It seems like forever since I wrote a Little Loves post (to be honest it has been a while as I don’t join in with Little Loves in December). Whereas most people join up with the linky on the last Friday of every month, I just do it when I can manage (which usually ends up being about a week after the month ends, so I’m fairly predictable – predictable that is, in terms of always being late 😉 ). I had a busy month in January with lots of writing on my book, on a short story, on a piece I’m writing for my fortnightly writing group – and also on an article I did on family beach activities for the North Coast 500 travel website. You can read that article here if you’re interested (think kites, shell seeking, long open expanses of beach – not a lot to dislike, if we’re being honest, eh? 😉 ).
I’ve also been out enjoying all kinds of wintry weather on my daily walks with Brody, and generally taking around 1364 pictures during last week’s snowy spell, which turned our coastal town into a winter wonderland for a few days. You can’t beat a snow day or five, now can you? The kids were just a *little* bit disappointed that there was no reprieve from the 9 to 3 of school!
In other news, we’ve also been writing letters to seriously ill children via the Post Pals website (something I read about in the Christmas edition of the Tesco magazine). While we can’t give money to every charitable event or sponsorship request that comes our way, we can give up our time in a way that helps others, and I love the idea of this website (which has Fearne Cotton as its patron) – please do have a look if you can spare a few minutes and the cost of a postage stamp to put a smile on a sick kid’s face. It’s also a great way of encouraging children to get writing at home – something I find particularly useful for my younger son, who has recently been diagnosed with dyslexia. I love the way kids just engage with other kids so naturally whatever the circumstances. The things he wrote in his letter were so cute!
Onto what I’ve been reading lately, and January was another good month in books – you can find out all about that in my latest reading post. We also found some lovely dyslexia-friendly books at our local library (something I hadn’t even known existed before) – produced by a publisher called Barrington Stoke, who use specially coloured paper, fonts and line spacing to make reading easier for dyslexic kids. The difference this has made to my son’s reading already has been amazing. He actually asked me to mention it on here in case it helps other children too!
I admit it – I’ve been secretly enjoying the longer nights of winter and the chance to get cosy with lots of books and TV shows. There’s been a lot of watching going on here over the last few months, so I’ll just select a few of the edited highlights here. My husband and I watched series two of The Crown, which is absolutely brilliant if you haven’t seen it (I’m a big fan of historical royal dramas.) I’ve also managed to catch up with the entire fourth season of Outlander – in my opinion, it’s been the best series since the first. On Netflix, I loved Dumplin’ which is a brilliant coming-of-age story about friendship, beauty pageants and Dolly Parton. And of course, there’s Dawson’s Creek – where we’re finally on to the penultimate season. Forget Team Dawson or Team Pacey, these days it’s Team Joey all the way!
I haven’t been listening to as many podcasts on my walks as normal lately – one of the things I’ve been trying to cut down on is the amount of general information I’m consuming. I seem to spend a lot of time, be it through reading, writing, or social media, absorbing information, and sometimes I feel that my brain is heading for overload! I’ve been enjoying most of my walks lately in silence and just allowing myself a chance to take stock (I’m also finding it clears a bigger space for creative inspiration). But I did enjoy Dr Chatterjee’s podcast with Nick Pearson, Chief Executive of Parkrun on how the initiative is more of a social intervention than a health movement – something I definitely agree with, being a fully fledged convert to running 5k at my local riverside every week. The whole Parkrun ethos has a fantastic sense of community – something I think we all need more and more now for so many different reasons. If you’re interested, do have a listen to the interview – it might even motivate you to don your running shoes and give your local Parkrun event a try!
As usual, I’m absolutely terrible at the whole what-I’ve-been-wearing thing. Will snow boots cover it? To be honest, I wear the same old favourites (washed and rotated 😉 ) most of the time and don’t go out buying a lot of new clothes. Watching Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up show on Netflix recently reminded me that that’s not such a bad thing – after doing a clear-out based on her method a couple of years ago, I became a lot more mindful about what I actually purchased in the first place. Having said that, Boden sent me a £10 off voucher recently, and I’m a real sucker for Mr Boden, so I do expect some happy mail in the post over the coming week 😉 …….
Over the last month, I’ve been making an effort to stick to the Artist’s Way programme I’ve been following (you can read about that here), and in particular aiming to start each weekday with 3 pages of longhand journalling. I’m actually finding this more useful than I thought it would be – in general it’s a great way to get anything that might be bothering you off your chest. It’s also where I write about things I feel grateful for and just have a general brain drain before the day gets started properly. I’d encourage anyone to try it – I’m already noticing a positive impact on both my creativity, and my general mental health. There’s a lot of evidence out there on the benefits of journalling, so even if you’re not interested in The Artist’s Way, it could still be worth experimenting. I’ve committed to doing it for three months, but I’m guessing come the end of that, I’ll find a way to build it into my everyday routine.
That’s it for this month’s Little Loves, I hope you’ve found something that might interest or inspire you. I’ll see you again in a month or so. Have a great February everyone!
(Joining up with Mummy Hearts You and Little Loves).
SIMPLY MAGIC, CHINA
Aww isn’t that lovely. I love the letter writing, may have to look at that myself. Such a lovely and simple way to make a child happy. The book sounds great, it’s on my wish list. And great netflix choices x
Thanks Susan, the Post Pals thing is so fab and the work they’re doing is amazing. I genuinely think giving our time to others is often the most important thing we can do. x
I had no idea that dyslexia-friendly books existed! So glad I know this now! 🙂
I know, I had no idea before either, so glad we found out about them! The difference they’re already making to my son’s reading is huge. x
All that snow! We barely got any!! Love that first photo. You can never have too many pictures in the snow. I have made my husband re-watch The Crown with me. I loved it first time round, watching it all again is just brilliant. Cannot wait for season 3 now! Thanks so much for linking up, have a wonderful February xx
I know, The Crown is so good isn’t it? I can’t wait for series 3 either. Looking forward to the new cast line-up too! x
I always nod along to your posts, Gail. Thank you for reminding me to start walking without distraction; I used to do this for exactly the same reason as you but I’ve picked up my headphones again of late and I really do miss the down time. It’s important isn’t it? I absolutely adore this idea of writing to sick children, what a special (and cheap) way to give back to someone else. xx
Isn’t it, Suzanne? And yes, I’m trying hard to have at least a few days a week where I just enjoy my walks without distraction. It’s often the only ’empty’ time I have in the day – sometimes, I think we just need to embrace that for itself. x
I’ve been so jealous of your snow pictures – it looks utterly gorgeous. I’ve had experience of the Barrington Stoke books before – being a teacher – they’re great. It must be a real confidence boost for your son. I’ve been meaning to watch Dumplin’ for quite some time, will get on that one ASAP. Hope February is good to you x
I’m so pleased to have found the Barrington Stokes books Stacie, they’re making such a difference! And Dumplin’ is so good, I hope you like it. I’m onto the book now and it’s fab! xx