Considering that February is the shortest month as well as being my least favourite month of the year, we’ve certainly packed in plenty of lovely things over the last four weeks. I normally find February difficult – partly because of the grey dreariness of the last dregs of winter but mainly because it’s the anniversary of my Dad’s death, his funeral and his birthday. It’s been three years now and for some reason this year I’ve found it harder than ever. I’ve deliberately distracted myself with positive things and it’s helped, though I know I have to face it and have a good cry at some point – I can feel it.
That aside, it’s been busy and we’re all relieved to have made it to half term. It’s seemed to zoom by and I was slightly horrified to realise that Ella is now halfway through her final year at primary school. Next week we find out her high school placement and then it’s all going to seem a bit more real.
Here are all the little things I’ve been loving lately throughout February…
I finished ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert in record time – two weeks I think, which, considering it’s been taking me months to get through a book in recent years, gives you a significant insight into how much I loved it. I have to say it’s a game-changer in so many ways – there is an incredible amount of both wisdom and common sense contained within it’s pages and I’ve felt focused and inspired ever since I first opened it. I’ve made notes and underlined things on pretty much every single page and I know it’s going to be a book I return to again and again and again.
I’ve been travelling by train quite a lot this month (more about that later in the post) and as a result have managed to catch up on both the January and the February editions of ‘The Simple Things’ magazine. My husband buys me a subscription for Christmas every year and I absolutely love it. It’s the only magazine I ever read and I find it so calming to immerse myself in it as well as it being beautiful to look at. I’m already looking forward to the March edition.
I have been wanting to see The Greatest Showman ever since it came out back in December last year. But the only person who babysits for us is my father-in-law and he was doing loads of overtime at work in January and so couldn’t come over to look after our girls for us. I sadly resigned myself to having to wait until it came out on DVD to see it. However, Wednesdays are the husband’s day off from work and now that I’m not going to London on a Wednesday for work any more, there are odd weeks where I don’t have any clients booked in. Very, very occasionally we get lucky: the stars and planets all line up and the universe works it’s magic, and the husband and I manage to have a whole six hours together whilst the girls are at school, with no boring errands to run or urgent work to do. And so at the beginning of February we managed to squeeze in a cheeky midweek daytime cinema date! I honestly didn’t think The Greatest Showman would be on at the cinema any more but it was and I am SO glad that we saw it on the big screen. I sat utterly mesmerised through the whole thing – the music, the cinematography, the messages inherent in it – it was just absolutely dazzling and I really, really loved it. We’re taking the girls to see it this weekend and I know they’re going to love it too. Here’s the trailer for those of you who haven’t seen it yet (and because I’ll never get tired of watching that either!):
My Mum came to visit last weekend and she brought a film with her for us to watch called ‘Still Alice’, which she’s been wanting to see for ages. We finally got round to it and I’m so glad we did as I know it meant a lot to her. It’s all about Alzheimer’s Disease, which doesn’t sound like a particularly enjoyable topic and it’s not, but the film depicted it so well. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking and it dealt very sensitively with the effect of the disease not only on the main character but the family as a whole. The characters were intricate and the depth the actors portrayed was incredible – I can certainly see why Julianne Moore was awarded a Best Actress Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA. The reason my Mum wanted to watch it was because her Mum (my Nana) had dementia and Mum and her siblings did a lot of caring for her before she died so it was a topic particularly close to home for her.
The only thing I’ve heard this month music-wise has been The Greatest Showman soundtrack. I bought it the day after the husband and I went to see the film and the girls commandeered it before I had the chance to listen to it myself. They’ve quite literally been playing it non-stop ever since. They already know all the words off by heart, it has to be on during every car journey we go on and it must be played as loudly as possible. I love the whole album – it’s uplifting and different and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be my new obsession for quite a while. This is one of my favourite songs:
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve done quite a lot of travelling by train this month, making two trips in completely opposite directions. That’s one advantage of living in the Midlands: it means that most places are fairly easily accessible.
The first trip I made was down to Southampton in the middle of the month for my best friend’s baby shower. I’m so pleased I was able to go – I couldn’t make it to her hen-do seven years ago as my girls were all still very little and my anxious mind couldn’t cope with leaving them. And then I was poorly with a horrendous tummy bug on the wedding day itself. I just about managed to perform my bridesmaids duties but it obviously meant I wasn’t as present as I could have been. So to be able to spend the weekend with her for her baby shower, joining in with all the games her sister had organised, watching her and her husband open all their gifts, and getting all emotional about the fact that there’s soon going to be a tiny new person joining their family, was just the most wonderful thing. I barely took any photos and I think that’s testament to how much fun it was.
The second trip I made was only yesterday, up north to Leeds for a wedding photography workshop with Steve Gerrard, who did our family photoshoot last summer. It was a full on day – lots of classroom learning, a photoshoot, editing and a critique of some of our images. The group was quite small, only seven of us in total, and the models were absolutely lovely – I felt so sorry for the ‘bride’ in her gorgeous wedding dress as it was absolutely FREEZING! I’m still processing everything I learnt and figuring out how to put it all into practice (so much of it is transferable to other types of photography too) and I know for sure it’s going to make a big difference in lots of ways.
We’ve been so busy with other things that we’ve only done one bit of baking this month. Ella requested that we made cinnamon buns and she ended up doing most of it herself – she astonishes me on a daily basis with how quickly she’s growing up and how capable she is if I actually let her do things. The cinnamon buns turned out to be delicious and there’s no photo of the finished products as they all got eaten too quickly!
Nothing new here. I’ve been wearing the same Mum uniform of jeans and jumpers and boots that I’ve been wearing all winter. It’s still far too cold to contemplate wearing my beloved ballet pumps or anything less than four layers of clothes – I’m so fed up of winter and being cold all the time.
I did, however, find a gorgeous long skirt in Next which is a bit different for me style-wise. I tried it on in the spur of the moment, really loved it and I think it’s going to become a it of a wardrobe staple as the weather warms up. It’s not too long either which is an absolute miracle – being 5’3″ means that normally long skirts completely swamp me but this one comes to just above my ankles and it’s going to be perfect for our trip to Italy in the summer holidays.
The first Thursday in February is officially ‘Harry Potter Night’, and Waterstone’s Bookshops all over the country stay open late to put on a special event for fans. I took Ella to our local event a couple of years ago, last year we couldn’t make it (I forget why) and this year all three girls decided they wanted to go so we turned it into a family night out and even the husband came along. It was a school night but what the heck, it’s only one night a year and I figured they’d get more out of joining in with the activities than making them have an early night. The staff always put on a fantastic evening – the whole shop is decorated, there are fun games and quizzes (unicorn ring toss, feeding Fluffy, and Fantastic Beasts charades to name a few), everyone dresses up and the atmosphere is charged with excitement. We had a brilliant time and the girls are already looking forward to next year!
Right at the beginning of the month I captured a maternity/family photoshoot for my lovely friend Claire, who was 38 weeks pregnant at the time. We had such a fun morning together, I’m really pleased with the photos I shot for them and their baby girl arrived safely four days after her due date. I’m popping over to meet her tomorrow and will hopefully capture some newborn photos for them as well. Maternity photography is quickly becoming a new favourite of mine.
Lastly, it’s been half term this week and we’ve been really quite lucky with the weather – a couple of sunny days and mostly dry even if it was a bit grey and chilly (ahem, freezing) at times. It’s meant that we’ve been able to get out for adventures and explorations more this week that we have done over the last two months put together, so my wandering, nature-loving heart is happy and my girls have had a good, healthy dose of fresh air and time spent unplugged. We went for a walk along the canal and climbed trees; spent an afternoon at Trentham Gardens; and met up with Laura from Little Ladies Big World and her two gorgeous daughters at Wolseley Wildlife Centre, which is pretty much halfway between the two of us.
We’re so close to Spring now and I cannot wait for warmer days, blossom on trees, and greenery beginning to unfurl from it’s hibernation. We have a few fun things in place for March and whilst I’m not usually one to wish the time away, I have to admit that I’m already counting down the days to the Easter holidays (just five weeks away!).
Linking up with Coffee Work Sleep Repeat’s ‘Little Loves’ link: