Life Sparkles ✨

Snow Days

We haven’t had a real good snowfall in years. The last one I remember was in 2017 and my Dad thought I had gone mad as I got all wrapped up and headed out for a walk in the snow that day. We are very lucky in The Midlands area of England as we appear to escape the extremes of weather that hit other areas. I was delighted when a few weeks back I woke to find it snowing quite heavily and that it was settling on the ground. Oh it looked so beautiful. Yes, I was up and out walking in it and it was magical. Hardly anyone around due to lockdown restrictions, no cars disturbing the snow on the roads and the wonderful sounds of children playing in the gardens with their parents. It was almost silent in places as the snow fell. As you would expect of me, never without the phone in case of photo opportunities, here are my photos of my walk and a celebration of St Bridget’s Day in Ireland, Imbloc and Groundhog Day!

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Autumn falls away to Winter

I was out walking again. I was south of the city, close to where I was born and brought up. It still feels like home in the south although I have lived north of the city for a very long time.

Autumn was just ending and Winter was taking hold. It was a very chilly and beautiful afternoon and it felt so good to be wrapped up and in the fresh air. The colours around me were stunning so of course, out came the phone and I took a few pictures.

Love the Sun through the trees.
Autumn leaves 🍁
Stunning Autumnal colours.
Late afternoon in the burbs.
Winter approaches.

I’m sure onlookers think I’m crazy looking up to the sky with the phone in the air. Perhaps they think I’m taking a selfie! I just cannot resist these kind of scenes.

With love and sparkles xxx

Life Sparkles ✨

Walking in a Winter Wonderland.

For the first time in eight years the UK has had a significant snow fall. Major disruption to transport, schools, health services and rural areas. The forecasters were spot on; it started snowing at 4:30 am Sunday morning and snowed continuously for twenty four hours. It settled quickly, that beautiful thick, clean, fresh deep snow. I love it. I had to get out for a walk in it even for half an hour. Here are some pictures I took whilst I was out and about in this unexpected and wonderful Winter day.

It was so good to hear children out making snowmen, families walking and laughing and hardly any cars at all. I’m very lucky that I live on the edge of the city yet bordering the countryside. It was a glorious half hour walk, I enjoyed every second.

Of course now we have ice, treacherous conditions and tonight it is raining, it was great whilst it lasted, fresh and lovely that first day of falling.

I’m very behind in catching up on your blogs, I’m so sorry. Between a continuous run of all nighters and Christmas preparations I’ve been very neglectful. I hope to have more time to blog and to catch up with your blogs very soon.

Sparkle always!

©️ @aurorasparkles 2017

Life Sparkles ✨

Crisp, Cold and Beautiful.

I’m loving these few days of late Autumn, early Winter we’re having. Living in The Midlands of England we are quite sheltered from extremely bad weather. If we get it bad here it must be truly desperate in other areas of the country.  The forecasters are saying heavy rain on the way but for the past few days it has been beautiful. Cold, dry, sunny and perfect for getting a quick walk and some fresh air. I feel so much better for making the effort to go outdoors, feel the sunshine or the wind on my face. After today I think the hat and gloves need to come out!!

This afternoon I took a chance and had a shorter around the block walk. I was taking a chance as it was a little later than usual for me to venture out. It was just starting to get dark, twilight, sundown…which is also what throws Mom into confusion about the time of day or night “Sundowning” is quite apt. We had an all nighter last night and Mom was still not on good terms with me (it happens), hence I took the chance to walk.

It was stunning outside, the twilight sunset and the rising of the moon. The touch of the evening mist on my face and the cold on my hands. A sense of freedom, re-newed energy and a feeling of wellbeing. I was gone for 25 minutes and I felt amazing when I returned. Ready to face the evening and by now, Mom was friends with me again.

Moon Rising.

Twilight Sunset.
Such beautiful colours, nature at her best.
Saturday Afternoon Walking – Posing as usual.
I loved the look of these Trees.

 © @aurorasparkles 2017

Life Sparkles ✨

What Day is it?

Seriously, I’m losing track of days, dates and even what month it is?!! Unless I have some kind of appointment on a particular day, I’m lost. I must have checked the date four times yesterday just to make sure I wasn’t tweeting incorrect information. 

Life is busy, busy in a very different way. Going with the flow still ensures a busy day takes place, quite honestly I don’t know how I ever had time for the “day job”. I’ve been meaning to update my blog everyday for a week…here I am after 1 am Sunday morning…I’ve found a slot to start writing!

So, a quick roundup of some “me time” over the past three or so weeks. It was my Birthday in July and I was thrilled with this gift from himself.

I told him how lucky he is; not every man could buy their woman crisps and salt for their birthday and receive such a happy reaction.  I love Ibiza and I love these products.

I also received my degree results on my Birthday; my seven years part time study with the Open University paid off and I am very proud to confirm that I now have a BSc (Hons) in Health and Social Care, go me!!  In order to celebrate we finally, after three previous bookings and then cancellations as I was unable to leave the parents, made it to a new local restaurant for a very late lunch and two hours together time. Absolute heaven.

I have also now commenced my Guitar lessons…there will be more about this on my “Music Sparkle” page in due course. My Guitar tutor visits the house, a huge bonus.

Regular readers of my blog will know I have spurts of healthy eating and attempting to lose a stone weight. My graduation ceremony is at the end of October so last Monday I joined Slimming World with the aim of losing said stone prior to graduation day. My thinking is that if I have to go to a group session to be weighed I am more likely to stick with the plan. I’ve eaten so much this week I’ll be amazed if I lose any pounds but I’ve stuck to the rules. I have to admit that five days in my body is already feeling less sluggish.

Breakfast was huge, makes a change from a dish of Alpen!

Prior to joining Slimming World I managed a trip to the city to meet my cousin for lunch. Made me realise how much I don’t miss the commute to the office.

I went out for a walk in the rain the other day; just around the block. It felt great, I really must try to do that more often. The fresh air, flowers, trees and yes even the rain makes you feel so alive and for that short time you are out, everything in your head makes sense.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just doing the best I can each day. If things get done, or I make it to the shops or a coffee date then great and if not, then I just try again another time. My parents are my priority and everything revolves around them. I think I’m lucky that I have managed a bit of me time, even if I don’t know what day it is…a lot of full time carers don’t. 

@aurorasparkles ✨

Travel Sparkles ✨

Lake District.

In September 2005, himself and I travelled a few hours North on the motorway to the Lake District of England and it was here we surprisingly discovered that we love walking and hiking.  We were not kitted out correctly but being the first week of September the weather was kind, lots of showers but nothing that we couldn’t handle with the clothes we had with us, plus, if we had needed to, we were surrounded by shops providing everything we would need.

What a truly beautiful area of England, we barely touched the surface and hopefully one day we will travel there again to explore some more of it’s beauty.  I’ve posted below a few photo’s of the trip which I particularly like and they do give a taste of the beauty of the area.

We stayed in Bowness in Windermere which was an ideal location, a few minutes walk from both Bowness and Windermere.  We visited Coniston Water, Ambleside and Keswick. All of which I would highly recommend for walking, touring and also for a relaxing long weekend, there are some fabulous hotels in the area.

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Life Sparkles ✨

Let’s Start Again…Diet and Exercise

I have lost count of the times this year I have “started” to be healthy. Eat the right food, drink plenty of water, exercise. I start off so well with great intentions and then whoops…there goes that chocolate bar…oh dear, did I really just eat that cupcake…are those unattended biscuits I see on the plate?

Picture via Pinterest 

Being the main carer it is important that I keep myself healthy in order to look after my parents. However, being the main carer also means that generally I don’t sit down and eat meals, I tend to grab what I can and eat on the go either at home or when I get to the office in the afternoon’s, everything is rushed, or at least appears to be.

I love fruit and vegetables and I do eat a lot of them. I love fish and chips, Indian food and pizza and I do try to keep those delights for treat nights. I need to try harder.

I love walking, I re-started running a few weeks ago as strangely I really enjoyed it when I started running for the first time in January this year. It was a huge achievement for me to run 5k for Cancer Research in June. I am very surprised at how quickly I lost the fitness I had gained and I really want to re-gain it.

I have become more conscious of how what we eat affects our bodies and how exercise affects our hearts and brains. Everywhere you look there are articles about eating healthy, moving more, getting fresh air and protecting ourselves from the onset of diseases in later life.

Picture via Pinterest 

I have 14 pounds to lose, just one stone. My clothes are tight, I can’t get into some of my favourite dresses and as for my jeans…let’s not go there!! Although I’m not stressing about this I know I’ll feel better when the excess weight has gone. As I get older I notice the fat distribution area has changed, it is predominantly the tummy area which can be the worst area to carry fat, health wise.

So, once again, I’m starting to get healthy. Time to eat healthier, fresh, non-processed foods. To move more, to walk more, to build up the running, to dance even if it is just around my bedroom. To leave the chocolate, cupcakes and the fish and chips to treat days and to look after my body, my mind and my wellbeing. I want to be as fit and healthy as I can to care for my parents, they are depending on me. I want to be as fit and healthy as I can for me, for my later life and I’m thinking I need to start preparing now. I know there is no guarantee that I will be fit and healthy in my older years but at least I’ll have done what I can to try…if I can just stick to my healthy plan…bring on the willpower!!

Picture via Pinterest

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

Life Sparkles ✨

Colours of the Mind.

Sometimes, getting out for a walk in the air is just what you need to clear your head. There are days I am totally bogged down with responsibilities; my parents, my job, running the home, the list goes on and I’m sure you can identify with some if not all of the above.

Time flies and as much as I try to plan ahead to fit things in, I have had to learn to just totally go with the flow and do things as and when I can. This is not easy when you look around and see a million and one things that need to be done…but they have to wait. On the other side of life, the day job can’t just go with the flow, it still remains structured, timetabled, intact and is in total conflict with caring and home. But you just get on with it don’t you, because you have to.

My singing is a pure release, love, love, love it 😍 A real de-stressor. I really must write more about this hobby!

Anyway I digress, I wanted to share some pictures I took on a recent walk. It was a cold, bright, sunny Autumn day and this year the colours have been just so beautiful. When you walk, breathe in the air and see these fabulous creations around you, you cannot help but feel blessed. Blessed for what we have, blessed for our role in life, whatever the joys and challenges.  I hope they give you a sense of their beauty, the freedom from brain noise and the mental clarity that takes over when you take time out.

Such stunning Red.

This is one of my favourite pictures, I love the sunlight on the leaf.

The berries look so vibrant, makes me think of Christmas decor.

I love to look at trees…

I also love to run through the leaves, we all deserve to set our inner child free!

Autumn Sunset.

Thank you for reading my blog. Have a super sparkling day.

Life Sparkles ✨

Pick yourself up and keep going!

As you know, I started running this year. You also know how surprised everyone was that I did this. Me? Running? Totally unheard of. I loved it and hated it at the same time. Because I was following the “Couch to 5k” podcast I was regimented, eager for the walk/run day to arrive. Hating that it rained too heavy for me to venture out. Loving that feeling of achievement, freedom and rosy red cheeks because it was icy cold outside but I had gone out there and tried.

I complete each week of the programme twice to ensure I have the stamina to progress to the next week of walking/running. At Easter I felt so good about my progress, I signed up to take part in the Cancer Research UK “Race for Life”, the 5k race. I was about to start week 5 of “Couch to 5k” which would start me training to run for twenty minutes and then…then I fell over in the city whilst walking to work. Crash. Straight down on my knees. I almost passed out with the pain. Three lovely gentlemen came to my aid and helped me up and made sure I was ok. 

As I struggled to the office, I was shook up, embarrassed, sore and feeling sorry for myself. I thought I was going to cry so I rang himself who once he knew I was ok, made me laugh. Then it hit me, I couldn’t continue on my walk/run until these knees healed.

That was a month ago, I have finally made it out for one walk/run where my knees held up to the session without adverse reactions. I plan to go again today. My fitness level has dropped, to be expected I suppose but I am determined to complete the programme and complete the race. 

I noticed that whilst I was regularly on my walk/run, I lost the craving for sweet things, I was feeling better in myself in many ways, health wise, less anxiety, able to cope better and I ate healthier. However, the past month I feel I have eaten my body weight in chocolate and biscuits!!

Currently there are 64 days to my race, 41 days to my module exam and 8 days to submit an assignment. Alongside work, home and parent care. Life is never boring and as the song says “The heat is on”.

Thank you for reading my blog 😀

Pictures via Pinterest.

Life Sparkles ✨

Running? Me?!! Yes I do…

No-one is more surprised than I am that I have started to run. Seriously, even as I write this I cannot believe I’m writing about running! For a while, on and off, I’ve been trying to think of, investigate, decide to take part in, an exercise that will make me feel good, benefit my health and body and not cost a fortune. Running has crossed my mind and was immediately dismissed. Apart from running for the train or bus, I don’t run. I hated sports at school which involved running and I have kept my distance from all running activities since. 

I love walking, I really enjoy getting out in the fresh air, walking up hill and down dell, (down dell is preferable, always huffing and puffing uphill). Even a walk around the block seems to clear my mind and put things into perspective. I love my weekly Zumba class. It took some time but now I can hop and jump about to the moves quite well. 

Due to home circumstances I haven’t done much Country Walking for well over a year. That middle age spread appeared to be just not shifting and those of you who read my blog know that even though I’m fruity smoothie breakfast girl for the past six weeks, I find it very difficult to stay away from the biscuits and chocolates.  The fruit smoothies have already made me feel less sluggish, I have more energy in the morning and I actually look forward to getting up and making them.

Running has kept flirting with my thoughts…it was on emails, tweets and even suggested pages on my FB newsfeed. One email I received had a link to the NHS “Couch to 5k” app and website. The app aims to get you off the couch and running 5k in 9 weeks. I kept going back to it and then I took the plunge, I downloaded it to my iPod and went out and had a go.

You start with a 5 minute brisk walk followed by 60 seconds of running, followed by 90 seconds of walking and so it continues for 20 minutes ending with a warm down 5 minute walk. The first 60 second run was awful…I struggled, I panted, I wondered what the hell I was doing…I managed 30 seconds of it…but I kept going. Same happened with the second and third bouts of 60 seconds running but by the fourth time, I did it!! And the fifth, sixth to the end. I ran for five minutes! Not only had I achieved that, I enjoyed it!!!

My muscles ached where I’d never ached before but I found myself looking forward to the next session. (You have a rest day inbetween). The third time out I managed to run the whole 8 minutes. I have now completed the 8 minute run three times and will do the last day of week one again tomorrow before I move on to week two and slightly increased running time. It might take me longer than 9 weeks but I am determined to get there.

I am slow, I get out of breath and sometimes I wonder if the passengers in the passing cars feel sorry for me. However, one quote runs through my mind…

Picture via Pinterest 

And this quote keeps me going. I have such a sense of achievement, I’m enjoying it, I feel good and breathlessness is decreasing. I shall take it slow but I will get there.

Thank you for reading my blog 😎