Hello January

Welcome January.

And all at once here we are again in January. A new year and a new month. I can’t comprehend at times how fast time is actually going. Last year passed by in a flash. Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older, or because I was very busy or because I was actually starting to feel like I was building a life again, that I was coming out of the other side of grief. Whatever the reason, the year passed very quickly and I’m very pleased that I achieved what I achieved. I pushed myself, I pushed my comfort zone, I pushed my limits and I achieved a goal. I had many moments of deliberation, lack of confidence, lack of self belief yet there was something inside me, driving me on. A passion to follow this path.

I don’t find January a depressing month, neither do I find it a flat month after all the excitement and build up to the festive season. I find January to be a clear and bright month. The evenings start to gain a little light, the new year sweeps into our lives like a new broom, prompting us to declutter, to clean up our act and our homes, to make way for new beginnings, new days and weeks ahead of us, goals to achieve, dreams to follow, places to visit and time to reflect on our lives and decide if we wish to change anything or not. It’s not all about resolutions at this time of year, I rarely kept to mine so I don’t make them anymore. January, especially the first week of January before we get back into routine, is a time of reflection, cleansing and thoughts. What are we bringing with us to 2023 and what have we decided to leave in 2022 because it doesn’t serve us anymore?

January is a beautiful month for appreciation of what we have. Long time readers and visitors to my blog know that I love my notes books and lists. I have a Go Girl journal for this year https://gogirlplanner.com/ (I bought mine from Amazon) and I love it. So much room to write things down and plan. I do a lot of work online and on my laptop and I still love to write things down. I suppose I’m a bit high tech/old school.

Be sure to sparkle.

I hope you have a wonderful January and that this beautiful start to 2023 brings you hope for better days, pushes you to follow a dream or set a goal, invigorates you to make changes, or not, whatever you want your year to be like, it’s up to you. Whatever you do or don’t decide to do, remember, this is your year to sparkle.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles

Busy Monday

The final Monday before Christmas and it’s all systems go. The hustle and bustle of the holiday period is in full swing now and although the shops may be packed out, there are long queues everywhere and you may be frantically writing cards and wrapping gifts, isn’t it just lovely? We are doing all these things to send happiness and Christmas sparkle to those we love and care about.

It really is a wonderful time of year, the love, caring and sharing amongst us all is just fabulous. Remember it’s the little things that mean the most and a smile can make a difference to someone having a stressed out day.

I’ll definitely be having my two cups of coffee to get me moving today…and breathe…and eat mince pies!

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle.

The Photo Shoot

Well this was a very, very exciting day for me. A photo shoot. Imagine me, me, having a photo shoot?! I had been trying on my outfits for weeks at home. Of course the additional weight gained over lockdown and holidays meant that a lot of clothes were tight and some were just too tight to wear. I had also spent months sourcing the jewellery I wanted. That Turquoise look, you know, it’s very ‘in’ in country music. I found some in very unlikely shops, thankfully, as the majority of what I wanted was only on sale in America and the cost of shipping was sometimes three times the amount of the item I wanted to buy. Thank you to Esty, Next and Amazon.

It was a dry day which was great as it had been raining most of the week before. We headed off to country park and we started the photo shoot. It was such fun once I got into it all. The photographer, Sean from Essay Photography https://essayphotography.co.uk/ was so good as putting me at ease and talking me through the various shots and directed me as to what to do, where to look etc. I had five outfits and had to run back to my car which was parked in the lane, to quickly get changed and update the jewellery I was wearing for the next batch of photos to be taken.

Once we had finished in the country park we headed into Digbeth in Birmingham to Norton’s Irish Bar. What a fabulous venue. I can’t believe I haven’t been there on a night out!!! The staff were amazing, so accommodating and eager to help with the photo shoot. Again, very exciting for me and at least this time I had the ladies bathroom to change my clothes in.

Standing and sitting up on the stage was amazing, I’ve not been up on a stage before. It filled me with such excitement and nerves. Once again, Sean was great at directing me and we have some absolutely fabulous shots from within Norton’s.

By the end of the day I felt like a real singer songwriter, almost like it’s not a dream anymore, I’m really making this happen and the right people are crossing my path to help me along in my dreams. We liked it so much at Norton’s we are going back there at the start of next month to film the video. There’ll be no talking to me I’ll be that hyper after filming a video.

Norton’s Bar https://nortons.bar/ If you are in Birmingham, drop in for a Guinness or a Jameson’s.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle.

A Workout Gig

After just over two years I recently attended my first music gig since the start of the pandemic. I admit I was concerned about being in a sold out venue with at least 2,500 other music lovers singing and dancing. After what we have been through and how we so quickly got used to not mixing with others, touching others and dancing with strangers, what used to be the norm had become something of pure fear. I did wear my mask into the venue and soon realised that I was very much in the minority and once the show started, I didn’t see anyone with masks apart from a few staff.

The auditorium was large and airy, I had forgotten quite how large it was in the theatre. Once we had taken our seats the excitement was building and you could feel it amongst the audience. The most words I heard spoken all night was ‘I’ve not been out for two years’, we were all feeling the same sheer delight at being out at a Nathan Carter concert once more.

In the spotlight.

Claudia Buckley was the support act and this girl has come on in leaps and bounds since I last seen her in January 2020. Claudia has the most beautiful voice and a wonderful personality, she is well able to engage with the audience and sings a fabulous mixture of Irish country songs alongside old style country songs with a mixture of the newer country songs. Claudia had the audience well warmed up and happy awaiting the main event.

All the sparkles!

Next up was Nathan Carter and wow, was he on form and the band also. You could see how much they were enjoying being back on stage singing, playing their music and interacting with the audience. It was amazing to be there, to experience the sheer joy in the theatre from everyone. The staff that they were back at work, the band that they were out playing their music again, the audience singing and dancing and smiling and even the security, who try as they might could not keep people in their seats, from early on we were up dancing. It felt like freedom.

Talking about dancing, I have no idea what kind of jumping around I was doing but my Fitbit was convinced of the following…

It was a fantastic night, I think I was on a high for days afterwards. I did manage to get a few quick videos of the evening. Rather than be behind my phone taking photos and videos I decided to just embrace the whole show as it unfolded. Just like we used to. From what I could see around me, people tended to stay within the groups that they had attended the concert with. In the past we would have all joined hands and sang and danced but we were careful. I had antigen tests everyday for the next week and they were all negative. Bring on the next gig!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-4a2trg4SU

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/RzSAyod67S4

With love and sparkles xxx

Travel Sparkles.

A Quick Trip

We had booked to go to Ibiza last Summer. I love that beautiful White isle. Like everyone else on the planet, plans were rescheduled due to lockdown. We re-booked for June of this year and once again with all the uncertainty surrounding international travel, PCR tests, quarantining etc, the holiday has been rescheduled to June 2022. Fingers crossed. Here I would like to thank TUI for their flexibility, speed of access to speak to someone to rearrange holidays and also for their communication throughout the pandemic so far. Regular updates were received with details of government guidelines, foreign regulations and what to do if you had a holiday booked with them. Well done TUI.

Anyway, we were lucky enough to be offered a little cottage in Broad Haven, Pembrokeshire in Wales for a few days. As himself had cover for that period to look after his Mom anyway, we decided to drive down for quick trip. I was very excited. It’s a long time since I packed up a car and set off for a holiday. We were up and on the road by 6:45 am and although it’s a four hour drive from Birmingham, it was a pleasant trip, no holds ups!!

Broad Haven is a small seaside resort with a huge, beautiful sandy beach. There are a couple of pubs/restaurants, a supermarket and one or two beach shops and that’s about it. It’s a busy little resort, plenty of room and we found everywhere to be covid secure following all the various guidelines in place.

We visited St David’s which is the smallest city in the UK. There are a lot of small independent shops and fresh food delicatessens alongside some of the more usual high street shops but no large stores. The Bench had been recommended to us for ice cream and we weren’t disappointed. Two scoops of home made deliciousness the size of your head. We didn’t need lunch that day! St David’s Cathedral was wonderful. I love to wander around reading about the history of a place, everywhere has a story.

The following day the weather was amazing. Blue sky, slight breeze and not too hot so we looked at the map and decided to walk the coastal path to Newgale Beach and back. It’s been a very long time since either of us done any walking like this, I’d say at least six, perhaps seven years. Walking boots were on and away we went. I was so proud of myself. I’m usually huffing and puffing on the uphill climbs and whereas yes, himself would have to wait for me at the top, I definitely wasn’t as slow as I have been in the past. I put this down to the Lucy Wyndham-Read workouts and that I was going out running for thirty minutes every other day.

The above is Broad Haven beach as we were leaving for the walk, the coastal path and a view back to Broad Haven. It felt so good to be by the sea.

As all good coastal paths do, there was a lot of uphill and down dell. This path is extremely well maintained, well signposted, clean and tidy and no very close to the edge paths. In some areas they have had to change the path a little due to erosion and it’s a popular path, we met quite a few people of varying abilities strolling along.

Newgale beach is beautiful, another pure sand large beach. However it was a lot further away than we thought it was. So after another huge ice cream for lunch at 4pm and a half hour rest we commenced the walk back. To say I was tired was an understatement. By the time we reached Broad Haven I ached all over and couldn’t even speak. Imagine that, me not able to chat!!! It was however a fabulous day walking. My phone thought I had climbed 98 flights of stairs and calculated we had walked 18 miles. We think going by the maps and google, it was more like 13 miles, but even so, that’s good going especially for me. We started the walk at 11.10 am and staggered back to Broad Haven close to 8.30 pm. Himself had a very quiet evening…

The day following the mega walk we were homeward bound and another four hours in the car probably wasn’t the best for aching legs. I was barely able to walk the day after we got home. It was a lovely break away from the routine though, so good to discover an area we’ve not visited and have good food, fresh air and the sea breeze. Something I’ve not done for a very long time is Trip Advisor reviews, neither has anyone else I expect. So I will review the various places we visited for meals and yes of course I have pictures.

A couple of sunset pictures from the night we arrived in Broad Haven and also the Prince of Wales Bridge which we crossed on our travels. It’s very impressive.

With love and sparkles xxx