Wednesday, 30 January 2013

I'll buy you flowers

I ws in my local supermarket when Faye asked, "mummy, what are they selling lots of chocolates and cards with big red love hearts on them for?"
"It's for valentines day" I said.  "It's when you buy a present for someone you love and send them a secret card.  You aren't suppose to tell the person who it is from, it's a secret."
"Does that mean your boyfriend will be buying you some chocolates then?"
"Well he might do.  He'd better do or he'll be in big trouble." I said.

 Taking a while to think this over whilst looking at some of the cards she suddenly said, "I love you so much mummy." and she gave me a big hug. "I think I will buy you a card mummy, and get you some special flowers because you like flowers, don't you?"
My heart just melted and so did the passing shoppers who overheard Faye's little speech.
"Awww, She is such a little sweetheart," said one passerby with a big smile on her face.  "That's just made my day"

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Review of The house in the Atttic by Helen Cardwell

I was a little disappointed with this book.  I do like a good ghost story and the 5 star reviews it obtained were in my opinion a little to generous.  The plot was  nothing special and much the same as any other predictable ghost story.  The setting was a creepy old house in the village of 'Mournsby' (Really, not a very original name) and typically over-looked an old over grown cemetery,

To me there were to many paranormal characters and I'm still trying to work out exactly who the main character is.  Human or other.  Going by the name of Elinor, a teenager with a turbulent past it transpires that she is actually the daughter of death and rescues her cousin from the clutches of the evil Mrs Barrowhyde. 

Don't get me wrong, I did actually really enjoy this book and found it easy reading.  The problem was it was just a little to predictable.  The ending was as seen a million times before and I wouldn't chose to read a follow up to this particular book.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Working from home. Easy?

I had a poorly little boy today which meant that I had to take an emergency days holiday to stay at home and look after him.  Determined to make the most of my day regardless my plan was to get Charlie sorted in front of the TV with a DVD - obviously he wouldn't want to do much else but sit and watch TV - leaving me a spare couple of hours to spend on my numerous ongoing writing projects. 

I have always had this little dream of working from home.  How easy would it be to be at home with the kids?   To be able to work when you like would be perfect.   Fit the work around the kids.  It turned out to be definitely a lot harder than I envisioned.

Getting one off to school I returned home and made a start on the breakfast pots, the washing and the various other chores that needed doing.  Then I spent 10 minutes putting together a train set, which Charlie then decided he didn't want to play with. Spent a further ten minutes packing it away.  Got the soldiers out, only to ten minutes later to pack those way as well.  He then moved on to playing the WII to which the requests to change games were never ending.  All my suggestions of watching a DVD were instantly dismissed.

Come 11:30am I had managed, despite my best efforts, to write approximately 25 words.  After fighting a losing battle I closed my books and gave in temporarily.  Come 4:30pm the tea was all in hand and cooking nicely.  The kids for once were playing nicely together in the living room.  I spotted a little chance to sneak back to my desk in the corner,  Yep, I got there, sat down, opened the books and read the first line.  With that Faye decided to start yapping on at the top of her voice in her pretend foreign language.  The sound of "alags yowhollagar dushligar dank dank dosk dansk ulagr ulagr ohhh lalalala oooo du la jescla filed the air.  Arrrrgggghhhh, I give in. 

Working from home is most definitely not the attractive option that I had envisioned.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Review of The Perfect Present by Karen Swan

This is a wonderful chic lit book.  Not normally a book that I would go for but from page one I was hooked as I entered the world of Laura Cunningham with her passion for red shoes and her bespoke jewellery business where she worked overlooking the sea in a tumble down building.

Who would have known the effect that the charming, handsome and very sexy Rob Blake would have on her life when he asked her to make a charm bracelet for his wife's birthday.  His request being that it held seven charms to signify the relationship held with the seven most important people in his wife's life.

Of course, to find out their relationships meant being flown to Verbier for a weekends skiing trip in the Blake's chalet to meet all the people in question.  Did I mention he was gloriously rich and the bracelet was to cost £20k.  Meeting Cat, his wife.  A woman we all love to hate.  With the perfect husband, her perfect looks, designer wardrobe and jet-set lifestyle.  She has everything her heart could desire but not everything is as it seems.

Laura, out of her depth with these rich, upper class group of friends enters an alien world.  She's shy, reclusive and hides from the world but her past has not been easy and now is the time to face her demons, and accept what's happened and move on.

This book was a pure escape from reality and as the story progresses and we learn all about Laura the plot twists and weaves and throws us some very unexpected twists.  Where exactly does the love of red shoes come from is a question I asked myself throughout the book?  I can't wait to read more this author.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Bed time Stories

From my kids being babies it been a nightly ritual to have a bed time story.  I've always wanted them to have a love of books and stories and it's always been one of my favourite times of the day.  We all troop upstairs and cuddle up in my bed and I sit and read a story, just lately it's actually been 4 and 5 stories and we've sat there for almost an hour completey losing track of time.

When Faye came home from school and announced she had been reading 'The Twits by Roald Dahl' and proceeded to say that she loved it, loved it and would I please, please, please buy it for her.  No surprises that later that night out came the laptop and I hunted for Roald Dahl.  I was delighted to find a collection of 15 paperbacks including some of my favourite ever stories. 

Reading out the list of books to Faye she was amazed to find the Matilda and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - Two of her all time favourite films - are actually books as well.  Not only that but The BFG - my man's favourite childhood film - is also a book.

Well I don't know who was more excited yesterday when the parcel arrived and out popped all the shiny new books.   I can't wait to sit down and start our new bedtime stories.  The problem we have now is which one do we pick to read first?

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Break ups and Make's ups

Been a bit of a tough week this week.  On the relationship front things hadn't been going to well .  There had been a lot of tension.  Things were done and said in the heat of the moment and misunderstandings blown out of context.  It's been building up all over the Christmas period and it all come to head on Friday.  The end result being the my man packed his things and left.

Spending the weekend on my own with the kids I avoided all contact with him and we managed to go a full 4 days without any contact what so ever.  It was hard.  It's strange how when your with someone and they're getting on your nerves all you want is to be alone.  But the moment they do go you want them to come back and just start getting on your nerves again. 

I have to admit that those 4 days apart although hard have done me the world of good.  They gave me some much needed alone time.  Chance to work out what I really do what from life and to work out the full extent of my feelings for him.

Tuesday saw the ice broken and after a long conversation we're giving it another go.  Last night it was a night of 'Gok's Style Secrets' my choice obviously. Followed by 'Africa' joint choice, all whilst munching take-away pizza, snuggled up together on the sofa.  It must have done me some good to be apart because I don't, as a rule, do snuggles.

I re-call a recent text he sent me saying I was his world to which I'd cruelly replied but your not my world.  What I can say now is, 'your not my world because my kids have already taken that spot but my world is not complete without you in it.'

The kids are at thir dads this weekend so I am looking forward to a much better weekend then last with a chance to spend some much needed quality time together. 

Monday, 21 January 2013

Review of Island of Wings by Karin Alternberg

I have to admit that I have a wide range of readings tastes and I am quite partial to a historical novel.  This one is set on the isle of St Kilda in the Outer Hebrides and is based on the real diaries and information based on the years that Neil Mackenzie and his wife travelled to Hirta (St Kilda) as a married couple and follows the years where he is the minister for the isle before his departure some years later.

The description in this novel was excellent and you could really sense the remoteness of the isle and envision the natives in the little huts, almost like wild savages living in filth and squalor.  The magnificence of the birds and the bareness of this uninhabitable landscape is portrayed very vividly.

Unfortunately for the me the characters did not come to life.  The minister, who was most defiantly, an unlikeable character was far to wooden and although you were told he did, this, that and the other you weren't shown this through the writing.  His wife with her own struggles and isolation again I felt this could have been shown in a more remarkable way.

All in all this was a nice book with very good descriptions but very slow in parts and the ending was disappointing,  They left the island as expected and that was that.

http://www.islandofwings.com

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Time to cosy up and read

After the first book I of the year I chose to read taking almost a fortnight to complete. I was completely behind on my target to read a book a week.  I have managed to turn this around this weekend and have almost finished my second book.  Review of which will be posted tomorrow.

I thank the cold weather for my additional reading time this weekend,  We had a reasonable snow fall on Friday night and the kids were up early on Saturday morning and raring to go.  By 10 am we were ensconced in wellies, hats, scarfs, gloves and coats and heading off to the nearby park for some sledging fun.  The kids had a ball and Charlie is particular loved the slopes despite falling face first into the snow on numerous occasions you couldn't wipe the grin off his face. 


Faye  opted use her sledge to build her own stash of snowballs ready to attack anyone that dared to offer her a battle. 

After 2 hours and feeling frozen through we came home,  My feet had never felt so cold and the pain as they warmed and the feeling returned also made me want to weep.Still, after a hot bowl of soup there was no other way to pass the afternoon then snuggled up with the heating on full blast reading my book.

The kids meanwhile opted to build a snowman in the garden and then proceeded to have a snowball fight with the other kids down the street.  Faye was well prepared for the battle and took on all the bigger kids.

Friday, 18 January 2013

Review of Nameless by Jessie Keane

So, my target of reading a book a week this year has fallen behind already.  It's taken me a fortnight to read my first which was 'Nameless by Jessie Keane'www.jessiekeane.com.

Having read a number of Jessie's books this wasn't what I expected.  Set in the 1920's and covering up to around 1975.  We start the book reading of the main characters demise.  I have to admit that it took me a while to get in to this book and I actually re-read the first chapter twice.  However, it was well worth persevering with. 

It wasn't long before the magic was worked and the characters really started to work.  The main character Ruby, lives a rags to riches life but the path she travels is filled with violence, anguish, torment and finally love before her world is blown apart again.  This is a gritty and gripping story with wonderful characters that you eithwe love or hate. Or even love to hate. 

I didn't want this story to end and it certainly didn't end as expected.  The last sting in the tails tears it all apart and the final chapter made me want to shout out in anger and dismay. A brilliant book.  I really hope a sequel is written as so many questions are left unanswered.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Wishes do come true

Charlie has got his wish and he has snow.  Having been at work this week today has been the first opportunity I have had to take both the kids out to enjoy it.  Armed with sledges we headed to the nearby little hill and what fun they had whizzing up and down while their cheeks got rosier and rosier and my feet getting colder and colder. 

"Mummy, it really really feels like it's Christmas again!" shouted Charlie as he whizzed past me and ended up in a heap at the foot of the hill. "I love this mummy, it's the best ever Christmas, ever"  My thoughts were believe me Charlie I can't cope with another Christmas just yet.  I haven't fully recovered from this one.

So it was two wet and cold but very smiley children that came in today.  With a change of clothes it wasn't long before we were all snuggled up under the fleecy blanket on the sofa watching cbeebies and drinking hot chocolate.  Does life get any better than that?

With the forecast of more snow, I have to confess that the novelty is starting to wear off now.  The endless task of gloves, scarfs, wellies for the school run adds at least another 10 minutes before we attempt to open the door. The thankless task of de-icing the car while the kids sit waiting and to pass the time start fighting and screaming at the tops of their voices and don't even get me started on driving in this weather.  Roll on the Summer

Thursday, 10 January 2013

I want Snow!

With all this talk of the impending forecast for the horrifically cold and snowy weather that we well could be faced with over the next few weeks.  It seems that Charlie could be about to get his wish.  He was so disappointed that it didn't snow at Christmas.  He actually found it very difficult to believe that it was Christmas at all.  His words to me were, "How can it be Christmas? it's not even snowed yet."  It's easy to see where he is coming from on that one.  All the pictures we see and films we watch relating to Christmas paint this idyllic scene of snowy landscapes, being wrapped up nice and warm building snowman and then coming in to drink hot chocolate.  What do we get? A murky, grey, drizzly day.  Hardly the stuff dreams are made of.

Anyway, New Years day saw me taking down the Christmas tree, packing away all the nic nacs for next year, whilst cooking a Sunday Roast.  The living room was trashed with Christmas toys scattered everywhere, a tree that was half taken down and numerous packing boxes.  Nipping into the kitchen to check how dinners was getting along, I was longer than expected and left Charlie unsupervised.  Big mistake.

He decided to have a little rummage around in the, what I assumed were, empty boxes.  What he actually found lurking a bottom of a rather large box was a very large piece of polystyrene,  He had struck gold and his little imagination went into overdrive.  If he couldn't have proper snow then he would make some of his own and he's set about shredding the polystyrene.

" Mummy, look its snowing" came his shouts.  I popped my head around the door to find him standing in the middle of  millions of little white balls.  He was gathering up handfuls and throwing them into the air.  "Wheeee!, look what I have done, mummy," he said proudly.  My face paled. I was totally speechless, which is, I must say a first for me.

To say I went a little crazy is an under-statement.  Looking back it is actually very very funny and bless him he hadn't done much harm.  He was actually being really clever but he probably picked the worst possible time of day to have done it.  Is it just my kids that pick those moments? or does everyone else kids have the same bad timing clocks?

The clear up was crazy as bits of polystyrene kept floating into the air with every sweep of the brush and the vacuum was just as useless.  More than a week later I am still finding bits 'snow' in various corners.  Needless to say, polystyrene is banned.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Good News!

I've worked hard on my Creative Writing Course this past 18 months and successfully completed the first half of the course focusing on the non-fiction elements.  Finally I have reached the part I've longed to tackle all along.  Writing fiction.

Prior to Christmas I posted off my first completed fiction assignment and awaited the return of this with my tutor's comments.  This is the first time that I have allowed anyone to read any of my stories and to say I was nervous is an under-statement.  All I've wanted to do is write good stories and my worst nightmare would be to receive negative comments on my work.

There on my door mat when I returned from work was the dreaded envelope.  I anxiously read the first few lines and couldn't stop the grin from spreading across my face.  The comments I have received were amazing and my hard work that I put into this assignment have really paid off.

I can't wait to cracking on my next one and who knows, maybe I might now pluck up the courage to start submitting some of my stories.  

Thursday, 3 January 2013

I'm still here!!!

Happy New Year everyone.  It's been a rather long time since my last post but the simple fact is life has got in the way and there just hasn't been enough hours in the day.

Anyway, I'm back and ready to get stuck back in.  I've spent the last three days having a massive post Christmas clear out.  It's been well overdue.  You know it's bad when you have to try hold everything in the cupboard whilst quickly trying to close the door before the avalanche starts and the whole mountain comes crashing down on your head.  Numerous rolls of black bin liners have been used and I have a piles of rubbish that now needs to be sorted and recycled.  I managed to fill 5 bin liners of clothes and bedding, from my bedroom alone, which has been sent off to charity shop.  My house is now totally de-cluttered and cleaned till every surface, nook and cranny is gleaming.  I'm sat here with my sunglasses on the shine is that bright.  No doubt once the kids get up in the morning with their sticky little fingers it will once again get that good old lived in feel but for the moment I'm enjoying every second while it lasts. 

I for one had a good 2012.  I managed to have a few small successes with my writing and got a couple of pieces published.  I'm half way through my creative writing completing the first 10 assignments on non-fiction which were, at times a challenge but I persevered. I'm now starting the fiction side, which is the aspect of writing that I am most interested in.  So, I sent off my first fiction assignment just before the Christmas break and am currently nervously awaiting the feedback.  I'll keep you posted on that.

Last January I decided to try and keep a record of the amount of books I read in a year.  The grand total for 2012 was 48.  Which is fairly impressive and almost a book a week.  I read everything for Charles Dickens -  Oliver Twist, through to Stephanie Meyers - Twilight Saga, up to  E L James -Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy.  My target for 2013 is therefore to actually increase my reading target to 52 books (a book a week) and I'm playing around with the idea of maybe having a little review section for the books I read for anyone that may be interested. Let me know what you think?

On a more personal note I finally got divorced,  Yeah! Even better was the fact that I've met a new man and embarking on a new relationship.  It's involved big changes for everyone but we are all adapting fairly well and so far so good.

Here's to 2013 and the new adventures and challenges it will bring.