Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"Happy New Year"

But is it ever, I mean really??

I always wish for a 'Happy' New Year and sincerely wish others one but in reality I'm always just glad I have survived the year. This year in particular seems to have been a 'roll on next year' kind of year. And if I was superstitious I may have made the 13 connection a little sooner than September!

My very good friend Caitlyn had me in stitches with a post packed full of memes check it out here but I have to say this one is my favourite, it popped up on Pintrest and Facebook and is just funny!!


We all do it every year and I will be doing it again this year but on reviewing last years 'rules to live by' I can confirm I tank at living up to them!! I think it is just human nature to constantly need for a fresh start...a do-over, and what better time than the beginning of a New Year? After all it comes around every twelve months, its just after most of us have finished stuffing ourselves and being overly decadent.

One thing I am very thankful for this New Years Eve is a suggestion made by my Other Half this time last year. I don't know where he saw the idea, how or why he came to make the suggestion that our family set up this tradition, but after a year of hospitalisations, bullying and other general crappiness I am so glad that he did. Our little family has spent the year trying to focus on the good things and every time something good has happened we've written it on a piece of paper and put it in a jar. Then tonight we can look back and remember that this year wasn't actually that bad a year, we can refill on happiness and repeat next year. It might sound a little corny but I am seriously shocked at how full the jar actually got this year. I'm sure we will have forgotten to put some things in there but we'll get better at it next year....see a resolution!

Cute memory jar for 2013
original on pintrest here

So what else will I attempt this year??

1. I resolve to live a healthier lifestyle (yeah right! I have been attempting this for as long as I have been aware of resolutions but maybe this is the year, right?!)

2. I resolve to listen to my body and give it a break sometimes (because that didn't go so well in 2013!) 

3. I resolve to write more, including finish the first draft of something novel length.

4. I resolve to actually do some of the things on my to do list like go walking, have fun with my kids, read more, have fun with guerrilla art, watch more films, spend more time with friends (basically never sleep but what the hell!)

5. I resolve to refill and repeat...the memory jar that is. I know I already said this but this time around everything goes in! Things that make us laugh, time with friends, films that make us laugh or cry, trips, plays, football wins...EVERYTHING!

6. I resolve to attempt more random acts of kindness even in the face of my Other Half who hates them just because we should do something and walking away breaks my heart.

7. I resolve to let my girls be sisters and accept that certain things come with that and that I can't control everything they do!

8. I also resolve to accept that I am probably going to tank at most, if not all, of these resolutions...especially number 7!!!!!

So Happy New Year everyone. Good luck to those making resolutions, hats off to those who manage not to and while we are sat by the log fire reliving our happy year in our holiday cottage what will you be doing to ring in the New Year?


Music to see in the New Year chosen by my new guru...Munchkin 1 (my eldest!!)




Saturday, 16 November 2013

And the stars align

Just when you think it is safe to go back in the water the sharks come back out to play!

You drag yourself and your family through a rough time, see the light at the end of the tunnel and normality begin to descend again. Only to have the rug pulled from underneath once more. A little voice laughs at you and says 'nope we're not done messing with you yet deary.'

It's not like we haven't had a hard enough year already, but no now life wanted to have a pop directly at my little girl; take a nine year old child and strip away all her self-confidence and make her feel useless. All as a result of a few unkind words from those who would be her friends.

Of everything we have had to face this year I think that was by far the worst, watching the vivacious young girl we raised break down piece by piece in front of us. Just feeling completely helpless!

In the middle of fighting to build our munchkin back up into the confident and happy girl she was we randomly entered a competition to win tickets to see the Imagine Dragons, a band both of us love.

view original here

I had to be told twice when the e-mail came to say we had won tickets, not least because various other things had conspired to make us available on the night we had won the tickets for. And the look on her face was priceless when I told her she was going to get to see one of her favourite bands. This one thing has brought a smile to her face this week, it's given her something good to aim for. I have no idea what brought everything together so nicely but it is such amazing timing.

Life will keep knocking you down it seems, but every now and then the stars align....someone smiles down on you and things work out to give you a little miracle just when it is most needed.

So keep on getting up, keep on moving forward and don't miss the miracles!!

For now I'll leave you with Munchkin 1's favourite song and look forward to her first concert experience this evening.


Have you ever experienced one of those well timed little miracles before? Where all the stars seem to align just when you needed them to the most.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

How do you like yours?

I love stories! Stories in all of their disguises; sharing a bedtime story with my girls, reading a great novel, writing a characters story, reading a story to a class visiting the library. But my favourite way to enjoy a story by far is to simply listen.

Last weekend we got to visit Settle Storytelling Festival and we had so much fun. We bought magic beans, hunted story tellers and exchanged our beans for stories. We ate cakes and bought notebooks and gloves at the makers market. We even had fun in a yarn maze before finishing with more amazing tales.

What I loved about the festival is they prove that sharing stories is not just a venture for children, it's for us grown ups too!

There was only one downside to the weekend. Part of the festival was a competition to write a story on a postcard which could have been picked as part of an exhibition on festival weekend. And yes, you guessed it...the story I wrote and posted did not get chosen. However on the bright-side it does mean I can share it with you guys now.


The Kerry Way walking path between Sneem and Kenmare in Ireland
original image found here and was the inspiration for my story.


The Cottage

Water oozed around Guin’s fingers as she pressed them into the moss covering the derelict cottage. Curiosity tingled though her. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Tilting her head to the right she let the barriers in her mind drop.

As she opened her eyes, the dream-like images of a life long forgotten began to take shape around her.

A young man carries his bride over the threshold. The young woman is beautiful, her red hair glowing in the evening light as she waits for him to return. The axe thuds to the floor, her giggle rings out like a peal of bells as he picks her up and swings her in a circle. The seasons pass, their love grows as they gain laughter lines around their eyes. But sorrow begins to haunt the woman’s smile, a suffocating longing for lives that will never be. Slowly the couple accept their life alone and grow old and happy together. The no longer young man still dotes on his wife, bringing her wildflowers every day of summer, their sweet sent drifting on the breeze.

But the winter is cold, too cold. The couple gets into bed for the last time, locked in the same loving embrace. Then nature creeps in to reclaim the lovers and their house, a tree growing up around their bed.


Guin knelt shivering on the warm forest floor. Looking at the damp moss where her hand lay, crying for the beautiful life with no witness but her. Today, being an empath was a gift.



So how do you like yours? Are you a listener, a writer or do you have a story to tell?

A little parting tune because his voice is yummy!!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Pick Two Words

Have you ever been sat in an interview and been asked,

"What two words best describe you?"


That one question has always filled me with horror and utter panic. I have never been able to articulate myself enough to package me neatly into to two tiny little words. Until now. "I've had an apostrophe" (Smee in Hook) or rather an epiphany.

Listening to my Ipod on shuffle, thinking over the things I like and what they say about me, I suddenly discovered the two words that best describe me. Funnily they also happen to be among my favourite words too.


view original on Pintrest here

Maybe this is just a polite way of saying I'm random? That would be pretty accurate. Anyone who has had a conversation with me for more than ten minutes can testify to the fact that I can come out with some of the most random things known to man, for those of you that don't know me that well I guess more concrete evidence is better.

I would describe my reading tastes as varied (it sounds better than random when I'm at work). I could pick a favourite book (well more than one) from a number of genres and it would be like choosing between my children if you asked me to choose between them.

Classic - Dracular by Bram Stoker
Adult Fiction - Brida by Paulo Coelho
Crime (true) - Paul Britton's Biographies
Crime - The Sculptress by Minette Walters
Biography - Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Fantasy - Laurel K Hailton Merry Gentry Series (ok so cheating a little)
Teen Fiction - sorry too many to choose from *shrugs* its my favourite genre everyone has their weakness!!
Junior Fiction - JK Rowling Harry Potter Series

Ok so my favourites may be weighted towards the paranormal but I could bend your ear for some considerable time about why you should read Wild Swans if you haven't already. On the flip side I also don't mind the odd easy reading multi-million copy selling, titillating paperback if the fancy so takes me...if you catch my drift!

My DVD collection is equally eclectic, I range from Disney animations (the collection started way before children entered the house I must admit), through superhero's, past soppy chick flicks and gritty drama's to the odd comedy along the way ending with the classic action movie. The only genre not to grace my collection is horror, mainly because they irritate me (I spend the entire film shouting at the screen 'WHY WOULD YOU? THAT'S JUST STUPID'  and end up turning it off).

Where my eclecticness really excels is with music, oh boy my Ipod on shuffle is a DJ heading for his P45 (in the US I believe you call this a pink slip?) in a heartbeat! To demonstrate and for your entertainment while you continue reading have a listen to some of the more varied tracks on my Ipod.


There is the occasional classical tune in my music collection, this is by far my favourite for a variety of reasons!!



A number of cheesy pop tunes do make their way onto my Ipod, I would like to blame my children, and in certain company do...but in reality I love to have a dance to them when the mood sees me 'sexy and knowing it'



Yes, I am a soppy sod and have a silly number of tear inducing songs in my music library and yes I hide them among an equally silly number of quirky, alternative and rock songs so no-one will notice (oops!)


Phew, Marilyn does pop up a couple of times, just to balance things out as does the odd heavy metal track too. Plus I had to share this, Johnny Depp playing guitar!

 

Then I go and punctuate all of that with a few pumping dance tunes, however...




Alternative and rock tunes are the ones that dominate in amongst the eclectic mix, every girl has to have a place where heart truly lies. All in all you can find nearly anything in my music library (except Abba, not an Abba fan...sorry folks).

So there you have a couple of examples of my eclectic reading, viewing and musical tastes....and I haven't even touched on how I have skulls, butterflies and tie-dies in the same wardrobe. Like I said, eclectic.


An Oxymoron is basically complicated
View original on Pintrest here

Yep, if one person could be the personification of 'oxymoron' it would probably be me. Most parts of my personality, if given a few seconds, I could probably find a contradictory part of myself.

For example, I consider myself to at least be moderately 'green' and I try to care for the environment, I recycle...yet I am also a petrol head. I love fast cars, I follow Formula 1 and one of my favourite series of films are the Fast and Furious movies. At work I always try to be as tidy as possible, yet at home random stacking abounds.

And as every mum I love my babies but love my time away from them. So many parts of my life seem to be in contradiction with each other but I guess that just makes me complicated and I guess that just makes me, me!


So there you have it, my two words and trust me its take me long enough to find them. What would your two words be?

Monday, 9 September 2013

Lost in the fire

So another post, the second in a couple of days, aren't you lucky! No seriously, my brain seems to have re-booted following my down time which is good and today I started to think about how to get my body back on-line.

I've started by dragging my sorry ass out of bed before lunch and getting dressed. Planning on three square meals a day sounds like a solid plan to back that up too. Next some simple chores and maybe even a daily walk could be in order, but lets take this one step at a time! I've had my hair done, tamed my eyebrows and generally dragging my body back into some reasonable female looking form...now all I need is to get back into my car and get my freedom back! All sounds so simple doesn't it, now if I could only get my legs to stop shaking after a few minutes stood up that would be great.


Listening to this song and making my get better plans I realised something though, I've changed. Not just changed as I mentioned in my deep and meaningful's before really being knocked off my feet, not the 'feeling lucky I'm alive' kind of changed (which I do, don't get me wrong). There has been a fire and its taken parts of me with it, parts of me I hadn't considered I would ever lose. I'd thought they were just me, those traits you can't change, well it turns out you can.

I mean sure, I've had surgery to remove a non-essential organ so I knew I was going to lose that and my appetite went so sure I lost some weight too. But the one to shock me has been the loss of my willingness to want to do everything, to please everyone. For a long, long time I have said 'yes' to everyone and everything. I have taken on so much; work-wise, volunteer-wise, all-sorts. Now my mindset has changed and although doing all those things was great it is time to concentrate on me, my family and the things that are truly important. Does this sound a little harsh? Probably! (and this is another loss to shock me) Do I care? No!

Sometimes there has to be a fire to clear the way for new life!

view original here

So come on guys, catch me up. Have you lost anything to shock you recently, or has it just been your keys? What is everyone up to? Are you listening to any new tunes? I've missed you all tonnes!!

Friday, 6 September 2013

Hello........Is there anybody there?

I kind of feel like a stranger walking into a dusty old house. You know the kind; it feels really familiar as you climb the wooden steps to the front door, the creak for each slow and careful step you take never taking your eyes from the peeling duck egg paint on the door. Your breathing deep and heavy is the only thing you can hear as you reach for the cold brass of the door knob, drawing you to it with some unexplainable force. Your fingers barely touch the pitted metal when the door pops open and groans on the dusty dark hall way...

view original here

"Hello, is there anyone there" you call out. You realise then you know this place, you loved this place once when it was full of words and friends. But you have been gone so long you aren't sure it can be the same again. There is no answer straight away, but that is ok the fear in the pit of your stomach has gone. This is your house, it just needs some tlc; a broom and a lick of paint, maybe a party with some cupcakes!!


So, I have been gone a while. I haven't blogged, I haven't read any blogs. What have I been doing you ask?? Um well, lets see. I have written a little; you know the ambitions I mentioned last time, the ones I was running head long at? I had this idea in my head that I might dive gracefully into them. Well I maybe bounced off them a little (think a big pile of jelly), but I have started my book, I have my idea and a couple of chapters as a start of my first draft, they will have to be re-written very soon but it's a start.

Other than that I have been doing a lot of reading, mainly because that is pretty much all you can do in bed. The last six weeks have seen me in and out of hospital like a yo-yo and books have been my refuge. Those and some amazing friends who have spent way too many hours on facebook and twitter keeping me sane!! It seems a bit pathetic that since the beginning of July I don't have more to report but I really don't, I guess that's why I haven't been blogging much; hospital food, an operation and the odd book really aren't that interesting!

I will say if you fancy a good read check out Marissa Meyer - Cinder and Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

Hopefully I will find time to get on here to blog a little more regularly, in the meantime be safe ;-)

A little taster of my latest musical obsession the Lost-who?!?! ;-) If you haven't heard of Imagine Dragons go listen to them now, this is my favourite song!!


Oh I nearly forgot, I did manage to submit a postcard short story that will hopefully be in an exhibition in October locally and then after that in India, I will keep you posted ;-)

Thursday, 4 July 2013

Sometimes.....

Sometimes you have to know when it's time to say goodbye!

I have seen friends come and go, some are etched in my mind, a few written on my heart but there are only a couple that have ripped open my soul and changed me forever.

“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” 
― Flavia Weedn

Accepting that someones time in my life has come to an end has never been one of my strengths. I wonder, after having read the poem below, if it is because I love too easily. I love my friends, my family and my lover all with as much heart, yet in vastly different ways. Has this love-blindness hampered the clairvoyancey of friendship in me?

Reason, Season, or Lifetime
People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you figure out which one it is,
you will know what to do for each person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON,
it is usually to meet a need you have expressed.
They have come to assist you through a difficulty;
to provide you with guidance and support;
to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually.
They may seem like a godsend, and they are.
They are there for the reason you need them to be.
Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time,
this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.
Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away.
Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand.
What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done.
The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.
Some people come into your life for a SEASON,
because your turn has come to share, grow or learn.
They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.
They may teach you something you have never done.
They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.
Believe it. It is real. But only for a season.
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons;
things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.
Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person,
and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.
It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

— Unknown

I once said I didn't think I would ever be as strong as the main character in my favourite book (Brida by Paulo Coelho for those that don't know me). Strong enough to accept that one of her soul mates had fulfilled the reason he had come into her life and that they would likely not see each other again. I'm still not so sure, but I am getting there.

Maybe one day I will find it easier to say goodbye and accept the gift that has been bestowed upon me with grace. Maybe one day it won't feel quite like cutting out my own heart and offering it up on a platter.

In the mean time here are a couple of random verses that don't seem to want to grow up unto fully fledged poems!



Sometimes you meet someone
And they are with you for a season
Never meant to stay forever
Just there for a specific reason.

Sometimes you are mistaken
You are nothing to that someone
Who meant the world to you and more.

Sometimes you search forever
Just to find that special one
Sometimes it takes a while
To realise you were with them all along.



Time to say goodbye.



PS I hope this is the last in what seems like a long line of deep and meaningful's that I will be sharing...at least for a while. I am a member of a fabulous critique group and they are inspiring me to run head long at my ambitions...watch this space as they say!

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A little randomness for your Tuesday

Tucked up in bed with my munchkin on a sick day I thought I would take the opportunity to post some random thoughts I had whilst walking last week, noted down in my trust pocket notebook....you never know when an idea will strike ;-)

Regrets.......do you have any?

I definitely don't regret any of the choices I have made in my life. How could I? Each and every choice has brought me one step closer to the life I am living. My beautiful family, a best friend  who is there for me no matter what, some other fabulous friends and an inspirational critique group!

However, I cannot say that I am completely regret free. Along the way I have said one or two hurtful things, lost touch with people I wish I had made more of an effort with. But my main regrets are linked to places.

There are some places that are not quite full enough with memories. These places are linked to times in my life, and the ones that harbour a sense of regret are the times of my life I didn't make the most of. I don't regret the decisions or the outcomes, if I would do the same if I had it to do over again. But I do regret that I didn't grab each and every moment and make the most of them. I didn't fill these places with happiness.

For some places it is too late, they are inexorably linked to a time of my life that is not full enough. For others....we will see, there may be time yet for a couple of memories to push away the sadness. To a certain extent I don't even regret that these places have regrets because it has taught me to enjoy every moment.

Ok now my head hurts

Quick song to leave you with and a question.....can we ever truly be regret free?


Oh come on...there has to be a cheesy song every now and then!!


Monday, 24 June 2013

I do believe in fairies, I do, I do...

Well today we have made some amazing memories, they came at a price of being totally wiped out but they are more than worth the cost. Isn't it amazing how some memories are worth just worth it!!

The hour and half drive, including bickering, just to here the symphony of our family giggles was worth it! Join me in a post of pictures....


We hunted fairies in the rain



















We found them in trees.



    In water too.

Even hanging out by the fence                                        

My favourite has to be Spidy...so cheeky!



 

On the way we even found some fairy houses, but there was no-one home.

There were many other hidden treasures on our forest walk.


One or two dangers


But mostly smiles and giggles


During our hunt we came across a barefoot walk....in the rain....why not?!?


Beware...Bigfoot was here already!!

  Whoa...path blobs, watch your step!



This bit's bouncy Mum.


Any one else thinking of The Golden Child? Nope just me...okies.

 We got mud between our toes :-)


And no that is not me cheating on the gravelly bit!!

Ok so it was....I prefer the the squidgy mud, so sue me.

There was a maze and pretty gardens and playgrounds and flowers and...I felt free, my girls were free and it was amazing!!

Although I was already sold on the fairies and waterlilies.


Oh and a Secret Garden....Such a cool place!






The most intriguing part was the neglected building




It got all sorts of stories rolling around in my head.

In short it was an awesome day full of laughter and being free.

Where did we go you ask? Trentham Gardens....and it was everything I needed it to be.

What did you get up to this weekend?



A bit of 30 Seconds to Mars to play while you comment ;-) ...just because I get to go see them in November thanks to my amazing Other Half :-)














Thursday, 20 June 2013

Memory is a fickle....hmm what was I saying??

Over the last couple of days Larissa at Pappa is a Preacher and Katie over at Nested have alerted me to the fact that Google is changing. It is ditching the Google Reader page, basically the bit that keeps me from forgetting what blogs I follow etc...

For me this couldn't come at a worse time, my memory is fickle enough at the best of times, recently it has been a nightmare. I swear I am going to end up poisoning myself with all the pen I plaster on my hands at the moment, and there just isn't room for all the blogs I follow too!

Thank heaven for Larissa and Katie, without them I would never have found Bloglovin. Tanks you guys!! So rest assured that I may not read every word of every post, I may even have skipped a few altogether of late, I will never forget about you completely. And when I am all better and headache free (yes I still have it...3rd month and counting) I will be able to find you all easily.

Hugs till then!




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Sunday, 16 June 2013

The Book-hangover and How to Recognise One.

Readers of the world, if you have experienced one of these you will know what I am talking about. Some of you may have gone through this without being able to label the feelings, others may sit there and wonder what I am about to witter on about....to this later group you are heathens!!!

I am happy to report that I am not highly susceptible to book-hangovers. Much like I can drink copious amounts of tequila without suffering the morning after, I can read most books without many problems....or if I do suffer the symptoms are minimal. Every now and then though the hangover lasts a number of days but unlike an alcohol related hangover though the lasting effects of a book hangover may never fully dissipate!!

Original posted here along with A Fantasy Reader's take on the book-hangover

How to Recognise a Book-hangover (my lay-man's assessment)

They are usually experienced following the completion of a particularly good book or series of books. I should note here that the books in question to do not have to be considered literary greats, they don't even have to be anything you would admit to reading, however they do generally speak to you in some way shape or form. They grab your attention, your heart, or just get you thinking long after 'the end' has appeared.

Symptoms include but are not limited to:
  • An inability to put the book down that you are reading. This is a warning sign! Take my advice; if you notice this kind of response to a book, make it last as long as possible. Delay the gratification because once it is over there is no going back!
  • A desolate or hollow feeling deep in your core may follow completion of the book, like you have said good bye to a great friend and you may never see them again.
  • You find yourself thinking of the book, the characters or the issues raised an inordinate amount of you time.
  • Music, situations, buildings, cars.....you name it will all remind you of what is over!
  • There may be changes to your appetite; comfort eating, loss of appetite...what ever your poison!
  • There will most certainly be a constant yearning for more! Much more! Which may also be accompanied by a yearning to find the author, grab them and shake them until they agree to write another instalment! *Beware of Twitter and Facebook stalking the authors this may exacerbate symptoms*

Is there a cure you ask? 

None that I have found as yet! Other than getting hooked on another book and risking an equal or greater emotional response!

On the flip side the book-hangover is one of the greatest compliments that can be paid to an author!! I can only pray that I will elicit this kind of response from readers if I ever get published.

NB the book-hangover can also refer to the zombie feeling felt after having sat up all night reading.

So have you ever experienced a book-hangover? Would you admit which books keep you up at night?
Just a bit of what I have been listening to whilst suffering with the worst book-hangover I have ever experienced!!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

A Touch of Randomness....just in case you were missing me ;-)

I've been thinking about fruit today. A gorgeous bowl of exotic fruits, cut up and glistening on a platter. That fresh smell, healthy...everything that is good for you. But I bet given a choice there is something naughty lingering in the back of your mind. Something tempting you; you know the fruit will never fully satisfy but this something would. Lets use Ben and Jerry's Phish Food (my temptation of choice) as an example, it's no good for you but when faced with fruit you lust after it with amazing passion. You know every silky mouthful will be satisfying right until the last mouthful, ensuring you would crave all the more next time. Why is it we are never satisfied with the things that are good for us? Why do we always crave what we shouldn't want?

And why does this random analogy work for many other parts of our lives??

Just a bit of what I am listening to at the moment!

My solution? Add my ice cream to my fruit ;-) How do you balance what is good for you with your naughty side?